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PostPosted: 14 Mar 2018, 01:45 
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Joined: 07 Mar 2018, 02:50
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BACK COVER: The mid-nineties, New York City. Wall Street is booming. The period, idyllic. Stunning gowns, parties – the height of extravagance. Working for and engaging with top tiers firms and celebrity like leaders of the financial world, with a social life and wardrobe to match, Elizabeth Blake is a rising star in finance. Young, bright and beautiful - she's at the center of it all. Getting rich on her own, outwitting the strong personalities, looking to leverage whatever and whomever. It's all part of the fun until, one day, she finds herself enmeshed in a scandal and banished from the ivory tower. But, the dress still fits, so she stands up and sets off to conquer, and make fashionable, the seedy brokerage world instead. Her glory days continue even as the market fades, ultimately death spiraling into one of the greatest meltdowns in history. Then, as if struck by lighting, reality hits. Not only is it all gone, but her island is actually shrinking. Knowing this truth, she maneauvers to the top of a new game - only to end up, this time, a pawn in a criminal enterprise. Forget about the dress. Will Elizabeth actually escape death without going to prison?


STORY STATEMENT: The beautiful and talented Elizabeth Blake, rising Wall Street star, must abandon her path and do whatever it takes to escape death without going to prison.

ANTAGONIST: In his mid-seventies, Garrett Klein is the Vice Chairman of Arlington Advisors – one of the few remaining crown jewel, white shoe, Wall Street partnerships. Cool, grey haired and charming with an edge. Raised on Long Island’s South Shore by a family of garmentos, he became refined through years as a Baskin Scholar at the Harvard Business School, and student at Yale. Garrett built a business through years of hard work, amassing loyal clients he controlled. Garrett was everyone’s best friend. He was whatever he thought you wanted him to be, and maintained faux, self serving narratives for most. Garrett was, however, quite capable of watching your blood drain, often inciting it himself by luring the unsuspecting into situations that would, incidentally, serve only Garrett. Often, he brought up topics, eningeering certain conclusions. Then, out of nowhere, he would remind you of your idea, which was often his. A true predator, he could wait months, years, all the while contributing “ideas of things” he could do for you, but never follow through - before coming in for the kill after you, of course, had no way out.

BREAK-OUT TITLE:
Forget About the Dress
The Dress Still Fits

SMART WOMEN’S FICTION COMPARABLES: The backdrop of this entertaining, high stakes story defines an era – early 21st century New York Style - from the glory days of the late 1990s through one of the greatest market meltdowns in history. The characters are well defined and interact as is – without apology or exception. Our heroine works on Wall Street, and is not there to compete with men or overcome the odds – she’s just getting rich on her own - imagine a brunette, East Coast chic version of the Legally Blonde character as part of the Sex in the City girl gang meets Wolf of Wall Street. It could also compare to Jill Kargman’s Wolf in Chic’s Clothes because our heroine is of that world – but this is more than clothes, dating and gossip.

PRIMARY CONFLICT: For Elizabeth Blake, a bright and beautiful rising star, outwitting the Wall Street sharks looking to use her as attractive bait in pursuit of their own ambition is just part of the job – that is, until a run in with the seductively dangerous Jake Carrington leaves her in over her head. She must now abandon everything to escape death without going to prison.

OTHER MATTERS OF CONFLICT: In pursuit of freedom and control over her own destiny, the talented and ambitious Elizabeth Blake seeks the high stakes world of finance only to find herself trapped in a prison of her own making. Remaining a step ahead of the equally strong personalities, looking to leverage whatever and whomever, is exhausting. And, to her chagrin, ends up consuming most of the battle. Elizabeth continually evaluates whether it’s worth it - will she achieve her goal, or is she squandering her talent on something that may render hollow in the end? As she moves closer to the goal, conflict intensifies. Ironically, with more to offer Elizabeth attracts even more nepharious characters who prove near impossible to fend off as the industry itself becomes more challenging.

Elizabeth ultimately maneuvers herself into the enviable position of being second in command of a large, thriving hedge fund run by industry giant Jake Carrington. The opportunity practically falls into her lap out of nowhere after a failed relationship sparks the realization that the past is gone, and she has been living in hysterical blindness to her current reality. Miraculously, she has arrived. But, this time is besieged by a boss who distracts her with extravagance while working behind the scenes to mastermind a fraud, setting her up to take the hit.

SETTING: The backdrop of this story defines an era – early 21st century New York Style - (like a contemporary Bonfire of the Vanities) - from Wall Street's glory days of the late 1990s through one of the greatest market meltdowns in history, and provides and insider's view to an otherwise closed world. The characters, well defined and eccentric, take us on a journey exploring the height of fashion, society and extravagance - throughout the city, mostly the Upper East side, and to hotspots in the tony Hamptons, Sun Valley, London and L.A., and every private club and secret society in between.


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PostPosted: 14 Mar 2018, 04:56 
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Joined: 05 Mar 2018, 00:53
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THE ACT OF STORY STATEMENT

A tormented emergency physician recovering from a clouded past battles a malicious wrongful death lawsuit—oblivious to a hidden crime that threatens his own life.


THE ANTAGONIST PLOTS THE POINT

Janice Barnett and Dennis King are unlikely partners in crime.

She: Former Army nurse respected by her peers, but whom others fear as a Ratched-like tyrant ruling the intensive care unit with iron-fisted demand for by-the-book patient care. Her relentless dominance intimidates even the most confident physicians. Jan would long ago have left her loveless, childless marriage to financier Carl Barnett, except for the material luxury he provides—luxury that she considers her just due. When Janice discovers Carl’s imminent bankruptcy, her inner scorn for him—and for all men—spawns a cunning scheme of reprisal.

He: Compassionate physician, model gentleman, distinguished leader, and trusted mentor at the pinnacle of a stellar career. An outwardly devoted husband and father, Dennis harbors dark inner conflicts and desires that propel him into Janice’s bed. Thus seduced, he enters a death spiral of villainy and betrayal.

United in their mutual lust for luxury and each other, Janice and Dennis victimize the unwitting Dr. Jon Desmond in a sinister plot to eliminate Carl and guarantee their future. Once driving that twisted road together, they will stop for no one—no matter the resulting mayhem.


CONJURING YOUR BREAKOUT TITLE

CORONARY

ALREADY DEAD

WRONGFUL DEATH


DECIDING YOUR GENRE AND APPROACHING COMPARABLES

Genre: Medical/legal thriller.

Comparables:

OXYGEN, by Carol Cassella.

“An intimate story of relationships and family that collides with a high-stakes medical drama.”

A CASE OF NEED, by Michael Crichton (as Jeffery Hudson).

“When a surgeon is accused of murdering a patient, John Berry, a pathologist, investigates in hopes of getting to the bottom of the mysterious death, and discovers that his own life is in danger.”

Both novels feature vulnerable protagonists and doctor-on-doctor betrayal of trust and friendship.


CONSIDERING THE PRIMARY CONFLICT

Malicious lawsuit, manipulated documents, disgraceful disclosure, despoiled reputation, sudden death of his expert witness—someone wants Dr. Jon Desmond to lose big. His career—and perhaps his life—depends on solving who, why, and how before it’s too late.


OTHER MATTERS OF CONFLICT

- Inner Conflict:

Jon Desmond met Noelle Robinson when both deployed on an US Navy aircraft carrier in the western Pacific. The young navy doctor and first-tour naval aviator played out a storybook romance in exotic ports from Hong Kong to Australia. They were married in Japan just before the ship’s second deployment.

On the last night of that deployment, Jon watched in horror as Noelle’s jet crashed into the sea just after launch from the carrier. His desperate struggle in the ship’s medical department to restore life to his wife’s broken body ended with Jon kneeling in a pool of her blood as the chaplain administered last rites. Reassigned to a naval hospital in Japan, Jon succumbed to depression, alcohol abuse, and clinical lapses—the last of which caused the preventable death of a young female officer under his care.

Now years after a hush-hush discharge from the navy, in civilian emergency medicine practice Jon has recovered his professional competency and reputation; but haunting memories of Noelle and the aftermath of her death undermine his professional confidence and spoil his romantic involvements.

Even though assured that his care was not negligent, his patient’s unexpected death hurls Jon into a cesspool of guilt and self-doubt.

- Secondary Conflict:

As if suspended in time after Noelle’s death, Jon—now approaching fifty—seeks and dates younger women with swarthy, brunet features like hers. His current love interest, Angela Borelli, is a struggling neophyte lawyer twenty years his junior. When Ange tells Jon that she can no longer have a romantic relationship with him due to their different phases of life, he feels abandoned and turns desperate. After weeks of stalking her and badgering her to resume the relationship, he finally accepts the reality of his loss and tries to move his life forward.

Jon’s dynamic defense attorney, Michael Andresen, is an attractive woman in her forties, and married. Her lush blond hair and fair Scandinavian features are the physical antithesis of Noelle. Hard-hitting yet sensitive, she not only steers Jon through his convoluted legal journey, but also helps him resolve his emotional turmoil. Jon’s longing for Noelle evolves into fascination with Michael.


THE INCREDIBLE IMPORTANCE OF SETTING

Primary Setting:

Bethesda Metro Hospital Emergency Department (fictional). Ever-stressful, often chaotic, a closed, windowless, pale-walled, fluorescent-lit guarded community where life battles death amid terrified screams, plaintive cries, and shouted orders; punctuated by the intrusive blare of the EMS radio announcing imminent arrival of the next crisis. Emergency care reduces life to the basics: airway, breathing, circulation, mental status; hope, courage, fear, despair; and pain on a scale from one to ten. Amid this bedlam, fallible humans—their solid blue scrubs and never-again-white coats defiled by others’ blood, vomit, urine, or feces—make super-human efforts to postpone death, restore life, eliminate misery. They often fail. Then they move on, to quiet a frightened child, relieve pain, straighten a broken limb, repair a laceration, or simply reassure the worried well.

The place is laid out like a battlefield, with progressive zones of penetration based on urgency and acuity:

The resuscitation (“resus”) room. Spacious as an upscale master bedroom. At its center, a solitary gurney surrounded floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall with advanced equipment, sophisticated machines, bright lights, and shelves full of supplies—all dedicated to a single purpose: snatching life from the maw of death.

The main treatment area. Two rows of six curtained cubicles, where various ill, injured, or just plain lonesome human beings receive care from a team of empathic yet hardened professionals. You might recognize your friend, sibling, parent, or child in one of those beds—or you may see a brand of human outlier not experienced anywhere else in your daily life.

The work station. A central, computer-laden hub where a rotating cast of emergency physicians ply their trade, assisted by a team of nurses and techs, and supported by the seemingly omniscient ED secretary, Walter Knowles (Radar O’Reilly at fifty-something).

“The Bunker.” Almost hidden in the rear of the department, the ER docs’ combined office, lounge, locker, and sleep room; a darkened, dingy, ill-furnished refuge from the pandemonium and misery of the main ED; a place to hold private conversations, or to rest, revive, and sometimes cry. A single bed (no one remembers when the sheets were last changed, or by whom), faded wooden desk, aging computer, and dedicated cubbies for each emergency physician on staff.

The quiet room. In contrast to the glaring, stark decor of the main ED, this space resembles a comfortable living room: soft chairs, plush couch, pastel walls, beige carpet, and dimmed incandescent lighting. Families of critical patients are sequestered here, away from the din and drama; a tranquil setting for private suffering and for facing their worst living nightmares. Should a resuscitation not go well, as most do not, one might anticipate a natural transition from the quiet room to a funeral parlor.

Other Settings:

Metro Hospital intensive care unit. Reflects the personality of its authoritarian director and head nurse. A tidy, controlled environment. Eight cubicled beds laden with silent patients, some on artificial ventilation, all surrounded by tubes and machines and beeping instruments that provide a constant flow of data to dedicated but exhausted nurses, to whom “persistent vegetative state” means a low-effort patient being allowed to die in peace.

Jon Desmond’s apartment. On the top floor of a luxury complex, a lavish man cave, with a high-tech video system, plush black leather furniture, well-appointed wet bar and mahogany fully-stocked wine rack straight from the pages of “Wine Enthusiast.” An escape for the tormented soul that lives there—as if spending more money than one makes is the key to happiness. In truth, this cave serves a deeper purpose, to assuage the nightmares that mark Jon’s current life journey. The 65” UHD TV is not for show, but to allow Jon’s immersion into a simpler world: the Washington Nationals’ quest for a World Series title. His favorite team will either win or lose in five- and seven-game series. If only Jon’s life could be that straightforward.

Janice Barnett’s mansion. Circular off-street driveway, three-car garage, elegant parlor, French provincial furniture, grand piano, and a white carpet stained with Carl’s vomit from when he collapsed. Now a monument to her dead husband? Or a secure retreat where she can explore her wildest passions in complete privacy? The cipher code shared with her lover, and the packets of delectable white powder in her ornate bedside stand indicate the latter.

National Capital Area:

Ethnic restaurants. Tastes and smells of pho, spanakopita, tikka masala, pasta Bolognese, carnitas Cubanas, steak and Guinness pie, and complementing libations fuel deep conversations and alcohol-abetted flirtations and introspections. The most compelling interactions happen at the ubiquitous Starbucks and the stately Old Ebbitt Grill in downtown DC.

Lawyers’ offices. The aging, tired space and tawdry furniture in the southeast DC building rented by Ange Borelli and Keisha Rollins—both fresh from Georgetown Law and committed to forego high fees in service of the less fortunate; to the opulent, deliberately intimidating northwest DC complex of Cooper, Meadows and Clark, LTD, the iniquitous den from where Roger Meadows, whom Jon nicknames “the ferret,” conspires to destroy Jon’s career and reputation; to the upscale but comfortable suite housing the firm of Lewis, Markle, Nystrom, and Andresen, LLP, from where Michael Andresen—in many ways the woman Jon has always sought—becomes both his counselor and friend.

The Capitol Crescent Trail. Stretching ten miles from Jon’s Bethesda neighborhood to the Capital Mall and its historical monuments. A metaphor for Jon’s personal journey. Salubrious, soul-searching runs clear his mind and heart—each time extending further until he meets a mysterious woman on the steps of Mr. Lincoln’s Memorial.

The National Capital Area weather. From the oppressive humid heat of mid-summer, through the specter of death in falling leaves, to a harsh winter storm with government-crippling snowfall, to the renewal promise of cherry blossoms, and back to sweltering summer, the changing weather reflects Jon’s evolving fortunes as the drama set in motion by the lawsuit slowly unfolds.

