New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

A forum where New York Pitch Conference attendees post assignments related to their novel or nonfiction project. These assignments relate to conflict levels, antagonist and protagonist sketches, plot lines, as well as story premise.
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New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#1 Post by WritersBlock » 02 Jun 2017, 22:57

Algonkian Writer Conferences - Pre-Event Writer Assignments

For the New York Pitch Conference Only

Below are seven assignments which include readings and links. All of these are vital to reaching an understanding of what elements go into the writing of a commercially viable literary project, whether novel or narrative non-fiction. There is more to it, as you will learn at the conference, but this is for starters and a good primer.

You may return here as many times as you need to edit your topic post (login and click "edit" at the bottom of your post), even following the pitch conference. Pay special attention to antagonistic force, breakout title, conflict issues and setting.

Quiet novels do not sell. Keep that in mind.

Michael Neff
NYC Pitch Conference Director
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Instructions for Posting Responses

After you've registered and logged in, read the assignments below, click on "Post Reply" on the upper left of the page and enter your responses in the box provided, then click "submit." Once done, your reply will appear in this topic. Please make one reply for all of your responses so the forum topic will not become cluttered.

Strongly suggest typing up your reply in a separate file then copying it over to your post before submitting. Not a good idea to lose what you've done!


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THE ACT OF STORY STATEMENT

Before you begin to consider or rewrite your story premise, you must develop a simple "story statement." In other words, what's the mission of your protagonist (hero/ine)? Their goal? What must be done? What must she or he create? Destroy? Save? Accomplish? Defeated?Defy the dictator of the city and bury brother’s body (ANTIGONE)? Place a bet that will shake up the asylum (ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST)? Do whatever it takes to recover lost love (THE GREAT GATSBY)? Save the farm and live to tell the story (COLD MOUNTAIN)? Find the wizard and a way home to Kansas (WIZARD OF OZ)? Note that all of these are books with strong antagonists who drive or catalyze the plot line going forward. More on that later.

If you cannot conceive or write a simple story statement like those above (which will help define your story premise) then you don’t have a work of commercial fiction. Keep in mind that the PLOT LINE is an elaboration of the statement, of this "primary complication" of story statement. Also, look over the brief summaries of these novels in the Author Connect Deal News. These contain the simple statement, but more elaborated into a short hook.

FIRST ASSIGNMENT: write your story statement.

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THE ANTAGONIST PLOTS THE POINT

Since the antagonist in most successful commercial fiction is the driver of the plot line(s), what chances do you as a writer have of getting your manuscript, regardless of genre, commercially published if the story and narrative therein fail to meet reader demands for sufficient suspense, character concern, and conflict?

Answer: none. But what major factor makes for a quiet or dull manuscript brimming with insipid characters and a story that cascades from chapter to chapter with tens of thousands of words, all of them combining irresistibly to produce an audible thudding sound in the mind, rather like a fist hitting a side of cold beef?

Such a dearth of vitality in narrative and story frequently results from the unwillingness of the writer to create a suitable antagonist who stirs and spices the plot hash. And let's make it clear what we're talking about. By "antagonist" we specifically refer to an actual fictional character, an embodiment of certain traits and motivations who plays a significant role in catalyzing and energizing plot line(s), or at bare minimum, in assisting to evolve the protagonist's character arc (and by default the story itself) by igniting complication(s) the protagonist, and possibly other characters, must face and solve (or fail to solve).

CONTINUE READING ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE: http://www.authorsalon.com/page/general ... iterature/

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.

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CONJURING YOUR BREAKOUT TITLE

What is your breakout title? How important is a great title before you even become published? Very important! Quite often, agents and editors will get a feel for a work and even sense the marketing potential just from a title. A title has the ability to attract and condition the reader's attention. It can be magical or thud like a bag of wet chalk, so choose carefully. A poor title sends the clear message that what comes after will also be of poor quality.

Go to Amazon.Com and research a good share of titles in your genre, come up with options, write them down and let them simmer for at least 24 hours.Consider character or place names, settings, or a "label" that describes a major character, like THE ENGLISH PATIENT or THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST. Consider also images, objects, or metaphors in the novel that might help create a title, or perhaps a quotation from another source (poetry, the Bible, etc.) that thematically represents your story. Or how about a title that summarizes the whole story: THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES, HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS, THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP, etc.

Keep in mind that the difference between a mediocre title and a great title is the difference between THE DEAD GIRL'S SKELETON and THE LOVELY BONES, between TIME TO LOVE THAT CHOLERA and LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA between STRANGERS FROM WITHIN (Golding's original title) and LORD OF THE FLIES, between BEING LIGHT AND UNBEARABLE and THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING.

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

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DECIDING YOUR GENRE AND APPROACHING COMPARABLES

Did you know that a high percentage of new novel writers don't fully understand their genre, much less comprehend comparables?

When informing professionals about the nuances of your novel, whether by query letter or oral pitch, you must know your genre first, and provide smart comparables second. In other words, you need to transcend just a simple statement of genre (literary, mystery, thriller, romance, science fiction, etc.) by identifying and relating your novel more specifically to each publisher's or agent's area of expertise, and you accomplish this by wisely comparing your novel to contemporary published novels they will most likely recognize and appreciate--and it usually doesn't take more than two good comps to make your point.Agents and publishing house editors always want to know the comps.

There is more than one reason for this. First, it helps them understand your readership, and thus how to position your work for the market. Secondly, it demonstrates up front that you are a professional who understands your contemporary market, not just the classics. Very important! And finally, it serves as a tool to enable them to pitch your novel to the decision-makers in the business.Most likely you will need to research your comps. We've included some great starter websites for this purpose below. If you're not sure how to begin, go to Amazon.Com, type in the title of a novel you believe very similar to yours, choose it, then scroll down the page to see Amazon's list of "Readers Also Bought This" and begin your search that way.

Keep in mind that before you begin, you should know enough about your own novel to make the comparison in the first place!By the way, beware of using comparables by overly popular and classic authors. If you compare your work to classic authors like H.G. Wells and Gabriel Marquez in the same breath you will risk being declared insane. If you compare your work to huge contemporary authors like Nick Hornby or Jodi Picoult or Nora Ephron or Dan Brown or J.K. Rowling, and so forth, you will not be laughed at, but you will also not be taken seriously since thousands of others compare their work to the same writers. Best to use two rising stars in your genre. If you can't do this, use only one classic or popular author and combine with a rising star. Choose carefully!

FOURTH ASSIGNMENT:

- Read Caitlin's Comparables on Author Salon: http://www.authorsalon.com/craft/view/62/
- 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?


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CONSIDERING THE PRIMARY CONFLICT - COMING OF THE "AGON"

Conflict, tension, complication, drama--all basically related, and all going a long way to keeping the reader's eyes fixated on your story. These days, serving up a big manuscript of quiet is a sure path to damnation. You need tension on the page (esp in fiction), at all times, and the best way to accomplish this is to create (or find them in your nonfiction story) conflict and complications in the plot and narrative.

Consider "conflict" divided into three parts, all of which you should ideally have present. First, the primary conflict which drives through the core of the work from beginning to end and which zeniths with an important climax (falling action and denouement to follow). Next, secondary conflicts or complications which can take various social forms (anything from a vigorous love subplot to family issues to turmoil with fellow characters). Finally, those inner conflicts the major characters must endure and resolve.

And now, onto the PRIMARY CONFLICT.

If you've taken care to consider your story description and your hook line, you should be able to identify your main conflict(s). Let's look at some basic information regarding the history of conflict in storytelling:

Conflict was first described in ancient Greek literature as the agon, or central contest in tragedy. According to Aristotle, in order to hold the interest, the hero must have a single conflict. The agon, or act of conflict, involves the protagonist (the "first fighter") and the antagonist (a more recent term), corresponding to the hero and villain. The outcome of the contest cannot be known in advance, and, according to later critics such as Plutarch, the hero's struggle should be ennobling. Is that always true these days? Not always, but let's move on.

Even in contemporary, non-dramatic literature, critics have observed that the agon is the central unit of the plot. The easier it is for the protagonist to triumph, the less value there is in the drama. In internal and external conflict alike, the antagonist must act upon the protagonist and must seem at first to overmatch him or her.

The above defines classic drama that creates conflict with real stakes. You see it everywhere, to one degree or another, from classic contemporary westerns like THE SAVAGE BREED to a time-tested novel as literary as THE GREAT GATSBY. And of course, you need to have conflict or complications in nonfiction also, in some form, or you have a story that is too quiet.

For examples let's return to the story descriptions and create some CONFLICT LINES. Note these come close to being genuine hook lines, but that conflict is present regardless of genre.

The Hand of Fatima by Ildefonso Falcones
A young Moor torn between Islam and Christianity, scorned and tormented by both, struggles to bridge the two faiths by seeking common ground in the very nature of God.

Summer's Sisters by Judy Blume
After sharing a magical summer with a friend, a young woman must confront her friend's betrayal of her with the man she loved.

The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud
As an apprentice mage seeks revenge on an elder magician who humiliated him, he unleashes a powerful Djinni who joins the mage to confront a danger that threatens their entire world.

Note that it is fairly easy to ascertain the stakes in each case above: a young woman's love and friendship, the entire world, and harmony between opposed religions. If you cannot make the stakes clear, the odds are you don't have any.

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.

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OTHER MATTERS OF CONFLICT: TWO MORE LEVELS

Consider "conflict" divided into three parts, all of which you should ideally have present. First, the primary conflict which drives through the core of the work from beginning to end and which zeniths with an important climax (falling action and denouement to follow). Next, secondary conflicts or complications which can take various social forms (anything from a vigorous love subplot to family issues to turmoil with fellow characters). Finally, those inner conflicts the major characters must endure and resolve. You must note the inner personal conflicts elsewhere in this profile, but make certain to note any important interpersonal conflicts within this particular category."

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?


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THE INCREDIBLE IMPORTANCE OF SETTING

When considering your novel, whether taking place in a contemporary urban world or on a distant magical planet in Andromeda, you must first sketch the best overall setting and sub-settings for your story. Consider: the more unique and intriguing (or quirky) your setting, the more easily you're able to create energetic scenes, narrative, and overall story.

A great setting maximizes opportunities for interesting characters, circumstances, and complications, and therefore makes your writing life so much easier.

Imagination is truly your best friend when it comes to writing competitive fiction, and nothing provides a stronger foundation than a great setting. One of the best selling contemporary novels, THE HUNGER GAMES, is driven by the circumstances of the setting, and the characters are a product of that unique environment, the plot also.

But even if you're not writing SF/F, the choice of setting is just as important, perhaps even more so. If you must place your upmarket story in a sleepy little town in Maine winter, then choose a setting within that town that maximizes opportunities for verve and conflict, for example, a bed and breakfast stocked to the ceiling with odd characters who combine to create comical, suspenseful, dangerous or difficult complications or subplot reversals that the bewildered and sympathetic protagonist must endure and resolve while he or she is perhaps engaged in a bigger plot line: restarting an old love affair, reuniting with a family member, starting a new business, etc. And don't forget that non-gratuitous sex goes a long way, especially for American readers.

CONTINUE TO READ THIS ARTICLE THEN RETURN: http://www.authorsalon.com/craft/view/97/

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.

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JoeHero10
Posts: 1
Joined: 04 Jun 2017, 22:56

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#2 Post by JoeHero10 » 04 Jun 2017, 23:06

Assignment #1 THE ACT OF STORY STATEMENT
Elijah Jerusalem Scott creates a Darknet campaign with the answer for the suicidal. Make a Difference Kill Yourself.

Assignment #2 THE ANTAGONIST PLOTS THE POINT
Tim Sulczeck is the underachiever prison guard escorting EJ Scott to his three consecutive life prison terms. On the bus to prison, Sulczeck questions Scott about his Make a Difference Kill Yourself Darknet campaign, where he assisted people to commit suicide after pairing them with needy organ recipients. Sulczeck hopes to obtain the real scoop behind the assisted suicide scheme to score a valuable tabloid interview. He listens to the real story behind EJ’s seeming murder spree, but is unable to keep himself from interjecting his negative pop culture-influenced opinion of EJ’s intentions, thus revealing his unwillingness to consider whether healthy people driven to suicide should be allowed to exercise their rights to life or death.

Assignment #3 CONJURING YOUR BREAKOUT TITLE
Make a Difference Kill Yourself
I Help Them Die
Die Making a Difference

Assignment #4 DECIDING YOUR GENRE AND APPROACHING COMPARABLES
This novel is a dramatic thriller addressing the controversial aspect of assisted suicide, comparable to JoJo Moyes’ Me Before You with a Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club underground grit.

Assignment #5 CONSIDERING THE PRIMARY CONFLICT - COMING OF THE "AGON"

After assisting others to kill themselves, EJ Scott struggles to vindicate his intentions, while his prison guard escort is intent on proving he deserves his punishment.

Assignment #6 OTHER MATTERS OF CONFLICT: TWO MORE LEVELS
EJ Scott creates the Darknet assisted suicide campaign Make a Difference Kill Yourself with the help of his high school love, Alyssa Harding. Alyssa has asked her parents to allow her to be an organ donor, but they won’t allow it. She’s a minor. EJ has promised her to carry out her advance directive to help others with her organ donations, should the situation arise. That promise is challenged early on, when Alyssa ends up suffering a fatal car crash. EJ is torn between giving away his pregnant girlfriend to fulfill her wishes to his unproven suicide pairing scheme and allowing her parents to selfishly have their way with her.
After EJ’s decision to initiate his Darknet program with his own girlfriend’s organ donation, EJ empathizes with those wishing to commit suicide, patiently hearing them out for their reasons for their choices. He goes to great lengths to accommodate their final wishes to make a difference in others’ lives through their organ donations and subsequently raised funds. It culminates when EJ is faced with the ultimate choice of selfless demonstration of his intentions when he faces life in prison or must risk a prison break to save Alyssa’s self-serving mother.

Assignment #7 THE INCREDIBLE IMPORTANCE OF SETTING
A portion of the setting takes place on the bus taking EJ to begin serving his life prison sentence. He and the prison guard, Tim Sulczeck, discuss the aspects of his historical case leading up to his arrest and sentencing. In a world where assisted suicide has just been ruled legal in the state of Illinois, but remains dependent upon two physicians’ recommendations along with a terminal ruling of the patient within six months, EJ and Alyssa have decided to push against the establishment, helping those who wish to commit suicide for their own reasons. The bus setting is merely the stepping off point for scenes showing what really happened during EJ’s supposed murder spree. Later, EJ’s people stage a bus jacking to free EJ in his last bid to exonerate himself for his misdeeds in the public’s eye. The opposing facets of the assisted suicide concept make for a fulcrum on which the reader must weigh the conflict. So from small Midwest Illinois to Chicago, New Jersey hood and beyond, the story presents the reader with multiple views of assisted suicide, and furthermore, what EJ Scott has dared to achieve with it. What do you do when the law opposes personal choice and will send you to prison for exercising your free will? EJ faces these dilemmas and ultimately must choose between life or death as he struggles to redeem himself and be reunited with the love of his life.

Ginopaolino90069
Posts: 2
Joined: 04 Jun 2017, 23:34

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#3 Post by Ginopaolino90069 » 05 Jun 2017, 00:00


NEW YORK PITCH CONFERENCE ASSIGNMENTS AND ANSWERS



1. FIRST ASSIGNMENT
Write the Story Statement

"Jesus must survive the crucifixion and return to the temples of Kashmir."




2. SECOND ASSIGNMENT
Sketch the Antagonistic Force in the Story

The “antagonistic force” in “The True Story of Jesus” consists of the Pharisees, the Sadducees - including the Chief Priest, Caiaphas, and his father, Annas - and other key members of the Great Sanhedrin - all of whom constitute the core of the Jewish power structure in the world of ancient Israel.

