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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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#26 Post by JohnLisaAuthors » 09 Sep 2018, 23:16

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.

Oswego County, like many poor rural areas in the mid-1990s, was besieged by drug abuse. Police were looking for an easy and, for them, safe way to infiltrate the stealthy dealers. Shortly after Allen started her work as a drug informant, the deputy handling her was so excited that he boasted at a bar about having a young informant who was about to help make a big bust.
Oswego County was the opposite of what people from out of state think of when they hear “New York.” This wasn’t bright lights and celebrities. It was backwoods and pickup trucks. Its 968 square miles of mostly forest and forever farms was a place of slumping shoulders in 1994. The county had an unemployment rate of 8 percent among its 120,000 residents -- the highest in all of New York state. It was a place people from Rochester and Buffalo knew only as the strange outback they passed through to get to the Thousand Islands.
The towns and their stores and taverns remained largely unchanged. Small-town rules ruled: Everyone knew everyone else’s business. If you had a problem, you went to local law enforcement and trusted them to do right. Barroom brawls and drugs, not kidnappings and murders, filled police blotters.
The Town of New Haven in Oswego County, population 2,700, was one such place. New Haven lies on the southeastern shore of Lake Ontario and borders the towns of Mexico and Scriba. The brave souls who lived in these northern-most towns and villages experienced the brunt of the long, cold winters of the region 40 miles north of Syracuse. The summers and falls bring spectacular beauty, but the winters are brutally harsh and not for the tender of heart. It’s never a matter of how many inches of snow but rather how many feet. Each year the towns compete for record snowfalls, and whether two inches of snow accumulates or three feet, the people who live in these areas carry on, business as usual.

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#27 Post by WendyOrent » 11 Sep 2018, 03:30

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

by Wendy Orent September 10, 2018

Storyline: Liradis, a young scholar turned warrior, must find the Lost Works of Selismonde, ancient, suppressed histories that hold the key to her homeland’s freedom and redemption.

Principal antagonist: The charismatic, seductive pansexual Vann, head of the Order of Swallows, spearheads the invasion of Selismonde to force the Ardain (the people of the enchanted Kingdom of Ardin) off the continent of Lir T’al forever. The Ardain have an intimate history with Selismonde, and have used that country, in the past, as a bridge to extend their control across the continent. Vann wants to free the inhabitants of Lir T’al of Ardain influence, and intends to substitute his own technological and scientific hegemony instead. Both drawn to him and repelled by his drive to power, Liradis appreciates his intelligence, but fears his use of his personal charm, sexuality, and intellect to subvert others - including his acolytes, her teachers, her husband, and, perhaps, Liradis herself.

Title: Legions of the Sun
Alternates: Moon on the Water
Lost Water

Comps: Two recent, large-scale immersive fantasies The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen and City of Lies by Sam Hawke.

Conflict statement: A young woman scholar-turned-fighter struggles to free her homeland, Selismonde, from a brutal occupation by retrieving its Lost Works, suppressed books that reveal Selismonde’s indelible links to an enchanted kingdom, and its possible path to redemption.

Inner conflict: Liradis’s principal inner conflict is her internal struggle over the two men she loves: her first husband Orde, her teacher, a much older monk who abandons his vows of chastity and celibacy for her, but who dies - or does he? - in a mysterious fire that is meant to be an execution, but which may have been something quite different. Liradis believes he is dead, and is persuaded to marry another man, the rebel Swallow Gerard, who, revolted by the cruelty he has witnessed during the invasion of Selismonde, breaks with his master Vann and with the Order of Swallows. Over time, Liradis comes to see Gerard as her life partner. But her love for Orde remains, inviolate - a love Gerard - despite his devotion to her - comes to resent and fear; a vision, whether true or false, has convinced him that Orde is alive and over the Sea in Ardin. Liradis’s search for her lost daughter intensifies her internal conflict and makes Liradis seriously ill, driving her to attempt suicide; she has to accept her enduring love for both men before she can recover.

Secondary conflict: The Order of Swallows and their two allied armies, the Underdwellers - skilled craftsmen and brutal warriors - and the Corvati, a neighboring people long hostile to Selismonde, invade that pacific country to drive the Ardain out of Selismonde and strip the continent of their influence. Much of the novel involves the story of Selismonde’s resistance to that invasion, a resistance fought initially by Liradis’s first husband Orde and his Adherents, and then by guerrilla warriors. An Ardain attack on the seat of the Swallows, and Liradis’s desperate acts of violence in the Underworld, where she has been enslaved after her husband’s execution, further drive the conflict.

Setting: A large-scale, immersive secondary-world fantasy novel necessarily involves a complex setting. Legions of the Sun begins in the dreaming city of Fairhaven, capital of a country too pacifist and civilized to maintain a standing army. Much of the early part of the novel is set in the Academy, on a quiet height on the southernmost edge of the white city, which overlooks the western sea. First we see the thriving city at peace, then the rushed preparations for invasion, then the brutality of life first under siege and then a cruel occupation. A desperate flight north through ruined Selismonde to escape the Underdwellers intent on capturing Liradis ends in her captivity and journey across the badlands to S’gath Nol, city of the Underdwellers. The second part of the novel describes the World Beneath: its hidden beauties and cruelties, the marvelous stonework, the Sacred Rooms (underground grottoes); the stark, terrifying Palace of the King, which becomes a house of horror to Liradis as she endures the King’s brutal attentions; the killing fields, where enslaved ghouls grow the Underdwellers’s grain and kill people the Underdwellers want eliminated; the magnificent ancient library, the greatest home of learning on the planet, as the Chief Librarian tells her, where she finds the great Lost Works that may redeem her people.

A flight through a hidden portal takes Liradis and her stolen books to the stark, stony desert of Morela, country of the ghouls, who help her escape to Finjar, green country of nomadic pastoralists, virgin forests, the dark, timbered Finjar City with its sacred groves and shining Argent River, and marriage to the half-Finjari, rebellious Swallow Gerard. He in turn takes her, under orders, to the cold red marble tower of Valtarra, where she half-falls under the spell of Vann, its leader.

Liradis and Gerard journey back to occupied Fairhaven with the Lost Works, only to find they have been betrayed; pursued by Underdwellers and Swallows, they flee through the Southern countries of Rotela, Anabis, and Jard (which are all very different countries) on a quest to find Liradis’s daughter Hila. Once in Jard, they ride to the Monastery of Thelme, where Orde once lived; they search for Hila, but she has vanished. Gerard is drawn into the quiescent life of the monastery; Liradis, anguished to madness, travels overland to Finjar City, where Gerard eventually finds her again. They live peacefully with the Finjaris for seven years, until Gerard is pulled back into the War in the South, and ultimately killed.

The story ends in Fairhaven again, but a Fairhaven transformed, through Liradis’s Lost Works, into an enchanted country joined once again to Ardin, and taken out of Time - where she finds her lost Orde and her lost child Hila again.

Pitch: Selismonde, the peaceable kingdom, is under attack. Caught between the enchanted land of Ardin, with its sometimes protective, sometimes predatory race of semi-immortal beings known as Ardain, and three invading armies which hate and fear Ardin, the Selismondain are helpless. A young scholar-turned-warrior, Liradis, knows that a set of lost books hold the key to Selismonde’s history and possible deliverance. But no one knows what has happened to those books.

The invaders decapitate Liradis’s father, Commander of the ad-hoc Selismondain army, and burn her husband Orde alive - or do they? Captured, enslaved, taken to the Underworld, Liradis is put to work in the Great Library, where she finds the Lost Works. A desperate act of violence allows her to escape the Underworld, carrying the books with her. But can she return them and their forbidden knowledge to the occupied, tormented people of war-torn Selismonde? And meanwhile, what has really happened to her true love?

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#28 Post by AliQuigley » 11 Sep 2018, 06:04

HI, I'm Ali Quigley from Australia, and it's exciting to be joining you all for the September 2018 conference. :D

Assignment # 1 Story Statement

Gabby McSween is a middle-aged Philadelphian working mum with a ballsy plan to make a comeback in the teenage-dominated world of elite-level gymnastics. To get there she’ll need to overcome injuries, the prejudices of the conservative gymnastics establishment, and the increasingly bizarre and dangerous mind games of a man who sees her comeback as a threat to his daughter’s success.

Assignment # 2 Antagonistic forces

Holden Calvino is a wealthy surgeon, well respected for his work with the city’s medical charities and his efficient surgical practices. When he finds out his daughter’s Olympic dream is in peril because the gym where she trains is going bust, he steps in to buy it. His purchase accords with his ultimate dream – to see his darling daughter make the Olympic team. What Holden doesn’t anticipate is that his goal will be disrupted by a middle-aged housewife mum, intent on making an elite-level comeback. Once he has recognised the seriousness of her threat, he embarks on a campaign to systematically undermine her mental welfare. Using his capacity to charm, he convinces others that Gabby is a trouble maker, is stealing cash from the till, and comes from a dubious criminal background. He manipulates the club into voting her out, and then, when she succeeds on her own terms, he embarks on a more dangerous campaign, ultimately trapping her inside a burning building with no obvious way out.

Assignment # 3 Breakout titles

No Country for Fear
The Smoke Room
Falling into the Sky

Assignment # 4 Smart Comparables

Drawing on the suspenseful world of elite-level gymnastics, exemplified in Megan Abbott's You Will Know Me, and employing the sporting-hero themes exemplified in Simone Biles' best seller Courage to Soar.

Assignment # 5 Conflict line

Ostracized by her local gymnastics community, Gabby must risk her life to win back her reputation and her comeback dream.

Assignment # 6 Inner and Secondary conflict line

Inner conflict

At the story’s outset Gabby lacks confidence and self-esteem. As she embarks on her comeback, and rubs up against her antagonist, she suffers inner turmoil and increasingly doubts her own sanity. She can only restore her inner calm by facing up to a traumatic event from her past, and committing to a redemptive act. This gives her a stronger internal foothold against her external demons.

Secondary conflict

There is a falling out between the primary protagonist and her best friend, the secondary protagonist, Megan. Initially they are cast in a boss-employee relationship and later, through their mutual comeback dreams, they become steadfast friends. The friendship is blown apart when Megan, Gabby’s boss, finds out that Gabby was complicit in covering up a former colleague’s fraudulent scheme. Megan must sack Gabby, and this puts their friendship in desperate peril.

Assignment # 7

Philadelphia is known throughout America and the world as the location for the Rocky franchise, a city where the underdog can rise above his impoverished circumstances through grit, determination and hustle. In comeback scenes where my characters regain their fitness, my story shows them charging up the famous 72 steps immortalised in Rocky, and committing to vigorous strength training on the Schuylkill river boardwalk where Rocky Balboa was seen to train. Later in the story, when Gabby is ostracized from her club, she must find an abandoned warehouse to convert into a gymnastics club. At the time when we enter the novel, Philadelphia is still reeling from a catastrophic downsizing in manufacturing industries. By 2010, when Gabby is kicked out of Holden's gym, she must find set up her own gym in an abandoned warehouse. Here, Gabby is in luck, since the city has no shortage of abandoned buildings and warehouses marked for demolition. The city’s surrounding countryside, with its decommissioned insane asylum, derelict mills and caves famous for staging cult rituals, make for a sinister Gothic landscape, ripe for psychological suspense. The city’s weather patterns, and its vulnerability to hurricanes tracking up the East coast, make it a realistic setting for the final showdown, which takes place during a violent storm, 2011's Hurricane Irene, a tragedy that claimed 49 lives.

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#29 Post by KatyLongWriter » 12 Sep 2018, 02:01

1. Story Statement

A Congolese refugee must outwit the humanitarian system that has imprisoned him, escape from a Ugandan refugee camp, and discover a way to return to the American dream he threw away. Meanwhile, the young English research student interviewing him must fight her own crippling insecurities and white guilt as she tries to find a career she can believe in.

2. Antagonists

Jean-Paul is a charismatic Congolese refugee who agrees to be interviewed by Lucy, an English student, as part of her doctoral research in Uganda. A gifted storyteller, he is known in the camp as “the American”, because he claims to have once lived in America before being exiled back to Uganda a second time. Having suffered through the horrors of civil war, exile, and a stagnant humanitarian system, Jean-Paul trusts no one and acts only in his own interest. Intelligent and strategic, Jean-Paul is willing to manipulate the truth to his own advantage, and is singly focused on finding a way out of the refugee camp and back to California.

Lucy initially perceives Jean-Paul as an ally, but is increasingly suspicious about Jean-Paul’s motives telling her the story of his exile, and less certain about where the truth lies in his narrative. She starts to question whether Jean-Paul is exploiting her guilt and her insecurity about the value of her work for his own ends. Yet as Jean-Paul shows Lucy how a flawed humanitarian system has entrapped him, Lucy is forced to confront both her own powerlessness and her own privilege, recognizing that she is in fact far closer to the aid workers she critiques than to the refugees she says she wants to help.

3. Breakout Title

The Refugee’s Return
All-American Refugee
The Refugee Storyteller

The Incredible Story of Jean-Paul Kayibanda
The Selfish Humanitarian
The Dream Feeder (from Aeschylus “I know how men in exile feed on dreams”).
The All-American Refugee
Strategies for Surviving Exile. (The Dream Feeder, or strategies for surviving exile?)
We are all refugees now

4. Comparables

The Refugee’s Return is a work of commercial upmarket fiction. It crosses the sweeping transcontinental narratives of exile, loss and the longing for escape found in Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West with the perceptive satire found in humanitarian aid memoirs such as Damian Brown’s Bandaid for a Broken Leg or Kenneth Cain’s Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures.

