The Paper Factory

TOMA (Thomas J. MacDonald

Book Cover



    Core Theme



    1980s & '90s











    It's the Eighties. Helping students from all backgrounds, Walter Gutten, “Wally” begins to turn in papers, his classmates just can’t write. Will he outwit the system or be caught in the crossfire of the changing cultural and technological times?

    Target Audiences

    Age: 18-34,55+

    Target Gender: Universal,Female Leaning,Male Leaning,LGBT Leaning


    University of Maryland, College Park, 1982-1985

    Based on a True Story


    Publishing Details

    Status: No

    Publisher: Generation Infinity, LLC

    Year Published: 2022

    Starting Description

    Walter lives in the dorm as a Business Major. He's failing and is assigned an English Professor as Mentor. His roommate's prodding him to join the Frat. A cast of characters are introduced. Father cuts him off. He now works 2 jobs, failing, but his mentor notices a gleam of light in his writing.

    Ending Description

    While his world keeps changing, he adapts to altering landscapes, and his altering relationships as his friends, too, are in similar positions in their own journeys. When his faculty advisor begins to get suspicious, will Walter, Walt, Wally, Suess, the Doctor, the young man of many faces. lose out

    Group Specific

    A Eighties and Tech lovers demographic(born 1955-1970) All high school students, potential college students, college students, the entire national Greek System, LGBTQ, All Eighties and Tech lovers

    Hard Copy Available



    Information not completed

    Mature Audience Themes

    Nudity, Language/Profanity

    Plot - Other Elements

    Coming of Age,Meaningful Message,Philosophical Questions

    Plot - Premise

    Quest,Internal Journey/Rebirth

    Main Character Details

    Name: Walter "Wally" Gutten

    Age: 18-22

    Gender: Female

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Aspiring,Charming,Clumsy,Empathetic,Engaging,Gracious,Educated,Naive,Decisive,Modest,Selfless,Skillful,Romantic,Insecure

    Additional Character Details

    Name: LeRoi Washington (Frat name "Jazz") and later he changes to "Kahlil Pax" (Friend Peace)

    Age: 18-22

    Gender: Male

    Role: Sidekick

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Aspiring,Charming,Complex,Confident,Decisive,Empathetic,Engaging,Faithful,Heroic,Honorable,Leader,Romantic,Visionary,Skillful,Masculine,Selfless,Sophisticated

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Kolinsky, "Kol," Mario in Fraternity

    Age: 18-22

    Gender: Lgbt

    Role: emotional

    Key Traits: Clumsy,Honorable,Insecure,Naive,Obedient,Empathetic,Educated,Funny,Skillful

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Kolinsky, Kol, Mario in the Fraternity

    Age: 18-22

    Gender: Lgbt

    Role: emotional

    Key Traits: Clumsy,Underdog,Obedient,Engaging,Educated,Naive,Funny,Skillful

    Development Pitch

    The Paper Factory--It’s the Eighties and this is the story of a college student turned English Major who discovers his gift in writing. After successfully writing and submitting his roommate’s research paper, he opens up shop: “The Paper Factory.” Helping students from all backgrounds, Walter Gutten, “Wally” begins to turn in papers, his classmates just can’t write but need to graduate. His ghostwriting fees multiply while he then builds a team to support students around campus. In the second series, An Ideal Wordsmith with the advent of the personal computer in the midst of a musical revolution, Walter Gutten grows as a person, his Fraternity becomes the focal point to his personal development. His English Studies begin to nurture a culture of empathy for other cultures, genders, and ethnicities while he also gains a passion for stories and words. While his world keeps changing, he tries to adapt to the altering landscapes, a disintegrating family, school, his duty to his fraternity brothers, and his altering relationships as his friends, too, are in similar positions in their own journeys. His only foothold rests with his team of gifted writers who continue to use their talents to beat the system, support their peers, and make bank. When his faculty advisor begins to get suspicious, will Walter, Walt, Wally, Suess, the Doctor-- the young man of many faces--lose everything?




    College student in the 80s finds an opportunity and starts to write papers his classmates can't do. He transforms this in a secret business and defies the system.

    Overall Rating


    Point of View


    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: GOOD

    Characterization: GOOD

    Commerciality: GOOD

    Franchise Potential: FAIR

    Pace: FAIR

    Premise: EXCELLENT

    Structure: FAIR

    Theme: GOOD

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    There are some problems with the gender of the main character's details. Walter is not female.

    Draw of Story

    The premise. The plot of someone who secretly writes papers for other students can deliver a very compelling story. This happening in the context of the 80s, when academic digitalization was taking its first steps, also helps in making this story interesting.

    Possible Drawbacks

    The book's first half made me want to put it down. The pace is too slow and the real story only starts for real around page 100. The book lacks a good start and first pages which makes the readers curious about what we're going to see next.

    Use of Special Effects


    Primary Hook of Story

    Will Walter be caught for this? If yes, what will be the punishment? His trajectory, the way of how he handles people who disagree with what he is doing, and how Walt can make room for his personal life and the expansion of the business are all very good hooks.

    Fanbase Potential

    I don't see this story having a large fanbase, but it can be very engaging with people who like college dramas and miss the classics of this genre.

    Awards Potential

    No, I don't. There are very interesting characters, but none of them have Award potential. The story is good, but I don't see the necessary drama, nor the good dialogue.

    Envisioned Budget


    Similar Films/TV Series


    What’s New About the Story

    The plot and the way the main character has his life changed by it are the most original parts of this story. It can be improved with a more pacey beginning, making the paper writing be part of Walt's life sooner. There is a lot of unnecessary development before this happens and everything can be summed up in only one chapter. The dynamics in Walt's life change immensely when he starts the English Major and he begins writing papers for other students. This should be introduced right in the first two chapters.

