We loved reading all your amazing stories about the Disney park attractions. This week's extra credit goes to Brave_Flower for their incredible retelling of Soarin'. They captured the essence of what Disney magic means to park guests from all over the world--not an easy feat! Congrats!
For your next assignment, we want to hear a story for a NEW Disney Park attraction.
Our next assignment is to deconstruct the story behind an existing park attraction. Check it out!
And remember, only 19 days until the new book! Are you excited? We are!
This quarter, we're all enrolled in "writing for the Disney parks."
Here's how it works: every two weeks from now until the launch of THE RETURN 3: DISNEY AT LAST, we'll be posting a new assignment here on KKI. The assignments look just like the challenges you're used to, but this time, instead of asking you for fan fiction, we're asking you to answer questions the Imagineers deal with every day!
A quick note before we begin: Many of these challenges deal with actual locations in the Disney parks. If you've never been, that's okay! Google is full of blogs and maps, photos and videos, so there's no need to miss out just because you don't spend as much time in Walt Disney World as the Keepers. Even if you do go to the parks every week, take some time to do your research. Preparation is key, and you never know what you might learn.
The first assignment is already up, so go take a look!
Welcome to DSI! We're so glad you're here!
Now, we're gearing up for something super exciting on KKI, and while we can't tell you exactly what we're doing yet, we think you're going to love it as much as we do. If you love Disney, like learning, or dream of being an Imagineer someday, you should be especially excited.
And finally, as you may know from KK3, Vpdeqnp mq Csrwpl Rekqqd qg Snijswppfswj, rmifmswj rqqw!
We are so excited to finally announce the winners of the Fairlie Powers challenge. There were so many incredible entries, Ridley had a hard time picking, so thank you so much to everyone who entered.
Now, congrats to...drumroll please....Dark_Charm, Stonecutter_Tomorrow, Imagineering_Palace, Adventure_Willa, and Stonecutter_Cannon. Their ideas will be featured in the new Return book, so be sure to look for it when it comes out next March. Each of them came up with unique, never-before-seen abilities and in many cases paired them with a compelling storyline. Congrats!!
It's almost summer, which means more time for writing. We want to hear from you what would happen if the Keepers met your favorite character from the Marvel Universe.
The Return II: Legacy of Secrets is out now, and you can find it wherever books or ebooks are sold. We're so excited and we hope you love it as much as we do!
Don't forget to send in your fairlie powers ideas and vote for your favorites, Ridley's just about to pick which one's will be going in the new book!
Thank you so much for all your amazing ideas for fairlie powers! They're all so creative. This challenge is still open for a little while longer, so please pop on over to the challenge page to let us know what you think. Remember, winners will be picked on a first come basis, so if you have a great idea be sure to submit it ASAP.
Now, we're proud to present the winners from the last two fan fiction challenges. For the KK meets Disney Channel challenge, the winner is Rainbow_Layers. This entry went beyond a simple storyline to bring characters we know and love to life on the page. The winner of the Disneyland's 60th challenge is Wayne_Leader, for a moving entry with a complete story arc. Well done to both of you, and a big 'thank you' to everyone who entered.
For our next challenge, we can't wait to hear what you think would happen if the Keepers ended up at Disneyland's Diamond Celebration!
First of all, thank you to everyone who helped us celebrate the tenth anniversary of Kingdom Keepers by sharing what KK means to you. KK has changed our lives so much, so we loved hearing how it's changed yours too.
And we loved reading your Inside Out stories! Everyone did a wonderful job of capturing the Keepers' emotions at various points in the series. Congrats to Cruise_Code and Lion_Twilight, our winners. You both did a spectacular job of putting us inside the Keepers' heads.
After binge watching some of our favorite DCOMs (Disney Channel Original Movies) last night (Twitches and Halloweentown, anyone?) we started wondering what it would be like if the Keepers met the characters from these classic movies. After all, they must be wandering the parks somewhere, right? So of course, we want to hear from you; what do you think would happen?
First off, a very happy 10th anniversary to the Kingdom Keepers series! In honor of ten years of our favorite books, we want to hear what Kingdom Keepers means to you.
Thanks to everyone who entered the Disney School of Imagineering challenge. Your entries all made it sound so fun, now I really wish I went to DSI! Skillfully suspenseful storytelling make Levitate_Fantasy and Wayne_Leader our winners for this challenge. Congrats to both of you.
We can't give you details just yet, but we're too excited to keep quiet! Our next major KKI challenges are going to deal with two things near and dear to all of our hearts: Kingdom Keepers and movies! We're so excited about it and we think you will be too, so keep your eyes peeled for more details in the next few weeks.
First of all, congrats to Sign_Weaver. All of your entries were as wonderful as ever, but this one simply blew us away. The creativity and beautiful plot structure made it a joy to read, and we loved how Sign_Weaver balanced a realistic view about what would happen if the OTs won, while also staying optimistic. The result was a powerful message: there is always hope, no matter how dark the situation seems. You can (should!) read it for yourself here.
Next up? A little Keeper-Inside Out mashup! What do you think your favorite Kingdom Keepers scene would look like from inside the keepers' heads! Check out the challenge here.
We're excited to announce the winners of the Disney Magic challenge. As Disney Fans ourselves, we loved reading all of your stories about how much the magic means to you. In fact, you made it hard for us to pick a winner. However, a few did stand out. Owl_Passage and Island_Stonecutter both win for not only answering the prompt with a short story (as some entries forgot to do) but also because of their concise and vivid storytelling. Well done. Honorable Mention goes to Changerob_Amanda for such a creative song mashup.
There's another chance for you all to show off your writing skills right here. Can't wait to read your entries!
Thanks for your awesome entries to the Disney Magic FF challenge. We're Disney fans ourselves, so we loved hearing about what the magic means to you!
We'll have the winners up soon, but until then head on over to the new challenge and tell us what would happen if *gasp* the Overtakers ever achieved their ultimate goal. (Here's hoping it never comes to that!)
I'm happy to announce the winners of The Return Fan Fiction challenges! Two Insiders from each challenge will receive signed copies of both The Syndrome and The Return: Disney Lands, and one over-all winner will get signed copies of ALL of the Kingdom Keepers books! Drum roll please....
For the Opening Day challenge, our winners are Island_Stonecutter and Confidence_Walter. Over at the Carousel of Progress challenge, the winners are Wish_Changerob and Imagineering_Palace. Last but not least, Holographic_Hyenas and Fantasy_Vision win the Time Castle challenge. Finally, our grand prize goes to an Insider with strong entries in all three categories; Philitup_Sleeping!
These entries had thorough storylines, and did a great job of meshing the world of the Keepers with actual Disneyland history. Congrats to our winners, and great job to everyone who entered. We loved reading your entries! To help you pass the wait until The Return: Disney Lands (tomorrow!) we have a fan fiction challenge up here.
Oh, and since there’s nothing we love here at KKI headquarters quite as much as sending prize packages, we decided to double our fun this week with some surprise gift packs! We’re shipping out a little surprise to the eight Insiders whose entries were used in the books…
Thanks so much for helping me find Ridley before his book tour kicks off tomorrow (at Walt Disney World's Once Upon a Toy)! As many of you suggested, he was, in fact, at the Carrousel of Progress, back when it was at Disneyland. Special shoutouts to Levitate_Color and Cast_Holographic for backing their thorough answers with solid research.
Stay tuned in the next few days for new writing challenges and to find out if you won signed copies of The Return: Disney Lands, and The Syndrome.
- KKI Brooke
I need your help again! I SWEAR it’s not my fault this time—Ridley just up and left on another research trip without telling me. And I’m not quite sure where to find him… We only have five days before his book tour kicks off in Walt Disney World, so I need your help...and fast!
Take a look at the picture below (you can see Ridley in the crowd) and let us know on the centralized page when and where he is, so we can return him before his signing at Downtown Disney on the 25th.
On the bright side, only 12 days until The Return: Disney Lands!
Thank you everyone for your entries, the Return fan fiction challenges are now closed. Check back next week to see the winners. Who knows, it could be you!
Great job, you helped us find Ridley just in time to shoot the Disney 365! As many of you suggested, he was, in fact, at Disneyland's opening day. Special shoutouts to Confidence_Glow and Abandoned_Wish for pointing out that he's in the bottom right corner of the picture.
Don't forget to enter the Fan Fiction challenges for your chance to win signed copies of The Return: Disney Lands, and The Syndrome.
- KKI Brooke
Good news: The Syndrome is in stores today!! Bad news: Ridley is kind of, well, missing, but in a special way…I’ll explain in more detail, but the short version is that I’m hoping you can help me find him before he (and I!!!!) get in trouble...
Full confession: Sometimes Ridley goes a little rogue while researching the Kingdom Keepers books. For The Return, he needed to do a lot of historical research, but couldn’t always find the details he needed in the archives. So, he started…well, time traveling.
I know…I thought it was a bad idea at first, too, but it really works! When he goes on a research trip, he leaves me photos of the times and places he’ll be visiting. When he shows up in them, I can follow his progress, and if he needs help getting back, I know where to find him.
We haven’t had any problems, so I didn’t pay super-close attention to the locations and times he sent me over the weekend…which OF COURSE means that’s when he got stuck.
So I need your help figuring out what on earth he’s doing — When and where was the below photo taken? (You can see him in the bottom right corner)
We need to work quickly, he needs to be back by March 9th so he can film the Disney 365 at Disneyland! We’ve set up a new challenge page to act as a centralized point for everyone to upload ideas here.
Oh, and congrats to Adventure_Willa, the winner of the Character Mash-Up challenge. This entry had a wonderful story arc and seamlessly blended the two characters' worlds together. Honorable mentions go to Lock_Rabbit and Willatree_Wish for their creative mashups, and I’d like to send a personal shout out to Ice_Spell and Overtakers_Jess because they used Taylor Swift in their entries, and Taylor Swift is perfect.
First of all, congrats to the winners of the Out of Control Fan Fiction, Chocolate_Quest and Wish_Imagineering. There were so many strong entries this week that it was hard to pick a winner, but these two stood out for their strong dialogue and creative plots.
Next, we have some exciting news. To celebrate the release of The Return I: Disney Lands (out March 31), we have three new challenges up under The Return tab. Not only are the challenges themselves a little bit different, but the prizes are too. This time, the winners don't just get bragging rights, but actual books, signed by Ridley Pearson himself! One overall winner will receive autographed copies of EVERY Kingdom Keepers book (KK I-VII, The Syndrome, and Disney Lands), while six additional winners will receive signed copies of both The Syndrome and Disney Lands!
The challenges will close on March 15th, so what are you waiting for? Go write!
