Algonkian Novel Workshop Assignments

A forum for Algonkian Novel Workshop attendees to complete an array of pre-workshop assignments focusing on story premise, comparables, antagonist and protagonist characters, and more.
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Re: Algonkian Novel Workshop Assignments

#26 Post by sarscott » 14 Jun 2016, 20:38

FIRST ASSIGNMENT: write your story statement.
Save the future queen and find a way back to the present day New Orleans.

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.
At the beginning of the story, 13-year-old Petra publicly dumps Elle, her former best friend. Why? Elle's refusal to grow up in just plain embarrassing. In 12th century France, Petra is Elle’s younger sister. Jealous of her more beautiful older sister, Petra plots with Anjou's enemies for Elle’s kidnapping and forced marriage in order to gain the throne for herself. She’s upper middle class, pretty, and used to getting her own way.

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

FOURTH ASSIGNMENT: Develop two smart comparables for your novel. This is a good opportunity to immerse yourself in your chosen genre. Who compares to you? And why?
Wildwing by Emily Whitman
The Swift by Alex Banks

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.

Thrown into a world not her own, a thirteen-year-old girl struggles to save herself from being forced into marriage and find a way home.

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.

Elle’s mother invites her to go shopping—something Elle hates—with her and Sophie, Elle’s younger sister. As Elle notes, her mother’s mouth says come while the rest of her says go away.

Elle’s conflicts: learning how to: live with her recently divorced beauty-pageant obsessed mother and younger sister, still love her father with his new family, and live without her former best friend’s betrayal.

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?

Nicky, Elle’s supposed best friend, tells her they can’t get together because she has “family stuff she has to do,” Elle discovers the lie when she see’s Nicky with the most popular girl at school.

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.

The story takes place in two worlds: modern day New Orleans and at Ombrière Palace in 12th Century Bordeaux.

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Re: Algonkian Novel Workshop Assignments

#27 Post by carolbusby14 » 20 May 2017, 00:53

I. Story Statement:
Pirate Anne Bonny must find a way to remain her wild, dangerous self while adjusting to domestic life on a plantation in Virginia. She is almost there when a more serious threat turns up, almost twenty years later, in the form of Sir Jonathan Woolrich who recognizes the former pirate and threatens to expose her and worse. Can she and her husband save her life and the home they have struggled to create?

II. Antagonist:
The antagonist throughout the book is Society and its need and in fact, demand, that women conform to a certain set of behaviors. Women should be quiet, domestic, kind, docile, strong but not confrontive, maternal and skilled in household activities such as sewing and organizing. In other words, everything that Anne Bonny has railed against and run from in her short life so far. Having stabbed a servant at age 13, Anne ran away with James Bonny to become a pirate the next year. She loved the life – the open seas, the defiance of authority, the wealth, the freedom. But now, having escaped the hangman, Anne must confront all of the expectations she has defied since she left home. She must somehow find a way to live within the rules that she cannot control or change without losing her soul. She must re-invent herself in life she did not willingly choose.

A human antagonist representing the values of society shows up late in the book in the form of Sir Jonathan Woolrich, a wealthy planter from Jamaica who attended Anne’s trial. He sees her and recognizes how much she looks like the pirate he saw sentenced to hang. He also finds her beautiful and alluring. But he is a predator. He left the island because of drinking, gambling debts and the killing of a mulatto woman he was in the process of raping. He represents the worst of Society – privileged (he was allowed to leave Jamaica without consequences after the murder because of his high standing and family connections), callous and careless.So he approaches her at a Governor’s Spring Ball and basically propositions her. She turns him down and angered, he tells her she looks just like Anne Bonny, the famous pirate. “Do you know of her, madame?” the man asks. “I have read Captain Johnson’s book, sir. Of more, I have no knowledge.” From there, Woolrich pursues Anne, finally threatening to unmask her if she does not yield to his advances. At that point, Joseph arrives. He overhears the threat and immediately intervenes, taking Anne away from the planter. As time goes on, they hear from neighbors and friends that Woolrich is saying that Anne Burleigh was the pirate Anne Bonny. Things come to a head at the harvest ball in Williamsburg, again at the Governor’s Palace. Again, Woolrich approaches Anne who knows he has been spreading the story that she is Anne Bonny the pirate. She rebuffs him again. Joseph meets Woolrich in the woods the next morning and says he will not reveal this information if Woolrich, leaves and doesn’t come back. They struggle and swords are drawn. Then Woolrich falls, shot by Anne who followed them. They bury Woolrich deep in the woods. Back in Williamsburg, they report the cowardly attack and that Woolrich has run off. Then they go home.

III. Breakout Title:
The Last Pirate
The Last Surviving Pirate
On the Turn of the Tide

IV. Comparables:
1. America's First Daughter, A Novel by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie - historical novel about a real person, Thomas Jefferson's daughter set only a little later than my book.
2. Flight of the Sparrow, a Novel of Early America, by Amy Belding Brown - about a woman who must try to fit back into "normal" society after having been kidnapped by Indians. Tag line on description in B&N: She suspects that she has changed too much to ever fit easily into English society again.

