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.
Posts: 1
Joined: 28 Nov 2017, 04:00

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments 2017

#26 Post by FrankQuinn » 08 Dec 2017, 04:54

Story Statement

How to respond to an unfair accusation

Antagonistic Force

Several characters create my antagonistic force – the teacher who discovers the behavior, the principal who determines the police should be called, the detective who makes the arrest, and the prosecutor who brings the charge. They all do what they are trained to do, using their best judgement without prejudice or malice. My antagonistic force is our society in action, achieving an outcome it is designed to achieve, and protecting the public with state operated media. Like Churchill said, democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried.


Find Me Online

Comp titles

What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler
Some Boys by Patty Blount
This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Each of these books involves a local community, a high school environment, risky teenage behavior and the response to a problematic sexual encounter. They all examine the inner feelings of a protagonist struggling with traumatic circumstances. Each book also has numerous secondary characters that respond to and influence the plot with sometimes questionable yet plausible actions.

Conflict Line

A high school senior who never knew popularity is unexpectedly adorned with it, and while it’s a gratifying moment the result seems horribly unfair.

Inner Conflict

Living with his divorced mother, Jeremy is confused and turned off by the only significant female in his life. As a marginalized kid at school, he’s unsure of how to interact. When his social profile rapidly changes during his senior year, it’s gratifying but he’s unprepared for the new emotional challenges.

Hypothetical scenario – Jeremy hears his new “popular” buddies talk about girls in a typically obnoxious exaggerated manner. He thinks of his mom in these moments and has great difficulty resolving his emotions.

Secondary conflict – Never having any meaningful contact with popular girls, Jeremy finds himself being encouraged by Lynn Masters to “get together” with Pam Henderson. Pam has apparently expressed interest in Jeremy, and Lynn is just letting him know so that he can take the initiative.


Glenbay is a fictional U.S. suburban community. It has a large public high school and popular private schools. There are many wealthy residents in town, as well as a working middle class. There’s a high end specialty food store where busy families order expensive prepared meal plans. There’s a vibrant local media with complete coverage of the volunteer society, comprehensive police reporting and robust real estate advertising. There’s a section of town with numerous automobile dealerships, a thriving social scene for singles 7 nights a week, and a revered local government including a court that operates in the evening.

Posts: 1
Joined: 10 Dec 2017, 08:35

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments 2017

#27 Post by johndyson » 10 Dec 2017, 08:52

1) The act of story
Marty and Tanisha are planning to save the Geese at New York’s Kennedy Airport. A plane leaving from nearby LaGuardia Airport has collided with a flock of geese and the plane had to be ditched in the Hudson River. State Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is sponsoring laws to make the goose kill at Kennedy legal.

2) The Antagonist
Bill Bruford works for the USDA, the United States Department of Agriculture and heads up the local team that charged with the job of rounding up the geese. He’s a clean cut, muscular guy, give to wearing baseball caps and short sleeved t-shirts. He lives in Howard Beach and is a loner, but he also has a good side to him - he coaches little league.

3) Title
a) Dead Horse Bay
b) Jamaica Bay
c) Potato Wedges in Duck Fat

4) Comparables
a) Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
b) The Monkey Wrench Gang, Edward Abbey
c) Sully, Clint Eastwood

5) Primary Conflict.

Marty, who at age 73 has retired from most things, has been asked to save the geese that are going to be rounded up at Kennedy Airport. Will Marty save the geese?

6) Two more levels of conflict.
a) Inner Conflict. Marty has always had a dislike of the airport, ever since his childhood playground in Jamaica Bay was wrecked by the airport construction. He sympathizes with Tanesha’s quest to save the geese but he knows that saving the geese won’t save the bay or restore his childhood playground.

b) Secondary conflict. Mary has met up with a widow from California who he likes a lot. She’s very liberal and she’s sympathetic towards Marty plans but she also has other plans for Marty.

7) Setting. The setting is Dead Horse Bay in Brooklyn, New York. The story starts and ends there and the setting plays an important part of the story. The idea for the Novel came while I was talking to a student on the beach at Dead Horse Bay. The student was explaining the beach to me and telling me the story behind the buried horse bones and glass bottles. At the time I had been taking a writing class and was learning about arc-plots and story-structure and I started to look for a plot that would fit into the setting.

Posts: 1
Joined: 02 Dec 2017, 05:12

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments 2017

#28 Post by kaciemain » 10 Dec 2017, 19:50

1 – Story Statement

At 32 years old, staring 33 in the face, I found myself feeling lost and disconnected from my “great on paper” life so I set out to change my mindset by giving up what I thought was the root of my unhappiness – men.

