New York Pitch Conference - Assignments 2017

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 2017

#1 Post by WritersBlock » 27 Nov 2017, 03:08

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

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!



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.



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).


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.



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).



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!


- Read Caitlin's Comparables on Author Salon:
- 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?



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.



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?



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.


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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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments 2017

#2 Post by simeonmann » 28 Nov 2017, 06:28

1) My story statement:

In a world where everybody possesses magic, three gifted teenage siblings must fight through self-doubt, sibling rivalry, and the loss of their mentor to save their nation from genocide.

2) 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:

There are three levels of antagonist in my story. The first level is the denial of information afforded to the common folk of the Yoophorian nation. Those in charge don’t tell the truth of what often happens to other members of their nation that are assumed kidnapped by evil Krawling bounty hunters. This spurs one of the protagonists forward to seek the truth about what really happens when people among them disappear. The second level of antagonist in my story are the Krawlings themselves. The Krawlings are constantly attempting to infiltrate the boundaries of the Yoophorians to kidnap more victims. The Yoophorians live on edge, always fearing when the next abduction will occur. This leads to conflict among the people of the nation. The third level of antagonist is the Emperor of the Krawlings, Emperor Skazergrin. He strives to invade and annihilate the Yoophorians' land. When he obtains a magic gem that allows him to combine the magic strength of his entire nation within himself, he kidnaps the supreme protector of the good nation, thereby leaving them helpless to the oncoming onslaught from the Krawlings and Emperor Skazergrin, who set out to destroy them once and for all.

3) Creating a breakout title:

A World Rearranged
Magicia: Diverging Paths
A Clash of Blood and Magic

4) Comparables:

The genre is YA epic fantasy.

I've struggled with comparables for a while, but here they are:
- The Black Prism by Brent Weeks, because that also has as one of the main characters a supremely powerful being charged with protecting the nation and also deals with sibling rivalry among siblings who possess vast power and/or skills.
- Upfraft by Fran Wilde, because she creates a wholly original world where information is withheld from most people, that the protagonists have to uncover, and because gliding with apparatuses is a big part of their culture, as it is in the world I've created, Magicia.

5) Creating a conflict line:

Will Choss, an aspiring Airfighter whose father was recently kidnapped by Krawling bounty hunters, discovers that not all kidnappings are as they seem and has to fight to uncover the truth while becoming increasingly focused on taking revenge on the Krawlings to prevent further tragedy from befalling his nation, while his family doesn't believe in aggressive tactics, only defensive positions.

6) Other levels of conflict:

Inner conflict:
Will is pulled to find the truth about the kidnappings even though his mother and all those around him implore him to leaves things be. He then is conflicted by the birth of his twin siblings, Reesa and Aree, who grow to his age in mere days and possess inexplicable magic, putting his status as favored son in jeopardy. Their birth creates within him warring feelings of love and envy that Will struggles to reconcile.

Meanwhile, the twins, Aree and Reesa, struggle to understand themselves while being summoned to train for the future, but not knowing what exactly they're training for. They are conflicted as to how and to what ends to use their immense magic as the story unfolds, and are conflicted as to how to approach their brother, who withdraws more and more as time passes. When their mentor, the former protector of their nation, is kidnapped by the Krawling Emperor, they have to resolve whether to put their lives on the line to rescue him, thereby saving their nation from genocide.

Social conflict:
Will has to grapple with the birth of his twin siblings, who inexplicably possess magic unmatched and grow to his age in mere days, making him feel inadequate compared to them. As the story unfolds, Will also is challenged to accept that not all Krawlings are evil, which he has been taught his whole life, and that some may be worth protecting. Finally, when Will finds out that some people actually disappear to join a secretive rebel faction focused on destroying the Krawlings by any means necessary, he is conflicted as to whether he should abandon his mother and siblings to join them or stay with his family, who don't believe in unnecessary violence, even against their enemies.

Aree and Reesa are conflicted by their very nature, as some people see them as a gift, while others view them as an omen for bad things to come. They later become conflicted as Will pulls away from them and their mother as their power grows and Will discovers the secretive rebel faction, which Aree and Reesa don't agree with. They are further conflicted as to their purpose in life when they discover that their grandparents, who they've never met, had joined the rebel faction focused on wiping out the Krawlings nation by any means necessary. Should they go against all they've been taught and turn to violence, as Will and their grandparents have, or remain steadfast in their beliefs that excessive violence and aggression is not the answer and hope that they can still save their nation from genocide?
Finally, related to their inner conflict, they are forced with the choice of potentially saving their nation at the risk of dying themselves, sacrificing their own lives for the lives of others.

My story takes place in an original world, Magicia, on the continent of Magiseen, where everybody possesses a bit of magic that they can refine and use towards any purpose they want. The planet itself has magical elements and can rearrange its physical attributes at important moments in history. For example, during the last Rearrangement, 700 years before the story takes place, the Sunstar was moved to hang perpetually over the Yoophorians' (the "good guys") land while the Krawlings live in bleak weak light, with each province lit by a Sickenstar that hangs low in the sky. During the last Rearrangement, a mountain range rose up in the middle of the continent to separate the Krawlings from the Yoophorians. Because the Sunstar hangs perpetually over the Yoophorians' land, each night a group of Yoophorians combine their magic along with that of their nation's supreme protector in order to raise up colossal Banyan trees, which grow into the atmosphere and bend over, their branches intertwining to create a dome over the land, blocking out the Sunstar's ever-present light and providing night.

The Yoophorians' land is referred to as Yoophana and is lush, rich of nature, flora and fauna and possesses many awe-inspiring features, such as the Waterwalls of Tankreen, which hang in the air but contain sealife within, and act as a kind of giant lake in which Yoophorians can swim. In the middle of the content is the Treetops Forest, a vast land made up of numerous locales and types of trees, animals, and plant life, which also acts as an obstacle for the Krawlings, who used to trample across the continent to invade Yoophana and slaughter and kidnap Yoophorians by the thousands. The Krawling's land, which abuts a mountain range on the other side of the Treetops Forest, is referred to as Krawna. It used to be a lush land similar to Yoophana, but once the Sunstar was removed from rotating above their land, the land grew cold and bleak, with even the plantlife (that which remains) mere shades of gray and black and yellow. Whereas in Yoophana there are trees of growing crystal, here trees of unmeltable ice grow wild.

In Yoophana the story begins in the Choss home, which, like most buildings in Yoophana, is of rounded architecture and they use ramps instead of stairs to reach higher floors.
Other locations include the Central Hall of the Thinkers, where the philosophers and leaders of the nation confer and discuss all important topics, from day-to-day issues to national concerns. The Central Hall is an 18 story building made of bluestone. On the front is inscribed the phrase, "To Think is to Know." Each of the eight Yoophorian provinces has its own Thinkers' Halls as well. National celebratory events are held in the Parrot's Nest, a huge edifice of bamboo and magic that expands as it fills with people. Plays are performed, among other things. Weapons and tools are imbued with magic at Libneth Lake, a deep and wide powerful body of water with a cliffside looking down upon it from one side.

In Krawna, the first scene takes place in Terrokran, Emperor Skazergrin's immense fortress. It looms tremendous among the oversized structures surrounding it, its highest spires mere sketches in the sky. It appears to have been ripped forth from a mountain, already built. A fence of black flame crackles along the top of the outer wall. Fang-shaped windows, some barred and others closed off by smoke-tinted glass, stare down from its many towers. Boney mounds swell out from the otherwise smooth fortress walls, as if something was trying to escape from the horrors occurring within. Other scenes take place in the Ring of Emperors, where prisoners, mutated beasts, and others engage in battles to the death. Once a year a challenger who has won numerous other challenges receives the chance to fight the Emperor for the Emperorship of Krawna. Nobody has beaten Emperor Skazergrin in 23 years.

Other scenes take place within the Treetops Forest. The twins train there, in the Outer Realm, and they have to journey across the Inner Realm, over several days, to reach Krawna, later in the story. And the rebel faction of Yoophorians live in the high branches of the Inner Realm's trees, where they've built a sophisticated city high above the ground, led by a secretive leader.
Atop the Raised Mountains, which divide the two nations before the Krawlings' side of the Treetops Forest, live the Stonewalkers, who have made their home on the expansive summit. They are Yoophorians who tampered with magic many centuries ago and are now living statues of stone.

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments 2017

#3 Post by willpowerwriter » 30 Nov 2017, 20:52

1. Story statement:

A private investigator must save a girl from a violent criminal cult while struggling with bureaucracies and her own increasing emotional involvement in the case.

2. Sketch of antagonistic force:

The primary antagonist in this novel is a cult that grooms vulnerable young people, so they can ultimately reshape them as loyal adherents of the group. After the cult derails the life of the co-protagonist, an ambitious and talented young girl burdened by the perceived negligence of a busy family, they kidnap her, twice, to try and silence her forever. The mysterious leader of this cult is an ex-special forces British predator who hides behind the power he wields over the minds of his members.

3. Creating a Breakout Title:

The current working title is Cult Crimes.

a) Competition
b) Cult Crimes
c) Undercover Vampire

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments 2017

#4 Post by willpowerwriter » 30 Nov 2017, 21:28

4. Comparable titles:

This title can be compared to Tami Hoag’s Guilty as Sin or The Girl Before by Rena Olsen. Besides a kidnapping and a revelation of hidden evils lurking in a community, one finds themselves questioning, as with these two titles, where the line between victim and victimizer ends and begins.

5. Conflict lines:

A private investigator debates putting her own life on the line as she faces the reality that the only way for her to save a kidnapped girl is to go undercover and infiltrate a violent cult.

6. Other matters of conflict:

A.) Internal conflict:

As a reserved Russian-American woman who values her objectivity, the private investigator on the case also must face the reality that she sees in the kidnapped girl an example of herself…before she became cynical and afraid of being hurt by a cruel world.

B.) Social Conflict

Private investigators and law enforcement have their own constraints, and sometimes these limitations conflict with each other, despite the assumption that both have the same goal of protecting society. The protagonist P.I. in this manuscript initially is forced to grudgingly work with a F.B.I. agent who doesn’t always want to confide in her.

In addition, a major reason the initial working title had been competition was the power that sibling rivalry played in helping push the co-protagonist away from her busy family into the arms of a hedonistic and violent cult. Because her parents not only are ambitious and prominent, but also because they seem to have only valued those traits above all else, the co-protagonist and her sister felt as if locked in a protracted, bitter struggle for their parents' very limited time, attention, and affection. Outwardly, the co-protagonist appeared successful and on the right track, creating jealousy in her less orthodox, less achievement-oriented sibling.
7. Setting

This novel is set in Idaho, mostly in Boise. Having lived in Idaho, I know firsthand how different and stratified the state is. Many people in the rural areas resent the city dwellers that they feel have corrupted and taken over the state, only to hoard resources and ignore their needs. These social dynamics help drive the narrative, as it is the distrust and alienation of those outside of Boise that helps keep people from cooperating or drive kids into the arms of a cult promising an escape from a mundane existence.

In addition, Idaho is mostly white and conservative. Yet the federal agent working with the protagonist P.I. is a black man. This introduces an element of tension that exacerbates the lack of cooperation, at times, they receive from other law enforcement groups when trying to locate and/or save the girl.

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments 2017

#5 Post by abcwritedesign » 30 Nov 2017, 22:04

Story Statement:
Addie must break ties with her best friend, Julia, in order to save her daughter...and herself.

