New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

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

#1 Post by WritersBlock » 28 Aug 2018, 20:26

Algonkian Writer Conferences - Pre-Event Writer Assignments

For the New York Pitch Conference Only

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

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

Quiet novels do not sell. Keep that in mind.

Michael Neff
NYC Pitch Conference Director
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Instructions for Posting Responses

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

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


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THE ACT OF STORY STATEMENT

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

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

FIRST ASSIGNMENT: write your story statement.

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THE ANTAGONIST PLOTS THE POINT

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

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

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

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

SECOND ASSIGNMENT: in 200 words or less, sketch the antagonist or antagonistic force in your story. Keep in mind their goals, their background, and the ways they react to the world about them.

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CONJURING YOUR BREAKOUT TITLE

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

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

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

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

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DECIDING YOUR GENRE AND APPROACHING COMPARABLES

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

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

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

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

FOURTH ASSIGNMENT:

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


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CONSIDERING THE PRIMARY CONFLICT - COMING OF THE "AGON"

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

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

And now, onto the PRIMARY CONFLICT.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FIFTH ASSIGNMENT: write your own conflict line following the format above. Keep in mind it helps energize an entire plot line and the antagonist(s) must be noted or inferred.

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OTHER MATTERS OF CONFLICT: TWO MORE LEVELS

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

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

Next, likewise sketch a hypothetical scenario for the "secondary conflict" involving the social environment. Will this involve family? Friends? Associates? What is the nature of it?


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THE INCREDIBLE IMPORTANCE OF SETTING

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

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

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

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

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

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

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radioactivespacemud
Posts: 1
Joined: 30 Aug 2018, 03:24

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#2 Post by radioactivespacemud » 30 Aug 2018, 03:34

Seven Assignments

1.Story Statement

Defy evil gods to save the universe from doom.

2.Antagonistic Forces

The Triple God of Evil is made up of Adviser Tyranny, Queen Rape, and King Murder. Rape is a functionally brain-dead monster made of a chimerical “plague forest” the size of an entire planet, and is a creature of raw savagery. Her husband is the foolish and cruel Murder, who is a gigantic ape constituted from an accumulation of cancer-riddled brains, wherein is housed the memories of a barbaric, child-eating king. Their offspring are lesser, background antagonists. Tyranny is the primary antagonist manipulating them all for its own ends. It is a sentient bacterial germ from another dimension called the “not-Universe,” and is cold and calculating. It lacks a personality, and it’s motive is to simply propagate its own germs across the Universe. It can convert matter into replicas of itself, but requires thralls to expedite the process. Along with them is their servant and slave, Hate. He is the most human-like, and is resentful of his lowly status.

3.Breakout Title

Cosmopsymachia: The Battle Concerning the Universe’s Psyche
The Hero’s Wall, or a Possible History in Four Short Books
The Weird Opera

4.Comparables

Star Wars as envisioned by Guillermo del Toro. The pulpy horror of H.P. Lovecraft meets the psychedelic fantasy of Michael Moorcock.

5.Primary Conflict

After learning of his role in causing several planet-scale holocausts, a tiny god starts a rebellion to overthrow his cruel masters, unleashing unrest and uncertainty across the universe.

6.Complications

The protagonist feels immense guilt over his actions, and feels uncertain in his new role as commander of his rebellion. To mortals, he appears mighty and seemingly aloof, above the pettiness of mortal life, but in his quieter, inner-most thoughts he is wracked with painful memories, which cause him to doubt not only his own ability to lead, but also his worth in even trying to redeem himself. What more, his allies are not entirely trustworthy, as all gods have their own agendas. For instance, the god of the hunt is prideful, and often boasts that he should be made leader of the rebellion, while the god of dreams is emotionally distant, and totally uncaring of the suffering his actions may sometimes cause.

7.Setting(s)

The book is divided into four main settings. The first setting is the world of Roghan’Nyan, a planet with a single mega-continent, upon which several terrains and environs exist, with many peoples populating its diverse biomes. A great canyon, or “scar,” bisecting the lush band of jungle along the equator is a place of macabre hauntings, and holds a dark secret regarding the protagonist. The second setting is the Godly World, most noticeably the Fabled City of Ky’Long-Shilai, home of the Low Gods. It is a metropolitan nation-state of rivaling sibling-gods and their mortal wards situated at the base of the Great Plateau, wherein is housed the court of the Triple God. There is no sun in this land, but the air is “vulcanized,” making everything glow with an unearthly haze. Beyond the Plateau and the city is a wasteland of black rock, and home to the god of dreams. The third setting is the roving military base and civilian colony of the rebellion, which is actually the god Aaau, who is also called the Mountain, a being fashioned from godly bones and earthen “flesh” made from conquered planets. As the rebellion makes its way across the universe forcefully recruiting mortal planets into its ranks, new religions and social customs arise as they interact with the flesh and blood gods that people the Mountain. The final setting is the final battlefield, which is the shattered remains of the Great Plateau and Fabled City. The warring of the gods turns the land into a hellscape of earthquakes, crumbling palaces, hallucinogenic mist, and fire.

williamzink
Posts: 1
Joined: 03 Sep 2018, 15:01

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#3 Post by williamzink » 03 Sep 2018, 15:06

STORY STATEMENT

Win cycling race and secure true love before own impending death.



ANTAGONISTIC FORCE

Elle is the wife of a middle-aged university professor on a lecture tour in Belgium. Approaching 50, acting and looking well below her age, she has become over the past 2 years a free-spirited groupie. While her husband, Rick, remains in Leuven, she travels to Ireland, following an Irish rock band around the island on their whirlwind tour. She returns, unrepentant, and soon meets James, the protagonist, who is roughly half her age. James has recently met Amelia, a young artist’s model, and the two have quickly fallen in love. Initially resisting, James becomes mesmerized by Elle’s bold vivacity and fearless approach to life. She asks to meet with him in Brugge on the pretense of discussing her marital problems. They spend the night together, confusing James, putting his newfound love with Amelia in jeopardy. Their affair continues concurrently with his affair with Amelia, and brings out long-held feelings of resentment toward his parents. Her self-serving and blunt sensuality acts as a catalyst for James to finally confront these demons, allowing him some closure before the cycling race and his death.



TITLE

Damsels & Dragonflies

Lovers That We Are



COMPARABLES

From Afar by Frank Scozzari

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje



CONFLICT LINE

A terminally ill young millionaire, torn between two women, must decide which one is his true love before dying.



SECONDARY CONFLICT

Early on, James and Harry, a fellow American, agree to a cycling race to be held at the end of summer. The race was instigated by Harry’s then-girlfriend, Marta, who James briefly has a crush on. Each vie to win Marta’s affection, but the race takes on a life of its own when Harry and Marta breakup. Throughout the story James and Harry train for the race, taking the action to various rural locations around Leuven. The race gains much greater importance when James’ request for $100,00 from his father to aid Amelia’s ailing mother is turned down. James suggests a $100,000 bet on the outcome of the race with Harry, money which he does not have, adding considerable pressure that he win. Later, Philippe, James’ Belgian friend and personal trainer for the upcoming race, confesses that he has loved James for some time. This divulgence throws James into a crisis, forcing him to question all that’s happened in the past several months.



INNER CONFLICT

James was born with a congenital heart condition requiring multiple surgeries throughout his young life. Two years before the story opens he had a heart transplant. His parents were aloof—his father always working and his mother often unavailable and drunk. James was looked after by nurses after each surgery, not his parents, and he grew up emotionally malnourished. He never knew how to love because he was not given any. He struggles throughout the story with his inability to interact with others on an intimate level. James also questions his decision to forego another heart surgery, which could prolong his life. He initially keeps the secret of his condition from Amelia—his aversion to being incapacitated and cared for is so great—but eventually does tell her, after much urging by Philippe.



SETTING

Leuven, Belgium is a bustling, medium-sized city east of Brussels and home to the country’s biggest university. Less touristy than better-known Brugge, its city center contains two main and very large café areas—the Grote Markt, with its stately and dominating St. Peter’s Church and Town Hall, a rococo structure containing so many delicately carved spikes it elicits a wince just looking at it—and the Oud Markt, an immense plaza labeled “The biggest bar in Europe,” around which outdoor cafés offer endless opportunities to see and be seen. Winding through the canopy of mature trees are Leuven’s canals, dark, mysterious, over which medieval houses still bend to see what may be swimming down below. Cyclists flow in and out with each day’s beginning and end, and pedestrians have free rein among tight lanes studded with coffee shops, boutiques, restaurants, and bars. The countryside surrounding Leuven is no less stunning, with rolling hills and small hamlets, perfect for a secluded picnic, hike, or cycling ride. Our fellowship of expats and locals, young, eager, each on the cusp of some significant life change, move about these locales reminiscent of the 20’s Lost Generation, adding their own pages to its considerable history.

pjuliak10036
Posts: 1
Joined: 04 Sep 2018, 01:50

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#4 Post by pjuliak10036 » 04 Sep 2018, 02:09

Story Statement:
Scipio must prove himself in battle against Hannibal’s army and return safely to Rome.

Antagonist:
Scipio’s estranged father, Cornelius, blames Scipio for the death of his younger son, Lucius. Cornelius jealously guards his reputation as an accomplished statesman and soldier. As his only living son, Scipio should be part of that legacy, but Cornelius sees him as selfish, childish, and lacking ambition. Cornelius’ primary flaw is pride. He refuses to recognize the effects his absenteeism had on Scipio and the role it played in Lucius’ death. He believes Scipio will embarrass him by acting cowardly or selfishly on the battlefield against Hannibal and wants him to return home before the real fighting begins. More broadly, Cornelius reflects Scipio’s worst beliefs and doubts about himself and the limits of his potential as a person, as a leader, and as a potential husband and father.

Title:
Shadow of the Furies

Comparable
I Am Livia by Phyllis T. Smith
A Pillar of Iron: A Novel of Ancient Rome by Taylor Caldwell

Primary Conflict:
A young Roman nobleman struggles to survive and become a leader in the army during the opening battles of a cataclysmic war with Carthage.

Secondary Conflict:
In order to change, Scipio must overcome his selfish instincts and self-doubt about his ability to care for anyone. His father, who leads the army in which Scipio is a junior leader, believes Scipio is inherently childish and irresponsible. The small unit he commands becomes his new “family” of brothers-in-arms and will judge Scipio, without prejudice, on what he does as a junior leader. His bonds with his fellow soldiers clashes with his selfishness when they are in danger, and his need to lead them forces him to confront his self-doubt.