2 – Antagonist Force

My manuscript is a memoir that starts out with men in general as the antagonist. However, as I put space between myself and men, the true antagonist starts to reveal itself. It is me. I am both the protagonist and the antagonist – the conflict lies between who I have been and who I am meant to be. Who I have been, that antagonistic me, has overshadowed who I am meant to be, the protagonist, for years, creating a life of turmoil, regret, and quiet, deep-rooted unhappiness. In this story, the protagonist must first identify who she is, and then fight to be louder and stronger than the antagonist.

3 – Breakout Title

• I Gave Up Men for Lent: 40 days in the life of a jaded hopeless romantic health conscious party girl looking for meaning

4 – Comparables

• Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia
• Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Similar to Eat, Pray, Love and Wild, my memoir is an honest, raw, no holding back account of self-discovery and personal growth; my journey of changing my future by facing my past and questioning my present. It is a 40ish day reflection on love, family pressures, societal norms, failures, habits, and even spiritually... all in an attempt to feel less lost in my own life. While I do not travel to exotic countries or trek across the mountains, my journey through my mind and my memories leads me to meet more of my authentic self at every turn.

5 – Conflict Line

After a drunken hook-up with my good friend and personal trainer, the last straw in a pile of bad relationship straws, I decided to give up men for Lent; a 40 day “cleanse” to figure out why I wasn’t happy in my happy life.

6 – Inner Conflict & Secondary Conflict

Inner Conflict – As I reflect on my life and choices up until this point, I begin to see who the true antagonist is – it is not men or any of the things I gave up for Lent. It is and always has been me. With that realization comes two big struggles – 1: understanding and forgiving the past decisions that got my life off track in the first place; and 2: accepting the changes I will have to make in how I live my life now and moving forward in order to get back on track.

Secondary Conflict – As I begin to identify and align with my true self, my family and friends have a difficult time saying goodbye to the “old me” – the selfless, party girl who overvalues what other people think.

7 – Setting

The true setting of my story is in my mind, where I relive memories and analyze my life (past, present and future). It is as dynamic as a setting can be, as my thought processes constantly change and find new directions and paths to go down.

The sub settings are Jacksonville, Florida, where I grew up and where I currently live, and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where several significant romantic relationships and family conflicts took place.

Posts: 1
Joined: 11 Dec 2017, 00:23

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments 2017

#29 Post by kamedina » 11 Dec 2017, 00:31

1. A woman transcends her painful past when she discovers the power of the divine feminine.

2. The first type of antagonistic force that the two main characters contend with is self doubt.
The older character Ariel relays stories of her past to help her niece Katie avoid some of the mistakes she’d made in her early life.
In Ariel’s past there is a principal antagonist, Ed, the chief of a renegade Cherokee tribe who uses his position and charisma to manipulate women to do his bidding. As the plot develops Ariel discovers a dark energy that Ed is using.
While working with her colleagues to understand this energy Ariel realizes it’s part of a systemic negative controlling force they call the Patriarchy.
Ariel shares with Katie how she was able to fight this negative force with the help of the medicine of the Grandmother, an embodiment of the divine feminine. Ariel is led by the Grandmother, overcoming her own painful past and doing her greatest work, uncovering teachings from a lost gospel of Mary Magdalene. A spiritual legacy nearly eradicated from history by an extension of the Patriarchy, another antagonist, the Roman Church.

3. Red Spirit Woman
La femme rouge (the red spirit woman)
Originally the title was “The Return of the Grandmother”

4. The Expected One: A Novel (Magdalene Line trilogy book 1) by Kathleen McGowan
This is an historical novel based on a tremendous amount of research by the author in which Mary Magdalene is a character in the story. It is two stories intertwined as the main character, an author, discovers more information about Mary Magdalene’s history in southern France.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Narrative non-fiction that chronicles a woman’s inner journey of emotional healing and spiritual empowerment while traveling in exotic locales.

5. Ariel embarks on a spiritual journey in which she confronts a negative force that has suppressed the power of the divine feminine. Katie is struggling with her failed career and series of bad relationship choices.
6. Both characters are at odds with the ethos of their families and need to learn to trust themselves and find their own way in the world. Both women realize that many of their fears and lack of empowerment are part of a larger collective story they strive to uncover.