The Antagonist Plots the Point:
Julia Marsh and her mother, Sabrina Ann, are the antagonistic forces in “Charming Julia.” Beautiful Sabrina Ann is both a negligent mother and a volatile character. The only real values she imparts on her daughter are materialism and the importance of marrying a wealthy man. With a string of failed marriages to rich men in her wake, Sabrina Ann believes the world owes her a life of luxury and leisure. Following her latest divorce, she sets her sights on helping her daughter marry well.

Julia recognizes her mother’s failings, but she finds herself powerless to defy Sabrina Ann or become anything other than what her mother intends for her to be. While she recognizes her mother is dangerously manipulative, she is also desperate to get what she wants—and what her mother has convinced her she must have—a rich husband. Having been raised by a narcissist, Julia is egocentric and uses her charm and Addie’s insecurities to get what she wants.

Conjuring Your Breakout Title:
1. Charming Julia
2. The Magnetic Pull of Idols
3. The Gold Digger Complex

Deciding Your Genre and Approaching Comparables:
Out of the Easy, by Ruta Sepetys
Easy (Contours of the Heart #1), by Tammara Webber
Someone Like You, by Sarah Dessen
Remix, by Non Pratt

Considering the Primary Conflict:
After fostering a precarious friendship with the magnetic and manipulative Julia, Addie must break free from Julia’s charms in order to save her daughter and herself.

Other Matters of Conflict:
Addie feels conflicted between her family's expectations for her future and the magnetic allure of Julia. The excitement and liberation of her new friendship with Julia come with great consequences to the other relationships in her life. For example, Addie decides to forgo college and move to New York with Julia, causing a deep estrangement with her father.

When Julia begins a complicated romance with Addie’s older brother, Addie is angry and feels betrayed. She must reevaluate her friendship and all the decisions she has made based on Julia’s magnetic pull.

The Incredible Importance of Setting
“Charming Julia” takes place primarily in two distinct places and two different decades. Addie and Julia first meet in 1984 in a small, fictional town in Massachusetts where the wealthy and working-class residents live very different lives. Addie’s father owns the largest business in town and employs many of her classmates’ parents. In contrast, Julia and her mother struggle to make ends meet following her mother's most recent divorce. After high school, Julia convinces Addie to move to New York City, a decision that alienates Addie from her father. The girls live in a cramped and decrepit studio apartment in a neighborhood rife with drug dealers and homeless people. It is in this setting where Addie’s life begins to spiral downward, forcing her to reevaluate her decisions and, ultimately, her friendship with Julia.

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments 2017

#6 Post by suzgmpr567 » 30 Nov 2017, 22:47

1) Story statement:

Headstrong, 1980s punk-rock art student Jess wants to break free of her sheltered college life and develop her creative spirit.

2) Antagonist: Mark “Whit” Whittan, daredevil post-punk guitarist

Whit is a bold bass player with a sexy sensibility who shares Jessica’s avant-garde creative drive. Partial to dyed-blond, spiked hair and combat boots, he’s also recently heartbroken, and his flighty mother has dragged him from state to state via a series of failed marriages throughout his childhood. He’s looking now to stay in one place and establish himself in the Philadelphia new wave music scene. Although Jess is enticed by his new wave persona, it becomes clear that he’s possessive and controlling, with a reckless, ADD-fueled sense of danger. Whit pressures focused, self-reliant Jess to place a higher priority on him than on her own goals, which include saving tip money to fund her dream semester overseas, where she hopes to grow as an artist. Whit casts doubt on Jessica’s choices, causing her to wonder whether her laser-sharp goals and devotion to craft are misplaced, and might crush any chance of maintaining a relationship. During a jealousy-fueled breakup, Whit runs his car off the road with Jess in tow, almost plunging them into the river and landing Jess in the hospital, where an ER bill drains her tuition savings.

3) Breakout title

Excuse Me, Waitress, Is That New Jersey?

American Misfit Kid

Kids in America

4) Genre/Comparables

Genre: Women’s fiction, humorous with LGBT and romantic elements


Me Before You – Jojo Moyes: Women’s fiction that features a headstrong and quirky heroine who fantasizes about a career in the arts. She pines for a trip to a trendy European capital to inspire her vision, just like Jess. She also dreams of experiences beyond her working-class life, yet toils at a challenging domestic assignment. Romance features prominently, but yet the storyline doesn’t culminate in her “getting the guy.” My novel is a romantic comedy that’s not all about the boy.

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist – David Levithan: A guitar player and a musically-inclined young girl romp through the city with their respective buddies, bonding over their love of the same music, despite their personal insecurities. The adventure leads them through music clubs, a drag show, and various party venues. These elements of connecting through music, friendship, nightlife, romance, and LGBT performances play significant roles in my novel as well.

5) Conflict Line/Primary Conflict
An ambitious young art student struggles to further her creative development and is hastened by a complicated love triangle, drawing into question the long-term implications of her impassioned goals.

6) Conflicts:

Inner conflict:

Jess has been told all her life that as a liberated woman of the ‘80s, her generation can finally “have it all.” Yet in pursuing it all—e.g., love, dedicated friendships, meaningful life experiences, and career objectives—she fears that her ambitions might be too intimidating for any boyfriend to bear. Her intense drive to strike-out in the world and increase her sophistication has alienated people she loves, causing her to wonder if she will “focus” herself into being alone.

Secondary conflict:

When Jess veers between a stalled relationship with a hometown boyfriend and an exciting new tryst, she inspires the envy of Trina, her insecure and vindictive roommate. This causes Trina to instigate a break-up between Jess and her new but volatile love interest, who puts her life in danger with a car accident. Jess’ second roommate, Audrey, is devoted to their friendship—but is subject to debilitating episodes of depression, which Jess attempts to mediate. Jess and friends also befriend a new neighbor, inviting her out to see one of their colleagues perform at a drag show. The woman’s abusive husband attacks the girls on their way home and absconds with her by morning, instilling fresh guilt in Jess and emotionally fragile Audrey.

7) Setting:

The novel takes place in New Hope, an artsy summer tourist town full of galleries, upscale restaurants, new wave clubs, and drag establishments. It’s rife with bridges, canals, and ponds along the picturesque Delaware River, which cleaves Pennsylvania from New Jersey. Student waitress Jess is hired at one of the more struggling restaurants in town, where the cooks harass each other until one of them quits, leaving the more bumbling of the two chefs in charge. Dinners take forever to emerge; customer do things like diaper their babies in the dining room, and trash the restaurant at a drunken high school reunion. Walls and railings change color overnight as a mystery man sneaks into the establishment and redecorates it weekly in an attempt to annoy his former partner. Klutzy Jess trips on the ragged slate floor daily, spilling drinks on bridesmaids and over-microwaving bread baskets as she struggles to master her job. The restaurant hires a drag performer to draw crowds, who bonds with Jess and eventually is tasked with bouncing the rowdy reunion party patrons out of the establishment by their collars, while attired in a Goddess-cut gown.

In addition to the gender-liberated but shambolic chaos of the restaurant, the book is set against a backdrop of the 1980’s post-punk music scene, recalling hazard-level clouds of Aqua Net, ominous clubs featuring slam dancers in angular black blazers and bulked-up shoulders, jarring guitar riffs from The Clash and The Pretenders, and musical treasure hunts through punked-out record graveyards on Philadelphia’s South Street. Jess splatter-paints her meager furniture and creates anarchist, smashed-glass mosaics while she takes up with the bass player who climbs through her basement window. Hot nights at his apartment temporarily dim her affections for her brainy but frustrated hometown boyfriend—who continues to call her in the middle of the night to contemplate the origin of the universe.

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments 2017

#7 Post by abeerfarooqui7 » 30 Nov 2017, 23:18

Hello! Posting my responses to the assignments.

1. Story Statement:
In the face of the growing political ambitions of her family and the unyielding contempt of the man she has married fosters against them, Amal must embark on a journey of uncovering truths in which her largest obstacle is herself.

2. The Antagonist

The primary antagonist is Faisal, the protagonist’s (Amal) uncle, guardian and head of their gargantuan business family. He is Machiavellian. He controls his family with fear, and his proud, vindictive nature is quick to roll out punishment in the face of disobedience.

But more than being a harsh, exacting patriarch, he is the embodiment of societal hypocrisy. Even though he is the head of a cultured 21st century household, he uses the face of “conservatism” to manipulate his niece’s life towards serving his purpose—of rising through the ranks of parliament by marrying her at thirteen to the country's crown prince. Faisal's ambitions only grow larger as she grows older, and consequently, so do his demands.

Perhaps the force that binds both antagonist and protagonist together, making them startlingly and paradoxically similar, is the weight of family expectations that have made them both who they are in the present—one cruel, and the other submissive.

3. Breakout Title
All That Glitters

4. Comparables
One of the comparables for the novel is Palace Walk, by Naguib Mahfouz, which draws on similar themes including societal double-standards between men and women and the dangers of both freedom and repression—set in a Middle Eastern context. My novel however is set in present day, whilst Palace Walk is set in the early 1900s.

Another strong comparable is Princess, by Jean Sasson, which is set in modern day Saudi Arabia and studies the lives, extravagance, and ravenous ambitions of Saudi royals, as well as, equally importantly, the rights and roles of women.

If I may venture out of Middle Eastern comparables, another novel I would mention is Belgravia by Julian Fellows, which although also set in a historical context, is similar to my work in the sense that it depicts the gravity of family secrets, their subsequent cover-ups, and the repercussions on family relationships as they are inevitably unfolded.

5. Conflict Line
Torn between the ambitions of her family and her husband’s-- the man they married her to at the age of 13—contempt towards them, Amal must unlearn all the truths she thought she knew to instead face a larger, darker reality that could either liberate her or break her.

6. Inner + Secondary Conflicts
The novel is driven by the protagonist’s ignorance/obliviousness. As readers, it is when we see Amal through the eyes of others that we question her behavior, and more importantly, we feel a strong need for her to question her situation. The primary conflict is Amal’s struggle in “waking up” to the truths that have shaped her and her life, and her family and her husband’s role in all of it. The need to awaken pulls at her periodically, through her fear of her uncle, her pull towards her reclusive husband, the desires she fails to suppress, the challenge of understanding herself in the face of acting upon them, and the echoes of her subconscious mind.

Secondary conflicts include
-Growing up, comparing her individual liberties (or lack of) to her twin brother’s—and trying to reconcile the disparity
-Loving a man other than her husband in her husband’s absence, and facing the consequences
- Political tensions, as Amal’s family eyes the seat at the head of the parliament

7. Setting
Set in a modern, monarchical developing Middle Eastern nation (Antara), which runs on the mining and trading of gold. It is comparable to the Gulf States in the Middle East, such as the United Arab Emirates (where I live) or the Sultanate of Oman.
It is a small country that is quietly powerful, ruled by a dying monarch and to be inherited by his reclusive son. It is a mountainous, jagged landscape that reflects the unevenness, roughness of the main characters, with streets decorated with colorful banners of families campaigning for power.
The reclusiveness/isolation of the main characters is also represented by their homes being large, silent mansions on top of mountains, with views that seem to condescend on the rest of the country.
A tall, glass tower reflects the business wealth and influence of the protagonist’s family.
From time to time, the main characters find escape in cities like London, Istanbul, Bursa, and Dubai, until they are eventually forced to confront what they preferred to flee from.

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments 2017

#8 Post by ColleenM » 01 Dec 2017, 00:12

FIRST ASSIGNMENT: Your story statement
Samantha Greer must solve the mystery of Professor Ross’s death and save the reputation of her friend Caitlin.