5. Conflict Line

A young English student is thrown into crisis when, after hearing the unbelievable story of one Congolese refugee who journeyed to America only to eventually find himself back in a Ugandan refugee camp, she must confront the limits of humanitarianism in the face of a permanent refugee crisis.

6a. Inner Conflict

Lucy’s insecurities stem in part from her fear that her academic research is worthless and irrelevant given the urgent needs of the refugees she has met in Kusubiri. Lucy lacks confidence in her own research skills and feels that she is an academic imposter, although she is determined to convince her refugee informants of her own professionalism. After four months in the refugee camp Lucy is also extremely lonely, and anxious for the refugees she interviews — particularly Jean-Paul — to like her. She is desperate to find some sense of purpose in her research work.

When Jean-Paul — having finished telling Lucy his story — asks her for money to help him secure his return to America, Lucy erupts in anger. Lucy feels that Jean-Paul has manipulated her, exploiting her need for friendship. Uncertain as to how much of Jean-Paul’s story she can now believe, Lucy also feels that her worst fears about the quality and meaning of her work have been confirmed.

6b. Secondary Conflict

Angry and frustrated at the intransigence of humanitarian bureaucracy, and determined not to wait forever in Kusubiri refugee camp, Jean-Paul deliberately attempts to provoke conflict with the UN officials in the camp — most notably Fabrice — as a possible means of securing one of the exit visas reserved for “political activists”. Fabrice, despite being sympathetic to the refugees’ complaints, has limited power to act and must try to keep the peace. When Jean-Paul stages a public protest, their frustration spills over and the two men come close to a physical altercation.

7. The Setting

The Refugee’s Return is primarily set in Kusubiri refugee camp, Uganda. Kusubiri — a settlement of some 40,000 refugees close to the Congolese border — is surrounded by steamy green jungle, red soil and rising mountains. This picturesque setting, however, means that Kusubiri is extremely isolated. There is limited electricity, almost no cell phone coverage or internet, and the camp is quite literally at the end of the road.

However, Kusubiri is not a place of crisis. Most of the refugees living in Kusubiri arrived twenty years ago (or were born in the camp). Some are successful farmers or own small businesses, although there are also many extremely impoverished families living on the margins of the settlement. For the most part Kusubiri does not resemble a humanitarian camp as much as a small African town, complete with permanent institutional buildings (a school, a Catholic mission, a marketplace). In place of a town hall, the UN compound stands in the center of the camp, separated from the settlement by wire fencing and security.

For its residents, Kusubiri is both a sanctuary and a prison. While the camp has saved the lives of thousands of refugees, they are now trapped. All of its inhabitants are desperate to leave: but almost no one has the means to do so, for Kusubiri has been almost entirely forgotten by the outside world.

Berkeley, California, provides a secondary setting for later scenes in The Refugee’s Return. Both Lucy and Jean-Paul find themselves living here some five years after their encounter in Uganda. Berkeley’s cultural significance — as a wealthy place valuing academic excellence and visibly left-wing politics and — is an important backdrop to Lucy’s reflections on her time in Kusubiri. More broadly, the ideal of California — sunny, energetic and optimistic — is set in opposition to the slow decay of life in Kusubiri

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#30 Post by mikeswedenberg » 12 Sep 2018, 05:08

1. Story Statement: Expose the psychopath CEO before he destroys the company.

2. Antagonist Profile
Lawrence Dubonski III was a petty, malicious antagonist. Grandson of the benevolent and generous founder of Krakow Foods, he assumed control of the company after the death of his grandfather.
Born, reared and educated in California, he resented the success of the New York Sales Division where the company is headquartered. He employs a lackey he met in college, Francis Green, to serve as his puppet by infiltrating the New York sales division and disrupt the team, eliminate the protagonist Danny Freedman and reclaim the heirloom gold watch that was presented to Danny by the founder.
Lawrence is tired of his California Division always being in second place to New York. As payoff, he allowed his pawns to embezzle money from the company and claim title as the number one sales division that New York has held for 15 years.
In Scene 18, Danny Freedman was presented with a gold watch by the founder in recognition of his service. Here the main antagonist was reveled in the last passage.
This was the high-water mark for Danny. Everyone stood and applauded, except for three souls in the back of the banquet hall, John Gallo, a manager from the west coast, Francis Green, a salesman from Los Angeles and next to him, the founder’s grandson Lawrence Dubonski the Third who seethed with rage as Danny strapped on the watch. Lawrence saw it as his inheritance and vowed to get it back.

3. Breakout Titles
Bully Boss
The Manager from Hell
The King of Manhattan

4. Genre and Comps
General Fiction / Business and Professional
White Color Crime

Then We Came to the End: 2017 by Joshua Ferris
Liar's Poker (Norton Paperback) 2010 by Michael Lewis
Chasing Phil: The Adventures of Two Undercover Agents with the World's Most Charming Con Man by David Howard

5. Conflict Lines
Lawrence Dubonski III is willing to cause great harm to his family’s company and loyal employees to accomplish his goals. He sets a plan in motion to solidify his power base, eliminate the protagonist Danny Freedman and reclaim the heirloom watch that was presented to Danny by Lawrence’s grandfather, the company founder.

A star salesman spent his career helping build a small family run company into a national organization only to have the founder’s grandson undermine and destroy everything he has achieved.

The protagonist Danny Freedman’s inner demon is his irrational fear of authority. When we first meet Danny, he is easily intimidated by his superior officers in the Army. Even though he is popular with his fellow servicemen and his commanding officers treat him well, he cannot shake his insecurity.
Throughout the course of the story, Danny fights his internal enemy and slowly gains his confidence. By the final chapter, Danny has grown into a confident, strong willed man to be reckoned with who can barely recognize his former self.
Danny achieves this new persona in four steps.
First, he focuses on his dreams to break out of his safe and secure Army job and set out on his own to make a great living and achieve a comfortable lifestyle. In the first third of the story, Danny faces obstacles that normally would have stopped him cold, namely his CO trying to persuade his to forestall his pipe dreams until he retires from the service. Danny screws up the courage to break free and head back to New York City and be totally on his own.
Secondly, from the get go, Danny is faced with rapid fire rejection and ridicule from the hardned professionals he meets in pursuit of a well-paying job. Within the first morning he begins to regret his decision and wonders if he can go back to the Army base with his tail tucked between his legs.
Danny managed to stay strong, if not fearless, for one last round of job interviews. He fought for what he believed in and success is his when he landed a job above his paygrade and one he was not qualified. His insecurity flares up again and again but Danny remains resilient.
By the first plot point Danny maintained his greatest strength, his optimism and sense of humor and focused on the positives he has achieved in the face of a nemesis who is out to destroy Danny’s career and that of his colleagues.
Finally, Danny refused to settle for the demeaning position the antagonist tried to force on him, He fought back and by the final scene, he stated out loud what he has felt for a long time, that the bad sales manager was merely a puppet of the true antagonist, the founder’s grandson. Without the perseverance to overcome his internal demons, Danny never would have prevailed.

Sketch out the conditions for the inner conflict your protagonist will have.

Danny will suffer from anxiety attacks when confronted with authority figures. His mouth will go dry, he will feel light headed and depending om the situation he will experience stomach pains. It is never revealed why he has this condition. By all accounts he had a normal childhood in spite of his father’s death when Danny was a child. The father figure was quickly filled by his beloved Uncle Ralph who guided him through life.

Possible inner conflict scenario
Early on in his sales career, Danny is called on to present a territory analysis to the CEO. Although Danny will be prepared and rehearsed and knows the information in detail he stumbles and fumbles through the presentation. He constantly sips water to keep his throat from going dry and he refrained from eating breakfast so he wouldn’t get the heaves. Danny’s technique is to take a deep breath and exhale while he speaks. He moves at a quick but trembling pace just to get it over with even if it diminishes his stature in front of the CEO.

6b. Danny’s secondary conflict is his insecurity about his short stature. Danny is 5 feet, 5 inches high. He hairline is receding and he is slightly over weight for his age and height although he exercises regularly, eats a relative healthy diet and is a moderate drinker.
In this scenario, Danny is invited to a conference for executives in the grocery industry. Since he is not in a situation that would trigger his anxiety, he feels self-conscience about his appearance. He compensates with a tailor-made suit, Egyptian cotton shirt that’s been altered to fit perfectly, and designer dress shoes with a thick sole to give him that extra half inch in height. He wears an expensive watch and pinkie ring. He has over dressed for the business casual conference and far above his station on the corporate ladder. Only now can he comfortably mingle.

7. Setting
FINAL ASSIGNMENT: sketch out your setting in detail.
Scene 39 (The set up)
The setting is the fast paced and crowded Manhattan in 1980 during the normal work day. The streets are buzzing with traffic, honking horns, jammed intersections, road construction and sidewalks teaming with pedestrians, some sight seeing others rushing to work or a meeting.
The Protagonist Danny Freedman is a born and bred New Yorker and the City is a daunting place for those from out of town. There are sidewalk vendor selling dirty water hot dogs, aggressive panhandlers and street musicians that overwhelm the synapses and adds to the conflict Danny has with his new sales manager, the antagonist Francis Green, who hails from a small sleepy town in the north west.

Scene 41 They meet at the parking lot.
"Good morning Francis. How’s it going? Say, you missed the spot. I said I’d meet you at the space facing the Empire State Building."
Green looked over his shoulder. "There it is."
"No, Francis, that’s the Chrysler building and the Empire State building is down there. You can see it better from the lower level."
Green shook his head. "No it’s not." He pointed to the Chrysler Building and said, "The Empire State building is right there. Every school kid knows that landmark."
...Green took the map and asked, "Are we in Manhattan now?"
"No, we’re still in Queens. We have to take the F train over the Fifty Ninth Street Bridge to Second Avenue."
Green looked puzzled, "You mean you don’t take your car to your accounts?"
"No, I walk. Can’t you tell by my fine physique?" He spread his arms out, spun and smiled.
"Why don’t you park in front of the stores?"
Danny dropped his arms, "You can’t. The city has these big signs that say, ‘Don’t even think of parking here.’ It’s a hundred dollar fine if you’re towed away."
"You need to take this seriously. Is there a subway stop near your home?"
"No, but I can take a bus to one."
"Then you don’t need a company car."
... Danny’s experience in sales taught him to think on his feet. He held his hand up toward Green.
"I’m sorry Francis, I didn’t make myself clear. I only use the subway when I work Midtown. The parking lots there are expensive. I need the car when I work downtown, uptown and Harlem."
Green paused. "Well, where is this train station?"
Danny sighed with relief as he pointed the way.

Scene 42
As the two stepped into the poorly lit entrance, Danny noticed Green apprehension. ... Green looked around nervously, as the two squeezed into the subway car.
“Francis, is this your first subway ride?” Danny asked.
“Of course not. I’ve been on the San Francisco trolley.”
“Well, this is a little different. You better hold on.”
The train lurched forward and threw Green off balance as he grabbed for the strap. There were Blacks, Spanish, Chinese, Indians and even a few middle-aged White guys, a regular U.N. of the New York subway system. There was a man dressed in a black top coat, odd-looking hat, beard and long curls wrapped around his ears.
“Why is he wearing that stupid get up?” Francis asked.
“He’s an Orthodox Jew. It’s their custom. Why?” Danny asked.
Francis didn’t respond. His face screwed up in disgust as the train came to a halt.
“This is our stop,” Danny said.
Green hesitated as the doors opened. The crowd on the train carried them along onto the platform. As they climbed the stairs to the sidewalk, Green pointed to the street sign. “Do you have accounts on Houston Street?”
“Well it’s pronounced How-ston, not Houston like the city in Texas.”
“What? You just make up stuff to pretend you know more than me or are you just clueless about your territory?”
“No Francis. I think the two were named after different people. This Houston pronounced his name differently.”
“You’ll quickly find I can’t be bulldozed.”
“I’m not—”
A passing fire engine blasted its siren forcing Green to cover his ears. A taxi speed through a red light as pedestrians scurried out of the way. Several men with squeegees moved into the intersection and began washing windshields as the drivers frantically waved them off.
“What are those guys doing?” Green asked.
“Oh, they’re just trying to make a living.”
Green watched as one driver rolled down his window and gave the squeegee guy some loose change.
”How can anyone make a living doing that?” Francis asked.
”I suppose if they pick up a quarter every time the light turns red, they could earn six or seven bucks an hour. Maybe it’s the only job they can find. I never thought about it.”
Danny pointed down the street toward their first sales call of the day, Savin’s supermarket.
As the squeegee guy returned to his post on the corner, Green looked down the block where there was another grocery store, two vegetable stands and a deli. He studied the situation and asked, "Why is there more than one food store on this street?"
"Francis, millions of people live here. They have to buy their food somewhere."
"People live in Manhattan? It's just office buildings, everyone knows that. I was wondering why you brought me here. I thought you were just stalling for time."
“Francis, this is my territory.”
Green looked puzzled, "How many stores are there in Manhattan? There can’t be more than three or four."
"About three hundred. About my territory—”
"Three hundred? How many square miles?”
"I never thought about it that way. Let’s look at the map, three miles wide, and nine miles long. That’s about twenty-seven square miles, but Manhattan is an island tapered at the top and bottom and there is Central Park...Wait a minute, why would you think I would want to stall for time?"
“An island?” Green waved him off. "Three hundred stores? Twenty-seven miles? That’s ten stores per square mile, impossible. In my old territory, each store had a parking lot that’s one square mile."
"I don’t think we’re in Oregon any more Toto. Listen Francis, I’ve lived here all of my life," He paused to let the words sink in. "I know the city and my accounts."
"How big is New York City?"
"Which part?"
"All of it?"
"I don’t know for sure, but it covers a lot of geography and—”
"You cover all of New York City?"
"No, just Manhattan, I—”
"I’m in no mood for your jokes.” Green set his briefcase on the sidewalk and placed his fists on his hips. "Who covers the rest?"
"I’m not joking, Joe covers Brooklyn and Staten Island, Bill has Queens. But you should know that…"
"Wait a minute," Green raised his voice in frustration, "I thought Brooklyn was a city."
"No, Brooklyn is a borough of New York City."
Green was baffled. "Burro? You mean like a mule?"
"No Francis, b-o-r-o-u-g-h, a municipal corporation, an incorporated town. New York City has five parts. Remember the song, ‘I’ll take Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island too."
Green stared at Danny.
"Work with me on this Francis. Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island are the five parts of New York City. Here, look at the map. They call them boroughs. I know it’s a funny name. It’s like Louisiana where they call their counties Parishes."
"Parishes? I never heard that before. I’ll ask someone who knows what he’s talking about. We’ll discuss your territory later. Let’s go."
“You think I’m making this all up?” Danny asked.