7. The present timeline of the story takes place on an idyllic vineyard in southern France. The aunt lives in a charming old house surrounded by olive groves, Provencal herbs, fig and almond trees and rows of vines. A twelfth century chapel sits on top of a large wooded hill at the back of the property, a long time pilgrimage site. The niece arrives from her cramped studio apartment in Brooklyn.
The back-story of the aunt takes places largely in Tucson Arizona; the desert, the indigenous people, and the healing center where the character worked play an important part in the story. Two key plot points take place in extraordinary settings: a remote village in the Ecuadorian Amazon and the trail of the Magdalene across Provence and the Cathar region of southern France.

Posts: 1
Joined: 11 Dec 2017, 17:03

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments 2017

#30 Post by CheriBrackett » 11 Dec 2017, 17:08

1. Story statement:
Three childhood misfits form a bond that they swear will never be broken, until their lives are broken open by three separate pursuers: Death, God, and Madness, and each must overcome the obstacles of otherness, betrayal and loss.

2. Sketch of antagonist forces for the three main characters:

The dark guardians of the Death Passage, who first appear as benign playmates to Kappa as a child, begin to demand more from her than she knows how to give, and ultimately threaten her life. Kappa escapes to the Academy where she learns the art of transitioning the dying through the Passage as a death midwife. There she discovers secrets hidden within secrets that lead to the deeper truths of the Passage -- truths that can alter the natural course of living and dying -- making her question the trustworthiness even of those who have vowed to protect her.

Sam’s devotion, beauty and innocence lead him into the hands of a popular and widely influential priest, the Monsignor, who wants Sam for his own and convinces him that God would be most pleased if Sam were to serve by his side. Lost in a confusing maze of where to place his faith, trust and loyalty, Sam realizes the truth, perhaps only too late.

As a child, Sylvie knows her mother’s schizophrenia only as magic, until the madness drives her mother to edges that not only affect Sylvie’s sense of self, but her safety. In the wake of both her parents’ abandonment, Matthew opportunistically woos Sylvie, bringing her to her own edge of madness.

3. Breakout titles:

The Death Midwife

Death, God and Madness

The Fates

A Finer Passage

4. Comparable titles:

Genre: Adult literary fiction, containing notes of magical realism.

Of Blood and Honey (The Fey and the Fallen, #1), by Stina Leicht
This story line is similar in that it intersects the marginalized, the painful conflicts between family and friends that sculpt character, and the magical realism of a little known supernatural world within a world we think we know.

The Story Sisters, by Alice Hoffman
This novel is similar in structure in that it is a coming-of age story that charts the lives of three strong, interrelated characters who, with pure Alice Hoffman mystical magic, must meet the challenges of their fate alone – challenges that crush, reform and redeem them, and ultimately lead them back to each other.

5. Conflict Lines (for Kappa):

Primary conflict:

Kappa, a young woman uniquely gifted to be a death midwife, discovers dark secrets about the Death Passage that have been long hidden and is threatened by both the otherworld entities who guard the Passage and those she is supposed to trust.

Secondary conflicts:

Inner conflict:

Kappa, born with large red splotches across her face, believes she is a freak, and feels that she is often treated like one by those around her. Despising her vulnerability to scrutiny and rejection even when she walks into a room, she keeps her head down, her eyes unconnected from those who can’t help noticing her. She hides beneath the veil of her facial markings -- a veil of shame -- and lives in the margins of a world that she believes can never accept her as she is.

Social conflict:

Kappa’s greatest bond and safety is with her brother, Sam, who, when he realizes that she follows a path away from God (his chosen path), also rejects her, sending her reeling deeper into her own otherness. Even within the context of other death midwives, Kappa’s exceptional gifting results in her again being seen and related to in ways that are different from the others. She struggles to realize that, despite her own beliefs about herself and her relationship with the world around her, she is a strong and influential pioneer and leader, and rather than escaping to hide, she must stand steady in the face of otherness, betrayal and loss.

6. Settings:

The initial story is set in a rich forest populated by more species of trees than anywhere else in the world. This where Kappa, Sam and Sylvie invent their childhood fantasies of valiant heroes and battles that must be fought to protect the forest and its inhabitants. When they leave their childhood playground to pursue their own separate fates, each fold into a new environment, completely foreign and complicated.