SECOND ASSIGNMENT: Sketch the antagonist or antagonistic force in your story
Detective Chase is more of an antagonistic force. She is a hardworking Homicide Detective and for her this begins as simply another day on the job. Sam Greer is at first a witness and then seemingly suspicious. Chase’s determination is to get to the truth no matter where it takes her.

THIRD ASSIGNMENT: Create a breakout title
Waiting to Fall – It comes from one of Caitlin’s journal entries.

FOURTH ASSIGNMENT: Develop two smart comparables for your novel
Possession by AS Byatt in the sense that there is the present day narrator trying to uncover the mystery of the past narrator through their written words.
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares in that it explores the essence of female relationships with a sense of humor and emotional depth.

FIFTH ASSIGNMENT: Write your own conflict line
After the death of Professor Ross Sam seeks answers in Caitlin’s journal only to realize the two deaths are intertwined, so Sam must pursue the homicide investigation in order to ensure Caitlin’s name and legacy are not somehow tarnished.

SIXTH ASSIGNMENT: Sketch out the conditions for the secondary conflict and inner conflict
Secondary Conflict – Sam is smitten with Justine Wyman her Freshman Advisee who is off limits. She also seems to have a strange sexual attraction to Detective Chase, which appears to be mutual. Sam faces a daily conflict with how these forbidden attractions can and will affect her choices.
Inner Conflict – Sam is filled with guilt over the loss of Caitlin. Why didn’t she see the signs? Could she have done something to have stopped Caitlin from taking her own life? As the investigation into Professor Ross’s death turns to Caitlin, Sam is fueled to solve the mystery and divert the investigation away from her friend. Sam may not have been able to protect Caitlin before, but she is absolutely going to protect her now, even if it is only Caitlin’s reputation that is left.

FINAL ASSIGNMENT: Sketch out your setting
Setting – A Woman’s College situated in Virginia in the late 1990s. It is isolated, filled with superstitions and traditions, and its own sense of culture and moral code.
Theatre Department – A small tight knit group that spends long hours working together, which creates an intimacy and familiarity that is unseen in other departments and frequently misunderstood.
Art Department – The artist works alone inspired and fueled by those that stand before her and as such her reality blurs into her work revealing to all her passions and motivations.

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments 2017

#9 Post by jkcatawhompus » 01 Dec 2017, 19:51

Story Statement:

A Catholic priest walks El Camino de Santiago from Le Puy-en-Velay, France to Fisterre, Spain.

Antagonist or Antagonistic Force:

The antagonist is God.
After cyclical abuse, Jeffrey thought God’s call for him to become a priest might bring sanity and healing, but as a priest, he experienced multiple forms of abuse (not sexual), which destroyed his faith in Jesus and in the Church. As he walks, Jeffrey seeks a relationship with God, but because of the abuse, he is furious with God and sees God as cruel.

Breakout Title:

A Walk to the End of the Earth (working)
Shadows at the Lighthouse

Comps and Genre:

Nonfiction, Adventure

A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson: A hilarious segment walk of the Appalachian Trail, with a strong conservationist perspective.
A Walk to the End of the Earth sets laughter and sadness, beauty and tragedy beside each other along an equally beautiful and brutal trail.

Wild, Cheryl Strayed: A thousand mile walk on the Pacific Coast Trail motivated by personal tragedy: divorce and the death of her mother.
A Walk to the End of the Earth is also a thousand mile walk motivated by personal tragedy: abuse in the Catholic Church and a destructive relationship with a girlfriend.

Conflict Line:

A Catholic priest with a faith broken by abuse experienced in the church and in a destructive relationship with a prostitute-heroin addict makes a pilgrimage in a search of God and himself.

Secondary Conflicts:

Internal: Formed in an abusive childhood, codependency created an inadequate sense of self and has trapped Jeffrey in the priesthood and in a relationship with Anna, a heroin-addicted prostitute, with whom he became involved in an insane attempt to leave the priesthood. As an antagonist, codependency is interwoven with the relationship with God.
Scene Sketch: In the Cathedral in Santiago, Jeffrey makes a tearful, heartbroken confession to a priest who speaks broken English.

Relational: Fellow pilgrims and other people along the Way create powerful dynamics, from painfully funny snoring to tragedies like a miscarriage.
Scene Sketch: in Pamplona, a drunken, emotional Australian woman hits on Jeffrey, who desperately wants to escape from her.

Environmental: The weather and the trail are sources of physical conflict: blisters, stress fractures, rashes, exhaustion, hunger, thirst, brutal heat, freezing cold and a bitter snow storm.
Scene Sketch: walking down from the heights of O Cebreiro in a winter storm of freezing rain, snow and sleet, wearing inadequate clothing.


El Camino de Santiago from Le Puy-en-Velay to Fisterre:

mountains of the Central Massif, the Pyrénées and Galicia,
Spanish plains, French plateaus,
innumerable valleys, hills, forests, farms, pastures, hamlets, villages and towns,
the airports of Charleston, Philadelphia and Paris,
cities like Pamplona, León, Burgos and Santiago,
thousand year old cathedrals,
churches and chapels of different ages,
UNESCO world heritage sites,
museums and galleries with ancient, medieval and contemporary art and artifacts,
gîtes, alburgues, hotels, restaurants, bars, cafés,
trails made of asphalt, dirt, rock, even concrete,
Roman roads and bridges,
medieval bridges and towns,
modern interstates, bridges and towns,
countless plazas, streets, roadsides, trailsides,
lakes, rivers, creeks,
a beach on the Atlantic Ocean
and the faro (lighthouse) at Fisterre, derived from Finis Terrae, “the end of the earth.”

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments 2017

#10 Post by aimeedipasqua » 01 Dec 2017, 23:13

1) Act of story statement: Angeline must let go of her dysfunctional mother and has to learn to trust Maryanne in order to save herself, and form a meaningful life, free from drugs and poverty.

2) Antagonistic force in the story:
a) Crystal, Angeline’s mother, is a bitter woman who is physically and emotionally abusive. Her addiction to alcohol and heroine creates a chaotic environment for Angeline. As Angeline’s problems at school multiply, Crystal seems to retreat into her own world of substance use.

b) Society is the second antagonist: Angeline hates that she lives in destitution and feels that it is all part of a huge scam she calls The Grand Hoax. It’s Angeline’s cynical theory on life, and it explains why some people are cast lowly lots is life and why others succeed for no apparent reason. It is the reason society can turn a blind eye to those who are plainly suffering. The students at Angeline’s prep school represent society. Angeline is bullied until she quits school.

3) Break out title:
Close to Home

4) Genre:YA
Comparables: The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter. This novel deals with the topics of mental illness, abuse and damaged mother-daughter relationships. Although it is categorized as YA it was accessible to other markets.

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider is a coming- of age- novel . The protagonist experiences his own life-changing tragedy and is forced out of his comfort zone for serious growth. Robyn’s writing voice is similar to my own.

Lastly, the protagonist, Melinda, in the novel Speak by Anderson reminds me of Angeline, but my novel is written in past tense and that allows more reflection on my characters part.

5) Homecoming by Aimee DiPasqua
Angeline’s dysfunctional home life has failed to teach her how to love or trust anyone, then her world is turned upside down when she admitted to a psychiatric hospital where she struggles to let go of her past and learn the true meaning of friendship and happiness.

6) Inner Conflict:
Angeline wants to be a teenager, and wants to be taken care of. She is afraid that no one will ever love her with the intensity and ferocity she yearns for.

Scenario for inner conflict (unlovable ):

Angeline has a visit planned with her mother at her apartment as part of the foster care visitation agreement. Angeline is excited because the cold weather has changed and she is hoping to have a picnic in the green space at Crystals apartment complex. But when she arrives at Crystals it is obvious that Crystal has other plans because she has a boyfriend over and basically ignores Angeline.

Secondary conflict: Angeline must learn to ‘play nice’ with the new kids at her school, but hasn’t had a lot of practice, plus she is unsure if she even wants to fit in.

Scenario for secondary conflict: Angeline is in school, sitting in her health class. The teacher is talking about the opiate crisis in the community. Her peers are unaware that she grew up with Crystal, an addict, and they make jeering remarks. Angeline struggles with keeping quiet and not educating her peers on reality.

7) Setting: The novel takes place in modern day America in a city somewhere in Pennsylvania. The first act of the book takes place in Angeline’s prep school called Tuxedo High. The class rooms are clean and the students are affluent which juxtaposes with Angeline who looks gothic and lives in the slums. We catch a glimpse of the city as Angeline walks home. There are broken down buildings and homeless people at the bus stop. Angeline’s apartment is a dump filled with detritus, beer bottles and drug paraphernalia. There are holes in the walls and it’s always cold in the fall and winter. Frost accumulates on the window sill inside her bedroom, where she attempts to build a tiny snowman.

The adolescent unit of the psychiatric hospital provides the setting for the second act of the novel. The unit is situated on the 13th floor and was decorated in the 1970’s, so the furniture is orange and brown. The windows have metal grates over them for safety and the bedrooms are sparse for the same reason. The Art Therapy room looks very much like an art classroom at an average school.

By the third and fourth act Angeline is living in a foster home in a middle class residential neighborhood. The house is quaint, clean and safe. The floors shine and the bathroom is tidy. The temperature inside the home is always warm, even in the dead of winter.

Angeline attends a suburban high school which is larger than Tuxedo High. The classrooms are modern with promethean boards. The students are more welcoming than the kids at Tuxedo. The hallways are crowded but Angeline feels safe there.

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments 2017

#11 Post by Teeth366 » 01 Dec 2017, 23:39

Story Statement:

As an American college girl experiences first love in Florence, Italy, she must decide on the path of her future.


The antagonistic force in the story is Florence and the obstacles that come with being a foreigner - the language barrier, the struggle to adapt, the cultural divide, the challenge of finding reasonable work, and the long distance from the home culture. Initially, Kit finds the adaptation particularly difficult, since she knows no one in the foreign study program. The nudity in the statues and art, and the way the Italian pappagalii treat American women is a culture shock to her. She meets Maurizio, falls in love with him, and he facilitates her assimilation.
As she becomes enamored with the city, the previous obstacles seem to diminish, but the primary conflict begins “where is this relationship going?” When the program ends and she is forced to leave, the long distance is the new obstacle to the future of the relationship. When Kit returns to Florence to make a life for herself with Maurizio, the cultural divide with his family, becomes an antagonistic force on a deeper level, as she struggles to find work and to overcome his mother’s resentment. As the relationship progresses, the lack of upward mobility in dead-end illegal jobs, becomes the obstacle to realizing the dreams of her future. In a defining moment when Maurizio makes it clear that he is in love with the city and will not leave, Florence takes on abstract female form as the first woman in Maurizio’s life. Kit realizes she is second and must measure the stakes of her decision to remain in Florence.

Breakout Title:

The Mist on the Tuscan Hills, Portrait of a Young Woman, The Innocente: Triumph of Independence

Two Smart Comparables:

Memoirs set in Italy that are similar to The Mist on the Tuscan Hills include Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, and Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes. 
Eat, Pray, Love is a story of self-analysis, catalyzed by the collapse of Elizabeth Gilbert's life because of her divorce.  The book begins with the author's escape to Italy, continues on to India, and then to Bali, and is an introspective impression of each of the countries, as Gilbert gradually experiences a spiritual evolution and finds true love by the end of the book.  By contrast, The Mist on the Tuscan Hills opens in Italy and largely remains there, allowing rich development of the setting and the characters.  The romance propels the story along to the final crisis when the author is forced to choose between romance and career.  Both stories address a young woman's struggle with self-identity and the effects that a different culture can have on that awakening.
Under the Tuscan Sun is a detailed description of life in Italy through the purchase of a run-down house by the author and her husband.  Mayes is a highly regarded travel memoirist, and her book has more of a “how to deal with a foreign-country fixer-upper” feel, with some chapters even devoted to regional recipes. The narrative focuses on the renovation of the house, which, in essence is the main, inanimate character.  Unlike The Mist on the Tuscan Hills, the book lacks an engaging plot in which human characters experience true personal growth as a result of their passionate struggles with each other.

