THE WALKING DEAD

The Walking Dead, Vol. 01: Days Gone ByeThe Walking Dead, Vol. 01: Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

WALKING DEAD – A graphic novel, The Walking Dead (Days Gone Bye) by Robert Kirkman is told from the protagonist’s POV. He’s a lawman that comes out of coma to find a world that’s nothing like the one he knew, before his big sleep. It’s more about survival in a post-apocalyptic society than a volume on epidemics and zombies. But, it’s the focus on human survival and the interpersonal dynamics that makes Walking Dead work as a story (where so many mindless formulaic zombie tirades fail). Another testament to the quality of the book is this: I’m not generally a comic book guy. So, the graphic novel works on many levels, with visuals and pacing to make it different than a straight novel or the television version.

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ILLUMINATION

ILLUMINATION – The Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park will be transformed with colored lights inspired by the tropical flowers contained therein and the flower power movement. In remembrance of the Haight Ashbury’s 1967 Summer of Love for the iconic event’s 50thanniversary. The light display will be shown every night after sundown from June 21 through October 21.


THE WRITE PLOT

THE WRITE PLOT – A good writer strikes the proper balance. The story is original but conventional enough to be read easily. It has a plot that isn’t too complicated or overly action packed. But by all means, something interesting has to happen! Make sure to avoid the opposite problem, such as weak plots, and stories lacking in tension. Are you a pantser or a plotter? Do you just start writing, hoping to be lucky enough to develop a well-organized story? Do you spend lots of time outlining and researching, consequently not getting much writing done? Or do you carefully stick to the outline but end up with something trite and predictable? Balance is key, so you have to do all of the above. A writer who understands the rules also knows when to break them. Aristotle gave us the beginning, middle and end. Freytag gave us the pyramid. Campbell gave us the hero. Vogler gave us the Writer’s Journey. OK, what does all of this mean to me as a writer, you might ask? Do ponder before you write. Daydream and don’t forget to jot down your most unusual ideas. Do outline before you write. Avoid time wasting and writing yourself into dead ends. Think of a great concept and decide what you need to show (not tell) to convey the idea. And by all means, take your reader somewhere they never knew they wanted to go.

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HELTER SKELTER

HELTER SKELTER – In the late sixties, Playboy magazine published an article with photos predicting: “This is the year that Sharon Tate happens …” She had already appeared in The Fearless Vampire Killers. Also, she’d appeared in the film adaptation of Jacqueline Susann’s first novel–Valley of the Dolls–named after the book. She’d gone on to receive a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in this movie. Married to Roman Polanski, her director in Vampire Killers, Sharon was close to her son’s delivery date. Another one of her films had just wrapped, The Thirteen Chairs co-starring Orson Welles. Waiting for her husband’s return from filming, she spent an evening with friends after dining out at her favorite restaurant. Two weeks from giving birth, Sharon Tate was murdered by the Charles Manson family along with four other people. Including Steven Parent dead in his parked car, Wojciech Frykowski and Abigail Folger,  found deceased on the front lawn. Sharon Tate’s neck was tied with rope to Jay Sebring’s and they were found in the living room. She’d been stabbed sixteen times and died along with her unborn son. Recounting the events leading up to the murders, the true crime book entitled Helter Skelter detailed what happened that awful night. Charles Manson and his cult devotees, also known as The Family, committed the heinous crime as part of their vision of apocalypse, war, and violence. He drew his references from Beatles music and the Book of Revelations. Manson and his followers were successfully prosecuted and found guilty as part of their scheme to trigger Helter Skelter.