New York Pitch Reviews, Algonkian Writer Conferences, Poetry

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PostPosted: 12 Jun 2018, 00:14 
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Joined: 11 Jun 2018, 23:57
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FIRST ASSIGNMENT: write your story statement.
Tennessee Claflin uses her commitment to her family, equal rights and the suffrage cause to hide her questionable past and present medical condition from outsiders. But her loyalty is tested at every turn, particularly after being libeled as a prostitute. When an inconvenient lover invites her to run away, will she stay the course? Or will she give it all up?

SECOND ASSIGNMENT: in 200 words or less, sketch the antagonist or antagonistic force in your story.
Tennessee's parents and sisters are both the antagonists and antagonistic forces in my story. Her father Buck is a man who has done many things, from stealing horses to posing as a physician, to practicing law. He has speculated on real estate and torched the family's property to collect the insurance money. But while he is a one eyed snake oil selling charlatan, he is also the father of 5 daughters, and supports their right to individual freedom. To wit,each one divorces at least once and goes on to remarry, at a time when this was virtually unheard of. Tennessee's illiterate mother, Roxana, is equally complex, but where Buck is cunning, Roxana is fiercely religious. When he is most reasoned, she breaks into prodigious song. It is this mixed bag with which Tennessee must contend, as both the youngest child and the family bread winner. When her sister Victoria, whose charismatic charm is larger than life, invites Tennessee to join her on an appointment with Destiny, Tennessee clings to her, confident that Victoria neither judges her nor will betray her secrets. However, both her parents and even Victoria, to a degree, continue to use Tennessee, indifferent to destroying her chance at happiness.

THIRD ASSIGNMENT: create a breakout title (list several options, not more than three, and revisit to edit as needed).
Spirited Away
The Naked Truth, being the secret account of a failed Revolution
Scarecrows of Sexual Freedom

FOURTH ASSIGNMENT:
- Develop two smart comps for your novel.
Ariel Lawhon's I was Anastasia - I love the uncertainty and not knowing whether Anna/Anastasia is an unreliable narrator or no! Indeed, as we should not know exactly what Tennessee did or did not do-I love the contrasting use of tenses, time periods and fact with fiction. It's heartbreaking, lush and cynical all at once. This is the experience I strive to give the reader in my story. Also, the quotations in my book are to serve as a decoupage of view points- some grossly unsympathetic and/or untrue (read 'fake news') - some fictitious, some authentic.

Valerie Martin's The Ghost of the Mary Celeste meets Caitlin's Macy's Mrs. These two books complement what I've tried to do in my novel- the first through the use of the historical news clippings, the presence of historical figures and the spiritualist together with the female journalist. But my book is not as literary in its tone as Ms. Martin's, it is perhaps more concerned with the mean spiritedness of society and women who are considered of the establishment (hence, my mentioning Mrs.).


FIFTH ASSIGNMENT: write your own conflict line following the format above. Keep in mind it helps energize an entire plot line and the antagonist(s) must be noted or inferred.
After having spent the Civil War behind the front line, humbugging soldiers, Tennessee is now at her sister Victoria's side as Victoria ascends to prominence in the suffragist movement. When a family scandal erupts in the courtroom, Tennessee's confession to humbugging others is only part of the long list of sordid secrets which the sisters have attempted to conceal. All of which makes for great news in the New York Herald. The paper run by Tennessee's secret admirer, James Gordon Bennett, Jr., Bounder, rogue and psychologically unbalanced playboy.

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.
Tennessee has supported the family since the age of 8- when we meet her she's been in the business for more than a decade, and is burnt-out from performing clairvoyant healing 13 hours a day, seven days a week. After we see her do a 'show' in the opening sequence, the story goes back to the war and we learn that she also happens to be a fugitive following the death of a client. But while most of her performances are humbug, she is not a phony. Seeing the tents at a religious revival years later triggers her inner conflict, reminding her of the war and of the thousands of men who paid her, to whom she said nothing, despite knowing they would die. It affects her so, she attempts to take her own life.