V. Conflict Line:
Risking discovery, former pirate Anne Bonny and her husband must find a way to stop the man who threatens to destroy the life they have built and possibly condemn her again to hang.

VI. Other Matters of Conflict:

Anne Bonny did not voluntarily give up piracy. When she was ransomed from the hangman and given to Joseph Burleigh as wife, she did not instantly become a different, traditional Colonial woman. Her pirate background and her firey nature and desire for excitement that made that life attractive to her keep flaring up as she struggles to adapt to the role she’s been forced into. Can she escape as she did by running away at 15 from her father or is she stuck in a life she doesn’t want and cannot reconcile with her inner nature? If she’s stuck, how can she make the best of a very difficult situation, especially once she and Joseph begin to produce children. When her anger terrifies the help who cower while she gets blotto on rum, the kitchen catches fire and burns. When she sobers up, Anne realizes that she has to make the best of where she is and that running a household can be approached like running a ship.

Conflict Scenario: Anne has just realized that she is pregnant with her first child by Joseph. In a panic, she runs away to the sea port of Hampton, the place where the pirate Blackbeard’s head hung on a point now named for him, thinking she can run away from the new life she has not reconciled with her adventurous past. She dresses as a man and signs up to crew a merchantman leaving in 3 days for England. But she finds that she cannot run away from her destiny and when her husband comes after her, she knows she will return with him and continue the struggle to live a life she is not temperamentally suited for.

Secondary Conflict:
Anne must find a way to pass for a traditional plantation wife in the gentle society into which their burgeoning economic prosperity has thrown them. Can she protect her children from her “real” self and keep it hidden from the neighbors as she works to learn her new trade: domesticity.

Final Conflict:
Anne is recognized by a man from Jamaica who attended her trial. A hereditary knight, he is a sexual predator who left Jamaica under a cloud which he conceals from the Virginians. Anne must fend off his advances and threats to reveal her and possibly have her sent back to Jamaica so she can be hung or at least ruin her family and all that she and her husband have built from scratch.

VII. Setting

The story takes place mainly on the middle-class plantation purchased by Joseph Burleigh with the funds given him to marry James Cormac’s daughter Anne Bonny after she is brought back from Jamaica. The plantation is about 1000 acres 800 acres of which is planted mostly in tobacco, the rest in food crops or left fallow. The fields provide Anne a place to disappear when she is overwhelmed by the requirements of her unwanted life as a domestic woman. They also remind her of waves on the sea and serve as a connection between the pirate and the wife. The plantation is worked by twenty-two field hands. Having served with former slaves as a pirate and treasuring freedom herself, Anne refuses to consider slaves, always referring to them as “field workers.” She teaches them to read and encourages them to learn skills such as blacksmithing and cobbling, and always approves weddings. The teenaged Samuel is trained as their carriage driver. Anne also has three domestic slaves, or “servants”: Marie who cooks, sews and tends the children; Angeline who is Anne's dresser and personal maid; and Letty who does all the cleaning of the house and disposing of personal waste. The house itself, which faces south, is three stories with a wrap-around porch. The main floor consists of the parlor, the dining room, and Joseph’s study. There is a kitchen just outside the back of the house to keep the heat out in summer. Upstairs Anne has a room for herself with chairs, a table and a sofa as well as a fireplace. It faces east and catches the morning sun. The master bedroom is also on that floor as are three bedrooms for the children. The two boys share a room as do the twin girls. The younger girl has a small room to herself that was the nursery. The third floor is a large room for the three women servants.

Some of the story takes place in the then capital of Virginia, Williamsburg, where Anne and Joseph attend social functions put on by the Governor or, if he is not in the colony, by his Lt. Governor. It is at a Governor’s Ball that Sir Jonathan Woolrich appears, recognizes Anne and attacks her. It is also at a Governor’s Harvest Ball that Anne and Joseph conspire to shut down the accusations and disgrace Woolrich.

A third setting is York, the town nearby the plantation where Anne and Joseph go for supplies and local socializing. The town consists of a church, a courthouse and merchants, as well as a town square. The town has a milliner selling fabric, notions and made women’s clothing; a tailor; a shoemaker; a livestock yard; a grocer; and a parish church (Anglican, of course). Anne meets other local women there to socialize (and learn how to behave); Joseph buys and sells livestock and visits with the other planters. The population is getting close in 1745 to its peak of about 2,000 in 1750. There are 250-300 buildings in the town. It serves as a Tobacco Inspection Port under Virginia's Tobacco Inspection Act of 1734 which is why it thrives.

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Re: Algonkian Novel Workshop Assignments

#28 Post by darylglinn » 20 May 2017, 05:09

Bound Under a Red Sky

Assignment #1 Simple Story Statement

Alonia Stargazer must defeat a Shapeshifter of catastrophic powers and transform the planet’s landscape to survive. Bartholomew wants to join the resistance to salvage his dying world and bring his dead mentor’s dream to fruition.

Assignment #2 The Antagonist PLOTS the POINT

A Shapeshifter calls herself Commander. A narcissistic, megalomaniac that wants total domination. She’s a mole in the resistance, who must take over the planet and rule as the Queen, the new Keeper of Secrets. Once the brightest student of Mother Zaterra, she bides her time, ready to strike any who get in her way.
Commander enters the story during Alonia’s capture in the Repo hospital during the probing of Alonia’s self-healing abilities. Commander encourages DrTheo to add more bioware into the alien and drain her blood (her body’s reaction to heal). Everyone, everything is a tool for Commander’s glorious delusion.