As a result of the widespread amazement at the many miracles of Jesus, the members of the power structure felt increasingly threatened. The chief priest, Caiaphas, stated, “What do we do? For this man does many miracles. If we let him continue in these ways, all men will believe in him, and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and our nation.”

Therefore, based upon charges of “blasphemy” – “he calls himself the Son of God and, therefore, equal to God” – the Great Sanhedrin condemned Jesus to death. According to the scriptural edicts of Deuteronomy 13 and 21, Jesus was to be taken outside the walls of Jerusalem, buried in a hole up to his chest, and stoned to death.


3. THIRD ASSIGNMENT
Conjure the “Break Out Title”

The True Story of Jesus


Did Jesus Die on the Cross?


Jesus Christ: Man or God?








4. FOURTH ASSIGNMENT
Identify Genre - Provide Two Comparable Books

Spiritual - Religious
Story Directed to Catholics, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims

Two Comparable Books: “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” and “The Da Vinci Code”

“The True Story of Jesus” and each of these comparable books is based upon three fundamental premises: (1) that Jesus married Mary Magdalene, (2) that Jesus survived the crucifixion, and (3) that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had at least one child together.



5. FIFTH ASSIGNMENT

Primary Conflict – Secondary Conflict – Tertiary Conflict

(1) The Primary Conflict in “The True Story of Jesus” is the conflict between Jesus and the power structure of ancient Israel concentrated in the Great Sanhedrin in the City of Jerusalem. Although there had been many “prophets” and “seers” and “healers” over the years in the land of Israel, the members of the power structure were particularly threatened by Jesus and his teachings because Jesus taught: (1) that men and women were equal, (2) that everyone had the right to seek spiritual enlightenment, and (3) that everyone could connect directly with God without the intermediary of any idol, animal, temple or priest.

(2) The Secondary Conflict in “The True Story of Jesus” is the conflict between Jesus and Mary Magdalene about whether Jesus had to endure the danger and the agony of the crucifixion rather than making an attempt to escape Jerusalem.
After the Sanhedrin had condemned Jesus to death and issued an Arrest Warrant, the chief priest, Caiaphas, issued orders to double the guard at the city gates of Jerusalem, and to arrest Jesus immediately on sight.
Despite the orders issued by Caiaphas, Mary Magdalene thought of the horrors and the agony of the scourging and the crucifixion - and the very real danger that Jesus could die in prison - and she begged Jesus to consider an escape from Jerusalem.
Jesus had to convince Mary that, if he were caught, he would immediately be executed. Furthermore, Jesus insisted, the crucifixion was necessary because the Sanhedrin had to be convinced that he was “dead.” Otherwise, the “bounty hunters” would always be trailing Jesus and, wherever he went, he would always be looking over his shoulder.

(3) The Tertiary Conflict in “The True Story of Jesus” is the conflict between Jesus and Mary Magdalene about whether Jesus should continue to visit Mary Magdalene and little Sarah in Wales and England - or even France - after the crucifixion because all three remained strongholds of the Roman Empire and, the Roman soldiers - paid very well by the Pharisees - were still looking for Jesus.
Caiaphas was embarrassed that he had gotten custody of Jesus and could have stoned him to death and, instead, Joseph of Arimathea appeared to have conspired with Pontius Pilate to enable Jesus to survive the crucifixion, escape the tomb and, one way or another, “disappear!”
Caiaphas offered a bounty of a year’s salary in gold to any man who could deliver Jesus to the Temple Guard – dead or alive.
Over the years, the few sightings of Jesus in England and Wales triggered aggressive visits by the Roman Guards accompanied by the Pharisees searching for Jesus. By the time that little Sarah was just three years old, Mary Magdalene and Jesus decided that any further visits by Jesus to Wales and England would endanger Jesus and Mary Magdalene and little Sarah.
Therefore, Jesus and Mary Magdalene decided to dissolve their union to keep all of them safe from the bounty hunters. Jesus returned to Kashmir where he continued to teach and preach and perform his miracles for the next fifty years. Mary Magdalene and little Sarah moved to the South of France where Mary Magdalene continued to raise little Sarah and to teach “the eternal knowledge” to many people for many years throughout the region until she transcended to the heavenly realms.





6. SIXTH ASSIGNMENT

Sketch the Conditions for the Inner Conflict that Jesus will Experience

1. Primary Conflict

The “Primary Conflict” in “The True Story of Jesus” is between Jesus and the members of the power structure in Judea who felt threatened by Jesus and his teachings because Jesus taught “the eternal knowledge” to one and all, and he was intent on teaching and preaching and performing his healing “miracles” on the Sabbath – “My Father works on the Sabbath and, therefore, I work on the Sabbath.” By continuing to teach and preach and heal on the Sabbath, Jesus was increasingly antagonizing the Pharisees.
When Jesus “raised Lazarus from the dead,” the Pharisees reached a “breaking point” and, based upon charges of “blasphemy” – “he calls himself the Son of God and, therefore, equal to God” – the Great Sanhedrin condemned Jesus to death.



2. Secondary Conflict

The “Secondary Conflict” in “The True Story of Jesus” is the conflict between Jesus and Mary Magdalene about whether Jesus had to endure to danger and the agony of the crucifixion rather than making an attempt to escape Jerusalem. Jesus is conflicted about the crucifixion because of the agony and the danger and the very real possibility that he could die in prison. However, Jesus believes that, by “faking his death,” the Pharisees will no longer searching for him, and that he could live in relative safety with Mary Magdalene and their child.

3. Tertiary Conflict

The “Tertiary Conflict” in “The True Story of Jesus” is the conflict between Jesus and Mary Magdalene about whether Jesus should continue to visit Mary Magdalene and little Sarah in Wales and England - or even France - after the crucifixion. Mary Magdalene is the “love of his life,” but Jesus recognizes the danger to Mary Magdalene and to little Sarah if he continues to visit them in Britain.
Jesus knows that he and Mary Magdalene must part company forever in order to protect themselves and little Sarah, but Jesus is conflicted because of his life-long love for Mary Magdalene – they met in the temples of Egypt when Jesus was five years old and Mary Magdalene was only two – and Jesus has a hard time imagining a life without Mary Magdalene.




7. SEVENTH ASSIGNMENT

Sketch the Settings

The settings for “The True Story of Jesus” will be extraordinary because of all of the different sacred sites and temples and monasteries where Jesus grew up – particularly all of the architecture and stone monuments.

When Jesus was two years old, Mary and Joseph took Jesus to Egypt where he grew up amongst the Essenes in the precincts of the temples. When Jesus was about five years old, Mary and Joseph took Jesus back to Nazareth where he lived with his parents until he was about thirteen. When Jesus was about 13 years old, Joseph of Arimathea, made arrangements to take him to England to introduce him to the Druids and to the Druidic Mysteries, and to visit the sacred sites and spaces of Avalon, Glastonbury Tor, and Stonehenge.

From England, Joseph and Jesus returned to Nazareth, and Joseph made arrangements for Jesus to continue his education by enrolling him in a program of studies in the ancient monasteries and temples in the Middle East and India.

According to the written records in these monasteries and temples, Jesus traveled along “the Old Silk Road” and spent years at a time studying and meditating in the ancient temples and monasteries in Persia, Afghanistan, India, Nepal, Tibet and Kashmir.

Jesus started his journey to the East by traveling north from Palestine to reach the “Old Silk Road” and, along the way, he would have stopped in Damascus in Syria where he would have visited the Essene community.

Jesus then traveled east to Babylon in Babylonia. While in Babylon, Jesus would have walked past the “Tower of Babel.” And Jesus would have seen the “Hanging Gardens of Babylon.” From Babylon, Jesus would have continued east into Persia. And Jesus would have visited King Melchior at his palace in Persia.

From Persia, Jesus would have traveled to the city of Bactria in Northern Afghanistan. From Afghanistan, Jesus would have turned south and crossed into The Sindh in the Rajasthan region of northwest India where he would have visited the ancient temples.

While in Rajasthan, Jesus would have meditated in The Jain Temple of Ranakpur, and Jesus would have visited King Caspar of India.

By the age of 14, Jesus had reached the “Holy City” of Palitana in the Gujarat region in India and he would have meditated at the Shatrunjaya Temple in Palitana, Gujarat. Thereafter, Jesus traveled east to Benares where he would have meditated in The Great Temple of Benares.

Thereafter, Jesus traveled south to Puri in Orissa where studied in the great Jagannath Temple for six years until he was 21 years old. Thereafter, Jesus traveled to Kapilvastu in Nepal where he studied at the The Grand Temple of Krishna in Patan, Nepal and then to Lhasa in Tibet where he studied in the Grand Temple of Buddha at Lhasa.

Jesus then traveled along the Himalayas to the city of Ladak, Leh where he studied at the Hemis Monastery.

Jesus then returned to the Rajasthan region in India where he studied and meditated in the temples including The Meera Temple in Chitorgarth, Rajasthan and the Jain Temple of Ranakpur.

Thereafter, Jesus journeyed to Persepolis in ancient Persia where he stayed for a year with the Zoroastrians until he was 28 years old.

Jesus then traveled to Athens, Greece where he studied the Eleusinian mysteries and the philosophies of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle and the mysteries of Hermes and Pythagoras.
When Jesus was 29 years old, he then traveled to Glastonbury in England where he completed his studies in the mysteries of the Druids, and he returned to the sacred sites of Avalon, Glastonbury Tor and Stonehenge.

When Jesus was 30 years old – after visiting Avalon, Glastonbury Tor, and Stonehenge and mastering his studies with the Druids – he traveled from England across the English Channel, over the Continent of Europe, and across the Mediterranean Sea to Alexandria in Egypt where he had grown up amongst the Essenes in the precincts of the temples.

Jesus arrived in Egypt and was prepared for his final initiation in the King’s Chamber in the Great Pyramid of Giza.

After Jesus emerged from the Great Pyramid, he was then “betrothed” to Mary Magdalene in the gardens of the mansion owned by his great uncle, Joseph of Arimathea, outside Jerusalem – the same gardens with the massive rock formation into which the sepulcher would be carved and into which Jesus would be entombed after the crucifixion.
The settings surrounding Jesus during the course of his ministry in Judea were usually outside in the countryside. Jesus would often teach from a hillside, or from a boat, or in a field.
However, the interior settings of the buildings will be quite magnificent – the high ceilings and massive stone and marble structures of the temples, the Palace of King Herod, the Palace of the chief priest, Caiaphas, the Palace of the Governor, Pontius Pilate, and the beautiful mansions owned by Joseph of Arimathea – one mansion outside of Jerusalem with the vast gardens and the massive rock formation, and another mansion within the walls of Jerusalem.
Finally, after Jesus survives the crucifixion, there will be beautiful settings while Mary Magdalene is sailing through the Mediterranean Sea to France, and then on to Glastonbury in England, and while Jesus is heading back to the East through Damascus, Babylonia, and Persia, and India where he visited all of the temples and monasteries where he grew up as a youth, and then to the Vale of Kashmir in India in the Himalayas where Jesus made his home and lived for the next fifty years until he transcended to the heavenly realms at the age of 83, and his body was buried in a tomb in Srinagar in the Kashmir region of India.

judilee2
Posts: 1
Joined: 05 Jun 2017, 07:46

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#4 Post by judilee2 » 05 Jun 2017, 08:50

1. FIRST ASSIGNMENT: write your story statement.

When this 40-year-old woman gets divorced she plans to be celibate until she hits her sexual prime and begins craving the very this she fears will kill her - sex.

Her goal - To find a meaningful, sexually relationship with man who doesn’t wasn’t want marriage and children without catching an STD.


2. 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.

She dates at least 8 antagonists whose goals are marriage and children. They are trustworthy, men who want the American dream but that not what she wants. The main antagonist, #9, doesn’t want marriage and children yet succeeds in getting the hero to give up her career goals to help him peruse his own. He carries childhood wounds of poverty, abuse and abandonment. He is an overbearing man who needs to be the smartest person in every room. He uses his uncanny ability of reading people to plant ideas in her head, patiently waiting for them to take root until she thinks they are her own.

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

Fornicationally Challenged: A Post Marital Dating Memoir

4. FOURTH ASSIGNMENT:
comparables for your novel.

The memoir is comparable to Something’s Gotta Give. The story about of a mature, attractive, successful female rekindling her sex/love life and also similar to Sex and the City for its witty sexual banter but has a touch of An Unmarried Woman because it’s a feminist story of a woman making her own rules.

5. 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.

Finally broken free from an oppressive marriage, a woman struggles with the urges her sexual prime demands and the morals with which she was raised.

6. SIXTH ASSIGNMENT:

The inner conflict is her Mother’s voice in her head. It tells her divorce was wrong and that having sex with men makes you a floozy. It adds to her fear that an STD will kill her and creates guilt over the fact that she moved away from her children.

"secondary conflict"

After moving across country for a man, a woman loses her career, mobility, money, family and the guy. In an attempt to win it all back she risks losing herself.

FINAL ASSIGNMENT:

The setting begins in north/west suburb of Chicago where her Ex-husband wanted to live and raise their children. It moves with our hero into the City of Chicago she loves, and then to Los Angeles where she tries to make her career dreams come true. It is in LA that she finds herself. Her new boyfriend quilts her into a move to New York City and later to Queens, NY where their relationship takes a nosedive and she comes full circle back to Chicago.

chelseaflagg
Posts: 1
Joined: 06 Jun 2017, 00:22

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#5 Post by chelseaflagg » 06 Jun 2017, 00:25

Tinsey Clover Goes to School - Middle Grade Fantasy


1. STORY STATEMENT
A young elf disguised as a human must expose the middle school principal’s secret identify without also revealing her own.


2. THE ANTAGONIST PLOTS THE POINT
Bose, The Dark Elf, has one motive in mind: to destroy the Waserfall elves. It’s what his father strived for, and his father before him, and so on. Bose tries a different approach than his predecessors, though. He disguises himself as a human and smuggles his way in to become the Oakville middle school principal. There, he begins recruiting all the naughty students in hopes to form an army that can help him attack the forest. He’s known to give all the elves nightmares, and is as nasty as nasty gets. Even still, he has his short-comings, though. For one, he’s addicted to coffee. He had never tasted it before sneaking into the human town, and now, he can’t get enough. His love of the stuff has even been known to distract him from his mission.


3. CONJURING YOUR BREAKOUT TITLE
Tales of the Wasserfalls
My Principal is a Dark Elf
Tinsey Clover, Taking Over


4. DECIDING YOUR GENRE AND APPROACHING COMPARABLES
Tinsey Clover carries similar playful tones as Flora and Ulysses with a light-hearted fantasy-meets-reality plot akin to Gail Carson Levine’s fairy and princess novels. It’s geared toward an early and/or sensitive middle grade audience interested in stories about social outsiders solving problems without adult assistance.


5. CONSIDERING THE PRIMARY CONFLICT - COMING OF THE “AGON"
After years of dreaming about it, a young elf finally sneaks into human school, only to learn that her principal is actually The Dark Elf in disguise and is plotting to destroy her family and home.


6. OTHER MATTERS OF CONFLICT: TWO MORE LEVELS
* Inner Conflict 

Tinsey is torn. She knows she needs to tell someone about the Dark Elf’s hideout and plan, but she doesn’t dare risk giving up her own disguise as a human sixth grader.

* Secondary Conflict

Tinsey ultimately reveals her secret to her two new human friends. One agrees to help her, but the other determines its too dangerous and insists she won’t help until Tinsey tells more people about The Dark Elf.


7. THE INCREDIBLE IMPORTANCE OF SETTING
Tinsey lives in the Waserfall Forest; a dark, scary, forbidden place for the humans in the nearby town. To tinsey, the Waserfall Forest doesn’t represent any of those words, though. To her, the only word to describe it is BORING. The food is drab, the clothes are drab, the other elves are drab. The only thing that makes the forest exciting is the bits of human trash that gets moved down from the human town. Tinsey’s sure human school would be just as exciting as those bits of human trash.