Great job with the last clue! You were correct, Someone’s in SBS, and it may surprise you when you find out who. So many of you got this right, but the first Insiders to figure it out were Imagineering_Palace, Imagination_Coma, and Confidence_Glow. This week's honorable mentions go to Popcorn_Lightness and Charm_Amanda for their creative answers.
Since you’ve solved the fifth clue, we are excited to announce a fifth winner of the Return challenges: Congrats to Music_Vision for winning ‘Something Doesn’t Feel Right’ with an entry full of vivid descriptions that immerse the reader in the scene.
Enjoy your reward below, and keep an eye out for an entirely new set of challenges coming in the next few days. Make sure to get your entries in for the current fan fiction challenge.
Only 10 days before you can read the whole book for yourself, but until then enjoy one last tidbit straight from The Syndrome.
Below is a very rough draft of a piece I wrote for The Syndrome, any idea what’s going on? You’ll find out soon enough :) -KKI Brooke
And finally, the napkin Ridley wrote the title for the next book on when he first came up with it.
Congrats to the winner of last week's 'If You Were A Fairlie' fan fiction challenge, Castle_Master! The strong writing, creative form, and touching story set this entry apart. Honorable mentions go to Keepers_Leader's full storyline, Wish_Imagineering's sweet story, and Dream_Lion for inventing an entirely new superpower.
Thanks to everyone who entered; your entries were exceptionally creative this week, though I am slightly concerned by the number of you who want powers to cheat in school. We can't wait to see what you come up with this week. Of course, be sure to check out the newest Fan Fiction challenge, and keep up your sleuthing over at the clue challenge.
We're less than 18 days from the release of Syndrome, and we've just received word that the Syndrome has arrived in some stores already! You can call your bookstore to see if they have it yet. It's so close we can hardly wait!
All of your entries were wonderful, so thanks for entering! Stay tuned for four more winners coming in the next few weeks. Will it be you? Also, don't forget about the clue and fan fiction challenges open right now.
The Syndrome comes out in less than a month! Are you excited? I know I can't wait!
Good work! You figured out that Maybeck’s Aunt Jelly will be helping the fairlies in The Syndrome. Kudos to Confidence_Glow, Holographic_Hyenas, and Monorail_Traitor for being the first to figure it out.
This week’s award for impressive effort goes to Frontier_Clogs for translating the Chinese on the jar. Excellent work. However, you can feel free to ignore any future Chinese--I just happen to be taking my photos in China!
And thank you to everyone who pointed out that our jam is expired. We hadn’t noticed, and frankly that’s just gross.
Enjoy your reward below, and then head on over to the new clue.
Another Syndrome excerpt; who’s in Joe’s office?
As you may remember from last week, I was fortunate enough to write two short scenes in Unforeseen. Below is another one of my messy, sloppy first drafts. If you’re ever questioning how much you should be editing your drafts, just look at how much was changed between this first draft and the final book (hint: a lot). - KKI Brooke
In Kingdom Keepers, the DHIs are always solving puzzles, often involving codes. Thus, I keep a code list at the front of my KK notebook with all the codes I need, including some that didn’t even make it in the book. - KKI Brooke
Congrats to Abandoned_Wish, the winner of last week's 'A Day At Barracks 14' Fan Fiction challenge. This entry stood out for its strong prose, fast pace, and full character. Even though the characters have no names, by the end of the entry we have a full picture of their values, personality, attitude, and motivations.
Great job to everyone who entered. We can't wait to see what you come up with this week. As always, be sure to check out the newest Fan Fiction challenge, and keep up your sleuthing over at the clue challenge.
This clue didn’t stump you guys at all. Impressive! The first Insiders to figure out that the clue was referring to the Dream Suite (as you’ll see in the excerpt below) were Yeti_DHI and Philby_Ray. Great job! Other outstanding efforts included Cast_Holographic and Cyber_Blaze. Also, Levitate_Color managed to outwit me personally by downloading the photo to see that it was named “Dream Suite.jpg.” I’ve been careful to save this next picture as “clue_4.jpg.”
On another note, remember that the clues are not direct depictions of scenes from the book; rather, they are meant to be symbolic. Just because the firehouse doors don’t look like the ones in Disneyland (they aren’t) doesn’t mean the clue wasn’t pointing to Disneyland’s firehouse. Not everything is necessarily significant, but everything could be.
Enjoy your reward below, then head over to see the next clue.
Another excerpt from The Syndrome! Exciting!
Knowing what’s coming next before anyone else can be exciting, but it also means we can’t tell a soul about it. The way I handle my pent up excitement is to doodle the scenes wherever I can; sometimes even on my class notes, as you can see below. These are three top-secret scenes from the start of the Syndrome. See if you can make any sense of it. -KKI Brooke
I was fortunate enough to write two short scenes in Unforeseen (which you should totally read if you haven’t already). Below is my messy, sloppy first draft of one of the scenes. A lot was edited between the first draft I wrote and what actually ended up in the book, because, as I’m learning, good writing requires a lot of editing. -KKI Brooke
More of Ridleys handwritten KK7 research notes. See anything that ended up in the book?
Thanks to everyone who entered and stay tuned for the six more winners we have yet to announce. Who knows, it could be you! Also, don't forget about the clue and fan fiction challenges open right now.
Every so often a submission just jumps off the screen. The writing is tight, the characters "real," and the there's a gripping story. Getting this combination right is a delicate balance, that at least in my experience only comes with a lot of though and reworking. Greatly impressed with this entry.
So many others showed this same effort and achievement. They include Glow_Princess, Castle_Master and Tomorrow_Keepers. Overall, this was a terrific group of submissions. Everyone turned in a strong entry!!!!
We were so impressed with your sleuthing on this clue. Imagineering_Willa and Castle_Dream had the most accurate answers, figuring out that Walt’s Apartment above the firehouse will play a prominent role in The Syndrome. However, we also have to note a few other outstanding efforts: Cast_Holographic gets this week’s creativity award for wondering if the Os were actually morse code--We wish we had thought of that!! And check out Levitate_Color’s entry for some world class research--Love the source citations!
Enjoy your reward below, then head over to see the next clue. It may be a little more challenging, but I have no doubts you’ll be able to figure it out.
Another piece of The Syndrome. What could it be?
Ridleys handwritten KK7 research
Hey Insiders,Hats off to Philitup_Sleeping, the winner of last week's Fan Fiction challenge. Here’s Ridley’s notes on the winning entry: "This entry stood out for its sense of motion in the middle part of the piece, dialogue that rang true, and the effort on the part of the writer to deal emotionally with the characters." Great job to everyone who entered. All the entries were a joy to read, and especially good for our first week back! You all must've been working on your writing while we were gone.
- KKI Brooke
You did a fabulous job with the first clue! Chernabog_Castaway correctly decoded its meaning: In The Syndrome, Finn’s not answering Amanda’s texts. But we also loved both Castle_Master and Artist_Willa’s impressively creative answers, and Code_Sanders impressed us with some seriously on point research.
Less on point? Your hand gender identification skills. That’s MY pinky finger, and it looks nothing like a guy’s, thank you very much.
Now, as promised, your reward! See below for some special treats, and then head over to the new clue challenge (link).
Can’t wait to see what you come up with next!
Taken directly from The Syndrome! What does it mean?
BEHIND THE SCENES
Here’s an archive of a bunch of KK5-7 (plus Syndrome) drafts.
And a comparison between a first and second-to-last draft of KK7. It always amazes me to see how much it changes. The first draft looks like any Word doc, but by the last draft it looks like an actual book!
Oh, and one more treat: An original draft from KK1. Phen? Willard? Crazy!
Saturday mid-morning found the sky without a cloud. A hot sun burned a yellow hole in the rich blue background, promising thunderstorms by late afternoon if the heat kept up. The corner parking lot of Dangerous Dan's Used Cars was marked by little red and yellow plastic flags on a string that ran from light pole to light pole, giving the school car wash the feel of a circus. A four foot mock blimp, and a number of colorful balloons hovered fifty feet above the asphalt in an effort to catch driver's attention. That was also the job of the girls at the stop light who wore jean shorts and bikini tops and held a sign proclaiming: ALL-STATE GIRLS' CARWASH-$5.
The older model Hyundais, Fords, and Buicks had been parked to the side, leaving a large area now covered with hoses, buckets and lots of white foam, as skinny girls wearing their wet swim suits struggled to scrub, polish and shine the cars that lined up for the five dollar wash. Most of the time the process included a water fight, or a bucket brigade, the general chaos kept under control enough to be fun for all, even on-lookers like Phen.
A rumor swept through the kids that during a private party inside the Magic Kingdom the night before someone had vandalized It's A Small World and that the ride would be closed for a week or more.
Phen stood away from the water with his friend Willard Cole who had taken the occasion to borrow one of his father's Hawaiian shirts. Several sizes too large, even for the robust Willard, the shirt hung on him like a tent, and Phen thought he looked stupid wearing it.
At once, Phen spotted her. She'd been at the table collecting the money all this time, which explained to him how he'd missed her in the first place. Phen had been distracted watching the wet washers, but now Jez was one of them. She kicked off her pair of shorts—she wore a dark purple one-piece Speedo—and jumped right into the middle of a water fight that had broken out by a Volvo. Suds flew. Girls giggled. Slowly but surely the car was hosed down, scrubbed and dried. It was then, and only then, as dripping wet, her hair slicked back and her tight suit clinging to her, that Jez glanced over at Phen, aiming her gray eyes at him like the pirate had aimed the laser.
"Woah!" Willard remarked, once Jez had gone back to cleaning. "Did you see the look she just gave us?"
"Us?" Phen asked.
"Looked like us to me."
"It was me, you moron. She's who invited me."
"But look at her!" Willard said, a little loudly. "She could be a junior or senior."
Willard's jaw dropped. "And she invited you? What's up with that?"
Phen slugged him in the arm, and none too gentle.
"She must have half the high school trying to date her!"
"Drop it, would you?"
"This is some kind of joke, man. I mean you are being so set-up. Get a clue, Sherlock. A girl with that body is going to invite you to a wet swim suit contest? I don't think so!" Willard's next comment was "OUCH!" as Phen hit him in the exact same spot for a second time.
The next time Jez looked over, Phen felt it to his toes.
"Oh... my... gosh..." Willard said, for that time he saw that Jez meant the look only for Phen. "One thing to consider here," he said, his voice a little strained. "She is a girl."
"And you're saying that counts against her?" Phen inquired. "I don't think so."
"Since when do you like girls?"
"Since he met me," came the voice from behind the two.