The Landscape of the planet is an antagonistic force. The skies are rust-red with pollution and radiation, making breathing difficult and dangerous. (Coming from CO2-poor Ganymede, Alonia gets light-headed as she breathes in too much oxygen, and finds that gravity pulls her down physically, emotionally and spiritually.) Lakes and oceans have dried, leaving water the ultimate commodity and plant life a past memory.

Assignment #3 Breakout Title:
(Working title) Bound Under a Red Sky Book One of the Keeper of Secrets Series

1.) H.O.P.E. for Aliens (Harboring One Possible Escape)
2.) The Rebirth of Light
3.) Survival’s Crimson Countdown

Assignment #4 Genre & comparable novels and why?; ScienceFiction/Fantasy

1.) The 13th Continuum Series (2017) by Jennifer Brody because her novel is a post-dystopian YA novel filled with the hope of healing. Seen from multiple PoVs that include hybrid characters.
2.) The Exo Project (2017), by Andrew DeYoung. YA debut set on a future Earth where solar radiation is slowly ending life.
3.) I am Legend where the protagonist is an alien-hybrid from Jupiter's moon, Ganymede. How to restore the 9% of humanity leftover from the Bio-wars. The infection turns mammals into death-seeking, hive-minded aliens.
4.) The Road by McCarthy. Because Alonia travels and maneuvers through unfamiliar territories, evil situations, and never knows if she will survive.

Assignment #5 Conflict line:

A sixteen year old hybrid alien encourages a teen human to help her escape death, align with her untried powers and save the planet before the Shapeshifter destroys the universe.

The Primary conflicts:
On TerraTwo colony, Alonia runs from her fate: her mother wants her to take on the role of the Keeper of Secrets. A destiny Alonia defies.
She is kidnapped by aliens, brought into a testing facility and must escape to survive.
Alonia meets a violent Shapeshifter that promises to kill her.
She must claim her powers (uncover the secrets she keeps from herself) or die on an inhospitable planet.

Assignment #6 Secondary conflicts/complications:

A. Alonia has Feelings for ‘Barth-o-mew,’ but he is opposite to her, a grey-skinned, bald human and she’s a furred, clawed, fanged alien-hybrid. In the beginning they find each other repulsive.
B. Alonia only knows how to heal by immersing into clean water. Since the bio-wars have polluted the planet’s surface, Alonia finds the “InBeTween” and creates new pathways into a unproven future.
C. Also, she must learn to wield the mighty StarStone that is embedded in her paw, a talisman from her intelligent home moon.

Assignment #6 -cont.- Conditions for Inner conflicts (Interpersonal, feels turmoil, is anxious? Consider the trigger and the reaction) :

Trigger: She hates secrets and those who use them. Reaction: She runs from responsibility.
Trigger: She finds out she has secrets herself and hates the need for them. Reaction: She hates herself
Trigger: She worries she is not strong enough, that she is holding the StarStone incorrectly, etc. Reaction: She looks for someone else to be the leader: Zaterra or Caplin until the first one dies and the other tries to control or rape her.
Trigger: She’s concerned she will always be alien and alone, never to find satisfaction, happiness or love. Reaction: She pushes Bartholomew away and tries to make him jealous.
Trigger: Where is her adversary, Commander, the Shapeshifter that disappears and returns without warning? Reaction: Alonia is always mistrustful and glancing over her shoulder.

Hypothetical scenario for the "secondary conflict" involving the social environment.
Who gets to answer the question: Who is the Alien?
FearSoldiers are genetically altered humans, biologically strengthened to fight in the biowars. Mutated, FearSoldiers kill indiscriminately. Will Alonia kill them or learn to transform their illness?

Assignment #7 Settings

1.) TerraTwo—Transformed Ganymede, largest moon of Jupiter. “Above my pointy ears, billions of stars … illuminates my path as I run. Giant Jupiter prowls the horizon.”
The landscape has warm ground that suggests a hot core and freezing high air above (hence hair grows on her body) and suggests a thin atmosphere as well as low gravity. The Colony has a small town center, with acres of fruit trees surrounding it. “At home, each colony family grew small circular aromatic herb gardens that filled the air with the scent of purple sage, liquorish-basil, tarragon-thyme, orange oregano, and pepper parsley. I can almost hear the sound of dragon-butterflies and wasp-bees pollinating our crops.”
The colony always faces Jupiter, as the Giant Gas Planet orbits the small, weak Sun.
Community Kitchen: Living Trees make up all structures (Hardwoods and softwoods for different uses). “…we take a bench grown from slender willows. The wall of massive oaks delineate the cafe from the kitchens, made from Cumaru hardwood.”
School “…our circular buildings, grown from twenty tall alders, branches interweaving.”

2.) Planet Earth: Red skies encapsulates a devastated planet Earth. No water exists on the surface. All oceans and lakes dried a century ago. Hard clay or sandy soil discourages plant growth.