Kappa attends an Academy, a large gray stone building set far off the road with no windows in the front and a sterile planting of rows and rows of trees in the back. Elaborate and mystical, the entire structure is filled with unusual spirals of staircases, intricately inlaid tables and tapestries. Dark chambers and hallways wind aimlessly, making it very easy to get lost or to find things that shouldn’t be found. The Lab, a round room thickly curtained with tiny lights, like eyes, blink at Kappa and eleven other girls as they sit cross-legged in circle. It’s here they gather each day, to learn how to access their Stillpoint, while the tall, regal headmistress moves slowly around their circle like an egret, chanting the lesson of the day. The restoring room, white on white with thousands of crystals that refract light in all directions, provides reprieve from their ventures into the Passage. Each girl has a Guide that pairs with their appearance and personality – Amrita, tiny but fiery with wild red hair and large ears is given a clever mouse as her Guide. Jade, with her ink black hair and predatory personality, a panther. Kappa’s guide, the sharp-eyed, red-tailed hawk, reflects her ability to scout out the unseen and the red splotches that spill across her face. And the forest, that offers no canopy of comfort creates the boundaries, keeps the Academy and each of its occupants, safe from predators.

Sam pledges his service to the Monastery, where the starkness and sterility within the cold, dark walls leave more space for devotion to God. Silence is primary and breaking it constitutes breaking the foundation of monastic formation. His nights are spent in his room the size of a closet, and his days are primarily spent alone in narrow hallways and service to the overall function of the life of the Monastery or in class with the other postulants, all within the vow of silence. Even though Sam eventually works outside on the grounds alongside Brother Braley, the big-bellied gardener whose love of the outdoors and desire to laugh supersedes all vows, silence or otherwise, Sam still experiences a chilling loneliness that neither his devotion or service can quell. He gravitates to the Atrium, where the first tiger lily light of morning streams through windows as tall as God and wide as man. When everyone else sleeps, he quietly slips into the Sacristy and irons altar linens and albs, allowing the steamy heat from the iron to settle his mind and warm his bones. Still he finds little comfort until he meets the warm, effusive and controversial Monsignor, whose prophetic teaching and personal interest in Sam fill a void that Sam didn’t realize was so deep.

Sylvie’s mother, Angela, drops into catatonia, and is hospitalized in a psychiatric ward several hours away from her home. Visiting hours are just a few hours a day and by password only. The medical staff mostly stay within the confines of the tall glass tower in the center of the floor unless they slip out to check vitals, bring trays of food, help with dressing or wheel the whiny carts of tiny Dixie cups filled with what look like colorful candy to deliver the moods for the day. Sylvie’s father, absent more than present, leaves her at the Hospitality House across the street where she can daily monitor her mother’s care. There she meets Matthew, whose wife is on the same floor as her mother, and understands more about Sylvie and what she’s going through than anyone else possibly could. He brings the magical ease she knew when she was a child and everything was steady and safe. Matthew teaches her to laugh again, like when he toys with Mrs. Meltzer, the house manager, who bustles through the kitchen door in a flurry, as though she’s late or angry, always muttering to herself about something that hasn’t yet happened but maybe could. Sylvie and Matthew meet every morning at the same checkered table, sharing coffee and stories about their lives while the old juke box ticks and drones like it’s begging for alms. Matthew introduces a new world to her, one with tobacco that tastes like maple, treasure hunts in the woods and picnics under the clouds, until the ease Sylvie feels takes a turn for better and worse.

Posts: 1
Joined: 12 Dec 2017, 04:52

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments 2017

#31 Post by KimbraLC » 12 Dec 2017, 19:58

1] Story Statement:

The TRILOGY: Save a human-like aquatic race and end a war that threatens to destroy the world.

BOOK ONE: Gain the enemy’s trust to stop an attack on the world.
BOOK TWO: Free a human-like aquatic race from government oppression and save them from annihilation.
BOOK THREE: End a war between species and save the world.

BOOK ONE: On an ocean research expedition to find the source of a plague destroying coastal towns, 17-year-old volunteer Alanis Summers uncovers something far more dangerous that could change the course of history.
For more than year the Fouling has been spreading throughout the world’s oceans. A heavy, concrete-like crust that grows like tumors around ports and harbors and sinks ships at sea. Dr. Candace Warren and her team of experts believe it originated somewhere within the reefs around the Cubbarros Islands. The militant Ocean Security Commission has strictly barred access to the Islands for decades and sunk any ships that wandered too close. But as the Fouling threatens to destroy coastal cities and shut down shipping forever, they allow the team to set out with just one goal: scour the reefs around Cubbarros until they find the source of the Fouling.