In the human town of Oakville, everything is bright and interesting. There are machines that let students sip water from a fountain at the touch of a button, and glass doors that slide open and closed entirely on their own. Like magic. Then, there’s this glorious place called TARGET, which is full of lots and lots of bits of human trash all stacked up on shelves. It’s like heaven.

But, in the end, Tinsey uses the forest—where her tree house exists, and the place she’s most comfortable—to capture her enemy.

lynnleigh41
Posts: 1
Joined: 03 Jun 2017, 23:34

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#6 Post by lynnleigh41 » 06 Jun 2017, 01:46

#1 THE ACT OF STORY STATEMENT

A man recovers his inner strength during his journey with a young boy.

#2 THE ANTAGONIST PLOTS THE POINT

Nug, an escaped convicted murderer, comes to his family for help and forces them at gunpoint to include him in a job promising easy getaway money. What was intended as a well-financed Halloween prank turns potentially deadly when Nug recognizes the victim not as a down-and-out hobo, but as the president of the United States in disguise. Instead of a fake kidnapping scheme, Nug decides to do the job for real. Quickly, his paranoid schizophrenia spirals out of control, and what started as easy money for a job turns into hope for a presidential pardon, then an irrational plan for murder


#3 CONJURING YOUR BREAKOUT TITLE.

MY FRIEND THE PRESIDENT
BIGGER THAN AN EAGLE
LONG WAY HOME
THE ZEPHYR

#4 PART DECIDING YOUR GENRE AND APPROACHING COMPARABLES

GENRE: Southern Fiction / Historical Fiction

THE COMPARABLES:
OH BROTHER WHERE ART THOU’
Three chain gang members escape from prison run from the law as they try to recover buried money. Their different personalities, and varied obstacles encountered, develop into a misadventure filled with humor.

STAND BY ME
Three boys, a sensitive, a tough guy, a scaredy-cat in search of a missing teenager’s body set out on a two day trip that turns into a two day odyssey of self discovery that encounter hoods out for the same purpose. The boys develop an inner strength with friendship and indelible experience they had never experienced. A story with humor and suspense.

Four rambunctious young boys plunge through the façade of a small town and come face-to-face with life, death, and intimations of their own mortality.

THESE ARE MY COMPARABLES BECAUSE…
Both stories are comparable to MY FRIEND THE PRESIDENT as each encompasses characters different in personality and background brought together on a journey or quest. Time and place are critical to the mood of each of the novels.
Raymond is a young black boy expected to have only another year or two of life who is on an adventure fraught with unexpected danger and trouble. The president merely needs to spend four days unrecognized, dependent on the kindness of strangers. Because of the unexpected consequences of their actions and outside events they become close friends who must rely on each other to survive and reach their now common goal.


#5 CONSIDERING THE PRIMARY CONFLICT-COMING OF THE ‘AGON’

Conflict Line: The president is on his own, in disguise, and dependent on the good will of others. He is the target of a kidnapping scheme and is recognized by an escaped murderer who gives chase.

#6 SECONDARY CONFLICT/INNER CONFLICT
When the president decides to help Raymond in his quest, unexpected events cut them off from the president’s usual route of rescue and force them to outwit their pursuers on their own. When Raymond’s health declines and his life is at stake the president finds himself dependent on the outcast of society for aide.

Inner conflict: The president has to struggle with the temptation to give the aide he has at his disposal instead of letting events unfold.

There is a moment of chaos during a church revival and Raymond loses all of the money he has to complete his trip. The president faces a choice: make a few phone calls and arrange for the boy to get home or support the boy on his journey. When the president stays with Raymond he promises himself that he won’t provide money or outside assistance but will stick with him as Raymond makes his own decisions.

#7 SKETCH OUT YOUR SETTING IN DETAIL

MY FRIEND THE PRESIDENT is set in the depression era of 1938. The story of a man and boy and their journey in a Lincoln Zephyr (a car that is identical to the real car used by the president of the United States), they travel through the American South encountering itinerant preachers and church revivals, cotton pickers doing day labor, and escaped convicts hunted by Bloodhounds. They swim in the Mississippi River and hide in a corn field. All to deliver a car and achieve a boy’s life long dream.

loriz112
Posts: 1
Joined: 06 Jun 2017, 22:26

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#7 Post by loriz112 » 07 Jun 2017, 02:13

Trudy Hicks Ghost Hunter
By Lori Zaremba

Assignment #1 Act of Story Statement

Trudy must discover why the ghosts that she is investigating are unable to rest in peace.


Assignment #2 The Antagonist
The Antagonist in my story is actually a dark energy that has been created by combining the anger from one spirit Douglas Thorton, who while alive was desperate to learn if Vanessa’s son was, in fact, his son. His anger at her for deceiving him hangs heavily in the shadows of the home. This combined with the spirit of all of all around bad guy, blackmailer Eric Gallow, an Attorney and former lover of Vanessa’s deceased husband. Both men died in the house from a strange accident, when they came to serve Vanessa papers regarding custody of her son.
Trudy must uncover the whole story as both men were considered missing in the 1920’s and since their bodies were never found and the cold case never solved, they have not been able to find peace.
Trudy, with the help of a psychic, discovers the evidence that leads them to the homes dark basement and the men’s buried remains.

Assignment #3 Conjuring Your Breakout Title

TRUDY HICKS GHOST HUNTER
A Flapper In Love
COLD CASE PARANORMAL EDITION

Assignment #4 Genre and comparable.
Paranormal Romance, Mystery Romance
As a Paranormal Romance, This story is mysterious and requires not only contacting the dead but great investigative work. A light and enjoyable read, reminiscent of The night is watching, Heather Graham.

The story bridges both sides of the great divide such as -Ghost Detective, Scott William Carter. The difference is Trudy Hicks can tell the difference between a human and a ghost.

Assignment 5 Conflict Line
An ex-cop faces her biggest investigation yet. This time, however, the persons of interest have long departed the earth but their tortured souls are still creating chaos. She must discover the truth so that these spirits can finally rest in peace.


Assignment #6
The Primary Conflict
This is Trudy’s first big case. She must rely on dead people to help her solve their unrest. Sometimes they just don’t want to cooperate. She will have to utilize her basic cop instincts, a psychic and the cold case evidence all the while meeting resistance of a dark energy inside the home.
Scenario 1:
Trudy, Jason and Patrick the cameraman, watch a black mass head down to the basement. They have to follow the evidence, even if it's terrifying.
The air was thick and oppressive. They heard shuffling from the far corner and Jason pointed his flashlight in that direction. Trudy scanned the area with her thermal imaging camera. They heard movement again followed by a low moan. Jason looked at her with a look of pure disbelief and mouthed
“What was that?” Trudy started walking to where the sound came from; the screen on her camera went white. The next thing she knew, she was being shoved back into Jason who was taken completely by surprise and stumbled awkwardly into Patrick.
“What the hell are you doing?” Jason steadied her.
“Someone shoved me!” She turned around and was shoved again. This time she fell to the ground. “What the hell?”
The Secondary Conflict
She also has to deal with the feelings that she is developing for Jason Young. Trudy see’s any serious relationship with him as doomed, not only because they live in different States but also her unwillingness to be hurt again.

Scenario 2:
After a night of making love, Jason informs Trudy that he is packing up and heading home in a few hours. She says her goodbyes and holds herself together while she goes over the latest evidence with her team.

Trudy felt a fat tear roll down her cheek; she had to excuse herself from the table. She thought about Jason’s dream where Nathan had told Vanessa that he loved her and then what had transpired after between Jason and herself in bed. She could barely catch her breath.
She wondered what it was like to be loved like that… “Hold it together girl”
Her hand protectively covered the scar over her heart and she made her way outside for some fresh air. She sucked in the cool air trying to regain her composure and to clear her head.
She seriously didn’t know who she was sadder for…Vanessa or herself?
Maybe like Vanessa, she needed to get home, resume her normal routine and heal her hurting heart.
She caught the scent of Leslie's perfume and knew she was standing behind her.
“What’s up buttercup?” Leslie gave her a nudge as she leaned on the rail next to her.
“Nothing different here.” Both watched in silence as Jason started loading equipment into one of the vans.
“At least I didn’t make a complete fool of myself.” Leslie wrapped her arm around Trudy’s waist.
“I’m sure that’s not true.” Leslie quipped bringing a bark of laughter from Trudy.
“I said complete… although a fool for sure.”
Leslie turned so she could sit on the rail studying Trudy’s face.
“I really liked the two of you together… Are you sure you won’t see him again?”
“I don’t see how… two different states and a four-hour drive and besides he hasn’t mentioned it or even expressed an interest in pursuing anything”
“Have you?” Leslie reached over to grasp Trudy’s hand.

Assignment #7 The Setting
The beginning of the story is at Trudy’s home in Pittsburgh Suburb where she reminisces about her life up to this point and why she has decided on a new line of work.
She and her ghost hunting team head to a turn of the twentieth-century Mansion built on the Chicago Gold Coast. The large home has been restored to its original splendor, from its grand stairway to the magnificent chandelier that is suspended above the foyer. The scenes in the home are in the present but also fade into the past when the Psychic Dana takes them to the 1920’s to meet Vanessa. The journey also reveals the history of Chicago, from glamorous Art Deco ballrooms, tawdry speakeasies, and a forbidden swimming hole. Vanessa also takes a trip to New York City to find a baby daddy. While there, she attends glittering parties, goes to The Metropolitan Opera House and stays in a well-appointed suite at the Biltmore Hotel, where she finds love.
Trudy and Jason take a Harley ride up Route 32 along Lake Michigan into Wisconsin. They discover small towns and have an unexpected overnight stay at a B&B.
Once the case is solved, Trudy heads back to her quaint little house. Albeit lovesick, she is up to her elbows in domestic bliss, making meatballs and listening to Metallica in her well-used kitchen. Jason pays her a visit.

JamieThompson
Posts: 1
Joined: 03 Jun 2017, 00:43

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#8 Post by JamieThompson » 07 Jun 2017, 07:17

Assignment answers from Jamie Thompson.

Story Statement

Finn must find the king’s missing head in order to rescue his kidnapped brother.


The Antagonist

With his head separated from his body, Samhain, king of Mag Mell, uniquely presents two different kinds of antagonists. His body is like a wild animal, always on the hunt, and relentless in his search. Uncaring of whoever or whatever gets in his way. Between the two, the king’s body makes for a more fearsome threat, since he is incapable of communication and therefore cannot be reasoned with. Samhain’s head, on the other head, is vastly different. Without a body, communication is all he is capable of, and uses his words like a weapon. He taunts the main character, Finn, at every turn, and is always trying to find ways of tricking Finn into a trap. Since he can speak he is the more relatable of the two types of antagonists, but he is impossible to trust. One can never be sure when he is speaking the truth, or when he is lying to achieve his goals, and this actually makes him the more dangerous of the two.


Breakout Title

Welcome to Mag Mell (current working title)
Now Entering Mag Mell
A Hallow Eve
Heads Will Roll
From Sunset to Sunset


Genre Comparables

Genre
Middle Grade (could be enjoyed by both middle school and young adult readers)
Fantasy, horror, supernatural(?).

Comparables
Coraline and The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
These books have some delightfully macabre imagery that is both terrifying and fun at the same time, which is the same effect I have tried to achieve with the imagery in my own story. Also, the audience for these books is the same age range as the audience I intend to reach.
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
This story is very different from my own, and has a very different set of characters. However, the comparable to my work is in the style of the language, and in Taylor’s word choice and sentence structure.
Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie
Although not Rushdie’s most current work, the comparables between this story and my own are worth noting. Both Haroun and my own main character try to bring logic to a world that has none, and only succeed once they start to accept that world’s unique rules. Also, both characters are primarily motivated by family, which is not seen as much in male characters.


Primary Conflict

To keep his brother from being sacrificed to a headless king, Finn must find the king’s missing head before the door back to their own world closes forever.


Two Other Matters of Conflict

Inner Conflict- Finn is of course terrified that he will not save his brother Robin in time. However, all throughout the journey he struggles with insecurities caused by his life as a foster child, and his sense of not belonging anywhere. Plus, it turns out he has been keeping a secret that could rip apart what little family he has left. Trying to make his way through the king’s fortress, which can create illusions tailored to each individual enemy, Finn has to literally face down his fears in order to complete his mission to save his brother.

Secondary Conflict- Finn meets many different characters on his journey, but he cannot trust any of them. Such as Balor, the man that orchestrated his brother’s kidnapping, and Nessa, a resistance leader who wants to use Finn to destroy the king. The most conflicting relationship is between Finn and Samhain, the king who cursed Mag Mell to begin with. When they are forced to spend time together Finn finds himself actually liking the man, which puts him in an awkward position since he has to destroy him in order to save Robin and return home.


Setting
Most of this story takes place in Mag Mell, a cursed kingdom cut off from the rest of the world. In this kingdom time as no effect, and nothing ever changes. The people have no color, and the animals have three eyes. However, what it lacks in color it makes up for in texture. The way the buildings are described brings to mind American Queen Anne architecture (although this title is never used) with lots of odd details and intricate patterns. In the second half of the story, Finn ventures into the king’s fortress, (which is based off the Winchester Mystery House). This fortress can create illusions, so even though he is indoors, he comes across a desert, a middle school classroom, a haunted forest, and many other strange environments on his journey.

bestonbarnett
Posts: 1
Joined: 02 Jun 2017, 23:45

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#9 Post by bestonbarnett » 07 Jun 2017, 22:57

about my literary fantasy, Aesop's Garden
- Beston Barnett, in San Diego

1) story statement:

Save the folklore collection by facing a haunting memory.

2) antagonist (200 words):

Lukas, Sibyl’s boyfriend’s evil older brother, is determined to find his mother, even if it means maiming others, mutilating himself, or allying with an evil god. He blames himself (and his younger brother) for the loss of their mother, who disappeared after a hallucinatory game went wrong when they were kids. He rationalizes some of his more distasteful actions—kidnapping and cutting out character’s tongues—with the notion that he is still inside that hallucinatory game, still trying to rescue his mother. In his lifelong effort to find his way back into that original hallucination, he has run the gamut of drugs and obscure cults, from Amsterdam to California and back, and now is a member of a Satanic sex cult called the Setians.
Lukas—before Sybil learns his story, she refers to him as the devil and then later as the Setian—is tall, skinny, pale, and there’s something odd about his long face, as though one side has been permanently frozen in grief. Sybil’s research is in devil-related folklore: when she first encounters Lukas, part of her believes she has met the devil.

3) title:

Aesop’s Garden (I’m fairly certain this is the one)
Mouse, Lion, Snake
To Trap the Devil in a Story

4) comparables: (I’ve had a lot of trouble with this. In my queries, I went with the top two.)

American Gods – Neil Gaiman
The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
Among Others – Jo Walton
The Book of Lost Things – John Connolly
Kafka on the Shore – Haruki Murakami
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore – Robin Sloane

5) primary conflict:

A young librarian, Sybil Greene, must trap the devil in a story if she is to save the folklore collection and the other librarians that work there.

6) inner conflict:

A childhood memory—so haunting that it can trigger epileptic fits—has left Sybil isolated. If she is to truly connect with her new lover or survive her conflict with the devil, she must face this haunting memory and understand it.

secondary conflict:

During her first weeks at the folklore collection, the discovery of a magical object (the "Key to Aesop’s Garden") allows Sybil to see that her mentor is a talking lion and her best friend is a talking goat. Complications arising from this new “power”—Is she going crazy? Who else can see what she sees? Why did it come to her? Who is trying to steal it?—fuel most of the second act.

7) setting:

The first two acts of the story take place in modern-day Berlin, where Sybil relocates from California after being offered a librarian’s position at a mysterious folklore collection. Most of the action is in the collection itself—the Sammlung der Märchensammlung—a quirky and wonderful labyrinth of folklore-related materials, from recent field recordings to ancient cuneiform tablets , located beneath the Berlin State Library and accessed through a Prussian ballroom filled with card catalogs. Sybil falls for the illustrator who works in the coffee cart outside the Sammlung, and the two explore Berlin’s museums, restaurants, parks, and bakeries as their romance deepens. And some of the city’s scarred past works its way into the history of the collection and the magical object Sybil finds there.