Spaceship: “A vibration rumbles beneath the hip I lay on. The steel wall I lay near is rounded and cold. The stink of over heated tar-bean and rusty tin signal a decrepit and leaky vehicle.”

In Bartholomew’s room: “…bumping my head on the low ceiling, and fall back onto the one inch mattress.” Horatio taps the steel bed frame against the gray plastic wall. The radiation shower, toilet and sink, crowd into a two foot area. Just enough room for my taller than normal body to scrape elbows and head. Hand to start-plate, I lower my face to the side, away from the thirty-second stream of radiant light that burns off old skin cells. Afterward, I glance into the rippled siding, unable to distinguish my differences. Placing both hands over my face, I rub my closed eyes. My sockets’ shape are round and clear; no fatty deposits. No radiation folds mare my hairless skin. My nose points straight from a smooth face and nostrils stay open when I breathe.”

Alonia’s first glimpse: “The view of Bart’s planet is nothing like the rich emerald, turquoise, and lavender of Verdessa. Or even the wild orange and yellow of the Wildlands. The scene shocks me. Reflections from the red sky glows like embers on the ground. Sooty fog obscures and reveals warped terrain. Their air stinks like beetle-bug dung. A gust whips ash in mini circles. Outside there is more polluted air than inside the hospital. Here even crushed stone and dirt is grey. A few hills rise, deprived of trees and water. Empty hardscape, so similar to what Ganymede looked like before the terraforming.”

Hospital at E*wards Airforce Base “Devoid of plant matter and life, I am surrounded by plastic, metal, syringes and grey aliens. The only colors are dirty white and grey.” “…red reflections from a high rectangular window making me yearn for the lavender hues of home.”
Outside: “Old faded red paint with a midway strip of grey cuts the exit in half. Colors bleed from the top into the bottom… Blood into grey, grey into blood. The overhang’s slats look like a smile with missing teeth.”
“I find it hard to breathe here. Too much oxygen makes me light-headed and confused. It is hard to concentrate. On Ganymede, the transformed ice lacked the oxides, silicates and carbonates to match Earth’s air. Here I must slow my intake to breathe easily. The gravity is another matter. I’m heavy, cumbersome, and yet faster than this stupid human. I miss the lightness of being, bounding and bouncing, catching fliers and letting them go.”

Camp #1on top of a hill, hard dirt, dying people, Zaterra’s tent I trace the two foot border traveling the circumference of the entry. A multitude of thin cloth strips weave together into delicate heart designs the size of my head. Within each heart, figures of feline animals coated in strips, spots and circles. Also symbols such as the infinity, horoscope and new ones that are familiar, though I do not know them.

Work-camp warehouse: The bones of steel breaks through crumbling rock, patched together in area’s of brick, steal plates or cement that holds the monstrosity in place. The warm morning air disperses as soon as I step from the light and past the doubled steel doors, wedged open by piles of bone. Cold ghosts of chill air freezes my skin as I follow Luke down the middle of the building. I cover my nose as the scent of open wounds chokes me. Bunkbeds line irreverently on either wall and continue into the gloom. Voices and footsteps echo to the ceiling 50 feet above our heads. Gaps show an uninterested sky and weak light that barely reaches halfway to the ground.

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Re: Algonkian Novel Workshop Assignments

#29 Post by jonlsteinberg » 26 May 2017, 00:07

#1 Story Statement:
Iconography charts the spectacular rise and tragic fall of caustic firebrand podcast queen Nina Carpenter.

#2 The Antagonist:
In the wake of her brother’s suicide, Nina Carpenter morphs from being a plucky teenager to a sullen, highly agitated young woman. When her tech billionaire father decides to pass along his daughter’s inheritance while he’s still alive, she uses her newfound fortune to start an incendiary podcast called Iconography. In tribute to her fallen sibling, she sketches out a concept that she believes that he would have appreciated. She takes her grievances regarding the oversimplification of cultural figures onto the airwaves. In objecting to the notion of people being labeled as either heroes or villains, Nina performs a weekly program where the aim is to take down sacred cultural cows. She meditates on the real human foibles that plagued “icons” such as Henry Ford, Hunter S. Thompson, Thomas Edison, Clarence Darrow, Jane Goodall and scores of others. In her relentless assault on artifice, Nina finds that ultimately she’s her own worst enemy.

#3 The Breakout Title:
Please No Photos

#4 Genre: Wild Fiction


Chuck Palahniuk’s Survivor
Dave Eggers’ The Circle
Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho

#5 Conflict Line:
How can an anti-social, nihilistic young woman with a cryptic message and a microphone become the world’s most successful podcaster?

#6 Secondary Conflict:
An activist group calling themselves Emma’s Raiders have been wreaking havoc throughout Orange County’s wealthiest communities. The outfit formed to avenge the dubious rape trial that saw Emma Lochfield’s wealthy tormentors go free. This cohort don Marilyn Monroe masks while staging dramatic harmful pranks at nearby businesses and corporations—casting everyone who remain silent during the court case as complicit moral criminals. Lochfield herself has been reclusive, refusing to comment about the group’s activities. Nina Carpenter believes that securing an interview with the victimized person that inspired such indignation will catapult her podcast into the stratosphere.