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Joined: 03 Sep 2018, 22:12

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#31 Post by dmariecloutier » 12 Sep 2018, 22:39

1. Story Statement:

Amirah Rasul and her brother Hakim seek to escape the war in Syria and gain entry to the United States by offering an ancient gospel Hakim discovered to an American college professor.

2. Sketch of the Antagonist

The greatest antagonistic force is the partnership of Roberto Carbone and Bishop Gianni Rosselini, who join forces to try to steal the Q gospel from Hakim and Amirah. Carbone provides the technological know-how and physical stealth for their operation, while the Bishop finances their endeavor with Church funds. Carbone is a con-artist, raised in the Italian tenements of the South Village, who first served as the Bishop’s fixer twenty years earlier when Carbone’s little sister became pregnant with the Bishop’s child and Carbone arranged for the abortion. Although the relationship did not end the Bishop’s career, he was transferred from his luxurious position in the Archdiocese of New York to the poverty-stricken Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, a place he loathes. Carbone wants Q for the money it will bring, while the Bishop wants to deliver Q to the Church, hoping his efforts will be rewarded with a transfer back to New York City. As Carbone repeatedly fails in his attempts to steal the gospel, the Bishop realizes that the amount of money he’s had to embezzle is getting so significant that they can’t fail – he’ll need to have something to show the Church in defense of the expenses.

Another antagonistic force is Professor Andrew Donne, the world’s leading authority on the Q gospel and the individual Hakim and Amirah are relying on to help them. Although well-intentioned, the Professor doesn’t have the resources to do what he promised and his efforts and his obsession with Q put Hakim and Amirah at greater risk.

3. The Breakout Title

A Way Out

The Lost Gospel from Aleppo

A Better Place

4. Two Smart Comparables

This story combines the contemporary refugee experience of EXIT WEST by Mohsin Hamid with the love of ancient manuscripts embodied throughout THE LOST BOOK OF THE GRAIL by Charlie Lovett.

5. The Conflict Line

When Syrian scholar Hakim Rasul discovers an ancient gospel unearthed in the 2013 bombing of Aleppo University, he and his sister Amirah use the gospel to try to get help to escape the war and gain entry to the United States, but the people they reach out to for help are either incapable or corrupt and make an already treacherous journey even more dangerous.

6. Other conflicts

Secondary conflict

There is continuing conflict between Hakim and Amirah regarding what to do with Q. Hakim is a scholar, a purist at heart, and he values the gospel he has discovered and the importance it might have to Christians and the world. He not only wants to ensure the gospel’s preservation, he believes it is their responsibility. Amirah only sees the gospel as their ticket out of the war. She believes that they need to place their safety above that of an old scroll. While she initially agrees to contact Hakim’s choice of Professor Donne as the person to help them get out of Syria and into the U.S., she fears that Donne doesn’t have the resources to do what they need and she continues to want to reach out to someone else for help, which she ultimately does without telling Hakim, and her decision puts them in greater danger.

Inner conflicts

Amirah has built walls to protect herself. She’s already suffered a great deal of loss, including divorce at a young age, the loss of the dream of having children, the loss of her parents who were killed in a car accident, and now the loss of her home and everyone and everything familiar as the war escalates and she prepares to flee Damascus. Although raised to help others and to help make the world a better place, Amirah has reached the point where so much has been taken from her that she feels she has nothing else to give, so she defensively places her wants and needs above the rest of the world. She can’t care that Q might benefit the world; she only wants to use Q for the cash it will bring them to establish a new life in the United States. But selling the gospel to a collector will necessarily put the gospel into hiding as a smuggled artifact, and she knows that this is not what her brother Hakim wants, nor what she herself knows is the right thing to do.

7. The Setting

The initial setting is in Syria, at the University of Aleppo which is bombed on January 15, 2013, and at Beit Rasul, the ancestral courtyard home of Amirah Rasul and her brother Hakim, in the Old City of Damascus. They are carrying on their lives in the midst of a war zone, where armed security forces are on every corner, news of death or destruction reaches their door each day, and the dangers are growing increasingly closer.

The Syrian setting is contrasted with that of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where Professor Andrew Donne works in the tranquil environment of academia and lives with his family in an upscale suburban neighborhood.

When Amirah and Hakim begin their journey out of Syria, they travel to Azaz, where they cross the border into Turkey, remain a week in Antakya before heading to Bodrum and Izmir to cross the Aegean Sea. Their journey continues to Lesvos and the refugee camp at Mytilini, then to Athens, and finally to Washington, DC. After a day during cherry blossom time in DC, the last settings are Chapel Hill and the campus of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#32 Post by ElisabethRose » 12 Sep 2018, 23:43

Elisabeth Rose NY Pitch Assignments

Elisabeth Rose, Memoir

1. Story Statement
Save my Border Collie puppy from a mystery illness without driving off my true love.

2. 200-Word Antagonist Sketch

In memoir, the antagonist is usually part of the self, in this case, the fear that I’m unlovable. When my classy mom abruptly moves out after living with my new husband and me for months, it awakens dark memories out of sync with her well-bred persona, like the time our childhood house burned with us in it, the time she--and our father--gave up custody of us kids, or when she told me she hasn’t loved me since I was four years old. To soften the blow of her departure, she buys me my dream dog, an extraordinarily clever, champion-bred Border Collie puppy, Mick. Within weeks, Mick shows signs of failure to thrive. The more vets find nothing wrong, even when he lands in intensive care, the more I see Mick’s failing health as proof that I’m incompetent, unworthy, and cursed. I just fight harder. If Mick dies, it’ll kill me. I fight for his life with everything I wish my mother had shown me. My fear that I'm unlovable blinds me to the truth that if a precocious puppy deserves heroic maternal love, so did the little girl I once was. Yet in my fight to save Mick from a deadly illness only I can see, I risk driving away the one person who loves me best—my new husband.

3. Breakout Title/Subtitle

Dog Mom -- It’s Not a Dog, It’s an Addiction

Too Much Dog -- One Woman’s Fight for the Life of Her Dog, Her Mom, and Herself

4. Two Smart Comparables

A MARRIAGE IN DOG YEARS: A MEMOIR. June 2018. Nancy Balbirer RANKED #25 on Amazon Weekly

DOG MEDICINE: HOW MY DOG SAVED ME FROM MYSELF, by Julie Barton, July 2016. RANKED #25 on the ABA IndieBound Paperback Non-fiction list.


5. Conflict Line

I must save my once-in-a-lifetime Border Collie puppy from a mystery illness only I can see without losing my mind or my true love.

6. Secondary and Inner Conflicts

Secondary: Why did my mother stop loving me when I was four years old? Who stops loving a four-year-old? Four-year-olds are like puppies, they’re adorable! Did something happen to us when I was four? I’m afraid to disrupt my hard-won intimacy with my mother, who’s now dangerously depressed and even suicidal, but I have to know. My sister and I team up and compare life notes. For instance, we discover we both always secretly suspected our mother set the fire that almost killed us as we slept Christmas Eve, 1979. Why would we think such a thing? As our Grandma Rose used to say, “What ails your mother?”

Scenario: From the therapists we see on opposite sides of the country, my sister and I learn our mother shows symptoms of “attachment disorder.” A little Googling has us thinking maybe our mother dropped out of college after her Freshman year (and, I heard, tried to kill herself) because she’d had a secret child out of wedlock and was forced to give it up for adoption. It was the fifties—it all makes sense. For the sake of our children and our sanity, we plan to lay some of the family mysteries to rest. The next time I visit California, we butter Mom up, sit her down, and confront her. She’s poised, primped, and bemused. With a notepad on the table in front of me and my sister by my side, I dare ask, “Are we your only children?”

Inner: The fear that I’m not worth keeping. During the divorce wars, our parents, a "nice" couple who’d made a “nice family” and were raising “nice girls,” both gave up custody of us in court. Since then, my sister and I are plagued by deep-seated unworthiness. Even in the midst of the safest life in which we thought were at least good-enough girls, we weren’t worth keeping. Are we innately unlovable? I worry that, like a Border Collie, I’m just too damn much trouble to love.

Scenario: Something is wrong with my puppy and my vet can’t see it. Maybe she doesn’t know Border Collies. Even though my new South African husband is complaining about the money I’m spending on vet bills, (“In South Africa, he’d be dead at two-hundred dollars”), I find an expensive vet who specializes in high-powered performance dogs from the agility, herding, and greyhound racing circles. This guy’s been practicing for fifty years. He’ll see that Mick may have the energy of a normal dog, but not of a healthy Border Collie. As soon as I get there, though, the old man treats me like a neurotic housewife who doesn’t know shit about Border Collies. He discounts everything I say. I tell him, “I’ve lived with Border Collies for over twenty years. Mick’s half the size of his siblings. He goes days without eating.” The stodgy old vet treats me as if I’m pampered and bored and conjuring drama for myself. He sends me home with the admonishment, “Enjoy your puppy.” I leave the office afraid of myself. Just because the doctor’s a sexist dick doesn’t mean he’s wrong about me. Maybe I have multiple personality disorder and one of my personalities has Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy and is trying to kill my puppy. Perhaps I’m so unlovable, even my puppy would rather starve himself to death than eat anything I feed him. Mick was a gift from my mother, and maybe, just like my suicidal mother, he’d rather die than be loved by me.

7. Setting

It’s a memoir, so I can’t change the settings, but I can make sure I’ve made the most of what I’ve got to work with:
• A Northeastern Pennsylvania sheep farm as Hurricane Sandy bears down, an old barn, dense deciduous forest, remote hillside downtowns, rolling green pastures, long history of devastating floods (Johnstown) and stock dog trial success. This place introduces me to competitive Border Collie sheepherding trial culture in which the'are breeding Border Collies for soundness and “eye,” breeding and raising sheep, and training Border Collies, whom they regard as beloved business colleagues. These people disdain suburban housewives who want merles and seek to breed “Barbie collies” with “off buttons.” The matriarch here warns me that real Border Collies destroy marriages. It also reminds me that no matter how sweet a stable a place is for a very long time, terrible things really can happen.
• The old barn in which I study a litter of first-rate Border Collie puppies and endure the pressure of trying to make the right choice for myself, a dog I can grow and work with but who isn’t so unmanageable it drives me crazy and drives off my new husband. I have to make a wise choice so that I don’t lose the respect of the breeder I so admire. As the farmers prepare for the hurricane, they're watching me. Part of what scares me here is that four of the five available puppies were born blue, and blue coats can signal genetic disease. I fight off a feeling of doom. I can’t dare question their expertise or the ill-informed faith they placed in me.
• The Tampa Bay region, dense population, big houses and featureless “towns” all built since the advent of air-conditioning, cramped yards, sunshine and traffic, plenty of alligators and water moccasins, but no room for sheep, no space to live the “right” way with a Border Collie. Everything about me is all wrong for this awesome dog mysteriously entrusted to my care.
• A dog obedience and agility training club run by middle-aged suburban housewives and single women—a pack of “dog moms.” This place introduces me to strong women quick to judge each other for failing to meet ever higher standards: raw whole dog food diets, dogs in your bed at night, and all-positive reinforcement training ethics. For some of these women, dogs enjoy higher family status than do children. These people disdain those who breed dogs rather than rescue them (conflict within ranks here), look down on shepherds like those who bred my puppy for keeping Border Collies in barns or kennels and working them too hard, and they reserves a special disrespect for men who don’t know dogs.
• The South African “outdoor dog” culture my husband brings with him (dogs live outside like livestock and if they get sick you kill them). To my uneasy delight, he treats Mick like a child to spoil, but I want Mick treated for who he is—a supremely driven, intelligent, biddable, and focused herding dog. When Mick’s health starts to cost real money, suddenly to my husband he’s just a dog.
• And of course, the family culture of daily life with a dynamic, super-intelligent herding dog. A visiting friend once said, “It’s like living with a chimpanzee.”
• A Florida condo beside a field, and in particular, the kitchen floor where I trained Mick to do his charming tricks and tried in vain to feed him. This is the kitchen in which my mother and I cooked side-by-side for six restorative months, and, after she left, I talked to her on the phone every evening while I cooked dinner and she, like the dog she gave me, willfully starved herself.
• My mother’s condo as beautiful and impersonal as a five-star hotel, the one she chose to live alone in rather than with us. From there she spoke to me nightly saying things like, “it doesn’t feel like home, I’m too lonely to eat and wasting away, humans weren’t made to be alone, I wake each night terrified.”
• The charming dog-centric Scottish town of Dunedin caters to locals and tourists. Here Mick amazed strangers with the incongruity of his unnaturally protracted puppy-like appearance, his advanced tricks, and his preternaturally cool and direct gaze. People said, “He’s a boy in a dog suit” and “It’s as if he sees into your soul.”
• An upscale dogs-only pet supply store where Mick charms the staff and baffles them with his dangerously finicky behavior.
• Various veterinarian offices, waiting rooms, exam rooms.
• A veterinary hospital nearly and hour away with an intensive care unit, walls of cages, most empty, some with animals bundled in their silent struggles, IV bags and tubes and monitors, surgery tables, impersonal staff in scrubs, convoluted passageways, glass walls and doors, where no one but me ever visits their sick pets. While Mick is there, I visit every day. What the hell is wrong with me? Why can’t I let him go?
• University of Florida’s Small Animal Research Hospital.
• My Mazda Protégé that ends up serving as Mick’s ambulance.