Phen spun around to find himself face to face with Amanda. She wore a white T-shirt and blue jean cut-offs, and Phen could see she wore a colorful top to a swim suit beneath the shirt.
"Hey, Amanda," Phen said.
Willard tried to say hello, but a frog caught in his throat. He'd never been much around girls.
Amanda dug into the pocket of what turned out to be very tight-fitting jeans, and pulled out several bills. She handed Willard one dollar. "Willy," she said, a little coyly, Phen thought, "would you might getting me an orange soda?"
"No… no… no…" he stuttered. "Happy to."
Phen slapped a dollar into Willard's hand as well. "And me a cola."
Willard looked a little put off, but didn't complain. He took off toward the office of Dangerous Dan's Used Cars.
Amanda said, "The nearest orange soda is the gas station, across the street on the south corner. It'll take him a while."
"Do we need a while?" Phen asked.
"More fun without him," she said. "This way I get you all to myself." She leaned on those last words to drive home her point.
"She's just a friend," Phen said.
"Who?" Amanda asked.
"Yeah… Okay." Phen finally stopped watching the car washing and kept his attention on Amanda.
"The thing at Small World?" she asked. "Was that you?"
Phen nodded. "How'd you know?"
"Do I look that stupid?"
In fact, she looked anything but stupid, Phen thought. Willard looked stupid. Willard was stupid. But Phen liked him just the same. Amanda looked exotic, unusual, in a good way, and there was concern and care and friendship and loyalty in her eyes in a way that Phen couldn't fully explain to himself, but made her special. She was younger than Jez—a lot younger, to look at her. But she felt like a safe friend, and Jez felt a little dangerous—the kind of girl who got guys to do stupid things to show off, things that later got them into trouble with school or their parents, or both. Even knowing this, Phen still could hardly keep his eyes off her.
"She only invited you down here," Amanda said, "so you'd see her in her swim suit. You do know that, don't you?"
"I hardly know her."
"You know her better now."
"Just because you don't like her—"
"I didn't say I don't like her. I don't even know her." Amanda hesitated and then asked, "Do you?"
Phen had heard stories in the hallways about jealous girls before, but he'd never been in the middle of it. He actually didn't mind it all that much. He then admitted to himself that, as usual, Amanda was right: he didn't know Jez well at all.
"Last night," Amanda said, "you ditched us because you had to get there. The park," she added.
"Yeah," Phen admitted. "Sorry about that."
"No problem. I thought that was what was going on."
"And Jez? How'd she take it?"
Amanda grinned slightly but didn't answer him directly. She said, "You know I want to help you if I can. Right, Phen? You do know that?"
"Hey!" Phen said, also not answeing her. Two could play this game. "That's—"
"Terry Maybeck," Amanda answered, seeing him, too. "Ah!" she commented, right as Jez turned and flashed Maybeck an equally engaging and welcoming smile—as if she'd been just waiting for him.
"What's going on?" Phen wondered, though thought better than to actually say it. Since when did Maybeck even know Jez?
But Maybeck strode over to the Jez and the Volvo as it was being dried, and the two engaged in laughter and conversation, with Jez playfully shoving Maybeck, and Maybeck shoving her right back. In the midst of all this, Jez made a point to glance over at Phen and meet eyes. She seemed to be challenging him, teasing him.
Seeing this, Amanda said, "Don't look now but you're being played."
Jez took Maybeck by the arm—Maybeck had strong arms, Phen noticed—and led him over to a lemonade stand that was also in operation. Jez snatched up two cups of lemonade, turned her back on Maybeck and then swiveled around, passing him one of the cups.
Only then, as he peered over the rim of the paper cup, did Maybeck spot Phen and Amanda. His eyes went wide with recognition, and he gave a half-wave. He took two steps toward Phen, but Jez caught him by the arm again, tipped his cup to make him finish his lemonade and then whispered something in Maybeck's ear that caused him to crumple up his cup and throw it at her. Jez did the same, throwing her cup at Maybeck, and within seconds another water fight broke out, this time with Maybeck in the center of it.
"Go on," Amanda said, seeing how intently Phen was staring, and believing him envious of all the fun.
"Do you see her?" Phen asked.
"How could I miss her? She's half naked, if you ask me."
"Not Jez," he chastised. "It's that black four wheel drive that just pulled up in line."
"Oh her," Amanda said.
The vague figure of a woman, an adult, sat behind the wheel of the SUV. But then Phen realized the car was not in line at all, as it pulled up to the curb.
The events that played out startled Phen, for Jez, her back to the curb, broke away from the others in the water fight, turned and headed straight for the SUV. At first Phen thought the woman driver must have called out to Jez, although he'd heard nothing, but then, as the passenger window went down electronically with Jez's arrival, he realized she could not have called out, and yet Jez had known she was there.
Both Amanda and Phen studied the exchange between Jez and the unseen driver.
Phen felt goosebumbs run up his arms. Amanda crossed her arms as well. He looked up at the sky to see if a cloud had interfered with the sun, only to see the deep blue of an uninterrupted sky.
"Her mother?" Amanda asked.
"You can't believe how cold I just got."
"Me, too," Amanda said.
"Probably the mist from the water fight." There was more water in the air than on the ground with all the hoses and buckets of water being tossed.
Though neither believed it.
"How much do we know about Jez?" Amanda asked.
"What's to know? She's nice," Phen said.
"Interesting timing, don't you think? Her making friends with you?"
"I… actually, it was me making friends with her."
"I was there, remember?" Amanda asked. "At Wide World of Sports? And believe me, she was the one who instigated that. I saw the whole thing."
"But why so cold?" Phen said, now shivering. He experienced this intense chill as the SUV pulled away from Jez and the curb, briefly drawing closer to him and Amanda as it hurried through a light.
In that fleeting second, as the car passed and the passenger window was in the midst of going up electronically, Phen caught a brief glimpse in profile of the driver. As beautiful a woman as Jez was her daughter. She had salt-and-pepper grayish hair. But the really strange thing, in this heat was –
"Gloves?" Amanda said.
"Yeah, I saw that too. What's that about?"
"Probably one of those spa women. You know, you put all this cream inside the gloves and it softens your skin as you go about your day."
Amanda straightened up and grinned at him. "I'm telling you, Phen: There's a lot about women you don't know."
"There's a lot about women I don't want to know," he fired back. "Cream in your gloves? Yuk!"
Amanda ran her fingers across Phen's cheek. It gave him another round of shivers.
"But just think," she said, "how soft her hands must be."
Phen ran his own fingers along Amanda's jaw. For a moment he was no longer cold, but flooded with heat. "That," he said, "or her hands are butt ugly."
We are so excited to finally start announcing the winners of the Return challenges! All of your entries were phenomenal and a joy to read, but Ridley had to narrow the field to eight Insiders. We’ll be announcing the winners as you solve the clue challenges, so keep those entries coming.
First up: the winner of the Betrayal of the Heart challenge is...Conflicting Emotions by Ladder_Finn! The concise writing and moving portrayal of complex emotions set this entry apart from the rest.
Thank you to everyone who entered, and check out the Clue challenge and new Fan Fiction challenge for more ways you can win.
After too long of a hiatus (I know we certainly missed you all), we are back...and so excited about the upcoming months.
First, we can’t wait to announce the winners of the Return challenges. We’ll be releasing the names over the next two months, so stay tuned.
We’re also gearing up for the upcoming Fairlies book, The Syndrome, which means new Fan Fiction writing challenges and a fun series of puzzles. If you, collectively, can decipher the clues in time, you’ll unlock sneak previews and behind-the-scenes intel on this awesome new book.
KKI Brooke here with a quick update. As you may have noticed, the Return challenges are now closed. Thank you all for your wonderful entries! Ridley is reading now, and we'll be announcing the winners soon.
Some of you have voiced concerns about entries submitted after the deadline, and we wanted to assure you that Ridley is only considering entries from the submission period. However, we'll still be approving new entries for the Insider community to read on the site.
I hope you all had a great time writing your entries, I know I've enjoyed reading them!
Now, I just had to share this awesome fan art that came in from one of the Insiders! I loved the detail on the picture :) Thanks Fairlies_Willa!
Dark_Robinswood wins the week with a deliciously eerie recounting of a traitor exposing the Kingdom Keepers. The piece holds together well with tight prose, and sticks to action—always a good formula. Well done!
We had a number of terrific entries. What I’m especially liking is the wide variety of imagination. Writers came at this challenge from dozens of angles. It’s fun to see how many (believable) traitors are out there!!
Thanks, everyone. Now… PLEASE HELP ME WITH “THE RETURN!”-Ridley
I hope everyone has been enjoying all the summer weather. Ridley is still deep in the writing cave, so I'm here with the winners for the Maleficent FF winners from last month.
With a great backstory and story arc, Adventure_Willa is our winner for this FF contest!
A close runner up is Ladder_Finn whose entry gave a lot of insight into both Maleficent's thoughts and backstory.
This writer had one of our favorite lines of the week - Noble_Sanders had a fantastic closing line to their entry and was just all around a solid entry.
We loved how Yoyo_imagineering put their own spin on Maleficent, but still kept to the original story and characterization of Maleficent.
Owl_Electric had a enticing entry that led up to a strong ending!
Way to go Insiders! There were so many fantastic entries this week, and we had a hard time choosing! I hope everyone is working on their The Return entries :) From what I've seen of them, they are looking fantastic!
With so much exciting stuff happening in the KK world, it can get pretty confusing. So, we’ve compiled a list of FAQs to help you guys know exactly what is going on.
Why is it different this time? We’ve made changes this time around to help make it smoother for everyone. You have a long window of time to enter, so no worries if you’re off the computer for a week; you won’t miss a challenge. Also, this gives you longer to think about and work on any challenge you might find more difficult.
Why don’t we get to read the book as it’s being written? This is also part of making the process smoother for everyone. By taking out the multiple choice voting and the reading, you can focus more on the writing. Don’t worry, you can to read it all this spring when the book comes out.
Should the entries be written in present tense or past tense? The prose entries should be written in 3rd person past tense, but poems can be whatever tense you choose.
Is there any word count limit? There is no limit to length, but keep in mind that longer is not always better. We look for concise entries when picking the winners, so make every word count.
How many times can a person enter a challenge? You may enter a challenge as many times as you like, but remember that quality, not quantity, is key.
What are these fairlie novellas and where can I find them? The fairlie novellas are a collection of three novellas (shorter than a novel, longer than a short story) about an adventure of Jess, Amanda, and Mattie’s. They will be available in November in ebook and paper, but you can stay tuned to KKI for an exclusive preview soon.
