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PostPosted: 21 Sep 2016, 03:05 

Joined: 17 Sep 2016, 01:46
Posts: 1
submission withdrawn.

PostPosted: 22 Sep 2016, 07:48 

Joined: 21 Sep 2016, 02:46
Posts: 3
Speaking of writer's groups and writer's block... ... .9zujzysk2

PostPosted: 05 Oct 2016, 00:59 

Joined: 21 Sep 2016, 02:46
Posts: 3
Algonkian Writing Assignments for American by James J Houts

Story Statement:

A beautiful Chinese immigrant to America must overcome clashing cultures, human traffickers, underworld sex slavers, the false society of Hollywood, and a politically powerful ex-husband in Shanghai to be reunited with her teenaged daughter.

Antagonists & Antagonistic Force:

In New York Shinna’s green-card husband turns out to be a street thug gang member who tries to force her into prostitution.

In Los Angeles Shinna’s “perfect” boyfriend, a handsome and sophisticated member of Hollywood society, an aging child star without obvious income, turns out to be the same as her green-card husband.

Shinna is constantly battling against the men in her life who would use her, take her hard earned money, and prevent or delay her from bringing her daughter to America. And once she is able to bring her daughter to be with her in her apparently successful life, the perfect LA boyfriend turns the daughter to the dark world of drugs and sex and betrayal.

Green-Card – Shinna’s green card husband in NYC

Street thug gang member. Hip Hop culture and dress. A street hustler who Shinna gives $10,000 to marry her. His true personality soon threatens Shinna and her girlfriend, Sally. Shinna and Sally are from China and are newly arrived in NYC. Shinna goes to work as waitress in a China town restaurant, but Sally takes the more lucrative job in the massage business. Green-card abducts them, telling them they are going to work as his prostitutes.

Just when all looks darkest. The Chinese owner of the restaurant, with his friends and partners the Tong Gang, show up, beat Green-card, and free the women. Shinna and Sally are freed. The Chinese immigration agent, Snakehead, shows up again with the massage business job. Shinna swallows her pride and takes the job.

Later, Green-card kidnaps Shinna and Sally, with plans to put them out on the street. The Tong guys show up and kill Green-card. But his friends let it be known that they will take their revenge, prompting Shi and Sally to move to LA.

Andrew (Andy) Levenson – The handsome playboy

Levenson – as in the “Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale,” test for lack of empathy for others.

Rich boyfriend of Shinna Zhao when she leaves green-card husband, moves to LA, and starts her massage business. Shinna wants him because of his veneer of West Side society. He is in the Hollywood society because he was a famous child actor. His career faded and he has no obvious means of support. Later Shinna will discover he makes his money by providing drugs and prostitutes to famous Hollywood celebrities – think Charlie Sheen.

A worthless son of wealth, movie wealth. He is a playboy who spends his parent’s money until what he hasn’t wasted is lost in the 2008 Crash. We meet his mother and hear of his father – I want to use the Chinese terms for Father of Father (Yé Ye) and Mother of Father (Năi Nai), but this might be awkward. They are not the Diane’s true grandparents. Maybe use the terms for a kid from an earlier marriage?

Grandfather could have made is money in something that failed in 2008 – like Polaroids or pagers or real estate. But the movies would be better. They fall from wealth, father has a stroke, mother moves back east. Andy lives in a deteriorating estate in Brentwood or Pacific Palisades.

Shinna marries him finally and buys the estate, to win back the Daughter?

2008 – Levensons lose everything in crash. Andy meets Shinna. Shinna getting rich.

Breakout Title (3):

Goddess of Liberty
Golden Streets and Leaden Hearts
美国人 Mĕiguórén American

Smart Comparables (2):

How To Get Into Twin Palms (2012), Karolina Waclawiak
My New American Life (2011), Francine Prose

The Namesake (2003), Jhumpa Lahiri
The Russian Debutante’s Handbook (2002), Gary Shteyngart
Saffron Dreams (2009), Shaila Abulla (New York, 9/11)
House of Sand and Fog (2003), Andre Dubus (immigrant destroyed by America)

Primary Conflict Line:

The primary conflict is Shinna’s battle to bring her daughter to America. Her salmon like determination to recover her daughter from her powerful ex-husband in Shanghai.

Protagonist Inner Conflict:

Shinna’s inner conflict is rooted in her Chinese culture; her parents need for children and grandchildren, her drive to be successful, to be seen as a rich person when she returns home for Chinese New Year.

Secondary Conflict:

Shinna’s fight against the evil underbelly of America, trying to stay afloat financially and emotionally, and her fall into the dark side of America for money and things. So different than Buddhist thought, but Shinna was raised in the godless world of communist China.


New York’s China Town:

Not the shinning city of hope Shinna expected, mythical with streets paved with gold, New York shows her its hard pitiless side, street gangs and crime, the sex trade and corrupt police.

Los Angeles’s San Gabriel Valley:

The true China Town of Los Angeles, the streets of the many freeway towns along the 60 freeway are lined with acupuncture store fronts, foot massage businesses, and great Asian restaurants. But behind the Chinese language signage lurks a hidden world, a culture more Asian than American.

PostPosted: 14 Oct 2016, 04:14 

Joined: 08 Oct 2016, 21:56
Posts: 2
This relates to project Mirabelle Series Book One

First Assignment: Mirabelle must discover Peter’s secrets to save her life and return home.

Second Assignment: Peter appeared from nowhere, his charm gripped the town and Lakeside College. His marriage to Mirabelle revealed the monster beneath the veneer, but only to her. When Mirabelle asked for help against Peter’s viciousness, he sensed it and returned home early to stop her. Before strangling her, he killed the dog who tried to save her. But she lived and fled the town he held in the palm of his hand. He her stalked her to finish the job. His past lives weren’t as good as the one he’d carved out for himself in Thomasville. She wasn’t going to ruin it for him, he’d make sure of it.

Third Assignment: create a breakout title (List several option, not more than three, and revisit to edit as needed.

Almost Safe
Mine Alone
Alone Again

Fourth Assignment: Develop two smart comps for your novel Who compares to you? And why?

Louise Penny’s Series is a direct comparable to my series because both are cozy-esque with a harder edge. My heroine, Mirabelle, is older, somewhat flawed but esteemed for intelligence and determination as is hers, Gamache. In addition, her series deals with the ever present conflict of French vs English cultures and the morals involved thereof. My series deals with the morals of intrapersonal violence, the bread and butter of a forensic nurse. Both Penny’s protagonist (Chief Inspector) and mine are caught in the machinery of their trade, hers chewed by the police system, mine ironically marries an abuser and unable to get help. Our main characters are both better for and tortured by these experiences throughout the series.