In the last act, Sybil and her new lover flee along a trail of clues to the Greek island of Samos, and from there Sybil passes alone into Aesop’s Garden, always pursued by Lukas. Aesop’s Garden is a kind of “spirit world” or “source of stories” where the only sounds are ones she makes herself. The landscape here is given to abrupt changes: yellow grassland abuts green jungle abuts red desert. In order to defeat Lukas, who has turned himself into a rampaging chimerical monster, she must learn story-making, first from Aesop in his vegetable garden and then trapped in a sandy amphitheater in the desert with a giant snake.

IWriteFantasy10
Posts: 1
Joined: 03 Jun 2017, 10:06

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#10 Post by IWriteFantasy10 » 08 Jun 2017, 08:48

1#STORY STATEMENT
Die, take rebirth, and defy time itself to recover your love and defeat the Red Soul.

#2 THE ANTAGONIST PLOTS THE POINT
The Red Soul— operating out of the underwater Deepatomb, is the leader of the deadly Soulworld. Born out of an unnatural death of a rogue underwater species, the Soul is aspiring to become an immortal by capturing the magical Diamond Solaris from Natura. Standing in the way is a nineteen-year-old prince, Ra, who took rebirth on the island of Kauai to not only protect Natura but to reinvigorate his love with her.
Soon after Natura and Ra were reunited on the island in A.D. 1408, the Soul comes out of twenty-five-thousand-nine-hundred-twenty-years of self-imposed exile. Traveling on a gigantic seahorse through the underwater volcano trenches and bloody basins, the Soul aims at the Solaris. Unleashed by the evil powers, the Soulworld attacks the island of Kauai striking Ra and Natura for the diamond Solaris. They barely escape the wrath of the vengeful Soulworld. The island witnesses vitriol and death. Red Soul’s virulent power cannot be stopped as it takes up Natura’s species form. But, there is only one way left for Ra to stop the Soul from sieging the Solaris. With all the underwater powers, will the Red Soul become the immortal?

#3 CONJURING YOUR BREAKOUT TITLE
25,920 Years Apart
Fire in the ocean

#4 DECIDING YOUR GENRE AND APPROACHING COMPARABLES

Genre: YA Fantasy, thriller, romance

Comparables:

This is where I have had difficulty so far due to the unique story and the setting this book offers. Besides, the characters are a product of Hawaiian mythology. However, the protagonist, Ra, resembles Magnus Chase in Rick Riordan’s Magnus Chase and the God’s of Asgard. Despite of the differences in setting and mythology, both are motivated to find a missing weapon—that was used by their father (Magnus Chase) or an ancient family member (in the case of Ra). Both are forced into epic battles to defeat the enemy with the help of their weapons.

On a refreshing note, the heroine in this book is a courageous girl— belonging to an underwater world who lost everything and is waiting to take revenge along with her love interest— resembling Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games series, both fighting for survival of their worlds. On the other hand, the world creation is inspired by the Avatar movie (James Cameron).

5# CONSIDERING THE PRIMARY CONFLICT
A nineteen-year old prince—who took rebirth on the island of Kauai, must protect his love and her Diamond Solaris by confronting the underwater Red Soul who threatens both their worlds.

6# OTHER MATTERS OF CONFLICT

Inner conflict

Soon after his oath-taking ceremony, Ra is shocked that eight of his siblings—which Ra never knew about, were sacrificed at the Heiau (temple). Plus, ever since his mom told him about the Soulworld, which was responsible for killing his siblings, he couldn’t sleep through the nights. He is puzzled that no one on the island had any clue what the monstrous Soulworld was.

When Natura meets him with the Diamond Solaris, she tells him that both are in great danger from the Red Soul. The more Natura talks about the conflict, the more Ra learns about his previous birth secrets. Plus, Ra feels the pieces of the puzzle are falling into the right place. Before Ra and Natura line up all the clues, the Red Soul strikes the island of Kauai for the first time ever in twenty-five-thousand-nine-hundred-twenty-years.

Secondary conflict

Born as the ninth child in his family—after all of his siblings were killed by the Red Soul, Ra struggles to convince his mom to let him go and confront the danger who threatens their world. Plus, his mom doesn’t believe in Natura and her world. It creates turmoil in Ra’s mind. With the help from his dad and a Kahuna (community chief), Ra performs Pele’s fire ring ceremony that turns a page in Natura’s favor.

#7 THE INCREDIBLE IMPORTANCE OF SETTING
This story takes place on the lush island of Kauai and its surroundings. It begins with Ra taking an oath on the island of Kauai in A.D. 1408. Ra is a vivid dreamer and a skilled diver who also enjoys whale riding. His dreams often take him to events that are likely to happen on the island—the future. All the interesting characteristics combine to create a dashing protagonist. On the other hand, his siblings’ sacrifices stir the deeper conflict outside the protagonist’s control. The time plot and the Kauaian tribal rituals elevate the narrative into a much deeper canvas around the conflict.

When Ra meets Natura, she claims she waited for his rebirth to take revenge on the Red Soul. The secrets of the Solaris make readers feel that something is happening in the outer world that affects characters’ lives. Moreover, Natura takes him on a trip to her world that no human had ever seen before. The encounter with the Soulworld and the confrontation thereof gives Ra a glimpse of the fascinating underwater world—a quirky and magical world with green skinned ocean-dwelling humans.

The more Natura talks about the conflict, the more Ra learns about the underwater world and the romantic love between them from his previous birth. As the love between them cherish, Ra is drawn into a battle for the survival of his people. After uncovering an ancestral trident from his previous birth, Ra travels on a blue whale (Blui) along with Natura to the unseen world of Deepatomb through underwater volcano trenches and bloody basins to confront the Red Soul. Besides, a pack of horses, Aina and Moana and Ra’s ocean friend, Blui, add a refreshing breeze to the story.

The island of Kauai and the world of Solaris are uniquely in sync with the conflict. Ra’s vivid dreams, fascinating powers of the Diamond Solaris combined with Hawaiian mythological events bring rich subplots to the world filled with love, romance and revenge.

BrandonClark25
Posts: 1
Joined: 08 Jun 2017, 21:36

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#11 Post by BrandonClark25 » 08 Jun 2017, 21:47

FIRST ASSIGNMENT: write your story statement.
Graduate to earn the crown.


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.
After sixteen years of war, Queen Victoria of Mauren decides to change her strategy from a frontal assault to subterfuge, though her goal of destroying the Kingdom that murdered her husband never wavers. She has trained an operative, Belle, for years in the art of seduction, combat and espionage, to await Prince Devin’s Awakening. When the Prince’s eyes finally turn blue and he enters the Alivan Academy, Belle is close behind. She flirts and fights her way into Devin’s arms, only to be passed over when the other members of the prince’s Triumvirate are chosen. Belle arranges the assassination of a rival during a training exercise, then covers her tracks by killing another Mauren spy just before she is captured by the Prince and his friends. When Belle learns that the Prince’s marriage will be arranged with another member of his Triumvirate, she murders the King and tries to frame the Prince in a last ditch effort to destabilize the Kingdom enough for Victoria and her allies to break the stalemate at the front lines.

THIRD ASSIGNMENT: create a breakout title (list several options, not more than three, and revisit to edit as needed).
The Aygem Heir
A Throne in Flames
Gembreakers


FOURTH ASSIGNMENT: 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?
Genre: YA Fantasy
Comps: An Ember in the Ashes (Dual POVs and Militaristic Training/Trials) and Mistborn (strong female protagonist and multi-faceted magic system)

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.
Two teenagers battle through the trials of the magical Alivan Academy to solve a murder and stop an enemy spy from usurping the throne.

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?

Inner Conflicts: Devin and Alexandra’s worlds are turned upside down when their parents reveal they were switched at birth to protect the King’s heir from assassins. As a result, both are forced to re-evaluate their place in the world and if they will give up their own happiness and goals for the greater good.
Secondary Conflict: Alex thinks Devin is an entitled jerk who doesn’t want to get his hands dirty. Devin thinks Alex is a rude know-it-all who acts without thinking. But when they are forced to fight in the same Triumvirate, they have to overcome their personal differences if either is to pass the trials.

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?

For sixteen years after the failed invasion of their southern neighbor, the kingdom of Alivan has struggled to contain the Mauren’s counterattack. Everyone is born with brown eyes, but a few Awaken, and their eyes change colors to align with their new abilities. The Awoken are required to attend the Alivan Academy, a mix between Parris Island and Hogwarts where they learn to harness their abilities, before their eighteenth birthday.

Each of the powers are as follows:
  • Gembreakers - Use elemental forces that are subject to the laws of physics/nature (fire loses to water, water loses to lightning/air, lightning/air loses to fire)
    • Infernos - Fire (Gold Eyes)
      Riptides - Water (Blue Eyes)
      Tempests - Storm/Air (Grey Eyes)
    Cerebrals - Manipulate or sense the target’s mind
    • Deceivers - Illusionists (Green Eyes)
      Inquisitors - Sense Target’s emotions (Black Eyes)
    Augmenters - Enhance the body’s natural functions (either a target’s or their own)
    • Feeders - Healers/Boost powers (Purple Eyes)
      Sentinels - Selectively Enhanced Senses (Red Eyes)

While Cerebrals and Augmenters are trained to operate individually, Gembreakers are evaluated and ranked according to their battlefield skills and organized into Triumvirates, comprised of an Inferno, Riptide and Tempest to help offset the natural advantages and disadvantages of each.

The cadets are also trained to use Aygems (pronounced “AEI-gem”), which absorb the elemental energy of the Gembreakers and starts to glow based on how much energy it has absorbed. When an Aygem reaches it’s capacity, it cracks, releasing the energy in another form based on the type of gem used:
  • Amethyst - Knocks wearer unconscious
    Topaz - Teleports wearer
    Emerald - Boost wearer’s senses
    Sapphire - Boost wearer’s physical strength
    Ruby - Boost wearer’s speed
    Moonstone - Boost wearer’s senses powers strength
    Diamond - Heals all wounds
    Onyx - Kills wearer



The climate and topography for most of the book resemble the southeastern United States with large forests and rolling hills. Trone, the capital city of Alivan, is located at the mouth of a river on a large lake that is fed from the Alcor Mountains, which is where most of the fighting between Alivan and Mauren occurs. The protagonists also travel to an outpost based loosely on a frontier trading post and a Charleston-esque port city.

In Trone itself, the palace is atop one of the city’s hills that overlook the harbor, and the Academy is on another. Rich citizens have built homes atop the other three hills, away from the cacophony and stench of the harbor. These citizens are referred to as Hilltoppers by the poor and middle class. The lowlands along the river, but away from the commerce of the harbor, is known as the Gutter. A large portion of the Gutter was destroyed by a fire and many of the survivors blame the Hilltoppers for paying off the fire fighters to watch their homes instead of putting out the fire in the Gutter.

The Academy is comprised of three towers, one for each class of Gembreaker, and a pyramid in the center devoted to the Feeders, which also contains a training facility called the Anvil. The Academy is surrounded by high stone walls, with administrative and support structures along the sides.

Beyond the magical elements, the world’s technology level is similar to medieval europe, with horses and wind powered ships being the primary mode of transportation. Gunpowder has only recently been discovered in another country, but does not make it to Alivan in this book.

Alivan and their primary enemies, Mauren, are Monarchies, but there are other ruling systems that will come into play in later books.

janschmidt91869
Posts: 2
Joined: 02 Jun 2017, 23:49

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#12 Post by janschmidt91869 » 09 Jun 2017, 23:02

1 STORY STATEMENT
FBI agent Julie McNaughton uncovers a murderous vigilante subgroup of Alcoholics Anonymous and must overcome these adversaries, as well as her boozing, to survive.


2. IN 200 WORDS OR LESS, SKETCH THE ANTAGONIST
The antagonist in this book is the Amends Group, a loosely-formed, rogue crew from Alcoholics Anonymous whose members kill people who have savagely hurt members of AA. Created by Alex, a true believer, the Amends Group is five deceptively charming, psychopathic AAers: Frank, a white guy, ex-drug addict, owner of a construction company; Calvin, a Black Harvard grad from the projects; Eric, a white Midwestern body builder; Grace, a Korean-American, archivist, ex-stripper; and Yvonne, a sexy, white, music professor. Acting alone, Frank kills Alex so he can become the leader. Yvonne murders, with a vodka enema, the uncle of a woman who says he repeatedly raped her as a child. A young FBI agent, Julie McNaughton, sent to AA for her drinking, hears the niece talk about her rapist uncle, who happens to be Julie’s case. Because Julie hid her FBI identity from the AA people she suspects, Yvonne befriends Julie, becomes her sponsor, and begins to put Julie through a series of tests to recruit her for the Amends Group. More murders take place, till finally, Grace is killed in an Amends attempt and the Group starts to disintegrate, becoming more dangerous and erratic

3 BREAKOUT TITLE
The Thirty-Ninth Step
The Amends Group
One Death at a Time


4 DECIDING YOUR GENRE AND APPROACHING COMPARABLES

GENRE: Crime & Suspense

Julie, a young, hard-drinking FBI agent, has to follow a trail of blood across the United States as did John Corey in Nelson DeMille’s The Lion's Game. While DeMille’s thriller is about a diabolical terrorist, this book has a group of killers who are charismatic vigilantes trying to protect and avenge members of Alcoholics Anonymous who suffered vicious acts done to them. This Amends Group is made up of charming, but hard-boiled, edgy AA characters, like those in A Drop of the Hard Stuff, by Lawrence Block in his Matt Scudder series, and Julie, like Block’s hero Matt Scudder, has to get sober to survive, as she follows her leads through disturbing deaths and dangerous situations.

5 PRIMARY CONFLICT LINE

Sent to AA by her boss for her drinking, a young, female FBI agent discovers a rogue subgroup killing people who have harmed other AA members; she must bring these murderers to justice while battling alcoholism and avoiding getting murdered herself.

6 sketch out the conditions for the inner conflict your protagonist will have.

Ever since she was ten years old and found her mother dead from an overdose of pills and booze, Julie’s inner conflicts are about trust and abandonment. This is compounded by her own excessive drinking and, though she does not think she has a problem with alcohol, at her boss’ order, she attends AA and begins to get sober. While in the AA meetings, she discovers the Amends Group committing murders, so she must learn which AA members she can trust and which are murderers. As she stays sober, Julie rebuilds relationships with her beloved aunt who is dying and her boyfriend. Through sobriety, Julies begins to grow, is able to determine who the murderers are, and solve her case. When she wraps up this investigation, she wonders if this was the only cell, or if there could be others.

Sketch of hypothetical scenario where protagonist is in turmoil and conflicted.
Julie trust issues and sense of abandonment are triggered by Yvonne, a music professor whom she likes, but also suspects of being a member of the murder group. When Yvonne becomes Julie’s sponsor in AA, a person she should be able to trust in order to recover, she has to let her into her life, aware, as they get closer, that she, Julie, could be in danger. Julie walks a thin line between telling the truth about her life to her “sponsor” and feeding her lies to foster her reputation as ex-con and possible recruit for the Amends Group. As she reveals things about herself, she is at the same time eliciting information from Yvonne so she can trap her.

sketch of hypothetical scenario for the "secondary conflict" involving the social environment.
As Julie listens to other people in AA, she begins to separate the murderers from the honest people. Though she does not want to get sober, sobriety begins to get her, so when her cousin emails her that her beloved aunt, whom she is estranged from, is dying, Julie is able to step up and reunite with her aunt. She tells her aunt she’s sober and makes a true connection with both her aunt and her cousin.

7. sketch out your setting in detail.