Setting:
Before it was an Empire, Rome had to survive its darkest hour. In third century BCE, the brilliant and ruthless general Hannibal Barca leads an enormous Carthaginian army on an epic march through modern-day Spain and France to cross the Alps and take Italy by storm. As its army battles against the most audacious and lethal opponent it has ever faced, the Roman Republic struggles internally to deal with the rise of an authoritarian populist bent on restoring one-man rule.

suzistrong
Posts: 2
Joined: 29 Aug 2018, 14:23

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#5 Post by suzistrong » 04 Sep 2018, 03:58

Hi there, here are my responses about my novel that is about two Kurdish women who take up arms against ISIS to defeat them and avenge their brother and husband.

FIRST ASSIGNMENT: write your story statement. My Story Statement:

Defeat ISIS, avenge the deaths of their brother and husband, defend their land and fight for the freedom of Kurdish women in Syria.

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.

The antagonist in my novel is Daesh (ISIS). It is not one single person but a group, a regime coming into their country and murdering and killing their people. Their goal is to take over this territory of Kobani and to control all of this area down to the Euphrates. They wish to control the Kurds and impose their form of Islam onto them. Their background is some of them are from poor backgrounds, or disillusioned – some of them are simply quite violent people. They are afraid of women soldiers as ISIS declared that if you get killed by a woman you will not go to heaven.

The way Daesh reacts to the world around them is to come in and destroy it, torturing, raping, maiming, and killing the people. Daesh sees even the Kurdish Muslims as infidels and will kill everyone who does not conform to their form of Islam. Daesh as a force is both terrifying but also not so scary for the women who see that Daesh men are afraid of losing their paradise and flee from them. Even still Daesh is a force that kills their brother, husband, their best friends and many of their comrades. One of the main characters will in fact lose their life personally sacrificing herself for her best friend.

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

Where the Sun Rises
– the meaning of the second protagonist’s character name, Roza – it is a metaphor for the place of Kobani, where for the central characters is where the sun rises, where hope is found. It also represents Roza and how important she is as Karin’s compass in life. We only find out the meaning of Roza’s name at the end of the book when she sacrifices herself for Karin.

Weapons of Freedom
Fight and Fury

Fourth Assignment: Develop two smart comparables for your novel. This is a good opportunity to immerse yourself in your chosen genre. Who compares to you? And why?

War/ Literary/ War Novels/ Serious Women’s Fiction - I still have to finish this more. I found these titles, and there is nothing that fictionalises the war in Syria that I can find, but these novels deal with female soldiers in middle eastern wars.

Sand Queen Helen Benedict A female soldier Kate ? – 19 year old – fights in Iraqi desert.
Shoot Like a Girl by Mary Jennings Hagar – Afghan war being a soldier as a female from the US.
The Lonely Soldier Helen Benedict – about women fighting in Iraq – five stories of women who fought in Iraq in 2003-2006
The Kurdish Bike: A Novel by Alesa Lightbourne An American teacher in Kurdish Iraq finds her moral compass challenged by village customs. Based on true events.
A Road Unforeseen : Women Fight the Islamic State by Meredith Tax

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.
Conflict statement:

Two Kurdish women are forced to choose between family, including a son, and fighting ISIS to avenge a brother and husband and free their hometown, Kobani.

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.

Inner conflict: Roza has conflict about leaving her son, abandoning him and avenging her husband. She worries she did the wrong thing. Karin worries about Roza and her parents and went against their wishes to join the battle. Roza is in turmoil and anxious about being in battle. Scenario: leaving Yezdanser and his heart break when she leaves him to join the battle. Fight with her mother about this. Visions of her husband haunt her as she decides to join the battle. Karin’s parents also have to say goodbye to Karin.

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?

Secondary conflict:
The plot of saving Ashti from capture from Daesh. This happens throughout the novel. It involves Sozan’s sister’s safety.
There is also conflict between Roza and Karin about their past and tension between them as well following the death of Sozan. Also, raising the son of Roza later in the novel is a secondary conflict, the challenges of this and moving on with her life for Karin with her fiancee Farhan, whilst coping with the knowledge that Roza gave her life for Karin.

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.

My setting is Kobani and nearby towns in Syria. It starts as a normal regional town in Syria. It was previously fairly modern, but ISIS comes in and bombs, destroys and drives the people out of the town.

It becomes a war torn place, with elements of normal life appearing amidst the devastation, ducks, cats, dogs, flowers, kids toys, bookshelves and normal life seeps through the setting of chaos and death. Kobani has mountains surrounding it with beautiful sandstone colouring and olive trees and pistachio trees and the ancient history and significance of this land for the Kurds. The place is an extremely important element of the narrative as their connection to their land is paramount to the struggle.
The uniqueness of this setting could provide a beautiful cinematic experience, the Kurds with their culture amidst this war, dancing, singing and their spirit and humour would shine through the bleak setting of this warscape.

Following the war Kobani begins to live again and rebuild domestic life with shops, markets, butchers and hairdressers returning to the landscape. Kobani’s beauty returns in the form of hope. Where the Sun Rises represents the Kurdish hope and dream for a place of their own and it represented a battle where the Kurds united from all regions and defeated Daesh. It was a symbol of hope for the Kurdish people, but also for the Kurdish women as it represented a battle largely fought by women and won and represented a triumph of their culture over the misogynistic regime of Daesh.

kellyscarborough
Posts: 1
Joined: 04 Sep 2018, 03:23

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#6 Post by kellyscarborough » 04 Sep 2018, 06:32

Act of Story Statement

In 1816, a coddled Swedish countess must outmaneuver the Crown Prince—a man who betrayed and defeated Napoleon—when he vows to end her relationship with his son, the future King of Sweden.

The Antagonist

Crown Prince Charles John is an eagle by disposition, six feet four inches of courage, a man who lets nothing stand in his way. On his rise to the top, he overcame humble common roots to become one of Napoleon’s top generals, persuaded the Swedish Parliament to nominate him as their country’s next king, and turned on Napoleon, defeating the French army in the battle that made Waterloo possible. His new Swedish dynasty is fragile, and he needs to marry his only son, Oscar, to a princess from one of the royal houses of Europe to gain legitimacy. He is not about to let nineteen-year-old Jacquette, countess or not, ruin his plans. When Oscar refuses to cooperate with the plan for him to marry a Prussian princess, Charles John vows to destroy Jacquette in his own deliberate way. He gives Oscar five years of sexual freedom to play what the Swedish courtiers call The Butterfly Game, certain that Jacquette will end the relationship and refuse to risk her social standing. Instead, she chooses Oscar and later becomes pregnant. Charles John must find a way to destroy Jacquette without turning his popular son into a political enemy.

Breakout Title

THE BUTTERFLY GAME

Alternates:
Confidence House
The Inconstancy of Kings

Smart Comparables

Charles Frazier, Varina
Alison Weir, KATHERINE OF ARAGON, THE TRUE QUEEN
Susan Holloway Scott, I, ELIZA HAMILTON

Primary Conflict

Love has gotten in the way of Jacquette's destiny. As a countess, she is entitled to follow her mother's example and become one of the leading ladies of the realm--marriage to a suitable count, a life divided between a country estate and the royal court--but her love affair with Oscar threatens her future. When his father, the Crown Prince, gambles that she will choose her birthright over what he offers the couple--five years together before Oscar must marry another woman--she must decide whether to protect her future or her heart. If she chooses Oscar, she will lose her reputation and the status that she has enjoyed since her birth.

Inner and Secondary Conflict

Jacquette struggles with the impact of her decisions on her notions of family and her role as a mother. She has been raised to believe that the circumstances of one's birth dictate what a person will, and can, become. Oscar's arrival with his father the Crown Prince, a former French commoner who molded himself into royalty, shakes up Jacquette's rigid view of privilege. She and Oscar have a daughter, born out of wedlock when they are teenagers, and name her Oscara. To avoid a scandal, Jacquette's family takes in Oscara, claiming that she is a foundling abandoned on the streets of Stockholm. Jacquette must live with this outcome and face Oscara's anger when she realizes that she is the daughter of a countess and a future king, not an abandoned child of poverty.


Setting

THE BUTTERFLY GAME is set in Sweden and opens in 1811, near the end of the Napoleonic Wars, when the nation was struggling to find its identity. For the last twenty years, revolutionary ideas and the erosion of its former empire have threatened Sweden's existence and fifty powerful noble families, master players in a game of faithlessness, casual treachery and untruth, have murdered one king and exiled the next. As the story begins, the nobles recently have forced the childless king to adopt an unlikely heir and son--a forty-seven-year-old French general, one of Napoleon’s marshals, Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, who has changed his name to Crown Prince Charles John.

FINSPÅNG CASTLE--Built in the 1600s by Jacquette's mother's family, French-speaking Walloons from Holland, the manor house is a model of Dutch-inspired symmetry and austerity. It is a tasteful, splendid home that anchors the bruk, or iron works, founded by Jacquette's ancestor, Louis de Geer, and sits at a major crossroads between Stockholm and Helsingborg in the south. The house, pavilions, and gardens have been the site of legendary gatherings of nobles and royals.

DROTTNINGHOLM PALACE--Set on an island in Lake Maleren, seven miles from Stockholm, Drottningholm (the Queen's Island), this summer palace is Sweden's answer to Versailles. The royals inhabit the castle, but much of the action takes place in the mini-city that surrounds it. Here, more than one hundred nobles are accommodated when the court is in residence. The grounds include acres of sculptured French gardens, natural English parks, and a forested deer park where a group of buildings surrounds Kina Slott (The Chinese Pavilion), an Asian-inspired small manor house for day outings. One of these buildings, Confidencen (The Confidence) was built for private dining. The servants would load meals onto mechanized tables that rose from the floor. What happened in the Confidence stayed there. Drottningholm also features four large manor homes for the courtiers that line a courtyard to a large 18th-century theater and ballroom.

ROYAL PALACE STOCKHOLM--That unhappy city, as the courtiers described it. Spending the winters in Stockholm, the court was housed in the vast royal palace, situated in the Old Town. They inhabited low-ceilinged half-floors, while the royals occupied the vast apartments above. Every afternoon they walked in the King's Gardens, every night there was theater and opera and Sundays, they visited Rosendals Palace, a small home used for day trips on nearby Djurgarden island.