Julia Spencer-Fleming’s series is another comparable Rev. Clare Ferguson series. Her heroine’s tough background lends a rough edge to the cozy genre without the sex, gore or foul language which is very similar to my Mirabelle series. The setting in an out of the way town is also similar, trouble comes to her. And as in the Penny series, morals play a constant role.

Fifth Assignment:
Just as a forensic nurse evicts her new but abusive husband he attempts to murder her, erasing from her memory the clue to his criminal past which she must solve to reclaim her life.

Sixth Assignment:

Quilt and self-recriminations will torture Mirabelle because she did not recognize that Peter was a potential abuser, indeed a criminal, before she married him. She is a forensic nurse and should have known better. This is compounded by the fact that she is a forensic nurse and thinks she should know better. She feels anxiety over the effects the relationship had on her son, Bryan, even though he is grown, Peter came between them. While in hiding Mirabelle constantly fears Peter finding her and second guesses the motives of the few men around her.


Mirabelle has decided to surprise her girlfriends in Boston during their traditional pre-Christmas shopping trip. Presumably Peter knows nothing about the tradition. (but he’s stalked her friends and found out in an earlier scene).
Mirabelle, hears has an overnight bag and a dress slung over her shoulder as she ascends the hotel escalator. She hears her friends chatting in the lounge over drinks. At the top she can see Anne and imagine the feel of Anne’s hug, a welcome sensation after two months in hiding.
But she hears an all too familiar sound. A man clearing his throat and the rustle of a newspaper. It’s eleven at night, hardly a customary time to read the paper!
Her heart thudded in her chest as she turned her head. The paper lowered as the man turned the page revealing Peter’s medium brown wave and creased forehead.
At that moment Anne’s voice called out, “Irene! What are you …” (note Irene was her name prior to going into hiding)
The paper crunched to the floor. Peter jumped to his feet.
Mirabelle threw her dress at him and ran around the mezzanine to the down escalator cursing. Taking them two at a time.
Peter thrashed at the dress, cut himself on the hanger, made the top of the escalator as Mirabelle ran to the circular doors. “Stop! Stop!”
The bellman was still in her car.
“Please, please. I have to go. Now!”
“What the …?” But he jumped out.
Mirabelle put her car in gear as Peter bounded onto the scene looking back and forth.
Another car pulled in and the bellman headed towards it. Peter waited for the driver to emerge then pushed both aside and screeched after Mirabelle.
Mirabelle noticed the car behind her closing in, making the same turns. Could it be Peter? God no! She couldn’t just head back to Maine. I-90 was ahead. She turned right, west. She’d lose him, then head back.
But the Trans Am was on her tail, so close she could make out his silhouette in the mirror.
She changed lanes. He changed lanes. The highway was full of trucks. They were in front and on both sides of her. She was stuck. With Peter on her tail.
He was so close now.
Bump, bump. Sparks flew between their bumpers.
Her heart beat so fast and loud it sounded like a fog horn.
The sparks stopped for a moment. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly.
Then started again. Bump, bump and the sparks. And the horns again, too. Peter backed off. Now she heard sirens and saw flashing lights.
Suddenly Peter wasn’t behind her anymore. She caught a sight of the car racing across an emergency turnaround and heading back east.
Her own speed reduced to the point she needed to move to the right lane. She looked to the right and the trucker there gave her a thumbs up. He hit his horn three times quickly, three longer and three more quick beats. SOS
Mirabelle let out a breath she didn't know she was holding, the trucker must have called the highway patrol. She returned the thumbs up and accepted the truckers proffered space to the right lane.

Secondary conflict involves Mirabelle’s shame and relationship wither friends. Although she has done nothing wrong, Peter manipulates her friends, most of whom she cannot contact during the major part of the story.

There are also direct conflicts between Sam and Anne, Mirabelle’s helping friends at home, and Peter, the antagonist.


The Nursing Department was abuzz as professors rushed to get their grades in. Peter made sure Anne was alone in her office but he left the door open on purpose, it would increase his pleasure and her discomfort.

Anne sat with her back to the door thoroughly engrossed in paperwork. “Tossing the knife on her desk he greeted her, “Good morning. “Putting a hand on her shoulder. “Don’t get up. I just dropped by to return something of your husband’s. SG, correct?”

Anne glanced at Sam’s knife and cringed remembering that he went for a walk the evening before, perhaps to Irene’s?

Peter leaned close enough she felt his morbid arousal. “Tell Sam turnabout is fair play. I know where he lives and I may take something of his someday.”
Final assignment:

Seventh Assignment: Here are some of the major settings

A The first scene opens in Mirabelle’s packed school bus colored SUV on the highway in a loud nighttime thunderstorm as she flees. She drives stuck between semi-trucks in at claustrophobic speed far faster than her comfort zone. Forced into the fast lane the storm throws a fire ball, the phenomenon of St. Elmo’s fire to the median. The air smells metallic air after lightening and her cat screeches from a carrier in the back, fur floating over the seat. Exhausted from nearly being strangled, her reflection in the rear view is a ghostly purple revealing a dark necklace of bruises.
The storm keeps her on the road far longer than she wants. But she’s afraid of not going far enough, mileage signs to Philadelphia appear through the blurry windshield. She’s terrified of driving, the trucks drift and her car drafts too close to them. But there are bright red NO VACANCY signs at motels exit after exit.
Finally at an establishment with a room, she digs deep into her purse for the precious cash for a flakey, seedy motel, normally rented by the hour. Its bed vibrates for six quarters. Doors open and close outside for hours into the night. She curls on top of her rain coat over the thread bare, orange bedspread.

B The storm is a pivot point to Peter escaping potential consequences of his attack, until he knows the coast is clear. He lands in a truck stop motel. We see his fancy car, hear country & western music, his emergency run kit, readily available alcohol and porn (nothing explicit), plastic cups to offend his delicate tastes, greasy diner, complementary computer access to avoid cluing anyone into his location

C Mirabelle hails from a small college town in Ohio, fictitious but is modelled after a real town. Significance is that everyone knows everyone, the college pretty much feeds the town economy, technology is way behind the times in law enforcement. There is no privacy. Male dominance is rampant. There is also a townie vs gownie syndrome, “those smart folks” yet their money is essential to the economy. People walk everywhere, leave their doors unlocked, unless they have something to hide or fear. The streets are lined with deciduous trees, the sidewalks old and swollen from harsh winters. You can walk across town in ten minutes. The campus has a party hardy mentality and the sports teams bring in revenue and attract about half the student population.