This book's settings are a study in contrasts in America in 2013. From the buzzing FBI offices in Washington D.C. to the dirty church basements of Alcoholics Anonymous; from a Buddhist retreat in the mountains of Arizona to the hills of San Francisco; from a small town bar in Wisconsin to the strip joints of D.C.; from a Bronx apartment building to the hallowed halls of Yale Library, Julie, the FBI agent, follows leads in pursuit of her multiple murder investigation and attends AA meetings, where she finds that alcoholics have the same humorous, ambiguous sensibility everywhere. She also frequents a number of diners, instead of the bars of her drinking time. These low-rent restaurants, like low-rent bars, allow her to listen to stories, thereby learning more about the Amends Group, AA, and herself.

mchakraverti
Posts: 2
Joined: 06 Jun 2017, 00:00

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#13 Post by mchakraverti » 10 Jun 2017, 07:28

STORY STATEMENT

More than a hundred years apart, Pakhi and Mrinalini, constrained by love, struggle to be free to create art.

ANTAGONISTIC FORCE

Pakhi and Mrinalini struggle between love for their children and freedom to focus solely on their own quests to understand the world and express that understanding in art.

Pakhi, a contemporary Bengali-American, is shaped by personal and collective histories. Major threads of her background – cultural, social, linguistic, migratory – are revealed in Mrinalini’s 19th century story.

Antagonistic force: Pakhi must grapple with her love for her son even after she leaves him. Mrinalini’s family bonds encircle and limit her voice.

When Pakhi leaves her son, she struggles against the immediate narratives, both internal and external, of the “bad mother.” The narratives are so strong in her head that she mutes them and, with them, silences her own voice about this struggle. She drifts to New York City, Berlin, and Bujumbura (Burundi) doing her day job and engaging with the people she meets with guarded curiosity.

Mrinalini has a simmering anger and longing but her expression of this anger and longing is thin, as she obediently (and lovingly, in different ways) performs her duties as mother, wife, daughter-in-law, and daughter.

Other people’s love challenges Pakhi to confront her struggle, and Mrinalini seizes autonomy after suffering a great loss.

TITLE (hmmm... don’t know about breakout)

Birds on a wire
Children and art
Night Heron (this is my favorite, but it's the title of a book published only a few years ago)

COMPARABLES

The Hakawati by Rabih Alameddine (2008)

For the use of various storylines that are not only about their content, but also about storytelling itself. The emphasis on folktale and the rhythm of the tales within both novels achieve a balance of universality and cultural specificity.

The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante (2012-2015)

For the focus on strong women struggling to be something different from what is expected of them. The exploration of the tension between autonomy and expectations (both internal and external) is both deeply feminist and reflective of a fundamentally human dilemma.

PRIMARY CONFLICT

Pakhi and Mrinalini, loving mothers leading conventional lives, struggle to be selfish enough to claim the world.

INNER CONFLICT AND SECONDARY CONFLICT

Pakhi’s inner turmoil involves guilt, resistance to conventional guilt, confusion, and a deep impulsion to seek but she doesn’t know what she seeks. Mrinalini’s involves anger and a kind of disability because there are whole swaths of language, affect, and ambition that she cannot own.

Pakhi sample scenario: Her son asks to Skype with her. She loves it and holds herself back.

Mrinalini sample scenario: When Mrinalini is trying to write, her maid asks her what she is doing. She answers that she is trying to write about anger and love, but, while she herself had struggled with finding words, her maid, unfettered by the invisible boundaries of ambition, tells a story about love and anger.

Secondary conflicts:
Pakhi finds herself confronted by old age, death, and sickness and in each case has to reach out and care, but each time she does so carefully, precariously, until her limited caring doesn’t work.

Mrinalini faces boundaries at home, in the train, and in her father’s village, and makes small crossings until a tragedy shocks her into full anger and a big boundary crossing.

Also, Mrinalini’s husband loves poetry and a courtesan poet, Saira. Saira is what Mrinalini is not, in many, many ways.

Pakhi sample scenario: Pakhi almost stumbles across a dead body in Berlin and it turns out that the dead man was Bengali, as is her own family. She is intrigued and seeks out his widow. For her, the man comes to represent both belonging and expatriation.

Mrinalini sample scenario: Mrinalini, a Hindu woman in the late 19th century, and her children get to share a train compartment with a Muslim woman and her baby son. They talk and eat together in a striking break with the social norms of that time.

SETTING

The setting of this novel spans South Asia, the United States, Europe, and Africa.

Pakhi is Bengali-American. Her story starts in Ithaca (of course!), and springboards in NYC. In Berlin, she encounters the dead body of a Bengali, the son of a Bangladeshi (then East Pakistani) woman and a Pakistani man, and befriends his Russian wife. She goes to Burundi for work and returns to Berlin. Her story spans English, Bengali, German, Russian, French, and Kirundi. The colors of her story span greys, greens, blues, and black (and more).

Mrinalini’s story is set wholly in British India, but moves between her husband’s family’s home in Lucknow and her natal village in Bengal, about 650 miles apart. Her story spans three languages (Bengali, English, Urdu/Hindi), with moments of French. And she writes a fantasy story about a pilgrimage to Mecca. The colors of her story span greens, yellows, and orange (and more).

The setting of both stories is intrinsically historical/historicized, with geographies and languages linked by migrations, trade, colonialism, wars, and love.

COHERENT BLURB

When Pakhi, an artist and a loving mother, goes away and leaves her son, she isn’t able to articulate why. Her work as an international consultant structures her drifting, first to New York City, then to Berlin, and then for a work trip to Burundi. Along the way, she sees old age, death, and sickness.

As with any story, the key to understanding Pakhi’s story lies in the layers of history that have shaped her. Interleaved with Pakhi’s story, Mrinalini’s story gathers and illuminates elements of that history.

Mrinalini, a writer and mother of three children, lives a sequestered life in the late 19th century. She craves to know and understand a world larger than her domestic routines. In the normal course of her life, she loves, voyages, learns, suffers a great loss, and keeps writing.

As both women grope to understand what is beyond the ordinary, the two stories, a palimpsest, portray the closings and openings of a woman’s path to the ambitious grasping for the unknown, and known, in art.

aliinamh
Posts: 1
Joined: 08 Jun 2017, 16:01

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#14 Post by aliinamh » 11 Jun 2017, 20:17

FIRST ASSIGNMENT: Story statement.
Newly separated, Leah has to survive a weekend with her visiting family without succumbing to the temptation to let her manipulative, chaotic husband back into her life.

SECOND ASSIGNMENT: Sketch the antagonist or antagonistic force in your story.
Wade, Leah’s husband, passionately believes himself to be a good guy—make that a great guy. He’s so committed to standing up for what’s right that he recently moved out to join Occupy New Haven, leaving her alone with their 13-year-old son in the dilapidated 19th-century mansion he bullied her into buying. Wade’s greatest skill is imbuing his fleeting whims with the gravitas of transformative social change. His second-greatest skill is somehow convincing his wife to go along with him. While others find his constant monologues insufferable, she’s learned to tune him out, knowing she’ll probably end up agreeing to pretty much anything to avoid his manipulative psychological retribution. For over a decade, he’s changed careers, causes, and communities so rapidly that she’s barely had time to notice that she’s the only one holding the family together. Now, for the first time in their marriage, he’s left her in peace long enough for her to realize the situation she’s in. He can’t fathom why she wouldn’t want him back. Without him, she’d be no one—just another dull American suburbanite lacking a moral compass.

THIRD ASSIGNMENT: Breakout title.
Snowed: A Novel
Not Every Victorian is a B&B
The Chaos Downhill


FOURTH ASSIGNMENT: Develop two smart comparables for your novel.
The Nest, Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
Similarities
• Focuses on an extended family struggling with a complicated web of past wrongs and present challenges
• Multiple, divergent perspectives on the same situation, from a range of ages and genders
• Multiple conflicts without any possibility of resolutions that would make everyone happy
Britt-Marie Was Here: A Novel, Fredrik Backman
Similarities
• Focuses on a woman striking out on her own in the middle of a personal crisis
• Heavy internal dialogue that sharply contrasts with her observable speech and actions
• Characters who are saved through their connections and/or reconnections to family and friends

FIFTH ASSIGNMENT: Write your own conflict line.
After her husband leaves their home to join a social movement, a woman realizes she never wants him to return; to retain her independence, she knows she’ll have to battle not only her husband and her extended family, but also herself.

SIXTH ASSIGNMENT: Sketch out the conditions for the inner conflict your protagonist will have. Sketch out one hypothetical scenario in the story wherein this would be the case--consider the trigger and the reaction.
Inner conflict: Leah’s inner conflict is over whether she can actually make it on her own, and whether she will have the support of her family in doing so. In the first part of the book, Leah feels guilty that she has lied to her visiting grandmother about where her husband is. When she checks on her grandmother in the guest room at bedtime, she folds under direct questioning and admits that they are separated. This relieves her guilt but leads to another inner conflict over whether she actually has her grandmother’s approval or will soon face the older woman’s judgment.

Next, likewise sketch a hypothetical scenario for the "secondary conflict" involving the social environment.
There are several secondary conflicts in my novel; here are two examples:

Secondary conflict #1: Grammy, Leah’s grandmother, agonizes over whether to reveal the secret of her 1946 divorce. She’s never even told her own children, but after she learns of Leah’s separation, she feels responsible for sharing her past. When the two run into each other in the kitchen in the middle of the night, Grammy tells Leah her story, and Leah shares a little bit more about her own situation.

Secondary conflict #2: Dan, Leah’s visiting stepfather, is having an affair with his 23-year-old student and is obsessed with getting away from his wife’s family so he can contact the young woman. Throughout the book, due to the storm that has knocked out power (see “Setting” below), he’s laser focused on keeping enough juice in his Blackberry to check and re-check his email for a message from his lover. When he discovers that the only road back to town is blocked by a fallen tree, his drive to clear an escape path is both irritating and perplexing to his wife, his stepdaughters, and the neighbors he enlists to help.

FINAL ASSIGNMENT: Sketch out your setting in detail.
My novel is set amid a freak October snowstorm in the Northeast. Two houses, a dilapidated mansion and a renovated—but struggling—B&B, become isolated when the winds and heavy snow knock out power. In the B&B, Roger and James, a couple, have a generator and are able to restore power to some of the rooms in their tastefully appointed Victorian. But the heat, light, and luxurious furnishings aren’t enough to forestall the growing discord in their relationship. Down the hill, in what Roger and James call the “Home Depot Horror Show,” eight people from the ages of 13 to 86 are trapped without power, and nerves are fraying quickly. The windows are leaking air, the heat has dissipated to the high ceilings, and everyone’s cell phones are dying. Leah, who lives there, is juggling a full house, including her grandmother, mother and stepfather, sister and sister’s husband, son, and son’s girlfriend—who just happened to be over when the storm struck. It doesn’t help that Leah’s dog, a Lab puppy, keeps mixing it up with her stepdad’s dog, a yappy Maltese. There are dozens of places to hide in the vast house, so the 13-year-olds keep sneaking off to hook up, Leah’s stepdad keeps vanishing (to check for messages from his secret lover), and Leah is often tempted to hole up somewhere herself. When James decides to stick it to Roger by inviting the neighbors to breakfast the day after the storm, the two houses collide, and the chaos down the hill disrupts the B&B’s Victorian order.

User avatar
billburton
Posts: 2
Joined: 03 Jun 2017, 09:31

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#15 Post by billburton » 12 Jun 2017, 09:11

FIRST ASSIGNMENT: Story Statement
Banish a hated curse while keeping identity secret

SECOND ASSIGNMENT: The Antagonist
A seemingly kind and gentle man, Imer Brend is the Protagonist’s surrogate father. Zealous in his beliefs, he holds a position of power in the religious Brathian Order. Brend believes the world is falling into Chaos as evidenced by the increased appearances of cursed women, those afflicted by the Scourge. To protect the land of Thylen, the Order hunts and imprisons the afflicted women. But Brend secretly thinks the only way to truly save mankind is to accelerate the return of his god to the flesh. To accomplish this, he believes he must kill women in ritualistic sacrifices. He abducts Birds (prostitutes) with the assumption that such women will never be missed, and uses their blood in the search for a vessel to house the returned god. When his plans are threatened, he is regretfully willing to do anything, including killing those he loves most, for what he sees as the greater good.

THIRD ASSIGNMENT: Titles
Of Birds and Blood
The Scourge and the Mark
The Blood of the Mother

FOURTH ASSIGNMENT: Genre and Comps
YA Fantasy
And I Darken: Like Lada, Jasaan is capable, feisty and independent and refuses to be held back by society’s expectations of her gender.
Bone Gap: Though not a contemporary fantasy, our manuscript has parallels to Bone Gap’s mystery and challenges with prejudiced beliefs.

FIFTH ASSIGNMENT: Conflict Line
To rid herself of the demonized Scourge, a princess must rescue abducted prostitutes, but doing so puts her directly in the path of those that seek to imprison her.

SIXTH ASSIGNMENT: Inner and Secondary Conflicts
Inner Conflict: Jasaan grew up hearing the story of how her mother was killed by a Scourged, and as a result harbors a deep hatred against afflicted women. Though a woman and therefore ineligible for the position, Jasaan is determined to become Constable of the City Guard to help the Order rid the land of the Scourge. When she herself is afflicted and forced to learn more about the Scourge, she must question her own deeply held beliefs and prejudices.

Secondary Conflict: Jasaan’s relationship with her childhood rival/crush grows complicated as her feelings for him deepen even as his position of Constable (the position Jasaan wants) demands that he unmask and capture the Scourged woman.

FINAL ASSIGNMENT: Setting
Common belief holds that the Mother gave birth to the land and those that live upon it. Tired from Her efforts, She drifted into sleep and left her creation under the care of Brath, Her favored Son.

Long ago, when a great disaster befell the land, Brath led his people across the Endless Ocean to find a new life on the island of Thylen. Soon after they landed upon their new home, men were tempted by their wives and sisters to devolve into Chaos and reject Brath’s guidance. Unable to countenance man’s wickedness, Brath turned his face from man and left the land. Without the Order imposed by Brath, the people segregated into factions and went to war amongst themselves, beginning the hundred-year-long Time of Chaos.

Finally, one brave man, Rendol, stepped forward and sought out Brath. Brath bade him establish the Order of Brathian Knights, to gather those men who were tired of the fighting and longed for peace. Each of these men was given a special Mark upon his cheek, denoting his fealty to Brath. These men formed an army and brokered peace between the factions, segregating the island into kingdoms, but all aligned under Brath’s guidance.

Soon after peace was achieved, Rendol’s sister was afflicted with a violent curse, the Scourge, which gave her fearsome powers and forced her to attack her brother. Under Brath’s instructions, Rendol excised the Scourge from within his sister, leaving her but a shade of her former self. Heartbroken, Rendol built a sanctuary, the Grith, to care for her. As more women became afflicted by the Scourge, The Order established the practice of banishing the Scourge and locking the afflicted up in the Grith.

The Order has kept Brath’s peace for the last 500 years and protected the people from women afflicted by the Scourge. They’ve established the practice of Marking men upon their seventeenth naming day as a reminder to all that they must demonstrate adherence to Brath’s Order. Once Brath approves of the peace that has been established, he will return to lead them all.

Though the story of Brath is widely believed across the land of Thylen, there are a few that maintain Brath had a sister, Breya, who opposed Brath’s harsh views on Order. They believe She went missing at the same time Brath disappeared from the land and that the Scourge is not a curse, but a blessing from Breya, one which grants powerful gifts, rendering the Scourged strong enough to stand against Brath’s Order.

Our story takes place on the volcanic island of Thylen, surrounded by the inhospitable Endless Ocean, with population and technology akin to a late medieval Iceland. On the windswept northern shore of the island, Galehaven Castle sits atop a craggy bluff, overlooking the walled city of Dalvane. The protagonist, Princess Jasaan Ralin, grew up in the castle, but while banishing the Scourge, she is forced to brave the seedy slums of Dalvane as well as the ancient caverns running beneath the city.