Lisa has found happiness with a sweet-tempered South African man who wants nothing more than to save money so they can move out of their rented Florida condo and into their own home. Shortly after Lisa’s beloved old dog Casey dies, her widowed mother arrives to visit the newlyweds and announces she’s moving in.

When her mom abruptly moves out again, the departure triggers memories of a house fire, past abandonments, and her mother’s devastating remark, “I haven’t loved you since you were four years old.” As a consolation gift, Lisa’s mother buys her the dog of her dreams, a rare and strangely cool and charismatic Border Collie puppy named Mick. Lisa adores him, trains him, and realizes he’s a phenomenal performing Trick Dog. Then she watches in horror as her once-in-a-lifetime dog slowly wastes away from a mystery illness no one but she can see.

She must save Mick, even at the risk of losing her mind, her true love, and the mother she always longed for.

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#33 Post by keripoka » 15 Sep 2018, 00:33

The Afterlife of the Midnight Seedlings

The Story Statement: Reconcile with a lost childhood to find love and life

The Antagonist: Haru Maity, an orphan adopted into the dynamic Sengupta business empire, is in constant loathing of the weaknesses of the empire's blood heirs. He has plotted for decades, waiting for the tides to turn, before putting his multi-generational ploy into motion to free the creation (the empire itself) from those he resents. From maiming to murder, he does everything from the shadows, predicting and taking advantage of the changing political climates as smoothly as one sips on coconut water, manipulating every rank and file of the establishments. Everyone is his pawn and no one his queen, until, defeated beyond hope, he strives to save his lifelong primary opponent, the only capable, but female, blood heir of the empire.

Breakout Title: The Afterlife of the Midnight Seedlings

The God of Small Things
A Thousand Splendid Suns
(Genre: Literary Fiction)

Primary Conflict:
Aru's lost childhood results from her mother Manasi's obsession with her paternal empire to which Manasi had no claims to as a female heir in a deeply patriarchal 80's India. By embarking on a journey of reconciliation to support her mother in saving the empire from a catastrophic multi-generational plot while in a dysfunctional marriage and a mother herself now to an infant daughter, Aru runs the risk of losing her own sanity and subjecting her daughter to a fate not too dissimilar to hers.

Secondary conflict:
Maxim Kostylev, Aru' true love, is a man-child like herself who battling demons of his own. He was brought to the States as a child and blames himself for the lifelong toiling of his parents in hourly jobs in place of the prosperous academic careers they had forsaken in order to give him an American life. Aru had chosen to forsake Maxim and marry Ayan on the rebound and is now left with the consequences of such a marriage, including an illicit on and off relationship with Maxim whom she is unable to forget.

The story starts in 80’s India where a seven-year-old Aru wakes up daily in the city of joy, afraid of her own mother. Kolkata, the city of joy situated by the Hooghly River in Bengal, India, is also a city of ‘dawn at midnight' with migrants and day laborers culminating their long trip into the city at its train stations before daybreak. They walked past the sleepy apartment buildings, chattering in unison and spitting red juice onto the street side walls, pouring into the veins of the city like a swarm of beetles. By the time Aru was jolted into full awareness, they were long gone – absorbed into obscurity in the construction sites and markets in the city center – to be spewed out again only at dusk. But unlike them, Aru had no place to disappear into once awake. For her mother, Manasi – previously (pre-marriage) - Sengupta, was obsessed with staying a Sengupta even at the cost of losing Manasi.
The pre-partition state of Bengal, home to former British capital Calcutta (now Kolkata), was split into halves during partition. The eastern part, though separated geographically from Pakistan by India in between, was made a part of Pakistan while the western half (West Bengal), with Kolkata in it, remained with India. Modern-day Bangladesh came into existence in the ‘70s following a bloody struggle as the eastern part gained independence from Pakistan. But West Bengal; albeit no stranger to turmoil, had mostly just continued to be in the post-independence chapters of the sub-continent. And risk takers and doers who appreciated the advantages Kolkata, its port city by Hooghly (the Ganges tributary) had to offer, had continued to flock to here. Food, clothing, housing, and education were priced in pennies or government subsidized. Labor was cheap with migrants from neighboring Bihar and Bangladesh pouring in, and religion and caste – the usual impediments to business elsewhere in the country – were comparatively irrelevant under the communist rule. For entrepreneurs with the how-to-s of keeping the unions and officials happy, Kolkata could yield prolific riches. But the Bengalis - the rice eating, afternoon napping, slogging in government job incompetents who had been spoiled for generations - didn't want to know the business. The Bengalis wanted to be thinkers. Debaters. Wonder-ers and ponder-ers. Except for the Senguptas.

The story in the second half is placed in the US, alternating between the gorgeous upstate New York town of Ithaca where Aru and Maxim meet, and the desert scape of Phoenix Arizona, where Aru lives with her husband and child in the present day. The contrast of the two settings plays to emphasize the contrast of the two Aru’s – the one with the memories of a lost childhood, idealizing the lost causes of the society and dreaming of carefree love and life of revolt; and the one with a child stuck in a dysfunctional marriage, with an empire to rebuild stepping into her mother’s toes.
The manicured communities and the maze of tangled freeways of metropolitan Phoenix. The raw pulse of the surrounding desert throbbing - scorpions scurrying in and out through the gravel, crickets buzzed incessantly. Boulders punctuating the hill facades competing with the cacti for attention - providing cover to crouching predators. The Palo Verdes. The Mesquites. The Elms. Even the Shishoos – the unwanted invasive outsiders. The trunks twisting and bending and the canopies wispy. Showcasing what can be achieved by life even in sparsity, advocating what need to be achieved, ruthlessly trimming out all fanfare.
And Ithaca, the hidden town with breathtaking, plundering, gorges punctuating every block. Waterfalls to listen to and midnight seedlings who reserve their whispers for special lover ears. Silent mornings. Fairy-tale beauty. And a predominantly student population. Mostly rickety half-century old wooden houses and smiling kind looking strangers who stop to ask ‘How are you doing?' Eager souls come here to form and reside side by side with the local hippies and farmers. The bourgeois and the brilliant, the bearers of tomorrow handpicked from around the world. And a Commons where strangers dance with one another every Thursday. A boutique line up of shops juxtaposed against the smell of weed in the air. A place where even ambition, towering high like the Ivies on the walls not so far away, lets her guard down. Taking in instead the whispers of an unassuming life, she sits down on the Commons center pavilion with a yerba mate stretching her legs, oblivious to the folds of her skirt slipping gently, threatening immodesty. She then slowly lies down, listening to the sounds of musical instruments from faraway lands, breathing in incense smells. Where Aru too, taking a respite alongside ambition, had met Maxim Kostylev.

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#34 Post by ShannonArizona » 17 Sep 2018, 22:56

Story Statement:

Battle a disbelieving community and an unsympathetic legal system to clear her mother's name of the crime of attempted filicide.


Kay is a psychopathic nurse; her partner, Dr. Ellis is a sociopath. They share a disregard for laws, social mores, and the rights of others. Both, if they see the need and can do so with impunity, are willing to engage in violent behavior.

Kay is cool, calm, and meticulous. Her primary goal is to win —especially when it comes to people. The bane of her existence is her failure to be rid of Aiyana two decades earlier. She will do anything to succeed this time around, for it is through Aiyana that her past crimes can be exposed.

Dr. Ellis is cold-hearted and hot-headed. He frequently demeans and abuses his staff. Unlike Kay, though, he does, have a conscious, but it is slight—not enough to keep him from doing anything Kay asks of him.

Working Titles:

Make Thick my Blood
Eternal Blossom
The Love of Broken Things

Psychological Thriller

Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews -- deals with attempted filicide
Mystic River by Dennis Lehane -- its psychological elements

Filicide is a crime that is committed in the United States— according to three decades of FBI data,— on average nearly five hundred times each year. A psychological thriller, my novel is not driven by the act of filicide; instead, it’s about how the horror and the possibility of it, impacts Aiyana's core.

Examples of Conflict:

Primary Conflict:

A young woman has, for two decades, refused to believe her mother abandoned her after a failed attempt at filicide. She battles a disbelieving community, an unsympathetic legal system, and an evil doctor and nurse to clear her mother's name.

Internal Conflict:

1. At times, Aiyana wonders if the legal system and community are right about her mother. Afterward, she feels guilty, believing she is disloyal to her mother.

2. While visiting the place where her mother disappeared, Aiyana remembers fragments that are more aligned to the legal system's assessment of what happened to her mother than to her own long-held beliefs.

3. Aiyana becomes increasingly aware of the impact what others have said about her mother has had on her. She flashbacks to a time in high school when she played Lady Macbeth in a school play. While performing, she finds she is unable to say the following lines:
[...] I have given suck, and know
How tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me.
I would, while it was smiling in my face,
Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums
And dashed the brains out, had I so sworn as you
Have done to this. (1.7.62-67)
4. Also, while in high school, Aiyana refused to read and write a paper on Toni Morrison’s Beloved, a Pulitzer- winning novel that deals with slavery and filicide. She, usually an A student, had, for the first time in her life, skipped class and almost failed Junior English.
Someone covered for her, though, and the play continued, but later, she wonders if she forgot the words because somewhere deep within, she'd connected those words to community whispers about her mother attempting to kill her?

5. Aiyana’s husband has been dead for two years. Liam, her ranch manager, has fallen for her, and she is beginning to have feelings for him. She is conflicted about starting a relationship so soon after her late husband's death, and she is sure it would be unwise to become involved with an employee.

6. Aiyana suffers from two irrational fears-- learning the real truth about what happened to her mother and falling through the ground. These fears have been with her since she was five years old. She must overcome both to move forward to her goal.

Secondary Conflict:

Aiyana's late husband's mother, Ana, is domineering and disrespectful. At first, Aiyana puts up with her because she feels she owes as much to the memory of her husband. As the plot moves forward, Aiyana realizes she puts up with Ana because she feels guilty, knowing her husband died in a crash after staying awake all night talking with her about what happened to her mother. She also suspects Ana hates her--even fears her because of her bloodline. Aiyana is who is strong enough to build the most successful ranch in the Southwest, is weak where her mother-in-law is concerned and must shed the guilt and learn to stand up to Ana.


1. The fictitious Mount Jardin, inspired by Mount Lemmon, is located in the Santa Catalina Range and is part of the Coronado National Forest. A fascinating land of breathtaking vistas, outlandish hoodoos, cool mountain pine and oak forests, and deep canyons, it spills out onto the broad Sonoran Desert. Because the foot of the mountain starts in the lower desert vegetative life zone and climbs to nine thousand feet high forests, Mt Jardin, like Mount Lemmon, offers the biological diversity of traveling from the deserts of Mexico to the forests of Canada in a short stretch of thirty miles. Mount Jardin is where Aiyana, when she was five, lost her mother.

2. Manzanita Ranch, one of the largest guest ranch resorts in AZ, is geologically a mixture of desert, oasis, and mountain. It spreads across a desert valley and climbs mid-way up Mount Jardin.
In the oasis portion, the perennial warm mineral springs, Aiyana’s favorite feature, supports a small stream and two large ponds. It appeases the thirst of the unique desert oasis on which the lodge and stables stand. The more substantial body of water in the center of the ranch is home to fish, turtles, ducks, and occasionally other water birds. Hundreds of additional acres include the canyons that mark the divide between the Catalina and Rincon mountain ranges.
The well-groomed ranch, interspersed with native trees and shrubs like mesquite and cottonwood, is bordered by massive date palms and California fan palms. Manzanita, a plant for which the place was named, grows in areas outlying the ranch and is juxtaposed with creosote, giant saguaro, and other cacti.

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#35 Post by ironbutterfly » 18 Sep 2018, 17:10

1. Story Statement:
Queen Astnorden (Astna) Valchtnalla must reconquer her kingdom while struggling with the opposition of her court and her own vengeful nature.

2. Antagonistic Force:
Queen Lleona, known as the Lion Queen in the Five Kingdoms, currently reigns over Scorvald and Old Skeynvald. As the mastermind behind the downfall of Skeynvald and the assassination of her abusive husband, Lleona is simultaneously feared and hated by much of her kingdom. However, as the only female figure in her male-dominated court, and with her fifteen-year-old daughter at her side, Lleona constantly dreads losing power over her people. Although she makes no effort to garner her subjects’ love (fearing an attack if she steps outside her castle, especially from the citizens of Old Skeynvald), she has implemented several policies to promote the inclusion of women in politics and warfare.
Between Queen Lleona and Astna stands Lady Aeslyn, Lleona’s older sister. Lleona ousted Aeslyn from Scorvald years ago in a bid to claim the throne, leaving largely unresolved tensions between the sisters. As Aeslyn was raped by a commoner, she has no place in Scorvald’s highly conservative court; however, neither can she run from the politics of the Five Kingdoms. Instead, to raise and protect her own daughter, she has sworn her allegiance to Queen Lleona.
While both sisters are fiercely proud and protective, Queen Lleona (who spent her childhood beneath the shadow of her massively more talented sister), grew up jealous and terrified of being forgotten.