Wait, so is it Keepers of the Kingdom or Disney Lands or The Return? I’ve seen all of them somewhere. ‘Keepers of the Kingdom’ was a potential title way back when, but now it’s not a thing. The new series is called The Return and the first book of the series is Disney Lands. You can think of it as The Return is the new Kingdom Keepers and Disney Lands is the new Disney After Dark.
I haven’t won yet, do you have any tips for me this time around? There’s no quick trick to writing, but there are some easy things you can do to help your entry stand out. First, double check your formatting, spelling, and grammar. It takes so little extra effort, but if your entry is neatly divided into paragraphs, has been spell checked, and has capitalization and commas in all of the right places, you’re already light years ahead. Also, remember that longer is not always better. We’d rather read a tight, concise entry that gets straight to the point than a long and rambling entry. Make every word count. Finally, be sure to follow the rules. Your entry can be rejected right off the bat if it has inappropriate content or, more common, any personally identifiable information, and we hate having to reject your entries when we know you worked so hard on them. Personally identifiable information includes any names, places, schools, etc. that are not from the story or Disney, regardless of whether it’s actually your name or not. For original characters, you are allowed to use the names Jacob, Mason, William, Jaden, Noah, Sophia, Emma, Olivia, Ava, and Abby. For those of you new to KKI, Ridley gives great feedback and advice on how to improve your writing over on his blog, so check there for more tips.
The KKI Team couldn’t be more excited about today’s news: Ridley is once again inviting his awesome and talented readers to help shape the next Kingdom Keeper adventure!
If you were kidnapped by the OTKs, let me get you caught up: The next Kingdom Keepers series, The Return, will follow our beloved Keepers to Imagineering school...and into some unexpected places...as they try to unravel Wayne’s final mystery. The first book, Disney Lands, will be available next April 2015.
Just like with Kingdom Keepers VII: The Insider, Ridley is posting a series of eight writing challenges. But we’re running things a bit differently this time: All seven will be posted on July 10 and left open for entry and voting until September 1.
Another awesome change is that these challenges have two different categories: prose and poetry! Our team can’t wait to read your entries--I’m particularly obsessing over the song lyrics, since everyone had such amazing entries for a certain FF challenge earlier this year...
While the Disney Lands challenges are running, we’re going to stop the fanfiction challenges so you guys can focus on writing your entries. But don’t worry - the last set of winners will be announced soon. We’ll also be giving you some sneak peeks at Ridley’s new series of fairlie novellas, which will be released this November in paperback and ebook. We’re pretty much dying for every new chapter that Ridley writes, so we know you’re going to love it, too!
So the challenge is there . . . will YOU be one of the lucky ones to be in the next Kingdom Keepers book? There's only one way to find out! Happy writing, everyone!
- KKI Erica
The winners for the Next Generation FF Challenge are finally here! Ridley is busy in the writing cave, so I'm here with winners for this challenge. The KKI team and I were blown away by the quality of the entries - almost any entry could have been an honorable mention this week!
Jez_Light is our winner this week. We were enamored by this writer's set up and the way they used Finn and Amanda as the main focus of their piece. The pair are still very much involved in Disney and the writer had Finn worrying about his kid's safety as a Keeper.
Holographic_Creamery gets high marks as well for portraying their story from the eyes of a six year old very convincingly and having the different generations of Keepers.
With great progression of the scene and excellent dynamics between new characters, it is no surprise that Kingdom_Willatree is another honorable mention this week.
The dialogue was strong through their entire piece, so Clue_Teepee gets an honorable mention as well this week.
Taking a different approach than many other writers this week, Imagineering_Castle had a smartly written piece that had strong descriptions throughout.
Keep up the good work and happy writing! Get excited as SOON we will have some very exciting news for you.
You Insiders are making my job difficult, which is a good thing. The writing this week is top notch! So many great ones to choose from. Among my favorites:
Ladder_Finn’s Date With a Spy
The creepiness of the intermittent cold gave me shivers. The dialogue is crisp and sounds good to the ear. The strong beginning, middle an end. It’s an impressive piece!
Edge_Stone’s No One Will Know captures Maybeck’s brazen personality so well. His reluctance to break-and-enter an attraction is a nice touch, as is his internal dialogue when his conceit gets the better of him. And the pirates? How can you go wrong with pirates?
For me, Dillard_Return’s An Unforgettable Night should be awarded the blue ribbon. Is it perfect? No. But the tension, the prose and the dialogue add up to a terrific piece that engages the reader and holds him/her captive—just like what’s happening to Maybeck!
One of the most unexpected and welcome skills on display in this piece is the humor -- which is so difficult to write. So often attempted humor either isn't funny or tries too hard and goes too far. For my tastes Edge_Stone NAILS the jokes, and could easily win best of the week in part because of it.
What this week shows me is that when you are given a prompt that takes you back into the books and the mythology of the Kingdom Keepers series, you, like me, become immersed. It unlocks your creativity and gives you energy. So many other terrific piece this week. Among them Willa_Emh and Wind_Princess.
Good work everyone!!!
We start reaching out for help with the
next series VERY soon!
The sentiment, characterizations and overall writing skills put Music_Imagineering at the top my list this week. I was particularly struck by the creativity involved in turning back the clock to that “inciting” moment as it’s called in fiction — the moment that started it all. In the series, it is Finn’s first “dream” of being inside the parks. In this piece it is the event that made that dream happen. Although a scene like this would have given too much away to be including in the original book, it’s a terrific depiction of how it might have gone down. Congrats!
Other ideas and the execution of those ideas that interested our FF team this week were: Mural_Jess, Rides_Charlene, Dapper_Willa, Edge_Stone, and Edge_Stone all of which receive honorable mentions.
All of us need to focus on putting the reader into the sense of place (using as many senses as possible, sound, touch, smell, etc); structuring our short scenes to have a beginning, middle and end (read Music_Imagineering’s piece!); using strong verbs to convey “action” even in dialogue.
Within a short time we will be working TOGETHER on The Return — so hone your skills now and improve your chances of having your work included in my next novel!
As Ridley is still catching up from his travels, it's me, KKI Erica, reporting winners to you again for the Keepers Song Fan Fiction Challenge. And let me tell you, I cannot tell you how great this week's entries were! We had such a hard time narrowing down the entries to honorable mentions, and an even harder job picking a winner. Well done Insiders!
Our winner this Dapper_Willa with her version of "For the First Time in Forever." The writer managed to have the lyrics fit the original song and keep the energy of it while presenting it through a unique POV.
OTK_Leader gets high marks with their Kingdom Keepers version of "Let It Go," titled "Hold Them Back." This Insider changed almost all the words of the original, and still managed to keep the tune and have it fit the books very well.
Another top entry this week was Holographic_Creamery's version of "Popular." This writer took the good natured song from the popular musical, and had Malificent sing it, creating a unique twist on the song.
With their version of "Part of That World," Edge_Stone created a song that all the Insiders can identify well with. The sentiment and emotion of the original song and twisted it perfectly to fit Kingdom Keepers.
Adventure_Willa wrote a version of "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" titled Finn, Amanda, Maybeck, Charlene, Philby, Willa, and Jess! that was impressive. It fit the original to a T and was super creative.
And lastly, with the departure from the Disney theme most writers took this week, Wish_Changerob paradied a Billy Joel song and made the song very specific to Kingdom Keepers.
We had so much fun reading all the entries this week, especially since we could tell you all had an equal amount of fun writing them. Keep up the good work Insiders!
This week's efforts were really strong with a wide range of executions! Great job Insiders! Ridley's traveling, so this week you're hearing from me on the winners. We were really impressed by the number of paths Insiders took to really create a unique and convincing story and how everyone took the prompt and interpreted it in different ways.
Mural_Jess is our winner this week. There was a fleshed out beginning, middle, and end, and this writer utilized a creative plot twist!
Noble_Sanders receives high marks and a high honorable mention for their piece. This Insider had good dialogue and had some humor. Additionally, there was a great subplot behind the main conflict.
Wish_Imagineering is another honorable mention. This writer had a strong approach to the set up, and had a creative, but believable solution to the problem.
Another honorable mention is Mission_Attraction, whose piece had a good hook and excellent dialogue throughout.
Fairlies_Willa had an interesting set up and good emotion in the ending, but could have used one last pass through to fix a few typos. Honorable mention!
Adventure_Willa receives an honorable mention for her piece with strong writing and dialogue. We really enjoyed how this writer brought in the book series of how Amanda and Jess got caught, and the irony of Maybeck and Finn pretending it's fictional.
And our last honorable mention this week is Jez_Light who had strong dialogue and really brought their plot to life, but it didn't quote resolve as completely as the other entries.
Way to go Insiders! There were so many terrific entries - any and all were close to being honorable mentions!
xx - KKI Erica
This week’s excellent efforts cover a broad range of ideas and execution. You’ll want to read them all because the description is well done in each piece, and description is what puts the reader into the characters, action and story. Also, there are some terrific characters here. I was greatly impressed with the depth of character in several of the pieces.
I am going to give Adventure_Willa emeritus stature. Again, this week the writer evokes complex relationships and characters that make for compelling fiction. Just a top rate job. Highly recommend reading this writer’s efforts.
Likewise, Dapper_Willa who has turned in an excellent piece of storytelling and writing. Once again, this writer has constructed a believable beginning, middle and end. Something we all should practice more carefully.
I’m going to take both these writers out of the competition because they’ve won often. Gold stars to both and if you want to see good writing, give them a read.
Mission_Attraction receives an honorable mention for well-crafted dialogue in a good story.
Edge_Stone gets an honorable mention for some wonderfully creative plotting, good descriptions, and following this week’s instruction. Could have used one more pass of copyedit for spelling.
Music_Imagineering gets high marks and a high honorable mention for internalizing the Greg Luowski character so well. I was greatly impressed.
Keepers_Leader did a fantastic job of, like Music_Imagineering, writing from the point of view of an OTK. This piece needed one more round of edit, but it’s an impressive example of creativity and original thought and deserves high praise. I found the piece both complete and gripping. Close to winning it this week!
Dark_Robinswood wrote description well and stayed with the assignment. Honorable mention!
In what can only be considered an extremely good field this week, and therefore making my job all the more tricky, I’m going to with Music_Imagineering as the best piece. The writer shows thoughtful care, planning, and good editing.
Nearly anyone of the honorable mentions could have won this week, which just shows how important it is to revise and edit your work. Music_Imagineering’s piece is quite clean, and that impressed this judge.
Way to go. We had DOZENS of terrific pieces. Any and all were close to honorable mentions!
This was a particularly strange challenge for me because I am a character in all the submissions. Now I know how the Keepers feel reading the books!