D Mirabelle stops at the Jersey shore. It is rich is allegory for thought, wind, sun, sea. Families, children congregate and give her pause to question herself and her future. From her she decides to hide along the sea where she used to live as a young woman.

E The drive up the coast to Bar Harbor is full of rich fall color providing flash back triggers to relate events that precede her flight. A night at a B&B in Camden, ME is filled with sights, smells of the tall ships, shops and life in a B&B. The allegory of a upscale Maine town is perfect to put a question in her mind as to how much had Bar Harbor changed in twenty-seven years.

F Bar Harbor ME during off season is a very quiet place with few establishments open including a single restaurant, the drug store, grocery, library and hospital Adding color to the story are a general store/tourist shop, The Maine Event, which attracts local youngsters during its erratic hours and the Song of the Sea stays open long enough to fill Christmas orders. Amy’s Diner, located two doors from Mirabelle’s apartment plays a role as a meeting place. It’s a classic old diner with chrome swivel stools with cracked vinyl, a counter that feels greasy to the touch no matter how clean it is. There’s no smoking except pipes. Old high backed wood booths along one wall have hooks for winter coats and the white and black linoleum on the floor is cracked. Amy wears a light pink uniform with a scalloped white apron (her grandmother Amy owned it too). The wooden phone booth in the back corner actually works with coins.

G Mirabelle’s apartment is located over Elsa’s Finer dresses which is closed for the season. The steps to her apartment are outside on the side of the building between the drug and dress stores. It’s a one bedroom with a claw tub in the bathroom and a tiny alcove for a kitchen. Elsa left furniture for her, the same stuff the weekly renters get during the summer. There’s an avocado phone, fridge and stove. The phone is for local calls only and stays in Elsa’s name. Elsa’s from New York and took cash up front no questions, she was in a hurry. Mirabelle qualified for the apartment by not being a fisherman.

H Bar Harbor proper has only about 3,000 year-round population. No one locks their doors. But from Memorial Day to Labor Day the populations swells tens of thousands and more when cruise ships are at harbor for hours at a time. She is long gone by then.

I Livingston is a locked (two locked doors thank you) residential psychiatric facility located deep in the woods along a country road. This is where Mirabelle finds work as an RN to get her through her time in hiding. It was once a state facility and still has one long-term resident from those days, Adeline Sommers. This old lady lends an air of frivolity and mystery to the place. As in most small Maine communities, its staff is fairly stable and very quirky. Staff dresses in street clothes as it is more comforting to psyche patients. All patients are required to get up and do something at specific times. No laying around in bed. The first person you see is Eden, the clerk, with short red curly hair, cat-eyed rhinestone glasses looking over the nurse’s station. A large heavy TV blares off to the left, in front of it two residents are constantly arguing over which program to watch and three others a waving at them to get out of the way. Another patient blows his breath on the window and draws curliques. An old woman with a walker pushes her way through the line of patients line up to the side of the station. In turn they open their mouths and stick out tongues to show they’ve swallowed their pills. The old lady crashes into a scrawny fellow at just his moment eliciting a stream of expletives from his bloody mouth. She takes advantage of the distraction and pockets three cookies from the lunch trays that had just been parked on a cart a few feet away. A black bouffant

J The central plateau of Haiti is where Bryan, Mirabelle’s son, is on internship and effectively in hiding from Peter. Colorful clothing, customs, and contrasts in wealth and happiness are alluring respite and additional isolating aspects to the book. The drumming and singing link to Mirabelle’s drumming in her apartment and the bits of “knowing” that both of them have. Bryan also knows the key clue that leads to finding out about Peter’s past but he doesn’t know it right away.

K Naples graveyard in a light breeze rain, about a hundred people present graveside when Mirabelle’s mother is buried. Bryan has also come from Haiti. Peter found the obit online and is lurking behind an angel monument. It is sweltering hot but Mirabelle still feels cold.

L Tess’s kitchen on Christmas evening, a narrow galley style room with two doors. The turkey is in the oven and Mirabelle has just arrived to reclaim her dying cat, left in her carrier by Tess’s front door, and have a holiday dinner with Tess and Steve who are elbow deep in flour and spices. Pie ingredients are on the counter. An iron skillet is on the stove for the vegetables in a few minutes. There’s plastic wrap, measuring cups, a pie tin and scissors are scattered on either side of the sink under the window. It’s dark outside and little light comes through cottage window because the main house blocks the street light. The fluorescent overhead light flutters erratically. (This is the setting for the Peter finds Mirabelle scene, all elements are in place.)

M A rare sunny April afternoon in Coupeville on Whidbey Island, Washington, just outside Emily’s Sweets and Treats. There’s a light breeze creaking the placard “Expresso Baked Goods” back and forth over the landing. All Mirabelle could think of was the red velvet cupcake and a latte, aromas that wafted out the open door as she leaned her bike against the side of the entry landing. Luckily it was warm and she worn a light sweater or she wouldn’t have felt her phone vibrate in her pocket. (This is setting in the Epilogue when Mirabelle learns Peter has been shot trying to escape prison, again!)

PostPosted: 17 Oct 2016, 01:18 

Joined: 08 Oct 2016, 21:56
Posts: 2
Borrowed Guilt - Second Project

First Assignment:

The wife of a murdered, prominent Chinese business man confesses but Mirabelle, a forensic nurse, was at the scene of the crime and tracks down the real killer through a multi-generation ring of human trafficking.

Second Assignment:

A force of class, money, status and cultural insecurity in a milieu of capitalism in a foreign land, which promised freedom and fortune, holds generations of Asians in captivity at the hands of a well-oiled organization. Broken promises of fortune, complicated with added debt; fear of deportation intensified by lack of legal papers or papers held by snakeheads, lack of language skills and familiarity with local customs and finally fear of retribution upon self and family comprise an overwhelming psychological and physical prison. Each individual held in productive captivity is worth approximately $300,000 a year and control of an organization managing hundreds or thousands of human beings industriously employed is a very powerful, lucrative, and enviable position to an intelligent and unscrupulous person. These forces are at play seen and unseen throughout.

Third Assignment:

Borrowed Guilt
In Search of Mie and Min

Fourth Assignment:

Louise Penny’s Series is a direct comparable to my series because both are cozy-sequel with a harder edge. My heroine, Mirabelle, is older, somewhat flawed but esteemed for intelligence and determination as is hers, Gamache. In addition, her series deals with the ever present conflict of French vs English cultures and the morals involved thereof. My series deals with the morals of intrapersonal violence, the bread and butter of a forensic nurse. Both Penny’s protagonist (Chief Inspector) and mine are caught in the machinery of their trade, hers chewed by the police system, mine ironically marries an abuser and unable to get help. Our main characters are both better for and tortured by these experiences throughout the series.