Inner Conflict:
Nina knows that she’s destroying people though she doesn’t seem to care very much about anything or anyone aside from herself. Her single-minded focus on achieving success comes at the expense of every other aspect of her life. She also worships her deceased brother though she ultimately finds out he was not the person she’d adored.

#7 The Incredible Importance of Setting:
Newport Beach, California is an oasis for wealthy conservative folks that enjoy yacht club memberships all the while luxuriating underneath the picturesque hue stenciled into the Pacific ocean. Humphrey Bogart canoodled with Lauren Bacall on romantic weekends in the town’s harbors. John Wayne lived in the community for the majority of his career. Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods, Nicholas Cage, Emma Stone, Heather Locklear and many other celebrities have each resided in the affluent OC suburb at one point or another. Decadence on display on a daily basis that seemingly taunts nearby areas like Costa Mesa and San Clemente. It’s also Nina Carpenter’s home town, a place that perfectly suits her broadcasting objectives in the most tawdry way possible. In Newport, moms and dads own sports cars or expensive SUVs festooned with license plates proclaiming the drivers as proud graduates of USC. It’s the ideal destination for excoriating the folks the Nina believes deserve the shade she yearns to toss in their faces.

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Re: Algonkian Novel Workshop Assignments

#30 Post by Karenhil » 28 May 2017, 07:08

1. Story Statement:
After witnessing her friend and fellow suffragette trampled by the King’s horse at the London derby, British Suffragette May Roberts must uncover whether her comrade martyred herself for the cause or was instead a victim of an unfortunate accident. Her quest causes her to question her own faithfulness and willingness to die for the cause.

2. Antagonist Force:
The larger antagonist force which May struggles against is the British government and society, politicians, etc. who are all fighting against the suffragettes’ right to vote. This force is primarily embodied by a journalist named Hank Houseman who is trying to connect her to the apparent martyrdom of Emily Davison and link her to a larger suffragette conspiracy. If he finds her and uncovers the story it will be the first big break of his career. His ambitious search puts May in jeopardy, who has been ordered into hiding by the movement. It also impedes her own search for the truth – did Emily martyr herself. Other antagonistic forces include doctors and wardens who force feed May in prison, members of the police force who violently chase her during demonstrations and her own leaders whose growing propensity for violence makes her doubt her own faithfulness for the cause.
There are other characters in the novel who struggle with antagonist embodied by someone within the establishment, as they grapple with the more traditional norms of society. For example, the journalist battles his pessimistic editor along the way. Herbert Jones, the King’s jockey, suffering from a concussion, resists doctor’s advice to end his career. Emily Davison’s struggles to balance what she believes she knows about her daughter’s intentions with the open hatred and revulsion of her neighbors in her northern village.

3. Breakout title:
The Bloody Derby

4. Comparables
My novel is comparable to other historic fiction novels with a strong female character who struggle against the traditional norms of society. Examples of recent novels would be “The Other Einstein,” “Loving Frank” or “The Paris Wife.” I have also referenced a recent movie, “The Suffragette,” which is a very similar story to mine, with the same timeline and same true characters.

5. Primary Conflict
As May and journalist Hank Houseman each search for the truth about Emily Davison’s intent at the Bloody Derby, both the government and the women’s political union mold the truth to fit their label of Emily as either a martyr or a mad woman.

6. Inner and secondary conflict
Inner conflict - May has withstood imprisonment, forced feeding, beatings and humiliation, but is she passionate enough to risk everything for a woman’s right to vote?
Secondary conflict - (Journalist) As Hank becomes more sympathetic towards the movement he wonders if he can objectively tell the story which could make his career. (jockey) In a muddled mental state Herbert questions his own recollections and ability to give public witness of what occurred during that ill-fated race. (Emily’s mother) Margaret struggles with the possibility that her religious daughter may have committed the sinful act of suicide.

7. Setting

All scenes take place in 1913 London, a socially revolutionary time with distinctive and crippling social/class/economic classes and extreme gender and racial bias. All traditions are being questions and clashes/conflicts are becoming raw in this pre-war era. It is a particularly rich environment to set a novel. Here is an example of my first scene – a first view of the most popular sporting event of the time – the London Derby.

“With the race course’s entrance in full view, the mob converged on the Downs. The single-minded mass filtered into distinct queues with military-style neatness. One queue led to the central gateway. Another line of people headed past the beds of pansies to the gates near the Prince’s Stand. Some folks trudged along the grass towards the Inside Hill, better known for merrymaking than a good view, or so I’ve heard.

Fumes, sputtering engines and the retching of stubborn hand brakes announced the well-dressed aristocracy, who were ushered out of their new-fangled autos by motor servants. Although jumbled and wind-worn, they sported their leather riding wear with panache. Their deerskin caps and veiled hats were strapped firmly below the chin. They carried themselves as though their social graces alone, rather than the luck of birthright, secured them a place among the highest social class.

Members of the middle class, including the Northern nouveau riche, wealthy American business traders and Londoners in good standing, descended from horse cabs or the occasional motor taxi. Commoners arrived in open waggonettes or relied on their dusty bare feet to get them across town.”