Scenes from Jon’s Backstory (2005-2007):

USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63). US Navy aircraft carrier stationed in Japan and deployed throughout the western Pacific. The closed environment of a warship at sea—constant machinery noise, oily smell, narrow passageways crowded with traversing sailors, and total absence of windows. Ideal environment for Lieutenant Commander Jon Desmond to ponder his life after a painful divorce from the psychiatrist wife who left him for another man. No matter how sad his spirits, the ship could always seem sadder—except for those times when, as an air wing flight surgeon, he strapped into the backseat of a jet and launched from the carrier, slipping “the surly bonds of earth” to soar with eagles.

Hong Kong. Harbor Grand Hotel in Kowloon district. Air wing social event in the customary “admin” suite during a Kitty Hawk port visit to this exotic city. The elegant room abuzz with aviators in various states of intoxication and flesh-seeking. Jon meets dark-haired, umber-skinned Lieutenant Junior Grade Noelle Robinson, whom he immediately decides is the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. That night they share the first of many romantic hotel rooms in exotic ports from Hong Kong to Australia and back to Japan.

Kitty Hawk’s medical department. In the steel-walled room painted pale green, beneath harsh, unforgiving lights, Jon’s beautiful wife under a blood-soaked sheet on a narrow table, her skin yellow-gray, her lips faded purple. Protruding from her throat, a tube connected to a ventilator, her chest making clacking sounds as multiple broken ribs rub against each other with every forced inspiration. Her abdomen ripped open by the surgeon’s futile knife, a dark red river dripping down the sheet onto the steel deck’s thin gray linoleum veneer. Jon’s knees slipping in her blood as the chaplain pronounces last rites.

Japan:

Miyajima Island. Romantic retreat in Hiroshima Bay, accessible only by ferry. A traditional Japanese ryokan. Jon and Noelle sleep and make love in futons on the tatami-matted floor, bathe in the hot-spring onsen, and enjoy sumptuous kaiseki dinners in their room—both finding it awkward to eat while sitting cross-legged on the floor. Later, they stroll through the ancient Itsukushima shrine that glows brilliant white against the night sky. From the porch they gaze at the illuminated red-orange torii gate out in the bay, its reflection shimmering on the water’s surface. The ideal venue for a marriage proposal.

Tokyo. An upscale teppanyaki restaurant in the heart of the Roppongi district’s vibrant night life. Their meal accompanied by junmai daiginjo, the highest-rated class of sake. A skilled chef fillets shrimp so fresh that it jumps when it hits the grill. Jon and Noelle toast their engagement. An older Japanese man who speaks perfect English overhears, buys them a bottle of the finest sake, and gets the entire restaurant to bow and toast their happiness.

Yokosuka. Assigned to the naval hospital after Noelle’s death, Jon lives alone in sparse bachelor officers’ quarters from where he frequents the dingy sailor-bars in a seedy district known as “The Honch.” Often drunk on duty, he despises the small emergency room where he sees mostly minor ailments and what he considers whining sailors. A young female officer Noelle’s age with vague abdominal complaints suffers his unconstrained wrath when he tells here to get off her ass and return to work. The next day she gushes bright red blood from a ruptured ectopic pregnancy.


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PostPosted: 14 Mar 2018, 16:38 
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Joined: 06 Mar 2018, 21:21
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1. Story Statement:

Survive being hunted by an animal army in purgatory, have a change of heart and convince God he deserves to be in Heaven.

2. Antagonist Sketch:

The primary and unseen antagonist is God who works his will through a collection of characters: Karma, Saint Francis, the Deciders (a group of 10 jurors, including Fate, Free Will and Love), and Azrael (a vengeful Irish Elk). Upon his death, God seeks justice for the Protagonist’s slaughter of countless innocent creatures. A trial of the Protagonist’s life takes place. Saint Francis (the prosecutor) is charged with protecting animals and seeking justice for their slaughter, accuses the Protagonist of horrible crimes that warrant him being sent to Oblivion and his soul destroyed. The Deciders (the Jury) weigh the good versus the bad of the Protagonist’s life and decide to send him to purgatory. Karma (the Judge over the proceeding and implements the sentence) carries out the decision of the Deciders. In purgatory the protagonist meets Azrael who is fixated on retribution. Azrael commands an army of animals who hunt and torment the Protagonist to insure he experiences the torment he had inflicted. They do all they can to insure he is denied entry to Heaven and do everything they can to destroy to his soul.


3. Title:
Animal Killer;
Escaping Oblivion;
Pray

4. Comparables:
The Five People you Meet in Heaven;
Animal Farm meets The Divine Comedy.

5. Conflict line: In the afterlife, a man is judged and then tormented by the animals he killed during his life, he learns God’s will and must genuinely repent to have any chance of escaping Oblivion where his soul will be destroyed and prove he is worthy to enter Heaven.

6. Secondary Conflict:

The Protagonist must come to terms with God’s will who demands kindness toward his creation in all forms after having lived a life of discounting the importance of animals.

The Protagonist must learn to respect God’s creation while being tortured by them for all the offenses he had committed.

The Protagonist has difficulty accepting he may be sent to Oblivion.

The Protagonist must endure the slow methodical destruction of his soul but somehow hold onto hope.

The Protagonist realizes while in purgatory he does not need food, water or warmth, but experiences constant hunger, thirst and cold. He must learn why and figure out how to satisfy these desires or perish.

The Protagonist is given a choice to sacrifice another to escape his torment. He must chose to resist the easy way out that will lead to condemnation.


7. Setting:

The story opens on a frozen mountain in upstate New York with the Protagonist hunting deer. The Protagonist is accidently killed and he travels to the afterlife. He is joined by millions of other souls of every species who all head toward a colossal temple on the top of a mountain. Inside the rotunda the fresco on the ceiling becomes a live motion picture depicting the story of the world and messages from God delivered to humans through the bible. He is then ushered inside an enormous arena filled with millions of animals as spectators held back by a cage. They all scream and shout for his blood. A trial takes place inside this arena that results in the decision to send him to purgatory. Purgatory consists of various landscapes that include rivers, valleys, mountains, forests, deserts and plains. The Protagonist must navigate these places surviving and evading the pursuing animal army. Behind a great wall resides the Spirit Destroyer waiting for the animals to present the Protagonist for destruction.


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PostPosted: 15 Mar 2018, 02:07 
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Story Statement
A young warrior princess must wage a war with enemy tribes while uncovering a slavery conspiracy that threatens to enslave them all.

Antagonist Plot Points
Born a “pale man” and bastard of a fallen diplomat, at the ripe young age of eight Lord Henry Sinclaire finds himself shipwrecked onto tribal land. Raised by the Wendu, the voodoo tribe of ill-repute, and taught their tribal magic, Sinclaire finds that he will never be accepted back into his homeland because of his “savage” upbringing, nor accepted as one of the tribe. With a foot in both worlds, Sinclaire turns to a life of illicit slave dealing as one of the most feared slavers. The only thing in his way is the sixteen year old, flame haired warrior princess, Sabine of the Red Sand. Although he finds a distorted sense of kinship in Sabine, he will stop at nothing to destroy the tribe-land, starting with the Blood Princess’ tribe first.

Breakout Title
Red Widow
The Red Widow
The Blood Princess


Genre and Comparables

YA Fantasy inspired by if the warriors of Black Panther were set in an apartheid Africa. A notable, and recent, comparable would be the upcoming debut YA Fantasy Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. Both comparisons are set in some version of Africa, a setting ripe with tribal magic, superstition, and colorful folklore.

Primary Conflict
A young warrior princess, torn between helping her tribe and being fully accepted by it, must wage war on neighboring tribes while attempting to find and kill an infamous slaver that threatens the entire tribe-land.

Other Matters of Conflict—Two More Levels


As the adopted daughter of the Redali Queen Mother, Sabine finds that no matter her skill in battle, poison expertise, or ranking as a General in her mother’s army, she will never be fully Redali. After discovering the Prince of the Vermini tribe’s plan to sell slaves to draw out the biggest slaver dealer, Sabine is forced to work alongside her childhood friend and love interest to restore peace, even if it means a political marriage must be made.

But when Sabine accidentally kills the prince on their wedding day with a poisonous kiss, war is ignited between all of the Quinary Tribes. With pressure from her tribe and Queen Mother to be a proper warrior, Sabine must appease her tribe with war, while trying to find a way to save them all from slavers.

Setting
Set in the lush grasslands and plains of a fantasy apartheid Africa, called Acerbus. The land is divided into two, the northern tribeland and South Acerbus, a country lightly modeled after South Africa.

The North is ruled by the five Quinary Tribes—the Redali, Vermini, Wendu, Felanae, and the Talonda— joined together by a council. Each tribe wields their own tribal magic, often at odds with one another. They are referred to as “filthers” and “savages” by the citizens of South Acerbus. Inspiration is taken from the grasslands, fields, and sandy plains of West, North, and East Africa.

South Acerbus, a country of rules and order and populated by what northerners call
“Southies” despises all northern superstitions and tribal magic, while possessing their own dignified mages, called Augurs, who are kept locked away in court sanctioned towers. Racial and political tension exist between the north and south.


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PostPosted: 15 Mar 2018, 23:59 
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THE ACT OF STORY STATEMENT
The protagonist needs to find out why he is being hunted for the birthmark on his body, and why the successor to the imperial throne is out to eliminate the generals guarding the border from foreign invasion.

THE ANTAGONIST PLOTS THE POINT
The antagonist Zeng Xi, in carrying out the wishes of the Judge, is hunting the symbol on our hero Feng’s body. With little regard to integrity and compassion, he kills Feng’s sister, as well as Ming’s sister to achieve his status. As he becomes an important general to the Judge, he carries out the threat that the Judge has imposed on the world, taking part in eliminating the Tiger Generals and instigating a civil war within the empire.

CONJURING YOUR BREAKOUT TITLE
The Black Crest of Destiny – Book 1: General Mu

DECIDING YOUR GENRE AND APPROACHING COMPARABLES
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
Song of Ice and Fire

CONSIDERING THE PRIMARY CONFLICT
A young military genius struggles for survival while everyone hunts him for a symbol on his body, and fights to contain a powerful new force that threatens civil war in his country.

OTHER MATTERS OF CONFLICT
The protagonist cannot go home because he will bring danger to his family, he hates his father for not trying to save his sister, and he wants to find out why he is being hunted but is more concerned with the survival of the common people if the generals guarding the border from foreign invasion is being eliminated.

THE INCREDIBLE IMPORTANCE OF SETTING
Set in ancient China bordering the northern barbaric kingdoms as well as the southwestern borders of Dali, the ancient world of the martial arts epic is rich with strife and human drama. There’s a code of honor in the fictional wuxia world, equality between genders and wealth and status, while accepting harsh inequality between people with differing martial arts skills. This world is a Western with Confucianism on steroids, a fantasy world without the dragons, and a magical world of power, destiny and human will.


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PostPosted: 16 Mar 2018, 05:35 
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Cliffhanger synopsis
This is the memoir of an unlikely banjo player ― a Jewish boy from the suburbs of Philly ― and his disastrous search for the perfect woman. Case in point: Matt’s first love Paulette, a risky choice for an inexperienced twelfth-grader given that she is the only one in health class who knows what a rim job is. Then there is Isabella in Spain who spends an inordinate amount of time staring at his penis — turns out it is the first circumcised member her gentile eyes have seen. And finally, Johanna Kahn, who seems like the perfect Jewish girl until Matt discovers that only her mother is Jewish. Her father is actually an Iraqi Muslim. The more Matt gets to know Johanna, the more he questions whether staying with the love of his life is worth turning against the values and political beliefs that define his identity.

Assignment #1: Story Statement
Matt is in search of the perfect woman though being a struggling bluegrass musician with a day job as a Hebrew school principal doesn’t exactly help when it comes to picking up women.

Assignment #2: Antagonist
Johanna Kahn is not only the primary love interest in the memoir; she also serves as the book’s antagonist. She is sometimes as cruel to Matt as her European friends in skin-tight jeans sipping multipulcianos. She calls Matt “Bello” yet refuses to commit to him, often jetting off to Africa or Europe with little notice. And she flirts with Manu, an alpaca-sweater-wearing Aryan-looking blonde from Lichtenstein, a country that sounds to Matt like something between a terminal illness and an institute where Mengele performed his experiments. The icing on the cake is that she is anti-Zionist.

Assignment #3: Breakout Titles
-Banjew: An Unlikely Love of Bluegrass & My Search for The Perfect Woman
-Jewgrass: My Eternal Search for The Banjo, Romantic Love & Hebrew
-Banjo Rolls and Torah Scrolls: One Jew’s Unlikely love of Bluegrass & his Search for the Perfect Woman
-The HebGrass King: One Jew’s Unlikely Love of Bluegrass & his eternal search for The Perfect Woman


Assignment #4: Comparables
Just Kids, Patti Smith
Little Failure, Gary Shteyngart
The Discomfort Zone, Jonathan Franzen

Assignment #5: Conflict Line
Matt seems to have found the love of his life in Johanna Kahn, who seems like the perfect Jewish girl, until he discovers that her father is a Pakistani Muslim, she sides with Palestine, and she “simply adores” Ramallah in the spring.

Assignment #6: Inner Conflict & Secondary Conflict
Inner
In his search for the perfect woman, Matt Check is often his own worst enemy. Neurotic, self-deprecating and a borderline alcoholic, he makes sure every relationship is doomed to failure, whether it’s by choosing poorly (his first love turns out to be a lesbian) or by finding flaw with the supposed woman of his dreams. (The bohemian European background that Matt at first loves in Johanna Kahn is what eventually starts to turn him against her.)

He is also a man who lives inside his head. His rich fantasy life includes imagined conversations with Garrison Keillor, the former host of NPR’s A Prarie Home Companion, who questions Matt about his life decisions and supplies comic relief throughout the narrative.

Secondary
As Matt struggles to find the love of his life, he’s also trying to make a successful life for himself in New York City. Both an aspiring bluegrass musician and a Jewish Educator, he takes a series of less-than-fulfilling day jobs as he is finishing graduate school, first teaching Hebrew to Jesus Jews and later becoming the principal at one of the biggest synagogues in the country. An important, ironic and unexpected part of his job as a principal is playing the banjo at “tot Shabbat” for toddlers on Saturdays.

Assignment #7: Setting
The majority of the book takes place in various neighborhoods of New York in the mid-aughts. The story goes from the classic Upper West Side academic libraries, to hipster bars and artist spaces of Williamsburg and classic Brownstone Brooklyn heights apartments too. There are also moments in Bohemian Madrid, crowded and dirty streets of Marrakech and a scenic artist colony just outside of Haifa.