Next, likewise sketch a hypothetical scenario for the "secondary conflict" involving the social environment. Will this involve family? Friends? Associates? What is the nature of it?
When Tennessee fears she's been infected with syphilis, her life as a woman is, for all intents and purposes, over. The need for secrecy on the part of the family in this respect is paramount. (At the time, ten percent of married women suffered from a venereal disease courtesy of their husbands, many of them unknowingly). Tennessee refuses to allow her condition to define her and she manages to conduct a physical relationship with elderly Cornelius Vanderbilt, but when someone attractive makes a pass at her, her predicament paralyzes her. Breaking up with Vanderbilt compounded by the other attraction and her father's exploitation of her during the war is enough to drive her to throw in the towel (as above). But then she meets her match in James Gordon Bennett, Jr., the owner of the New York Herald, who recognizes a good story when he sees one and thus, her own story is re-energized.

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?
The adventures of Tennessee Claflin and her sister, Victoria Woodhull almost perfectly encapsulate the American historical period in which their lives took place. A family made up of of authentic originals who improvise their livelihood from the middle of the country during the Civil War until they end up in New York is the quintessential road trip. In New York, from a seance to Tennessee's sexual healing, they rub shoulders with the upper echelon of the elite until their arrests and their subsequent exile in 1877. Consequently, the reader experiences New York City on the dawn of the Gilded Age, when pigs in the street were only just being phased out, elevators and indoor plumbing were being phased in and everything north of Central Park was upstate Manhattan. Their progressive political agenda, familiarity with the city brothels and New York intelligentsia brought them face to face with almost every kind of citizen, which allows the reader to glimpse a genuine New York experience. Heartache, glamour, blackmail, and politics make for a heady brew.


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PostPosted: 12 Jun 2018, 06:59 
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Joined: 12 Jun 2018, 01:03
Posts: 3
HI,
I am very much looking forward to this conference. Please find below the pre-conference assignments.

FIRST ASSIGNMENT: write your story statement.

A federal judge fights to get her frozen embryos back from an extortionist.

SECOND ASSIGNMENT:sketch the antagonist or antagonistic force in your story.

The slick and chic Idrisa sees how a buck gets made in America, and it sure as hell isn’t by working one hundred pennies for each dollar banked. She contorts the rules just enough— and somethings clean-breaks them—to fund her dogged pursuit of all things hedonist. When this six-foot tall Glamazon with a brain is hired by a Wall Street billionaire, who lost a fortune and even more pride on an aggressive airline stock holding, she devises a scheme following a simple act of mailbox larceny to help manipulate the stock market. Over a steamy July 4th holiday in sweltering Atlanta, she steals five frozen embryos and gets a stiletto-heeled leg up on a goody-two shoes federal judge. Switching between the protagonist judge and Idrisa’s point of view, the two woman’s fates intertwine over ten action-packed days as Idrisa asks the judge to issue decisions on Idrisa’s timeframe. A humorous Bronx thug rounds out the cast of antagonists, whose violent tendencies eventually push Idrisa to realize that she may have a conscience after all.

THIRD ASSIGNMENT: three titles options.
Her Honor
Prescient
Pregnant Pause

FOURTH ASSIGNMENT: Find a comparable in genre of women’s commercial fiction.

Diane Capri’s The Hunt for Justice Series (because features a strong, female federal judge at the main character in a series) meets the layered characters and gripping moral dilemma found in a Jodi Picoult novel, such as Plain Truth or a Spark of Light.

FIFTH ASSIGNMENT: Primary conflict.

Caroline Combs, a conservative federal judge and preacher’s daughter, must decide how low she is willing to go— including ruining her career and relationship with her family—to get her and the deceased love of her life’s frozen embryos back from an extortionist.

SIXTH ASSIGNMENT: sketch out the conditions for the inner conflict your protagonist will have.