RAMLÖSA, NEAR HELSINGBORG--Part of Scania in the south, the region has a different, more relaxed atmosphere than the other locations in the novel. It was originally ruled by Denmark and has been the site of war after war over the centuries. The castle that was Shakespeare's inspiration for Elsinore Castle in Hamlet lies seven miles across the channel. Noble families have summer homes here and gather to party and visit the spa in Ramlösa.

annajalaska
Posts: 1
Joined: 04 Sep 2018, 15:27

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#7 Post by annajalaska » 04 Sep 2018, 15:53

THE REIGLER KIDS-- upmarket adult

1. Story Statement:
Posey Reigler, abuse survivor, must win the right to raise her children.

2. Antagonist sketch

Beverly Brooks, a social worker at the state office of Child Protective Services, personifies a broader antagonistic force. She believes that children are better off with her interference. She is an officious, unimaginative “reformer” who leans on the letter of the law but not the spirit. She is biased against unconventional families so she routinely moves the goal posts to ensure their failure in family court. She enjoys the support of most of the community.

3. Breakout Title

The Reigler Kids
The Tenth Girl

4. Comp Titles

The Girls, by Emma Cline
Room, by Emma Donoghue
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz, because the narrator is a semi-omniscient secondary character telling the story in retrospect.

5. Conflict Line

After freeing herself from her abusive father, a young mother must fight to retain her children while the office of Child Protective Services places them in foster care.

6A. Inner conflict scenario

Posey watches her children thrive in their foster home. She wonders if they really are better off without her, as the social worker claims. She wonders if she is thinking clearly about the so-called “best interests” of the children. She knows she cannot provide the same material comforts as their foster parents, but also knows she cannot live without them.

6B. Social conflict scenario

Posey grew up in isolation and is new to ordinary life. She runs afoul of social norms by talking funny and asking the wrong questions, being chronically late, mismanaging money, and cultivating indoor bug populations like spiders and fruit flies. Her unconventional behavior alienates her few friends and allies, which jeopardizes her quest for custody.

7. Setting

Wells Creek: an oil boom town trying to age gracefully. It got the State University. It’s trying to woo tech startups. It built a convention center.
Our protagonist has never seen anything like it. She is amazed by potted trees in front of office buildings, birds’ nests in the electric embrace of the C in the CVS sign. She is amazed that people line up at food trucks and take out their trash. She learns that nice families have houses with yards. She sees acres and acres of empty yards. She learns that real adults drive cars. There are cars everywhere. She learns that all the development around her— the landscape and hardscape, the endless design and decay— is not to be littered upon, even with a shrimp tail. Through her eyes, Wells Creek takes on the wonder and curiosity of an ancient ruin.

lkclorelai123
Posts: 1
Joined: 30 Aug 2018, 00:41

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#8 Post by lkclorelai123 » 04 Sep 2018, 19:44

Name: Laura Cowan
Title: Ghosts of Detroit
Genre: Paranormal, 90k words, standalone but prepped for a series
Comps: A Fine & Private Place by Peter S. Beagle and The House of Discarded Dreams by Ekaterina Sedia meets Showtime’s Dead Like Me

Pitch: Kelsie buys an abandoned house in her childhood city of Detroit only to find most of her new neighbors are ghosts. Houses and memories fade and reappear. Three-hundred-year-old slave Jonathan drags her back and forth through time, insisting Kelsie stop a dark force beneath the city that wants to revive a time when drug lords ruled. Kelsie has little time to learn how she is a part of Lovett Street’s history of tragedy and of ghosts who run a community garden and steal spoons for smack. She must learn to navigate time washing back and forth to protect herself from ghosts who want to stop her moving the city past their sell-by date or date her once she’s dead. To create a better future for herself and the city and protect the one other living child of Lovett Street, Kelsie must let go of what was good and beautiful of old Detroit.

The Act of Story Statement --
A woman negotiates with a neighborhood full of hedonistic ghosts, from a 300-year-old fugitive slave boy to a woman she eventually learns is her late great-aunt Marie, to figure out how she's a part of their stories of the past and future of Detroit, and why time is running out to get her own story back on track as the city rebuilds from the ashes.

The Antagonist Plots the Point --
Sally lived in Kelsie Durham’s house in the 1950s and fell off the porch roof to her death during her father’s wake. Her resentment at being babysat by her mother, who electrocuted herself in the bathtub to stay with her in the afterlife, is coupled with her jealousy that Kelsie is her long-lost cousin who still has a shot at a happy life. She throws knives, sets neighborhood houses on fire, and plays Mad Hatter tea parties with moldy dolls in the garden being grown by druggie ghosts in the empty lot next door. When she's not safely locked under the stairs, she brings trouble with her. Another ghost from the suburbs and Kelsie's dead ex-husband team up to convince her to commit suicide so they can both date her in the afterlife. Kelsie must find the strength within herself to take charge of her own destiny and learn how to fly through time to stop these attempts on her life and to control her future.

Conjuring Your Breakout Title --
We Hope For Better Things
Last Living House on Lovett
Ghosts of Detroit Future
Cineribus: From The Ashes of Detroit

Deciding Your Genre and Approaching Comparables --
Speculative, magical realism with snark and rich sensory descriptions
The House of Discarded Dreams by Ekaterina Sedia
A $500 House in Detroit by Drew Philp
Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link
The Red Garden by Alice Hoffman
Scrapper by Matt Bell

Considering the Primary Conflict --
When Kelsie Durham buys an abandoned house in her childhood city of Detroit she doesn’t realize that she is coming home: not only to the sickly memories of a life that started with abuse and went nowhere, but to her real family. She finds herself in a house surrounded by self-pitying drug addict ghosts and deceased relatives, plus one very ancient fugitive slave boy who has a similar life story to hers from 300 years ago, all who have banded together to make the most of the afterlife and to make sure she finds out the truth surrounding her birth before she gives up in despair or is killed by other ghosts who are jealous of her life, or who want to hurry up her demise so they can date her. The ghosts pull Kelsie through their memories of Detroit every night until she is exhausted and unsure how she has survived so long without sleep or food, forcing her to learn how to control her flight through time to take charge of her own destiny, and to figure out why the ghosts are putting so much pressure on her. The history they drag her through day and night really is about her life that still has a chance, not theirs cut too short. She was stolen at birth from the couple who live on the corner by the woman who raised her, who kidnapped her out of the maternity ward of the now abandoned Southwest Hospital. Because her birth parents were black, the police hardly investigated. The ghosts of Lovett Street didn't get a fair shot at life, and Kelsie didn't either, until this moment. Now she is fighting to discover the power to change the future for herself and an entire city that is already reinventing itself so quickly she can barely keep up.

Other Matters of Conflict: Two More Levels --
Kelsie's ex-cop neighbor Neil is in love with her but drinking himself to death, sick of fighting with ghosts of addicts in his house and in the empty lot next door, where the druggies are growing a community garden between raves in the abandoned church down the street. Kelsie fights her despair at the disappointments of a life gone nowhere, racism and the economic collapse that drags on in Detroit, and loneliness and temptation with her neighbor after her veteran husband's suicide. She knows better than to fall in love with a man who drinks, as her ex-husband and father did to violent consequences, but she can't help herself.

Mrs. Waverly across the street can see the ghosts, too, and she knows they’re real because she knew them when they were alive. Joelle Waverly has lived her entire life on Lovett Street, but she doesn't know that her anger over losing her son to gang violence and a drug house driveby across the street in the Seventies led her to miss out on knowing her son's girlfriend was pregnant when he died, and that she has a great granddaughter Noelle living two streets back. She suffers a heart attack from the shock of discovering the truth, leaving another family's future hanging in the balance.

The Incredible Importance of Setting --
Detroit is rising from the ashes, and not even for the first time. After the second great fires that destroyed downtown in the riots of the Seventies, the city fell into decline, forcing many people out whether they wanted to leave or not. Now a hesitant few return to find the holdouts living on streets surrounded by blight, empty overgrown lots, and ghosts by the thousands. Crowds of people from the past cluster downtown, shop in nonexistent department stores, open dress shops in abandoned storefronts, and hold raves in abandoned churches and theaters. Hawks and coyotes have moved back into burned out attics and back streets, leaving old working class streets looking like country lanes. The houses that haven't been stripped still stand alongside boarded up factories and art deco high rises, one by one being renovated and brought back to life--if not yet by the living, then definitely by the dead.

nicknack04
Posts: 1
Joined: 28 Aug 2018, 23:44

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#9 Post by nicknack04 » 04 Sep 2018, 22:25

STORY STATEMENT:
A young woman possessed by an African deity must risk her life and heart to find Earth
ANTAGONIST PLOTS:
Creflo is a product of the Salts. One of the few lowborns that have made it to the city center in Nahj- a stratified society bound by a sense of superiority toward neighboring city-states. He maintains his status by rounding up a steady stream of criminals or suspected Incarns from the Salts. Every 50 years the people on Orun pay the price for Incarn uprisings and it has always been Creflo’s job to anticipate and crush Incarn activity. His generation was mostly orphaned by the last revolution. The Incarns’ chaotic uprisings upset the delicate balance established in Nahj and he knows that the tiny planet, already devoid of water and on the verge of war, cannot withstand the pressures of more internal strife. When he finds his sister’s gleaming tooth in a pile of ashes, he knows it is the dark magic of an Incarn. And the most dangerous one. His reputation, his status and his position in the city center, depend on his relentless pursuit of the Incarn that killed his sister.
BREAKOUT TITLE:
Dark Daughter
Remnants
The Incarn Rebellion
Salt, Blood, Water, Earth

COMPARABLES:
Children of Blood and Bone
African Pantheon mythical storytelling: young female protagonist with a compelling backstory: Falling for the enemy
The Poppy War
Steeped in chinese myth: Based on historical events: Grimdark: Inner mystery
Theonite: Planet Adyn : Emergence of powers: self-discovery: secrets revealed

PRIMARY CONFLICT:
Every thirty years the incarns rise. Every thirty years, they are violently put down by the Incarn Suppression Unit. It's happening now, and Zonie won’t go down without a fight.
OTHER MATTERS OF CONFLICT:
A fellow Incarn and dark prince of a neighboring city-state, seeks revenge on Zonie for the crimes of her cold mother. Incarn or not, he will have his revenge. Zonie has learned to trust no one and to use whatever she has to her advantage. But she needs to trust new people with her life to find Earth. Can she convince the vengeful prince to lay down his quest and join her to find Earth? Can she convince herself to take a chance on the incarns she has found and finally feel a part of something bigger than herself.
SETTING:
Orun: an earth like planet with a thin atmosphere that circles around a red dwarf sun. They were not supposed to stay this long and the system is fraying around the edges. The planet is out of water and out of time. Though technically set in the future, draconian laws rolled out by the ruling council have outlawed technical and social learning that could result in an “rebellious populace.” Nahj is the largest City-state on Orun, it had obtained its power by crushing and subduing neighboring city states and taxing their water. Its inhabitants are obsessed with order, status, and power. In a bitter tension between low-borns and High-borns no one is the winner.

suzistrong
Posts: 2
Joined: 29 Aug 2018, 14:23

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#10 Post by suzistrong » 05 Sep 2018, 02:56

Hello, here are my responses using my novel about two Kurdish women fighting ISIS in Northern Syria, Kobani.