Conflict Line

An American college girl falls in love with an Italian while studying abroad in Florence, and must choose between love by remaining in Florence with him, and accomplishment by pursuing a career in the US.

Other Matters of Conflict: Two more levels

The conditions of Kit’s inner conflicts involve her desire for independence from her controlling mother and her parents’ capitalist ideas of success to become a free thinker. She trades her parents’ control of her for the lack of control in the circumstances of being a foreigner. She is forced to eat at Fiorenza’s table, work a lesser job, deal with Fiorenza’s insidious hostility.
There is a male/female power struggle. The relationship works as long as Kit makes all of the accommodations to Maurizio and sacrifices everything to be with him. His criticism of her country and its values, in essence, is a criticism of her. As he subtly attempts to undermine her loyalty to her past, he insidiously tries to shape and control her. Perhaps it is a self protective mechanism rooted in his fear of her ultimate rejection if she chooses to leave him.
Kit is ultimately tormented over the direction her future. Will she choose a humble life with Maurizio, or a more comfortable and independent existence as a dentist without him.

Kit’s decision to return to Italy to pursue a life with Maurizio is a breakaway move from her mother, Loretta, and her parents’ attempts at controlling her future. The life she discovers in Italy, and the love she experiences with Maurizio open her eyes to new dimensions of herself, and she feels resentful of her past, and is eager to realize her independent future.
The hypothetical scenario during which Kit makes preparations to return to Maurizio after completing college, despite her mother’s relentless badgering:

“Shangri-La!” my mother shouted at me. “You’re looking for a Shangri-La that doesn’t exist! You’re going to ruin your future like you almost did last January when you came home! Why can’t you take advice? I don’t understand why you have to reinvent the wheel!”
There was another one of her colloquial expressions, reinvent the wheel, momentarily distracting, as I imagined myself a primitive cave woman in bare feet and animal skin, slowly grinding a jagged, oblong stone into a polished, round one. I quickly dismissed it and got back on track with my thoughts.
“And I don’t understand why you can’t understand that I have to go back. It’s my life and I’m going to live it my way! I’m going upstairs to pack!”
Somehow I had summoned the fortitude to defy her. Italy had cut the emotional umbilical cord that connected us.

Secondary conflict - Other characters want to influence the outcome of the relationship between Kit and Maurizio, namely the different sets of parents. The conflict with Maurizio’s parents is rooted in the fact that she is an American with the capability of taking Maurizio away from them.
One hypothetical scenario for the “secondary conflict” takes place at the dinner table with Fiorenza, Maurizio’s mother, who doubts the legitimacy of Kit’s job as an English teacher:

My confidence was restored that the job was legitimate and I proudly handed it (the check) to Maurizio when I returned to the apartment.
“Well, what about getting paid?” Fiorenza demanded again, at lunchtime.
“She got paid today,” Maurizio said lifting the folded check slightly out of his shirt pocket, a small victory in my mind.
“And how much?”
“Forty-eight thousand lire?” Maurizio turned to me, questioning if it was the right amount. I nodded with satisfaction.
“Mah! That’s nothing!” Fiorenza retorted. “How could anyone survive on that? And why has it taken so long?”
“They pay monthly,” I answered sheepishly, thinking that it was a paltry amount, the equivalent of about fifty dollars, but it was money that I had earned, and was some evidence of the fruits of my efforts.
“Mah!” she said again, as if to rub in how insignificant my job and I were.


Italy, is known as a country of romance, making it an ideal setting for first love, and Florence is the birth city of the Renaissance, an appropriate ambience for the internal awakening of the protagonist. The city is rich in art, architecture, and culture, lending itself to interesting and beautiful sub-settings which contrast the protagonist’s parochial origins.
The story begins in a grove of trees bearing figs, a fresh fruit Kit has never tried. The symbolism of figs, an inwardly blossoming fruit, is representative of enlightenment, and foreshadows her contemplation, self reflection, and future inner growth.
Piazza Savonarola, named after the religious fanatic critical of attachment to material things, is the location of the American school. She often eats her packed lunch alone under its commemorative statue, which has a strange influence on her. It subtly foreshadows Kit’s rejection of her capitalist upbringing as she gains a new perspective on the world, ultimately laying the groundwork for her own independent outlook on life.
The San Lorenzo market is the sub-setting where Kit meets Maurizio. It has a contemporary, lively, gypsy feel contrasting the staid reverence of the churches and museums, and is symbolic of the adventure that awaits in the relationship.
In the tower of the Signoria Palace, Kit is forced to submit to the advances of the museum curator. Towers are symbolic of entrapment, but also enlightenment, as she realizes the true intent of the “pappagallo.” This sub-setting is contrasted by the Tower of the Palace in San Gimignano, where Maurizio tells her that he “wants her in a sincere way,” as they embrace in a torrential rainstorm. It is symbolic of Kit’s liberation from her old thoughts and ideas, as she feels baptized into a new existence.
Fiorenza’s table exposes the humbleness of Maurizio’s family, and begins the conflict with Maurizio’s mother, who sees her as a materialistic and threatening American who will disrupt her family or cause pain to her son, if and when she returns to the United States.
The wild and remote feel of the Adirondack and Rocky Mountains of the US contrasts the refinement and old world charm of Tuscany. The settings of new vs. old, adventurous vs. conservative, rural vs. urban, are a visual distinction between the two cultures and set the stage for Kit’s future decision.
Forte dei Marmi is a typical Italian coastal vacation town, where Kit begins to measure the weight of her decision to live in Italy, and where, appropriately, as they look out to sea, she asks Maurizio if he would consider living in the US.

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments 2017

#12 Post by Huckfenn13 » 02 Dec 2017, 13:10

Story Statement
Understand their powers then save the world.

They are a tight group of elites set on enslaving the world. They use the government, social media, free lancers because money and power aren’t a problem. For the plan to be carry out mass chaos must ensue then they will appear like saviors. They will kill or destroy anything that is put in their way.

J-Team – The beginning.

Soft Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Family Saga?
Stan Lee and Quentin Tarantino. Why these two? I want to do something that the world hasn’t seen, Stan Lee is what inspire this book and Tarantino influenced the style of my writing.

Newly acquired superpowers and villains that will rise, can they stop them while controlling their powers.
Fitting in to school/work with superpowers while realizing they aren’t the first one to have powers like this.

Just normal Kentucky. Just normal Schools/Work. Just normal testing labs. A cabin in the woods with some strange dreams that changes the lives.

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Joined: 02 Dec 2017, 23:07

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments 2017

#13 Post by megserino » 02 Dec 2017, 23:11

Story statement:
High-strung attorney Emmy leaves her husband for high school boyfriend in search of illusory youth and true love.

Ted is the hot high school boyfriend who initially (and rapidly) appears when
bidden by Emmy. But as she struggles to maintain her marriage and family, he
reappears, offering her little more than a superficial image of himself and his life.
He is untrustworthy and irresponsible, despite a façade of success and commitment
to Emmy. Like his parents several times married and divorced, he goes from
woman to woman and country to country whenever the whim strikes him. Deeply
hurt by Emmy in high school, he claims he wants to make a life with her. Painting a
romantic picture colored with promises of freedom and passion and danger, Ted
can’t be resisted by Emmy, until she finally sees not just him clearly, but herself.

Denial (current working title)
A Mocking Bell

Madame Bovary, Anna Karenina, The Painted Veil: timeless issues of marriage
and infidelity and the unending search for love and connection.
Music for Torching, Fates and Furies: appeal to readers seeking stories of complex
family relationships, stories that ask questions about why we’re here and who we
are and why we make the choices we do.

Conflict line:
After leaving her family for her high school boyfriend, a woman must confront the
consequences of her choices and her family’s unrevealed secrets and unresolved

Inner conflict:

Emmy is torn between what she sees as the fulfillment of her yearning and the
stability of and responsibility to her marriage and family. She feels guilty about her
deceit, but rationalizes it as her due. After leaving her husband and the truth of her
infidelity is revealed, she then begins to discover the reality of her situation. By
shedding the story of who she was, she is able to see who she wants to be.

Aaron, Emmy’s husband, prides himself on his ability to care for others. Convinced
that he was responsible for his younger brother’s death long ago and rejected by his
father, he is unable to move on from this belief. Too afraid of being rejected by his
wife, he has never told her of his degenerative eye disease that may one day leave
him blind. Even when Emmy leaves him and he struggles with how to move on
with his life, he can’t seem to let himself become vulnerable and ask for help.
Ultimately, his inability to change destroys him.

The novel takes place in New York City and Newfoundland, where Emmy believes
she “finds” herself as she hikes along the East Coast Trail with Ted, sleeping in
tents and having mad sex. Upon her return to New York and the Upper East Side
where she lives, reality once again surfaces as she leaves the romance of the trails
behind. Scenes of New York City from the 1980’s and her wild partying days with
Ted in high school are intermixed with more subdued and grounded, if no less
conflicted, scenes of the present.

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Joined: 29 Nov 2017, 01:26

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments 2017

#14 Post by JimHarmon » 03 Dec 2017, 00:24


The pursuit of freedom brings isolation, vulnerability, and ultimately (self-)destruction.


The protagonist, John Everett Elam (aka Johnny, aka Elam), faces dual antagonists: Reuben Canipe, his former comrade in Vietnam, and a charismatic, backwoods evangelist, Rev. Jeremiah Sampey. These two recruit Elam to join their militia, a spiritual army seeking the revolutionary overthrow of the U.S. government. At every step of the way they manipulate and use Elam, all the while seducing him deeper into their radical, white supremacist underground. In the climactic act, they induce Elam—with whom they have lost faith—to become a lone wolf suicide bomber in order to regain eternal fellowship in their movement and salvation in the Kingdom of God they seek to incarnate here on earth.



I'm pretty much stuck on this title due to the theme and plot and ending of the book. It is also the title of a one-act play by Tennessee Williams and a novel by Nobel winner Elias Canetti, both of which share similar themes and conflagrational endings. It is translated as "Act of Faith" and was the last act of confession and contrition by a heretic/apostate during the time of the Spanish Inquisition prior to being burned at the stake.


Genre: The genre of Auto-da-Fé is literary fiction, but the novel plays out over the final 30 years of the 20th Century and refers to actual historical events and persons.

Comparables: T.C. Boyle's THE HARDER THEY COME meets Joe Eszterhas's script for the movie BETRAYED plus J.D. Vance's HILLBILLY ELEGY. The Boyle novel deals with right-wing ideologues and madness. The Eszterhas script, based on actual events much like Auto-da-Fé, goes inside a white supremacist cell. The Vance book, though non-fiction, covers the socio-economic crises confronting Appalachia. [One writing teacher mentioned that certain parts of the novel venture into Eugene O'Neill territory, but that feels too "classic" for this purpose.]


A solitary mountain boy struggling to find his life's meaning gets involved with an extremist militia group intent on fomenting a white supremacist revolution at the turn of the 21st Century.