The entries took a big leap forward this week--and they had been steadily improving as it is! Read through as many as possible. You will find them informative!
Dapper_Willa gets my nod for best overall, but that's hardly fair to the honorable mentions as they showed strong writing talent and skill.
Not only did Dapper write strong sentences, but the writer delivered a real beginning, middle and end. If you have been reading my comments, you know how important that is to me. Well done!
Abandoned_Dream. Nice storytelling along with a fun inclusion of Maleficent. Easily could have been the top pick!
Music_Imagineering Highly imaginative and creative. A favorite of mine! Has the best single line this week involving the power of words. Great job.
Adventure_Willa. What can I say? Strong every single week.
Dark_Robinswood. Strong dialogue. Good plotting with Wayne in a central role.
Mocha_Bat. Another effort that could have been voted the top choice. Strong in every category.
There were easily another half dozen that could have been grouped with these strong writers. We are about to jump in on an Insider writing project for the next novel. What great timing! You all have picked the right time to be writing at a high level.
The entries this week stand out, particularly for the writing. You ALL are doing better keeping your ideas “tight” and your sentence construction crisp and to the point — so important! The dialogue reads well, believable and “sounding” real. Good job everyone.
Two pieces tie for “best in show:”
Wish_Dream - Strong writing, description, atmosphere.
Rainbow_Hypnosis - Strong dialogue, good suspense.
It’s important for me to remind everyone to plan your beginning, middle and end before you start writing! This is the most common mistake made: writing before you know where you’re going.
Several others delivered good stories, but for me, the writing wasn’t quite up to the level of this week’s winners. It’s so difficult to get the right balance. My suggestion: for those of you who think your writing is coming along well, spend more time sketching out ideas to move you from introduction of conflict/and/character, to complication, to resolution.
For those who are telling strong stories, slow down the actual writing, and more importantly, dedicate yourself to rewrite. NOT ONE of my novels has been published with fewer than FOUR complete rewrites. EVERY SENTENCE rewritten multiple times; ideas moved around, dialogue spoken aloud, scrapped and tried again. You don’t write a story, you rewrite it. This is the most important piece of advice I can give!
Among this week’s strong performers…
Rides_Charlene — Nice action and strong situational writing. I’d like to see more from this writer!
Music_Imagineering: Nice hook. Some strong writing. Plot was lost some at end.
Other honorable mentions are as follows: Abandoned_Wish, Stonecutter_Cannon, Levitate_Dream, and Escher_Crossover.
There are several others this week, Prescient_Rain, Wish_Expedition, Stonecutter_Cannon, and Freedom_Kingdom, that deserve Honorable Mention and could have easily won the week. Many had strong concepts and plotting. A few others were written quite well. One or two borrowed a little too heavily from the movie they were writing about, which didn't show off as many of their talents.
Congrats to all.
(don't miss UNFORESEEEEEEEEN!!!!)
Dream_Lion's Shadow Man captures everything good in writing: creative, concise, and even a spot of humor! Not only that, but Dream_Lion kept to the request of telling the story in just four paragraphs. The writing here is crisp and the story imaginative. I especially liked the teaming of Jess and Maybeck. Since I've just completed and published Unforeseen as an ebook novella, from Jess's point of view, this piece resonated with me!
Other honorable mentions include: Artist_Palace, Book_Wish, Holographic_Creamery, Jez_Light, Keepers_Leader, Keepers_Rides, Stonecutter_Cannon, Wish_Changerob and Wish_Imagineering.
In these examples you'll see strong writing and story telling. A
few went on too long (self-editing is SO important) or went a slightly
skewed direction from the guidelines, but all are fine offerings. Team Insider
is getting so good it's becoming difficult to pick a single winner. That's a
nice problem to have.
I will be around the country on tour in the coming weeks (including both Disney World and Disneyland) and hope team Fan Fiction members will make a point of saying hello to me. I'm going to travel with a little funky "giveaway" for those that do!
Hey Insiders! Unforeseen will be available exclusively on this site one week from today! To learn more about this ebook, watch Ridley's video below followed by his post!
Have you ever wondered what happens between books? Well, I have! In fact, I became so obsessed with what might have happened in the months between the end of Kingdom Keepers VI and the start of Kingdom Keepers VII that I've written a novella about it.
The two girls are called Fairies–fairly human–because of their extraordinary, and often paranormal powers. Jess and Amanda consider themselves sisters, although they are technically not related. They have spent much of their lives together in a boarding school environment that felt more like a military lab and prison than it did a school. Now they are in the foster home of Mrs. Nash, a rather uncaring woman. But it’s their friends, Finn, Philby, Willa, Charlene and Maybeck—kids who work as Disney guides—that make it worth going to school in the morning. These five kids, the so-called Kingdom Keepers, lead secret lives that the girls are lucky enough to a part of.
With her ability to occasionally dream of events in the future, Jess is faced with a blessing and a curse. Her visions can help others, but they can torment her. Trapped in a body with a mind that has a mind of its own, Jess is condemned to see things she would rather not. One of those things is a Disneyland in ruin. The park pavement is cracked and broken. Flames lick up from below. Is this disaster something that will consume and destroy her friends, the Kingdom Keepers? She sets out to find answers–but what she encounters is a handsome young Imagineer-in-training, an old man with secrets, a series of Hidden Mickeys, and a treasured wonderland about to shatter.
Come along with me as we voyage into the Unforeseen––that part of the Disney Kingdom that not even Jessica could envision. Reading the final pages will deliver you to the doorstep of Kingdom Keepers VII: The Insider. You will know more than others, and you may wonder if Jess had it to do it all over again, would she?
Sometimes, the Unforseen is better unsaid.
What especially grabs me about this entry is the understanding of character, the ability to articulate it, and the way we feel what the characters feel.
Extremely well done! This week's winner!
Three other pieces, and this week's honorable mentions, that came in a close second were:
Sea_Lion's entry "Finn, Amanda, and Maleficent?" This is a terrific story, with wonderful sentiment. It captures the magic of the park, early love, and the horror of Maleficent. Good job juggling all of this.
Imagineering_Castle's "The Big Night" is an example of endearing, strong writing. Great verbs. None of this is overwritten. This is exceptionally readable prose. This is the kind of writer I would want to hire. Extremely well done.
Island_Flower's "Spaghetti and Meatballs" was such a cute story, and a wonderful interweaving of what we know to be Disney and what we know to be the Kingdom Keepers – this one really impressed me with its creativity, and I even felt a little pang in my heart at the end. Terrific job!
I don't know if it was the topic, or just that you all are getting so much better, but this was a really good week, everyone. The writing is up a notch even from a few weeks ago when I thought we were reaching new heights. Terrific work. Keep thinking about simplicity, fewer cliches, less flowery writing, and strong story telling with real characters. All these are on display in the examples mentioned above. You can read any one of them and find something good to say about it. Good learning tools on display here!
Honorable mentions go to Plane_Math for the creativity behind the portable projector (I could use that!) but Plane_Math’s suggestion of cheating turned me off.
Owl_Sword wrote a piece I marked as “terrific fun!”
Flame_Artist bravely penned a story about a sporting event, the Olympics, s/he knows little about. The writing is “basic” but the story telling fun.
Abandoned_Wish has my notes: “A good fun time. Competent writing.”
Monorail_Flower hits a personal-favorite theme (for writers) that the real prize is the effort you put into it. Something we should always pay attention to. Thanks for that!
Fire and Ice by Stonecutter_Cannon takes this week’s top award. Written in three discernable acts, peppered with terrific turns of phrase, and fueled with suspense, it’s a great example of keeping your writing “tidy” yet “effective.” A great effort!
All turned in good efforts with much to like about their offerings. Some displayed a terrific control of conversation, others description; still others stood out for their plotting.
A few turned in terrific writing, but missed the assignment (Dream_Lion’s Skate Class comes to mind). Try to stay on assignment!!!
Thanks to all. Keep contributing!
So many wonderful contributions this week. I’m excited by how strong the writing is getting! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!! Below is a list of some of my favorites and why. But I’m liking them ALL!
If I have to pick a “winner” this week, it would be Abandon_Wish for overall enjoyability. Read the winning entry and all 6 honorable mentions and learn from them!
Abandoned_Wish displays a wonderful use of metaphor. Sweet. A true judge of good writing is simply if it is enjoyable to read, and this piece is worthy of that claim.
Pajamas_Magic has created a fun mix of characters and storylines in a dream. The story is somewhat limited by its not offering a new twist on the joining of the worlds. I enjoyed the concept very much, just wish it had taken off on its own.
Edge_Stone has written the most adventure/suspense of the entries. The piece displays a firm understanding of tension and release.
Confidence_Fairlies is a good example of a strong writer reaching a bit too far. If this piece had two adjectives total instead of several per sentence, it could be this week’s winner. Enjoyed the read!
Wish_Changerob gives us an unexpected look inside a character, uses humor, and a twist -- terrific concise writing.
Music_Vision The Ultimate Dream - simple, straight forward writing that delivers on a universal theme. Well done!
Music_Vision The Gymnast - well written. Great sentiment. Like the theme of pushing for a goal.
Books_Wish Good writing. Contemplative in tone. Full story: Beginning, middle and end, which is not easy in such a short piece. High praise!
Dapper_Willa's entry won me over with the writing (voice and pacing). Good stuff. Clean, with just enough description. The insight into character felt true to the Keepers we've come to love.
Wish_Expedition takes the cake with the poetic "Twas The Night Before A Keepers Christmas". Wonderfully inventive rhymes. Not easy to pull off. Terrific!
Honorable mentions to Dawn_Quill, Wind_Princess, Runway_Fiction and Adventure_Willa!
Remember to complete your story, no matter how long or short. Beginning, middle, end. Needs repeating nearly every week. Beginning, middle, end. Show, don't tell. Keep conflict ever present in any adventure pieces. If any of you are enjoying BBC/PBS Sherlock Holmes try reading Study in Pink, the first Sherlock written. You'll see all of the above in abundance.
We've caught a glimpse of the galleys and it's so awesome to see all the Insiders' names in the book!
Without further ado, here is the cover for Kingdom Keepers VII: The Insider:
If you haven't done so already, don't forget to PRE-ORDER Book VII now:
Amazon (Hardcover Edition) | Amazon (Kindle Edition) | iBookstore
This is not the only well written story this week! Take a look at the following Honorable Mentions: Greeks_Gloss, Sea_Seek, and Jelly_Monorail -- all of which are as strong, or nearly as strong (for different reasons) as that submitted by Music_Vision. See which impress you and why. Characterization? Prose? Plot? There's a great deal of good writing taking place right now. Congratulations to all!