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PostPosted: 16 Mar 2018, 10:35 
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A Gallon And A Carton Of Grace, by Will McCoy


1. Story Statement

Rick Miron, a struggling farmer from upstate New York, must find a way of giving back, instead of taking, by creating a self sustaining organic gas station to out do the corporate competition, owned by a greedy enemy who has led away his trophy ex wife, in a bet with his blind friend who is also part of the competition, with aim to save a dilapidated farm from the bank and earn himself some respect.

2. The Antagonist Plot’s The Point

A shadowy quiet figure hidden under his dark hat brim, is Jeremiah Bigguns, the old grump of a stingy patriarch who owns the Bigguns gas stations chain, a well to do and popular gas station in the greater upstate New York Area, father of Merv, Billy, and Jere Jr. Bigguns, and the new suitor to Grace Miron, ex wife of Rick, who he has charmed away with his money and power. Rick, semi chauvenstic and flawed in his own ways, is a drunk, has issues with his family and friends, but has a warm and redeeming side as well that makes him likeable yet authentic. Ruthlessly calculating and cold, Jeremiah, on the other hand, has the entire town surrounded with his dirty politics and self service stations on every corner in a strategic play to own and control the farmers in the small community where they live, pushing poison and sabotage labeled in friendly packaging, representing the big guy middlemen and their capitalistic means of dominating the local social hierarchy and doing away with their enemies however they must, appearing throughout the story as the head honcho and main opposition to Rick, and in for a lesson of his own at the end of this semi-satirical, sentimental, and ultimately dark tragic tale about never giving up in the fight for the American Dream.

3. Conjuring Your Breakout Title

‘A Gallon And A Carton Of Grace’ was selected to represent the dark message about grace and beauty in America, disappearing rapidly, and also signifies the story’s main plot line centered around a struggling farmer from New York who starts a healthy and organic gas station with aim to give back to the other farmers instead of take, while Grace is also the name of his ex wife whom he is trying to win back, and coincidently, also the name of his prize jersey cow as well, all of it playing into the concept and the story and the greater meaning of the book.

4. Deciding Your Genre And Approaching Comparables

‘A Gallon And A Carton Of Grace’ is a work of up market literary fiction. With voice and style like something written by Cormac McCarthy, with a light semi-satirical humor and sentimentally similar to ‘Midnight Cowboy’ by James Leo Herlihy in character construct and in theme, or perhaps something similar to a book by George Saunders, this fresh novel aims to capture a subtle and yet falsely misrepresented group of semi quirky and yet very relatable characters suffering from confusion, poverty, despair, deception, competition, and war in modern America while also capturing a unique and courageous story that is as honest as it true to the times, and to humanity since the beginning.

5. Conflict Line

Trying to save his dilapidated farm, the math just isn’t working out right for an alcoholic down and out farmer, and so with nothing to lose, he makes a bet with his blind Middle Eastern friend who owns a local gas station, that he can start a new kind of business, an organic service station and market, in hopes to change the math of local business, and give back to the local farmers instead of take, with aim to take on a third competitor who owns the corporate franchise service stations that dominate the area, run by a ruthless man who has stolen away his ex wife, as he works hard to win some respect along the way, but nothing is as easy as it seems that it should be.

6. Inner Conflict Sketch

Rick, warned by family and friends of his problems with alcohol, feels on the fence about stopping entirely to try and put his last ditch hopes into saving his farm, but the horrible reality unfolding around him, the corruption and sadness and despair of his entire farming community goes against every which way he can work to figure out a profit for himself that won’t add more problems to the pile.

Surrounded by other friends and farmers who are trapped in similar circumstances, looking at a collapse of the farming economy, the entire town is pitted against the same forces, and so Rick must struggle with how to build a business which will not only sustain his failing farm, but not anger the locals, who are taken by a level of competition that has the entire place, including his dysfunctional family, struggling to push on, and his ex wife long gone and on to a strategy of her own to survive the ensuing darkness while he is conflicted about how to win her back.

7. Setting Sketch

Situated several miles outside of town, is Rick Miron’s farm, a lush sprawling scenery of silos and old barns with a stretching view of the rolling riverscape and the mountains beyond, where he has selected a small shifting shed at the corner of his property and at a desolate cross roads in the pastures and empty fields, to erect Survivor’s, his answer to his failing farm, which is an organic gas station with aim to give back to the locals who are being trapped by the more commercialized gas stations in town, and so many of the scenes surround the farm and the other areas about the small Upstate New York town where they live, and are also situated at the other gas stations, bringing a bleak and hopeless picture of the world outside of our eyes and just past our thoughts and memories, returning us to get the math right and push on toward a brighter tomorrow.


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One, by Will McCoy


1. Story Statement

Ozzie Osmand is a fifteen year old boy living from one odd situation to the next. And to top it off, he is a legitimate Cyclops, having only one eye to use to try and decipher an often very confusing and contradictory world, while being raised by two demented Uncles, one of which is abusive and frighteningly violent. But are his uncle's view points and theories about the cruelty of the world, more than just a simple surface level look at things, or is there a deeper understanding in the works, and through the madness and mundane, will Ozzie survive it to tell the tale?

2. The Antagonist Plot’s The Point

Uncle Isaac, the patriarch of the Osmand family, is one of two twin brothers. He is the more dominant and often extremely abusive and violent one, and in contrast with his twin brother Uncle Isaiah, a calm, strange, banker yogi who is the breadwinner of the family, and is also packing a borage of strange habits that work contrary to Ozzie’s understanding of the dysfunctional setting that he lives in. And yet it is Uncle Isaac, the eviler twin, who helps Ozzie the most in figuring out the world’s twisted and often deceptive intentions, but perhaps, for all of the wrong reasons, as Uncle Isaac’s level of cruelty can hardly be understood by anyone who hasn’t been made witness to the state to the meanness of our modern culture, with mass school shootings, child abuse, and violence in families, much of it revealed through this cold character and the frightening world that often ‘looks’ one way but must be understood in another, in this conceptual book about appearance and the truth about being odd.

3. Conjuring Your Breakout Title

‘One’ was selected as a title to capture Ozzie’s situation, being odd, and one of a kind, and also as a reminder about his one shot at life to try and find freedom, or something tangible and comparable to it, something that will serve to bring him happiness and understanding. With two capital ‘O’s’ making up the structure of his name, and the loop-holes of life finding similar patterns to reveal to him a strange and dark society, it is Uncle Isaac, Uncle Isaiah, his mother Ida, his deceased twin brother Izzie, and his true love Isabel, that help work, like many other things that he sees, to confuse his inner ‘I’. As with many young children, he isn’t sure who to listen to, but with the ‘you's’ and 'I's' of his true self, his ego, and his inner child also thrown into the mix, is it his I’s or his eyes that he is expected to use to decipher the way to a place of safety in this brutally honest examination of thought, the social conditioning of people existing in paradoxes, the contradictions in language, and in life, revealed through a unique portrayal of society and the workings of the mind of a child, satirical and tragic as it is often quite real, told in a brave and conceptual format, with a clever look at deductive reasoning and the verbal and visual facades of life, that starts with the title and goes on until the very last word.

4. Deciding Your Genre And Approaching Comparables

Up market literary / satirical fiction, and transgressive in nature, this YA semi-spoof for adults, and perhaps parents of children looking for new insight to abuse in this violent society, is in a category of its own, although follows the traditional story telling format of a book like ‘Fight Club’, by Chuck Palahniuk, being somewhat experimental and visual, although packing classic dialogue and strong traditional story telling techniques of a commercial spectrum, and could be compared to the newly released and best selling book ‘A Man Called Ove’, by Fredrik Backman, with its clever and subversive undertones and themes in this dark statement about childhood and being unique.

5. Conflict Line

At fifteen years old, an odd young boy with one eye can’t seem to make sense of a violent, confusing, and very deceptive world where he is being raised by two devious uncles, while being asked to use his one shot at life to find a path that hasn’t been figured out, and a way to understand freedom, something that he isn’t even sure exists, searching for luck and his own solution to escape his dysfunctional family to a better place.

6. Inner Conflict Sketch

Ozzie has two uncles often sending him mixed messages and even telling him two very different things about the same situations, such as not going into his mom's room, ever, and going in there whenever he wants to, and so he must use his wits to figure them both out, and what’s actually going on, and why, as life’s lessons and problems are coming at him at a pace faster than he can solve them.

Never knowing who or what to listen to, exactly what needs to be understood, nor why, when Isabel comes into his life, Ozzie finds himself approaching his teenage maturation and is headed toward a new understanding of his life’s purpose, but with all sorts of mixed advice from his peers and adults, is he examining his relationship correctly or is he only getting part of the picture, and how are his choices affecting his consequences and where will he end up if he can’t learn to listen to himself, and understand himself, first and foremost, and once and for all?

7. Setting Sketch

Somewhere in the small scrub brush towns north of Los Angeles, California, where nothing ever happens, the Osmand family lives a lazy life by the side of their family pool in a small middle of nowhere suburban neighborhood, where Uncle Isaac, amongst cactus and rolling cloud cover, rules his environment with an iron fist, getting away with murder, to present a surreal, vivid, and dizzy look at small society and the hillbilly lifestyles of dysfunctional people and the challenges that life brings to us all, no matter where we are, depending on how you see it.


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Beneath The Nothings And The Nobodies, by Will McCoy


1. Story Statement

Mordecai Beedle, a one inch cockroach who haunts the ghettos of Styfenburg Towers where he lives, is too small to hang with the big guys, and so has been reprimanded to follow the ‘Ass Patrol’, a group of lady cockroaches who keep the men marching forward in lines and routines and by the rules of good behavior, but when Beasley, a clever and colorful new cockroach comes to town, bringing with him new theories and ways of manipulating the humans, who he believes are posing the biggest problems for the bugs, Mordecai must figure out if he can make the cut and hang with the big boys, in a sort of gang initiation, or run back to his obedient ways, but Beasley, may in fact, not be what he claims, and with death out to get them all, Mordecai must find a way to survive the impending doom that his new friend Beasley has unleashed.

2. The Antagonist Plot’s The Point

Persephone, or ‘Big Perse’, as she is known to the rest of the insects, is the biggest, bossiest and most dominating insect, a praying mantis with the largest rear end to boot, towering above the rest of her clan, and has taken over as leader of the insect horde. With her strong commanding force and harsh rules that she enforces to the fullest of her capacity, the male insects are made to be subservient to their sexual desires, albeit obedient and subordinate to Big Perse's needs first, working hard together for maintaining a thriving ecosystem respectful to the ways of the human beings that they live below and beneath of. Known to bite the head off of insects who question their roles, Big Perse is one serious bug. In protest to her ways, Mordecai and his new friend and role model Beasley arrange a new group of dissidents and strategies, not only to manipulate the humans into working for them, but to stand up to the mean old Big Perse and her authority, who represents a force that many have stood against and few have triumphed over, in this humorous and dark look at death and life at the bottom of the food chain, or is it life at the top?

3. Conjuring Your Breakout Title

‘Beneath The Nothings And The Nobodies’, a bold statement about humans and their worth to the rest of the planet, especially to the insects, who see humans as little more than food, sums up the tone, mood, and concepts of this humorous, dark, disturbing, and brutally honest depiction of ghettos, low lifes, poverty, disparity, and capitalism in a bug eat bug world, uniquely and terrifyingly twisted, without the cliché and the cheese.

4. Deciding Your Genre And Approaching Comparables

While ‘Beneath The Nothings And The Nobodies’ could easily be considered up market literary fiction for its highly stylized and cleverly conceptual structuring mixed with a traditional story telling format, Chuck Palahniuk’s label ‘transgressive literary fiction’ seems equally as suitable and up to date for putting genre title to this work, and the book itself could be compared to one of Chuck’s latest works, modeled after daring and controversial books with unique voices and points of views like ‘One Flew Over The Cukoo’s Nest’ by Ken Kesey, and is reminiscent of something from the mind of Tim Burton.

5. Conflict Line

Being small and young and surrounded by so much death and poverty, a youthful young cockroach wants to climb the social hierarchy in his horde like the other male bugs, but is stuck doing what he’s told, and when another cockroach, a champion of stirring up trouble and using capitalistic means to rake in profit through arranging death and destruction and murder, arrives to create a new gang of dissidents, he is left with the challenge of adapting to his new role model and leader's ways, while trying to find a unique perspective to understand the dark world around him and how to survive in it.

6. Inner Conflict Sketch

Mordecai has watched the de-legging of other small insects who have been caught being disobedient by larger more dominant males of the group, and with a close relationship with his mother Mildred, who tries to guide her son to being responsible and wise, Mordecai must use his speed, as lead scout of his horde, to try and walk a thin line between many special areas of concern when dealing with the cockroaches and the other insects and humans alike, while dodging death and the dangers of being small.

When Beasley arrives, Mordecai is faced with a new challenge, to conform to the new attitude of uniting in disobedience toward the hierarchy, or to slip back into the conformity of routine, but to what extent he has a choice becomes one obstacle after the next as he struggles to find himself and a way to remain alive amongst the chaos that ensues.

7. Setting Sketch

Styfenburg Towers, in Los Angeles California, riddled with sagging palm trees and sun burned cement, is a tall building complex and recently remodeled tenement structure that’s had new floors and pristine window front views added to it’s redesigned construction, functioning as a complex ecosystem of top down ruling, where the owners run the building like a hierarchy, with the lesser life forms scrounging around to their lowly existence at the bottom. Through the use of specialized techniques, the story presents new perspectives for examining humanity and the insect world alike, often blending the two and showing the contrasts and similarities of a dark world of material objects that trap the living to haunt the hallways and keep them existing in cold boxes to contain their tormented souls, revealing a side of life that is seldom examined in such truthful and twisted detail.


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SLAVE, by Will MCCoy



1. Story Statement

Fifteen thousand years from now on the surface of a barely habitable planet earth, Darla 0824 is a homin being, an android servant built to look like a human, and erected to serve her masters, twelve foot plus tall super humans called the 'Astarez' and nicknamed the ‘Eellien’, who run their perfect city of Slove where she lives. Serving her master Lord Jin is her main focus and nothing can stop her at being the best at her task, but when Monize, an imperfect being of a lesser breed, shows up to kindle a flame of love in her cold master’s heart, a new adventure begins which test’s Darla’s ability to protect her master in this thrilling sci-fi epic and dark allegorical love story that uncovers a new layer and perspective on our own modern world.