3. Title:
A Whisper of Night
The Name of the Night

4. Comparables:
A Song of Fire and Ice series by George R.R. Martin
The Kingkiller Chronicle series by Brandon Sanderson
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

5. Conflict line:
A young queen struggles to reconquer her kingdom and reclaim the love of her people despite considerable resistance from both within and without her court.

6. 2nd Conflict:
Astna must overcome her selfishness and self-doubt to recognize her reasons for retaking her kingdom. Does she genuinely desire the well-being of her people, or does she care only for vengeance and her own legacy?

7. Setting:
The Five Kingdoms of Wyaernos (Skeynvald, Scorvald, Slagvald, Stromvald, and Svanvald) may stand at the intersection of innovation and magic, but a slew of problems endangers their fragile tranquility. In the North, two religious sects war over Stromvald, a mysterious disease cripples Svanvald, and a cult of Alchemists seize the throne in Slagvald.
And in the South, Queen Astnorden Valchtnalla threatens to topple the precarious political peace secured seventeen years ago, when Queen Lleona Steliste conquered Skeynvald, the kingdom of Astna’s parents. Astna grew up in the province of Valchtnalla, the only lands of Skeynvald that Queen Lleona left untouched.
Now, seventeen-year-old Astna longs to avenge her parents and reclaim her mother’s crown. Unfortunately, her conservative court views her ambitions as unseemly for a woman and refuses to go to war.
The culture of Wyaernos follows a structure of heteropatriarchy and feudalism; women like Queen Lleona and Queen Astna (especially considering Astna’s young age) are rare on the political stage. The rules of inheritance, however, are relatively more liberal in the South than in the North, allowing Astna to claim her title as Lady.

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#36 Post by acsjohanson » 19 Sep 2018, 19:22

1. Story Statement
Adelaide must save her family from a witch trial.

2. Antagonist Force
The antagonist is a General who has taken charge of a land and people after a brutal war. His hatred for the enemy runs deep. Years later he hides behind law and the fear of the people to eradicate the defeated enemy from the earth.
The General’s hatred stems from not only the war but also a betrayal that scarred him deeply. His one track mind blinds him from any other path but vengeance. He is still stuck in a time of war and holds on to his power with the grip of a dictator. The General offers help to Addie in a duplicitous move to manipulate her and reach his goal of genocide.

3. Breakout Title
A Canary Cries
The Lost Canary
Mirrored Darkness

4. Genre and Comparables
Fantasy with Romantic Subplot
Kendare Blake: Three Dark Crowns
Sisters are separated and forced to choose different sides.

Donna Grant: Eversong
Hunting witches and seeking revenge

5. Conflict Line
Adelaide must navigate this new world full of hatred for her kind and save her family from a leader bent on annihilating them.

6. Two More Levels of Conflict
Inner Conflict: Adelaide struggles to accept her new reality, she is a witch and they are under suspicion of committing murder. Alone in this new land she must make hard choices about how to save her family. Her new powers rising within her tempt her to seek out justice on her own against the hatred of the people yet others make her rethink the consequences.
When townspeople attack her out of fear she uses her powers against them crippling them to the ground. Her rage and pleasure over the act terrifies her and she runs to hide. Adelaide evaluates the person she is becoming and the person she may need to be to save her family.
Social Conflict: While some of the townspeople’s hatred feeds her own there are others that make her rethink her aggression. Owen, the leader of the hunters and Adelaide begin to see each other differently splitting their loyalties. However, Emmaleese, Adelaide’s friend convinces her that they need to fight for their freedom. They flee the castle together attacking anyone in their way with their powers officially declaring themselves the enemy.

7. Setting
The setting is a land farther shrouded in fog to deter others. As the fog clears you see cliffs rising steeply from the ocean and birds nesting on the sides. Underground caverns create prisons and secret passageways. The land itself is rich and green with forest, rivers, villages, farms and the large impressive castle. It looks like paradise. Looking more closely you’ll see the scorched earth from previous battles, the slums where the witch’s and witch sympathizers live in oppression and poverty, the back alleys where deals are made, and the greed of those in power that want more power. This is war ravaged land attempting to be normal but is a powder keg waiting to explode. With the arrival of this trial and important persons coming back this land the fuse is lit. The witches begin to have hope for a rebellion, the oppressors tighten their control, and the greedy look for ways to exploit the situation for their gain.

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#37 Post by lvalto1000 » 19 Sep 2018, 23:56

Assignment 1

Attempt to meet dreaded alter ego in order to save self from past.

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Joined: 19 Sep 2018, 23:44

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#38 Post by lvalto1000 » 20 Sep 2018, 00:50

Assignment 1
Story Statement

Protagonist, Gloria, must meet dreaded alter ego in order to save herself from an unspeakable past.

Assignment 2

Charles Davis is a man who feels he had no control over his life as a child. He now seeks absolute control over everything in his life, including his wife and children. He is a man who becomes enraged when he drinks, which is often. He is a man who will stop at nothing to create the illusion of being a perfect businessman and family man. A man who will crush his wife should she not obey his wishes or dare to upset his perfect image.
Charles is a man who sees his daughters as impediments to his goal of a perfect life. He will not hesitate to use them as pawns when needed. He will resort to anything to keep the image of his perfect world from crashing down—A man who will resort to violence to get what he desires.

Assignment 3
Breakout Title

What She Can't Remember
The Other Gloria

Assignment 4
Deciding Genre and Approaching Comparables


Psychological Thriller


Girl On A Train, Debut by Paula Hawkins

Gloria is fraught with memory loss due to her battle with dissociative disorder, much like Rachel’s blackouts from drinking in Paula Hawkins’ novel. The suspense throughout the novel is kept heightened due to this fact.

The Wife Between Us, by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

I believe this book is comparable due to the fact that it is a domestic thriller and the antagonist in, “The Wife Between Us,” plays psychological games with the protagonists. Also, the plot line is a time shift.

Between You and Me, by Lisa Hall

This debut novel is a thriller full of domestic abuse that I think could be comparable to "What She Can’t Remember." Also, the relationship between Sal and Charlie takes quite a twist in the end.

Assignment 5
Antagonistic Force

After waking to her past, 1987, next to her dangerous ex-husband, Charles, Gloria must find a way to escape his grasp once more.

Assignment 6
Secondary Conflict Line, Herself

To escape her dangerous past, Gloria must meet the one she has never wanted to meet, the Other Gloria, in order to find out what has happened there and to insure, that for her, there will be a future.

Social Conflict

Gloria’s daughter, Sarah, disapproves of her new relationship with Rick, and Gloria must keep secrets from her as she moves forward, hoping this will not cause a permanent rift in their relationship.

Assignment 7

A large community nestled up against the Tehachapi Mountains, in the fertile green San Joaquin Valley, in Southern California. When dropping down from the Tehachapi Mountains the rolling hills suddenly drop off into flat green squares of crops, orchards, and vineyards, just outside Bakersfield. The city is also rich from Oil and reflects its affluence in its upper middle class neighborhoods which are sectioned off behind large block wall fences. Each neighborhood consisting of various amenities, such as lush beautiful parks, schools, green belts, and walking paths, even horse trails toward the edge of town.
There are beautifully restored vintage craftsman style homes, along with Victorian homes and cottages along the old down town area streets. Huge ancient oak trees form a canopy over down town residential streets.
It’s sunny most days in Bakersfield and there is little rain. It’s true what they say about sunny California. Bright blue skies prevail. The abundance of crops are fed by the California Aqueduct, a huge cement river which runs through Kern County where Bakersfield is located.
The historic Bakersfield sign which once arched over Union Avenue, a rundown seedy part of town, was moved by Buck Owens to stand next to his night club, The Crystal Palace, located on Buck Owens Blvd just off highway 99. On Union Avenue you will find run down motels, closed businesses, weeds on the sides of the road and prostitutes day or night. When highway 99 was opened, the thoroughfare through Union Avenue was bypassed and slowly went to seed.
There are oilfield pumping units intermingled with lush vegetation in places throughout the city. In other places they sit on dry patches of dirt scattered with scrub brush or they might be intermingled with city buildings, or they could be found in the middle of cotton fields. You never know where you will see one.
For not having much rainfall, Bakersfield is deceptively lush and green throughout the year.

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#39 Post by LCwilliams » 21 Sep 2018, 21:09

FIRST ASSIGNMENT: write your story statement.

Nikki must rid herself of the contraceptive implant—five green rods, visible in her left arm—if she is ever to feel legitimate, whole, like a real woman.

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 antagonistic force is the overarching socioeconomic paradigm—American Dream Project—a government program which relocates welfare recipients to society’s fringes and effectively sterilizes subsidized women and their girl-children. Nikki’s story illustrates the near-impossible struggle of a marginalized person trying to gain upward mobility in an unjust system. In tragic fashion, it’s Nikki’s own drive, determination, and relentless pursuit of perfection that leads her to moral bankruptcy and the loss of everything important to her.

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



(I've chosen more than 2 and they all require explanation. Fail! :twisted: )

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta: Speculative with dystopian leanings, but reads more contemporary than sci-fi (genre: upmarket/literary)
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan and There, There by Tommy Orange: Short story-like chapters told with multiple narratives that weave together to create a complex and layered story
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders: Magical realism/philosophy/humor/creative license (One of my narrators is a ghost--Nikki's sister, Destinee)
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell: A strong female protagonist (modern-day Scarlett O'Hara) who will stop at nothing to get what she wants

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.

A woman, who has jumped through all the necessary hoops, would rather self-destruct than admit failure at undoing what American Dream Project has done to her—effectively sterilizing her without her consent.

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.

Nikki prizes personal agency above all things. Her To-Do lists, created each morning and checked off each night in her secret notebooks are directed toward one goal—the removal of the contraceptive implant. In order to have the implant legally removed, she must complete The Application (which includes a drug test) to prove she is in a stable relationship with the means to care for a child. Her future hinges on a form. (It’s not about a baby—it’s the implant’s stigma, the shame of her past, being raised on welfare.)

When she discovers her husband’s weed stash in a Yoda lunchbox under the couch (he has promised her his full support), instead of confronting him, she leaves a note saying “Done we are”, and veers off her linear path. Operating without a plan and completely distraught, she gets drunk for the first time, befriends some unusual characters, and fills out The Application as a goof. The next day she discovers her Judas-friends have actually mailed it. To cope with such betrayal, she reverts back to her methodical lists, and constructs Plan B, involving an illicit affair with an arrogant doctor for an illegal procedure. All the while, Nikki stifles her emotion, plowing forward like a horse with blinders toward her goal, not once considering how her actions affect others, particularly her husband, Q.

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?

Nikki’s husband, Q, had no idea she was so close to completing The Application. When she tells him it’s coming in the mail, he utters a white lie—that he’s ready; she has his full support. Up to this point, Q’s secret recreational habit of smoking marijuana seemed inconsequential given their opposite schedules (she works days at the hospital and he works nights at a pizza shop). He privately vows to get straight for her and embarks on a complicated detox plan involving kale, Midol, a slew of vitamins, and an arduous exercise regimen.

Q knows The Application is not about a baby—he understands Nikki’s shame and what’s at stake. Still, he’s unprepared when she leaves him and completely shocked when he later witnesses her accepting a date with another man. “All this because of a dime bag, Nikki?” he asks, referring to their ruined marriage. Nikki has allowed the situation to get absurdly out-of-hand.

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.

Metropolitan areas across the nation are fixing the mess made by white-flight and urban decay by adopting the American Dream Project (ADP) paradigm, piloted twenty years ago here in our humble City. It’s common opinion that ADP has made the City great again. City schools are the best in the Nation! City streets are safe! And so clean—hardly a cigarette butt even. CEOs and surgeons can walk to work on sidewalks from their restored Victorian mansions. Without the long commute they have more time and energy to spend with their families.

Notice how the bike lanes account for the bulk of traffic. That’s because cars aren’t really necessary anymore here. (ADP has practically fixed the environment!) As you move concentrically inward through the City, notice how everything seems Midas-touched. See how bronze becomes silver becomes gold? Wealth shifts toward the center bullseye marked appropriately by City Bank’s Money Tower, topped with an electric dollar sign, washing the city in gorgeous green light each night.

Imagine performing Tai chi in one of our many pristine public parks each morning, your leg bending in sync with your neighbors’. Come visit the shopping district to experience cutting-edge innovation and entrepreneurship, unique boutiques, the best restaurants, and artfully-designed storefronts. Reserve a rotation on City Ferris wheel in a regular, dining, or sleeping capsule and see from above just how beautiful our City has become.

If you prefer a suburban or rural experience, feel free to settle in the arms and legs of the region (though anyone who’s anyone resides in the City).

That being said, if you decide not to work, not to contribute to society, ADP has another option. You’ll get a big house on a cul-de-sac in the northern suburbs (“The Burbs”), a monthly petty cash account, a daily meal card, (live on Cheetos if you want—it’s your body!), and even a caseworker to help with your activities of daily living. Fine print: Welfare recipients can only enter the City via police checkpoint after receiving a GPS curfew sensor ankle bracelet, which will alarm at dusk. Also, all female welfare recipients (and their girl-children) must receive the contraceptive implant, removable only by approved Application.

So, what's your choice?