FIRST ASSIGNMENT: write your story statement.
Defeat ISIS, avenge the deaths of their brother and husband, defend their land and fight for the freedom of Kurdish women in Syria.

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.

The antagonist in my novel is Daesh (ISIS). It is not one single person but a group, a regime coming into their country and murdering and killing their people. Their goal is to take over this territory of Kobani and to control all of this area down to the Euphrates. They wish to control the Kurds and impose their form of Islam onto them. Their background is some of them are from poor backgrounds, or disillusioned – some of them are simply quite violent people. They are afraid of women soldiers as ISIS declared that if you get killed by a woman you will not go to heaven.

The way Daesh reacts to the world around them is to come in and destroy it, torturing, raping, maiming, and killing the people. Daesh sees even the Kurdish Muslims as infidels and will kill everyone who does not conform to their form of Islam. Daesh as a force is both terrifying but also not so scary for the women who see that Daesh men are afraid of losing their paradise and flee from them. Even still Daesh is a force that kills their brother, husband, their best friends and many of their comrades. One of the main characters will in fact lose their life personally sacrificing herself for her best friend.

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

Where the Sun Rises – the meaning of the second protagonist’s character name, Roza – it is a metaphor for the place of Kobani, where for the central characters is where the sun rises, where hope is found. It also represents Roza and how important she is as Karin’s compass in life. We only find out the meaning of Roza’s name at the end of the book when she sacrifices herself for Karin.

Weapons of Freedom

Fight and Fury

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?

Possible comparisons:
War/ Literary/ War Novels/ Serious Women’s Fiction
Sand Queen Helen Benedict A female soldier Kate ? – 19 year old – fights in Iraqi desert.
Shoot Like a Girl by Mary Jennings Hagar – Afghan war being a soldier as a female from the US.
The Lonely Soldier Helen Benedict – about women fighting in Iraq – five stories of women who fought in Iraq in 2003-2006
The Kurdish Bike: A Novel by Alesa Lightbourne An American teacher in Kurdish Iraq finds her moral compass challenged by village customs. Based on true events.
A Road Unforeseen : Women Fight the Islamic State by Meredith Tax
The Kite Runner
A Farewell to Arms

This one I need to finalise two comparables. This is my research above.

FIFTH ASSIGNMENT: write your own conflict line following the format above. Keep in mind it helps energize an entire plot line and the antagonist(s) must be noted or inferred.

Two Kurdish women are forced to choose between family, including a son, and fighting ISIS to avenge a brother and husband and free their hometown, Kobani.

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.

Inner conflict: Roza has conflict about leaving her son, abandoning him and avenging her husband. She worries she did the wrong thing. Karin worries about Roza and her parents and went against their wishes to join the battle. Roza is in turmoil and anxious about being in battle. Scenario: leaving Yezdanser and his heart break when she leaves him to join the battle. Fight with her mother about this. Visions of her husband haunt her as she decides to join the battle. Karin’s parents also have to say goodbye to Karin.

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?

Secondary conflict:
The plot of saving Ashti from capture from Daesh. This happens throughout the novel. It involves Sozan’s sister’s safety.
There is also conflict between Roza and Karin about their past and tension between them as well following the death of Sozan. The conflict of returning to normal life, the trauma, guilt, Karin has to go on after Roza has sacrificed herself and look after Roza's son.


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.

My setting is Kobani and nearby towns in Syria. It starts as a normal regional town in Syria. It was previously fairly modern, but Daesh comes in and bombs, destroys and drives the people out of the town.

It becomes a war torn place, with elements of normal life appearing amidst the devastation, ducks, cats, dogs, flowers, kids toys, bookshelves and normal life seeps through the setting of chaos and death. Kobani has mountains surrounding it with beautiful sandstone colouring and olive trees and pistachio trees and the ancient history and significance of this land for the Kurds. The place is an extremely important element of the narrative as their connection to their land is paramount to the struggle.

The uniqueness of this setting could provide a beautiful cinematic experience, the Kurds with their culture amidst this war, dancing, singing and their spirit and humour would shine through the bleak setting of this warscape. Following the war Kobani begins to live again and rebuild domestic life with shops, markets, butchers and hairdressers returning to the landscape. Kobani’s beauty returns in the form of hope. Where the Sun Rises represents the Kurdish hope and dream for a place of their own and it represented a battle where the Kurds united from all regions and defeated Daesh. It was a symbol of hope for the Kurdish people, but also for the Kurdish women as it represented a battle largely fought by women and won and represented a triumph of their culture over the misogynistic regime of Daesh (ISIS).

paulajboon
Posts: 1
Joined: 29 Aug 2018, 19:28

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#11 Post by paulajboon » 06 Sep 2018, 02:41

1. STORY STATEMENT:
Hold onto his recently-reunited childhood love for as long as he can before Alzheimer’s takes her away.

2. ANTAGONIST:
Ted’s sister, Pam, is the antagonist at the beginning of the story. Later, Alzheimer’s takes center stage.

Pam aches to quit her dead-end job and return to the world of business, where she was a rising star until she was derailed by having to care for her ailing parents. Who knew that would drag on for 15 years? Just when Pam thought she was free to reinvent her life, she learned that her estranged brother Ted, who had sustained a brain injury driving drunk, needed a place to stay and someone to care for him while he served his house arrest. There was nowhere else for him to go, so Pam reluctantly said yes.

And Ted’s not even grateful! It’s true Pam’s not the sympathetic, touchy-feely type. And yes, the house where the two of them grew up is full of bad memories for him. It’s unfortunate he and their father never managed to work through their issues. But why can’t Ted just pull himself together and stop being such a burden? And what’s with his interest in that woman at the facility where he’s attending outpatient therapy? That’s never going to go anywhere.

3. TITLE:
Loaner
After They Have Forgotten
Only Now

4. GENRE AND COMPARABLES:
Upmarket contemporary (book club) fiction
STILL ALICE meets ME BEFORE YOU
Since the book is told from both Ted and Laurie's points of view, readers can accompany a woman on her early-onset Alzheimer's journey like in STILL ALICE, while at the same time witnessing a relationship that, although tragic, is also hopeful and redemptive like the one in ME BEFORE YOU.

5. CONFLICT LINE:
A middle-aged screw-up has one last chance to make good when he discovers his recently-reconnected childhood love has early-onset Alzheimer’s.

6. TWO MORE LEVELS OF CONFLICT:

LOVE CONFLICT

When Ted re-connects with his dearest childhood friend Laurie, he initially resists pursuing a relationship with her. He has only had bad experiences with women, he’s busy trying to get his life back on track, and besides, Laurie is giving him conflicting messages about the state of her marriage. Added tension comes from the fact that thanks to the story being told from both Ted and Laurie’s points of view, the reader knows before Ted does that Laurie has Alzheimer’s. When Ted finally does allow himself to fall for her and then finds out about her condition, it could mean the beginning of a different kind of love story – but only if he can deal with his own demons and figure out how to step up and be a true partner and friend.

Scenario: When Ted finds out Laurie has Alzheimer’s, he disappears from her life for a time. He tells himself he isn’t strong enough or good enough to continue a relationship with her through her decline. But his guilt intensifies when he remembers how, when they were children and Laurie was upset about her father’s death, Ted told her he would be there for her. Then his father yanked him out of that school and Ted didn’t see her for decades. Will he really let her down yet again?

INTERNAL CONFLICT

As a teenager, Ted was in a band and dreamed of becoming a musician and songwriter. His father wanted him to go to university and study business. Ted gave up the dream after an incident where his father witnessed his humiliation in front of an audience. He hasn’t written a song or performed in public for decades.

Scenario: When Ted decides to be there for Laurie, he learns that music can engage and invigorate people with Alzheimer’s. Playing Laurie’s favorite songs on CD doesn’t work, so he dusts off his guitar so he can serenade her. Next, Ted zeros in on the tune Laurie is always humming. That song, he is sure, has the power to hold her in the present. When he fails to identify it, Ted decides to write Laurie’s song himself. But to do so, he has to find the strength to overcome his fears, ask for help, and allow himself to fully feel and express his feelings for Laurie.

7. SETTING:
This story is set in a Northern Ontario mining town which was booming until about 25 years ago, has been struggling since the mines closed, and, by the end of the book, shows signs of coming back to life. The town’s state roughly mirrors Ted’s interior life over the same period of time.
Part of what makes the setting interesting is that the subplot about Ted’s father’s morally questionable actions as the safety director at the uranium mine (where Laurie’s father worked) highlights some little-known history. For years, uranium miners became sick and died from inhaling radioactive dust, even after the companies and the government knew this was a problem. It took massive strikes and a public inquiry to change the rules to protect miners.

SUBSETTINGS
Clearview is a long-term care facility and rehab center where many people are in crisis. Change is constant: residents of the memory care ward are declining; patients undergoing brain injury rehab are trying to re-gain their previous abilities, and the family and friends who come to visit are struggling to come to terms with it all. The ascendant traits of Clearview are humanity, hope, and perseverance, all things Ted needs to learn.

While readers may have visited a long-term care facility or rehab center for a short period of time, most people avoid thinking about them. This story provides a chance to consider how readers could or would react to spending so much time at a place like Clearview.

Pam’s home is a tension-filled location because Ted is trapped there by the conditions of his house arrest. He experienced a great deal of conflict there with his father and can’t avoid the memories. Pam is also trapped there by her financial circumstances and her begrudging loyalty to family ties.