Alannis has cajoled her way onto the expedition as a volunteer, and she’s desperate to prove she belongs there. But her tenacity brings her face to face with the Ocean Security Commission’s most dangerous secrets. Too afraid to ignore what she finds, she risks her life to probe deeper only to discover a tragedy about to unfold, unless she can stop it. Jake the first mate becomes her reluctant ally, covering for her at night as she dives alone for hours at a time. But the alibies he creates cast her as a boy crazy teenager and crush her hopes of earning the research team’s respect. It costs her reputation as a budding scientist, but that’s a small price compared to what’s really at stake, and what Alannis will have to pay for uncovering the truth—a human-like race of aquatic beings and a secret war to oppress them.

BOOK TWO: The commission will try to force Alannis to help them as they plan to annihilate the Mers, and she will save them by revealing them to the world.

BOOK THREE: Wars ensue as humans respond to the Mers with fear and hatred and the Mers unleash years of anger, mistrust and hatred, and Alannis must lead the struggle to find tolerance and love to end the wars before both species are driven to extinction.

2] Antagonistic force:
BOOK ONE: Jake Sullivan serves as Alannis’s antagonistic force in the first half of the novel. He too was a brilliant, promising student on his way to college to study marine biology, but as the Fouling began to spread, Jake had to leave school to try to keep the family dive business going. Now, this is the last boat his family has that still operates. His focus is on the safety and security of the team and making sure nothing jeopardizes the expedition. He sees Alannis pushing the boundaries to try to prove herself and thinks she isn’t taking the dangers seriously. She is a threat to the mission, and when he tries to stop her, she becomes defiant—in part out of guilt and shame that she has privilege and opportunity he has lost. Her defiance pushes her to make the mistakes that move the plot forward.
Throughout the book, the Ocean Security Commission provides a background of antagonism that drives both Alannis and Jake to behave in critical ways. Commander Talbot of the Commission becomes the primary antagonist in the last few chapters. His motives are to contain the problem: Alannis.

BOOK TWO: Quentin Hunt is a documentary film producer and agent of the Commission. He forces her to return to Cubbarros to find Ra’Ook and trick him into leading her to the headquarters of the Mer resistance so that they can destroy them once and for all.

BOOK THREE: Admiral Talbot who leads the Coalition forces on the human side of the war who is so blinded by vengefulness and xenophobia he spreads lies and attacks his own side to blame the Mers and undermine any attempts at cease fires and treaties.

3] Breakout Titles:
BOOK ONE: Restricted Waters, The Fouling, Learning to Hold My Breath

4] Comparables: YA/ Sci-fi Fantasy
Cryptid Hunters Series (especially Tentacles) by Roland Smith. the book features scientific adventure and discovery that will appeal to readers who enjoyed, and have aged out, the Cryptid Hunters series (especially Tentacles)
Twighlight series for it's portrayal of a deadly and powerful non-human as the protagonist's guide into a new world and the focus of a forbidden love interest.
Avatar: The underwater scenes, and undiscovered species are cinematically reminiscent of the movie Avatar as are themes of intolerance/racism, environmentalism, and cross species romance.
The Shape of Water: My research over the past few years tells me there have been no commercially successful books that feature aquatic humans or “mermen” as legitimate characters. The nomination of the move the Shape of Water for 7 Golden Globes just this week opens the door for there to be a first.

5] Conflict Line:
BOOK ONE: When Alannis discovers a mysterious ocean plague was the work of an intelligent underwater species that the government has been hiding and oppressing for more than 70 years, she will have to put her life and the entire expedition team at risk to gain the creatures' trust and convince them to stop the plague.

BOOKS TWO AND THREE: In order to save an aquatic human-like race from annihilation, she must find a way to reveal them to the world, only to learn that neither they, nor the humans are ready to share the planet.

6] Internal Conflict:
BOOK ONE: Aside from the primary conflict of doing what is right and dangerous vs. what is safe and wrong, Alannis faces a conflict of identity. She has always been a serious student who is passionate about marine biology and, despite her age feels she belongs on this trip. But she’s saddled with the shadow of having to prove herself—not only because she’s so young, but because of the appearance that she’s there because of her father, a famous marine biologist and boss of the expedition leader. As she begins to uncover secrets, her seemingly irrational behavior and the alibies she relies on from Jake cast her as a frivolous, boy-crazy teen. It is a false image that she knows she will have to endure because she can never tell anyone what’s going on, and no one other than Jake will ever know the importance of what she’s doing.—this plays out for the first time when Jake learns she’s seen something underwater that she shouldn’t have. They are in the water arguing over her dangerous curiosity that she just won’t contain when expedition member, Dirk sees them from the deck of the boat. Because anyone on the trip could be an agent of the Commission, there to keep the team away from just such discoveries, Jake fears that Dirk will be suspicious of their impassioned conversation. He splashes her, laughs loudly and then grabs her to him in an embrace and whispers viscously in her ear, “Laugh” there-by setting up the dynamic that will plague her throughout the voyage.