Julia Spencer-Fleming’s series is another comparable Rev. Clare Ferguson series. Her heroine’s tough background lends a rough edge to the cozy genre without the sex, gore or foul language which is very similar to my Mirabelle series. The setting in an out of the way town is also similar, trouble comes to her. And as in the Penny series, morals play a constant role.

Fifth Assignment:

A forensic nurse must reconcile the motives for a murder confession by the revered wife of a prominent Asian business man with the unsolved disappearance of young women, and more …

Sixth Assignment:

Primary Conflict Scenario:
Marshall Klallam and Mirabelle gaze over Harborview waiting room at the forty-odd Asians sitting lethargically grasping the abdomens.
The Marshall grunted as he forcefully placed his hands on his hips. Neither of them took their eyes off the scene.
Mirabelle spoke in a loud whisper, “John, this is no coincidence, I’m sure these must be the folks from the bus at Sebastian Lodge.”
“Yeah, I think you’re right. What else are you thinking?”
“I’m thinking it’s not food poisoning, it’s too late for that. Food poisoning only takes about twelve hours and this is thirty-six.”
“Yeah, so what do you think?” The Marshall turned to her.
Mirabelle’s left eyebrow went up and she started to move towards the clerk at the window.
“Hey wait, tell me first.” John grabbed her arm.
“Well, they only had time to eat the geoduck appetizer, so I’m thinking amnesic shellfish poisoning, demoic acid. The timing is right. We need to tell the physician, because if that’s what it is, these folks won’t remember that they even went on a bus anywhere, let alone ate the same thing.” She headed straight for the window.
John held back for a moment then followed her but stood back until he heard the clerk giving Mirabelle flack.
“I can’t let you talk to the doctor. Do you know how many people are back there? Look at how many are waiting! He very busy!” The clerk started to close the window.
“I know what might be making these people sick.” Mirabelle leaned in and held the window open.
Marshall Klallam held out his badge. “She knows what she’s talking about.”
The clerk paused. She sat down hard on her chair, her big bottom creaking it’s old springs. “Whidbey? You from the island? What you doing at Harborview?”
Mirabelle answered. “All these people got sick there. They ate at the same place. Let me talk to the doctor, I’m a nurse and I was there.”
The clerk looked over her dark black glasses. “Why you not sick, huh?”
“I got there late, but let’s not be too late today, get going. Please get the doctor!”
Her chair groaned again as she popped up and disappeared.
The Marshall and Mirabelle headed to the door that lead to the Emergency Department treatment rooms. Mirabelle leaned close to the Marshall, “You know this is pretty coincidental and convenient to have everyone forget that party ever happened.”
“Shellfish disease, that’s red tide, right?”
“Yeah, has there been one lately?” Mirabelle pulled out her phone and typed it in. “Not since two years ago.
“Can someone get it and taint the food?”
“You can get just about anything for research, so I’d say yes. We’d have to track it down. For now, you call the ME and have her test for it okay?”
“Right away. So this is planned … and likely big?” Klallam turned as the doctor emerged from the ED doorway.

Secondary Conflict Scenario:

Anne, of course, knew Mirabelle had taken a position at the University of Washington. She’d given her a stellar reference and wished her well. Yet as her best friend and boss for fifteen years the phone call was emotional and left Mirabelle drained. But now they had a definitive plan.
Mirabelle was conflicted about leaving Anne and Sam too. The couple had been her family for so long. They’d held her together during the Peter debacle. But they also understood she just couldn’t go back to Thomasville, she couldn’t live it the house where Peter had killed her beloved Bovier des Flanders and tried to kill her. If it weren’t for that the offer on her house would have upset her because she’d raised Bryan there since he was nine years old.
The offer stipulated the house would be torn down and the property converted to commercial, a bakery and bistro. They loved her rose garden and planned to place outdoor tables there in the late spring and summer. Perfect! Everyone in Thomasville knew about Peter now, that he was a serial killer. The entire town felt betrayed by his charm. So the only thing to do was raze the place.
In May she’d go back and Anne would help her sort, sell, and pack up what she wanted. They’d make it quick. She didn’t want to endure the looks of pity or shock on townspeople’s face. But there’d be Bryan and Jenny’s wedding shower at Sam and Anne’s. Then on to Boston for their wedding, but she didn’t want to stay there very long, either. She’d go back to Bar Harbor with Tess and Steve who promised to be at the wedding. Her apartment there still had a few belongings. But that wasn’t the point.
There was some unfinished business. Addy extracted a promise on her death bed. Mirabelle would keep that promise. Along an old deer path the ground under Turtle Rock was no longer frozen. Now it would offer up what Ben had buried there for Addy over sixty years ago.
Finally, Mirabelle would come back to make her new home. Home to the cottage on Crescent Lane overlooking the Salish Sea.

Next, likewise sketch a hypothetical scenario for the “secondary conflict” involving the social environment. Will this involve family” Friends? Associates? What is the nature of it?

Final Assignment:

A “Is it open?” There were no lights on in the second story and only a few showed below the roof of the front entrance, a deep deck with a few wood steps. The moon was just coming up and the sun lent little light over the Salish Sea from the eastern shores of Whidbey Island. Their rental car crunched into the parking lot practically devoid of vehicles. Bryan looked at his mother in the passenger seat.
“Hard to tell. I’d think there’d be more cars, it’s supposed to be the best restaurant on the island!”
Bryan drove further into the lot and the sound of loose lines flapping on an empty flagpole started Mirabelle, she grasped the door. “It’s kind of spooky. There are no lights in the parking lot.”
“It’s a rustic sort of place.” Bryan pointed to some cabins off to the left. I bet hey rent those out.
“They used to, I heard it’s just a restaurant now, on the Historic Register.”
The lodge is made of rough-hewn logs, aged over a hundred years.
The interior is divided into two dining rooms, separated by double French doors. There are antique lace curtains on the windows. The tables are normally set with formal white table linens; in the opening scene they are set with gold linens.