Keep an eye out for an upcoming ebook version of Jess’s version of events!
We have some exciting news here at KKI headquarters. This Wednesday, January 15th, we'll be revealing the cover for the final book in the series--Kingdom Keepers Book VII: The Insider.
We'll see you back here at Kingdom Keepers Insider in two days!!
Nice work Dapper_Willa!
Villain World shows off Wind_Princess's wonderful imagination in a second entry. The writer's ability to "twist reality," which I believe is a major component of effective writing, shows itself off well here.
Dapper_Willa's The Beginning of the End is one of my favorites. The descriptions are spot on, the dialogue easy to hear. Lion King pretty much tops my list of Disney animated movies, so I may be biased. But I was near that fire. I teetered on that cliff.
Prescient_Rain turned in not one, not two, but several offerings--the main area for improvement to these pieces is their length. I commend the imagination, tenacity and effort that goes into such "an entry." Time and again Prescient_Rain entertains.
It's Christmas, so congratulations to all three for winning this week's challenge! We will all be better writers if we take the time to read these entries. Another strong week, with at least a dozen Insiders turning in exemplary work. Keep it up! And Happy Holidays to all.
And to all, a good night.
In fact, this week like the previous challenge brought in many new names we haven't seen in our top 25 before. I want to congratulate everyone for their entries! Again, the writing is getting better each and every week! It seems as people stay with the program, and continue to enter, and study other winning entries that they are gaining insights and techniques to improve their writing. Way to go! Happy holidays to everyone, and let's keep the writing coming.
Now that we no longer have to write fan fiction for the OTs, be sure to check out our new fan fiction challenge!
Onto this week's winner and honorable mentions!
Great job this round, Insiders!!
The other file we decoded turns out to be Ridley's research notes! Between his disappearance and his notes, we think we've put all the pieces together. Here's what we think has happened to date...
While Ridley was conducting book research, he came across references in Walt’s private archives to a Scrivener Spell:
Walt’s handwritten notes indicated that it was the secret to all of the Disney magic and somehow related to the origins of the Stonecutter’s Quill. With the spell, Walt could go from our earthly world into a magical space -- a place of unbounded creativity, where curiosity and wonder are endless and anything is possible. Walt knew that the Spell could be dangerous in the wrong hands, so he kept it as his most tightly held secret.
As a writer, Ridley was fascinated by the idea of the Spell. So much so that he began to research it relentlessly. But he kept it completely secret, even from Brooke, Jen, and the KKI team. The only people he mentioned it to were other Disney authors -- Dave Barry and Rick Riordan.
According to his notes, the last reference Ridley could find to the Scrivener's Spell was in an item kept at Walt’s Railroad barn:
The return address! I can’t believe it’s been right there this whole time…”.
This must be the envelope we saw at The Barn!!
We believe Ridley found the first half and that’s how he disappeared. But why? Unfortunately, the OTs had caught on to Ridley’s interest in the Spell. He grew worried, as he realized the OTs were retracing his steps. That fateful night at the parade, instead of risking the OTs capturing him and getting him to tell them what he knew, he must have decided to invoke the spell to keep it (and himself) safe. That explains the mumbling that Brooke saw.
As for the OT ransom notes, we think the OTs sent them to us to throw us off the correct trail and buy them more time to get to him first. But they aren’t coordinated enough so they ended up sending multiple fake notes.
The clues Ridley left for us were to tell us that he had disappeared himself and could also reappear! Thanks to all your hard work it looks like we're close to cracking the final anagram code. Great job, Insiders -- we couldn't have put this altogether without you!
Tomorrow is our deadline to respond to the OTs about their Fan Fiction request. So stay tuned for some more updates tomorrow!
The most terrifying news of all is that the Overtakers hacked our systems and blasted a message to a few of you! Toony_Enchant, Jez_Light and Escher_Coma forwarded along what was sent:
Hello again, ImagineFears:
We have the grounding item-you'll need it if you want Ridley to return. We've been spying on you. We hoped Ridley would be back by now so we could kidnap him properly, but now that we see your research, it looks like it might take 1,000 of YOU to get him back. The problem for us is that without Ridley, we don't exist. So we need to work together. But we don't trust you, so we took the grounding item as insurance. Now we want a show of good faith...a challenge, so to speak. You write fan fiction about US! We'll be the judges. If we like what we see, we will release the item back into your little hands. You have one week to decide; we'll be watching.
Rest assured, no user information was accessed, but we've tightened up security at KKI Headquarters to prevent anything like this from happening again!
We think we need to write fan fiction about the OTs — it’s not really THAT harmful right?! So what are some good OT FF topics?Now onto the "grounding item" the OTs repeatedly referred to! Castle_Master noted that the phrase might be part of the anagram. Looking at "Meet distinguishing troll dame (6)" we see that the words "grounding item" are in the phrase!! In fact, "item" could be used a second time. But that leaves us with these remaining letters to unscramble: laessthild. We need your collective brain power here! What could three words could these remaining letters unscramble to??
Moving onto the photos at The Barn...
Riddle_Keepers, Charlene_Leader, and Charlene_Dusk noticed a pair of scissors that appeared on an envelope in The Barn. That must be the reference to the hair cutter!
Several more of you - Wish_Changerob, Drawings_Virtue, Holographic_Creamery, Willatree_Eclipse, Technology_Riddle, Adventure_Willa, and Computer_Face - brilliantly noticed that the return address on the envelope "1,000 True Hearts" rhymes with the poem in Ridley's Shangri-La file!
So we’re putting the pieces together we have the following complete poem...
For the writer who’s falling apart
This voodoo your mind will kickstart
To go can be learned
but the way to return
is the love from a 1,000 true hearts
We also found a few more encrypted files on Ridley's computer! We're working to decode those files now. In the meantime, how we can show love from a thousand true hearts to get Ridley back??
Put on your thinking caps, Insiders and head over to our new challenge page to help us out!
- Interpreting the clues as being tied to Disney characters, Disney movies, Disney rides or Kingdom Keepers Books/Chapters.
- Interpreting the numbers (6) and (5) as a reference to:
- a mathematic equation (such as addition, multiplication)
- the 6th and 5th letter of the alphabet
- caesar shifts
- the 6th and 5th Kingdom Keeper books
- the 6th and 5th words of the message
- the number of syllables in the clue or the 6th and 5th syllables of the clue
- the number of letters in the final clue
Hey Insiders! Thanks to all your responses, we received replies from both Dave and Rick. Unfortunately, Dave didn't have much information for us but Rick said that he and Ridley talked about the Scrivener Spell and Ridley's codename for it was Shangri-La. Based on that info, we found a file on Ridley's computer called Shangri-La! It looks like another set of Ridley’s research notes. Here’s a transcription:
We clearly need to find end of the poem! But what do his notes mean? We think the last two lines must be a clue...they’re grouped together...Any idea where/what they refer to? We’ve created a new challenge page to act as a centralized location for everyone to upload their ideas.
Walt archive 2/14/11:
secret to ALL D magic
SQuill origins (just wow)
“unbounded creativity” “curiosity and wonder are endless” “anything is possible”
dangerous in wrong hands
scrap taped to bottom of page - in W’s handwriting:
For the writer who’s falling apart
This voodoo your mind will kickstart
To go can be learned
but the way to return
is the love from a kils of [torn off]
Next haircut - 3rd Sunday
What's the Scrivener Spell?I'm looking for info on something called the Scrivener Spell in Disney history. It would greatly aid the goals of my... 'group,' let's say, if you could shed some light on the subject. Don't be a fool, just answer the question sweetie.
And a bunch of Insiders got this cryptic KKI message: 1-1,5-28,13-8,7-1,17-2,11-3,14-4,11-3,13-8,1-1,8-7,11-3,6-6,6-6,4-20,1-6,9-4,6-4,4-20,17-2,11-3,26-1,7-1,5-28,9-4. We did not send it. I repeat: KKI admin did not send it. Could it be from Ridley? It was sent to everyone who responded to the last input challenge.
Several Insiders - CASTLE_MASTER, KINGDOM_REVERSE, WISH_CHANGEROB and WISH_IMAGINEERING - decoded the message! It looks like the number references were KKI Chapter-Letter pairs (so 1-1 is the 1st chapter and the 1st letter of that chapter). The full decoded message is: Scrivener Spell Ask Dave Rick.
Who are Dave and Rick? Preliminary feedback directs us to Dave Barry and Rick Elise. Is there another Dave or Rick that we should consider? If so, why?
Do you think this is a trick to throw us off? Or is this from Ridley? What do you think?
We’ve created a new challenge page to act as a centralized location for everyone to upload their ideas.
Good job, Insiders - We debunked one of the
ransom letters and figured out the cryptic note!
It looks like the Peter Pan letter is definitely fake. Mystery_Jez was the first to notice (followed by Laser_Electric and Adventure_Willa) that Ridley wasn't anywhere near Small World when he disappeared. So we have a pretty strong consensus that this letter was written by someone just trying to take credit.
We're still unsure on Maleficent...lots of great theories, but nothing concrete.
For Ridley’s note, a big thank you to KIngdom_Reverse and all of the other Insiders who followed Ridley's bread crumbs! Check out this screenshot from the “View History” tab on his Wikipedia page:
Ridley updated his page at 1:02GMT, adding a bunch of weird text:
Then Kingdom_Reverse and Technology_Riddle noted that
Rid’s morning text to Brooke referred to a basic type of substitution cipher in
which each letter is replaced by a different letter some fixed number of
positions down the alphabet. In this case, four spaces -- So A becomes E. He
must have known something bad might happen, so he sent her the key beforehand.
When we apply the shift to the Wikipedia text, we get: Cheshire Cat Evanesco Hatbox Ghost Haley's Comet
Wish_Imagineering started thinking about what all of these items have in common...Again, we’re creating a new challenge page to act as a centralized point for everyone to upload new leads.
With Ridley still missing, the KKI team enlisted the help of his Disney editor to review this week's fan fiction entries. Our winner is Confidence_Elias for her piece "Philby's Room," based on our emotional reaction to the piece. We enjoy not only the sentiment, but also the superb descriptive writing and the organizational skills it took to assembling so many pieces. The truth is: there were MANY MANY great entries this time around. Clearly the Insiders know what a Keeper room looks like! Maybe some of these descriptions will find their ways into future stories and books about the Keepers. But congrats to Confidence_Elias, and let's hope for more quality work from all of you. Well done!
At this point, we’re confident that Ridley was trying to write something about evanescence (for disappearance) when he was cut off. That’s interesting, because it means he knew what was about to happen to him.