There is change underway in the house. Physically, when it belonged to Pam and Ted’s parents, it was an upscale home with furnishings and decorations appropriate to a high-level mining company employee. Over time it has faded and begun to fall apart, just like the family’s fortunes. The inhabitants are also experiencing change: much of Ted’s story plays out there, and over the course of the book, Pam embarks on a hesitant romance with a neighbor and undertakes some renovations to get it ready to sell.

The ascendant traits of the house have been hard work and keeping a stiff upper lip, but its current state shows that this hasn’t worked out so well. By the end of the story, the house has become a place of new beginnings and family togetherness.

In terms of unfamiliarity, to paraphrase Tolstoy, every unhappy house is unhappy in its own way. This one, for example, not only contains faded furniture, stained carpets, and boxes of childhood memorabilia in the basement, but also has marks on the living room wallpaper scratched by Pam and Ted’s frustrated father during the years after he was incapacitated by a series of strokes.

Alancreed77
Posts: 2
Joined: 06 Sep 2018, 19:50

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#12 Post by Alancreed77 » 06 Sep 2018, 20:02

First Assignment: Story Statement
Find her mother and learn to fly.

Second Assignment:
Loric has deceived the people of the Skyworld into believing he belongs after being born an Unflying. At birth, he had received a magic ring from his mother allowing him to fly and be free. Loric has always felt isolated because he had to rely on the magic from the love of his mother so he could fly. He harbored this secret in solitude until he met Carissa. She was rumored to be the freest cloud sorceress in the sky. She declares her love for him and gives him her heart, which she transforms into a ring so that he could experience the same freedom she experienced. Later, Carissa betrays him while on trial for treason and Loric’s heart is broken. He ends up hating Carissa for the betrayal. To fall out of love is to break the spell of freedom and thus flight, and he loses the power from the ring and falls into the Nightmare Realm. There he discovers an evil entity with the power of the Darkworld that makes people forget what they truly love. With this power, he plans to return to take over the Skyworld with the power to make people forget they are free.

Third Assignment:
1) Forever Skies
2) Forgotten Skies
3) Skyworld

Fourth Assignment:
Forever Skies is like Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time” meets Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight”

Fifth Assignment:
After learning she is from a race of angels, a teenage girl seeks out her mother, who is a hostage of her own lover—the Devil.

Sixth Assignment:
Turmoil: Lucy was an “angel” raised on Earth and she learned to trust in the laws of physics and logic. That’s why it’s so hard for her to learn to let go of logic and embrace being free so that she can fly, and it leads to her turmoil with trying to let go.

Anxious: Lucy fears falling. She believes it not only is an inherent fear of being human, but one having to do with her past—one in which she can’t remember. She is told, however, that she fell from the sky—and she fears it was learning a terrible truth that caused her to fear flying and being free.

Conflict: Lucy loves flying, but she must use a necklace given to her by her lover in order for it to happen. Orson, the angel from the sky, tells her she can only fly if she loves him. While this makes her happy—as she feels she will always love him, she realizes that without the necklace, she is not free. Her conflict comes from her dependence on Orson—and an inability to find true inner strength.

Hypothetical scenario #1: Lucy fears that too much reliance on Orson could lead to her falling. After she learns that Orson, her one true love, is the son of Loric—the Devil, she despises him, and the spell that allows her to fly breaks, causing her to fall.

Hypothetical Scenario #2: A hypothetical secondary conflict in Forever Skies would be Lucy’s involvement with her boyfriend’s cousins, who often poke fun of her for being born on Earth and “not getting it”—meaning the free life in the Skyworld. She’s too preoccupied with curling irons and Snapchat to live life stealing fire from goblins, and racing meteorites into the horizon. As a result, Troy and Rex don’t seem to like her too much—she simply doesn’t belong in the Skyworld. They also think she’s changing Orson, because Orson used to go on adventures with them and was daring and adept at taming flying horses. Now, with Lucy joining them, he’s become soft and preoccupied with her and her silliness, and Lucy must try to make peace with the two by proving that she is more than just an it girl from Earth.



Final Assignment:
Forever Skies stars off on Earth, but in the fantasy realm, we see a world of sky islands inhabited by exotic animals. Ancient ruins on isles drift through the clouds. Sometimes you’d come upon an erupting volcano pouring virulent gas and smoke into the sky. Other times, flocks of crystal flying horses would sail from ridge to another as the sun, begemmed, pokes lazily through the salmon gauze of evening clouds. And then Galiphas—a classic city with an old western civilization veneer, and the paradisian folks flying to and from their home on cloud-mounts, or homes drawn by cloud-beasts....

amandajbradley3
Posts: 1
Joined: 01 Sep 2018, 14:49

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#13 Post by amandajbradley3 » 07 Sep 2018, 01:12

1. STORY STATEMENT

Jane Loughlin must overcome her stalker’s grip on her life.

2. ANTAGONIST

Jane’s stalker is the antagonist of the novel. The reader tries to figure out with Jane which man in her life could be her stalker. Is it Simon? Robert? Alex? Eventually, Jane suspects the stalker is Alex, her childhood sweetheart, a measured and deliberate man who supports himself with software development jobs so that he can work on his main passion, devised theater. Has he brought Jane’s childhood fantasy of being in a lifelong “movie” to reality in order to satisfy his ambition to be an avant-garde director? Or has Jane drunk herself into an alcoholic haze of mental illness and imagined having a stalker? In some ways, Jane’s stalker is bold and outrageous, but in other ways, he is so careful that the simplest explanation for her support network seems to be that Jane is deluded. The reader’s quest is to decide whether the stalker is Alex (or Simon or Robert) or Jane’s own alcohol-fueled imagination.

3. TITLES

Jane Says
Feminist Sober Killjoy
Playing Jane

4. GENRE and COMPARABLES

This novel of psychological suspense is reminiscent of Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train in its protagonist’s unreliability and its chilling storyline. Because the novel follows academics on an obsessive quest, it also resembles A. S. Byatt’s Possession.

5. PRIMARY CONFLICT

As a young academic struggles through graduate school, gets married, and starts her career, she is intrigued then haunted by clues a secret admirer plants for her to follow to a conclusion she can only imagine.

6. INNER and SECONDARY CONFLICTS

INNER: Jane’s emotional reactions to the subtle ways her secret admirer communicates with her are complex. At times, she admires his originality and cleverness, but at other times, she despises him for manipulating her life.

SECONDARY: Jane struggles to be a woman in a society conditioned to dismiss abuses against women, particularly subtle abuses.

7. SETTING

From the streets of Boy’s Town in Chicago to poetry readings in café basements in Greenwich Village to the halls of academe, Jane and friends occupy a variety of contemporary urban and university settings in this novel.

Jane falls in love with academia as an undergraduate, partially due to its setting: giant chandeliers and marble-floored halls in picturesque brick and stone buildings that dot the campuses of her universities. Jane returns repeatedly to the rocks lining Lake Michigan on her undergraduate school’s campus in order to feel small and unique in the face of the lake’s immensity.

In the Chicago neighborhood Boy’s Town, Jane and Alex wander past snarling, tattooed skinheads and young women with colorful pixie haircuts, past Gargoyle statuettes and head shops, picking up copies of The Reader from piles of the local alternative news rag.

In the Village in New York, Jane meets bohemian poets in a narrow basement room with a bar and a red velvet-curtained stage at either end, soaking up the conversations with snappy New Yorkers who take her into their community.

Thosc747Why
Posts: 1
Joined: 04 Sep 2018, 17:23

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#14 Post by Thosc747Why » 07 Sep 2018, 17:28

1. Story Statement:

In the few days he has left, a dying AIDS patient insists that Taylor, his awkward volunteer care partner, tell him about his childhood trauma, hoping for redemption for both of them.

2. Antagonist:

The antagonist is Taylor's grandfather who is a colonial farmer in Swaziland, Africa, in 1970. His grandfather, always a racialist, is losing his mental capacities in addition to his power, as the former colony returns to its status as a small tribal kingdom. His anger is palpable and demonstrated, until it finally reaches a breaking point which nearly results in Taylor's death. As an adult, Taylor has never confronted what happened, until the unlikely meeting with Philip, the patient at St. Vincent's.

3. Title:

The Cigar Tree. Alternates: Swaziland, 1970. The Gift of a Hippo. The Storm of '86.

4. Comparable books:

The first that comes to mind is The English Patient," by Michael Ondaajte. Other similar titles might be "Don't Let's Go To The Dogs Tonight," by Alexandra Fuller and possibly, Garth Risk Hallberg's "City on Fire."

5. Primary Conflict:

Taylor must overcome the shame and guilt that he feels for sending an innocent man to jail when he was just ten years old, but he must do this within the few days his patient has to live.

6. Inner Conflict:

Taylor is a 26 year old white middle class gay man. Philip is a former HIV drug user, Puerto Rican and heterosexual. But their chance connection forces Taylor to comes to terms with events from his past that he has long refused to examine. Since his brief childhood sojourn in Africa, his life with his single mother had been a constant stream of problems: her commitment to an institution and him ending up in a foster home. Meeting the dying Philip, Taylor spends hours at Philip's bedside and hears Philip’s own deep regrets and shame. With this patient’s constant prodding and Taylor recalls his actions as a ten year old that devastated a black African’s family.

Secondary conflict:

There is a raging epidemic going on and he is in his prime 20s. Sex was frightening but still necessary and with no cure and only AZT as a treatment, a positive diagnosis was basically a death sentence. This is noted throughout and is especially strong in the hospital environment where there are so many young men who are suddenly frail, covered in sores or lesions, and look decades older than they should.

7. Setting:

There are two settings, radically different.

The primary setting is New York City, 1986, Tribeca and Greenwich Village and especially St. Vincent's Hospital which was nicknamed, not belligerently, AIDS Central. The hospital was overrun with desperately sick patients and in the "Age of Reagan," there were almost no social services being provided except by volunteers at the GMHC and charitable hospitals like St. Vincent's. There is a massive blizzard on the way (which is what results in Taylor subbing for a volunteer friend to visit the dying patient.)

The second setting is Swaziland, Africa, in 1970. Swaziland is a small landlocked country that is surrounded on three sides by South Africa and the fourth by Mozambique. Taylor is ten in this world and not always certain of what he is witnessing. In 1970 the former British colony was reverting to a monarchy. King Sobhuza was in the process of doing away with colonial government and reverting to rule by decree which was deeply distressing to the white colonists, especially Taylor's unconscionably cruel grandfather. However, the process was not complete and the wealthy land owners still had an erroneous sense that they could exert some control over the king, such as when they present a slaughtered hippo as a gift to the king, thinking they will gain influence. It is also wild, beautiful, with some sweeping vistas and sights that Taylor will never forget. Today Swaziland is the only kingdom left in Africa. It has been renamed The Kingdom of eSwatini and it also has the highest rates of AIDS infection in the world. Life expectancy there is 40. It has no constitution.

