Jeffrey K. Walker

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Jeffrey K. Walker

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JEFFREY K. WALKER is a Midwesterner, born in what was once the Glass Container Capital of the World. A retired military officer, he served in Bosnia and Afghanistan, planned the Kosovo air campaign and ran a State Department program in Baghdad. He’s been shelled, rocketed and sniped by various groups, all with bad aim. He’s lived in ten states and three foreign countries, managing to get degrees from Harvard and Georgetown along the way. An attorney and professor, he taught legal history at Georgetown, law of war at William & Mary and criminal and international law while an assistant dean at St. John’s. He's been a contributor on NPR and a speaker at federal judicial conferences. He dotes on his wife, with whom he lives in Virginia, and ...more

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Jeffrey K. Walker I don't pretend to be experienced enough to give sage advice to new writers. I can just share a few things I've discovered so far.
1. Any words on the…more
I don't pretend to be experienced enough to give sage advice to new writers. I can just share a few things I've discovered so far.
1. Any words on the page--even truly malodorous ones--are better than words that are still flotsam in your anxious brain. Editing is a powerful thing.
2. Word counts matter because they represent accountability to the most important person in the writing process--yourself.
3. Beta readers come in many flavors. Don't make major edits based on each one's notes. I'm an old aviator and they used to say when teaching us to land airplanes, "Don't chase your instruments." If you see things are trending off course, make small corrections to get back on flightpath.
4. There's a lot of perverse pleasure in a) torturing your main characters relentlessly and b) killing your darlings.
5. It's hard saying out loud "I'm a writer" without sounding phony or pretentious to yourself.
6. Writing is a trade, not a lifestyle. Writers write. It's what we do.
7. Choosing to be a writer does not necessitate being neurotic. Or alcoholic. Or a crashing bore at dinner parties. It's OK to be a normal person, too.
8. Remember, your Work in Progress is infinitely more interesting to you than to the rest of the world. Modulate conversations accordingly.
9. It's OK to fall in love with your own characters. It's not cheating, since they're fictitious and there's almost always a little of your significant other in that character anyway.
10. There's nothing more satisfying than someone giving up nine or ten hours of their life to reading your novel and telling you they loved it.(less)
Jeffrey K. Walker Curiously, I blogged about this recently. Here's the link: bit.ly/2rlLtAU
I'm going to use a little of that blog post here.

I must be a terrible…more
Curiously, I blogged about this recently. Here's the link: bit.ly/2rlLtAU
I'm going to use a little of that blog post here.

I must be a terrible writer. Seems to me writers as a tribe spend a lot of time whingeing and sighing about how tortured we are. (And obsessing about adverbs, which is kind of weird when you think about it.) It’s all “Oh! I didn't make my word count!” and “Don’t you understand how I suffer for my art!” What makes me a terrible writer, I’m fairly certain, is that far from being tortured, I feel kind of privileged to be writing every day. I came to fiction writing later than most. I say fiction because I’ve been writing for a living most of my adult life. I’m a lawyer—about 75% of what we call work is mostly writing. Come to think if it, many of my former opposing counsel might claim I've been writing fiction for quite some time. But I digress.

Because I started in with serious (non-courtroom) storytelling 35 years after graduating from college, I began with much more self-discipline and far better organizational chops than I would have earlier in life. Yes, I sweat my word count, but I’m such an obsessive planner and outliner that I really don't have any idea what ‘writer’s block’ means. I always know what the next scene is going to be and what objectives I have to achieve within it. So getting the words down on paper isn’t all that torturous. More like tedious some days, but not that many. Therefore, it’s a fair critique to say that I might suck at writing. It’s unfair to say I’m not efficient at writing.

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Average rating: 4.76 · 49 ratings · 25 reviews · 2 distinct works
None of Us the Same (Sweet ...

4.68 avg rating — 31 ratings4 editions
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Truly Are the Free (Sweet W...

4.89 avg rating — 18 ratings — published 2017 — 4 editions
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I’ve written before about my less-than-remarkable Air Force flying career here and here. But I have yet to share a little-known rite of passage through which I was forced to endure. After all the flying and academics and specialization training, there’s one last hoop to jump through. I refer to Survival School. The objective behind […]
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Published on July 15, 2018 12:00 • 1 view

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O Shepherd, Speak!
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Jeffrey Walker made a comment in the group Historical Fictionistas2018: What are you reading topic
" I'm almost through with the 11TH AND FINAL volume of [image] Lanny Budd novels, [image] . They aren't strictly speaking historical fiction, written ...more "
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I’ve written before about my less-than-remarkable Air Force flying career here and here. But I have yet to share a little-known rite of passage thr... Read more of this blog post »
" Kirsten wrote: "I think it goes back to Masterpiece Theater and watching shows like I, Claudius and Elizabeth R and To Serve Them All My Days." LOVED ...more "
" Kirsten wrote: "I love reading fiction set during the period just before, during, and just after World War I." Believe I'm within the rules here in su ...more "
Jeffrey Walker made a comment in the group Historical FictionistasSarah Dunant topic
" Sacred Hearts was stunning--not just beautifully executed historical fiction, but gorgeous writing and deep, compelling characters. All within the con ...more "
O Shepherd, Speak! by Upton Sinclair
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Jeffrey Walker made a comment in the group Historical FictionistasTeen Friendly HF topic
" I'm the wrong one to ask. I read my first Michener at the wildly inappropriate age of 10, Hemingway at 12. Really almost any HF book is teen friendly, ...more "
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O Shepherd, Speak! by Upton Sinclair
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One Clear Call by Upton Sinclair
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I can never get enough of the delightfully written adventures of Lanny Budd, romping across war-torn Europe. Upton Sinclair is a master storyteller.
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War Children by Gerard Whelan
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Topics Mentioning This Author

topics posts views last activity  
St John's Book Club: Books in or about Newfoundland 4 11 Nov 30, 2017 12:00PM  
Great War (1914-1...: Adding Books 125 260 Dec 14, 2017 06:55AM  
Great War (1914-1...: the Gallipoli campaign 7 19 May 18, 2018 02:38PM  
Historical Fictio...: News & Upcoming Releases 398 1106 Jul 19, 2018 09:10AM  
Gertrude Stein
“Start all over again and this time, concentrate." [to a young Ernest Hemingway]”
Gertrude Stein

Stephen King
“If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
Stephen King

22454 Historical Fictionistas — 9825 members — last activity 1 hour, 45 min ago
Welcome to Historical Fictionistas! We want to experience all different kinds of HF with all different kinds of people. The more diverse, the better. ...more
191305 History Through Fiction — 155 members — last activity Jul 17, 2018 07:12PM
This is a small group dedicated to discussing the historical fiction genre.
3994 Great War (1914-1918): The Society and Culture of the First World War — 430 members — last activity Jun 13, 2018 06:26PM
A place to discuss the cultural milieu of the Great War (also referred to as the First World War, World War I, WWI, World War One). The intent of this ...more
25x33 St John's Book Club — 18 members — last activity Nov 30, 2017 12:00PM
It's a book club. In St John's Newfoundland.
191895 WW1 Centenary Bookclub — 29 members — last activity Dec 14, 2017 06:53AM
We are currently part way through the Centenary of WW1 and during the remaining year of this anniversary, I want to read as much as possible about thi ...more
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