There is a small garden in the back with a single tall light few azaleas, lavender and a hibiscus. There are several large Madrona trees curving gracefully over the roof. An articulated floating dock stretches forty feet into Penn Cove at the end of a path through the garden.
B Mirabelle’s cottage is at the end of a long gravel driveway off a busy main road on Whidbey, it’s located quite a distance from towns on purpose because Sam wanted her very secluded away from people until Peter’s trial was over (this is a carry-over from the first book” The cottage has a small front porch with two old white metal chairs. There’s a complete kitchen along one wall of the living area. A small dining table is in front of a window on the opposite side from the bedroom and bathroom. The kitchen is set off from the sitting area by the back of the couch and a parson’s table. There’s one arm chair and a coffee table which almost touches the hearth of a wood burning fireplace. The front door has glass top divided into six panes covered by a yellowed white curtain. The bedroom has a queen –sized bed and a tall narrow bureau and no closet. The bathroom has a claw-footed tub and a pedestal sink. She pays no rent as it is gratis from an old law school mate of Sam’s.

C Whidbey Island Marshall’s office is two rooms in the

D The aft deck of the Clinton Ferry with views of Mt Rainer and Mt. Baker on a clear day. There is sensation of wind and sun on face. Also other settings of ferry crossings later in the book that give a sense of lost time and frustration in not being able to get somewhere fast enough. It’s used both ways at different times in the book. Also it’s used as a place of contemplation and a view point for decision, especially for where the protagonist wants to live permanently throughout the series.

E University of Washington Campus is used both the severity of an office (a Dean’s office) to relay the protagonist’s history and the beauty of the quad when the cherry blossoms are in bloom and the air is fresh and everything feels so alive and beautiful. This ties in so wonderfully to a feeling of rebirth and acceptance and support.

F A commercial private bus depot underneath I-5 downtown Seattle in early morning when buses are being cleaned and washed. Lots of traffic over head. International District to the east upscale downtown/skyscrapers and Puget Sound to the west. Everyone is busy/busy and suspect of interlopers.

G International District an apartment over a tae Kwando studio on the left and a butcher shop on the right (ducks and chickens are hanging in the window women with plastic sting bags hanging on their arms are standing at the counter). People on the street in western wear, some in stylized Asian garb, most speaking Chinese or some English with an accent. There’s a dark interior stairway leading to the apartment door. A loud woman answers the door, her response to questions is to throw a small blue book at Mirabelle.

H Emergency Department at Harborview is filled with Asian people a few blacks. Ambulance pulls up with someone on a gurney with IVs running and pushes through the door.

I Squad car with radio squawking Marshall and Deputy and Mirabelle are all present. Rain pouring down, windshield wipers going hard, traffic is slow. Good setting for transition and discussion of facts.

J Just inside the spacious entry of a penthouse suite just west of I-5 a rack of elegant slippers at indicate the custom of kutsu o mugu is practiced. Already it’s apparent the furnishings are exquisitely appointed with fine Asian flavor and fine art. There is a circular staircase leading wrapped around a koi pond with a lite waterfall to the pond below. A lady’s maid seats you and offers a delicately fragranced tea before the lady of the house appears. Light string music is played in the back ground and fresh flowers are tastefully arranged in several places.

K The Island County Jail on a dreary day has long dark hallways secured at each end. The interview room has a table and chairs permanently bolted to the floor. The prisoner is chained by the waist and wrists to the table. A panic button is located close by the interviewer. A no contact rule is strictly in place. There is no recording done by the facility but he interview can request permission of the prisoner. A guard stands just outside the door and peers in intermittently.

L Seattle Federal Courthouse Judge’s Chambers is a moderately-sized room, full of power, rich with tomes and vibrant with feelings and full of anticipation before a sting operation. Double meanings are assigned to some interchanges which are obviously part of a well-oiled machine, one that has been waiting for a chance to strike.

M An Asian produce store in front of the proprietor’s home. It is full of color, fragrance, bustling with activity, a place where much gossip is passed, the proprietor is highly respected in the community. It is a public place, safe for confrontation for the proprietor. The home behind is where two young missing girls where to live.

N The Place is an unknown location where young girls were taken from the boat and never heard from again. It is where the sting operation occurred. In reality it is several locations, massage parlors and nearby apartments in small complexes that have been revealed by captured gang members.

PostPosted: 20 Oct 2016, 02:19 

Joined: 09 Feb 2016, 05:05
Posts: 3
Algonkian Homework

1) Story Statement

Ron Winslow, a mysterious stranger, must save Rebecca Strong and use her secrets to destroy a high tech conspiracy dedicated to world domination.

2) Antagonistic Force

As winter falls in 2021 Rebecca Strong is on the run from Will Hunter, who leads a syndicate that controls Chicago and plots to enslave the civilized world. Rebecca’s deceased grandmother Ruthie, the last member of the Weather Underground, was the driving force in Hunter’s rise to power, but she had suspicions about his reliability. The bitter old woman left Rebecca with secrets that could empower her to seize Hunter’s kingdom and destroy the conspiracy, but also with doubts about her own courage and self-worth.

Will Hunter, revolutionary, drug lord and Ruthie’s partner in crime discovers that Rebecca is a danger to the syndicate’s plan for conquest. She must be neutralized to preserve Hunter’s luxurious lifestyle and advance his messianic ambitions, which draws him into conflict with Winslow whose mission is to save Rebecca and stop the rise of Hunter’s social media dictatorship. Antagonistic force is the battle between Winslow and Hunter to control Rebecca’s secrets and defeat or establish the tyranny Hunter intends.

3) Breakout Title

Kingdom of Smoke

Secrets of a Dark Heart

Shadows and Smoke

4) Comparables.
Kingdome of Smoke is a novel of speculative fiction that answers the question, what if a person were sent back from death to resume life as an instrument of salvation? What would be worth saving and what difference can he make?

Comparable works of speculative fiction include Underground Airlines, by Ben H. Winter, out this summer, and Woman on the Edge of Time, by Marge Piercy, first published in 1976 and reissued this year in a new edition by Ballantine.

Winter’s novel, released in July by the Mulholland Books imprint of Little, Brown and Company, imagines a United States in the twenty-first century that did not fight a civil war to end slavery, and in parts of which slavery is still legally practiced. Underground Airlines is an updated reference to smuggling slaves to freedom in alternate history America. It was an Amazon Best Books selection for July.

Piercy’s book is a classic of the speculative fiction genre, which tells of a young woman visited by a time traveller sent from 2137 who shows her a future world of equality, environmental purity and universal self-actualization. He also frightens her with a vision of an alternative society of grotesque exploitation. The heroine of the novel tries to tip the balance between these two fates.

5) Conflict line

Morally flawed characters contend with each other in a constantly shifting battle to control secrets that will determine a young woman’s survival and the fate of the free world.