MegENocero
Posts: 1
Joined: 02 Sep 2018, 03:18

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#15 Post by MegENocero » 07 Sep 2018, 18:30

1. The Act of Story Statement:

Enveloped by a cocoon of grief, Meg must trust the process to transform into a beautiful butterfly.

2. The Antagonist Plots the Point:
I: Ethos of Perfection- Where her relatives sought economic prosperity in the United States, as a third generation Italian-American, Meg grew up in a family that demanded perfection in accomplishment. As an awkward child, she was bullied for her perceived flaws.

II: Male Authority Figures- Meg, an ambitious female attorney, faced challenges with balancing family, career and a sexist, intolerant, unsympathetic, and condescending male boss. With the outcome of the 2016 United States' presidential election, she resigned from her position as a federal immigration attorney rejecting a narcissistic administration whose incendiary immigration policies were not in line with her moral compass.

Grief (mother’s death, unfulfilling job)-The grieving process led to depression, anxiety, and stress that resulted in tinnitus. When Meg's mother died, she numbed out, but the ringing of tinnitus in her head awakened her. Her job was incredibly stressful because it did not fulfill the happiness that professional success promised.

III: Meg’s inner voice (naysaying, self-doubt)-Desperate for external approval, Meg believed she would never be enough. Fearful of being judged and rejected, it took a decision and a leap of faith to enable her to believe in and love herself again.


3. Conjuring Your Breakout Title:

La Bella Farfalla, Beautiful Butterfly
When a Butterfly Awakes!
Awaken Badass Butterfly-It’s Time to Fly!



4. Deciding Your Genres and Approaching Comparables:

INSPIRATIONAL MEMOIR OF TRANSFORMATION

The author’s The Magical Guide to Bliss: Daily Keys to Unlock Your Dreams, Spirit & Inner Bliss is the guide that empowered and paved the way for La Bella Farfalla, Beautiful Butterfly. In many ways, these two, like Paulo Coelho’s The Pilgrimage and The Alchemist are companions, to truly comprehend how the protagonist transformed her life in La Bella Farfalla, you can experience the channeled wisdom in The Magical Guide to Bliss. La Bella Farfalla, Beautiful Butterfly, is the best of Gilbert meets Coelho, where the protagonist experiences a devastating loss, allows the process to envelop her, transform her, so that she emerges anew, free to live the creative life she always wanted.

The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho
A captivating account of Paulo Coehlo's pilgrimage along the road to Santiago, this fascinating parable explores the need to find one's own path. The resolution of La Bella Farfalla, Beautiful Butterfly comes from her journey on El Camino, the road to Santiago. Meg follows a vision she received the day her mother died that led her to Finesterre, the lighthouse considered in Roman times to be the end of the world. Despite the naysayers and the physical pain along the path, after completing the pilgrimage, Meg, known to fellow pilgrims as the mariposa (butterfly in Spanish) discovers her inner strength, embraces self love, and instead of walking, uses her newfound confidence to fly with El Camino as she completes what she set out to do. When she finally gets to the lighthouse, she makes peace with her inner pain so that after seven years she can heal and her light can shine again.

Eat Pray Love by Liz Gilbert
Just like Liz in Eat, Pray, Love, after a loss, Meg realizes how unhappy she is with her life and the career path she chose. She does the “right thing” and becomes a lawyer but is unfulfilled as she struggled with the need for professional validation and approval that never was enough. She does what is expected to make her family proud but remains unhappy. Her creativity is begging to come alive. Like Liz, Meg sets out on a journey of self discovery entertaining possibilities that lead to quitting her job, her "safety net," that will never give her what she is seeking. After venturing out on her own journey, she realizes like Glinda in Wizard of Oz suggests, that she always had the power within, just had to learn it for herself.

5. Considering the Primary Conflict- the conflict line

Paralyzed by depression that accompanied the grief from her mother's death, a determined woman must make a bold decision: figure out how to heal, reject the opinions and expectations of others, leave the law and take a leap of faith to live the life that she wants pursuing her creative dreams.

6. Matters of Conflict:

Primary Conflict:
Meg had always been a creative person even as a child. However, she was raised in a family whose “ethos of perfection” or measure of what made a person a success came from the rigidity of what would traditionally lead to financial stability, service and accomplishment. While she preferred to spend her time creating imaginary worlds, drawing beautiful ball gowns, dancing with abandon, and writing all about it, her parents' demand for disciplined school work and a traditional career path became her reality. As a young girl, her mother set out to raise strong, independent, successful women according to her own definition. As with the many accomplishments of her Italian-American family, she was expected to make them proud, so doctor or lawyer seemed to be the only choices. While she was loved by both parents, she felt that she fell short of the high bar they set. Constantly seeking their or others' approval for her own personal validation and self-worth, she struggled to find her own identity, independence and uniqueness. Right before her mother passed away, she told Meg to have no regrets and showed her a vision of lighthouse. With this vision and the challenges of a new normal without her mother, Meg eventually moved through the darkness to find her light, that of a determined, funny, smart, empathetic spirit who trusted her own choices and happily took risks to follow her dreams.

Secondary Conflicts:
Familial Expectations, The Caterpillar
Struggling with low self esteem throughout childhood and even as an adult, Meg cared too much about what others said about her. Wanting her parent’s approval juxtaposed against being bullied in school because of her appearance, she yearned to be recognized for her own talents, yet hid in literal and figurative closets, not wanting to be seen. To obtain her parent's approval, she gave in to family pressure and followed a "safe" career path, abandoning her creative pursuits. As a result, in her professional life she tried to be innovative and worked hard but never felt fulfilled. She dealt with a demeaning boss who exercised his authority to keep her in a fixed place, only supported her creative endeavors as long as she did not seek to elevate herself in the office. While anxious, because she enjoyed a loving and supportive relationship with her mother throughout these challenges, her insecurities were tempered as she remained hopeful for new opportunities to unfold.

Loss of Her Mother/Turmoil at Job, The Cocoon
When her mother passed away, Meg lost her sounding board and a calming force in her life. She experienced depression, made worse by post traumatic stress, heightened anxiety and a fear of death. She wanted to numb herself to the pain of life without her mother, however, when she acquired somatic tinnitus, a loud incessant ringing in her head, she literally could not rest. Tinnitus coupled with anxiety attacks woke her up and forced her to reach out for help to regain her mental stability. She requested part-time even though she knew this was the death knell of future career advancement. Even though it was vital for her to take care of her health, her boss refused her request for the last time as he was about to retire. Disappointed, truly disgusted, and angry, this proved to be a turning point. Holding back tears, refusing to cry in front of him, she told him what a terrible manager and person he was and that she never wanted to interact with him again.

Spousal Relationship, The Butterfly
Warned not to have regrets, after all the numerous disappointments with her boss and job, Meg wanted to resign as a federal immigration prosecutor and finally follow her creative pursuits. In 2011, because her husband opened his own law firm, he needed her to stay in an unfulfilling job as it provided health insurance, retirement benefits, and a steady income stream. For seven more years, she supported him and remained. Knowing that there was no opportunity for her professional growth in Miami and the current administration’s incendiary immigration policy that was not in line with her moral compass, in 2017, she resigned from her prestigious position even though her husband was resentful and worried about the future. Dealing with her own fears as well as as her husband’s concerns, Meg set out a strategy and stayed the course with determination and passion never losing sight of her goals even amidst the arguments and growing tensions in her relationship. And, eventually, each success provided evidence needed to assuage her husband's fears so that he recommitted to supporting her creative endeavors. In April of 2018, seven years after her mother died, Meg, with her husband cheering her on, set out on a pilgrimage in Spain, walking 77 miles on El Camino, facing her fears, pushing past her perceived limits with the intention to fall in love with her life again. As each day passed, her husband, finally beginning to understand how much she needed him, proactively cheered her on more and more. Ultimately, on the seventh day of El Camino, exactly seven years after her mother was laid to rest, she arrived at Finesterre at the lighthouse in her vision, placed the butterfly she carried on a post that said "May Peace Prevail on Earth" and celebrated this accomplishment finally making peace with her pain so that now she could start a new chapter finally free like a butterfly.


7. The Incredible Importance of Setting

Orlando, Fl. – a place where the protagonist grew up and where many identify as the most magical place on earth with Disney World and theme parks. This was the same place where the journey into darkness began as she watched her mother succumb to cancer, enter the hospital and pass away. People go to Orlando to escape reality and engage their imagination. There she was unable to escape her reality and her imagination was conjuring up horrible images that led her deeper into depression. The protagonist stayed in her childhood home while she was with her mother helping to care for her there, representative of this paradox: as a young girl, her mother was caring for her, now as an adult she returned to that same place to care for her mother. The room looked fairly the same with minor changes.

Miami, Fl- returning to this tropical paradise, everything looked different. This was the backdrop to much of the transformation and initial healing journey. A sunny place where many go to get away and relax, this was where she could not get away from herself. Much of the time it felt like her world was subjected to the uncertainty of a hurricane, waiting for the storm to pass. Here the storm remained and was never ending as there was no where she could go, the sadness and anxiety followed her. She lives in a condominium surrounded by Biscayne Bay. Boats and yachts pass by on the daily, playing loud music and celebrating life. In her condo, there was a closet where she hid away, the only place she could find solace and protection from a world that felt overwhelming and scary now that her mother has passed away.

Miami Immigration Courthouse Miami Office of the Chief Counsel- this was where the protagonist worked. Much of the antagonist drama emanates from this place. It is a very interesting place in that this is where many immigrants, illegal or otherwise, come to decide their fate in this country with the Immigration Courts. When she started to work here, there was much promise. However, this is where she had to surrender past dreams and goals to actually start taking care for herself again. The protagonist had lots of hopes and aspirations to professionally advance bringing compassion to the table, until the final straw when she did not get a promotion and a new administration took over whose immigration policy was reprehensible. The courtroom was the location where much of the initial action happens. Where the protagonist balances her need to be compassionate as well as judicious in holding the light of justice for each case that she handled.