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Re: Algonkian Novel Workshop Assignments

#31 Post by LaviniaMcM » 31 May 2017, 03:09

1. Story statement

To escape a death sentence, a young alma (human-mouse hybrid) must leave paradise and find the lost Svalbard seed repository, so that she can return and overthrow a tyrannical ruler.

2. Antagonist:

Hundreds of years after mankind destroyed itself in war, the alma species they genetically engineered alma species managed to survive. They believe that men are demigods, cursed by the Higher gods for committing the 'original sin:' Using a weapon to attack or kill.

Primary antagonist: Balo is is thin-skinned and aggressive. As a child, his father humiliated him for being too 'brutish'. As a fully grown alma, he learns that strength is more effective than diplomacy. He is the oldest child of Abalor - the King Regent who rules until Balo's sister comes of age. The royal line can only be assured through a falme (female alma). Balo is resentful of falme, who are physically weaker, yet still take the throne, and can cheat any alme by carrying the child of another mate. After his sister Llabora dies unexpectedly, he seizes control. His goal is to return to a time when scars were a mark of honor.

Secondary antagonist: The Banshee/Narrator
"My joints are rotting. Malnourished bones crack against their ligaments. My skin has thickened with the scars of infestation and the unyielding burn of the sun, with no fur to protect me from its clawlike ravage. But I don’t worry about my pelt; I will die of other causes, disease or starvation long before any cancers consume me.
My time on earth is brief, but long enough to bear witness to its decay. The injections will hold off the rot a little longer, if I can still collect and purify it. I nurture my colonies the dank mud of the Weedland. The bacteria was altered by our forebears, bent to their own ends in ways lost to us now. Now, the banshees will last as long we can grow and cultivate the suple, inject it in our blood with thinly carved Weedneedles

I eat the mud itself. It contains enough dead things for me to survive. The children I gave birth to have left me now, drifted away and seek her their own cursed places to live - briefly - to struggle, to mate, if she is lucky, and die. We are the dying, and the Almas now, are life."

3. Title

The Banshee's Daughter

4. Comparables: on the spectrum of Adult to Young Adult SF/F. I am still looking for modern comparable that I connect with. If there are none, I'm going off the following insights:

"The market is saturated with vampires, werewolves, zombies, and psychics, the readers are quickly growing tired of them. They will want something with a basis in scientific theories, such as cyberpunk, alternate worlds, or space opera." Sandy Lu, future of Fantasy Books

"Keep a close eye on utopianism as THE major trend in the next couple of years... it’s starting to bubble up again (Tomorrowland, Inside Out, Captain Fantastic), and we’re going to see a lot more of it. [It is] a reaction against the dystopian model we’re all too familiar with, and also a reach towards innocence and hope." David Somerville, Fiction Trends in 2017 and Beyond

Inspiration (if not comparable)

Redwall, Brian Jacques: Redwall is the iconic story of a threatened utopia that must decide whether to abandon its values in order to survive. I aspire to write as well as Jacques. His books have rich settings, characters, and anthropomorphic writing that draws out their animal qualities, while making us forget they are not human.

Watership Down, Richard Adams - a classic journey story driven by 'animal instincts.' The story's proximity/interaction with the human world adds a second layer for the reader to reflects on her evolution and moral values.

Flowers for Algernon, Daniel Keyes - my story is on the spectrum of fantasy to science fiction. It inspired the Almas, a human-mouse hybrid species of my book. I similarly want to touch on the ethical and moral themes of how we define 'progress.'

5. Primary conflict: A quiet, mouse-girl hybrid is unjustly banished into the Weedlands and must overthrow a tyrannical Prince who wants her dead. She can only return if she finds the Lost Svalbard Seed repository, where 286 years ago, man and womankind stored seeds from every plant in the world.

Secondary Conflict:

(1) In crossing the Beyond, where a parasitic weed, she encounters the Banshees, strange creatures who thrive on cursed land. She must face the reality of their shared ancestry, and what it means for the alma's future. (2) When she knows her cause is just, she must decide whether to break the Weapons Code in order to save the community from a tyrant.

Background: Since mankind destroyed itself in nuclear war, and much of the worlds flora and fauna with it. There are not enough animals left to churn the dirt and return the balance to normal. The Weed is taking over the land that thrives on the silt of dead zones, and the soil is lost forever. The almas only hope is to find the Lost Seed Repository, where 286 years ago, men stored the seed of every plant in the world.

Internal Conflict:


7. Setting

They live in a haven amidst with a wasteland. The Woodlands are byproduct of a world of Man that destroyed itself.

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Re: Algonkian Novel Workshop Assignments

#32 Post by jamadainpa » 03 Jun 2017, 19:37

#1 Story Statement
Can a starting over at 60-year-old woman find love online? On the one year anniversary of her divorce, former author Judith Hill signs up for a six month membership on a well-know internet dating site. Now an American Airlines flight attendant, the once multi-published romance writer decides to hedge her innate skepticism with a purposeful plan. She will chronicle the experience and turn her anticipated failure into a self-help memoir wrapped in humor, sex and research. There is only one problem. In the unreal reality of virtual reality, normal rules don't apply and nothing can be planned - or anticipated.