6) Inner Conflict and Secondary Conflict

A dozen years after his death Ron Winslow resumes his former life on what he believes is a quest to reform his conscience, but he soon discovers he is on a mission of profound purpose. Rebecca Strong is running from Will Hunter, who was selected by her grandmother to be Rebecca’s mentor and guardian. Instead he becomes Rebecca’s enemy as he learns of secrets she holds that threaten his empire and ambitions.

Winslow must penetrate veils of deceit and fear that guard the girl’s dangerous secrets in order to save her and what remains of civilization from Hunter’s unfolding conspiracy. Secondary conflicts arise when the purposes of Ron’s mission are at odds with the interests and intentions of other characters, including Rebecca. She believes her secrets can protect her, while Ron comes to understand they are connected to a menace with larger consequences.

A central conceit of the plot reveals inner conflict. The hero should have learned from the errors and omissions of the life he lived before his violent death. He is instructed by a scavenger of souls to resume his life so that his character can be assessed as he battles dark forces in a country losing hope. Is he virtuous or must he become virtuous, and when must virtue be abandoned to achieve his purpose? These questions set the terms of inner conflict.

The stakes of Winslow’s mission are higher than he originally believed and he is required to use every resource and tactic available to battle his antagonist. He must deceive Rebecca, sacrifice his friend Norm and finally reach accommodation with Hunter to achieve his purpose. Ron’s conscience, the ostensible reason for his return to life, is a twisted jumble of compromise, rationalization and corners cut, which turns out to come in handy.

7) Settings

The grim heartland of a disappointed America a half dozen winters from now is the setting for Rebecca’s flight and Ron Winslow’s quest. The story begins with Rebecca, who fancies herself a feminist Jack Kerouac, reduced to hiding out at a sleazy motel in the roughest part of Denver, preyed upon and protected by the raffish characters who inhabit the neighborhood.

She meets Winslow who sets in motion a chain of events that take her to a posh political fundraiser, an ominous conference in a suburban office park and through a harrowing escape in an airport shuttle. She flashes back to her chaotic childhood at her grandmother’s bungalow in the treacherous world of Chicago’s South Side, and ultimately must return to that city for a confrontation with Hunter.

Winslow’s journey begins with his murder by a deranged man while escaping from a panicked mob, and necessarily takes him through death and back to the material world. His imagination of limbo portrays the shabby Disposition Office where a soul scavenger offers him a chance to resume his life. His return to Denver through a quirk in the physics of relativity lands him in the heart of Colorado’s capitol where he meets his supervisor Norm and is introduced to Rebecca.

Politics, rough weather, rural landscapes and dismal cities in winter comprise the setting through which Ron must quest. Lonely farmhouses, cozy jazz clubs, majestic hotels and a splendid mansion overlooking Lake Michigan texture the story. Ron is a man of humble origin who has lost touch with his heritage grounded in the broad plains between Chicago and Denver.

His quest takes him through this austere land to rediscover his conscience. Winslow has become a man of the world, two worlds in fact, and has acquired a taste for fine things and soft living. He must re-establish his connections to the fundamental truths lived in the heartland to have any chance of saving us from tyranny.

Book Jacket Precis and Art

We create the future with every choice we make and that is reality for Ron Winslow who returns through a quirk of relativity to a disheartened future America in winter 2021, a dozen years after his death. He can alter the future if he makes the right choices to save Rebecca Strong, a reckless young woman on the run from a sinister benefactor. She leads Winslow to a plot that will establish a dictatorship based on social media, big data and alienation as instruments of control.

Kingdom of Smoke is a land through which Ron must venture where social media is becoming the prevailing reality and celebrity is the coin of the realm. His case officer equips him with secret bank accounts, an encrypted smart phone and special documents that confirm his identity, but photographic images of his presence cannot be allowed.

Winslow and Rebecca ultimately confront Will Hunter, the leader of a syndicate that controls Chicago and plots extinction of the last vestiges of personal autonomy. The story resolves in betrayal and sacrifice, but the struggle between freedom and tyranny continues. Kingdom of Smoke presents choices that will create our future and reveals the consequences of choosing wrong.

Cover art could be a dark castle flying American flags shrouded in smoke and flames.

PostPosted: 21 Oct 2016, 21:55 

Joined: 19 Sep 2016, 22:54
Posts: 1
Assignment 1: Story Statement

Years after LAPD Officer Henderson was absolved of using excessive force, he must defend himself against civil rights charges brought by ambitious prosecutors exploiting the fury over the Rodney King beating. (31 Words)

Henderson’s badge is a MacGuffin in this story.

Back Cover will close with this question: Is justice possible when Justice is corrupt?

Elevator Description: The Justice Department launches the War against Police when it seeks a trophy LAPD badge to appease the outrage over the Rodney King beating. (24 Words)

Assignment 2: Antagonist Plots the Point

December 4, 2015. Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Louis Aranda tops the short list to replace the current AG. A small Cuban-American, Aranda has lusted for the ‘top cop’ job since growing up, bullied, in a racially charged neighborhood in Chicago. Waiting in a trendy bar to receive White House confirmation of his nomination, Aranda reflects on his trumped-up civil rights prosecution of an LAPD policeman, which he brought during the Rodney King unrest. If his misdeeds are exposed, it could deep-six the nomination. He remembers his ethical dances around the law, from law school to the prosecution of the cop. That case had fundamental weaknesses, but it satisfied Washington’s political objectives to appease the public and launched his career. As he waits for the call from the White House, Aranda toys with his favorite artifact, Henderson’s badge. He remembers how he and a federal judge forced the cop, after he was imprisoned, to resign. Aranda was never certain he could trust the judge, but his death mitigated the risk. When a message arrives from beyond the grave, Aranda realizes he may have begun the ‘War against Police,’ and the cop he jailed was the first casualty. (198 Words)

Assignment 3: Breakout Titles

Federal law 18 USC 242 makes it a crime for a person acting under color of any law to willfully deprive a person of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.

[N.B. Willfulness is a fundamental element of this civil rights crime. In Ferguson, e.g., DoJ conceded the lack of willfulness led to dismissal of charges against the police officer.]

1. Under Color of Law (Subtitle: The First Casualty in the War against Police)
2. The First Casualty
3. Willfulness

Assignment 4: Comparable Work

This novel falls in the genre of crime fiction/police stories and thriller—legal thriller. The first comparable below is non-fiction, but reflects the intense public interest in the issue of excessive force, police behavior, and the role of the Justice Department in places like Ferguson, Baltimore, and Chicago. While the 2016 elections have captured the press for the moment, police brutality, excessive force, DoJ, Police Consent Decrees and police prosecutions, as well as BLM issues and inner-city politics, will undoubtedly return to dominate the media.