Subplot: Elam was dragooned into the Army at the age of 17 after being caught in flagrante with an underage girl, Mattie Rippy. Upon his return, Mattie has escaped from her abusive father and brother and is waiting for him at his home. She is pregnant with the child of one of them. Unbeknownst to Mattie, Elam takes revenge on the two men. She still loves Elam, but Elam, whom the war has rendered impotent, feels he is incapable of loving her—once burned... . Mattie continues to live with his family on their isolated farm. As his parents die off and their relationship develops, she descends into madness and addiction, the final break coming after she discovers her brother, whom the two of them believed dead, is still alive and actively involved with Elam's antagonists' organization.

Elam's inner conflicts: (1) His desire to be left alone to pursue a solitary mountain life like his forefathers before him versus his need for social acceptance in the encroaching modern world. (2) His quest to be heroic in service of a misbegotten cause versus his need to take control of his life and his feelings, to achieve authenticity and, at the last, give his life meaning. (3) His feelings of impotence and damage after the war versus his repressed need to love and care for Mattie. (4) Allow himself to become a lone wolf suicide bomber in pursuance of an extremist agenda to usher in a Y2K revolution versus succumb to metastatic cancer resulting from his exposure to Agent Orange thirty years ago in Vietnam.


The main setting is the rural Appalachian mountains of North Carolina and Georgia, though there is a substantial early scene set in Vietnam. All are crucial to the premise of the book, to wit: the underground, rural, evangelical, military, and Southern origins of today's "Alt-Right" movement in the last half of the Twentieth Century. Specific scenes take place at such locations as the 1968 siege of Kham Duc—one of the biggest battle losses in U.S. history; in a free-fire zone on the Vietnam/Laos border; at a remote still and meth lab in the NC mountains; at a tent revival and charismatic miracle service in the north Georgia woods; at Elam's family farm on a lonely mountaintop; at a rural regional landfill; at numerous white supremacist camps and headquarters all around the country; at a private militia training compound; and at the palatial offices of a televangelist.

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments 2017

#15 Post by meholden » 03 Dec 2017, 21:48

"Flat out!"

To escape the museum and find a way back home to Mikeno.

Kofi is envious of Jabari, Ake’s father. Kofi and Ake’s mother, Zazi, were best friends growing up. She had promised to marry him, but eloped with Jabari. Jabari is honored and respected, and lives in the most coveted spot on Mt. Mikeno. Kofi befriends Jabari, and takes a keen interest in Ake. When Ake becomes gravely ill, Kofi lays a trap for Jabari. He claims that a rare flower from the treacherous Rukumi Meadow will cure Ake’s fever. Meanwhile, Kofi bribes Naja, the cobra, to follow and kill Jabari.
Zazi and Ake are upset that Jabari went to Rukumi Meadow—a place he had warned them against many times. Kofi acts astonished that Jabari would be so foolish. He pledges to take care of his ‘best friend’s’ family. Ake chafes at the responsibilities placed on his shoulders, and Kofi convinces him to move away. Ake is accidentally captured by humans. Kofi exacts his revenge on Zazi and the younger siblings, holding them hostage. Ake returns to find his family devastated. He confronts Kofi, who brags about murdering Jabari. Enraged, Ake attacks Kofi, and with the help of Farajee delivers Kofi to Naja, to whom Kofi still owes a debt.

Flat out!
Grave’s Gate [or Quest for Grave’s Gate]
Shrouded in Mist

Young Adult Fantasy

1) Into the Wild (Warriors Series) by Erin Hunter – Fantasy fiction based upon animals—4 clans of cats
2) Ratha’s Creature (The Named series) by Clare Bell- Fantasy fiction based upon animals—survival-use of fire
3) Silverwing (Silverwing series) by Kenneth Oppel—Fantasy fiction based on bats—quest to rejoin family

PRIMARY CONFLICT: After the sudden death of his father, Ake is burdened with family responsibilities. He and his friend move out and make their own nest in an old crate, and bask in the fun and adventure of their carefree new life. That is….until a wooden lid slams down over the top of the crate. Plunged into darkness, and carried away on a long journey to a strange, treacherous land, Ake and Farajee begin their quest to escape and return home.

INNER CONFLICT: Ake feels justified in his anger towards his father, but this starts to unravel as he learns the true circumstances of his father’s death.

SECONDARY CONFLICT: Ake falls in love with Delia; this creates tension between Ake and Farajee and may prevent them from returning home.

Act 1: A flower–strewn meadow lies beneath a volcano shrouded in mist. The volcano occasionally sputters red sparks and exhales curling wisps of gray smoke. On one end of the meadow lies a small, shallow pond, used by many animals as a watering hole. Nearby is a moss-covered cement slab marking the grave of the Great Protector. Ake’s family nest is located in a hollow branch of a tall tree overlooking the grave. The Hagenia trees surrounding the meadow are draped with lichens. Depending on the sunlight and amount of mist present, the ambiance of the meadow alternates between a colorful, lush paradise versus an eerie, haunted, hallowed ground.

Act 2: Ake and Farajee awaken in a small cage surrounded by stuffed, snarling lion and leopard heads, pickled rats, and mounted skeletons. They are in a natural history museum. They escape the cage and find a temporary home in the Hall of African Mammals, and hide during the day in the wooden supports under the exhibits with the other live animals. The hall is oval in shape and dark. A group of eight elephants in alarm formation preparing to charge stand atop a platform in the center of the room, heads perpetually raised, tusks pointing forward, ears alert. Large plates of glass line the walls, each lit up and depicting breathtaking settings of African animals stuffed and forever frozen in life-like poses, their fake natural surroundings modeled and painted in exquisite detail.

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments 2017

#16 Post by Thebes1111BC » 04 Dec 2017, 22:22

Story Statement
A desperate artisan risks everything to keep his family safe during a time of corruption and famine; when he fails, he seeks revenge on a cruel and decaying empire.

Bek, overseer of the Theban necropolis, only cares about one thing: safeguarding the Valley of the Kings, the riches piece of real estate in ancient Egypt. Bek has come to believe the pharaohs' golden tombs belongs to him—a warped sense of propriety borne from hatred of the elite after the cruel way they treated the death of his wife. Bek built her a lavish tomb in the valley, but it was taken away to house a more ”important” official.
When Bek discovers that Ahmose, a lowly stone cutter, has violated one of “his” tombs, he turns on him with all the fury and revenge he cannot wage against the elite. First, he forces Ahmose to break into one of the most heavily guarded tombs in the valley, and deceives him into believing he’ll share the wealth. Instead, he banish Ahmose to the gold mines of the eastern desert, and moves in on Ahmose’s grieving wife, whom he has long coveted as deeply as the pharaoh’s riches. As Bek sees it, now that his sacred duty of protecting the tombs has been broken, there is nothing standing in his way from claiming everything in Thebes that he’s always desired.


Comparable/ Historical Fiction
THE LAST KINGDOM by Bernard Cornwell. Rooted in history, but revolving around a fictional character with allegiances to no one, this action-oriented novel allows for conflicting points of view on a dramatic, violent era. Also, my novel, like KINGDOM, has the potential to be the first of a series.
POMPEII by Robert Harris. A richly researched novel bringing to life a cataclysmic ancient event (Vesuvius there, collapse of the Valley of the Kings/New Kingdom here) and how it alters and affects both the elite and the poor caught up in the maelstrom.
Wilber Smiths “PHARAOH” series. Fast paced and adventurous historical fiction, driven by plot twists, double crossings, larger than life villains and last minute rescues--and unfolding in the same period.

Primary Conflict
Nothing is more important to Ahmose than keeping his wife and children safe and well fed; after his wife is killed and his children taken, he pulls forth an inner strength and plots revenge on all those responsible.

Inner Conflict
As Ahmose’s world unravels around him, he’s shocked to find his actions are often no better than the corrupt men who rule the empire. He loses his faith in the gods, allows his greed to lead his friends to their deaths, and, in a fit of rage, kills someone weaker than himself. By novel’s end he’s lost more than his faith: his own moral compass has been destroyed.

Secondary Conflict
Ahmose is not the only character that faces a crisis of faith. Pasur, the idealistic mayor of Thebes who believes in the pharaoh’s law, slowly learns the empire in not at all what he was led to believe. It’s now a hollow shell of what it once was, and Pasur must make a difficult choice: join those tearing the nation apart and get ‘his share’ before it collapses, or try to keep fading ideals alive, knowing they will destroy him in the end.

The novel takes place in the ancient, crumbling city of Thebes circa 1111 BC, as first rebellious high priests than foreign bandits rise up against a culture rotting from within. Much of the action occurs in the Valley of the Kings, the vast royal cemetery where powerful pharaohs were buried for over 400 years. Now, as the empire teeters, the mummies offer all the riches and jewels no longer available in the world of the living. Other locations include the desert outpost of Set Maat (“The Place of Truth”) where the royal tomb workers are housed and civil war is fomenting; the labyrinthine temple of Karnak, the largest religious complex ever built by man, and festooned with paintings of animal-headed gods who are no longer listening; and other real-life locales that would soon be swallowed by sand: the dangerous Wadi Hammamat gold mines; remote Pi-Ramses, the pharaoh’s capital city in the delta; and the countless villages and ferries that line the River Nile, home to killer crocodiles, hippos, and worst of all, Egyptians.

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments 2017

#17 Post by debbyatkinson » 05 Dec 2017, 04:29

Story Statement:
Our family’s struggle with our son’s opiate addiction and the world of misinformation and life-threatening emergencies gave rise to this book, which discusses how to identify the disease in young people, the factors that contribute to it, what families should seek (and avoid) in a treatment center, how to help and love an addict without enabling him/her, what changes are taking place in addiction treatment, and what still needs to be done at grass roots and national levels.

Sketch of the antagonist:
The antagonist in a book about addiction is the disease, but there are so many collaborators! Denial is one of the most pernicious—and is practiced by everyone in the addict’s orbit. It took our family crucial years to face what was wrong with our son. When we did, a psychiatrist told me that I “couldn’t force my son into treatment.” He followed this statement by quickly ushering us from his office when my son admitted to having suicidal thoughts. Another health professional told us that teens experiment, and that we were overreacting to our son’s drug use. Our society—and health insurance policies—often deny mental illnesses, and the length of time that is required for treatment. This is an epidemic, with a price tag to the U.S. economy that surpassed $504 billion in 2015. Grief and personal loss to families and our young population cannot begin to be evaluated.

Breakout Title
Feathers in the Soul: A Guide for Families Struggling with a Child’s Addiction
Feathers in the Soul: Hope for Families Struggling with Addiction
Feathers in the Soul: Hope for a Culture Riddled with Addiction

Nonfiction, prescriptive

Conflict line.
Addicts struggle with a disease that is deadlier than leukemia, while their support system can be contradictory, underfunded, and sometimes predatory.

Conditions for Inner Conflict:
The addict cannot stop using despite repeated efforts, and s/he feels shame and hopelessness, while families look on in frustration, anger, and desperate fear as the death toll rises. At the same time, mushrooming opportunistic “treatment” specialists and centers take advantage of families and their misery. Addiction is branded a family disease because it sickens everyone in the family, resulting in the anguish of hundreds of thousands of Americans. My colleague Bradley T. Smith, M.A., PCCI, LAADC, CATC-IV, ICAADC, CTRTC, CCJP, SAP, Substance Abuse Disorders counselor and Director of Special Programs at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles treatment specialist, has collaborated on this book.

Our family’s story began at home in Honolulu, Hawaii, but led us to treatment centers throughout the United States, specifically Minnesota, California, North Carolina, and Maine.

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments 2017

#18 Post by debbyatkinson » 05 Dec 2017, 04:57

Story Statement:
Hawaii native Rod Tautala must discover who killed his best friend and determine the deadly secret hidden in a handful of photographs from his service days in Afghanistan.