2. The Antagonist Plot’s The Point

Lord Jin and his accomplices, the bosses of Slove, like dominant masters and militia men with perfect bodies and aggressive tactics built to control their society, is cold and ruthless and calculatingly exact. But when Monize, a beautiful wanderer, who is a lesser cousin to his kind, shows up and proves to be part human, which have been thought to be extinct, Lord Jin shifts from the arch antagonist to more of a central heroic bad guy, while his cousin Lord Jorjon, deceptive, treacherous, and often easily angered, steps in amongst the other Eellien, with those of the likes of Lord Daek, who is over fifteen foot tall and brutal as they come, looking to hunt down Lord Jin, Darla, and Monize as they must escape the city, fleeing from the authoritative and fascist command structure while ultimately discovering that it is themselves that they cannot escape from, aiming to return to see which bad guy has one up on the other, twisted, dark, and appropriate to our times.

3. Conjuring Your Breakout Title

‘SLAVE’ signifies Darla’s role as a female servant to her master, and makes a statement about modern life in how it sums up the main hierarchical themes of control and power throughout the book.

4. Deciding Your Genre And Approaching Comparables

A science fiction book first and foremost, ‘Slave’ has allegorical components that give it more depth than the average top selling science fiction blockbuster, although is still more epic in structure, like Frank Herbert’s ‘Dune’, and yet packs those deeper layers like something by Burgess and Orwell. The mix of styling and techniques laden with heavy dialogue and action could be compared to an Americanized and more commercialized work of epic fiction, yet is equally universal, foreign, and fresh, something akin to a novel by an author like Haruki Murakami, packing gloomy parallels to modern society and yet lightly shrouded themes and subtle various depictions of beauty, competition, sabotage, treachery, racism, Puritanism, sexism, hierarchical disparity, and even themes that are borderline LGBT, and is aimed to target a broader readership than just your average science fiction readers.

5. Conflict Line

Darla cannot do enough to serve her master, whom she doesn’t totally understand, being of a lesser form, a robot with limitations, yet she understands her purpose and that something is seriously wrong when love returns to the city, showing as something of a curse, threatening her master and the entire city, but what can she do as a servant with no authority to call the shots?

6. Inner Conflict Sketch

When confronted with the capture and trial of a wanderer servant escapee, Darla knows to use her biased opinions and higher status to ensure that the man is swiftly brought to justice, but when other similar situations present themselves amongst her day to day life, Darla neither knows how nor has the authority to step in and stop the problems that she sees as imminent.

Shortly after Lord Jin makes Monize his official servant, Darla is met with a new set of opposing problems, being aware that Monize is sure to bring problems beyond the normal scope of their mechanical society, and that her master is dangerously close to falling for her beauty, but with only her friend Lenor to confer with, and no ability to stop a destiny that seems designed since the very beginning to arrange these very problems, she must fight harder to protect her master and remain on the side of loyalty and obedience for her own protection.

7. Setting Sketch

Planet earth 15,000 years from now is an empty and ruined landscape with vast orange deserts and deep blue skies, posing in stark contrast to the city of Slove, outfitted with sleek white mechanical walls, large docking bays and cargo ships filling the skies with a second sun to put spot lights all around the city at will, and a dark blue tone where the shadows take the mind into vast depths of endless alleys and empty streets, harboring a lush green park where it often starts snowing as quickly as it stops again, brings a wide range of colors to the landscape and changing scenery, hidden within the constructs of a gentle and simple prose, to show beautiful scenes for the characters who work in tandem with this complex futuristic world building itself as the reader follows along.


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7 Steps In Every Direction, by Will McCoy



1. Story Statement

Will Anastasia, a twenty something year old drunkard and rebellious young man, based on the author, is going nowhere. As he fails to save a suicidal bridge jumper when the police show up to help show him some dark truths about society, Will must examine his life, starting years before, putting the pieces of his life together, through years of partying and endless nights of drug use, where it is death that Will finds that he is strangely attracted to, and for some interesting reasons, but what will life bring to him next, and is too late for him to turn it around?

2. The Antagonist Plot’s The Point

Like most of the characters in this story, Will’s antagonist is himself, although his friends show up to present themselves as obstacles, along with situations wherein which he barely escapes a tragic end, as it seems that the antagonist is a faceless, moving force that does this to young men and women, destroying their lives and leading them to a world of darkness and solitude with little reason as to why, or at least in the minds of many. Like Jesus’ Son, by Dennis Johnson, these short anecdotes and clever tales are strung together to bring characters in and out of Will’s life to depict an entire town of dirty business and poor decision making, foreshadowing and painting portraits of a time period that most of us are still trapped in, as the antagonist waits in the dark for it’s next opportunity to try and collect.

3. Conjuring Your Breakout Title

‘7 Steps In Every Direction’, is derived from an unsubstantiated Ram Das statement related through one of the characters in the book, and is also connected to other messages of our steps as humans being numbered, as it functions to hook the reader into the dark concepts and stories that plague the book with a bleak look at the future and of consequence in our modern post 911 coming of age youth.

4. Deciding Your Genre And Approaching Comparables

Coming of age or up market literary fiction, ‘7 Steps In Every Direction’, being based on true stories from the author’s life, borders on memoir, but has a darker calling and fictional element similar to works like ‘Jesus’ Son’ by Dennis Johnson, ‘Trainspotting’, by Irving Welsh, or ‘Smashed’ by Koren Zailckas, and is targeted for younger audiences who are sobering up to the truth, and for people looking for answers and relatable experiences from a world of derelicts and people who are down and out, told in a changing clever approach, with unique wisdom, and stylized prose.

5. Conflict Line

Met with all of the challenges of youth, Will wants to be the light of the party, score with the right woman, and find happiness, friendship, adventure, and comfort, like most young men his age, but his addictions and choices are anything but normal as he, instead, finds an attraction to the wild side that unveils the mask of death, watching his every move, as he struggles to piece together how to move forward and not seven more steps the opposite way.

6. Inner Conflict Sketch

Marred by the tragedy of a bridge jumper who’s suicide he had thwarted, only to watch the police show up and ruin his plan, Will is left with wondering if hero’s actually exist or if they’re too expensive for life to support, and so, if the world has grown cold and based solely on finance, how can he find a way to survive, achieving his own goals, when nobody is out to help him?

Working backward, Will moves into a quest of examining his past, figuring out who is up to what and why, and how to proceed with knowing that everyone is in the same boat and nobody seems to want admit it, clashing with his friends who are also lost and afraid, and through scenes of deceptive romance, greed, jealousy, sabotage, and ultimately a hospitalization and new life that promises to be anything but just and heroic, while he pushes on searching for a new way to find that ordinary world just up ahead.

7. Setting Sketch

Mainly centering around a small dilapidated house in a small town in upstate New York, the story focuses many of the scenes inward on the characters, toward rooms full of cigarette smoke and half filled plastic cups of beer, while shifting to stark wooded scenery, often with no leaves on the trees, showing the changing season like the moods of the story, as Will always seems to be lingering around on the outskirts of society with the wrong crowd, everyone headed in the wrong direction, just over here, somewhere over there.


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PostPosted: 16 Mar 2018, 18:57 
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Joined: 15 Mar 2018, 00:07
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1. Story statement

An honorable but pig-headed pig trainer in a Russian traveling circus wins the love of the woman circus owner by defying the Kaiser’s dragoon and performing his pig act mimicking the Kaiser

2. Sketch the antagonist

Wolfgang is the Kaiser’s tall, gangly and overzealous dragoon, loyal from the tips of his tightly curled moustaches to his glossy, polished boots, which sound like rifle shots when he salutes. Although he loves the circus as well as his sway-backed mare Elsa, whom he’s trained like a famed Lipizzaner stallion, he hates these slovenly Russian travelling circus performers and their filthy animals, especially Durov’s pigs. The Kaiser has given his military elaborately outrageous uniforms to drum up support for war. When Durov sees these uniforms, he decides to win the love of Natasha, the circus owner, by bringing in the crowds with a new act, in which dresses his prized pig Sasha in a miniature version of the Kaiser’s uniform and teaches her to flip a helmet onto her head. Wolfgang fails to see the humor in Durov’s pig act, threatening to arrest him if he performs. Durov objects to having his artistic freedom of expression curtailed and does his act anyway, prompting Wolfgang to destroy the circus and throw Durov into jail. Since the Tsar and the Kaiser are cousins, Wolfgang receives orders to release Durov if he will recant. Pig-headed as always, Durov refuses until Natasha smuggles disappearing ink into his cell and secures his release. Wolfgang is only too happy to be rid of this annoying, bureaucratic responsibility.

3. Create a breakout title

Durov and His Pig
The Russian Circus Pig
The Kaiser and the Pig

4. Develop two smart comparables

Comparables: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen and The Orphan’s Train by Pam Jenoff
My genre is historical fiction and, like these comparables, my novel is about the passions, loves and hates within a closely knit circus “family” with all its passions. When people live and travel together, it is inevitable that they become passionate about each other as well as the animals in their charge -- who literally become their children.

My novel, like the others, also builds upon a dynamic, granular and historically accurate and detailed view of the poor and struggling circus of each period (the US during the depression and Nazi Germany).

In my novel, the circus is a Russian traveling circus performing in Germany in 1906 (based upon a true incident) during a period when the country was building up for war and the people were living under a repressive regime. My poor Russian circus folk come to Germany hoping to find prosperous customers but run into the Kaiser’s bureaucratic and tyrannical dragoon. This raises issues similar to those in the other two books: the husband is repressive and mistreats his wife as well as the elephant in Water for Elephants and the Nazis are ominous and threatening as they relentlessly search for a Jewish aerialist in The Orphan’s Train. Conflict arises and tension mounts both on a personal scale and in the face of overarching societal repression. My novel is, however, a bit lighter in mood than the other two and draws considerably on satire, incorporating more zany and lovable characters, to illuminate and heighten the dramatic action.

5. Conflict line

An honorable but pig-headed pig trainer in a Russian traveling circus wants to dazzle the woman he loves by dressing up his prized pig to mimic the Kaiser but, when a zealous dragoon demands he not perform, he must decide whether impressing her and insisting on his artistic freedom are worth risking the destruction of the circus.

6. Inner conflict for protagonist and secondary conflict

Durov is tormented because he caused his family’s earlier downfall in the circus: their act has gone from training magnificent white stallions to training pigs. He desperately wants to restore his family’s honor and, when the circus owner Nikolai drinks himself over a cliff and leaves Natasha a widow and sole owner of the circus, he sees his chance to save the financially floundering circus and court Natasha, with whom he has fallen in love. Durov is anxious to develop an act that will bring in the customers, please Natasha and show off his new methods of training animals without cruelty. But when Wolfgang, the dragoon who is fiercely loyal to the Kaiser, tells him he can’t perform, he is thrust into conflict: whether to allow Wolfgang to repress his artistic sense of freedom of expression or whether to go on and risk the destruction of the circus.

A secondary conflict arises because, after Natasha becomes a widow, Durov has a rival for her affections: a handsome but insincere, obsequious and self-serving trapeze artist named Ivan. Durov is a large and bulky man, although light on his feet, but not at all handsome. Ivan threatens him with his lithe good-looking presence which Natasha, not a great beauty herself, finds most flattering. Left to manage the failing circus by herself, she naturally responds to Ivan’s advances, although she keeps turning to Durov to get things done properly. Durov desperately wants to get Natasha to love him instead of Ivan and is thrilled to have thought of this new act – dressing up his pig to mimic the Kaiser. But when Wolfgang threatens the circus, Durov backs off from doing his act because he loves Natasha and is haunted by causing his family’s earlier destruction. Ultimately, with Ivan goading him into performing, Durov’s stubborn sense of his right to perform wins out.

7. Sketch out your setting in detail

The little, impoverished Russian traveling circus searches for a place in Western Germany to make camp. The circus is comprised of a cast of zany characters, old but freshly painted wooden-wheel wagons and a stream of cages and open wheeled vehicles. Over Durov’s objections, the drunken circus owner, Nikolai, insists they set up in a field that, with the first rain, becomes a swamp. Under Durov’s direction, the circus people must then lay out planks to walk among the wagons.

Next, we see the drunken Nikolai inside his close and smelly wagon fighting with his new bride, Natasha. She is a high borne woman from Moscow who was seduced by Nikolai, forced to marry him and then disowned by her family. She is working an abacus, trying to right the accounts of the circus when the gigantic and hirsute Nikolai staggers into the small wagon.

Rather than continue fighting with Natasha, Nikolai flees the wagon into the mud. Durov and his younger brother walk along the planks with their pails of slop to feed the pigs. Not surprisingly, there is an altercation involving Durov, Nikolai and the trapeze artist Ivan.

The circus travels over the mountains to the more prosperous Germany. Along the way, Nikolai drinks himself over a cliff, leaving Natasha a widow and in charge of the circus. All the zany circus people rally around her including: Boris the clown whose father was a magician and is always pulling things out of the wrong pockets in his father’s magician’s cloak he is always tripping over; Anna the lovely trapeze girl who is Ivan’s younger sister and hates being under his control; the four dwarf brothers whose zany antics distract from an otherwise solemn (well not so solemn) funeral for Nikolai by the mountain side.

When the circus arrives in Germany, Natasha asks Durov and Ivan to accompany her to town to get permission to perform. They pass manicured fields and houses infinitely cleaner and more orderly than anything back home in Russia. They are astonished by all the blonde, well-scrubbed people who sweep their store-front stoops, which already seem perfectly clean to them. In town, they meet the Kaiser’s dragoon Wolfgang.

Having received permission from Wolfgang to perform, they set up the big (well not so big) tent and the circus becomes a whirl of activity. Durov, having seen Wolfgang’s preposterously ornate military uniform, decides to build a new act around having his favorite pig Sasha mimic the Kaiser. He asks his younger brother to quickly sew costumes for all the pigs -- depicting the members of the intermarried Royal Family (the Tsar, the Queen of England etc.) – so they can all sit at a trough and noisily eat slop. Then Durov will bring in Sasha dressed as the Kaiser and she will flip the helmet up onto her head while he ventroliquizes: Ich will den helm, which means I want the helmet but also means I am Wilhelm, the Kaiser.

Wolfgang gets wind of the act and tells Durov he will destroy the circus if he performs. The destruction of the circus is a whirr of dramatic action as the dragoons raise their sabres, the men, women and children customers scramble for the door of the tent and, finally, the tent collapses on Durov.