#2 Antagonistic Force
The world of internet dating is a foreign entity to this non-fiction book's narrator, "jamada." Not only is the self-avowed techno-idiot intimidated by the physical process (click what? drop down where? slide how?), she feels emotionally disconnected from the entire social media mindset. The last time she was dating, a web site was where a spider named Charlotte did her thing in a barn for a rat! But worse is internet dating's mindset and its ubiquitous powers. Anonymity enables prevalent deceit and fraud. The dehumanization of people into usernames fosters dispassionate behavior and uncaring meanness. Superficiality based upon a single photo results in daily rejection. The rise and fall of hope, the frustration and inability to understand "what went wrong?" are constant. Yet internet dating's greatest threat to jamada is its ability to turn the normal patterns of human behavior and social mores and conventions inside out, stripping away her common sense, sexual boundaries - and even her own compassion.

#3 Title
WINK: A Single at Sixty's Odyssey Guide to Online Dating
Plummeting Down the Rabbit-hole: The Promises and Perils of Online Dating
Age is a Number (and other lies in internet dating)

#4 Comparables
Mid-life Ex Wife by Stella Gray (May 2017)
Getting Naked Again by Judith Sills (2009)

# 5 Conflict Line

Judith, aka "jamada," begins her 6 month foray into internet dating with equal hope and doubt. Within days she's happily texting a handsome widowed Italian engineer. All seems to be progressing well until their subsequent phone conversations reveal a strong religious leaning that borders on fanaticism. Back to daily profile clicking and photo swiping, she quickly realizes the shallowness of her dating pool. Her attraction to men her own age is nil. And the 40-50 year-olds she's habitually drawn to are not similarly so. 90% of her emails to prospective matches go unanswered. The fact her profile is, however, viewed by the men who ignore her outreach, leave jamada feeling "too" (too old, too unattractive, too boring, too cynical - or maybe just too smart for what she dubs an adult version of Build a Bear Workshop?).
Using humor and sarcasm to deal with daily online rejection (as well as her offline struggles to lose weight and quit smoking), she channels her thoughts, feelings and frustrations into weekly journal entries that soon develop into book chapters. Suddenly a gorgeous Israeli lawyer enters the picture. Their texts quickly become an exciting sexual game. When he shows up in the flesh, he delivers in all aspects. But he is 17 years younger, and jamada is smart enough to know it is a relationship without a future. She attends a speed dating event where she shines far better "in person" than online. Nearly half the men in attendance ask her for a date. The problem is she's attracted to none of them.
Back to trawling the site, she enters into several email/texting relationships with several men, who all without explanation suddenly disappear, as does the Israeli. The rejection triggers long dormant insecurities. Beginning to hate the entire experience, she turns her focus outward, augmenting her weekly journal entries with researched topics concerning the entire online dating industry and its social paradoxes and ramifications.
Two months in, jamada goes out on her first dinner date. It's a boring waste of her time and his money. She resolves to not repeat the mistake. Still willing to give online an honest try though, she changes priorities and begins to correspond with several men who are intellectually interesting - despite the fact they fall far short of her physical preference (dark, exotic and younger). A 67-year-old retired journalistic proves to be bore on the phone, and the 46-year-old slightly overweight lawyer who has a gift for puns and sexual innuendo just never gets around to asking her out on a "real" date.
As the weeks pass and the list of online losers lengthens, her humor and sarcasm take a turn toward "mean," and she begins to question her shallowness and lack of compassion. Should she settle on less than what she wants because "less" is all she can get? Her settle vs celibate inner debate continues. Three months in, she joins a second dating site geared to "the more professional online dater." When a stalker doctor from that site proves more annoying than she can handle, she calls off a scheduled date.
By the fourth month, jamada questions herself, the process, and the point. Talking to women her own age, she hears similar stories of self-doubt and rejection. Seeing the book she wants to write as her primary goal now, she takes a risk for the sake of a chapter. She breaks one of her cardinal rules (no photo/ no contact) and agrees to meet a man whose sexual phone advances remind her of the Israeli. But in the flesh "realman" is the worst kind of disappointment. Balding and obese, he is crude and groping and under the gross misconception they are going to have sex and then get to know one another. She escapes with a work lie and is immediately bombarded with offensive, threatening text messages. Furious, hurt and frightened, jamada does some serious soul searching.
By her fifth month of online dating jamada is beyond jaded, disgusted and depressed. The night of her 60th birthday a girlfriend drags her out to celebrate the milestone she has dreaded for months. Sneaking out to the patio for a needed cigarette, she wallows in self-pity until a broad-shouldered, short-haired 52-year-old mechanic sits down at her table. Sparks fly, and jamada celebrates her milestone birthday in memorable style. Two weeks later she has a coffee date with a 68-year-old still grieving his late wife. The physical contrast between the frail widower and the mechanic settles her celibate vs settle debate once and for all.
At the conclusion of her 6 month membership, jamada looks back upon her search for internet love and sees instead an unexpected discovery of self. Several months later, author Judith Hill adds a surprising epilogue to her online odyssey story concerning her weight loss, smoking cessation - and the mechanic.