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#40 Post by literarylustre » 22 Sep 2018, 05:35

#1 Story Statement
Kate must solve a murder to recover an heirloom ring given to her by her French fiancé and save her engagement

Assignment #2 Sketch the antagonistic forces in your story. Keep in mind their goals, their background, etc.

Murder can spoil a romantic vacation. Newly engaged to Antoine, a Frenchman, Kate is invited to his family home in Provence to meet his parents and enjoy the pleasures of Provence-- and study a little French, when she becomes involved in solving a murder that tests her relationship with her fiancé and puts her life in danger as she gets closer to discovering the identity of the killer. Invited to a party at a villa, Kate and Antoine mingle with the guests, one of whom turns out to be a college friend of Antoine’s, an art dealer and ex-boyfriend of the hostess, Celine. As the lights dim and the bling bling crowd loses its inhibition, they realize they are at a soirée libertine, an orgy, and leave while Kate forgets her bag. The following morning, Kate returns to discover the body of the kinky hostess bludgeoned to death with an exotic statue from the South Pacific that hung on her wall. It, too, is missing. The victim’s lover, Lucien, is a student in Kate’s French class, and Antoine is jealous of their friendship. While Antoine wants to take Kate on excursions, she is too preoccupied in the case, particularly after befriending an ex-pat American woman and tutor who has a dark secret possibly connected to the murder.

Assignment #3 Break-out title
“The Rosé Murders”
“French Women Don’t Cry”

Assignment #4
Genre: Cozy Mystery/Chicklit Noir
Comparables: “Le Divorce” by Diane Johnson captured the friction between the French and Americans when two half-sisters, Roxy and Isabel, room together in Paris during the collapse of Roxy’s marriage to Frenchman, Charles-Henri to draw out the differences in mores and attitudes between both cultures. Here, I use a murder investigation and an engagement to do the same. Kate and Marigold are two Americans in Aix for different reasons and are drawn together through the murder investigation.
“The Marseille Caper” by Peter Mayle. Stylized thriller set in Provence with discursions on food and wine. For the Viking River Cruise crowd. Light, playful, and not too graphic.

Primary conflict line
Culinary student Kate McCall becomes ensnared in a murder mystery during a trip to Provence which puts her engagement to fiance, Antoine, in jeopardy when she tries to solve the case and recover a stolen heirloom whose theft appears to be connected to the victim’s shady business
At first Antoine is sympathetic to Kate after she discovers the body, but his patience is tested. How far will she go to deceive Antoine? Is it worth the risk?

Secondary conflict
The French. As a foreigner about to marry into a French family, Kate realizes she has a lot more than just the language to learn. Kate is thrilled to discover the cuisine and wine of a new region in France, however, she is nervous about speaking the language, and understanding the social codes and etiquette that govern French life and about fitting into Antoine’s bourgeois French family. Will she always feel like an outsider?
Kate wants to win over her mother-in-law, but she can’t seem to do anything right in Fabienne’s eyes. Her French reserve and formality unnerve Kate who feels like she is being tested in every interaction from navigating dinner, to what she wears and who she sees. To say nothing of the fact she and Antoine have no privacy, which is hardly romantic.

#6 Scenario demonstrating protagonists’ inner primary conflict
Kate lies to Antoine and tells him that she is going out with her friend, Marigold, an American in Aix. What she doesn’t tell him is that she is going disguised as Annabel Palermo with Marigold to a sex club called Le Clos de Venus in order to pose as a paid escort and uncover clues about the case. Eventually, Antoine finds out and breaks off their engagement.

6b Scenario demonstrating protagonists’ secondary conflict
Kate is alone in the apartment in Aix and stages a sting operation with the help of Inspector Daumier to catch the cat burglar in order to get back her missing sapphire. Antoine is annoyed that she is using his parents’ apartment while they are away on vacation for a sting in addition to being upset that she risked her safety.

#7 Setting
The story takes place in Aix en Provence, the jewel in the crown of Provence cities. With its graceful alleys, fountains and allure, Aix is a stage set of baroque hotel particuliers that attracts tourists with its festivals, spas, Mediterranean glamour and vineyards. The sleepy twin to dangerous Marseille, the illusion that Aix is safe is turned on its head when the protagonist, Kate, encounters danger upon penetrating layers of a criminal world not visible from its bourgeois façade or to tourists through her contacts and husband’s family. A party at a villa in the rustic countryside Cezanne painted where the murder takes place captures the elegance and decadence of certain segments of French society and open Kate’s eyes to its dangers as she is drawn intimately into the case, risking her life, eventually as she pursues a stolen heirloom belonging to Antoine’s family.

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#41 Post by WanderingCarol » 22 Sep 2018, 22:44

1. The Act of Story Statement

Violet must find her missing neighbor, Jade, a Thai lounge singer who has vanished into Seoul’s shadowy entertainment industry, protect her friend Morgan who is heading the same way and negotiate the sticky net of the Asian mob when her Korean rock star boyfriend gets entangled.

2. Antagonist

A closed Korean culture is Violet’s antagonist, and this is embodied in two men. One is the wolf-like Mr Song, a music and nightclub manager who feels Violet is bad for her boyfriend’s career. The more sinister threat is Mr Limb, a man who resents working for men younger than him, hates foreigners and is abusive to women. Built like a brick with a baby face and reptilian eyes, Mr Limb is an orphan - and in a country where family is everything, is convinced this has stopped him from getting ahead. He may be right but fails to see that his bitterness and lack of vision are the real culprits behind his lack of success. His anger simmers deep inside him and the plot takes a violet turn when Violet discovers how dangerous he really is.

3. Breakout title
Catch me
Blonde in the Hermit Kingdom
Blonde in Asia

4. Comparables
Humorous romantic suspense. Stephanie Plum meets Crazy Rich Asians

5. Primary conflict

When Violet’s neighbor – a Thai lounge singer named Jade – goes missing and her rock star boyfriend gets mixed up with the mob, Violet takes a deep dive into the shadowy world of the Korean entertainment industry in a bid to save them both.

6. Complications

Internal conflict:
Violet is a Canadian ranch-raised English teacher whose domineering father strong-armed her into getting an education degree even though she wanted to study art. When she gets fired from her teaching job in Seoul, she struggles to find direction and take control of her life. One case in which this manifests itself is when she finds out how much Gun, her boyfriend, is paying for her apartment – a cool five grand a month – and she wonders how she can live with her conscience if she’s nothing more than a kept woman.

Secondary plot:
Romance is the secondary sub plot – and it’s a hot affair. The problem is that culture gets in the way. Violet and Gun are crazy about each other but his family isn't thrilled about ending up with a daughter-in-law who can't make kimchi, his manager and publicist think dating a foreign female is bad news for his career and Violet and Gun’s own cultural differences mean that there are a whole lot of misunderstandings going on. Is their love strong enough to survive?

7. Setting

South Korea is a country with a history of encroaching invaders: China and Japan … and they’re still technically at war with their brothers, communist-backed North Korea. Even today, in 1995, Violet’s students at Paekche University refer to the 37,000 American soldiers stationed in Korea as ‘occupiers.’ Is it any wonder it’s a culture suspicious of foreigners?

Known as the Hermit Kingdom, South Korea is a forceful presence in the book. Settings play the expat world off against a more closed Korean culture, and range from Violet’s apartment in Seoul’s ‘foreign’ ghetto’ of Itaewon, a seedy but lively area peopled by American soldiers, bar girls and souvenir hawkers, to her her boyfriend's haunts of upscale nightclubs and the city’s most elite districts.

In the second act of the novel, Violet travels to the lush island of Koh Samui in Thailand, where she is immersed in the world of bar girls, prostitution, poverty and exploitation. Despite this, Thailand's warm personality and natural beauty shine through.

Back in Korea a chapter is set in the historical city of Kyongju, the burial place of the rulers of the Shilla Dynasty - a setting that highlights Korea's deep roots and contrasts it with Violet's outsider status.

Finally, the book goes to Japan. The climax takes place in Tokyo’s notorious red light district of Kabukicho and acts as an ominous backdrop to Violet's ultimate conflict.

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#42 Post by Switcharoo » 23 Sep 2018, 04:31

Story Statement

Agnes must use what force of will she has remaining to practice and share her wisdom, protect friends and maintain her dignity, despite pressure to conform and relinquish control.

Antagonist Sketch

The overarching antagonist is the ultimate villain, Death - accompanied by his sidekick, Aging. These two are present in the background throughout the seven seasons during which we follow Agnes and friends. The ladies insist on living and making choices to determine their own destinies through friendship, ritual, and resistance to conformity within the confines of Riverbend’s physical and procedural limitations. Riverbend is their home and they continue to want to express their autonomy to the end.
Nickola Sabini, Riverbend’s director, keeps her eyes on appearance: a physically attractive setting where all residents are tidy, safe, and apparently under control. She allies herself with Sharon, charge nurse on West, to keep her informed of any “trouble-making residents”. Although no “Nurse Ratched”, Sharon uses endearments that the residents find demeaning and they are aware of her role as spy for Nickola whose goals are a high census, few family complaints and happy investors. As she works to maintain order and profit margins, Nickola comes in conflict with the goals and habits of Agnes, Bea, Constance and Dolores, founded in friendship and choice. Riverbend is her job and she is determined to keep the beds filled, the resident families out of her office, and the investors satisfied.

Breakout Title

Memory Witch
Planted at Riverbend

Comp Titles

These Foolish Things/The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2004) by Deborah Moggach
Life After Life (2013) by Jill McCorkle
Both novels present older adults coming to terms with aging in a living setting they hadn’t anticipated. Quirky characters abound. There is love and humor throughout. These Foolish Things was produced as the popular movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011) and its sequel The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015).

Comp Mash-up

One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest (1962) by Ken Kesey and Little Women (1880) by Louisa may Alcott
Kesey wanted to express man’s battle to be himself in a world of controls. Alcott presents a portrait of enduring love and friendship despite hardship and loss. Memory Witch is a story of love and friendship that endures despite loss and ongoing attempts to control the actions of the protagonists.

Conflict Line

An aging witch must defy the strictures of her environment and the meticulous director-in-charge to maintain a sisterhood and what autonomy remains to them.

Inner Conflict Scenario

Although Agnes has practiced Hereditary Witchcraft all of her life and is proud of its long familial tradition, she is aware of how the continued practice in a setting such as Riverbend may cause problems. She expresses this when she tells Bea that they must hide the candle after the Samhain ritual because it might be considered dangerous to have an open flame in their room. In addition, she doesn’t want her daughter, Maura, to stop bringing ritual items to Riverbend - a possibility if Nickola were to find the candle and complain to Maura.
Despite Agnes’ refusal to back down in the face of Nickola’s fury at the blessing of the trees, she regrets the effect when Nickola cancels the guided nature walk. Agnes knows how much these walks are a highly-anticipated diversion from the monotony of Riverbed’s routine. She feels responsible for the cancellation and the disappointment it will engender in the residents.

Social Conflict Scenario

Residents, family members and employees of Riverbend are confronted with questions about how and where we, as a society, care for our older adults in their final years. Unquestionably, people with dementia are not safe to remain alone in their homes to care for themselves. They also require caregivers with a specialized level of training to reduce care-resistant behaviors as dementia progresses. Family is not always equipped to deal with these complications. Residential placement is one of many options, but caregivers need help. Deciding what to do about this reality is often left to a spouse (also elderly) or adult children.
Misunderstandings around dementia care such as: often 24 hours in nature, declining abilities to communicate, unstable emotional lability/changes in personality traits, or denial of severity of the dementia when a parent “looks pretty good” lead to feelings of guilt on the part of the caregiver and family and accusations of abandonment on the part of the afflicted.
Agnes and Dolores seem to have chosen Riverbend, Constance and Bea resisted, then became resigned. Family visits keep the women connected to their loved ones and the news outside the facility. Interactions indicate the level of acceptance they have with their decision. Bea has been “dumped”, causing increased negative speculation concerning her children and pity toward her on the part of the staff. Her kind-hearted awareness of others and quirky sense of humor endear her to all who know her.


There are occasional outings sprinkled throughout Memory Witch, however, the main setting is the assisted living facility (ALF) where the daily interactions and flow of life take place. Riverbend is an assisted living facility, providing a home for 85 dementia-impaired residents on a single floor, at the end of its own access road. This privacy is further secured by surrounding wooded lots and meadows. A river, bordered by a town-maintained nature trail, is a short walk away over uneven terrain. It represents both possibilities and danger.
Riverbend’s main entrance, accessed from the visitor’s parking area, opens onto a central lobby filled with plush furnishings and polished occasional tables, extending 3/4 depth toward a hallway which connects the mirror-image living units. A receptionist greets visitors just inside the main entrance and the office of the facility supervisor, Nickola Sabini, is adjacent. This allows her easy oversight of the daily comings and goings. She is often out of the office, making regular inspection of the facility (which also serves as an opportunity to interact with staff and residents) and encouraging the maintenance and housekeeping staffs to make use of a paint brush or carpet cleaner.
The lobby is flanked by sitting areas for meetings, informal gatherings or invited speakers. The lobby space is rarely used by residents but gives the impression of a stately home to visitors and provides a perfect venue for holiday decorating and the annual Christmas tree. The units are accessible through the lobby, or by passing through the lobby to the connecting hallway at the back of the building. Apartment decoration is dictated by resident taste, within reason.
Most visitors access the living units via the lobby; turn left for the West wing, right for the East wing. Staff, who park beside or behind the facility, pass between East and West using the hall. This window-lined corridor looks out onto the main courtyard. A cement porch, crowded with rocking chairs, waits just outside the wide French doors. Access to the courtyard or lobby from the units is controlled by a key-pad enabled lock. Raised flower beds and mulch-surrounded young trees dot the grassy space beyond. The entire courtyard is enclosed in a wrought iron fence to prevent wandering. The ability to be out-of-doors is cherished when the weather is pleasant. Changing seasons and weather add depth to Riverbend’s static setting.
The East and West wings of the facility are physically similar, but serve different populations. The East wing residents have declined further due to their dementia, are less likely to communicate or follow cues, and many are unsteady on their feet or wheelchair bound. The West wing residents have mild dementia, mostly affecting judgement, insight, and short-term memory. Their forgetfulness limits their ability to care for themselves without assistance. All are free to roam the accessible living space, supervised and assisted by the staff as needed. Any venturing beyond the building or secured grounds is organized by auxiliary care staff: Activities Dept., therapy services, or supervised volunteers. Agnes, Constance, and Dolores have single rooms on the West wing, Bea shares her room. They meet in the small dining room that is not usually used for breakfast, though they have made it their own by way of Agnes’ determination.
Riverbend’s staff provides assistance as long as the residents remain medically stable. It is not a skilled nursing facility, so illness or injury results in a trip to the hospital. Some residents are able to return, others are not. West wing residents (and their families) are aware of what it means to be transferred to the the East side and, although “care is care” as stated by Leah, dread the further decline that might make it necessary.