We also think we may have a lead on the “b – u have the key” part of his message. Based on a bunch of Insider suggestions, Brooke went back through her communications with Ridley and remembered that he sent her a really odd text earlier in the day:
I texted him to meet me in the lobby of the Grand Californian, and he wrote back “be there in a sec. Caesar shift 4.” Do you think that means something?
Insiders had some great suggestions this week, prompting us to dig through his books, notes, blog entries, calendar entries, and places he visited recently. But it was FICTION_SUN’s suggestion to look at Ridley’s internet history that led to a breakthrough: We checked the internet history on his phone’s browser, and it looks like he logged in to the KK wikia and his Wikipedia page on Friday 10/4 around 5pm PST (1am GMT). It looks like it has been edited recently...Maybe there’s something there? Hoping some of you are tech savvy enough to figure this out...
That leaves us with who/what is behind the disappearance. FLAME_AMANDA, WIND_PRINCESS, and OWL_FIREWORK wrote particularly great analyses of who could (or couldn’t) make Ridley disappear. It definitely seems like the Fairlies and the Pixar villains are out, but the rest are all in play.
BREAKING NEWS: We just received two ransom notes this morning. One from Maleficent and one from (don’t freak out)...Peter Pan. I know! I don’t want to believe it either, but we have to take every lead seriously. We haven’t been able to authenticate either letter, yet (I would have asked Ridley for HIS opinion…), but I’ve posted them on the blog below.
Again, we’re creating a new challenge page to act as a centralized point for everyone to upload ideas: Let us know if you spot anything helpful!
To the ImagineFears:
It is likely by now you are aware of a certain something or someone gone missing. I am not talking stray puppies. I do not mean to rain on your PARADE but when the moth flies too close to the flame ... Foolish man.
As you are well aware, my partners and I have no intention of ever stopping until our work is done. Fifty years? Seventy-five? You poor mortal souls must contend with, well, just that! Not so, the rest of us.
Your Children Of Light may reclaim their Creator in an exchange for something we find missing as well. This, for that, happy as a cat.
I will expect the Willow and the FlyBy--them alone!--in the graveyard of the Mansion at midnight. The date is yet to come.
If you agree to my proposal, fly the flag upside down at the gates.
I will be watching.
Extremely Mine, and never yours,
Peter Pan Note
Sent to KKI Admin:
I have been reading your website and see that many of your users think Ridley Pearson’s disappearance last week was no accident. But where could he be…? Save your efforts: I, Peter Pan, am responsible for Ridley’s disappearance. Yes, I took your lost boy from his perch outside of Small World. Just like I took Henry and the Darlings before him.
The Overtakers think I’m on “Team Kingdom Keeper” because Ridley wrote that book about me. And ever since OUAT aired, all of the Disney do-gooders have been afraid to go anywhere near me.
Well, if nobody will play nicely with Peter, then Peter’s taking the ball and going home.
What do I want? Respect. And I’ll get it...either from you or the Overtakers.
Remember: I always keep my word and I always fight fair (even when Hook doesn’t).
I’ll be in touch,Peter
A big thanks to everyone who participated all summer long in our challenge and also sent in photos!
Insiders - I can’t believe I’m writing this, but we really need your help. On Friday night, Ridley and KKI Brooke were in Disneyland on a research assignment, when Ridley went missing! We’ve unearthed some clues in the past two days, but we can’t figure out what they mean.
Here’s what KKI Brooke recalls:
Here’s a screenshot of what was open on Ridley’s phone:
Ridley and I got to Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland a little after it started, around 7, after spending most of the day at Disney California Adventure. It took a little while to get in, and coming up Main Street we were distracted by all the decorations and costumes, not to mention the crowds. By the time we made it to the Matterhorn it was closer to 8. We walked around the Matterhorn, taking pictures and making notes, and were headed for New Orleans Square next.
As we came around the Matterhorn right by Pixie Hollow, however, we realized we’d forgotten that “Mickey’s Costume Cavalcade” parade started at 8:15 so crossing the park was nearly impossible. Rather than try to find a spot to cross the parade route we decided to stand in the back and see what we could from our impromptu viewing locations.
Ridley’d been acting a little odd all day, looking over his shoulder and staring off into space in the middle of conversations, but I didn’t think much of it. I figured he was just tired, it is a lot of walking and he was on a different timezone, so when I turned back to comment on something in the parade and he was gone I didn’t think much of it. When the final float with Mickey and everyone went by and the crowd started following it, I finally spotted Ridley running toward the float. He appeared to be mumbling and making weird gestures, and then I saw him spin, slowly at first, but then faster and faster into a swirling cone of lights and sparkles, until there was no Ridley to be seen at all. As I rushed to the scene, all I found was his phone in the bushes with the notes app open. Eventually the park closed and I had to leave.
Note the final line—It looks like he was trying to tell Brooke something before he got cut off. What could it mean?! We’re creating a new challenge page to act as a centralized point for everyone to upload ideas. Here’s the first one.
This week's winner is Stonecutter_Cannon. Stonecutter_Cannon's entry nails it. I love the early descriptive passages, Anastasia's reluctance, the Keepers reaction. The character work and plotting is backed by solid writing. Good job!
Honorable Mentions: Jez_Light and Holographic_Creamery. Both our honorable mentions achieved the assignment with brevity, showing the ability to compress thoughts and ideas into a tighter space which is paramount to long form writing. One is humorous--even trickier and more difficult to pull off. Brava! or Bravo!
An honorable mention this week goes to Adventure_Willa! Always near the top, week after week, Adventure_Willa's entires should be read and studied for writing quality. In addition to these two, we had some terrific contenders this week like: Jelly_Monorail, Picture_Master, Freckled_Monkey and Jez_Light.
Congratulations to Holographic_Creamery for winning the Maleficent at D23 FanFic challenge! This Best Overall pick was selected for several reasons: first – the piece starts right where the challenge asked for it to start. It is concise and gets to where it needs to go in a clean fashion. Therefore: excellent pacing. The quality of writing sustains itself throughout.
We also have two honorable mentions:
Tomorrow_Power whose entry was short, concise, and, without knowing it: has a crystal ball. This storyline is exactly where the next series is headed. So how did Tomorrow_Power see into my thoughts?
Castle_Master wrote a strong piece that puts forward the best plot solution to fighting Maleficent: the entire crowd revolts, defeating her. Bravo! Didn't see that one coming!
While the local library near Dawn_Quill doesn't have Kingdom Keepers just yet, she left a few Keeper bookmarks. And two days after bookmarks were dropped off, there was only one left!
Thanks to Awaken_Amanda for also heading down to the local library to help spread the word!
Last but not least, thanks to Ray_OTK for helping to spread the word and grow the Insiders community!
Congratulations to Princess_Amanda and Adventure_Hologram for solving the riddle that it takes 5 Keepers to solve in Chapter 20 of Kingdom Keepers 7!!
Notable entries include, Gymnastics_Freedo (clever!); Confidence_Fairlies (wonderfully imaginative); and Technology_Riddle (ironic name btw!, an interesting and surprising solution that holds up quite well!)
In addition to the winning entry, there were some terrifically imagined entries this week, confirming that Insiders have the kind of imaginations to make them Imagineers. There are a half dozen worth mentioning. Among them: Adventure_Willa, Imagineering_Castle, Confidence_Fairlies, Enchant_Twilight … and more. In one or two the "set up" was a touch long; we needed to get to the meat of the challenge more quickly (i.e. not engaging enough to hold us). But the payoff on those was strong. I wish they'd been edited more tightly. A couple of others strayed from the assignment just enough to push them to the margins -- but the writing and creativity was good! If I have one piece of advice to everyone: edit your work (shorten, tighten, look for more active verbs) one or two more times than you think necessary. It will put you in the higher ranks of the submissions. Overall: I was greatly impressed this week!
As most of you know, whenever you use a name in one of your fiction entries, we change it to one of a preset list of names to protect your identity. However, a few clever Insiders have asked us to share the list and allow you to choose your own names. So without further ado, here is the list of names you can select from: Jacob, Mason, William, Jaden, Noah, Sophia, Emma, Olivia, Ava, Abby.
We'll be posting a new fan fiction challenge today so be sure to use the name there!
Keep looking to eliminate repetition (of words, verbs, phrasings in dialogue) in order to hold the reader. Think beginning, middle, and end, and let details help you show your scene rather than you telling what's happening. Keep it up!
And also, thanks to ADVENTURE_LIGHT we're now in public libraries!
Awesome work PHILITUP_REVERSE and ADVENTURE_LIGHT!
- KKI Jen
Ridley's speaking at the D23 Expo this Friday at noon (Pacific Time)! He'll be announcing a very special KKI challenge. The details will be revealed on Friday on this page! (Note: This page is not yet live).
If you're headed to D23 too, be sure to look for KKI Lisa and KKI Brooke!
Sending out an A+ for effort to ADVENTURE_WILLA for her completion of the Summer Paper Challenge. Not only did she bookmark multiple shelves, but she also created an awesome display sign to leave at the bookstore! We LOVE the sign. LOVE it! Amazing work, ADVENTURE_WILLA!
- KKI Jen
- Tense is important! Ridley writes in third person, present tense, omniscient point of view. As the writer, imagine the scene as if you are seeing this through a camera!
- Ridley likes action, and crisp, non-flowery writing.
- For these chapter challenges, stay consistent with Ridley's voice, since it will be included in the actual book. Your style should mimic his.
- Maintain a strong and consistent voice.
- Read your piece out loud to make sure it sounds natural. If it doesn't sound like something you would say, rewrite it!
Our favorites came from SHIMMER_WILLA. They look like professional photographs!! Here's a few of the best.
- KKI Lisa
Congratulations to HOLOGRAPHIC_DHI for winning the Jez Fan Fiction challenge! This user's entry, Ice and Incantations, succeeds on so many levels. It is at once chilling, real, imaginative and well written. This is what we should all aim for: imagination mixed with stripped down prose that uses brevity to paint a picture, invent character and tell a story. What impresses me particularly is that this short piece demonstrates a beginning, middle and end. Great job!
The submissions for this week were phenomenal! Every week I continue to be blown away by your writing, so keep up the good work!
I'd like to award a Fan Fiction Emeritus Prize to Keepers_Puzzle. This wonderful writer has won so often I can't bring myself to award her/him again, in fairness to other entries. But it is an on-going pleasure to read these entries. Superb prose; wonderful attention to detail; follows the "ask" of the FF challenges brilliantly. Once again, Keepers_Puzzle shines among so many wonderful submissions.