Sketch of the antagonist/antagonistic force:
Jeanette Bereford is an analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency. Beautiful and just shy of fifty, bitter in love, stonewalled by nepotism and the inexorable old boy’s network, she doubts that she has made the right life choices. Plugged into both the military and its directors, Jeanette knows that U.S. special forces were the conduit through which billions of U.S. dollars were funneled to “Jingle Truck” drivers in Afghanistan, and she also realizes that millions were skimmed along the route, squirreled away by individuals working for U.S., European, Afghani, Pakistani governments. Of course, if she’d been running the Department of Defense, it would have been a much more efficient operation, but it’s too late for that dream, so she’s going to find one of those caches, specifically a rich lode that’s been whispered about for years. She has a small cadre of devoted and ruthless private military contractors to help her. It’s time to take care of Jeanette, because no one else is going to do the job.

Impact Zone
The Wrong Side of Right
Caught Inside

Genre is thriller, with suspense elements.

Comparables: Allen Eskens’s The Life We Bury
William Kent Krueger’s Ordinary Grace, Copper River
Like Krueger’s and Eskens’s books, my story bombards an individual trying to deal with ordinary life issues with a dangerous and challenging predicament that intensifies until the protagonist must face down internal fears and a lethal enemy.

Primary Conflict
A troubled young man must uncover the reasons behind the murder of his closest friend while taking responsibility for the friend’s teenage daughter.

Inner Conflict
Rod Tautala had a troubled childhood, which contributed to his opiate addiction. Though he is in recovery, the circumstances surrounding his friend’s death threaten to overwhelm his self-control. In one scene, Tautala needs medical care following a confrontation with a killer, and he leaves the hospital with a prescription for opiate painkillers. At the same time his resolve to stay sober crumbles, his circumstances grow increasingly dire and his responsibilities mushroom.

Secondary Conflict
Tautala finds himself unprepared to care for an angry sixteen-year-old, and at the same time must mend a long-standing rift with his father as the bitter old man succumbs to pancreatic cancer.

Though the book begins with Tautala on the mainland, developing his business training explosive-detection dogs, he must uproot himself and return to his native Hawaii to face not only troubles from his past, but the root of the circumstances surrounding his friend’s death. The Hawaiian Islands are among the most remote spots on earth, and Tautala must recall childhood skills in order to face a desperate foe, crushing surf conditions and the myth-cloaked wilderness

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments 2017

#19 Post by sbrubino » 05 Dec 2017, 08:50


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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments 2017

#20 Post by judygaman » 06 Dec 2017, 01:45

Story Statement:
Second generation workaholic, Judy Gaman, feels trapped until she becomes best friends with centenarian, Lucille Fleming, whose wisdom changes the course of her life forever.

Lucille Fleming is everything Judy Gaman is not, but ironically everything she wishes she was. While Judy is busy building her resume, Lucille has perfected the legacy life. Each time they meet Lucille imparts more wisdom upon Judy, causing her to look deep inside her childhood, in order to understand why she is the way she is. Lucille’s infectious love of life, incredible style, and magnetic personality are contagious, but it’s the wisdom’s she’s gained over the past one-hundred years that challenges Judy to break out of her mold. Perhaps the best-worst thing that can happen to a know-it-all is for them to meet someone who actually does know it all.

Breakout Title:
Love, Life, and Lucille (Current title)
Lucille’s Legacy (best new option)
When Generations Colide (second best new option)

Comp. Titles:
1. Dinner with Edward: A Story of an Unexpected Friendship by Isabel Vincent. I came across this book after completing my own manuscript. There are many parallels between the two memoirs, especially since the main character of Dinner with Edward enjoys meals and stories with Edward, a nonagerian. But while Dinner with Edward is about a woman who visits with an older man, Love, Life, and Lucille is about two female best friends. Love, Life and Lucille is much longer and more detailed in the nuances of the human experience.
2. Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson by Mitch Albom. Albom’s book set the stage for more stories that focus on the wisdom our elders can pass on and the lessons that can help make our journey a little easier. Although my book is different in many ways, including the fact that it is about two females, instead of two males; that we tended to go deeper in our conversations; and that it includes a highly emotional death scene, a number of readers have called it the female version of Tuesdays with Morrie.

Primary Conflict:
It isn’t until Lucille dies in an unexpected and unfortunate way that Judy is truly tested on the first lesson Lucille ever taught her.

Inner Conflict:
With Judy and Lucille’s friendship growing stronger, Judy feels conflicted and regretful that her own mother couldn’t fill that role.

Secondary Conflict:
Judy’s mother is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease shortly after retirement, causing the dream of finally forming a strong mother-daughter bond impossible.

Love, Life and Lucille takes place mostly in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas and happen from 2011-2015. Many of the lessons Lucille teaches Judy happen in some of the best restaurants in town. The setting changes as health issues arise, taking both characters into a medical setting for various reasons.
Flashbacks of Lucille's childhood take the reader back to a small town farm on Prince Edward Island, Canada.
Flashbacks of Judy's childhood take the reader to small town Texas from 1980-89.

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments 2017

#21 Post by tamarapikulina » 06 Dec 2017, 21:28

Seven planets find themselves on the verge of destruction due to anomalies within their system's star. The main characters, one from each planet, put everything on the line trying to save their kind by searching for a new world to call home.

The main antagonist for the seven planets is the element itself. Sooner or later any civilization is confronted with the merciless phenomenon of an aging star. This forces all living beings to act urgently, to escape and save themselves. The only mystery is the speed at which the star of the Seven Worlds is transforming. It's evolving much quicker than anticipated, which raises the suspicion that something more than the force of nature is at play - something greater, a true enemy of humankind. This is the hidden conflict of the story, which is only revealed towards the end. The rebellion of technology, which has lived peacefully side by side with humanity for thousands of years, reaches its peak just as the Seven Worlds are relocating onto the new planet.
The situation is further complicated by the hostility among the seven planets. Each has its own interests at hand, but only if they act together can the human civilization have a chance of survival.
Seemingly insurmountable difficulty and fear of the unknown can also be seen as antagonists in the story. The main characters, who are in search of a lifesaving planet, carry the burden of trailblazers on their shoulders, encountering numerous unexpected adventures on the way to their destination.

Title of trilogy: The Seven Worlds (option 1)
When gods were human (option 2)
The Space Oracle (option 3)
Titles of each part:
The Deadly Impulse (Book 1)
Goodbye, Onyx! (Book 2)
Rebirth: The Blue Planet (Book 3)
GENERE – Space-opera

1) Out of the latest works of science fiction, perhaps the most analogous one is Veronica Roth's Carve The Mark. This novel also describes a star system inhabited by humans with planets that are on hostile terms with each other. The main characters are also from various planets and have supernatural abilities. But unlike the Seven Worlds, here the planets aren't faced with an apocalypse and aren't the ancestors of modern human civilization.
2) An expressive example is the book The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi. This novel also depicts the collapse of a cosmic human empire and talks of how to speed up space travel. The atmosphere in the two novels is similar since The Collapsing Empire is also full of advanced technology and different races of people, and describes battles between them.
3) The screenplay for the movie Interstellar by the Nolan brothers can be used as a third comparison. It depicts the future of our planet, where a dying Earth sends out a team of explorers to look for a new world that can sustain life. In the end, they find such a world and relocate. The characters of Seven Worlds also find a suitable world, but unlike Interstellar, that world for the characters is Earth itself.
4) A. Asimov. Mother Earth and I, Robot. The technologically advanced world described in Asimov's stories has lots in common with several of the planets from the Onyx star system. For example, the Ionian civilization is built on Asimov's favorite premise – the interaction of humans and robots. The robots are portrayed simultaneously as humanity's helpers as well as its sworn enemies.
5) The satirical science fiction movie Guardians of the Galaxy is another valid comparison. Seven Worlds isn't a work of satire, although it does contain humor from time to time. Just like James Gunn's film series, it takes place in a cosmic setting rampant with technology, extraterrestrial monsters and various cultures. The characters of Guardians of the Galaxy all come from different planets and work together to achieve a common goal, just like the team in Seven Worlds. They are ready to die for each other, go to the very end, to help and to rescue. Furthermore, the love story illustrated in Guardians of the Galaxy is between fair-skinned human Peter Quill and green-skinned extraterrestrial Gamora, who were initially enemies. This is very similar to the love story between the main characters of Seven Worlds: Marcius from Tulona and Atla from the enemy planet Krama.

The main conflict in the novel is the hostile attitude of the seven planets towards each other. Despite the planets coexisting in the same star system for thousands of years, they still haven't found peace amongst themselves. Each of the Seven Worlds had its own historical course of development that didn't coincide with the worldview of the other planets. Furthermore, each world reflects one or another extreme of human development. One planet placed an emphasis on machines and technology, and transformed itself into a bunch of soulless semi-robots.
On the contrary, another planet completely rejected everything artificial, but played around with genetic modification to the point of defiling the precious gift of life, turning their planet into a collection of spineless clones and artificially bred biological monsters. Others went down the path of developing supernatural abilities like telepathy, hypnosis and levitation, but even they failed to obtain happiness, savagely violating their citizens' freedom of choice with the help of the supernatural. Some planets suffer from extreme class division, and others – from military dictatorship. In result, not a single planet has achieved true harmony. However, all of this internal turmoil is overshadowed by the impeding catastrophe.

1. The first hidden conflict is the inner conflict of the main character Marcius. He was always different from everyone else. Ever since childhood, he's experienced overwhelming visions of an exotic world. Many people think he's crazy, and he almost starts to think so himself. He experiences significant setbacks in his career because of the visions, he barely has any friends and is quite unhappy with himself. He feels like he's failed his whole race. Being a direct descendant of the ruling military dynasty, he isn't even worthy of a spot in the council, but works as a common pilot. Deep inside, however, he feels like the visions are somehow important – not only for himself, but for humanity as a whole.
2. The second conflict is the antagonism between Marcius and the planet Krama. The Krameans are his sworn enemies since they were the ones who killed his parents in battle several years ago. Upon becoming their prisoner, Marcius experiences the whole spectrum of hate towards the inhabitants of Krama, and withstands any attempts on their part to influence him psychologically. It is very difficult for the Krameans to communicate with him, yet he is still very valuable to them – he is the only person in the galaxy who can see the world that is suitable for relocation. According to prophecy, he is to lead them to salvation. The development of this conflict is portrayed through his relationship with the main character Atla. Gradually, after a year of dangerous travel through wormholes and all the shocking discoveries they'd experienced together, he starts to fall in love with her, fighting against his feelings the whole time. Hatred transforms into love - not only towards this particular woman but towards all of existence as a whole, and towards himself.