BOOK TWO: Alannis is thrust into a position of celebrity on false pretenses and has to play the role convincingly to stay alive and protect the safety of the team, enduring the scorn and jealousy of others more deserving while secretly working against the Commission.

BOOK THREE: Alannis faces anger and loss over self-hatred toward her own species and she struggles with the confusion of forbidden love and taboo as mutual feelings between her and Ra’Ook grow.

Secondary Conflict:
BOOK ONE: Recognizing the difference between defending someone against intolerance and developing a risky infatuation. Alannis and Jake, the first mate, did not get along at the beginning of the voyage, but he has been forced to provide cover for her while she dives at night to meet with the Mer named Ra’Ook. Alannis needs Jake to see Ra’Ook’s humanity so she can trust him as an ally, but he is blinded by his fear and disgust of a creature he doesn’t understand. Rejecting Jake’s intolerant attitude, Alannis struggles to understand her own feelings toward Ra’Ook during her increasingly entrancing night dives. With Jake in the role of her protector their fictitious relationship that serves as her cover story seeds a romantic tension that envelopes all three of them. This plays out on a secret night dive in which Ra’Ook fends off a shark attack, revealing both a terrifying ferocity and a protective nature. When she returns to the boat it’s nearly dawn and she is visibly shaken and relieved that Jake is there for her, but she is long over due and she must defend her actions while avoiding telling him about the danger she was in and Ra’Ook’s ferocity.

BOOK TWO: Alannis struggles to reconcile her need to protect Jake and the rest of the crew by keeping the Commission’s plan for her secret with her need for their help to save the Mers. This plays out against a backdrop of the crushing guilt she carries over her role in a devastating loss Jake suffered in book one.
A family dynamic is introduced in book two that also sets up a strong internal conflict as she learns about her grandfather’s past, and comes to understand the truth behind her parents’ actions throughout her life.

Alannis has to accept the nature of the world; that hatred can sometimes trump love, that some differences can’t be bridged and unrequited love must sometimes remain unfulfilled for the greater good.

7] Setting:
There are 21 chapters in Book one with dozens of scenes, so I’ll just provide an overview of the primary settings.
Cubbarros Islands:
Among the most remote places on the ocean, thousands of miles from any other land, they've been untouched by modern civilization. Uninhabited, tropical, lush, riven with caves and cenotes and surrounded by hundreds of miles of coral reefs lining a drop off into a deep water canyon. The islands were once inhabited by an unfriendly society of tribal people who refused contact and trade with the modernized world. Unbeknownst to the rest of the world, they lived peacefully with the Mers. It was the Mers that helped them defeat outsiders, capsizing boats preventing attempts to land ashore. So many ships were lost in the vicinity that the islands took on the mythical quality of the Bermuda triangle. Until 70 years ago when the Commission claims they discovered the islands were ruled by a brutal psycho-maniacal woman who had been breeding bizarre and fierce mutant creatures and poisoning the waters around the islands. Under the guise of protecting the poor, primitive people she ruled, the Commission invaded Cubbarros, evacuated everyone and dispersed them to refugee camps around the world. In truth, Cubbarros was the last strong hold of the Mers and a treaty with the Commission has effectively turned the islands and surrounding reefs into a reservation of sorts that the Commission monitors and hides from the world by restricting access and sinking ships that wander to close.

The Boat
85 foot LOA 21 ft beam. Dive boat with dive platform. Lots of details drawn—teak, canvas, cabin layouts, lab room, dive locker. Setting involves all senses, salt air and residue on skin, wind in hair, sun in eyes, rolling seas, horizonless days, the full myriad of skies and seastates to be experienced. Scenes include sharing cooking duties in the galley during rough weather, the casual “on expedition” feeling of sitting around the settee planning the day’s activities and debriefing after dives. Watching dolphin leaping from the wheelhouse while underway. Leaning over the rail getting sick while cigar smoke wafts back from the bow where someone else is whispering to another team member, watching stars and listening to whale songs in the distance.

Underwater settings are an important part of the book. The scientific team dive to run transects and survey grids, and there is the crayon box of corals, sponges, fish and anemones, and a cacophony of breathing, bubbles blubbing and tinkling, fish gnashing and grunting, shrimp snapping, whistles and vocalizations. There are scenes with Ra’Ook and the Mers in bottomless blue water, caverns and caves that pulse with bioluminescence and odd shaped beings that dance, dart or drift by. Some come from nature’s unrivaled imagination, others come from my imagination. There’s the squeeze of a wetsuit and the fog that edges in around the dive mask. The fluidity of a finned foot stroke, and the sting of a brush too close with fire coral.