Durov wakes up in a German prison in the nearby garrison bemoaning the destruction of the circus and the death of his prized pig Sasha. Meanwhile, the circus people pick through shreds of costumes and try to recover from the devastation. Durov paces in his cell, refuses to recant and assumes he will be imprisoned for his two year sentence; he starts to train the little mice to carry red flags and march in unison. Won’t the Tsar be pleased when we get back to Russia!

But Natasha has now fallen in love with Durov and brings the circus to the garrison to distract Wolfgang. The four dwarf brothers adapt their act (shooting one of them out of a cannon) to shoot Ivan out but then get him stuck so he can’t offer his sister Anna to Wolfgang to marry so the circus will be free to leave for home.

With Wolfgang watching the performance, Natasha smuggles Boris’s disappearing ink into Durov’s cell and he signs his recantation admission, knowing it will disappear before too long. Wolfgang is now satisfied and allows them to head for the mountains where they discover Durov’s dear pig Sasha very alive and dragging along shreds of the Kaiser’s costume. The last scene is of the circus heading over the mountains and home to Mother Russia.


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PostPosted: 16 Mar 2018, 20:45 
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THE ACT OF STORY STATEMENT:
A telepathic teen’s revenge against her rapist’s lineage is thwarted when she discovers an ether alien decimating humanity.

THE ANTAGONIST PLOTS THE POINT:
A Mumbai pimp is the son of a corrupt business man, the brother of a dishonest judge, and a successful profiteer himself. He exploits the bodies of boys, girls, and women, then deepens their enslavement by manufacturing false debt. When the protagonist rejects prostitution, the pimp beats the girl’s mother to death and orders his nephew to rape the girl into a coma. The rapist then marries the girl’s body to claim the male baby gestating in her womb. When the baby dies during childbirth, the rapist and his mother ‘bride burn’ the girl, claim she attempted suicide, and traffick her out of India. In the US, the father who abandoned the girl at birth manipulates her vulnerability by inviting her to join a study conducted by his multimillion dollar company. The father covertly extracts her coveted ether travel gene with plans to sell the gene on the black market to the US military.

CONJURING YOUR BREAKOUT TITLE:
Wrath of the Deprived
Sahana’s Revenge
She

DECIDING YOUR GENRE AND APPROACHING COMPARABLES:
The hopeless sexual exploitation of Patricia McCormick’s Sold meets the dimensional fortitude of Madeleine L'Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time.

CONSIDERING THE PRIMARY CONFLICT - COMING OF THE "AGON":
Denied the right to dignity and self-actualization, a brothel girl seeks vengeance in the ether, but an encounter with aliens forces her to reexamine her buried obligations to humanity.

OTHER MATTERS OF CONFLICT: TWO MORE LEVELS:
Sahana executes her right to vengeance like a lifeline, but the presence of malevolent aliens thwarts her self-perception when she considers her unique position to save humanity.

In the Ether, tethers linked to aggressive behaviors are removed from wealthy and influential family members then reattached to unwitting immolants. When Sahana witnesses these immolation loops, she attempts to rescue an immolant in lieu of removing her own tethers.

THE INCREDIBLE IMPORTANCE OF SETTING:
Mumbai’s inherent beauty and richness of culture is lost on the hordes of locals and sex tourists who sexually exploit the innocent and vulnerable.
Earth is a harsh, unforgiving physical dimension that values money and external objects of pride.
The Ether is a harsh, unforgiving void where a log of all events that has ever occurred is housed.
The Sunnata School of Ether Education is a protected carve out of the Ether constructed for the sole purpose of learning how to traverse the Ether using insight, intention and intuition.
Dark matter is an intertwining network of channels that traverse the multiverse.
The gorge is an alien mining station for extracting the energetic force of humans discovered in another dimension.
Colorado Springs, Colorado is a US city that lies at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains where humans are trafficked for sexual exploitation and domestic servitude.
The locked-in location is an unknown place where the protagonist’s three bodies are captured.


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PostPosted: 17 Mar 2018, 23:01 
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Back Cover: Catch the Wind

In 1966 Elline Ray Roberts Hall is elected "scribe" by her college sorority sisters. After commencement, she is supposed to keep up with everyone and record "all the good things to come" among her fellow graduates.

That year, national crises, save a few, had toned down: John Kennedy's brutal assassination in 1963 is deemed a non-conspiracy murder by the Warren Commission; the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has federally endorsed equality for blacks and women; and the Vietnam War is reportedly being won. Ostensibly, there would be good news to report.

Twenty years blitz by, and in 1986, her classmates believe that Elly Hall is living the Cinderella dream---with a handsome husband and an ideal marriage, in a suburban two-story house on a hill; with two children, a girl and a boy, and enjoying a glamorous career in television. Yet when a friend randomly phones and discovers Elline in a closet with a a notebook in her lap, and a shotgun by her side, she learns the brutal truth: Morbidly depressed, Elline, now called "Elly," threatens to kill herself. The phone friend summons another classmate to the scene who demands that Elly come with her on a journey to the past to find healing for her misery and to understand the impact of the fractious, mind-reeling events of the 1960s on her life and those of her college sisters. The journey reveals the incipient choices that account for Elly's devastating present, and as she relives the years, Elly finds answers to the nagging question, "Was it the times, or was it us?"

1. Story Statement:
A desperate woman's threat to her own life prompts a return to her past among friends in the crisis-riddled 1960s.

2. Antagonist or antagonistic force: The antagonist in Catch the Wind is a man who cannot accept change. Dr. Thaxton Thomas Hall is steeped in traditions he maintains are inviolable. Distant emotionally and sexually reluctant, he categorizes others as "superior" and "inferior." White or black. Male or female. The last category is the one about which he is the most vehement, insisting on the inferiority of women and their "uppity" behaviors demanding equality in a male-dominated world. His bias extends to role expectations. "There are roles women play!" he shouts at Elline, his wife, who is meekly picking up the children's socks from the floor after claiming she would defy him to take an academic course at a college in Atlanta's inner city. His perfectionistic protocol requires cleaning bathroom tiles with a toothbrush, plus all other domestic "women's work." These duties include sole responsibility for children and their needs, while demanding unlimited time for himself--sports events with male friends six days a week and social career events with women other than spouses. He refuses to attend his children's games or hobbies, ("I'll wait until they turn 'pro"') and insists on rules that are products of his narrow-minded bigotry, narcissism, and dislike of women in general. Yet--here is the catch--while intimidating, he is also charming, ingratiating when need be, and strikingly handsome. . . an attractive package . . . until he reveals the threatening, hard-core selfishness that is his controlling nature.

3. Breakout Title for Catch the Wind
a. Winds of Change
b. the Fearsome Foursome
c. Daughters of Dissent, 1960-1980

4. Comparables:
a. Classic 1963: The Group, Mary McCarthy

b. Recent (book and TV special):Released 2016, NYT Bestseller and 20th Century FOX
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, Margot Lee Shetterly

c. Published in 2008, The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton

Why are these books like Catch the Wind? All deal with a circle of women who take on society's difficulties while sharing a strong friendship that both challenges and renews them in their problem-solving adventures.

5. Primary Conflict:
A traditionally raised Southern girl confronts a marriage that is barren physically and emotionally, yet tries to change it from within, even as the women's movement opens up new horizons, including career advancement ( thwarted by her husband) which could liberate her from her controlled domestic environment.
Primary Conflict: Elline Hall is married to a traditionally minded male with narcissistic tendencies that grow more evident the longer they are married. Her attempts to please and placate him fail, as she grows toward independence and maturity within a highly unequal partnership. Her journey is characteristic of many women's attempts to adjust the traditional "housewife" of the 1950s that they were raised to be, with the Sixties and Seventies' siren calls of equality and fulfillment. Their struggle characterizes them as "the first generation of "new" women married to the last generation of "old" (meaning traditional) men. Many of these journeys ended in divorce; in fact, divorce peaked in the 1960s. Elline's attempts to establish a successful, empathic, partnership with her husband involve the "Fearsome Foursome," close classmates who, coming of age, confronted not only racial intolerance, but bias and harsh judgment within their all-white group in college. How Elline changes and how the bizarre psychological conflicts she faces impact the group constitute the primary conflicts that intensify throughout Catch the Wind.

6. Other conflict and hypothetical secondary conflict:
In a sense, Elline's struggles within her marriage mirror trends in society at the time. Between 1960 and 1980, historic changes were provoked by global strivings toward freedom . . . strivings like civil rights, the Vietnam War (a struggle to free the South Vietnamese people, while protecting a free America from creeping communism), women's rights (for equality of opportunIity, salary, and advancement), and the divorce revolution which freed people from destructive marriages citing "no fault" Thus, it became unnecessary to charge and prove spousal charges of alcoholism, infidelity, abuse, and other citations of character defamation.

Elline's steps to test the restrictions of her controlled domestic world risk the loss of the marriage partnership she longs to attain, while constantly baffled by why her husband is repulsed by sexual intimacy with her as his wife.

7. Final Assignment: Setting:
The setting for Catch the Wind is a grassy quadrangle of seemingly tranquil green on a Southern college campus that only recently has admitted women. Its staid white marble buildings with piped red roofs belie the foment of resistance emerging beneath Georgia's red clay edging the boundaries of Atlanta, a city thrusting to become a premier example of equity and tolerance in the "New South." The movement in 1961-1966 was against segregation, a cauldron of civil wrongs, that provoked rebellion evocative of one hundred years before against the "peculiar institution" of slavery erupting as the War Between the States, 1861-1865. The theme of freedom blooms within the protagonist's psyche as Elline's kindly father shows her the 1964 Civil Rights Act newspaper write-up while seated in a segregated setting highly characteristic of the traditional South. She feels a kindship with the Negroes who are her helpmates and friends, and she realizes how amazingly the new freedoms will change everyone--blacks, whites and women alike!

{End of Pre-Forum Sample online} Janet A. Martin NY Pitch Conference 3/18


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PostPosted: 18 Mar 2018, 21:27 
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REVISED SUBMISSION...REVISED AFTER WEEKEND READING :)

1. Story statement
A loveable, honorable but pig-headed pig trainer in a poor Russian traveling circus wins the love of the woman circus owner by defying the Kaiser’s dragoon and performing his act in which his pig mimics the Kaiser going to war.

2. Sketch the antagonist

Wolfgang is the Kasier’s tall, gangly and overzealous dragoon, loyal from the tips of his tightly curled moustaches to his glossy, polished boots that he clicks like rifle shots. Although he loves the circus and his sway-backed mare Elsa, whom he’s trained like a famed Lipizzaner stallion, he cannot tolerate these slovenly Russian travelling circus performers and their filthy animals, especially Durov’s pigs. The Kaiser has outfitted his military in elaborately outrageous uniforms to drum up support for war. When Durov sees these uniforms, he decides to win the love of Natasha, the circus owner, by bringing in the crowds with a new act, in which dresses his prized pig Sasha in a miniature version of the Kaiser’s uniform and teaches her to flip a helmet onto her head. Wolfgang fails to see the humor in Durov’s pig act, threatening to arrest him if he performs. Durov objects to having his artistic freedom of expression curtailed and does his act anyway, prompting Wolfgang to destroy the circus and throw Durov into jail. Since the Tsar and the Kaiser are cousins, Wolfgang receives orders to release Durov if he will recant. Pig-headed as always, Durov refuses until Natasha smuggles disappearing ink into his cell and secures his release. Wolfgang is only too happy to be rid of this bureaucratic responsibility.

3. Create a breakout title

Durov and His Pig
The Russian Circus Pig
The Kaiser and the Pig

4. Develop two smart comparables

Comparables: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen and The Orphan’s Train by Pam Jenoff
My genre is historical fiction and, like these comparables, my novel concerns a closely knit circus “family” with all its passions. When people live and travel together, it is inevitable that they become passionate about each other as well as the animals in their charge -- who literally become their children. The novel, like the others, also builds upon a dynamic, granular and detailed view of the circus.

In my novel, the circus is a Russian traveling circus performing in Germany in 1906 (based upon a true incident) during a period when the country was building up for war and the people were living under the Kaiser’s repressive regime. My poor Russian circus folk come to Germany hoping to find prosperous customers, but run into the Kaiser’s over the-top, zealous and bureaucratic dragoon. This raises issues similar to those the other two books: the husband is repressive and mistreats the elephant in Water for Elephants and the Nazis are ominous as they look for a Jewish aerialist in The Orphan’s Train. My novel is, however, considerably lighter in mood than the other two and draws on satire, incorporating more zany and lovable characters, to illuminate the action.

5. Conflict line

A loveable, honorable but pig-headed pig trainer in a poor Russian traveling circus wants to dazzle the woman he loves by dressing up his prized pig to mimic the Kaiser going to war but, when a zealous dragoon demands he not perform, he must decide whether to impress her and insist on his artistic freedom or risk destroying the circus.

6. Inner conflict for protagonist and secondary conflict

Durov is tormented because his stubborn pride caused his family’s earlier downfall in the circus: the Kossacks stole their magnificent white stallions leaving their family to train pigs. He desperately wants to restore his family’s honor and, when the circus owner Nikolai drinks himself over a cliff and leaves Natasha a widow and sole owner of the circus, he sees his chance to save the financially floundering circus and court Natasha, with whom he has fallen in love. Durov is anxious to develop an act that will bring in the customers, please Natasha and show off his revolutionary methods of training animals without cruelty. But when Wolfgang, the dragoon who is fiercely and absurdly loyal to the Kaiser, tells him he can’t perform, he is thrust into conflict: whether to allow Wolfgang to repress his artistic sense of freedom of expression or whether to impress Natasha, go on and risk the destruction of the circus.

A secondary conflict arises because, after Natasha becomes a widow, Durov has a rival for her affections: a handsome but insincere, obsequious and self-serving trapeze artist named Ivan. Durov is a large and bulky man, although light on his feet, but not at all handsome. Ivan threatens him with his lithe good-looking presence which Natasha, not a great beauty herself, finds most flattering. Left to manage the failing circus by herself, she naturally responds to Ivan’s advances, although she keeps turning to Durov to get things done properly. Durov desperately wants to get Natasha to love him instead of Ivan and is thrilled to have thought of this new act – dressing up his pig to mimic the Kaiser going to war. But when Wolfgang threatens the circus, Durov backs off from doing his act because he loves Natasha and is haunted by causing his family’s earlier destruction. Ultimately, Ivan goads him into performing and Durov’s stubborn sense of his right to perform wins out.

7. Sketch out your setting in detail

The little, impoverished Russian traveling circus searches for a place in Eastern Germany to make camp. The circus is comprised of old, but freshly painted wooden-wheel wagons and a stream of cages and open wheeled vehicles. Over Durov’s objections, the perpetually drunken circus owner, Nikolai, insists they set up in a field that, with the first rain, becomes a swamp. The circus people, under Durov’s direction, must then lay out planks to walk among the wagons.