Much of the book's appeal is in the beauty and richness of the seven planets, which are revealed in detail chapter by chapter. The story begins in the cold, underground civilization of Tulona, where people live deep under the surface of the snowy planet on icy lakes. Generation after generation, they work on improving the ecology of their home planet. Everything in their world is powered by water and magnetic fields. This race is based upon legends about Hyperborea, a cold ancient civilization that is closed off and well-developed both culturally and technologically.
The Kramean world appears next – a hot, humid planet with red mountains, rivers of lava and dragons living on the surface. The Kramean citizens live under pyramidal domes, fly in crystals and communicate telepathically. They are very strong and happen to be the ancestors of Atlantis and ancient Egypt.
The reader encounters the third world through the eyes of the character Yonk, and it’s based on legends from ancient Asia (Japan and China). The planet Pacifa looks like a golden orb from outer space. Its population lives inside of a giant architectural construction which consists of eleven units connected by clear tunnels. Each unit is a city, segregated according to class. Slaves live in the lower units with worse conditions, and nobility live in the ones higher up. Pacifa is the most hierarchical society in the Seven Worlds.
The fourth world, the planet Murie, is completely organic. The law forbids citizens to bring metal or technology onto the planet. Everything here is constructed of living materials – corals, bones, clay, organic tissue. The planet is ruled by a dynasty of cloned kings, who carry the genes of the perfect ruler, along with a team of genetic engineers. Even the spaceships of this civilization are alive. They are based on electric stingrays and have been adapted to the conditions of outer space. This world reflects the structure of the mythical kingdom Lemuria, which according to legend, gave rise to the Indian civilizations.
The fifth world, Iona, is the least noticeable, but the most dangerous. It's thoroughly steeped in technology. Robots live alongside humans as equals. Machines dominate people to such an extent that people are no longer sure about who created whom. Iona's architecture is very futuristic, and city layouts are like chess boards. The people of this world have almost no emotions – they are like machines themselves. In many ways, this world was inspired by modern human civilization, or rather its most dangerous manifestations. Such a world never existed in legends left behind by past civilizations, but it's included in the story to hint at the fact that humanity had already at one point reached a peak of technological development, and paid a steep price for it. This is the only world that doesn't find a place for itself on Earth in the end, and so does not come up in any legends.
The sixth and seventh worlds, the Guineans and Oeelians, are in ruins. These two planets destroyed each other several years before the story takes place, but survivors remain. The Guineans are somewhat like space drifters. They live on floating cosmic islands - all that remains of their planet. They travel to different galaxies, looting and plundering. The Oeelians, however, are in an even more dismal state. The once great civilization now lives on spaceships in hunger and poverty. Nonetheless, they haven't forgotten their dangerous habits. They know how to control human emotions. They are able to steal such important elements of human nature as love, pride, anger and fear. In their world, emotions were for sale, just like any other type of merchandise. Their cynicism surpassed everyone else. Their race is based off legends about vampires, cannibals and witches.
In contrast to all these worlds, Earth seems like a little piece of paradise. On the empty blue planet that is eventually discovered by the characters, there is abundant space, water and oxygen. The closest thing to civilization here are some scattered tribes of ape-like people.
At the end of the second part of the trilogy, Earth is explicitly referred to as Earth for the first time, and the island on which the characters have landed is mentioned as Atlantis, named after the main female character. It is meant to elicit strong emotions from the reader - this is when the world in the story reveals itself to be the past of human civilization.
Earth is portrayed as a unique phenomenon - a true gift of god and the universe. It's described with so much love that the reader inevitably feels tender emotions towards the planet, emotions which modern people often lack. Furthermore, the book shows the importance of friendship and teamwork, since it's impossible to achieve success without them.

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments 2017

#22 Post by JKBShenk » 06 Dec 2017, 21:29

Book Jacket/Flap:
All Katherine Scott wanted in life was to fit in, stay invisible, and hide from the Sea Lake Middle School bully, Wesley. Katherine’s goals were realistic until a blue firefly transports Katherine to Tulitopia, a world taken over by the evil King John. Abandoned and alone, only Katherine can stop King John and restore the true rulers of Tulitopia with nothing but a name to help her. Allison Hauenchild.

Living a life in hiding, Allison Hauenchild has been trying to forget the past she can’t run from. Her greatest desire is to destroy the man who stole everything from her: King John. Now, as Allison fights for the courage to trust again, her only chance at justice rests in the hands of a lost princess who refuses to step from the shadows and overcome her fears to fight.

Can Katherine learn to step from the shadows, embrace her destiny, and overcome her self-doubt? Can Allison break down the walls around her heart while learning to trust again? Can the girls unite to destroy King John and save the rightful rulers of Tulitopia?

Write Your Story Statement:
When hiding in the background isn’t an option anymore, Katherine must set aside her self doubt and embrace a world she only thought existed in her dreams. With obstacles ahead, Katherine will learn what forgiveness, trust, and friendship is from two frenemies: Allison and George.

200 Words or Less Sketch the Antagonist or Antagonistic Force in the Story:
When Queen Evelin announces her expectant child, John Devin Well V decides he will not be made third in line for the throne. Taking matters into his own hands, John poisons the pregnant queen. However, his plan is thwarted when his cousin, King Richard, catches Johnny. Left with no other choice, King Richard banishes John from the Kingdom of Tulitopia.
In banishment, John creates his own Kingdom: Krag’s Hollow. Ready to do whatever it takes to claim the throne, John puts a plan into motion with the help of Jasper, an evil, power-hungry wizard. Always in the background, Jasper gives Johnny the confidence and guidance for what to do with the Kingdoms, but little does Johnny know that Jasper has his own plans to become ruler and will do whatever it takes to get there. When John commands Jasper to capture Princess Allison, Jasper puts his plan in motion and alters the Princess’s memories.

Breakout Title:
1. Journey (Hidden Past Series Book #1)
2. The Hidden Past: A Lost Daughters Journey
3. The Hidden Past: Katherine’s Discoveries

Deciding your Genre and Approaching Comparable:
The Hidden Past is intended for readers to walk through the relatable process of self-doubt at a young age and the real struggle of gaining confidence. The book has fantastical elements, but not in ways that overshadow the reality that a young person must have courage to tackle challenges and overcome fear. Many fantasy books leave a character little choice but to move forward. When Katherine is presented with problems, she chooses to do what she doesn’t want to do and does what she believes she can’t do because it’s the right thing to do. As much as I enjoyed Hound of Rowan and The Lighting Thief, I couldn’t relate to the male protagonists. The Hidden Past introduces characters that are relatable to young girls who make up the majority of today’s readers

When Queen Evelin and King Richard announce their new addition the royal family, Johnny refuses to be made third-in-line to the throne. With help from the evil wizard, Jasper, Johnny hatches a plan to take back what is his and kill the unborn child.

Other Matters of Conflict: Two More Levels:
Being thrown into a world that she knows nothing about, Katherine has to learn how to trust herself and the others around her. With help from Allison and George, Katherine must face her fears and overcome the challenges she never thought possible. Digging deep inside herself, Katherine will soon learn that she holds more power and ability than she ever thought.

On her own, Katherine needs to survive until she can find Allison. Allison has her own past she would like to forget, and the last thing she wants to do is teach Katherine the ways of Tulitopia with George: the last man she ever wanted to spend time with. When Katherine learns that Wesley has been brought to Tulitopia, she lets his past abuse cripple her and her newly learned abilities. Tired of Katherines ‘poor me’ attitude Allison confronts Katherine one afternoon in their tent, calling Katherine out on all of her excuse and telling her it’s time to move forward and not give the bad people in the world the power to stomp you down.

The Incredible Importance of Setting:
Sea Lake Middle School Cafeteria View/Running Home/Walking to school
A large lunch room with rows of lunch tables. In the back of the room are large windows that overlook the front of the school and the large willow tree with all its branches cascading over like a large waterfall.
Behind the school are thick oak trees and dried leaves on the uneven ground.
The roads are lined with green grass and trees covered in pink and white cherry blossoms.
Pat Ivy’s House
Dull color inside
Large couches and chairs that are easy to collapse into.
The living room is set up around a wooden coffee table with bookshelves lining the room.
In the kitchen, there is a picture window overlooking the neighborhood.
Sea Lake house/Katherine’s Bedroom in Sea Lake Village
Katherine’s room is upstairs.
Katherine bedroom has a picture box window with a bench in it that she sits on to look outside.
Katherine has her own bathroom connected to her room.
Her closet is season organized thanks to her mother
She has a desk next to her bed
Overflowing pillowed queen size bed
Kitchen always smelled like the time of day meal.
Sidney enjoyed to fold napkins and have fresh flowers from her garden on the table.
William’s upstairs office was lined with animal books and framed pictures behind his desk.
Katherine’s Daydream
Thick fallen oak trees to rest up against
Fields and fields of tall rainbow colored wild flowers. When you touch the tops of them, they would release an amazing aroma, perfect to nap in.
Wild horses would walk around quietly grazing.
And in the far distance, on a hill was a castle
Blue Eye Mountain Range
It is the mountain range west of Tulitopia. Past the mountains, is the Kingdom of Tumulus
The beautiful forest is full of a thick mixture of trees. Redwood trees so tall you can't even see the tops of them. Eucalyptus trees that make the forest smell like Christmas all year long and thick oak trees that were nice to rest against. Large Oak Trees good for climbing up and hiding in. Between the trees is the longest greenest grass one has ever seen. It felt so good between the toes
Wild flowers all over the ground, with colors that have never been seen before. Some flowers had blended colors, some have pattern with lines and zigzags in them. Each flower had its own sweet unique scent.
The Country Flower is Sabastianna’s Kiss: a type of flower with a light, sweet honey smell.
A river runs through the mountain range.
Some of the hills have vines growing up the side of the hill. Easy for climbing
River with Pumpkin
A clearing where five old oak trees have fallen into the middle of a field.
Sabastianna’s Kiss: a type of flower with a light, sweet honey smell surround the clearing.
Behind them is a forest of thick oaks and tall redwoods.
Allison finds Katherine first and hides in one of the tall Redwood trees where she watches Katherine for her first night.
Beyond the fallen trees is a fast-moving river full of fish
Katherine learns how to make a fire by gathering rocks and twigs along with dried leaves.
The ground is covered with dry leaves and branches.
Katherine’s Dream of Tulitopia Castle
Beautiful room, half of it paneled in deep wood and the rest covered in light stone.
Three long, dark brown tables with benches tucked underneath
Large tapestries flow down the walls in the back of the room.
In the front of the room are three wooden chairs, two large and well-worn, and one small. The chairs were a bit lighter than the walls, and in front of two of them there were little foot rests. There were three long wooden tables lined with burgundy runners in the middle of the room, and large brass candelabras holding lighted cream-colored candlesticks sat on the runners.
Detailed craftsmanship of the wooden chairs.
One of the chairs had a dark brown leather seat. A map surrounded by leaves and vines is engraved on the back of the chair. On the top of the chair, there is an engraved crown.
The second chair has a light brown seat and its back is even more detailed than the first. Instead of vines and leaves, daisies and hydrangeas decorate the sides of this chair. The back is engraved with a picture of a valley. The detail was ornamented with flowers trees, and tall grass. Katherine squints at the engraving. She has a feeling that she has seen the valley before. A smaller crown is carved into the top of the chair.
Then the third, smaller chair looks empty and lonely, like no-one had ever sat in it. There is an engraving on the side. A picture of a little boy on a cloud looking down at a castle is carved into the wood.
King John’s castle
Has deep dungeons
In the steel cell door, is a small square cut-out door that hangs on a hinge
There is hay on the floor
There are no windows. A very small crack in the wall lets light in the room.
Elliot brings them warmer blankets later into the story
The surrounding use to be filled with Eucalyptus trees were of old tall eucalyptus trees
Everything in Krag’s Hollow is brown. The land is bare. All the trees have been cut down there are some dead, dried up bushes. On one side of the kingdom, are large boulders going up the side of the mountain next to the castle.
Behind his throne, the floor is worn due to all of Johnny’s pacing back and forth in front of the window.
Elliot’s room has a vent that allows him to listen into the throne room. He has placed a recording device in the vent. Along one of the walls, Elliot has a couch. On the other side, he has his bed and a desk in front of his window
Charger’s Pub
A white birch tree covered the outside of the pentagon shaped pub, the roof matched the surroundings.
located on the side of the small village, almost camouflaged, stands a single pentagon-shaped building surrounded by small birch trees. The building is cream white. The roof is made with shake and, in the middle of the roof, is a chimney stack.
Light, wooden tables and chairs are all around the room. Some of the tables are long and some are small.
a wood burning stove in the middle of the room and a chimney that went straight up through the roof. Strings of lights hang from the chimney to each corner of the room.
Large mahogany bar the length of two of the front walls with stools in front of them
Windows around the walls
Camp Rolgh’s
Hidden within the Blue Eye Mountain Range
Three training circles: two small and one large in middle. There is a weight area next to the training fields
Everyone lives in tents
Fires to keep warm
There is a barn with animals
Surrounded by thick forest
Camp members keep guard in turns
There are running trails in and around the camp
West of Daffodilla by the river
Pat changes the Training area to help Katherine learn to fight
Glen Grant is the head of the camp
The Scotts’ new house
Outside of house-
It was a three-story brick and large gray and tan stone house.
The walkway was shaded by large maple trees that were just starting to turn red. The walkway is made of a variety of large and small gray flat stones. Moss grows in between the stones.
The door knocker simple said ‘Welcome’
Each window has a flower box in front of it and each box has a different flower in them. After looking closer, she notices that all but one of the flower boxes has flowers growing in them.
The window in front of the kitchen has fresh herbs growing in it.
On the roof around the house is a thin wire that controls all the electoral things in the house. It is all voice activated.
Inside of house-
An amazing crystal chandelier hangs in the entryway, and a heart-shaped staircase in the middle of the room leads up to a grand balcony. Two overstuffed chairs with matching ottomans sit in the balcony, facing the large window above the front door.
William and Sidney each have an office off their bedroom.