Northern Spain, Last 111 km on The French Way of El Camino de Santiago de Compostela:
Via Regia is the last portion of the Camino Frances. The Way of St. James is a network of pilgrims’s ways leading pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the saint are buried. It was a spiritual journey over the course of seven days starting out in Sarria finishing up in Santiago. The protagonist started out with her own group of 17 people walking through different hamlets, seeing the terrain, trudging through the mud and rocks caused by a very rainy season, on the asphalt meeting up with many different people, as she handed out love buttons. She became known to her fellow pilgrims as the mariposa, spanish for butterfly.

The Lighthouse: Finesterre, is a rock bound peninsula on the west coast of Galicia, Spain. In Roman times it was believed to be the end of the known world. Monte Facho is the name of the mountain on Finisterre where a prominent lighthouse sits atop. This is where the protagonist found the lighthouse she saw in her vision, it is where she left the butterfly she carried for the entire spiritual pilgrimage and made peace with her pain that she had been carrying so that she could discover joy again!

CynthiaHilston
Posts: 1
Joined: 28 Aug 2018, 23:06

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#16 Post by CynthiaHilston » 07 Sep 2018, 22:00

Working Title: A Laughing Matter of Pain
Author: Cynthia Hilston
Protagonist: Harry Rechthart

1) Act of Story Statement

Harry must overcome his alcoholism and insecurities to prove to himself and his loved ones that he's more than just a joker, a drunk, and a screw-up.

2) The Antagonist Plots the Point

Harry's alcoholism and reckless behavior are the antagonistic forces in this story. His attitude of not taking life seriously, along with his alcoholism, is a dangerous combination, often used to cover his low self-image around his family and friends. Raised in the shadow of handsome, successful, and popular older brother, Erik, Harry's resentment grows as they get older. While part of him wants to prove to his family that there's more to him than laughs and good times, he chooses the easy path at age 20 of drinking, partying, and falling in love with a woman who doesn't return his affections, all of which lead to disastrous consequences that will follow him the rest of his life.

Even when Harry tries to make right by working hard at an honest job as an auto mechanic and creating a new life for himself with a wife and kids, the death of his mentor brings to surface his vices. He starts drinking heavily, lying to his family, covering up mistakes on the job, and nearly raping his wife while drunk...most of all, harming himself.

3) Conjuring Your Breakout Title

**A Laughing Matter of Pain
Drinking Down Accusing Green Eyes
Jagged Glass that Heals
The Broken Bottle in His Brother's Shadow

4) Genre and Comparables

Genre: family life (with elements of historical fiction and romance)

Worth the Trouble (St. James Book #2) by Jamie Beck: protagonist feels empty/inadequate and in shadow of older sibling(s), hiding true self behind something else, loss of important figure in life, keeps secret from family, drowns sorrows in alcohol, afraid to open self to love again after bad relationship, reckless behavior, themes of redemption, forgiveness, and second chances important to plot

Carry the One by Carol Anshaw: car accident involving alcohol and manslaughter, protagonist(s) lives with haunting memory of accident, shows many years of character's life and how the ordinary is affected by one awful memory, redemption from addiction theme, very flawed characters that we sympathize with, healing through time and love

5) Considering the Primary Conflict

A young man who grew up under his older brother's shadow and was looked upon as a guy who never took anything seriously struggles to shine while his alcoholism and recklessness threaten all he holds dear.

6) Other Matters of Conflict - Two More Levels


Social secondary conflict: Harry's drinking and recklessness at age 20 cause the death of girlfriend Kat Jones in a car crash. Before that incident, he was convinced Kat loved him back. She shot down his proposal, causing him to drink and drive. Kat only ever considered Harry good for sex, drinking, and partying. He had been in love.

Inner conflict: After years of rebuilding his life (steady job, wife, kids, new father-figure and mentor), Harry's friend, mentor, and father-in-law, Dawson, dies suddenly. Everything Harry worked so hard to mend unravels. Torn between staying sober and dealing with the loss of Dawson and drinking, he chooses the latter. He hates his actions and the hurt he's causing his family, but his grief is too great to handle. He returns to believing he's nothing but a screw-up without Dawson's guidance.

7) The Incredible Important of Setting

Cleveland, OH - 1925-1939

Beginning of book: Harry's childhood home, based off the turn-of-the-century two-story home my grandma grew up in; details true to the original, such as a large rock by the street, the back door with a window that was always getting broken by stray balls and had to be covered with a board, wooden floorboards that endured the stomping and running of children's feet while growing up, and Harry's brother's baseball trophies left behind, all are details that play a role later in the book.

Middle: prison, showing the dire situation of the time period when prisoners were left idle and kept mostly silent, their thoughts left to drive them crazy.

Middle: Dawson's house and garage, which are old brick buildings in the Haymarket district of Cleveland (no longer exists), which was the slummy part of the city. It's the place where Harry starts over, learns his trade (fixing cars after he wrecked his parents' car), meets Kathy (his wife), and build a family. It's in this small, tattered place where Harry finds hope again.

End: back to his childhood home to see his family after many years; the big rock is still there, but the board over the window is gone, showing the passage of time, yet how some things never change.

PaulaConstant
Posts: 1
Joined: 30 Aug 2018, 13:18

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#17 Post by PaulaConstant » 08 Sep 2018, 12:26

1. Story Statement:
Lælia, a young girl of the Spanish nobility, must defy the 7th Century Visigothic Crown and Church when civil war threatens her home and the man she loves.

2. Sketch the antagonist:
Oppa is the bastard son of Count Egica, who will one day be King. Corrupted by a childhood witnessing his father’s sadistic practices, he is an ambitious master of manipulation, with dark proclivities and no conscience. Mistaking Lælia for a peasant on their first encounter, Oppa desires her on first sight. His subsequent attempt to rape her is thwarted by Theo, Lælia’s betrothed, with whom she has already formed a fierce bond. Lælia’s rejection, and her love for Theo, trigger a twisted obsession in Oppa. His desire to tame and possess Lælia is equalled only by his savage hatred of Theo, whom he longs to publicly humiliate. As they both enter the Emperor’s service in the famed Karabisianoi naval fleet, Oppa stalks and tortures Theo across the Circle of Lands, their enmity reaching its peak at the pivotal Battle of Sebastopolis. As Visigothic Spain enters its final decline beneath his father’s sadistic rule, Oppa uses those he cultivates abroad to acquire power, coin and information as he seeks Theo’s destruction and the possession of both Lælia herself, and the powerful lands she holds.

3. Breakout title:
The Votive Crown

Alternates
Circle of Lands
Seven Scrolls

4. Comparables:

Here be Dragons, by Sharon Penman
Odinn's Child, Tim Severin


5. Primary Conflict:
As the Visigothic Kingdom erodes from within, and the corrupt forces of Church and State pursue their own ambitions, Lælia must defy all convention to become both warrior and leader.

6. Secondary conflicts:
a/ Lælia’s childhood allegiance is to her family and the people of her homeland, Illiberis. In her betrothal to Theo, however, she finds a deeper loyalty, one of heart and soul. When he disappears in the company of Oppa, she suspects a conspiracy which implicates the highest echelons of Church and Crown. Revealing the truth will force Illiberis to join the voices of rebellion, threatening not only the unified Spain her family has fought for, but the very lives of those she loves. Yet to ignore her suspicions betrays Theo, her own heart, and all those oppressed by the Crown's corrupt rule - whilst opening the way for Oppa to return and force her hand in marriage.

b/Both Theo, Lælia’s betrothed, and Yosef, her oldest friend, are lost to Spain as a result of Oppa’s treachery. Whilst Theo faces torment by Oppa, he must also learn the art of war on fields far from home, fighting in the Emperor’s fleet against the growing might of the Arabic Caliphate. Yosef’s journey spans the medieval Circle of Lands to discover the secrets of silk making, travelling deep into Arabic lands on his way. Both dream of returning to Spain – Theo to Lælia; and Yosef to the Jewish community in Illiberis, which he hopes to save with the silk industry. But both must first overcome those who seek their destruction, and their own inner fears.

7. Setting:
Spain in the late 7th century is uneasily united beneath Visigothic rule. The South’s ancient, wealthy Roman aristocracy maintains economic ties with Jewish merchants, whilst in the capital of Toledo, the powerful Christian Church dominates the Crown, which eyes the South with suspicion and envy. Illiberis, destined to become modern day Granada, exemplifies the South's sophistication and isolation, shielded by soaring mountains and proximity to the coast. In this cradle of old Hispania pagan mountain tribes, despised by the Christian Visigoths as heretics, worship primeval gods from their caves, and Christianity holds little sway. Further afield, the last vestiges of the Western Roman Empire give way to the war for supremacy between Constantinople and Damascus. The ambitions of the Arabic Caliphate are held at bay by a precarious alliance of Saharan tribes, led by a fierce warrior queen. Whilst Spain’s South looks to the aggressors across the sea, the Visigothic nobility in Toledo war amongst themselves, oblivious to the new order threatening their shores.

lawgmv1968
Posts: 1
Joined: 09 Sep 2018, 18:18

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#18 Post by lawgmv1968 » 09 Sep 2018, 18:30

Story Statement:
Narrative Non-Fiction: A teenage boy's experience as an Apprentice Animator and his harrowing escape from and subsequent life-long struggle to overcome the horrific sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of his mentor, a Disney Animator.

Antagonist:
Fred, a successful animator for Disney, uses the company’s art program for kids to lure talented young boys to work with him as ‘apprentice animators’, only to twist this opportunity into his own sadistic game of manipulation and conquest as he proceeds to hack away at their psyche in an effort to satisfy his own depraved pedophilic sexual desires.

Title:
Mousetrap

Comparables:
Fifty Years of Silence by Jan Ruff O’Herne
Secret Keepers by Susan Dale

Primary Conflict:
It’s 1983, and Glen, a 15-year old aspiring artist, participates in a Disney-sponsored art program and gets invited by Fred, one of the presenters and an experienced Disney animator, to work with him independently as apprentice animator. Glen works for several months with Fred through the mail and then agrees to spend two-weeks in Florida with Fred in a more intensive one-on-one environment. Glen is unaware that Fred has lured him to Florida with the goal of seducing him to satisfy his twisted pedophilic desires. As the two weeks begin, Fred initiates a campaign to destroy Glen’s ability to refuse his advances. All alone and 1,500 miles from home, Glen has to figure out how to save himself from this horrific situation.