As a ‘police story,’ considerable attention is paid in the novel to police practices, detail, and jargon. Weapon and vehicle descriptions are accurate. As a ‘legal thriller’ the story questions whether Henderson will go to prison; can the government convict him given the weaknesses in the case? Can evidence that the victim was at a gang fight, where he might have been injured, come to light?

1. War on Cops, H. MacDonald (6/16). Nonfiction with tremendous publicity about police shootings
2. Unreasonable Force, K. Eade (2015) political and legal thriller
3. Anatomy of a Murder, R. Traver (2005) cunning prosecutor (similar story line)

Assignment 5: Conflict Line

(Protagonist) An honorable cop in 1992 struggles to keep his badge as a junior prosecutor exploits the Rodney King outrage and manipulates a trial to launch his career. (27 Words)

(Antagonist) The Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, in 2015, expects the president to nominate him to replace the retiring AG. Most threats to his appointment have been eliminated, but one vulnerability remains, a manipulated prosecution of the protagonist. As he waits for the confirmation, his worries his practices during the litigation will be exposed and destroy his ambitions. (58 Words)

Assignment 6: Inner Conflicts


After charges are filed by the federal prosecutor, Officer Henderson and his wife must consider several options that are highly conflicted:
1. The government offers a ‘diversion proposal’ to drop the charges, if Officer Henderson will surrender his badge and resign from LAPD.
2. There is a technical consideration—the police chief has said Henderson can keep his badge because the charges are only misdemeanors.
3. The conflict ranges over several topics as Henderson discusses it with his wife:
3.1 If he accepts the deal, how with they live? His job is his life.
3.2 Will his wife accept his decision?
3.3 What if he’s wrong and it’s a mistake?
3.4 He’s innocent. How could a jury find him guilty?
3.5 In multiple investigations, LAPD found no intent or willfulness. Isn’t that enough for an acquittal?
4. The trial is likely to overlap the Rodney King trial beating in Simi Valley. The California Supreme Court has changed the venue of the city trial from LA to mostly-white Simi Valley. The public is outraged and fuming. Henderson and his wife must decide whether to ask for their own Change of Venue.
4.1 Although he’s charged in federal court, Henderson must worry about the reaction of the media, which was outraged when the LA judge told the Rodney King cops prosecutor, “Don’t panic. You can depend on me.” Did this poison the public environment?
4.2 Could he get any justice in Los Angeles? Would the judge grant a change of venue? If he had to appeal how much would it cost?
4.3 Will the Police Protective League cover the cost of an appeal?
4.4 What is the judge’s reputation and history about charges against cops?

5. During the trial the prosecutors make it clear that if Henderson elects to appeal a conviction, they have backup felony charges they could bring against him. These are even weaker than the original trumped up excessive force charges, but because they’re felonies, they present a greater risk.
5.1 The original charges from 1986 are misdemeanors. Maximum penalties are one year in prison. Should he accept the sentence and drop any grounds for appeals [there are several]?
5.2 After the verdict but before sentencing, the jury foreman writes that the jury never found, nor considered, the question of willfulness. Will the judge direct a verdict of not guilty? If not, why not? Should he appeal based on this letter?
5.3 Same issues with respect to costs of an appeal.
5.4 How long do appeals take? Can he work while under appeal?
5.5 Would the judge grant bail during the appeal process?
5.6 Should Henderson simply accept the sentence? Retain his badge and return to the job after completing the sentence?
5.7 If he goes to prison, will the prosecutors make his life miserable in order to force his resignation or will they let him out without new charges? Can he get the felony charges dismissed?


1. The antagonist has his own set of conflicts. In 2015, the major conflict is whether he will get the president’s nomination to AG. This depends on whether his misdeeds from the trial against Officer Henderson surface. In the novel, it is those actions which raise conflicts during 1991-1993.
1.1 Is Aranda really at the top of the president’s list for nomination?
1.2 How long will it take to get a decision? This leads to many scenes in the ‘trendy bar’ where he ruminates over the trial.
1.3 Did the judge, who had a complex relationship with Aranda, and who frequently showed signs of a conscience, keep any records that could bite him?
1.4 Did the U.S. Bureau Prisons keep any records when the prosecutor and judge meddled in Henderson’s sentence?
1.5 There is a FOIA demand about Henderson submitted by an investigative journalist. Does Aranda need to worry about it? Will the journalist go to the Federal Depository and study the trial files? The grand jury documents?

2. During the trial in 1993 Aranda had a boatload of problems and conflicts:
2.1 Washington told him it wanted a conviction. What if he lost? Would he still get to Washington?
2.2 Would it be considered vindictive if he brought charges just before a five year statute of limitations expired?
2.3 He discovers a hidden FBI 302 interview from 1986 and other documents which indicate one or both of the victims, and witnesses, in 1986 and 1987 lied to LAPD investigators, IAD, and the FBI.
2.4 Should he tell the judge?
2.5 Should he share this information with defense?
2.6 Can he use these witnesses in grand juries and in trial? Will the judge get angry if he finds out Aranda has been devious?
2.7 Will the defendant appeal?
2.8 His felony charges are weaker than the original charges. Should he use them? Will his second chair be offended and drop out if he brings the charges? Will the defense capitulate?

3. There are some secondary antagonists and conflicts. An assistant chief of police (LAPD) wants to exploit LA City Charter Amendment F to reorganize LAPD for political purposes. The judge is persuaded to assist Aranda for racial reasons and comes to struggle with his conscience and the question of redemption. The president of the Police Protective League doesn’t want to spend any money on appeals. Aranda’s bosses, the U.S. Attorney and the Assistant Attorney General, are Republicans and, during a Republican administration, they don’t want a Republican to lose the trial—so they give the job to a Democrat, Aranda.