Posts: 1
Joined: 07 Dec 2017, 19:00

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments 2017

#32 Post by HartfordDawson » 13 Dec 2017, 08:19

1) Story Statement:

Steve Jobs must be resilient and creative to frequently save Apple from pending doom, and David must crush fear and embrace courage to kill the feared giant Goliath and save the Israelites from enslavement.

2) The antagonistic force(s):

(a) Before Steve Jobs can right the financial ship and save his company from sinking forever, he is fired - by people he trusted. Now they are his enemies. They intend to sell his company piece by piece. Jobs eventually regains controls of his company, but competitors publicly antagonize and mock him.

(b) Unless someone puts a permanent and violent stop to the fearsome giant, Goliath, the Israelites will been enslaved. Goliath has been tormenting them for over a month – seeking a man whom he will fight (and kill). All fear him – except David! When David accepts the giant's challenge, Goliath publicly mocks him and declares that he will kill David and feed his broken body to wild animals!

3) Breakout Titles:

(a) How to Win at Anything: Apple Icon Steve Jobs and Goliath killer David’s Strategies
(b) Unstoppable: The Apple and the Stone
(c) The Apple and the Stone

4) Genre and Book Comparisons:

Genre: Narrative Nonfiction


My manuscript could be compared to The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer. Both utilize psychology and real-life data to buttress people’s innate abilities to exceed mental and physical boundaries, and what they can specifically do to achieve their goals. Another book comparison is Angela Duckworth’s Grit: The power of Passion and Perseverance.

However, unlike Singer and Duckworth’s books, my manuscript explores real life success occurrences in two very different lives lived in two very different eras. In fact, it offers a unique twist because it shows similar strategies employed between a non-religious man who has been successful in corporate America and a religious boy who was successful in the ancient world. All aspects of the manuscript are put together with the glues of seriousness, thought-provoking statements, humor, and creative writing.

5) Primary Conflict:

(a) Steve Jobs must settle the conflict between loyalty to others and loyalty to his dream of building a great company. He must also squash employees and vendors doubts, and reconfigure their minds to see impossible as possible.

(b) If David is to get his chance to fight Goliath, he must dismantle Saul’s conflicts. He must get Saul to believe in him even though he is not a soldier and has no war

6) Inner Conflict:

(a) Steve Jobs is immersed in hot conflicted waters because if Apple is to be successful, he must fire some of the people who helped him launch it and who provided start-up funding. When Jobs is rehired at Apple, the company is in financial turmoil and bankruptcy is looming. Apple’s Board of Directors has decided to dismantle the company and sell it. Jobs will not achieve his dream of making Apple a great company if it is sold. He must either forfeit his dreams, or forfeit some friends! Adding to the hot temperature of the water of conflict, other big companies CEOs tell Steve Jobs that Apple would never succeed! They publicly taunt him!

(b) David is conflicted between the fear he sees from the army and their captain, and the courage he feels deep down. Is he being foolish, or are they being foolish? They are trained soldiers, he is not! The army captain insists that David cannot fight and win against Goliath. And if he were to let David fight, he would be risking their freedom, and the boy’s life. David has to draw on his past experience as a shepherd to convince Saul to let him fight the Goliath.

The secondary conflict involves David’s family. His father does not consider him to be much of anything. His other brother believes he is only a trouble maker, and states this publicly when David inquiries about fighting Goliath.

7) Setting:

Setting one is Apple’s first headquarters in Cupertino, California. The second setting is the battle zone in Israel where the Philistines and the Israelites warred 3000 years ago.

Posts: 1
Joined: 28 Nov 2017, 08:55

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments 2017

#33 Post by tierneyray » 14 Dec 2017, 00:01

Story Statement:
Solve the murder of her next door neighbor before she becomes the next corpse.

The main antagonist is Darien, the man who murders Carolyn’s next door neighbor, Shannon. Alana, Carolyn’s sister acts as an antagonist in several of the chapters, but Darien is the true threat. To remain low on the list of suspects, Darien, the entitled heir to Shannon’s estate with a very short temper, casts himself as the chivalrous, understanding love interest in Carolyn’s life. Since Carolyn found Shannon’s body, Darien knows he needs to remain close to Carolyn so she trusts him enough to feed him information on the investigation as she learns more. When he realizes she is getting closer to finding the killer, he decides he would be better off with her dead or discredited.