Caroline Combs’s will experience inner conflict stemming from: (1) turmoil about whether she, raised a good Baptist, should have even done infertility in the first place (which she never told her family about) following her husband's diagnosis of pancreatic cancer; (2) guilt about her decision to delay implantation for seven years following her husband’s death due to her need to grieve and desire to excel following her confirmation as judge; (3) hormonal irregularity due the drugs taken in anticipation of the embryo implantation scheduled for one month's time; (4) guilt she experiences about not wanting to sacrifice her illustrious career (the only thing she has going right in her lonely life) and what that implies about the type of mother she must be; and (5) her painful decisions along the way as she decides whether to perform the Three Asks and sacrificed her legal ethics and violate the law she is sworn to uphold.

Caroline’s old law school friend, Jack Signer—who now works as an SEC attorney in Manhattan, is actively investigating the Wall Street Billionaire behind the extortion, and who has harbored a smoldering twenty-year crush on Caroline—shows up in Atlanta due to irregular stock trading patterns following two of her recent decisions. Although he suspects there must be a mole on her staff, she knows his theory of the crime is at least partially flawed, but cannot help him without revealing her transgressions.

FINAL ASSIGNMENT: sketch out your setting in detail.

The story takes places in two major locations: Atlanta is the primary, and New York is the secondary.

Atlanta: A city of contradictions: burned to the ground during the Civil War that erected a state capitol as a replica the U.S. Congress, except their dome is gilded with brash yellow gold delivered from the North Georgia hills. The Judge’s chambers is situated high inside a soulless federal building decorated in a hodgepodge of linoleum and fake wood, nestled in the economically repressed south west corner notwithstanding the booming towers and shrines to American consumerism that surround it. Time is also spent in her quant Decatur Craftsman’s bungalow in a lush, garden neighborhood in east Atlanta, a new age Yoga Shala, a funky Ponce de Leon restaurant, a posh and sterile Four Seasons suite, and a discrete-on-the-outside but gynocentric on the inside fertility clinic. Occasionally, the story travels two hours south and two decades back in time to Macon, Georgia, where Caroline grew up in a two story vinyl-sided “farm” and attended church at the Macon First Baptist where her Daddy is preacher.

New York: From a rented mid-century modern Financial District apartment to the streets of Tribeca; from a fancy Chinese restaurant where discrete meals are taken in private rooms to basement vaults of obscure banks in Chinatown, New York features prominently in this novel. Time is also spent in the Hamptons— at a billionaire’s estate, on a park bench, and a crab shack with plastic chairs and deep-fried everything.

I look forward to working with everyone!
Best,
Lexy Tomaino


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PostPosted: 12 Jun 2018, 07:42 
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Joined: 10 Jun 2018, 20:07
Posts: 1
First Assignment

Frankie's life young life has been tumultuous since she was sent to live with her Aunt and Uncle by her parents. The alcoholic, violent tendencies of her birth parents would give way to the passive-aggressive, judgemental and heavy-handed parenting of her Aunt Mary. Her world turns upside down when, at 14-years-old, she becomes pregnant in a strict Baptist household. Trapped in a life of poverty and struggle, her primary goal was to raise her children to adulthood. Years later, her youngest son reflects upon her life and seeks answers as he struggles to overcome obstacles unique to his station as a black male in a country that is specifically and vehemently opposed to his very existence.

Second Assignment:

The antagonistic forces of this story are institutional racism, poverty, and ignorance.

Third Assignment:

Realizations of a Crumbsnatcher
Remorse
Habit's Creatures

Fourth Assignment:

My genre is nonfiction narrative and I feel it combines elements of Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between The World and Me with elements from Sapphire's Push as well as being inspired by the writings of James Baldwin and Toni Morrison

Fifth Assignment: In a world that shames and castigates her, a young black girl must grow into a woman and raise children who face the possibility of being cannon fodder for white supremacy.

Sixth Assignment: Frankie was taught in church that the meek shall inherit the Earth and that the strong shall protect the weak, yet her reality says the opposite. She watches as the strong devour the weak, abuse the young and enable the wicked.


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