Kitchen -
It has marble countertops and powder blue accents, an instant hot water tap over the back burner on the stove, a built-in espresso machine, and large refrigerator.
In the middle of the kitchen is a large island with a small sink, a microwave, and a warming oven.
Behind the island, is a double oven. And, to the right, are two dishwashers and a large main sink.

Craft room-
Off the kitchen
Two of the walls are lined with floor-to-ceiling shelves.
One is filled with Sidney’s books and her sewing and knitting supplies. The second bookcase is filled with vases, all different sizes and shapes.
A large L-shaped desk is built in the wall behind the book cases. On the wall over the desk hangs racks of wrapping paper.
On the other side of the room, sits a small couch and a coffee table.
The room’s colors match the kitchen.
There is an underground tunnel from the forest that will lead you into the house
Secret meetings are held in the basement of the house

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Joined: 01 Dec 2017, 02:10

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments 2017

#23 Post by MashaHamilton » 06 Dec 2017, 23:02

Story Statement: A 71-year-old glass blower crippled by the unexpected loss of her husband has to defeat destructive guilt and memory to reignite her own sense of life and purpose.

Antagonist: If all plots can be classified as man against man, man against nature or man against himself, this would fall into the category of man against himself. Iris’s primary antagonist is her own memory, which has come alive since the death of her husband. Iris suffers from misophonia and her husband chose elective surgery for her; he died on the operating table. Now she is filled with crippling remorse. Always interested in news, she focuses on international tragedies as her only “escape.” She continues working at the hotshop but throws out her pieces or abandons them on the cooling shelves. In her waking hours and her dreams, she feels guilt for everything from pinching the legs off grasshoppers as a child to failing to understand that her father was suicidal. In a coffee shop, she launches into a tirade about world tragedies until the barista threatened to kick her out. In a grocery store, overtaken by a sense of aloneness, she debates resting her head against the man in front of her in the checkout line (and then does it.) Memories are crippling and isolating her. (Her children and others become secondary “antagonists.”)

Working Title: The Mundane Terror of Everyday Life

Comparables: Idra Novey’s Ways To Disappear; Nicole Krauss’s Forest Dark. (Genre: Literary)

Conflict Line: After her husband dies unexpectedly on the operating table, a woman must confront past choices and come to terms with the ways she has hurt those she loved most.

Inner Conflict: Iris’s inner conflict is touched off by her husband’s death. A sufferer of misophonia (a condition she hardly believes in herself), she’d been unable to bear the sounds of either his snoring or a sleep apnea machine. So he decides to have surgery, and unexpectedly dies on the table. This touches off a cycle of guilt that draws her all the way back to childhood shame and remorse. Her memories grow overpowering. As a distraction, she begins to obsessively follow international terrorism and tragedies, but this serves to further isolate her.

Secondary Conflicts: With Iris’s son Josh and daughter Cecily. When Iris talks to her granddaughter about all the international problems, her normally calm son Josh believes the line of conversation is unhealthy for a child and pulls away from his mother. Her daughter Cecily, fired by a sexually harassing boss, angrily tells her mother she expects no help and also withdraws, leaving Iris further isolated. Her efforts to repair these relationships lead to additional confrontations with her husband's once-lover, her daughter’s sexist boss and a gunman who comes to her son’s soup kitchen. Successfully impacting these conflicts allows her to heal and put memory in its proper place.

Setting: The overall setting is Tucson, Arizona, a desert city, which reinforces the stark heat of the glassblower’s hotshop and the idea of burning objects to their essential core. Key scenes are set in the hotshop, in the hospital, in a coffee shop where Iris’s husband used to regularly meet her, and in the Milagro Soup Kitchen, which her son now manages.

Posts: 2
Joined: 28 Nov 2017, 02:28

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments 2017

#24 Post by Perfictional » 07 Dec 2017, 10:33

1. Story statement:

THE TRACKS, in which a young California journalist takes a scenic, three-day train ride to New York for a job opportunity when a deadly disease spreads across the US-- forcing her goals to shift from blogging, editing and producing to cannibalism, survival, and outrunning what most couldn't.

2. The antagonist:
The antagonist is Charlie Colton: another train passenger who’s ambition sometimes comes off as unintelligent.
Where Elizabeth would rather play the waiting game until help comes or they arrive, Charlie urges, pushes and fights for his own cause: escaping the train no matter the dangers beyond its walls.
Elizabeth, on the other hand, sees Charlie as blind and reckless for this, persistent to prove that good things come to those who wait. Guilty of letting her pride get in the way of their survival, Elizabeth can be caught prioritizing proving him wrong over doing the right thing.
Charlie, often critical of Elizabeth’s reactions to her environment, pushes her to think from a different angle to get him off her back. To survive, she’ll have to continually prove her point is sharper than his sheer force, or better yet, admit that even she could be wrong— encouraging a character arc for the both of them.

3. Break-out titles:

My current title is The Tracks, and the manuscript references its name multiple times, which is why there is a slight theme in the list below, but I tried to add some variety in regardless.

TITLE ONE: The Tracks

TITLE TWO: The Truths of The Tracks

TITLE THREE: The Journalist and The Graduate

4. Deciding the genre:

My manuscript could be compared to Tom Leveen’s Sick due to the youthful, sometimes vulgar narration and the heavy emphasis on friendships between unlikely people under the circumstances of survival. It could also be compared to The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R Carey due to parallels on similar post-apocalyptic settings and situations between both my novel and M.R Carey’s. Both these books were inspiring reads that I wouldn’t hesitate to say influenced my manuscript.

5. The primary conflict:

A young journalist taking a train to New York for a job opportunity faces an epidemic that spreads across the country, forcing her to put aside her mundane career goals and focus on surviving to see life after the trip, let alone life at all.

6. Secondary conflicts:

Internal: Though Elizabeth puffs out her chest and acts her age, being 19 in the real world for the first time is terrifying— let alone when you pile an epidemic on top of it. Young, antisocial, and anxious—Elizabeth’s new world, and the end of that new world, force her to show vulnerability she may be reluctant to bare. Nevertheless, paired with invasive Charlie Colton, she’s bent into a different shape by the blunt force of survival: cope or die. Sometimes this means cannibalism; sometimes this means swallowing her pride and opening up— but no matter the specifics, Elizabeth is only allowed one direction: forward.
Sketch: Elizabeth and Charlie receive final “goodbye” call from their mothers just as before the grid falls, bringing both to their breaking point when they’re forced to give up the last thing they wanted to lose: their connection to the outside world. In an odd moment of friendship spurred by tragedy, their character arcs are both abrasive and supportive to one another.

Social: As the stress of starvation and grief set in, social storms begin to brew. Loss hangs heavy in the air, destruction lingers in the distance, and supplies run low. Friends become enemies under the weight of survival; causing fights, grudges, and rash decisions.
Sketch: Elizabeth becomes the only one with food left due to careful rationing, and though this comes off as a blessing, starvation pins those around her as enemies; willing to do whatever it takes to eat.

7. Setting:

The story technically takes place in only two primary locations: the inside of a train and the grounds of New York. The characters themselves don’t move from inside the confines of the train, but since the train is bringing them across the US— there’s a change of scenery nearly every passing day, not to mention the changes that the epidemic makes to their outside environment. Bombed cities, abandoned towns, gruesome dumpsites, forgotten lives— all viewed from behind the glass of a train window.

Posts: 1
Joined: 05 Dec 2017, 19:39

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments 2017

#25 Post by joyfouxx » 07 Dec 2017, 16:51

1- Story Statement:

The “American Monster” is Charlie King – a stock broker which was erroneously sentenced to death. Luckily at that time a new law enforcement allowed criminals to escape death sentence by joining a laboratory prison newly built at the Death Valley. Now that he was convicted, proving his innocence was too late. His only chance is a prison break before they inoculate him with a deadly disease and start lab testing on him.

2- Antagonist:

Frederick; a mad scientist hungry for new discoveries finds in Charlie the perfect conditions for his trials. The purpose of the laboratory prison was to find cures for nowadays non-curable diseases by experimenting on criminals which should have been dead by law. However, Frederick had other ideas. Instead of finding a cure for every disease, why not create the human that never gets sick!
Manipulation by torture, Frederick must use every tactic to convince Charlie to sign the paper for the deadliest experiment. However; once the experiments started going bad, Charlie knew he had to break out before he was transformed into an abomination.
Once a monster, Charlie breaks out of prison and starts a search for a cure. Having found seeds that keep his condition controlled, he is stupefied when he learns that some monster broke-out of the same lab-prison and reached the outskirts of LA killing thousands of people! When the human forces stood helpless in the face of the deadly monster, federal authorities started searching for Charlie, begging him to become an ally.

3- Titles:
- American Monster
- Crocodilian Man
- CrocMan

4- Genre and Comparisons
Genre: Futuristic Fiction
Comparisons: Toxic Avenger and Hulk
Toxic avenger because the outcome of the experiment is a monster same as American Monster.
Hulk because the condition of transformation could be controlled like American Monster.

5- Primary Conflict:
As the monster starts destroying the city killing thousands of people, Charlie is terribly confused if he should welcome the new transformation and go after the monster or keep fighting for his sanity and humanity.

6- Inner Conflict:
Since he was never fully transformed before, Charlie is unsure if he will be able to maintain his sanity if he decides to re-transform into a monster to take down the abomination. What if he becomes insane and instead to helping humans he will ally with the monster and starts following his monstrous instincts in killing humans?
Secondary conflict: If he decides not to get involved, humans will always see him as the runaway criminal, maybe this is his last chance to make things right again, with this he might be able to prove his innocence!

7- Setting:
The laboratory prison is built in the Death Valley, in California sometime around 2030. Once however Charlie escapes the prison he takes shelter in the woods in Peru looking for a cure. Afterwards, the story evolves in LA as the mad monster starts destroying the City and Charlie is on the verge of losing his sanity too.
Toward the end, just before the end of book I, Charlie learns that another prison was established in Los Alamos with same concept.

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