Next, we see the drunken Nikolai inside his close and smelly wagon, fighting with his new bride, Natasha. She is a high borne woman from Moscow who was seduced by Nikolai, forced to marry him and then disowned by her family.

Rather than continue fighting with Natasha, Nikolai flees the wagon into the mud. Durov and his younger brother walk along the planks with their pails of slop to feed the pigs. Not surprisingly, there is an altercation involving Durov, Nikolai and the trapeze artist Ivan.

The circus travels over the mountains to the more prosperous Germany. Along the way, Nikolai drinks himself over a cliff, leaving Natasha a widow and in charge of the circus. Despite being from society, she has been good to them, so the zany circus people rally around her for a solemn (well not so solemn) funeral by the mountainside.

When the circus arrives in Germany, Natasha asks Durov and Ivan to accompany her to town to meet the elders and get permission to perform. They pass manicured fields and houses infinitely cleaner and more orderly than anything back home in Russia. They are astonished by all the blonde, well-scrubbed people who sweep their storefront stoops which already seem perfectly clean to them. In town, they meet the pompous dragoon,Wolfgang.

Having received permission to perform, they set up the big (well not so big) tent and the circus becomes a whirl of activity. Durov, having seen Wolfgang’s preposterously ornate military uniform modeled on the Kaiser’s war-like uniform, decides to build a new act around having his favorite pig Sasha mimic the Kaiser. He asks his younger brother to quickly sew new costumes for all the pigs -- depicting the members of the intermarried Royal Family (the Tsar, the Queen of England etc.) – so they can all sit at a Royal trough and noisily eat slop. Then Durov will bring in Sasha dressed as the Kaiser and she will flip the helmet up onto her head while he ventroliquizes: Ich will den helm, which means I want the helmet but also means I am Wilhelm, the Kaiser.

Wolfgang gets wind of the act and tells Durov he will destroy the circus if he performs. The destruction of the circus is a whirr of dramatic action as the dragoons furiously slash their sabres, the men, women and children customers scramble for the door of the tent and, finally, the tent collapses on Durov.

Durov wakes up in a German prison in the nearby garrison bemoaning the destruction of the circus and the death of his prized pig Sasha. Meanwhile, the circus people pick through shreds of costumes and try to recover from the devastation. Durov paces in his cell, refuses to recant and assumes he will be imprisoned for his two year sentence; he starts to train the little mice in his cell to carry red flags and march in unison. Won’t the Tsar be pleased when we get back to Russia!

But Natasha has now fallen in love with Durov and brings the circus to the garrison to distract Wolfgang. The four dwarf brothers adapt their act (shooting one of them out of a cannon) to shoot Ivan out but then get him stuck so he can’t offer his sister Anna to Wolfgang to marry so the circus will be free to leave for home.

With Wolfgang watching the performance, Natasha smuggles Boris’s disappearing ink into Durov’s cell and he signs his recantation admission, knowing it will soon disappear. Wolfgang is now satisfied and allows them to head for the mountains where they discover Durov’s dear pig Sasha very alive and dragging along shreds of the Kaiser’s costume. The last scene is of the circus heading back over the mountains, home to Mother Russia.

Jacket Flap: Durov and His Pig

The year is 1906. Vladimir Leonidovich Durov is a loveable, honorable but pig-headed pig trainer in a down-on-its-luck Russian traveling circus. He is the eldest son in a proud circus family, dishonored because they no longer train beautiful white stallions, but are reduced to training pigs.

Durov is secretly in love with Natasha, the newly widowed circus owner, whose husband drank himself off a cliff while the circus was crossing the steep mountains from Russia into the more prosperous Germany. This leaves her to manage the failing circus on her own. Deliriously happy at this turn of events, Durov sees his chance to win Natasha’s love by saving the circus and restoring his family’s honor. Arriving in Germany, the circus is met with suspicion that it is filled with immigrants, gypsies and inbred foreigners. Durov hatches a scheme to dress up his prized pig to mimic the Kaiser’s ridiculously elaborate military dress — designed to whip up the people into a frenzy that will lead them into war. But an obsequiously loyal-to-the-Kaiser dragoon, Wolfgang, threatens to destroy the circus if Durov performs.

Desperate for the love of Natasha but stubbornly insisting on exercising his freedom of expression, Durov realizes performing his pig act could cause the loss of everything he holds dear. The novel is a heartfelt comedy about the lengths to which people will go to express their love for each other and for their precious artistic freedom — even in the face of authoritarian repression.

Durov and His Pig is loosely based on a true historical incident. The Durov family still runs a circus in Moscow, known for its revolutionary ways of training animals with positive reinforcement rather than cruelty.


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PostPosted: 18 Mar 2018, 21:40 
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Joined: 18 Mar 2018, 02:08
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STORY STATEMENT:
A broken man must battle his immortal best friend and save a shattered world.

ANTAGONIST PLOTS:
The world is plagued by an immortal, snake-skinned race known as the “Movers”. Rapidly, they’re killing off every last human who stands in their way. A small resistance movement of survivors, led by a former journalist named Luke, is humanity’s meager hope.
But it wasn’t always this way.
Only a few years ago, Luke was on an archaeological dig with his best friend Simon, a Professor at Columbia University. Together, they made a miraculous discovery: an ancient book recording the teachings of a lost civilization that predated Mesopotamia. They call them the “Prototypes”.
But the Prototypes never went away. They merely integrated and hid within other societies, waiting until someone uncovered their lost tomb. In it, the knowledge of how to make an elixir of life, that grants immortality.
The Prototypes seduce Simon with the promise of eternal life, while Luke rejects their offer, believing the power of immortality is too much for a human to bear.
War breaks out between the Prototypes and the mortal humans of Earth. Within a few years, Simon and the unstoppable Prototypes (now called “Movers”) have taken over the world.
The one resistance is Luke and his band of survivors. His best hope is a woman named Aliya, the only Mover fighting beside them...

BREAKOUT TITLE:
Two Worlds

COMPARABLES:
A dual-narrative story of redemption and war, something like I Am Legend meets Gone Girl.

PRIMARY CONFLICT:
Luke must battle his best friend Simon and his army of immortal Movers, aided by the amnesic Aliya, a Prototype herself.

OTHER MATTERS OF CONFLICT:
Aliya trying to recover her memory. A love triangle between best friends. The quest to understand the Prototypes. The burden of immortality. Religious disputes. A haunted past.

SETTING:
The setting is twofold.
Simon and Luke travel across the world, searching for relics of the Prototypes across Jordan, Ethiopia, and New York City.
After Simon and the Movers wreck havoc across the world, it is a dead and darkened world known as “Minerva” devoid of electricity.

BACK COPY
In the desolate wasteland of Minerva, a group of mercenaries escorts an amnesiac girl named Aliya through the dead and darkened streets of a shattered world. Their destination: the final human outpost. But the Movers hunt them at every turn, determined to eradicate every last remnant of humanity.

Another world away, Professor Simon and his journalist friend Luke make a miraculous discovery in the Syrian desert: a music box and a wilted red rose, left behind by an advanced, ancient civilization known as the Prototypes. But as the two friends decipher the disturbing history of the Prototypes, they find that they, too, are being hunted by an unknown force.

Aliya holds the key to the salvation of both worlds. But will she be able to survive the unstoppable and ruthless Movers? And can Simon and Luke discover what happened to the Prototypes before it’s too late?


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PostPosted: 19 Mar 2018, 00:19 
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Joined: 18 Mar 2018, 23:35
Posts: 1
STORY STATEMENT
Henrietta must understand her mother in order to be at peace with the disappearance of her father.

ANTAGONISTIC PLOTS
Henrietta’s mother Alice loves Henrietta but has always played emotionally hard to get. First, she is an ideas person, a workaholic, someone who believes in special talents, which makes Henrietta feel lacking. Second, Alice does not discuss sex, but Henrietta suspects she may have had at least one affair with a woman. Third, her work and nature has taken them to places extraordinarily difficult for Henrietta to grow up normally – an island off the Maine Coast, Los Alamos during the Second World War. Alice claims to have loved Jim, Henrietta’s father, but Henrietta knows for certain Jim cheated on her, may have spied on her, and there are reasons for people to think she might have wanted him dead.

BREAKOUT TITLE
Alice’s Island
The Islands of My Life
The Alice Papers

COMPARABLES
Elizabeth Strout’s Amy and Isabelle
Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale
Classics: Daphne Du Maurier meets Andrea Barrett
The basic conflict is Amy and Isabelle set in Los Alamos

PRIMARY CONFLICT
A young woman must force her mother to reveal who she really is in order to heal wounds left from the Second World War and move on from the disappearance of the father just after the war.

OTHER MATTERS OF CONFLICT
Henrietta is deeply concerned her mother has never taken her seriously because, in her mother’s eyes, she has no gift. She is both deeply jealous of the children her mother favors–her cousin Hailey who is a savant about nature, and, later, her cousin Claire, who her mother grows very close to because she’s an aspiring scientist. But Henrietta needs both as ways to get close to her mother. She needs to understand and be close to her mother in order to finally separate from her.

SETTING
Windward Island, on the Maine Coast, is both an island of wonder and boredom for the protagonist. During the 20s and 30s, her mother and father established the island as a retreat for physicists and astronomers – the great theoretical physicist Niels Bohr visited the island in 1939. It has The Wild Coast, a stretch of sea cliff so shear and cluttered with blow-downs no trail runs along it. It has Sandy Cove, which attracts far too many day-trippers in the mind of Alice because it is one of the few sandy beaches in the area. It has a sheep shed, sheep, and a dock, a bird blind that overlooks a marsh, and the houses views of Mt. Desert. Across the Windward Island Channel is Starboard Point, where the rest of Henrietta’s fathers family, the Shiptons, always summer.
Another key setting is Los Alamos, where Henrietta and her mother live in a drab army green apartment on the mesa. The fenced in area has a hill big enough for skiing. It also includes a shooting range next to a ball field.
Some of the back story is set in the assistants’ room at the Harvard Observatory, with large windows facing south, and desks “Pickering’s Harem” move around to position for the best light. On many of the desks are wooden frames with mirrors underneath, to reflect light through the glass plates they study.


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PostPosted: 19 Mar 2018, 06:02 
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Joined: 14 Mar 2018, 11:28
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Story Statement:

A middle aged physician’s college tryst into low budget erotica acting threatens his professional and personal life twenty years later when existence of the skin flick explodes in the national news after the media learns the daughter of a presidential candidate was the star of the movie.

Description of antagonistic force:

Dr. Carl Dunwoody is in the physician’s lounge of the hospital when breaking news on the television shakes his world. Presidential candidate Joseph Bradford’s daughter, Vicky Bradford, scandalously had starred in a pornographic movie during her college days. Carl suddenly finds himself fearful for his job and fearful about maintaining his personal relationships; he had been the male performing in the scene with Vicky. Even though this was a tryst that occurred twenty years previously, societal tolerances for sexual indiscretions are current day at an all time low. His medical career is in jeopardy. Despite Carl’s need to hide from the media, he has an uncontrollable curiosity to reunite with Vicky. Carl’s curiosity wins over wise caution, and he visits attorney Vicky Bradford in her family law office. Further throwing caution to the wind, Carl hires Vicky to be his divorce attorney. He has been having marital strife. During this, Carl’s lust for Vicky turns to love. They develop a romantic relationship that Carl tries to hide from the world.

Title

Rode to the White House...The Doctor, The Lawyer, The Porn Couple
The Doctor, The Lawyer, The Porn Couple...A Perverse Love Story

Two comparables

“Illegal Contact” by Santino Hassell (very very sports heavy themes)
“Dating You/Hating You” by Christina Lauren
“Hotline” by Quinn Anderson (too homosexual- but funny)
“Baby Daddy” by Kendall Ryan

Write your own conflict line

A middle aged physician’s college trysts into the making of a porno film comes back to threaten his career and medical license when the world learns of the film because his erotic co-star happes to be the daughter of a Georgia Senator running for the White House.

Other matters of conflict

Dr. Carl Dunwoody’s personal life is not what he had imagined, hoped for, nor had been planning for; he and his wife are at the end of their decade long marriage. But Carl is not unhappy. He loves his job. Carl trained for years to be a hospitalist, and now that he’s made it he relishes his career. This career that he loves is suddenly thrusts into jeopardy! The news media has learned that presidential candidate’s Joseph Bradford’s daughter starred in a pornographic movie. The media latches onto this story and won’t let go. This once ne’er heard of movie which now is daily becoming increasingly famous was shot twenty years earlier, and Dr. Dunwoody, watching the news, is horrified. Horrified and scared, scared for his career--He was the college guy in the scene with Vicky Bradford, screen name Georgiana Peach. In this day of sensitivity on sexual indiscretions, Carl now fears his very medical license should the media finger him as Vicky Bradford’s former porno co-star. As he attempts to hide from media attention, another complication develops. He reunites with Vicky and a love relationship develops between them.

In the secondary conflict, Vicky Bradford, grew up in a wealthy family with no material need or want, however, she lacked what she desired most, a close relationship with her ever driven father. During Vicky’s college days, her father ran and was elected to the United States senate. This completely consumed his time, and Vicky’s desire for a father-daughter closeness turned into rebellious urge. Her rebellious activity? She stripped for a camera allowing herself to be filmed having sex-a lot of sex, in a lot of positions with a young college male she had never previously met. Her attempt to embarrass her father failed at the time. The movie was low budget with a small distribution. However, now that Senator Joseph Bradford is running for the White House, the media has learned of the movie, and it is quickly becoming the most famous porno ever. Ironically, Vicky who filmed the movie in rebellion to hurt her father, now lacks the desire to hurt him. She never developed the closeness she had wanted to with her father -that will come in book two. Yet, she has comfort in their relationship as it is; this national medial revelation about her rebellious acts will damage that daughter-father relationship.

Atlanta Georgia provides a great setting for [A Perverse Love Story]. The city is large enough that Vicky Bradford and Dr. Carl Dunwoody have lived without awareness the other has been residing in the same town. Carl, who wants to hide from the media, can use the large city population to camouflage himself; however, on the other hand, it is an international city with news savvy residents. Someone may, and does, make the connection to Carl and *******.

Also, with Vicky’s father being a United States Senator running for the presidency, setting the story in a state capitol is very appropriate.


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PostPosted: 19 Mar 2018, 07:15 
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Story Statement

To become the master of her own destiny, Grace must travel beyond the all-encompassing Mormon religion and community that is her way of life.