Assignment 7: Settings

The U.S. Attorney’s office and the federal courthouse on Spring Street in Los Angeles, LAPD Headquarters in 1986 (Parker Center and its Parking Lot), Louis Aranda’s Department of Justice office on E Street in WDC, a restaurant in Sherman Oaks, and the law offices of Henderson’s lawyers in Pasadena appear frequently in the novel. The precipitating incident, a chase of assumed car thieves, takes place on Valerio Street in Van Nuys and is described in detail. Other scenes around West Los Angeles, North Hollywood, and Malibu, include dog fights, foot pursuits of drug dealers, and home invasions, and are used to highlight Henderson’s career as a policeman. A bar in Potomac, Md., Clyde’s, is used as the ‘trendy bar’ setting, where Aranda waits for his nomination and reflects on the history. The denouement is set in Arlington National Cemetery and on the Francis Scott Key Bridge over the Potomac.
Here’s an edited and concatenated paragraph from the novel describing a spot on Valerio Street in Van Nuys that surrounds a parking lot where the principal foot pursuit took place:

The neighborhood buildings were outfitted with defensive materials. Chain bars protected windows. Iron gates surrounded the parking area. Piles of dog shit punctuated the asphalt. The tarmac was littered with rubbish and beer cans. Residents hovered outside. Hispanic and African-American men drank beer and smoked, or just relaxed on their decks. Music blared. Like the neighboring blocks, a complex stench of urine, puke, Chile peppers, and Tequila, filled the air. Wafts of marijuana smoke drifted by. Dogs barked in the distance.


PostPosted: 27 Oct 2016, 23:42 

Joined: 13 Oct 2016, 23:18
Posts: 2
Assignment #1: Story Statement

Save my husband's life and keep the family together.

PostPosted: 27 Oct 2016, 23:53 

Joined: 13 Oct 2016, 23:18
Posts: 2
Second Assignment: Sketch of the Antagonist

The antagonist is the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. He hates strong women. He is very conservative in his views. He speaks slowly and deliberately and expects everyone to do what he says.

Third Assignment: Breakout Title

Bad Faith

Fourth Assignment: Comparables

Erin Brockovich
The Rainmaiker, by John Grisham

Fifth Assignment: Conflict line

When Ron's employer, the Catholic Archdiocese of OKC, denies him the medical care he has been promised, he and his wife take on the biggest battle of their lives in an effort to get the liver transplant Ron needs to live.

Sixth Assignment: Inner conflict of protagonist

As Ron's health deteriorates, Barbara struggles to make sense of the huge betrayal by the Catholic Church. Her entire belief system has crumbled.

Secondary conflict is the struggle to hold the large family together with Ron being unable to work and his job on the line.

Final Assignment: Setting
The story is set in rural Ponca City, Oklahoma; Dallas, Texas; and Oklahoma City, OK.

PostPosted: 28 Oct 2016, 18:40 

Joined: 26 Oct 2016, 23:55
Posts: 3
FIRST ASSIGNMENT: write your story statement.

A man searches for meaning in his wife's death and their unhappy marriage by attending the funerals of complete strangers, only to discover life by accident.

SECOND ASSIGNMENT: in 200 words or less, sketch the antagonist or antagonistic force in your story. Keep in mind their goals, their background, and the ways they react to the world about them.

David Cochrane has spent life in the suffocating world of his insular Southern suburb, straitjacketed by the expectations of his parents, his community, and the attitudes they represent.

Yet he is a man who has never been comfortable with the glittering whirl of society, of country clubs, and of business deals struck on the golf course. In the insular bubble of his world, where self-awareness, non-comformity and the larger questions of life are suspect, he lives an interior life of sorts, trying to maintain his identity and soul in the face of loss.

His wife, now dead, embraced this world, making her career as a socialite. His elderly mother questions her son’s increasingly aberrant behavior. And always considered little more than an accessory to his wife, he find himself not missing the world of Mountain Brook, a community where he is not terribly missed in return.

So if courage is the foundation of happiness, David must shake off the limits of the past, emerging from his chrysalis to embrace all the joy the world has to offer. Or keep living in a prison built by others, one where he now serves as his own warden.

THIRD ASSIGNMENT: create a breakout title (list several options, not more than three, and revisit to edit as needed).

The Obituaries

The Funeral For What Was

Beyond Bonnie


- Develop two smart comparables for your novel. This is a good opportunity to immerse yourself in your chosen genre. Who compares to you? And why?

Kathryn Stockett, The Help. While The Obituaries does not speak to the racial divide in the South, it depicts an ossified world of an insular, deeply conservative society, how the individual chafes against its oppressive nature, and how the community views those who dare to step outside its margins.

Pat Conroy, Prince Of Tides. The weight of family and its expectations create a deep and profound conflict in the protagonist. David must learn to shrug off the past and forge his own happier and self-reliant future.

FIFTH ASSIGNMENT: write your own conflict line following the format above. Keep in mind it helps energize an entire plot line and the antagonist(s) must be noted or inferred.

After the death of his Bonnie, David must search for answers in both his life and the larger world, setting aside his fear and insecurity to create a newer, happier life. He must brave the attitudes of his community, the worry of his family, and his own inner doubts to pursue answers to why his marriage was dysfunctional and why he is obsessed with nature of death. Because he has separated himself from the comfortable word he once knew, he must ultimately die unto the world and create a new person within himself, based on a better understanding of the world around him and who he really is.

SIXTH ASSIGNMENT: sketch out the conditions for the inner conflict your protagonist will have. Why will they feel in turmoil? Conflicted? Anxious? Sketch out one hypothetical scenario in the story wherein this would be the case--consider the trigger and the reaction.

Next, likewise sketch a hypothetical scenario for the "secondary conflict" involving the social environment. Will this involve family? Friends? Associates? What is the nature of it?

David is at war with himself, with how he was raised, and with his ambivalence with finding the answers he wants in life and in his now defunct marriage. He worries about the emotional health of his daughter, the opinion of his domineering mother, and the overbearing constructs of the surrounding community in order to see his own happiness in life.

FINAL ASSIGNMENT: sketch out your setting in detail. What makes it interesting enough, scene by scene, to allow for uniqueness and cinema in your narrative and story? Please don't simply repeat what you already have which may well be too quiet. You can change it. That's why you're here! Start now. Imagination is your best friend, and be aggressive with it.

Mountain Brook is known as the Tiny Kingdom for good reason. It is the land where the Junior League, the Country Club, and the summer cotillion still matter. Where children attend private colleges and move back to work in the family business or medicine or law. It is a place of perfect public lives formed like diamonds under the weight of community opinion, and secret desires for different lives.

Saturdays are spent at dinner parties and benefits, followed by Sunday morning in church and Sunday afternoon at the country club buffet. The society pages are still carefully followed as a barometer of one’s station in life. It is where a differing opinion is seen as strange, and where eccentricities are only tolerated when colorful.

The unexpected death of his socialite wife gives David Cochrane a way to abandon this. With money and social status no longer a concern, he jettisons the world he’s inhabited for his entire life, leaving a confused community and family in his wake. His only concern is his daughter, who seems to share his disregard for the received wisdom of the Tiny Kingdom. With newfound freedom, he can spend his days the way he pleases in his pursuit of fulfillment and truth.

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