ElkovichCMWest
Posts: 1
Joined: 12 Jun 2017, 21:48

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#16 Post by ElkovichCMWest » 13 Jun 2017, 01:08

Carol Elkovich (writing with Mark Butler as C.M. West)
NY Pitch pre-conference Assignments

#1 STORY STATEMENT
Sculptor, Tru Jameson discovers his talent in the art of crime solving when he uncovers murders and engages in an increasingly personal quest to catch the killers.

#2 ANTAGONIST SKETCH (200 words)

Pierce Mitchell is a slick real estate developer and a talented spin-doctor when it comes to his reputation for creating purportedly ecological but elite housing communities. Flanked by powerhouse lawyer, Lloyd Roth, their next development is slated at Mitchell’s personal home where a devastating fire occurred in which his wife, Maeve, perished. Pierce hires Tru to assess the damage for insurance purposes. After Lloyd’s brusque treatment, Tru suspects that the wife was murdered in order to pave the way for the development plan. Tru uncovers their ties to a criminal organization, led by the elusive Vegas Medina, that specializes in exploitation of both the environment and undocumented workers. Tru ultimately ends in a face-off with the three. Additionally, at an apartment where an old man died, Tru encounters octogenarian art collector, Rae Eichelberg, who promises to bolster his flagging art career if only he will help her locate a missing painting. Soon, Tru uncovers the dark secrets, fractured identities, and hidden pasts of the top floor residents of the apartment building. Rae provides inspiration in recovering his art career and he must decide between patronage and complicity. After Rae dies, Tru discovers a hidden killer lurks at the apartment.

#3 BREAK OUT TITLE
1) True Calling
2) True Calling: A Tru Jameson Mystery Series Book 1.

#4 COMPARABLES
Genre: Mystery, Suspense. True Calling is a mystery novel, told in first person by an amateur sleuth, and contains elements of suspense and noir. It is not cozy.

Celine by, Peter Heller has artist sleuths with strong moral codes, a spirited older woman, and glimpses of creative life within richly descriptive settings.

Karen Slaughter’s series featuring the character Will Trent, who possesses a vulnerable side and a wry sense of humor packaged in a powerhouse detective, is similar to the Tru Jameson character.

Chance by, Kem Nunn is a lushly descriptive and introspective California surf noir that portrays unexpected, hidden subcultures within San Francisco, which are akin to True Calling.

#5 PRIMARY CONFLICT | #6 INNER CONFLICT

An artist attempts to regain inspiration by solving murders he uncovers during his day job as a building contractor. His investigations lead him through crisscrossing fault lines of greed, tragedy, and remorse buried deep under the California dream. He weighs the cost of retaining his integrity when he witnesses the darker side of human nature and what deeds one is capable of for survival, and ultimately must deliberate between taking action or turning a blind eye.



#7 SETTING
The San Francisco Bay Area has as many subcultures as microclimates. As an artist, Tru Jameson is a chameleon that can just as easily slip into a risqué fire arts show in the desolate warehouse districts of West Oakland as attend an elite art collector soiree in a mansion in Pacific Heights. Artists are accustomed to juggling day jobs and Truitt Jameson is no exception as he spends his days in construction, tearing apart homes, which often reveals more about the residents than they know. His work as a building contractor regularly places him in widely stratified economic worlds of real estate agents and developers, architects and designers, to day laborers, flea market vendors, or the eerie apartments or homes of the recently deceased.

sailingtodd
Posts: 1
Joined: 09 Jun 2017, 22:55

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#17 Post by sailingtodd » 13 Jun 2017, 17:52

1. Story Statement

Kelly Flynn must catch a serial killer and exonerate herself of a crime for which she was framed.

2. The Antagonist

Ted Summers is a man obsessed with vengeance. Years ago, his young son died an excruciating death from burns suffered when a natural gas pipeline exploded near a playground where he was playing. Midwest Gas and Light gamed the political system to enable its negligence, and then manipulated the courts to absolve itself and blame Ted for his own son’s death. Having no other recourse, Summers lashes out against the individuals he identifies as being complicit in his son’s death by doing the corporation’s bidding.

3. The Title

Burning Truth
Truth Under Fire
Truth by Fire

4. The Comps

Burning Truth shares a level of plot intricacy with Brad Meltzer’s ‘Tenth Justice’, and similarly touches on a societal theme without being heavy-handed about it. It also has a touch of Lisa Gardner’s Kimberly Quincy, though our heroine is not nearly so in control.

5. Primary Conflict

Kelly Flynn must discover the tie that binds a serial killer to a growing number of victims, and stop whoever is behind the murders before more people die.

6. Inner Conflict

Kelly took a position as Cayenne Energy’s security chief because it would be a cushy corporate gig. It was supposed to provide her with the time she needs to heal from personal and professional losses suffered during her most recent operation with the FBI. She lost the man she loved and she believes that the FBI is responsible and has covered it up. She left the Bureau with her job barely intact—she wasn’t fired largely due to her uncle and fellow agent, Max Shepherd—and she harbors intensely resentful feelings towards the Bureau and her former colleagues.

To add insult to injury, she needs them. Early in her investigation, she finds evidence that implicates her in a scheme to take down her own company—one that could send her to prison. She devises a plan to snare the person who framed her, but she realizes she can’t go it alone. For her plan to succeed, she must swallow both pride and bile, and turn to her former colleagues in the Bureau for help.

Her loss and bitterness towards the Bureau has spilled over into perhaps the most important relationship she has, the one with Max. Despite all he has done for her across the span of her life, the two are estranged and Kelly isn’t sure how to bridge the chasm. Their work provides an uneasy platform to begin. Weaving in and out of everything going on around her is her own behavior that is either self-destructive or liberating—depending on one’s perspective.

7. The Setting

In the world of energy, all roads lead to Houston. Because of the corporate particulars that are integral to the story, Houston is the only place where story this can happen. Also, Texas is incredibly unique, certainly in its landscape, but primarily in its people, which makes it a rich environment in which to mold the characters.

The opening scene is heavily reliant on the geography and climate of the area. Nowhere in the United States other than the Gulf Coast does rain pound humanity so intensely. Placing the first victim in traffic during such a southern monsoon provided a palpable atmosphere in which to kill her. Certainly it wasn’t required for the plot, but it does bring a vitality to something that would not have had nearly the same feel on a sunny spring afternoon. Even the smells of smoldering steel and flesh hang heavier in the olfactories the next day when investigators arrive. Also, the Sam Houston National Forest, the enormous and surprisingly secluded area that abuts such a large urban area, provides the unusual opportunity to wreak the mayhem of burning someone alive without fear of discovery or interruption.

The physical setting is helpful, but it’s the personalities of Texas that help drive the characters. Mavericks still live there, and in far greater numbers than are normally seen in nature. It is a land of dichotomies, where gun-toting, varmint-shooting rednecks on Saturday morning attend the opera on Saturday night. Barbecue and caviar are found on the same block. Cowboy boots with tuxedos are not just acceptable, they’re expected. Most don’t know it, but Houston is the largest minority-majority in the country, yet somehow it all seems to work out in the land of the conservative politics.

If there is a single point that makes Houston itself significant to the story, it’s Sarah Kellogg (who becomes a minor protagonist in the novel). She’s a rich and powerful woman from the liberal oasis of Austin, a city situated in the giant conservative desert that is Texas. She well understands the prevailing winds in Texas regarding corporations—what’s good for them is good for people. She strongly opposes this, yet she also realizes the impact that her stand will have in Texas versus anywhere else in the country. It’s a punch in the mouth, and one that will be felt. Fighting the idea that corporations are people would be just another day if it were California.

awoloski
Posts: 1
Joined: 14 Jun 2017, 19:04

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#18 Post by awoloski » 15 Jun 2017, 02:17

ASSIGNMENT 1: STORY STATEMENT

Can Sadie reconcile her past without jeopardizing her responsibility to pursue justice?

ASSIGNMENT 2: SKETCH ANTAGONIST

Alex Valdero, choreographing genius at Rockspring Ballet Theatre, was widely considered a rare glimmer of opportunity in the otherwise bleak Texas town. But his predilection for unwanted sexual advances towards his underage dancers would become the main impetus for Sadie’s prosecutorial misconduct on the statutory rape case she gets assigned. Even after Sadie discovers evidence exonerating Trey Berry of statutory rape, she hides the findings and continues the prosecution as a way to seek vengeance on Valdero’s past crimes. Sadie struggles with the memory of Valdero’s advances towards her former best friend Leila, and her guilt over never reporting the abuse that Sadie believes led to Leila’s suicide. Without Valdero as antagonist, Sadie wouldn’t have taken these steep risks of putting her job and her freedom on the line for Berry’s case.

ASSIGNMENT 3: BREAKOUT TITLE

- In the Spirit of Justice
- The Star
- The Trey Berry File

ASSIGNMENT 4: COMPARABLES

- Law of Attraction by Allison Leotta (Book 1 of the Anna Curtis Series): This protagonist is also a rookie prosecutor tackling a case that reminds her of her own troubled past. Additionally, both protagonists engage in romantic relationships with the defense attorney working their case.
- Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn: While working a story, this news reporter protagonist also goes back to her hometown to deal with a disturbing secret from her past that she struggled with since her childhood.

ASSIGNMENT 5: CONFLICT

A rookie prosecutor assigned to a statutory rape case puts her job and the pursuit of justice on the line to confront her guilt over the unreported sexual abuse of her childhood best friend by their ballet instructor.

ASSIGNMENT 6: INNER CONFLICT/SECONDARY CONFLICT

Inner Conflict: Sadie is torn between the rigid, rule-following prosecutorial duties and doing what she believes will absolve her of guilt and avenge her childhood best friend.

Secondary Conflict: Sadie runs into former ADA turned posh private defense attorney Adam at Lincoln Centre. Adam and Sadie had chemistry while they both worked at the DA’s office together. When Sadie finds out Adam is defending accused statutory rapist Trey Berry, she struggles with her romantic feelings for him and her underlying distrust of someone working to represent a man like Berry.

ASSIGNMENT 7: SETTING

Most of the novel is set in New York City, as seen through the eyes of a small-town Texas transplant. Part of the novel is set in the fictional small town of Rockspring, Texas, a seemingly endless stretch of mostly vacant, B-tier strip malls, fast food drive thrus, and independently owned gas stations that feels almost desperate when compared to the bubbling energy of New York City.

SamSegan
Posts: 1
Joined: 08 Jun 2017, 06:26

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#19 Post by SamSegan » 15 Jun 2017, 06:25

1) THE ACT OF STORY STATEMENT

A closeted gay college wrestler pursues athletic glory while struggling with steroid use, bulimia, and a clandestine affair with his ruthless, manipulative coach.

2) THE ANTAGONIST PLOTS THE POINT

Vito Guerra won an Olympic bronze metal, then suffered a career-ending injury. He became a wrestling coach to capitalize on his past fame and to relive, through his athletes, what his own career might have been. Over the years, he’s found justification for obtaining dubiously legal prescriptions for testosterone and thyroid hormones for his wrestlers. He tells himself it’s so they can train injury-free, to avoid living in constant pain, as he does. He doesn’t see it as cheating, because the concept of cheating has no meaning in an unfair world.

A deeply closeted gay man, Vito soon began latching onto the more impressionable of his proteges and grooming them for sexual relationships. Sex with his athletes is coherent with his ethos of dominance and submission. To him, the world is split up into winners and losers: those willing to take what they want and those who aren’t brave enough to try. In his opinion, it’s the rest of the world that’s hypocritical. He’s the only honest person he knows.


3) CONJURING YOUR BREAKOUT TITLE

Alpha (pretty set on this)
Winning
Lacka Wanna (based on a reference in the story to the famous statue of the Laocoön, really an outside shot)

4) DECIDING YOUR GENRE AND APPROACHING COMPARABLES

A Natural, by Ross Raisin; out in the UK, out in the US in October (similar subject matter: a closeted gay athlete)
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach (gay themes, athletics)
Fighting in the Shade, by Sterling Watson (corruption in sports)
Once a Runner, by John L. Parker (much older but iconic sports novel with a similar narrow focus on the internal physical life of an elite athlete)
Fight Club, by Chuck Palahniuk (very similar in tone--dark exploration of contemporary masculine culture)

5) CONSIDERING THE PRIMARY CONFLICT: COMING OF THE “AGON”

A young wrestler has to fight his way free from the influence of his sadistic, manipulative coach.

6) OTHER MATTERS OF CONFLICT: TWO MORE LEVELS

Inner conflict: Dave’s primary inner conflict is over his own identity--what it means to be a good athlete and a good man.

Scenario demonstrating inner conflict: Hungry for approbation, Dave posts anonymously on the internet about having had sex with his coach. He wants the online brodudes he's befriended and asked for workout and diet tips to accept him for his sexuality, too.

Scenarios demonstrating protagonist’s conflict with social environment: Struggling with jealousy, competitiveness, and sublimated desire, Dave attacks one of his friends during a playful practice match and seriously injures him.


7) THE INCREDIBLE IMPORTANCE OF SETTING

The main character of the book seeks to escape the difficult realities of his life by pursuing athletic excellence. The settings I chose emphasize his desire to escape from normalcy into something better.

Most of the book takes place on a college campus, a large (fictional) private university with a strong athletic culture. I’d liken it to Notre Dame or Penn State. The school is a rich outpost beyond a run-down rural area in upstate New York, and Dave’s terror of mediocrity shows up whenever he looks beyond campus or goes to parties with “townies” he comes to see as beneath him. Because he’s from small-town Iowa, he’s threatened by the college’s largely affluent student body, which drives him further into isolation. The college itself feels insular and claustrophobic and, as in Tom Wolfe’s I Am Charlotte Simmons, its cloistered environment acts as a pressure-cooker for the characters’ tensions and power struggles. Wrestling season runs from November to March, and the cold weather in upstate New York adds atmosphere and drama to most of the action and symbolically underlines the otherworldly intensity of Dave’s training.

A lot of the action takes place in the head coach’s home and in the large garage gym where he runs off-season wrestling practice. The creepy, chintzy basement training room not only shows a reality of the sport--it’s underrecognized and underfunded--but also serves as an echo of the shady training tactics the characters use in their quest for something better. Later, the coach’s oddly cozy house serves as Dave’s own second home, a place he feels he can escape and feel accepted. It comes to feel familiar, just as the twisted sexual relationship he begins with his coach makes him feel both comfort and fear.

I would be remiss if I didn’t name the internet as a setting. It’s not a physical one, but because of Dave’s isolation and awkwardness he finds his way to an online bodybuilding forum, home to a uniquely homoerotic, pro-steroid culture. There he meets other young men like him, who don’t identify as gay but as “alpha males”: those who consider it more manly to dominate other men than to stoop to sex with women. The culture of toxic masculinity he encounters online begins to shape his life and his decisions, normalizing some of the most problematic. He even tells the forum bros about his affair with his coach--a confession that will later lead to his downfall. Over the course of the book the bodybuilding forum comes to serve as not only a setting but also a mindset and even a language, full of the rough poetry of its own peculiar slang.

SoleSantana2017
Posts: 1
Joined: 05 Jun 2017, 20:29

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#20 Post by SoleSantana2017 » 15 Jun 2017, 08:07

FIRST ASSIGNMENT: write your story statement.
What's the mission of your protagonist (hero/ine)? Their goal? What must be done? What must she or he create? Destroy? Save? Accomplish? Defeated?


Defeat a powerful inner darkness by unknowingly surrendering to the power of true love.

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.