THE ANTAGONIST PLOTS THE POINT


The patriarchal power of the LDS church:

Seen by it’s people as the ultimate authority, the leaders of a 200 year old religion incite a challenging cognitive dissonance among it’s believers. In extreme it incites arrogance, bullying, righteous indignation, disclusion and bigotry. On the other hand it offers solutions for clean living, traditional values and a path to higher mindedness. It’s history is built on accounts from past generations and the written word. It’s past marred with tales ranging from the psychotic to the mystical.



TITLE

Confessions of a Mormon Trophy Wife, Beyond the Zion Curtain, Zion


DECIDING YOUR GENRE AND APPROACHING COMPARABLE


The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch


CONSIDERING THE PRIMARY CONFLICT - COMING OF THE "AGON"

While forging her own path, a woman must confront the truth about herself as she battles demons fueled by rape, religious zealotry, patriarchal power and addiction.

Inner Conflict:

Grace leaves the main body of the church. The voice that she perceives as God, tells her to leave the temple. "I will talk to you, when you go outside.", he says sternly, impressing her mind. She discards the principles like an old skin by attending art classes and participating in conscious festivals, communal and personal healing. In the spirit of curiosity and in order to proclaim her own life, she tries all the things her religion prohibits her from. She moonlights as a stripper, performs in the desert with a circus troupe and dives into her life as an artist. As the pendulum swings she feels she must know the good from the evil by tasting the forbidden fruit? A principle buried deep in all Christian religions. Her actions create a high stakes battle with her inner and outer world.

Secondary Conflict (other matters of conflict)

As she experiments with her life choices and her own morality, Grace in confronted by her Mother and father, they disapprove but stand behind her. Her soon to be in-laws are not as forgiving. Before she even steps a toe out of line they start a witch hunt that culminates in an emotional battle over her son and the power to parent him. Grace feels her way is the way and her father's child feels he must do all in this power to stop her. Grace just wants a normal life for her and her son. The freedom to choose and the freedom to live her own life.

Setting

The setting begins in a small town in Idaho where Grace is born. Twin Falls. She has an important reoccurring dream at the famous Twin Falls waterfall that is essential to the story. Imagine miles and miles of outdoor hiking in some of the most beautiful mountains in the world. World class ski resorts and lakes fill her childhood and of course church on many Sundays. Next we move to West Jordan, Utah a suburb of Salt Lake City. It's a typical neighborhood in the 90's. Video games are just starting to permeate. Grace and her siblings are pretty much normal kids, accept for the fact that they don't know how truly different their religion makes them. Later the scene changes to her High School and college years. On her 18th birthday she moves to Salt Lake City and hangs out at bars and gets into the local music scene. After that she heads back to church after a scare at a party. Then we are transported in the world of Mormon life, engagement and marriage. She marries and is pummeled into "The Windsor's", of Mormon Families. There she lives and grows for over 5 years. After the birth of her son she attends a consciousness training that starts a series of events that lead her away from the main body of the church. Her husband and her decide to part on good terms and she moves back to SLC to work as an artist. Artspace Number 18 comes into play, her gallery home where she performs and opens space to local artists. It is rich and lively. Her dream come true. The setting then goes to the Wyoming strip clubs where she moonlights to pay for her art life and to save for a lawyer (she suspects a battle coming) She is then pounded with a legal battle from her ex-husband and she eventually has to move to be able to focus solely on winning her court case. She and her son move to a tiny guest house in "Sugarhood" and she works as a lunch lady to pay the bills and be as close to her son as she can.


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PostPosted: 19 Mar 2018, 17:48 
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Seven Assignments



1. Write your story statement:

Surrounded by the chaos of the Civil War in Virginia, Adair Stanton must find out who murdered two men in a nearby clearing before the killer destroys her farm and her family.


2. In 200 words or less, sketch the antagonist or antagonist force in your story:

Benjamin Stone is a brilliant but homely Massachusetts lawyer and ardent Abolitionist who believes that character is everything; he’s the polar opposite of Adair Stanton’s handsome, weak and faithless husband. He doesn’t trust Adair, but he’s sure she can help him discover who killed his young friend and fellow spy: he will connive and ruthlessly push until she does. Her terror is justified: someone burns her barn, threatens her, attacks her. But to Stone, these are the risks one must accept to do what is right, and he’s coolly rational: she is in danger whether or not they learn the truth, so she might as well help. He is driven by his beliefs and will do anything he can to help the North win the Civil War. The guilt he feels about his friend’s death fuels his determination. He despises slave owners; he doesn’t bother at first to learn how Adair was trapped into the life she’s leading. His mission is to find out what happened, why, and whether it still might be possible to set up the intelligence network the North needs. He’ll use Adair as a tool to do it.



3. Create a breakout title:

Too Close to Home

Strangers and Kin

Sugar Hill Clearing


4. Comparables:

Barbara Hambly: Benjamin January series (historical mysteries set in early nineteeth century New Orleans, character driven)
Charles Todd: Inspector Ian Rutledge series (historical mysteries set in post WWI England, character driven)


5. Primary Conflict line:

At the prompting of a stranger and Northern spy, Adair must confront her personal demons and a hidden menace to discover who killed two men on her farm – and now threatens her and her family.

6.

Inner conflict: Adair’s been in the South for ten years, but she is still a stranger: she has never been able to reconcile her Abolitionist beliefs with the society she lives in. She is trapped: her husband reneged on his promise to free his slaves, but she is still bound by her marriage vows, her three children and her financial dependence. She may have hung onto her beliefs, but she’s lost her autonomy and her voice. Benjamin Stone’s arrival – a consequence of the murders on her property – has thrown the contradictions of her life into high relief, especially as he insists she actually do something to change things. During a confrontation with her husband’s critical, controlling aunt who condemns her independence, she finally breaks free, telling her that she will no longer be bound by anyone else’s ideas of right and wrong.


Secondary conflict: Adair has a fight with her husband over her handling of the farm in his absence. He is furious that she has given one of the slaves the chance to operate independently and offered to pay for his work, as well. “Why don’t you just free them and be done with it?” he asks, knowing that this is what she really wants. He also suggests she wants to “wear the pants” in the family. He sees Adair’s decisions as an attack on the central tenets of Southern life: the subjugation of blacks and women. What makes it worse for him is that she doesn’t back down.


7. Setting:

This novel is set in northern Virginia during the Civil War. Adair’s farm is within sight of the Blue Ridge Mountains and close to the Shenandoah River, and the countryside with its legendary beauty is the backdrop to the action. But even more important is the fact that the country was at war, and Virginians were experiencing something utterly foreign to most Americans of any era: war on their home ground. Civilians could hear the sound of cannons and gunfire in battle, see the devastation of towns, homes, and farmland, experience armies – both friend and enemy – on the march and ravenous for food and fuel for which they could seldom pay. They struggled to survive and feed their families as prices soared, the availability of common necessities dwindled, and they were beset by constant worry and physical fear.
The conditions of daily life 150 years ago inform the action as well as the mood of the novel: the characters walk, ride horses, or drive carriages. Grain must be milled, potatoes dug, pigs slaughtered and cream churned into butter before they eat. Clothes are hand sewn and made at home; laundry is beaten in tubs, hand-wrung, pegged to lines and poles. As it’s October and cold, they build and tend wood fires and iron stoves and begin wearing wool shawls. And the bizarre and barbaric concerns and interactions of a slave society permeate every part of every day life.
Lastly, it is a time of moral and philosophical turmoil: because of the war, everyone is forced to rethink and redefine their positions on slavery and nationality, and their personal moral codes, together with how far they are willing to go to defend them.


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PostPosted: 19 Mar 2018, 21:08 
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A FEW GOOD FRIENDS - Swati Kaushal

Story Statement
Four Indian GenX women reconnect at a college reunion, confront their midlife problems (troubled marriage, cancer, lovechild, hidden homosexuality) and redefine success and happiness.

Antagonists
Each protagonist has her own antagonist(s). Aadya’s forceful, loudmouthed husband Ashok has been unfaithful to her, but he has also been there for her through tough times and he’s been a good father to their son. He can be charming but also callous. When he shows up unannounced at her reunion, just as her ex is about to make a declaration of love, Aadya is forced to decide whether she wants to stay married to Ashok or not.
Ambika’s antagonist is the recurring ‘bad luck,’ she has faced throughout her life. It now takes the form of a breast cancer diagnosis that shatters her illusion of having outrun her unlucky stars. Also waiting for her is financial trouble that will test her marriage and ability to once again rise above things beyond her control.
Miru’s 14-year old daughter Ria is smart, sensitive, and increasingly curious about her US-based father Sanjay who has not visited in three years. Determined to know more, and dreaming about spending time with him and going to college in America, Ria inadvertently stirs trouble by contacting Sanjay without telling Miru.
Kajori’s antagonist is her lover Latika who is young, confident and proudly gay. Latika pushes Kajori to tell her family and friends about their relationship, forcing Kajori to confront her misgivings and take a stand.

Breakout title
A Few Good Friends
The Reunion Raga
An Indian Homecoming

Genre/Comparables
The genre for A Few Good Friends is upmarket women’s fiction and book club fiction
Comparable novels are ‘Modern Lovers’ by Emma Straub for a close examination of GenX relationships and modern culture, and The Windfall by Diksha Basu for an entertaining and authentic look inside modern, affluent India.
A comparable movie, with similar themes of estranged friends dealing with collective and individual midlife angst, is the classic ‘The Big Chill.’

FIFTH ASSIGNMENT: Conflict line:
During the course of a nostalgia-ridden class reunion at a beach resort in India, four friends confront their personal demons. Aadya is faced with a choice between her flawed husband Ashok and her lingering feelings for her far-from-perfect ex-fiance, Srini. Ambika’s career-oriented approach to life is turned upside down by a cancer diagnosis. Miru realizes she can no longer put off telling daughter Ria that she’s the product of an extramarital affair, and Kajori must find the courage to come out of the closet at 45.

SIXTH ASSIGNMENT: INNER CONFLICT
Aadya’s inner turmoil revolves around the fear of giving up on twenty years of marriage and starting to put her own needs and desires first. She knows relationships are never perfect, and worries about rocking the boat now that things are going relatively smoothly.
Ambika’s inner turmoil is around her work-life balance in the face of her cancer. Now that her health is compromised, what should she prioritize: her time with her husband and daughter or her career, which is at a crucial juncture, and, as it happens, the only things standing between her and financial ruin?
Miru has always tried to do the best for Ria, and feels like she has failed. She feels inadequate and overwhelmed as a single parent; a job she was never quite cut out for. She knows she needs to confront Ria’s father Sanjay to take on a more active role, but is afraid of Ria turning on her once she finds out the truth about her birth.
Kajori, who values stability and order, agonizes over revealing that she is gay.

Secondary Conflict
The secondary conflict for Aadya is whether to have an affair with Srini or not. She is deeply attracted to him, but she also believes fidelity is crucial in a marriage.
For Ambika, the secondary conflict is in choosing whether to take a step back in her career or not. Her cancer diagnosis makes her realize just how much of family time she has been missing out on.
For Miru, a secondary conflict arises when she wakes up in bed with a fellow classmate, Punkuj. Is she ready for a longer-term relationship or not?
For Kajori, the secondary conflict is how to bridge the distance she has created with her family lately.

FINAL ASSIGNMENT: SETTING
Just as in the movie, ‘The Big Chill,’ the Tidalholm mansion in South Carolina is vital enough to be a character; in A Few Good Friends, the class reunion at the Dona Alva Beach Resort in Goa is both highly evocative and crucial to the story. The sun, sand and shifting waters of the Arabian Sea provide a backdrop against which the protagonists can feel, as Aadya muses, ‘light, porous almost,’ and for ‘the accumulated cares and aggravations that had seeped into…skin over the months and years…evaporate into the hot, afternoon air.’ The 20th anniversary class reunion setting, rich with laughter, memories and partying, is also the perfect foil for the inner turmoil of the main characters and the many unfinished dramas to play out.
A parallel setting- through flashbacks to college days- is the Indian Institute of Management campus, replete with lush foliage, gorgeous lakes, and many rainy days. For American audiences unfamiliar with the beauty and culture of Goa and Indian college life, there is much that will seem familiar, and yet also much that is new and exciting.


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PostPosted: 19 Mar 2018, 22:36 
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Back Cover: Catch the Wind, by Janet A. Martin

In 1966 Elline Ray Roberts Hall is elected "scribe" by her college sorority sisters. After commencement, she is supposed to keep up with everyone and record "all the good things to come" among her fellow graduates.

In 1966 national crises, save a few, had toned down: John Kennedy's brutal assassination in 1963 is deemed a non-conspiracy murder by the Warren Commission; the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has federally endorsed equality for blacks and women; and the Vietnam War is reportedly being won. Ostensibly, there would be good news to report.

Twenty years blitz by, and in 1986, her classmates believe that Elly Hall is living the Cinderella dream---with a handsome husband and an ideal marriage; in a suburban two-story house on a hill; with two children, a girl and a boy, and enjoying a glamorous career in television. Yet when a friend randomly phones and discovers Elline in a closet with a a notebook in her lap, and a shotgun by her side, she learns the brutal truth: Morbidly depressed, Elline, now called "Elly," threatens to kill herself. The phone friend summons another classmate to the scene who demands that Elly come with her on a journey to the past to find healing for her misery and to understand the impact of the fractious, mind-reeling events of the 1960s on her life and those of her college sisters. The journey reveals the incipient choices that account for Elly's devastating present, and as she relives the years, Elly finds answers to the nagging question, "Was it the times, or was it us?"


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PostPosted: 20 Mar 2018, 01:31 
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Story Statement:
Jasper needs the help of his former love Ingrid and her knowledge of Emerson to find the location of an alien artifact.

Antagonist:
Jasper is a recently divorced 40-something year-old archeologist who’s career has stalled. He works contract work for the Northeast Republic and a few Native America tribes but it is neither rewarding or profitable. He loves his dog Dakota, who he lives with a small town in the Adirondack Mountains. A lapse Catholic, he is searching for a new spiritual resolve that can bring meaning to his life, a passion to follow, and answer the overall meaning of humankind’s place in the universe.

Potential Titles:
Adirondack Awakening
Emerson’s Secret
The Lost Adirondack Artifact

Similar Books:
The Revelation Code by Andy McDermott
Blood of the Lamb by Sam Cabot

Primary Conflict:
A struggling archeologist of the Northeastern Republic of the of the U.S. seeks the location of a lost alien artifact, while being pursued by the theocratic Southern Republic of the U.S.