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#43 Post by jgmthewriter » 23 Sep 2018, 23:00


Abandoned by her mother, a young girl desires to meet her long-lost father and to find her twin’s murderer.


The antagonist in my novel is Clyde Sinkton, a good ole boy and an ex-cop. He was raised by a loving father who taught him all men were created equal but mentored by his rich uncle, a KKK member and a racist. The town is divided on which side influenced him the most. He’s the stepfather of Morgan, Dovie’s best friend, and Dovie starts out believing he is a good man, generous if nothing else for he buys her a trampoline and a record player and encourages her to visit often. He even claimed he knew Dovie’s beautiful mother. As someone desperate to know the other half of her biology, Dovie is taken aback by this tidbit. Later, Dovie finds out Clyde is a child molester, a man who can never be trusted.


The Wings of Dovie Burkheart
Wings of an Eagle
The Light of a New Moon


The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

Abandoned by her mother, a young girl searches for friendship and her long-lost father but ends up in the company of a rapist with firsthand knowledge of how her twin died.


Inner conflict: Dovie struggles with the myriad secrets that surround her life. First, regarding her mother: Why did she flee the town years ago after she discovered she was pregnant with twins? And why did she not reveal the identity of the father? And why would someone want her twin killed?
Even in her own life Dovie befriends Morgan and soon she is asked to keep her horrific secret—that her stepfather is molesting her. Later, when Morgan is raped by her stepfather, Dovie feels partly responsible.

Secondary conflict: Over two years pass before Dovie hears from her mother and she grows resentful. Her aunt advises her to forgive and move on, a charge that Dovie finds impossible. Later, Dovie learns that her mother shared all her secrets with her childhood best friend, a deaf lady. Now Dovie must learn to communicate with someone who cannot speak or hear to learn the truth, a challenge she willingly accepts because her own investigation has yielded several unsavory possibilities, among them her preacher and her uncle.


The setting is small town America in 1968 in the fictious town of Salisbury, Georgia, a city twenty miles north of Atlanta, full of rolling green hills and Georgia’s red clay. Dovie, a city girl from Detroit, becomes acclimated to the smells of her aunt’s gardens, the smell of orchids, lilies, and magnolias. Compared to Detroit, Salisbury’s streets are quiet, full of antique, weather-beaten small businesses with Victorian storefronts. Oddly, it’s into this serenity that a rape occurs, in a mansion on a hill, followed by a court case that takes place in a squat courthouse in the Salisbury town square.

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#44 Post by HeidiSouffriau » 24 Sep 2018, 04:09

______________SEVEN ASSIGNMENTS___________

Cerebral Diane, freshly diagnosed with ‘unconditional love’, must protect her independence and her 'too open' heart from a persuasive, emotional man.

I. Apollo, a tall man, completely drenched in emotion. Apollo is an impulsive, aimless thirty-something guy, who seems to be unable to exist without a girlfriend (he was out with a ‘singles group’ the evening he meets Diane). He is also generous, warm, present, good company, knowledgeable, smart, soulful, enigmatic and extremely persuasive… Within the hour, he tells Diane he loves her and repeats those three words three times in the course of twenty-four hours. Straight after meeting her, he involves his father and tells Diane about it. He responds to Diane’s wish to receive an essay on the date they had. He proceeds by invading her phone from morning until the horizontal hours with his thoughts and emotions. Apollo’s excessive virtual presence creates a dangerous intimacy and artfully awakens their wounds. As the attraction progresses, Apollo becomes increasingly sentimental, sharing his heartaches and his fear of ‘ruining it’ in their charged Whatsapp window. Apollo is at once a symbol the heart-centered person she is to become and a shadow-thrower who reflects everything Diane has yet to come to terms with.
II. Diane’s mind is the real antagonist. Diane is fond of thinking and desirous to understand life and love. Shimmering with wit and irony, her mind is a land of magic realism where the metaphysical is common and the commonplace is extraordinary, populated by an unconventional blend of spiritual and scientific ideas. Diane’s mind has been her best friend since long, producing amusing thoughts and shaping the world as a funny and poetic environment, out to please her. Until she meets Apollo. His sentimental nature clashes with her intellectual mindset and unwittingly triggers her subconscious. Old wounds of loss and love, childhood memories, father issues... crave to surface in an attempt to breach the walls of thought she built around her heart. Dominated by a hunger to analyze and understand, and fear, Diane’s mind becomes a ‘Cartesian of the emotion’ and attacks love like a skilled knife-thrower gone mad. When Diane finally admits to herself she loves Apollo, the detailed, comical observations get the company of dark, bleeding, river-like thoughts. When Apollo suddenly pulls back, Diane’s mind produces obsession, a loud battlefield of question marks.

In Diane’s mind, Apollo is, in that order, an instant ally, an inappropriate ‘I love you’, an even more inappropriate member of a singles group, an aimless chronic monogamist who needs direction, an emotional exhibitionist, someone she wants to be best friends with and nurture, the man who conquered her, a vintage asshole, the man she loves. Diane’s mind makes her live a long-term relationship in one eclipsing month.

This Could Be Us But I’m Thinkin’


Genre: Literary/upmarket coming-of-age (with a romance- and comedy-of-manners-element)

- Rachel Khong’s Goodbye, Vitamin! for its exploration of a coming-of-age of a young, insightful woman sensitive to the absurdity of daily life, for its tone which is both light-hearted and devastating, joyful and soulful, and its unexpected tenderness.
- Lena Andersson’s Wilful Disregard for certain traits of the heroin (clever, raw, brutally honest and suffering an uncompromising nature which leaves her unprepared for what happens when her world hits the spindrift of infatuation) and for its comparable themes (self-deception, infatuation, love, the perks of intellectualizing), for the depiction of a different kind of love story in the era marked by overthinking the way cellphones enable people to do, and for its emotional candor. However, the love story in This Could Be Us But I’m Thinkin’ is tinged with unconsummated possibility rather than the account of a one-sided love affair.
- Olivia Sudjic’s Sympathy because of its exploration of the depths of the soul in a digital-age cautionary tale and the past rising back into the present to question the identity construct and theme of parallel lives and doubling.
- And what if Holden Caufield was a thinking woman in a Paris where it’s fashionable to have authentic emotions instead of a feeling man in a New York obsessed with what the eye can see?

CONFLICT LINE: This Could Be Us But I’m Thinkin’ (thinking woman vs. feeling man)/ As a cerebral woman attempts to resist an emotional man who abruptly tells her he loves her, she fights the limitations of thinking and struggles to align her mind with her heart.

Sub-conflict lines:
Thinking woman versus her own heart/love. Diane deceives herself reasoning that she is not interested in Apollo. The heart never forgets where it belongs, but the mind is a talented butcher.
Thinking woman versus her own mind. Diane fights the limitations of thinking as distrust, denial and fear take the stage. The more you try to hide something, the brighter it shines. All her philosophizing can’t annul the love. Only, it might be too late.
Ego versus soul. A testimony of the personality’s remarkable strategies in the war against love, on how the soul heals as the ego bleeds.

6.1 Sketch out the conditions for the inner conflict your protagonist will have.

INNER CONFLICT: The old wounds hiding in the abyss of Diane subconscious are triggered by Apollo’s mere existence. Apollo’s pursuit evokes surprising emotional reactions within Diane.

[fear] The nature of their exchange, reminds Diane of her ‘old best friend’, someone she was in an intense cerebral symbiosis with. Although she seems to be over the loss, Apollo triggers the memory and the betrayal. This fear further fuels the thought that Apollo is not right for her and that she can’t trust him.

SCENE: Diane goes on a date with Apollo the night after they meet. He compares her sense of humor with the one of David Thorne and shows her his piece “Missing Missy”. The story makes her think of the work she created with her ‘old best friend’. A thousand alarm bells go off in her mind.
[Conflicted, doubtful] When Diane and Apollo touch, the chemistry is undeniable and oddly intense. Rather than purely sexual, the quality of their touch is mystical and psychic and strangely delicate. The love declaration beaming out of Diane’s body creates intense doubt regarding her fear- and ego-driven decision to resist Apollo.
SCENE: Diane sleeps with Apollo.

[Personal ambition and The Couple] Diane is set on becoming a writer and believes the institution of The Couple is an obstruction and a weakness. She admires independence, has an aversion to dating, brunching and what she calls “unconscious chronic monogamy.” Apollo’s instant devotion, the haste of his pursuit, his excessive presence (the extent to which he invades her life from day one), make her think of him as an ‘intentionless’ person who just wants a girlfriend. Her desire to be someone for herself seems incompatible with Apollo’s co-dependent nature, which she associates with missed opportunities and stagnation, due to her rather mysterious parental story and father issues.

SCENE: Diane goes home with Apollo after the date. She observes his intense, but familiar mess in his living room and the presence of a blue pot of Nivea as sole beauty product in the bathroom. Both visions catapult her into the memory of her father. Being a decidedly forward-oriented person, her melancholia surprises her.
SCENE: The morning after the date, Diane, still in bed, finds out Apollo and his friends constituted a singles group. She is so angry that she joins him for brunch and instructs him to write an essay about the weekend.

6.2. Sketch a hypothetical scenario for the "secondary conflict" involving the social environment.

[other men in Diane’s life] Diane seems to know what she wants in a man or at least what she doesn’t want. Although she sees the qualities of other men in her life, her thought flow gives evidence that they are and were not what she's actually looking for or needs.

SCENE: When Diane meets Apollo, she is accompanied by Raphael and Peter. Peter is an ex-lover she had a lesbian affair with. Diane likes Peter, but he doesn’t meet her cerebral needs. Apollo on the other hand seems to have access to a large repertoire of subjects to caress her mind with. Diane however expresses an authentic, and maybe too enthusiastic, love for Raphael, one of her dearest friends. She finds him perfect in every aspect and showers him in appreciation, which creates an enigma around the true nature of their friendship.


I. Today’s Paris, a time when “it’s becoming increasingly fashionable to have authentic emotions.” It’s the Paris of Generation-Y with its Peter Pan-complexes and survivors of the analogue age, who lived the transformation of their telephones and mixed tapes into Spotify-playlists and one-liners in Whatsapp, the Paris that has one foot in the future and one in the past, inspiring some, like Diane, to resort to ancient Eastern philosophies gone viral, like yoga, to learn to how to live.
- Diane’s osteopath’s office in Neuilly: a snobbish, wealthy commune in Paris, where privileged people go residential to have kids. Neuilly stands symbol for the couple, a future of a traditional adult, something Diane is really not up for. Here, on the doctor’s table, Diane gets with the unusual, futuristic disease of ‘unconditional love’.
- Zaza Zu and Envy: Two venues in Paris. Zaza Zu is a hipster joint with a very mixed young public. The venue consists of a dance floor in the cave (“infested with attractive and aspiring homosexuals”) and a patio in the back, “creating an intimacy a terrace can’t accomplish” allowing Diane to meet the heart-centered Apollo. Envy is a small, private night club, also in a cave, a pretentious place where you need a password to get in and “where they usually stock your ex-lovers”. Apollo and Diane both knowing the place showcases the links within their social network.
- The Club: a fitness club filled with building-like people where Diane teaches yoga. The way Diane describes her workplace shows how she sees the outer world as one whole and how work and social life are pretty much one and the same thing to her.
- A nameless, beautiful townhouse restaurant with a patio, a chalkboard with random cocktails and a hung-over waitress. Apollo takes Diane here for the dinner she doesn't want to have. (She finds eating with someone she barely knows too intimate). The empty patio is a perfect place for more bonding as it seems they are alone in the world, inspiring Apollo to further exuberantly emotional and impulsive declarations.
- Le Dioskouri : Russian bar Diane comes up with. It has a secretive, carbardouch character, old French music and staff that persistently checks whether no one is making out. Although the place is designed to for it, with its private spaces, vintage, sofa-infested interior and preposterously intimate lighting, touching and kissing is disapproved of and they only serve vodka with sugar.
- Apollo’s extremely messy apartment Rue des Crêpes “he just moved into”. Everything exists in piles and there is a terrified interim cat (his father’s).
- Diane’s apartment Rue de La Lune, where she writes and thinks.
- An open-air party in the North of Paris.
- An office Diane at times goes to freelance in, located in a townhouse similar to restaurant she had dinner at with Apollo. The high ceilings give her “space for her thoughts” and the soul-baring virtual exchange that unfolds after Diane’s weekend with Apollo.
- Café Le Bonheur, a worker’s café where Diane meets Apollo’s static friends
- A bunker near the Canal in an industry zone where they meet a few of Diane’s acquaintances
- Diane’s flat Rue de la Lune, where she writes and thinks.