After Siena experiences the sting of death, a powerful inner darkness is ignited within her. This force evolves into an obsession that is not easily dismissed. The darkness wakes Sienna up from her sleep while peering at her; it induces her into a somber dance and consumes her body to the point where she begins to assimilate with it. This force lived within Siena’s mother until her death; it has existed for hundreds of years and now it seeks survival within Siena. It does not have mercy on her soul; it only cares about seduction and unrest. It seeks to make the pain deeper than it had been in its previous conquest, determined to exert greater control over Siena. It is a master story teller that lulls its victim into a state of unawareness with its anecdotes. It will devour the very thing which threatens its existence: love. For love is the only force stronger than it. It will do anything to keep its victim from being roused by love. For the first time, while in Siena’s body, it has experienced an unprecedented threat, creating a desperation which promises to destroy the very temple it needs for survival: Siena herself.

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

I Am, But I Wish to Become

Dismantling a Master of Seduction

A Crisis Within

FOURTH ASSIGNMENT:
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?


Genre: Romance Novel

Surrendered Pleasures - 2013
by Natasha D. T. Simmons
In Book two of the Pleasures Collection, Surrendered Pleasures tells the story of two individuals at war with the habitual, yet toxic, patterns of their own lives. Undeniable chemistry and sparks of passion send these two individuals on a journey of self-discovery, release of demons and magnificent surrender

Into the Storm - 2013
by Melanie Moreland
She is a woman on the run. Pain, loneliness, and terror are what she is leaving. She is determined to escape, whatever the cost. Joshua Bennett is trapped in a prison of his own making by the memories of his past. There are many twists and turns as they struggle to find each other, overcoming both the mental and physical elements that keep them apart. A story about overcoming our fears, finding love, and learning to live again.

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.

A young woman must defeat a powerful inner darkness that was ignited after her mother’s death by unknowingly surrendering herself to the power of true love.

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

Siena has lost the one person who had connected her to this world – her Mother. She is experiencing a shift from within – one that controls her. Her sense of deep grief quickly spirals into a loss of virtue and self-control. She begins to live a life of heartache which torments her soul and divides her from herself.

Hypothetical scenario for the "secondary conflict" involving the social environment. Will this involve family? Friends? Associates? What is the nature of it?

Jake is a man who only understands superficial lust; he is struck with a newfound emotional consciousness when witnessing the depth of Siena’s pain. He was not looking for love, yet he found Siena who could not feel love. When meeting for the first time, Jake’s presence causes Siena’s spine to tingle – despite her dark and confused state. Siena and Jake are drawn into a cruel ride of unforeseen passion and vulnerability; their attraction is physically and emotionally intense. A pull towards darkness is embedded within their love affair, yet their natural desires are creating a longing for something deeper.

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.

The first setting is a description of the daughter’s experience in a Paris setting; the second setting is the protagonist's experience in her mother's home.

She’s sitting outside a picturesque café with small round tables and two chairs around each table. The cafe had a square burgundy awning wide enough to spread over the two angular sides of the cafe. The location was a quaint Paris street with building structures low enough to capture the bright sunlight across the busy sidewalk. She sat in her seat and cupped her two hands around the warm coffee mug; she closed her eyes and listened to the melodic sound of people's chatter and car engines around her. Her heartbeat increased slightly as her temperature rose from the warmth of the sun drawing her in. Her attire was provocative and seductive; she was wearing a silver two-piece skirt suit which hugged her contoured breast and hips. Her long black hair was tied in a round twist, and her legs were crossed over as she stared down at her black shiny heels. Her make-up was neutral in that it was undetectable. Her blue eyes were vivid, and her full glossy lips deflected the sunlight. She paused for a second, then savored the moment; the rush of caffeine soared through her body as she looked down at her cup. Then she smiled as her mind conjured up a picture of greeting and shaking hands with the man whom she was anticipating meeting. Her heart skipped a beat, and a feeling of confidence aroused within her a sense of power which made her chuckle as she looked up at the busy street. After a few minutes, her mind wandered off. Then her face muscles tightened and her smile faded into a straight line; she leaned over as she slightly sloped her shoulders over her knees and wrapped her arms around her waist. She realized the yearning she felt to see him again made her body change; she whispered under her breath...” his image paralyzes me”. Suddenly, she is startled by a noise from the street, and, within seconds, is instantly brought back into the present moment. She sits up and takes a deep breath.

Second setting:

I enter and remove my shoes, I curled my toes onto the beloved burgundy rug which comforted my youthful feet throughout my childhood. I realized, the aroma of a tenderly prepared home cooked meal was not waiting to greet me. The physical space was different, today’s visit felt eerie. The narrow hallway appeared smaller than usual; I walked this passageway a million times before and none felt like this moment. Each step I took, felt heavier than the last as I felt the white sheet rock closing in over me. I gazed up towards the familiar family photos decorating the enclosure, suddenly I was transported into the past as memories of running towards my mother’s room flashed before me. I continued to walk through the hallway toward her bedroom door, I went straight to her, my heart began to pump louder and louder, the adrenaline rushed through my body forcing my knees to shake. I looked up to see her bedroom was filled with soft light from the natural sunlight which peered through the window next to her bed. My mother was laying on the bed; her comforter was white as snow, while an army of colorful ruffled pillows firmly supported her resting position. Her mind seemed tranquil as she gazed out of her window. I stood still; I contemplated every inch of my mother’s bedroom. A place which I once regarded a permanent haven in my life. I tenderly touch the dainty floral tapestry covering her brown wood dresser. I stared at her beloved pastels and stripes - everywhere. I then smiled at her stacked baskets at the end of the bed, as I remembered buying them together. I came close to her and sat on the bed; I gripped her left hand and held it firmly. My mind battled this moment which was befalling me, I never imagined this day would come so unexpectedly, the day my mother was dying. I stood up, turned towards the sunlight peering through my mother’s window and closed my eyes, I then counted down. “Ten”, deep breath, “Nine”, deep breath, “Eight”, deep breath, “Seven”, deep breath, “Six”, deep breath…”One”, deep breath, with each inhalation, I consciously focused on emptying my mind. My heartbeat slowly aligned itself with the pace of my breaths, until I only felt silence. I then walked over to my mother’s bedside, laid my head on her chest, as I had done a million times before and seized the moment to feel the warmth of my mother’s comfort. I looked up only to realize the sun dimmed its light leaving me in a shadow of what is to come.

CorieAdjmi
Posts: 2
Joined: 16 Jun 2017, 00:58

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#21 Post by CorieAdjmi » 16 Jun 2017, 01:10

#1-Story Statement

When a hostile student’s favorite teacher is fired due to writing honestly about her previous job as a sex worker, the angry student uses a gun and holds an auditorium full of people hostage during the school spring Gala in order to get them to face lies, the widespread injustice and their hypocrisy.

#2- The Antagonist

Mr. Cruz, a high school global studies teacher, is attracted to Madison, a freshman in his class and he uses his power and authority to manipulate her into sexting and other wrongdoings. Heidi is a feminist, and socially-minded student, who is furious that his behavior is overlooked while Ms. Rider gets fired for less grievous behavior.

#3- Title

There Is Always Some Beauty Left

#4-Comparables

Big Little Lies- Liane Moriarty
Election- Tom Perrotta
A Visit from the Goon Squad- Jennifer Egan

#5- Primary Conflict

Heidi carries a gun and holds an auditorium full of people hostage determined to expose the truth and teach her teacher, Mr. Cruz, a lesson, seeking revenge for his sexual misconduct with her friend, Madison.

#6- Other Matters of Conflict

Inner- Heidi’s family life is a mess and she is a social outcast who is lonely and looking for friendship, attention and love.

Social- Heidi is a ardent feminist in a male dominated culture who wants to make the world a better, more fair and inclusive place.

#7- Setting

The story takes place in the present over a three-day period mostly in New York City- in apartments, a hotel and a spa but the focus is on the nearby high school. There are some scenes that take place in a car, a forest and a motel on a trip to Pennsylvania.

DianaLea
Posts: 3
Joined: 09 Jun 2017, 05:27

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#22 Post by DianaLea » 17 Jun 2017, 02:03

# 1. Story Statement
-Awaken from her coma and come to terms with her final diagnosis and waken from her coma.

#2. Antagonistic Force
- The protagonist starts off as an eleven 13 year old middle school student, first generation Haitian American girl, youngest of three siblings.
- She undergoes her first at home infusion with a new pharmaceutical drug on the market and goes into a coma. She flashes back during from her coma, where her first symptom became prevalent back in the sixth grade at eleven year of age.
- Her flashback takes the reader, into her world, through her journey of self discovery and how she was affected by her disease .The antagonistic driven force of the story is the protagonists’ inner conflict. She in a constant battle between her self and her disease..



# 3.Break out title:
Devolution of the Tiny Spotted Mind
Falling Out Her Mind
The longest summer ever

# 4.Scientific Memoir

# 5.Primary Conflict
A young girl torn by devastating diagnosis slips into a coma

# 6. Secondary Conflict
The secondary conflict arises with Charl’es mother’s pushy ways (tuff love) and being oblivious to her daughters’ emotional state forces her into a continuous depression

# 7. Main Setting
The main setting is the hospital this where the internal changes begin to occur with the protagonist. What was suppose to be a a quick check up became three 3 week hospital stay. Which changed the prospective on life forever.

TNeilsen
Posts: 2
Joined: 13 Jun 2017, 22:47

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#23 Post by TNeilsen » 18 Jun 2017, 22:16

#1 Story Statement

Conquer the complexities and chaos of The Upper east side Socialites and affluent women.
One Powder brush at a time!!


#2 Antagonist

The antagonists in my story are my wealthy clients and surviving in New York City as a transplant.


#3 Title

Maine to Madison Ave


#4 Two comparables


Devil Wears Prada


Similarities Anna landed her dream job a high class magazine
(Tennille landed her dream job at a High class makeup studio on Madison Ave)
Anna endured negativity and impossible requests
(Tennille endured negativity and impossible requests)
Both stories take place in New York City



Differences Anna had to deal with a narcism and ego from a boss
(Tennille deals with ego and narcism from many bosses every 45 min)
Anna was a college graduate when she landed her dream job
(Tennille didn't even attend college and landed her dream job at the age of 32)
Anna dealt with the stress of her boss mainly at the magazine
(Tennille dealt with the stress of clients in their private home or businesses,vehicles
and various venues)
(Tennille has an on going battle with self esteem. Based solely on her childhood and a comment
her mom made to her at a very young age. Makes for intriguing and complex interactions with
her clients.



The Nanny Diaries


Similarities Annie was a nanny for a 4year old boy mainly shot in an Upper east home
(Tennille's interactions with her clients were mainly in their private homes)
Annie had issues with being paid for her service
(Tennille had issues with being paid on time for her services)
Annie sadly had to deal with a very private matters between the parents of this child
(Tennille also deals with very sad private matters)


differences Annie was in college when she was employed as a Nanny
(Tennille did not go to college and was 32 when she begun this adventure)
Annie was given a lot of other obligations aka client personal errands on top of her nanny job
(Tennille only had one obligation Make the client feel and look their best)
Annie was a nanny and had to deal with a 4 year old child
(Tennille's clients are adult women with the exception of bar mitzvahs or proms)
(Tennille underlying self esteem issues impacts each interaction with client.)


#5 Primary Conflict

Standing 6 foot 4 inches in heels, the "tallest girl from Maine,"
Tennille's bold move to blindly point to map dictating her future.
Began her long journey eventually landing her dream job at a Posh makeup studio
on Madison Ave on the Upper east side of Manhattan.


#6 Secondary Conflict

Throughout her life Tennille's modelsque appearance elicited unwanted attention and obnoxious
comments based solely on her looks. However, Tennille's alcoholic drug addicted mom made it clear
to her at a young age that her "looks would not last forever." This prompted the child, and now the adult,
to focus on the appearance of others rather than herself. Tennille thought she had seen and heard it all but
nothing could have prepared her for the interactions she was about to embark on. A makeup artist has
forty five minutes to establish a relationship that is only rivaled by your dentist in terms of proximity. Tennille's
talent is in the act of establishing rapport with a new stranger every 45 minutes; she becomes their counselor,
friend, sister, therapist, cheerleader and a temporary dumping ground for their emotions; good or bad.



#7 Settings Being a makeup artist the setting changes per client.


Traveling from the rat race of New York City to a multi million dollar home in the Hamptons with a custom
"beauty room" set up for private pedicures, manicures and routine hair services and grand windows that
provide natural light to promote perfect hair color and makeup application.


A four-story townhouse equipped with an extensive water feature running through the entire home.
Collectible art from Monet, Picasso, Warhal and complete with life sized sculptures. This home had maids
quarters larger then my whole apartment. Someone is cooking, another person cleaning, a third is tutoring
one of five children in Latin and Tennille is waiting patiently in the living room to be called up to the Master
bedroom floor.


A stretch black SUV limousine with snack bar and adult beverages (not available to Tennille) heading to
a Bar Mitzvah at a multi million dollar party for a thirteen year old.



A small apartment full of Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Prada, still with tags on in their boxes, strewn around
the room, and a big fat joint in the ashtray. This was an assignment from a socialite who paid Tennille to
get her daughter ready for an expensive night out at the bars in New York City.



Makeup studio on Madison avenue assisting Grammy award winning musicians, Actresses, reality stars
and wealthy inhabitants of the Upper East side. The big windows, crystal chandeliers, private makeup stations,
made all the celebrities feel spoiled.

TessaShaffer
Posts: 1
Joined: 19 Jun 2017, 18:36

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#24 Post by TessaShaffer » 19 Jun 2017, 18:48

FIRST ASSIGNMENT: write your story statement.
A woman doesn’t believe in fate, but must learn to embrace the signs from the universe in order to unravel her happily ever after.


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.


Jake has only known Rebekah for three months but he’s head over heels for her. She’s coming off of a bad divorce and was reluctant to start dating again, but Jake was charming. Jake was raised by his late grandparents, and because of never having known his biological parents, he yearns to have a real family again. When Jake finds out Rebekah is pregnant he’s elated to be a dad, after all, he already loves her son, Ethan. Jake pushes Rebekah’s boundaries by proposing to her with his grandmother’s ring at a crowded event. Rebekah turns down his proposal, but Jake doesn’t stop pushing her to accept that they are meant to be together despite the unusual circumstances. Jake tells Rebekah the story of “the red string of fate” along with the romantic way his grandparents met involving a red string. He’s convinced that meeting Rebekah on his late grandfather’s birthday was a sign, and keeps track of all the other signs and reasons they were meant to find each other. Jake keeps his grandmother’s ring in his pocket every day waiting for the chance to propose again.



THIRD ASSIGNMENT: create a breakout title (list several options, not more than three, and revisit to edit as needed).
THE UNIVERSE HAS NO REGRETS




FOURTH ASSIGNMENT:
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?


Genre: Upmarket Women’s Fiction

The Red Thread by Ann Hood (2011 W.W. Norton & Company)
THE RED THREAD is about the Chinese folktale of “The Red String of Fate” that people who are destined to be together are all connected by an invisible red string. The connections in this book follow Maya Lange (the founder of an adoption agency), the American couples who look to adopt Chinese girls, and the Chinese birthmothers who were forced to give up their children. THE RED THREAD brilliantly weaves these stories together alternating the points of view between fourteen characters, focusing on a mother’s love and the yearning for a child. THE UNIVERSE HAS NO REGRETS is also inspired by the folktale of “The Red String of Fate,” stringing lives together with a focus not just on a mother’s love, but also bringing conversation to relationships between friends, siblings, and strangers. THE UNIVERSE HAS NO REGRETS shows how a young mother, a drug addict, a gay accountant, a cheating baker, a bartender, an entrepreneur, and an LGBT homeless youth are all connected by a string of fate. THE RED THREAD chronicles the lives of its fourteen characters in alternating chapters told in third person narrative, and THE UNIVERSE HAS NO REGRETS introduces its eight characters through similar chapter headers although its stories are told through first person point of view. Both books have a strong theme of love, connection, and fate bringing strangers together in unique ways.
Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty (2009 Harper Collins)
THREE WISHES follows the lives of triplets, Lyn, Cat, and Gemma Kettle as they celebrate their thirty-third birthday with a catastrophe event. Flashbacks from alternating point of views show how each girl arrived at the events that have unfolded. Secrets and revelations link the sisters in a complicated, yet very relatable family bond. THREE WISHES also has chapters written in first person point of view from strangers that have crossed paths with the triplets at some point in their lives. These chapters reveal how the triplets unknowingly influenced those around them in unique ways, changing the course of lives completely. THE UNIVERSE HAS NO REGRETS is also told in vignettes similar to the style of Liane Moriarty, however, THE UNIVERSE HAS NO REGRETS dives deeper into the lives of seemingly strangers around its main characters showing not only how the main characters have influenced the lives of strangers around them, but also how the lives of strangers have altered the main characters stories. Both books have a focus on love, relationships, affairs, depression and anxiety, siblings, and the influence that a passing stranger can have.