Inner Conflict and Secondary Conflict:
A lapse Catholic, Jasper is searching for a new spiritual resolve that can bring meaning to his life, a passion to follow, and answer the overall meaning of humankind’s place in the universe.

After suffering a brutal betrayal by his ex-wife, Jasper is hoping to find love again with a girlfriend from his past.

Setting:
In the post-Trump world of 2035, climate change has ravaged ecosystems, the world is on the brink of World War III, common decency and compassion are in rapid decline, and the U.S. has been broken up into 6 separate republics due to severe political and economic disparities. In the Northeastern Republic, the Adirondack Mountains of New York State are one the few remaining wildernesses in the former U.S.


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PostPosted: 20 Mar 2018, 04:09 
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The Act of Story Statement

Julia ventures into the backyard of her deceased childhood best friend seeking closure and instead finds the 7-year old boy's
treasure box containing a pendant owned by the Medici family.

The Antagonist Plots the Point

The antagonist keeps himself hidden in the shadows, and lets his dutiful soldiers do the dirty work. He never fully reveals himself until he has gotten what he wants and cornered his prey. He pulls the strings of those under his control using the promise of allowing them to settle their score or get out from underneath their obligations to keep them in the game and loyal. He’s been outmaneuvered before and lost the pendant during World War II only to have it resurface 34 years later and slip through his hands again. This time, it’s personal and more than just about finding the pendant, it’s about revenge for the damage he feels was unjustifiably done to him and his family and he will stop at nothing to be successful. He sends Stefano, his dutiful lieutenant out to steal the pendant and when that doesn’t work, he blackmails Phil, who is desperate for money with nowhere else to turn. However, Julia keeps slipping through his fingers and he must tighten his grip on his soldiers forcing them to take more chances. In the end, he must reveal himself in order to get what he wants coming face-to-face with his nemesis one last time.

Conjuring Your Breakout Title

The Medici Pendant and It's Web of Secrets
The Protectors of the Pendant
Redemption and the Red Pendant

Deciding Your Genre and Approaching Comparables

Fiction/Historical Fiction
Historical fiction elements and intrigue of a Steve Berry novel, with the quest for purpose of Eat, Pray, Love, and the yearning for lost innocence and a chance to revisit history of Field of Dreams

Primary Conflict

As she begins a quest to find the owner of the Medici pendant and learn how it ended up buried in Patrick's backyard, Julia will be pursued across Italy by a nemesis that has been searching for the pendant since World War II.

Other Matters of Conflict: Two More Levels

Patrick's older brother is an Army officer living with the guilt of having lost his brother while in his care.
Julia's grandfather and his friends fought in Italy during World War II and the pendant opens old wounds of war.
Francesca was a Jewish Italian little girl forced to flee her home and change her identity to avoid a concentration camp.

The Incredible Importance of Setting

The story begins in the melting pot neighborhood of Julia’s childhood home on Long Island and the backyard of her best friend Patrick. From there the it moves to the Military Academy at West Point and Central Park to a Metro Station in Washington DC before crossing the ocean to Italy. The reader will arrive in Rome and experience the creepy catacombs and the lively piazzas, and then move to the mysterious glass houses and dark alleys of old and new Venice, to the Pitti Palace and Dante’s home in Florence, on to the Bishop’s Residence in Assisi during World War II where he harbored refugees including Jews being moved to safety, to the Medici Villa Careggi and the Platonic Academy deep inside a grotto in the Tuscan countryside, and on to historic battlefields and memorials of World War II along the German defensive in Italy, the Gothic Line and the Futa Pass.

The Pitch

Losing a best friend can be difficult at any age, but especially for a child.

For Julia, a former Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter and college professor, it was the death of her best friend Patrick, when she was eight that still haunts her. Hoping to find closure, she returns to his backyard to see the scene of the accident. However, instead of solace, she finds the boy’s treasure box buried in the backyard and a mysterious pendant owned by the infamous Medici family inside.

As she begins a quest to find the owner of the pendant and learn how it ended up in Patrick’s possession, Julia will be pursued across Italy by a nemesis that wants it for himself.

From the glass houses and dark alleys of Venice, to Florence, Rome, and the Tuscan countryside Julia will learn about those who helped forge the pendant’s history from Minerva the Goddess of War and Wisdom to women like Caterina Medici, Queen of France.

Like a spider, the pendant is at the center of a web of intrigue and secrets that weaves together the lives of its’ former owners and cast a net that pulls her grandfather and Patrick’s older brother Jimmy in to danger.

The pendant is more than a valuable piece of jewelry - it is the key to a bigger secret that has been protected by Medici women for generations.

Will Julia be able to protect the Medici secret? Or will greed and revenge be too powerful an adversary?


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PostPosted: 21 Mar 2018, 02:02 
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Project: But Home is Nowhere by TA Lemmie

First Assignment: Story Statement

Nori must overcome the hatred of her country and her family, despite her parentage and her race, in order to save her own life.

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.

Yuko Kamiza is a traditional woman. She can trace her lineage back hundreds of years and she is the proud relative of the country’s reigning dynasty. Born with the title of “princess”, she despises the Americans for ending the war and facilitating the collapse of the monarchy’s power and the old ways. She despises her daughter for fleeing from her arranged marriage and having a child out of wedlock with an American nobody. But most of all, she despises her granddaughter, Nori, for being a living embodiment of shame. She will stop at nothing to preserve her family’s good name and grip on power. She believes that she has been chosen by God, called to a great destiny, and she will not fail. Any act of evil pales in comparison to this: the greater good.

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

But Home is Nowhere
(sorry, but this I am wedded to! I can really think of nothing else and I made a promise to a dead guy)

FOURTH ASSIGNMENT:

- Read Caitlin's Comparables on Author Salon: http://www.authorsalon.com/craft/view/62/
- Develop two smart comparables for your novel. This is a good opportunity to immerse yourself in your chosen genre. Who compares to you? And why?

The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. Upmarket fiction with a strong cultural bent and beautiful, memorable prose.
The Color Purple for themes of love, loss, cultural oppression and ultimate redemption.

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.

But Home is Nowhere by TA Lemmie: Nori must survive the hatred of her family, the hostility of a war torn country and her own crippling self-doubt in order to carve out her own destiny.

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.

Nori is anxious by nature, as the mental illness of her mother is often alluded to. Her early abandonment and isolation permanently stunt her and she spends her entire life struggling with insecurity and self loathing. She is told she has no right to exist---the crux of the novel is her trying to prove that she does, while still deep down believing that she does not.

Her interactions with her half brother bring all of this to a head. Their relationship is the stage on which the most crucial parts of Nori’s journey will play out.

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?

In post World War II American-occupied Japan, a young girl named Nori struggles to survive. The illegitimate daughter of a disgraced Japanese aristocrat and a black American soldier, she finds herself abandoned by her mother and left in the care of grandparents who despise her. Though she is confined to an attic and kept secreted away from the world, she remains fiercely determined to win the hearts of those around her. When her older half brother is sent to live with her, Nori is given her first chance to be acknowledged for herself. Fearing the growing bond between the heir to the family name and the secret in the attic, Nori’s grandmother acts to rid the family of its shame once and for all, tossing Nori into a battle for her freedom...and her life.


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

Setting, Part I: Kyoto, Japan

A traditional oasis so far untouched by the modern movement sweeping Japan after their defeat in the war. Nori is kept tucked away in her grandmother’s estate, known only as the house on the hill.

The attic is the first setting. Because this is so limiting, Nori often resides in her own imagination.

Akira’s arrival introduces her to the rest of the house.

Her exile takes her to an unknown place--again, the location at large does not affect her directly, only the attitudes of those around her. She is once again, kept in one singular location, this time the brothel.

Setting Part II: Rome, Italy

This represents freedom for both Akira and Nori. It focuses around the European idea of music, culture and opportunity.

This is the first time we see Nori interacting with her location at large--and it provides her with new challenges, as by this point, she is fifteen years old.

Setting Parts III and IV: Wandering period and then back to Kyoto, Japan

Brittany, France...where Nori resurfaces after the “event” that changes her life forever. This is the first location she has ever freely chosen for herself.

When she returns to Kyoto, it is a new city: freed from her grandmother’s shadow. Though it is full of ghosts and expectations, this time Nori is free to claim it as her own.


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PostPosted: 21 Mar 2018, 19:37 
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Story statement
Imprisoned for importing pot edibles into Saudi Arabia, US expat and humiliated executive Jeannie Kagan teams with her fellow female prisoners to overthrow the monarchy.

The antagonist
Kevin Jones worked as hard as anyone else to earn his position as diplomatic paper pusher in the US Jeddah Consulate. Which is not that hard if you’re lucky enough to have educated parents who raise you in an adequately enriched (piano lessons; T-Ball) environment where your average intelligence develops normally. White anglo in appearance, with a physique softened by expat bloat, Kevin resolves his vague discomfort over his luck and privilege by being gentle and helping people calm down—let’s not tip this rocking boat over! He seems so innocuous it’s easy to miss how he architects all situations as occasions to demonstrate his good nature and how much he cares. And Kevin does care. For himself. If he feels he’s lost control, or that possible change may not benefit him, he digs in and kicks back, trusting that in the absence of action, nothing will happen. Because Jeannie’s never present in the conversations where, had he spoken up, she might have benefited, she learns the hard way that he has no interest in seeing her gain freedom, much less succeed in her operation. After all, she knew the rules; she broke the law and needs to pay.

Breakout titles
1. Baked
2. What Rough Beast
3. Motion Dazzle

Two comparables
Baked is The Handmaid’s Tale meets Red Sparrow informed by Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (for narrative voice) and Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and Edward Luttwak’s Coup D’état: A Practical Handbook (for plot help).

The Handmaid’s Tale was my initial inspiration because Saudi Arabia reminded me of Atwood’s dystopia in that both couple dogmatic evangelical belief with extreme patriarchy.

Red Sparrow because I too am writing a contemporary espionage thriller driven by my real-life experiences.

Conflict line
Baked by Molly Tamarkin
Imprisoned in Saudi Arabia for importing marijuana edibles, US expat Jeannie Kagan must bridge cultures to overthrow the monarchy while realizing her US covert support isn’t as invested in her success as she’d thought.

Inner conflict
In the past, whenever the going got tough, Jeannie got going, strewing jobs, homes, and husbands like bread crumbs to a natural disaster. Now she’s in prison and can’t escape her issues building relationships. To succeed here, she needs faith, not a flight plan.

Secondary conflict
Jeannie has used her HR skills to create the best possible squads to execute their coup. Yet she can’t control everything and her lack of support from her US diplomatic contact is slowing things down, creating factions within the team who are gathering their own supporters to move against plan.

Setting
The entire novel is set in Saudi Arabia; a land where cultural norms differ wildly from the West. The contrast with the West is evident in setting, in the clothes worn, in the calls to prayer and work stoppage during these times, in the inshallah attitude, in the separate female entrances, sections, and queues, etc. Many scenes are in a Saudi prison, an environment which promotes interaction over occupation, in the sense that no one here is working, not even the guards, and quality of life relies on one’s ability to connect with the community rather than to succeed on your own, Western-inspired terms. The only scenes not in Saudi Arabia are the implied locale of the narrator as well as the final scene in the Qatar Airlines business lounge in Doha.


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PostPosted: 21 Mar 2018, 23:16 
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STORY STATMENT:
Bancroft must defeat the giants, preserve the Emerald Realm, and win the goddess of his heart.

THE ANTAGONIST:
Only Gogmagog’s hubris exceeds his massive size. Lost in the depths of dreamless slumber, the giant has forgotten his sacred role as guardian of the Emerald Realm. He instead awakens determined to destroy it. Armed with strength, cunning, magic, and a host of angry giants, the vindictive beast vies for ultimate control.

TITLES:
Bancroft the Magician
The Argante
The Emerald Realm

GENRE AND COMPS:
Genre: Fantasy
Comps: The historical mythology of "The Golem and the Jinni," with the whimsy and magic of "Stardust."

PRIMARY CONFLICT:
A bard vows to reclaim his grandfather’s lost throne; yet when he finds himself in a realm of giants, magic, and a radiant goddess, he must choose between returning to his ancestral kingdom or defending his new home.

OTHER MATTERS OF CONFLICT:
Disfigured and alone, Gobann (the god of the forge) is in love with Arion (the goddess of the moon); yet he feels too hideous to reveal his affections.

Lyr (the god of the sea) unintentionally killed his own grandson in a misguided effort to protect his realm. Tormented by his guilt, he longs to be reunited with his estranged daughter Naveen, the mother of the grandchild who perished by his hand.

Once in harmony with the Emerald Realm, Rastaban (the god of Winter) now besieges it with severe conditions and bitter cold.

SETTING:
Britain’s ancient landscape is revivified with the fair folk of legend, who live in harmony with nature, the gods, and one another. Actual locations (sometimes renamed) are highlighted throughout the story. Dense forests, craggy shores, rugged mountains, tranquil valleys, and the crested sea comprise the setting, along with fantastical locations––such as Demercia (the sea god’s palace), Phantasmagor (the subterranean realm of the giants), Annwyn (the Celtic otherworld), Crantarra (Gobann’s volcanic home) and a brief visit to Arion’s throne on the moon. Artifacts and weapons of lore, along with monoliths, the Wild Hunt, (pre-Arthurian) Avalon, and the giants are indigenous to this realm, interweaving mythologies from the Celtic, Teutonic, Judeo/Christian, and Greco-Roman traditions.

PITCH:
Exiled from his home, Bancroft (a wayward bard) aspires to reclaim his ancestral throne. He seeks vengeance upon his cruel uncle, Ratch, who killed his parents and unjustly seized the crown of Gallomar. When kidnapped by giants, the wily bard (with a penchant for magic) is immersed in a world he’s only dreamed of in tales––a world of fairies, dwarves, elves, and gods, embroiled in battle with giants. Morganna (the Great Queen) has answered the call of the sword, Gobann (the god of the forge) works tirelessly to arm the once peaceful realm, Rastaban (the god of Winter) is in discord, and Arion (the goddess of the moon) seeks reinforcements from Trojan refugees, who are fleeing their own burning city. Bancroft’s heart is soon captured by Cressid, the resplendent goddess of Spring, and his focus shifts from Gallomar to the Emerald Realm. Allying himself with the gods, Bancroft vows to defend their kingdom from Gogmagog and his hoard of pillaging giants. Swept up in his new quest, Bancroft is unaware of his grandfather’s clandestine history––a history that may keep Cressid just out of reach.


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