Secondary Conflict:
Glen, a rule-follower who respects adults, is left alone in Florida with Fred, where he is emotionally overwhelmed with the idea of being away from home alone for the first time. As Fred begins his predatory scheme, Glen begins to drown in the confusion of Fred’s behavior mixed with his parents’ expectations for him to take advantage of this expensive and unique opportunity as he tries to save himself from this abusive situation. After his harrowing escape from Fred, Glen returns home and remains silent about his experience causing him to spend the rest of his teenage years and beyond battling the shame, disappointment, confusion, and embarrassment of what happened to him. As he migrates through adulthood, he tries to build a life as he struggles with anxiety, depression and PTSD.

Setting:
The story is across three main settings. The first is Glen’s childhood home and church. This is where he spends the majority of his time and these are the places that have shaped who he is as a person. While his home is an upper-middle class house in a nice neighborhood where nothing bad happens, his parents have created an environment of strict discipline, order, and routine. There are high expectations for him and his siblings and this is reinforced in his church where his father is Vice President of the Church Council, his mother is the head of the Women’s Organization, and he and his siblings serve as alter stewards and sing in the choir. Thus, his family is viewed as the model Christian family. He is mindful of his manners, trusts and respects his elders, and is a rule-follower. The second setting is Fred’s condo in Florida. This is the opposite of Glen’s home. Fred has created an environment conducive to the manipulation and breaking down of Glen’s defenses and to introduce a lack of orderliness, chaos, and depravity that will enable him to engage in a pattern of sexual and emotional abuse. The third and last setting is a blending of several specific places in Glen’s adult life where he tries to reconstruct his self-esteem and fight off the ever-present and growing feelings of anxiety, self-loathing, and depression borne from his terrifying experience in Florida.

BeachWriter
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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#19 Post by BeachWriter » 09 Sep 2018, 22:38

Seven Assignments

1. Story Statement
‒ As the FDA Commissioner works to restore confidence in the troubled agency, she confronts a biotech firm’s conspiracy to defraud the government that risks public safety and threatens her career.

2. Antagonist / Antagonistic Force
‒ Three individuals create an antagonistic force threatening Dr. MacKenzie’s career and posing a crisis of trust and confidence in the FDA to protect the safety of the American
public.
i. Sam Cooke – Former lobbyist and Chief of Staff to Sen. Carlton Gradison. He was the moving force behind his friend becoming a Senator, and now has convinced him to
run for president. To protect the Senator, he becomes a party to an elaborate blackmail scheme that ensnares MacKenzie and reaches to the highest levels of the
government.
ii Paul Westin – Dr. MacKenzie’s former genomic research colleague. He is now the research director for the biotech company seeking FDA approval of its gene therapy
product with the covert intent to market it for lucrative elective human genetic engineering. He is a co-conspirator in defrauding the FDA by withholding critical
research information, putting him in direct conflict with MacKenzie when he pressures her to ensure approval of their flawed product despite the safety risk.
iii. Jason Tinley – An ex-military mercenary employed by the biotech company to carry out illicit activities. He has engineered the blackmail scheme that has ensnared Dr.
MacKenzie, Sen. Gradison, and Sam Cooke.

3. Breakout Title
‒ Wrongful Acts
- Do No Harm
‒ Crisis of Confidence
‒ Crisis of Trust

4. Genre and Comparables
‒ Genre: Suspense / Thriller – combining medical science with political intrigue
‒ Comparables:
i. Undeniable by Tom Grace
ii. Fatal by Michael Palmer

5. Primary Conflict line
‒ Dr. Alisyn MacKenzie has spent the last two years successfully rehabilitating the tarnished reputation of the FDA and restoring public confidence and trust in its mission. She
is now faced with coercion from several sources to allow approval of a new form of gene therapy despite concealment of damaging research data, but falls victim to a
blackmail scheme when she resists. When confronted with this conspiracy to defraud the FDA, she must choose between allowing approval of the therapy that carries a
potential safety risk, and preventing approval of the flawed product―but at the risk of exposing a dossier of salacious but falsified information that would destroy her career
and personal reputation.

6. Two additional levels of conflict – protagonist’s inner conflict, and secondary conflict
‒ Protagonist’s inner conflict is two-fold:
i. Her dilemma to comply with the illicit demands to promote approval of the gene therapy which may have safety risks for public use, or proceed with what she knows is
the appropriate action of exposing the conspiracy to defraud the FDA and prevent approval, but in so doing risk irreversible damage to her career and personal
reputation by the public release of the dossier by her blackmailers.
ii. The aforementioned inner conflict has a secondary layer of complexity due to her prior physical relationship with Paul Westin, now research director for Genomix,
during the time they worked together years previously. When confronted with her former colleague’s complicity in the conspiracy to defraud the FDA, she is conflicted
between her need to expose the conspiracy and reveal his complicity, and her desire to somehow insulate him from it.
‒ Secondary conflict – this revolves around the friendship dating back to college and professional relationship between Sen. Gradison, his wife, and his Chief of Staff, Sam
Cooke. It was Cooke who encouraged his friend to enter politics, first as a senator and then as a presidential candidate. But unlike Gradison, whose career was steeped in
his value system of integrity and values, Cooke early on became enamored with political influence and power―first as a lobbyist, and later as the architect of Gradison’s
burgeoning political career. Cooke becomes a reluctant participant in the plot to pressure and then blackmail MacKenzie into securing approval of the Nu-Genomix gene
therapy. When his role in this is revealed to Gradison and his wife, their relationship becomes fractured in what are extraordinarily intense confrontations of emotional
angst and vitriol.

7. Setting
‒ Primary Setting: Washington, DC and suburban Maryland
i. Food and Drug Administration – scene set for Dr. MacKenzie’s current situation as FDA Commissioner who has recently rehabilitated the Agency’s previously tarnished
reputation, which becomes disrupted by the major plot complication—the conspiracy to defraud the FDA.
ii. US Senate office buildings – setting of various meetings of Sen. Gradison and his manipulative Chief of Staff.
iii. US Senate hearing conference room – site of an important hearing and report of FDA Commissioner MacKenzie to the Senate HELP Committee, which provides
Congressional oversight to the FDA. This serves as the scene set in reinforcing her role in successfully restoring confidence in the work of the FDA, and also
demonstrating her expertise in genomic research and explaining the current state of the FDA’s gene therapy evaluation process.
iv. Office of Health and Human Services – setting for HHS Secretary who has been politically incentivized to pressure MacKenzie to ensure approval of the gene therapy
product..
‒ Secondary Settings:
i. Baltimore, MD – setting of the initial murder-suicide sparking homicide detective’s investigation which leads him to a biotech company and its gene therapy
product.
ii. Research Triangle of Raleigh-Durham North Carolina – setting of Nu-Genomix main research site for its gene therapy and concealed research data.
iii. Charlotte, North Carolina – setting for Nu-Genomix corporate office and scene set for Board meetings and strategy meetings to covertly secure FDA approval of
their gene therapy product.
iv. Rome, Italy – EUR – setting of Nu-Genomix animal research facility.

JohnLisaAuthors
Posts: 7
Joined: 06 Sep 2018, 20:02

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#20 Post by JohnLisaAuthors » 09 Sep 2018, 23:05

Assignment 1:
The protagonist’s goal: Rebel against a corrupt criminal justice system that put an innocent man in prison, and right the wrong before he dies.

JohnLisaAuthors
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Joined: 06 Sep 2018, 20:02

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#21 Post by JohnLisaAuthors » 09 Sep 2018, 23:09

SECOND ASSIGNMENT: Antagaonistic force in “Two Brothers, Two Verdicts.”
Heidi Allen wasn’t old enough to drive, but that didn’t stop Oswego County sheriff’s investigators from putting her in harm’s way as their secret agent in the sometimes violent drug world of rural upstate New York. The sheriff’s office in Oswego was among a growing number of law enforcement agencies across the country that had started tapping underage people to work as confidential informants. The choice to endanger a child was made by officers with little training and no real oversight. While there are thousands of offices, sheriff’s offices are not required to share information or statistics with each other. The sheriff is not even required to work in tandem with other law enforcement agencies within their jurisdiction when working an investigation. The educational requirement is typically minimal, usually a high school diploma or GED. No special background or training is necessary to run for office. The duties and responsibilities among departments varies from county to county, but generally include: operating the county jail; transporting inmates to court; courthouse security; criminal investigations and traffic patrol. In the case of Heidi Allen, the apparent incompetence may have cost her her life.

JohnLisaAuthors
Posts: 7
Joined: 06 Sep 2018, 20:02

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#22 Post by JohnLisaAuthors » 09 Sep 2018, 23:11

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

"Two Brothers, Two Verdicts: The story of Gary the Innocent"
"A Brother’s Guilt"
"Let that Free Man Go"

JohnLisaAuthors
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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#23 Post by JohnLisaAuthors » 09 Sep 2018, 23:13

FOURTH ASSIGNMENT: Develop two smart comparables for your novel. This is a good opportunity to immerse yourself in your chosen genre. Who compares to you? And why?

“Seven Million,” by Gary Craig. This twisting story of an infamous armored car heist includes an intriguing cast of characters similar to the lot who threw in together in the case we write about in “Two Brothers, Two Verdicts.”
“The Ghost of an Innocent Man,” by Benjamin Rachlin. Like the innocent man we write about, the main character in this story is a wrongly convicted man who fell victim to sloppy and possible treacherous police work.

JohnLisaAuthors
Posts: 7
Joined: 06 Sep 2018, 20:02

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#24 Post by JohnLisaAuthors » 09 Sep 2018, 23:14

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.

Primary conflict: A criminal defense lawyer and an investigative reporter confront the unbending power of small town police and prosecutors to try to free an innocent man from prison before he dies.

JohnLisaAuthors
Posts: 7
Joined: 06 Sep 2018, 20:02

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#25 Post by JohnLisaAuthors » 09 Sep 2018, 23:15

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

Next, likewise sketch a hypothetical scenario for the "secondary conflict" involving the social environment. Will this involve family? Friends? Associates? What is the nature of it?

Secondary conflict 1: A longtime criminal defense lawyer grapples with a new role: acting more like a prosecutor to find evidence that three other men kidnapped and murdered the girl that the lawyer’s client was convicted of kidnapping two decades earlier, while the prosecutor becomes more like a defense lawyer to protect the real killers.
Secondary conflict 2: An investigative newspaper reporter struggles with the idea of abandoning the traditional role of objective, uninvolved journalist in the face of clear evidence that a wrong needed to be corrected and that the government has no interest in doing it.

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