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.

A single mother doesn’t believe in fate, but must accept signs from the universe in order to unravel the love she’s tangled, tracing her steps back to doing the one thing she swore she’d never do again.





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?


Scenario of Inner Conflict:
Rebekah is faced with an unwanted pregnancy. Her inner conflict is choosing between the life she had planned for herself and her five year old son, Ethan, and the life that is seemingly waiting for her with her new boyfriend, Jake, and an unborn child. She’s newly divorced and doesn’t want the commitment that a baby or a baby-daddy holds right now. She’s only known Jake for three months, what if things don’t work out? What if Jake cheats on her just like her ex-husband did? Rebekah’s best friend supports the idea of abortion, reminding her that it’s her body and her choice. Rebekah could terminate her pregnancy without telling anyone, but Rebekah feels sick at the memory of hearing her son’s heartbeat at her very first ultrasound. She also feels guilt at the idea of terminating a pregnancy when she herself was an unplanned pregnancy that her mother chose to keep against doctors concerns for her mother’s health. These internal conflicts and the next nine months sit on her chest.

Secondary Conflict:
Rebekah depends on her mother for help with Ethan, but she fears what her mother’s Catholic reaction will be when she finds out she’s pregnant to a man she hardly knows. It was Rebekah’s mother who forced her to marry her ex-husband when she was nineteen and pregnant which only ended in heartache. Rebekah isn’t sure how she will support two kids on her part-time salary and fears she’ll have to move in with her judgmental mother. Jake’s reaction to the news of the baby is supportive, but almost too supportive. He proposes to Rebekah, and the last thing she wants to do is get married again. Rebekah turns down Jake’s romantic proposal and pushes him away, afraid of making the same mistake twice.




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.

The setting is New York City with scenes taking place in Central Park, Midtown, Lower Manhattan, Hell’s Kitchen, The Bronx, and just across the Lincoln Tunnel in Newport New Jersey. The setting in THE UNIVERSE HAS NO REGRETS is powerful as it becomes a character of its own when situations and circumstances of the outside world connect strangers to each other in unforeseen ways. The setting is also ever changing as New York City is seen differently through the eyes of each supporting character in this multiple POV novel.

Gus, “The Counter,” is an OCD accountant in the Bronx who refuses to ride the subway for fear of the germs. He knows that 15% of the air anyone breathes in on the subway contains dead skin particles. He sees the city as dirty and depressing, even all 843 acres of Central Park. The city is an outer reflection of Gus’s inner world as he struggles with his sexuality and depression, ultimately leading to his attempt of suicide from The High Bridge.

John, “The User,” is a drug addict who uses people almost as much as he uses drugs. To him, New York City is the flashing red and blue lights of a cop car, and they are always out to get him. He can’t keep a metro card loaded, spending every dime he has on drugs. He’ll swear he’s not a rat, but just like the rats of New York City—he eats from falafel carts and walks everywhere. Coming out of a jail stint, John sees Gus on The High Bridge and marks him as a way to make his next score, unknowingly saving Gus’s life.

Jessie, “The Baker,” is a wedding cake designer that specializes in cakes with secret ingredients. She’s a hopeless romantic who moved to New York City for love. She chooses to see the best in people and in their relationships, but envies couples in New York that walk down a busy sidewalk holding hands. She wants more than anything to have a New-York-City-kind-of-love, but instead is stuck in an affair with a married man where she can only meet him in the stuffy and hidden Campbell Apartment Bar above Grand Central Terminal.

Robbie, “The Bartender,” sees it all. And maybe that’s why he suffers from anxiety. He moved to New York City for film school, but found that meeting people and hearing their stories as a bartender in Midtown to be his own kind of cinema that he can direct by giving patrons advice and seeing their stories unfold. He knows how to pour whiskey for Wall Street executives after a hard day and he knows how to sling beers after a Yankee’s loss, but he has trouble finding the right words to talk to the girl of his dreams—Jessie.

“The Tourist” can’t tell the difference between the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building, but she sees other things that most New Yorkers take for granted, like the hope that can be passed along to a homeless person by giving them a few dollars or the kindness of a stranger helping to hail her a cab. She’s the quintessential tourist in every local New Yorkers way, but her interactions with each other character prove to have a pivotal purpose.

New York City is full of people—most of them strangers—but it becomes a small world when the reader can see how the smallest action of one character can completely transform the life of another.

daplotkin
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Joined: 20 Jun 2017, 21:49

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#25 Post by daplotkin » 20 Jun 2017, 23:46

Assignment 2 – by Deb Plotkin

1. Story Statement for Wishbone:
A couple struggle through years of infertility madness, and as they begin to lose their sanity, they cling to their one remaining hope – a single, shared wish.

2. Antagonistic force for Wishbone:
During their 10–year foray into the unforgiving world of infertility, Deb and Bill exhaust their energy, their emotions and their resources battling an enemy invisible to everyone but them. A relentless nemesis to them alone, it is the source of unbelievable joy to others yet a consistent confirmation of failure to them. The enemy? A pregnancy test stick – an object, without thought or feeling as to the devastation its tiny plastic window places upon the hearts of a longtime childless couple in search of their happy ending.
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Excerpts from Wishbone chapter “The Stick” demonstrating antagonistic force:

Bill had come to dread that little plastic stick with the small window - despised it, actually. That stick controlled their lives. It determined their moods. It played with their emotions. It teased them. It taunted them month after grueling month. He closed his eyes for one last prayer before they both bent forward to watch the stick emerge from the cup.
Bill knew it was ridiculous to blame a plastic stick for all their troubles. After all, a plastic stick was not the reason they couldn’t conceive. But, he needed something to blame since they didn’t have any logical explanation why they haven’t conceived the child that’s been in the making since their wedding day.
...Deb’s face began to crumble like a mountainside during an avalanche.
Watching. Waiting.
The jarring sound of the timer broke them out of their trance. They both stared at the stick a moment longer. The stick. The stick that ruled their world. The stick that kept them on an emotional roller coaster. The stick with its empty window. The damned stick.

3. Breakout title for Wishbone:
Current title:
Wishbone – A story about life, love and the pursuit of parenthood
Alternate options:
Wish Granted
That damn stick :)
Wishin’ and Hopin’ and Prayin’ – oh, wait…never mind, that’s a song :)

4. Comparables for Wishbone:
-The Inconceivable Truth: A gutsy memoir about defining and surviving childless womanhood in the 21st Century by Nicki Fenthum
This is a very new release and though I did not read the book, I “peeked inside” on Amazon. Our stories are similar because we both deal with infertility, but differ because she was originally reluctant to become a mom.
I liked the details surrounding the more modern treatments available since my story begins when we married in 1988 and I’m sure there have been some advances since then.
-The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying: A life transformed by the dearly departing by Bronnie Ware
I read this book years ago and fell in love with the author’s casual and witty storytelling style. Bronnie Ware writes about the experiences of people at the end of their lives and also shares her own experiences about how this changed her.
In my book, I share my evolution as well because although my story primarily focuses on the topic of infertility, I also write about the life-changing transformation happening within that time period.
-Eat, Pray, Love: One woman’s search for everything across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert
I am also familiar with this work. Elizabeth Gilbert leaves behind a life she felt she wasn’t “living”. The same theme holds true when I finally realized I was making the wrong “wish” all along. When I changed how I perceived myself, my husband and my future, Life gave me so much more than I could ever hope to wish for on my own.
She uses travel as a means to reconnect with her soul whereas my soul had quite a unique way of connecting with me.
-------------------------
As a side note, here’s something I noticed about their books and mine…our titles all include further clarification. I wonder if that’s common for the memoir genre? At least it appears to hold true on Amazon where my research showed about 50% of the titles were displayed the same way. Alternatively, similar works are also labeled with “a memoir” or “my story” following the title.
Perhaps fiction offers more freedom when naming a book because it describes the adventure the author wants the read to have whereas a memoir presents the reader with an adventure that’s already been had by the author. Either way, I believe there is an abundance of opportunities to invite the reader to take an amazing literary journey with you. And that connection is my intention whether I’m writing books, workshop presentations, blog posts or lunch notes to my kids.

5. Conflict line for Wishbone:
What’s worse? Losing your hope, losing your passion or losing your mind? If you’re not careful what you wish for, you could lose all three.

Three types of conflict addressed:
-Losing your hope (primary conflict – loss of the ease and confidence with which others seem to become pregnant)
-Losing your passion (secondary conflict – loss of spontaneous intimacy and romance with each other)
-Losing your mind (inner conflict – loss of self when choosing “pursuing a dream” rather than “allowing a miracle”)

6. Inner conflict scenario for Wishbone:
Trigger: another failed pregnancy test (that damned stick again)
Emotions: anger, sorrow, disappointment, frustration, surrender
Reaction: Deb refuses to take another test
Excerpt from Wishbone:
She pushed aside Bill’s outstretched arm as she walked past him. Shoulders down, head bowed, she looked like a soldier returning from the losing side of a battle. Beaten down and depleted, she muttered, “You will never know how I feel.”
“How can I?” Bill felt so helpless. “Babe, please…”
Deb headed for their bedroom.
“I want to be alone.” It was not a request.
Then she closed the door. With her husband standing on the other side of it, she lay down and with thoughts of unfulfilled dreams making circles in her mind, she prayed.
If I’m not meant to be a mom, then I guess I’ll have to accept that. But, God, please tell me how I can live with this soul-piercing pain.

7. Settings for Wishbone:
The setting fluctuates between the present (in Florida) and the past (in New York).

Below are some setting examples from Wishbone showing uncommon events happening in common places while also spotlighting the “colorful” characters (mostly our crazy family members) within those settings: well-meaning relatives, out-of-control pets, off-the-wall neighbors/landlords and a tenacious insect.
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-In the dining room with well-meaning relatives:
“My ass got so big when I was pregnant, I thought I’d never fit on the toilet again,” Aunt Tillie confided.
Just like our turkey this morning.
“You’re lucky you still have your figure.”
Deb passed the large bowl of salad she’d been holding to Suzie.
What do you say to something like that? Does she think telling me about the width of her rear end will deter me from wanting a child? Does she honestly believe my dress size is more important than fulfilling a lifelong wish?
“How are you holding up, Honey?” Aunt Edith asked from across the table. “Did you have the surgery yet? Did they find out why you can’t get pregnant?”
“Don’t they know what’s wrong with you yet?” Grandpa asked, ignoring Aunt Petunia’s nudge.
“Maybe you’re not doing it right,” Todd laughed as he nodded in Bill’s direction.
“I’m so glad that never happened to me.” Lynn fed her third child a bottle as she spoke. “I’ve always been able to conceive just by thinking about it!”
As the words fell from her lips, she turned to look at Deb’s pained expression.
“I’m so sorry.” Lynn picked up her daughter and snuggled her close. “That came out all wrong.”
Eyes wide, Deb turned and looked at Bill.
“I forgot something in the kitchen.” She walked quickly back through the door.
What the hell?
“It’s show time!” Bill barged through the door, disturbing her peace.
“I don’t think I can go back out there. They’re even worse than I remember.” Deb looked around desperately for something else to do, but all of the food had been cooked and brought to the dining room where the others were awaiting her return.
“You do this every year.” Bill gently pushed Deb toward the door. “You hide in the kitchen for most of the day then you avoid the company YOU invited.”
“Then why break tradition?” Deb asked.
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-In the kitchen (in my book, you’ll soon notice this is my favorite place) with out-of-control pets:
The dogs raised their heads from the fallen basket long enough to notice Deb headed toward them. They went back to devouring the rest of the fruit as she grabbed Merlin’s large blue collar, the id tags jingling.
As Deb reached for Dora, she slid on a puddle of lavender scented body wash from the broken bottle she had noticed too late. Seizing the opportunity to break free, Merlin lurched forward bumping the chair holding the heaping platter of carved turkey.
Deb quickly extended her arms, but the slick surface of the ceramic tile plopped her right back down on the floor. She watched the plate begin to topple, eyes wide with terror. Just as she felt the situation was hopeless, she saw a hand appear from behind her back to steady the chair and save the turkey.
Deb turned to see Bill and watched him attempt to grab the panic-stricken animals in front of him. Dora began barking loudly then Merlin joined her with a deep-chested “WOOF”.
Deb tried to slide back to allow him room to maneuver the dogs out of the kitchen. But before he could successfully return them to the yard once more, Dora turned her head and devoured the top half of the pile of turkey on the platter Bill had just rescued.
“Ugggghhh.” The sound that escaped Deb’s mouth was more of a grunt than a word. She pushed the dogs toward Bill, who dragged them through the open yard door.
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-In the front yard reminiscing about off-the-wall neighbors/landlords:
“And, most of all, I’ll miss our lovely neighbors,” said Bill, desperately trying to maintain a straight face.
Deb stopped walking and doubled over with laughter, dropping the tote and spilling its contents all over the sidewalk. Bill put down the cage and bent to help her as he joined in the laughter.
Their neighbors were anything but lovely.
“Remember last summer during our Memorial Day party when the kids next door frolicked in nothing but their skin on the lawn in front of our sliding glass door?” Bill grabbed his deodorant.
“You know how I believe it’s important to provide entertainment for our guests.” Deb reached across Bill to grab the shampoo bottle that had rolled out of the bag.
“What about the people above us? They left a trail of the most sour stench lingering in the hallway for days.” Bill picked up a pair of socks. “I swear they cooked feet.”
“And let’s not forget how handy our landlord was.” Deb rolled her eyes.
“He was even less handy than I am!” Bill admitted.
“What about when he ‘fixed’ the stove and then it caught fire on Thanksgiving morning?”
“I slept through that, remember?” Bill confessed.
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-In the hallway and bedroom battling a tenacious insect:
They stood in the hallway for a while before Deb spoke again.
“You have to get rid of it.”
“I’m not going back in there.” Bill backed away from the closed door as if expecting the bug to open it and devour them whole.
“You have to. We can’t let it breed.”
Bill thought about this for a moment and decided to brave the beast.
“Give me something to kill it with.”
They searched the rest of the house and found a fly swatter in the garage. Bill crept slowly up to the door gripping his new weapon.
“Why are you tip-toeing? Do you think it will hear you?” Deb asked.
Bill shot her a deadly look as he carefully opened the door. He looked at the spot where he saw it last.
“It’s gone.”
“Did you expect it to wait for you?” Deb replied.
“Great! That’s just great!” Bill stomped into the room. “Now I’ve got to find it all over again!”
He turned and spotted the bug above the door where Deb stood. She followed his gaze and let out a blood curdling scream worthy of any horror movie.
“Don’t move,” Bill instructed.
But Deb didn’t think standing still directly below a freakishly large insect was such a great suggestion, so she quickly slammed the door shut.
The bug fell to the ground and scurried across the room.
“Ahhhhhhhh!”
Fueled by his fear, Bill screamed as he ran toward it, swinging his swatter with every step. The bug slipped under the bi-fold doors of the closet just as Bill approached.
“Oh, no you don’t!”

NOTE:
I thank you all for this amazing opportunity to review my story in a whole new light. This has been an eye-opening experience, and given me much to consider with new stories as I bring them to life.
I look forward to a wonderful adventure when I return to my “Homeland”. See you soon!
-Deb Plotkin
deb@daplotkin.com

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