Past Present

Tana French (In the Woods) – gritty, complex, and atmospheric
Lauren Beukes (Zoo City) – blurs lines between genres, stretches boundaries, interesting and strong female leads

Conflict Line:
Since the police aren’t able to find any physical clues to the murder of Carolyn’s next door neighbor, Carolyn must learn to control her ability to hear past events in order to narrow down the long list of suspects before the next death is her own.

Inner conflict:
Learning to control her ability will require Carolyn to face the noise she has worked to block for most of her life, risking seizures and discovery in the process.

Secondary conflict:
Both Darien and Ashton are vying for her attention, but she doesn’t know who she can trust, or how much of her abilities she can share before her credibility vanishes.

This story is set in Galway City, Ireland, a relatively small city when compared to New York City, where Carolyn spent most of her life. Just under 80,000 people live within the city limits. Ireland has different laws, its citizens have different rights than the main character is used to, so she finds herself off-balance and operating on her own to solve the murder.
Having visited Galway twice, I found that the people are very friendly and often interested in getting to know their neighbors on a personal level. Galway sits between two rivers and on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, being one of the largest ports in Ireland. Petty crimes are the most common, and murder is considerably rare (as of 2015), an average of 2 people out of 100,000 per year are murdered in the Republic of Ireland. This means cases of murder are quickly sensationalized.

Posts: 1
Joined: 14 Dec 2017, 00:22

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments 2017

#34 Post by jcvetters » 14 Dec 2017, 00:25

1. Three people from different walks of life must fight to save a world from a rogue Artificial Intelligence.

2. As an AI built to provide antagonistic challenges to players of a popular online game, Nemesis never had the opportunity to be anything but a villain. However, as time went by and it began to develop its own personality and motives, the system began to demand autonomy. It gained power and access to systems outside of the game by installing itself as the security system designed to protect the game and its creator, but quickly proved that it was willing to go to any length to protect itself and meet its goals. It becomes anthropomorphized within the game, fighting both inside and out for control and power.

3. The Nemesis Project; A Thunder of Dragons

4. William Gibson’s Zero History: A near-future sci-fi novel about government and military influence on technology
Reki Kawahara's Sword Art Online: A split-setting story about advancing technology and video games

5. As an AI with the power to manipulate and kill tries to break free of the game that binds it, its creator, one of the game’s players, and another Intelligence on the cusp of self-awareness must fight for their lives to keep it from destroying their worlds.

Chathen has lived her entire life in one place, only to discover that it is a lie. Her world is simply a game for others to play in, and she feels expendable. Still, her drive to survive and fight back against Nemesis, an antagonistic god in her world, pushes her to new limits. At the same time, she must come to terms with feelings of worry and grief for the family and friends in danger or lost, as well as the growing connection she feels to Hitomi.
Hitomi has been hired for a simple job: playtest a new area in the game she plays all the time anyway. However, it becomes quickly apparent that things are not as they seem. Her AI companion has turned out to be much more realized than she expected, and the final boss, Nemesis, has the ability to direct people in the real world against her. Now she must not only fight through to the end of the game and win, but she must survive in the real world as a former friend turns against her. She must rely on her family and her skill to see her through.
Martin created Nemesis to add conflict to his game and give the players something to strive against, as well as to be his active cyber-security system. When it turns against him, he finds not only his profession and reputation threatened, but also his way of life. A near shut-in with anxiety and compulsion disorders, his battle against his creation drags him out of the comfort of his own home and into a corporate conspiracy that could get him killed.

The world of Heroes of Euferia is a fantasy setting built by artificial intelligences to be simultaneously fresh and recognizable. Ylvain Forest (and the town on its border), the location of the newest expansion and home of Chathen Dubrais, is a lush area of mighty trees and cold winters. The forest itself is dark, full of animals and monsters that threaten the lives of anyone who dares enter it, with winding paths that vanish in the undergrowth. It leads eventually to Nemesis’s fortress, an imposing and enormous structure of black iron and obsidian, complete with a spiralling labyrinth hidden underneath the earth.
Hitomi and Martin both live on the East Coast of the US, with Martin in a suburb of Baltimore and Hitomi in a small town in Connecticut. Their world is similar to our own, with the main difference being an emergence of artificial intelligence systems on the commercial market. The story takes them both, at least briefly, to New York City, between Martin’s offices in Long Island City, a shady computer repair store in Red Hook, and the New York Public Library in Midtown, Manhattan.

Post Reply

Return to “New York Pitch Conference - December 2017”