    Lead Characters

    Walt has a very diverse group of friends, and entering the Fraternity and doing the papers make he having contact with other people and put him in some difficult situations. This also sums up the way these characters interact during the classes and debate about literature, technology and life.

    Uniqueness of Story

    Unfortunately, it's not a rare gem. It can be improved, as I've said earlier, with a change of pace -- anticipating some plot points and making the proper "paper factory" more important earlier in the narrative. The first half lost a lot of time with an unnecessary contextualization and a character development that only really happens when Walt is already working on the papers.

    Possible Formats

    Film: Studio, Indie, Streaming TV Series: Network, Cable, Limited Run / Mini-Series, Streaming

    Analyst Recommendation



    This book can be a very nice homage to the 80s college and school movies. Its problems with pace are manageable and only affect the story until a certain point. Beyond that, it's a cozy, fun, and good story about this student defying the system, helping other people and developing as a person while discovers his love for writing and learning.


    It's the 80s. Student Walter Gutten finds an unexplored niche in writing papers for classmates who can't write for themselves. His idea quickly takes form and grows while he still has to do this in secret. Will he outwit the system or be caught in the crossfire of the changing cultural and technological times?

    What We Liked

    The Paper Factory is a college drama that pays homage to the classics of the genre at the same time as presents a new and curious story: what if a student starts to offer his services as a papers writer for the classmates who can't do it for themselves. Can he help the other students without being caught by the university administration? Is this fighting the system or only cheating?

    Film: The setting makes it a perfect homage to the classic college movies of the 80s. Walt's constant quest for a place for himself in the college while he is inducted into another world when he changes from the Business Major to the English's. The dynamics between the students and all Walt's family drama are the perfect backdrop to a fun movie about someone questioning a flawed system.

    TV: Walter's trajectory starting his paper writing business is perfect for a multi-season procedural TV show. The new members' recruitment, the college administration's investigation about the case, this all can be developed during the seasons while the papers themselves are perfect to a "case of the week" structure of episodes, with the classes and the characters' relationship serving very well as a backdrop for the drama.

    Key points:
    1. The nostalgic effect;
    2. Fun and diverse cast of characters;
    3. Guy fighting the system while helping other people;
    4. Low budget;
    5. Has a lot of creative space for adaptations.


    WALTER GUTTEN is a Business Major who isn't capable of having a good performance in his classes. While he and his friends are thinking about joining a Fraternity, he is having his fair share of problems with passing in some classes despite his efforts. At the same time, WALTER is worried about his parents. They're divorcing and not on good terms, so WALT sees his mom use him to have news about his father, who hasn't heard from him for a while.

    WALTER's father shows up in his college apartment by surprise and reveals he now only will divorce from WALT's mom, but he'll also marry a younger woman who he met at work. He is also selling WALT's childhood home to buy an apartment for himself and his new wife. The icing on the cake comes when WALLY's father asks him to be his best man. WALTER refuses the invitation.

    After the homecoming, WALTER still can't do well in his Business Major. This is so clear that DR. CORBETT, one of his professors, starts asking WALT about why he chose Business, with he at first saying he chose the graduation because of his father insisting on it. DR. CORBETT then calls WALTER a failure in Business and recommends a change to English Major because of the student's interest in literature and in how good he is writing.

    WALT takes some time thinking about this suggestion and finally accepts doing this change. He quickly sees himself more and more involved in Literature classes and in poetry. His interest in poetry makes WALT curious about his roommate LEROI, who also writes verses, but as lyrics for music, but he takes a lot of time to finally show any work to a frustrated WALTER.

    Soon after his induction to a Fraternity along with friends, is when WALTER starts to write papers for money. During this, he knows TARA, a girl from a Sorority with whom he starts to hang out and date. Don't take long for WALTER to begin thinking about expanding his paper-writing business. He soon gathers five other English majors (three boys and two girls) to help him in this job and in finding new clients. To further expand, WALT also starts to offer proofreading services to his classmates who can write a paper but are not confident enough about writing or the research itself. With his business growing, WALT also sees the first movements from people who don't agree with this. Certain day, going back to his Fraternity room after a class, WALTER finds "Confidence Man" written in capital letters on a notepad. He is being called a Con Man by other students.

    Despite the people who oppose his project, WALTER keeps recruiting more and more people to help him with the paper's writing. One of these possible recruiters is HUNTER, someone who opposes the idea, but is very needed by WALLY. The insistence makes them fight and exchange harsh words. HUNTER turns in a suspect when, not long after this fight, the College board calls WALTER to explain his project with DR. CORBETT as a mediator, but also seen by WALT as an ally in that room. Given the space to explain himself, WALTER incites a discussion about how outdated the system is. But always refusing to admit his business even existed. The College board ends the meeting and calls another one to discuss WALT's punishment in the next few days.

    WALTER breaks up with TARA on a Sunday morning. She can't accept this and he doesn't explain his reasons. This comes after he being sued by the College Board, needing to pay a large restitution to everyone who hired his services and his lawyers' invoices. Being expelled by the College and making his mom so disappointed that she stops speaking with him. WALT ends living with his father and trying to discover a way to pay for everything he needs to. But an inheritance from his recently deceased grandmother, mother of his father, surfaces as a Deus Ex Machina, as Walt himself recognizes.

    About The Author

    TOMA (Thomas J. MacDonald), of Richmond, Virginia, has been writing stories, poems, and composing songs and lyrics all his life. He has been featured and read on National Public Radio.