THIS WEEK'S OVERALL WINNER IS Host_Sparkle. The description of Daisy Duck floored us all. Inventive, well-written and very much a narrative that follows the FF "ask," Host_Sparkle well-deserves acknowledgment for a terrific entry. CONGRATS!
An Honorable Mention also goes to Castle_Master's entry, for its light-hearted take on Christopher Robin. Well done!
It's important to note: THE ENTRIES GET BETTER EVERY WEEK. I'm so grateful to see new writers winning and reaching our "top 50" each cycle; the effort and time being put into the entries; the attention to the "ask" and staying on-task.
Reminders: VOICE matters -- read your piece aloud and FIX what doesn't sound natural -- too many flowery adjectives, adverbs, etc. lower your work. These don't have to be Hemingway, but be stingy. Crisp writing is about making tough choices of what to keep and what to delete.
Animal Kingdom Research Notes, March 2007
Hippo pool - 1 million gallons of water, circulates every hour
Baby giraffe – height at birth is 5' 7"
Thomson Gazelles - one or two won't "come in" in the summer and stay out on the savannah. All animals are trained to come in for food at night, some to whistles, some to batons that have blue and white bulbs on the end.
Animals sleep in stalls at night in their own 'barns' – steel buildings
Giraffe, elan and impala all use the same gate at night
Caregivers come out onto the savannah at least once an hour
Wildebeest go in the "boma" – a holding pen on top of the savannah (at night)
There are 200 "keepers" for the animals
Surveillance cameras in elephant barn connect to the conservation station; there are also many monitoring screens in the building so one person can view the animals at night
"CS" stands for conservation station (keeper-speak)
A "willie" is a male elephant
AVID chips are place below the animal's skin for ID purposes
TVs in the conservation station:
gorillas / hippos -- both inside (barn) and outside in viewing area
bats / komodos / primates / rhino all have their own views
bat door is visible on the screen of the bat enclosure
prayer flags: blue, white, red, green, squares hanging from strings
This week's entries for fan fiction were terrific! It’s difficult to tell exactly how this evolution is taking place – but the writing seems to be getting consistently better. Here are some tips that I think you will see in the winning pieces: maintain a strong and consistent voice; stay with the assignment, don’t wander too far afield; organize your thoughts ahead of time – this is a really important one as you are writing a short piece and even a short piece needs a beginning, middle and end. A set-up, expansion, and conclusion. Read your piece back ALOUD and listen carefully.
The dialogue in many of these entries is sharp-as-a-tack. Good listeners! Congrats to all on this!
Sadly, a few of the entries went back to Disney After Dark and came a little too close to just copying what I’d written; I’m looking for originality! You will see such originality in WISH_DREAM’s entry about Space Mountain.
THIS WEEK’S OVERALL WINNER goes to MYSTERY_VIRTUE. It follows the challenge we put forward and executes well on all fronts. Congrats!
Insiders - The submissions for the Traitor piece were outstanding, but I have to give the overall win to STONE_PHILITUP’s “Beautiful Betrayal” with honorable mentions to Lightness_Blackout and Phen_Blaze.
I encourage all to look at these winners. The way we improve as writers is through reading, and even to some degree mimicking (Not copying!), so reading GOOD writing is critical.
"Voice" - the sound of your narrator - is so important, and the Overall winner and the honorable mentions all excel in this area. Congrats to all!
I've been on the road this past week, meeting some Insiders (and promoting my adult thriller, Choke Point) and giving me a chance to read the Insider Challenge submissions for Chapter 14. Each week the quality of your submissions improves, which is really saying something. Some weeks the quality of the writing is superb, some weeks it's dialogue or characterizations. This week I want to compliment everyone on their creativity. The ideas for Chernabog's "freak out" are terrific--and in particular the variety of points of view. Finn_Hologram wrote from the perspective of the news reporters; Kingdom_Willatree told her own omniscient short story; Freedom_Kingdom's often fine prose from Chernaboy's point of view stands out! What's great about your contributions is, even when I may not pick a piece of a submission for print, your ideas still influence me and move the story to new and interesting place -- which is the point. Writing a novel with thousands of people may not be easy -- but it's inspirational! So thanks, and keep 'em coming.
Insiders - I'm in New York City this week for BEA, so it was great to have your fan fiction entries describing Jess' kidnapping as my travel reading! Really great job overall -- Take a moment to look at the winning entries below:
Best Description: Holographic_Kingdom
Best Storyline: Dream_Smiles AND Jess_Swimming
Best overall writing: Shimmer_Lightness AND Twilight_Stageb
Good Dialogue: Philby_Vision
Insiders – It’s Spring Cleaning time here at KKI HQ! While we were moving files around the archives, we found a goldmine for true KK fans: The original (first draft) manuscript of THE KINGDOM KEEPERS (several years later, it was retitled KK1:DISNEY AFTER DARK)!
I’ll admit it – I sat down and started reading it before I told anyone else, but it was so good that I had to stop and share the first two chapters with you. It’s so cool to see where the characters started, and for all of the Finn-Amanda ‘shippers out there...well, his name may have changed since the first draft, but that attraction has always been there.
We can only leave this up for TWO WEEKS so tell your friends and enjoy!
Original first draft ms of KK1: DISNEY AFTER DARK
DELETED JUNE 7, 2013
Insiders - This round of fan fiction was particularly vexing! You are all so good! Honestly, picking a “winner” is more difficult each week—and that’s a nice problem to have!
As a reminder: we review each and every entry. Do not worry for a moment that your entry was not read. This amounts to thousands of readings every week by a small army of us, who are keeping track of the fan fiction. Many of you have expressed concern that if your fan fiction does not receive the popular votes, it is not being considered as seriously as those with large numbers of votes. That’s not the case! Do we pay attention to the entries that receive high votes? Of course. But we also “vote up” (internally) those pieces that strike us as terrific examples of writing. You don’t have to be popular to be singled out.
One piece of advice: it’s far easier for our little army of editors if your piece is formatted correctly. Remember to separate paragraphs, separate dialogue (each time a different character speaks he/she gets a new paragraph), and work to make your piece readable. Proper formatting will likely increase your up votes simply because it’s easier to read!
So, here we go.
Best Overall: Wish_Changerob
Terrific detail, strong dialogue, and vivid description. The lack of formatting makes it more difficult than other entries to read, but the content of this piece is worth striving toward.
Best Language and Prose: Wish_Dream
A strong, well-crafted piece by a writer who understands vocabulary and use of language.
Best Dialogue and Best Story (winning two categories!): Willa_Changerob
The double-category victory speaks for itself. Well done!
Best Description: Fiction_Queen
This piece could be considered a tie in the Overall category. I was impressed by both the description and voice in this piece.
That brings up an important element of your work: voice. In this exercise, you were asked to write from the character’s point of view (POV). In one way or another, you need to get under the character’s skin, become that character, and then imagine the scene from that character’s point of view.
Some stories are written in an omniscient point of view: the reader is a hawk flying above the scene and can see it all, feel it all. In contrast, this first-person exercise requires a different skill: to go inside a single character and live there.
In multiple-POV writing (coming up soon) you are asked to go inside the experiences, action, and feelings of several characters in the same scene. This is how I write the Kingdom Keepers, and with five or more characters on the page simultaneously it becomes extremely challenging for the writer to stay true to each character. So you’ll want to practice this idea of being inside only the character you are writing about at that time. It’s trickier than it sounds.
Can’t wait for the next round of fan fiction. With each exercise, your work is more impressive than the last. If you keep this up, I might have you write whole chapters of a book instead of paragraphs!
Greetings from the real-life KKI Crypt! I’ve been manning the approval queue this week and have been blown away by the quality of your writing! Sadly, I’ve also been blown away by a few users entering “hi” and re-voting hundreds of times for the same Insider Input questions. As much as we love seeing your dedication to the series, we need to ask that everyone limit themselves to just a few submissions per challenge. We want the winners to be reflective of what the fandom as a whole wants for the book, not just what one person who votes a lot wants to see happen.
For the current challenge, we'll be removing all votes that were submitted en masse and without serious Insider Input attached.
We’d prefer not to limit entries, since so many of you write multiple fiction pieces, so please try to be respectful of the community, as a whole. Thank you for understanding, keepers, and keep the great entries coming!
Wow, Insiders! Your descriptions of Chernabog's demons are fantastically creative and frightening -- maybe too much so judging by the KKI crew's complaints about nightmares last week! Picking winners was incredibly difficult, but as we kept narrowing the pool, there were two that stood out: Light_Fairies and Nobel_Reverse. Both entries are now marked as Winners in the forum, so you can go read them.
Nobel_Reverse's entry is everything I hoped for when I posted this query. These demons are fear itself, and Nobel_Reverse's detailed and descriptive vision is perfectly spelled out. “Show, don’t tell!” is perhaps the most important skill for a writer. I can actually hear the old cat's yowling, and see the hunched, jagged spine. So many of you did a terrific job “showing.” Keep it up!
Light_Fairies' entry is compelling because it’s so different from all of the other answers. There are no teeth or wings or faces -- just smoke and eerie beauty. And yet, these demons are some of the ugliest and most frightening we could imagine. And that’s the point: Light_Fairies entry makes us, the reader, imagine. Writing so the reader must fill in the blanks is a high-level skill. Well done!
I'd also like to recognize Keepers_Puzzle for writing one of the most visually stunning and evocative pieces. (a little gruesome, so just a heads-up if you’re planning on reading it.) The description of the landscape alone makes this one worth reading! While the entry was more about Chernabog than his demons, about half of you chose to answer that way, so it only seemed right to recognize someone from that pool, as well.
We received hundreds of terrific entries
for the chapter 6 writing challenge and read them all. What a start! The writing
is at a very high level. I'm excited! I have combined and edited two of them to
be our first picks for inclusion in the book. I particularly like the imagery in these paragraphs -- "a misama of evil"
"as if they belong on an ancient gravestone." The writing is crisp
without being flowery; it puts you into the jungle quickly and efficiently.
Insider Tip: Watch your tense! This novel is being written in the present tense. Even these winning entries confused past and present, requiring editing. So read your piece aloud before you submit -- you may hear changes you want to make.
Great job, everyone, and congrats to WillaTree_Circles
What a great first week of book tour! So many of you have come out to the store events. Thank you so much!! Best of all: your response to KK INSIDER. (I downloaded the iPad app this morning!) Here we go! Join me as we steer the story, overtake the Overtakers, plot the plan, and settle old grudges. With this many Keepers working together, what chance do the OTs have?
-Ridley (on a train to Philadelphia, 4/5/13)
Well, here we go! We are embarking on something never done in publishing before--who knows where it'll all end up? But what a thrill. Thanks for being part of a crazy experiment! Let the novel begin!