II. “Abroad”:
A yoga training in a rural area in Spain. By then, Apollo is as present in her mind as he is in her screen. The countryside and all the yoga activity create the ideal circumstances for Diane to come to realize that she loves Apollo./The airport of Madrid after a terrorist attack/A vegan cocktail bar in Ibiza/A beautiful, secluded beach located down a hazardous ravine.

III. The charged Whatsapp-window Diane shares with Apollo. Diane’s thought flow includes her observations on what happens in the window.This space fosters and creates the disturbing feeling of mental closeness without physical manifestation of the other and is filled with excessive conversation, obscene confessions and soul-bleeding. This space blurs the line between bonding and surveillance and elevates silence into a violent entity.

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#45 Post by valfrias » 25 Sep 2018, 02:40

Rescue the man who raped you in order to protect your genetic freedom.
Nathan Hunter is a serial date-rapist. He is also one of the most wealthy and eligible young men in L.A. Handsome, charming, well-liked, he’s definitely not the kind of person a young girl with a sketchy background takes on. But when Portia realizes that it wasn’t her carnal knowledge that he was after, but her genetic identity, she has to peel back the layers of her attacker’s identity in order to find out who Nathan Hunter really is and it’s the one person she never expected.
Genre: Techno-thriller
Comps: Nathan Farrugia’s The Chimera Vector meets Michael Crichton’s Next.
Portia has to rescue the man who raped her if she wants to survive a dangerous game of stolen identity.
INNER CONFLICT: Portia's first instinct is to run. She's lived her life under the shadows, rescuing other unfortunates like herself. However, when they start turning up dead with her genetic matter on them, she realizes that it’s only a matter of time before she’s the last suspect standing. But the only person who knows how her identity was stolen is now missing. Will she use her considerable talents to rescue the man who raped her? Or will she do the smart thing and run.
OTHER MATTERS OF CONFLICT: Portia has to navigate the three sets of people who knew Hunter in order to find out his true identity. The rich elites who claim to know him well, the drug dealers who supply him with an arsenal of hypnotics and the bio-engineers who protect the secrets of his company. All of them seem eager to co-operate but which one of them is telling the truth? And is one of them the real Nathan Hunter?
Portia also has to come to terms with the uncomfortable fact that this was a targeted attack and the outing of her genetic identity will reveal secrets she has hidden for a lifetime.
The setting is a tale of two L.A’s, the glitzy, drug addled city that sucks you in and chews you up. The first half is populated with rich kids: the old money, the instant millionaires, and the Instagram famous. And they all can’t wait to take each other down. No less dangerous is the other half, the mean streets, populated by dealers, tweakers, pimps, and whores, all of whom have their own motivation to see Hunter taken down. Unless, of course, one of them just happens to be Nathan Hunter himself.

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#46 Post by UnigalMemTn » 25 Sep 2018, 07:53

1. Story Statement

How do you find the truth when you are living a lie?

2. Antagonistic Force

The antagonistic force throughout the book is predominantly fear-based religion, manifesting first in a Southern Baptist preacher, who cracks his righteous indignation like a whip on the trembling flock he is trying to control.

3. Breakout Title

Holy and Wild
All Faked Up
Secrets in the South
Doll Up

4. Comparables

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeanette Walls
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café: A Novel by Fannie Flagg

5. Primary Conflict

A closeted young gay girl torn between a preacher’s fiery sermons about God hating homosexuals and her own child-like encounter of a loving creator struggles with the fear of rejection and the guilt from having to pretend to be what everybody wants.

6. Inner Conflict

Since most kids believe everything that grown-ups tell them, my young heart grows a Petri dish full of every reason why I deserve the hottest place in hell. Harboring years of secret shame ultimately sabotages all of my adult relationships until I finally get the rejection I deserve. Grown and still starving for unconditional love, I have no voice or opinion but the intimidating one that was ingrained in me as a dutiful child. My only hope is that God would change me before the truth, or an ex-girlfriend, catches up with me.

7. Setting

Holy and Wild is a memoir about growing up during the seventies and hiding a big secret in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas. The heartbeat of my community, home, and school was the church, where the preacher made drinking, dancing, cussing, and smoking the cardinal sins of the South. And the way he curled his lip when homosexuality rolled off his lashing tongue brought endless praise from every closeted drunk and nicotine lover in that congregation. Since disco fever was running rampant, my father and other early morning church folk somehow managed to ban all forms of dancing from school property. To every kid living under a parent’s roof, the law of God turned into a big iron fist in the sky, just waiting to squash the fun out of everything there was to do in that small town.

However, there was still one place in those parts where not even my momma could make too many rules; that was the barn, where Daddy assigned most of my chores. Wandering around pine tree filled forests and fields of wildflowers with horses, dogs, and cackling chickens soon opened up a different view of God than what the preacher painted in his hellfire and brimstone sermons. Big wheels and imagination carried my baby sister and me straight into the welcoming presence of a heavenly Father that all the grown-ups could only talk about with their faces scrunched in holy constipation. Although I still got a regular dose of fear at the local First Baptist Church, a laundry basket full of grass stained jeans proved that there was at least one place on earth where God Almighty was not angry with me for liking girls.

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#47 Post by Alancreed77 » 25 Sep 2018, 21:01

Three fantasy/romance novels and forms of reversal and minor complications.

“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”
Harry creates a DA movement to teach fellow classmates defense against the dark arts, but Professor Umbrage discovers their place in the Room of Requirements causing Dumbledore to take credit and falsely admit he is planning a coup against the Ministry of Magic.

Minor Complication:
Harry and friends are caught breaking into Umbrages office to use the floo network.

“Watership Down”
After finding a warren to sleep and eat, the group of rabbits discover the warren is actually a farm for rabbit meat and fur, and the residents hope their new numbers will ensure they aren’t chosen to be the next to be eaten.

Minor Complication:
The rabbits in newly discovered Watership Down realized there are no does in their colony.

Mrs. Danvers gets the protagonist to wear a dress identical to the late Rebecca before her death at the Manderley Ball. When Maxim sees her in the dress, he is outraged and makes her change. The protagonist believes Maxim hates her.

Minor Complication:
After the ball, Mrs. Danvers tries to coerce the protagonist to jump out the window.

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Joined: 16 Sep 2018, 17:59

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#48 Post by Rosstaye092573 » 26 Sep 2018, 03:53



Kaitlin Alexander’s primary goal is to leave Baltimore before her abusive ex got out of prison. Her mother needing help preparing the dilapidated family home in New York for sale was a fortuitous coincidence she believed was a gift from God Himself.


In the opening pages, Marcus, the incarcerated abusive ex-lover, is the antagonist of the novel. However, as the story progresses, he becomes less of a physical threat and more of a representation of all the protagonist’s emotional baggage that hinders her ability to go on with her life. Craig, her new friend’s spouse, slowly emerges as a very real and present danger that just might pick up where her murderous ex left off.


Damaged Goods(Original Title)
Beauty for Ashes(Final Title)


Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Eric Jerome Dickey: The Blackbirds
Tayari Jones: An American Marriage
Terry McMillan: I Almost Forgot About You
Kimberla Lawson Roby: Better Late Than Never

A emotionally damaged woman, with her own past nipping at her heels, is faced with the moral dilemma of trying to save a new friend from a violent marriage, or playing it safe by turning a blind eye.

Kaitlin is more aware than anyone how messed up she is. She’s so aware of this fact that she can’t help but mistrust her own judgment. She has barely managed to move past being emotionally and physically battered at the hands of her ex before she’s thrown in a similar situation—this time as a witness. Her sweet new friend and neighbor’s husband is obviously bad news that’s getting worse every day. But she had her own problems to deal with. Now what’s an indecisive girl supposed to do when every fateful decision has increasingly dire consequences?

Love is supposed to be better the second time around. Does the same go for unrequited love? Kaitlin hoped that the answer was yes when she came face to face with her childhood crush after years of estrangement. Justin was now a full grown version of the hot guy that drove Kaitlin to distraction during her formative teen years. He had been her brother’s best friend and the recipient of some serious hero worship. She saw him as the love of her young life. He saw her as the kid sister that he never had…or wanted. One night she sought to change all of that with disastrous results. He turned her down and the bond that they did have was irrevocably broken. She ran off to college and he married someone else. Years later they were given the unexpected do over. Justin was a widower and had no intentions of passing on invitations to her bed. Can they get it right this time? Or has too much happened to both of them in those lost years and they’ll find that too much damage has been done?

The majority of the novel is set against the back drop of Queens, New York during the hip hop era of the 90’s and the beginning of the 2000’s.

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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#49 Post by jesscio100 » 26 Sep 2018, 18:53

The Act Of Story Statement

A young mother of three must figure out how to survive when her husband is killed.


Overall, World War II serves as the main antagonistic force sweeping both Eleanor and Roger up into its demands and responsibilities ultimately making them victim to its vagaries.

Specifically, Helen, Eleanor’s sister, is her antagonist. No matter what Eleanor does, Helen is there to tell her she is doing it wrong, should be doing it differently, remind her she will never survive on her own. She’s like the Greek chorus – pointing out the obvious complications for Eleanor and making Eleanor feel inadequate and hopeless.

Helen’s goal is to feel superior or more righteous than Eleanor and everyone else while her own life is grossly inadequate in her own eyes. She has no lasting relationship and no meaningful work. She is overwhelmed by Eleanor’s children, while other sisters handle them with ease. Mostly, Helen is quite envious of all that Eleanor has and digs at her in order to poke holes in Eleanor’s life and feel better about herself. Because she is older than Eleanor, she believes she should have what Eleanor has – a husband and children – and she should have it before Eleanor – she is resentful because that is not how life has worked out.

Breakout Title

War Bonds

I’ll Send You Love

The Good War Wife

Genre and Comps

Historical Literary Fiction with a Paranormal Element


“The Women in the Castle” meets “All Those Things We Never Said”

“Cold Mountain” meets “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” set during WWII

Primary Conflict

When her husband is accidentally killed five days after WWII, a grieving young mother must figure out how to survive in a world where opportunities for women are limited.

Inner Conflict/Other Conflicts

Eleanor is conflicted about loving again having lost the great love of her life.

Eleanor struggles to feel understood with a stoic mother and a critical sister.


The novel is set in Flint, Michigan, a city that thrived during the war years, providing machine guns, tanks, aircraft engines and other equipment for the war. The job opportunities available in the years leading up to the war are what put Eleanor and Roger in Flint at the time he was drafted. Roger made machine guns and was later killed by a American gun. The war effort being the centerpiece to Flint’s economy is a constant reminder to Eleanor that her husband is gone.

Eleanor’s small family home provides the simple backdrop against which the drama of war loss plays out. In small spaces: her kitchen, the bedroom she shares with Roger, her backyard, her living room, the story unfolds. Her life is not big, but what happens to her is and the simplicity of the location makes the drama that much more poignant and relatable.

Posts: 2
Joined: 16 Sep 2018, 17:59

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#50 Post by Rosstaye092573 » 27 Sep 2018, 02:45



Kaitlin Alexander’s primary goal is to leave Baltimore before her abusive ex got out of prison. Her mother needing help preparing the dilapidated family home in New York for sale was a fortuitous coincidence she believed was a gift from God Himself.


In the opening pages, Marcus, the incarcerated abusive ex-lover, is the antagonist of the novel. However, as the story progresses, he becomes less of a physical threat and more of a representation of all the protagonist’s emotional baggage that hinders her ability to go on with her life. Craig, her new friend’s spouse, slowly emerges as a very real and present danger that just might pick up where her murderous ex left off.


Damaged Goods(Original Title)
Beauty for Ashes(Final Title)


Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Eric Jerome Dickey: The Blackbirds
Tayari Jones: An American Marriage
Terry McMillan: I Almost Forgot About You
Kimberla Lawson Roby: Better Late Than Never

A emotionally damaged woman, with her own past nipping at her heels, is faced with the moral dilemma of trying to save a new friend from a violent marriage, or playing it safe by turning a blind eye.

Kaitlin is more aware than anyone how messed up she is. She’s so aware of this fact that she can’t help but mistrust her own judgment. She has barely managed to move past being emotionally and physically battered at the hands of her ex before she’s thrown in a similar situation—this time as a witness. Her sweet new friend and neighbor’s husband is obviously bad news that’s getting worse every day. But she had her own problems to deal with. Now what’s an indecisive girl supposed to do when every fateful decision has increasingly dire consequences?

Love is supposed to be better the second time around. Does the same go for unrequited love? Kaitlin hoped that the answer was yes when she came face to face with her childhood crush after years of estrangement. Justin was now a full grown version of the hot guy that drove Kaitlin to distraction during her formative teen years. He had been her brother’s best friend and the recipient of some serious hero worship. She saw him as the love of her young life. He saw her as the kid sister that he never had…or wanted. One night she sought to change all of that with disastrous results. He turned her down and the bond that they did have was irrevocably broken. She ran off to college and he married someone else. Years later they were given the unexpected do over. Justin was a widower and had no intentions of passing on invitations to her bed. Can they get it right this time? Or has too much happened to both of them in those lost years and they’ll find that too much damage has been done?

The majority of the novel is set against the back drop of Queens, New York during the hip hop era of the 90’s and the beginning of the 2000’s.

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