#6 Inner Conflict
Jamada learns there is no greater enemy than one's self. Innate skepticism, old habits and painful memories rise up to join forces. A "past as predicate for the future" mindset presents further threat and internal conflict, as repeated rejection triggers dormant insecurities and ever strengthening doubts. She questions if what she seeks is truly what she wants - and wonders if it can even be found among the lists of online losers.

When jamada's profile is hacked by internet scammers, additional conflict arises that has neither source in the antagonistic entity of her dating site itself nor cause in her own inner demons.

#7 Setting
Having moved from her upper middle class Arizona home of 35+ years to a blue collar enclave 10 minutes from the Philadelphia airport in order to pursue her goal of flying internationally, Judith Hill has left her past behind. Though she still travels back to see her sons and grandsons, the course of her new independence points forward. A working class neighborhood Irish pub down the street and her European layovers provide glimpses into the simple and the seemingly exotic opposite ends of the spectrum aspects of her starting over and looking for love life.

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Re: Algonkian Novel Workshop Assignments

#33 Post by Jtdutton » 07 Jun 2017, 03:05

Story Statement:
A 32 year old recovering addict believes she knows what happened to a missing college student.

Antagonist: Terry Grandlark the head riding instructor at a girl’s camp in Vermont was the person in charge of weeding the talented from the untalented. To the affluent girls ages 6 to 16 who attend Camp Kawanda he appeared charismatic, detached, and magically gifted in horsemanship, though accidents occurred under his instruction and girls were hurt. To the girls' parents, he seemed to be the gateway to Medal Maclay and Olympic ability. To the owners of the camp, he was a godsend who allowed them to prosper as other area camps went out of business or became co-educational. A few older girls in his program see beyond his exterior charisma to a smaller man motivated by petty prejudices and perverse impulses. The camp at large recognizes, but underestimates, his predatory predatory behavior and some girls carry scars of his physical and emotional abuse into adulthood.

The Prince of Vermont
No Prince Charming
After the Lesson

Muriel Spark: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Jane Smiley: Barn Blind
Sharp Objects: Gillian Flynn
My Hollywood: Mona Simpson

Primary/Secondary/Internal Conflicts:
Thirty-two year old Helly (Helen) Amperson becomes obsessed with a cold case murder investigation after she recognizes a connection to a charismatic riding instructor who sexual abused her.

The protagonist, Helly Amperson, learns of a gruesome murder of a camp friend twelve years after it occurred and twenty years after the two last met. Helly, who has been drifting through life in a series of meaningless jobs and unfinished relationships, latches on to the idea that her childhood friend Kaylee was murdered by the riding instructor who once tormented them. Memories of the time and place resurface and she confesses her suspicions to her boyfriend Michael who argues that these are just feelings bought on by an undercurrent of guilt and displacement in their relationship (Michael is black and Kaylee has avoided introducing him to her parents). Angry, she packs her bags and leaves. On the other side of the country, she roots through old letters from Kaylee for possible clues. The letters trigger memories but contain no evidence for what she imagines. She talks to other people who attended the camp, and they laugh off the idea that the instructor they knew could have been that ominous. Kaylee gives in to the idea that she is over-reacting.
To give herself more distance from Michael, Helly accepts a seasonal job in a tourist restaurant where bus loads of identical seeming silver headed visitors cycle in on a daily basis. A contrite Michael gets in touch and tells her that a much publicized break in the case has occurred, the body found, but not the killer. Helly dreams she is with Kaylee before she is murdered and goes against Michael’s advice a second time and contacts Kaylee’s father who has offered a substantial reward for useful information. He invites her to Virginia where she and he work together to locate Terry Grandlark. After false leads, they discover that Terry has changed his name, is a listed sex offender, and no longer teaches riding or has anything to do with horses. Helly and Kaylee's father share an intimate relationship but they both come to the realization that they are in mourning. Soon after, they learn that Terry has an airtight alibi. Helly returns to Portland, Maine and Michael.

Months later, she and friend from camp travel to Springfield, Massachusetts to confront Terry at a salon where they have discovered he now works. He seems harmless at first, overweight, elderly, but as Kaylee sits in his chair anonymously allowing him to cut her hair, he begins to take on his former shape. After chatting amiably with him for a few minutes she begins to realize that he is still the seductive, dangerous man she remembered. She accuses him of murdering her friend. He finds the accusation humorous and mocks her for it. Helly is undone. The novel ends with her having rough sex with anonymous stranger on her way home to Portland and Michael.

Setting: The psychological and backstory setting of the novel is a summer camp for affluent girls in Northern Vermont. The camp has an established pecking order and the tension of survival in this environment governs Helly’s choices in adulthood. The contemporary and foreground setting is Portland, Maine, a town of easy values where many young adults work seasonal jobs. Helly has lingered in this place too long, had multiple failed relationships, but because it is a place where people sometimes stall or drop out all together, she does not notice her own delayed development until a closer connection to Michael begins to make it more evident. She leaves Portland for a while for seasonal work in Alaska, but finds this new place unforgiving and threatening and lonesome. She also spends time in Virginia with Kaylee’s father, a cozy set up that feels to her like being wrapped in cotton candy.

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Re: Algonkian Novel Workshop Assignments

#34 Post by kSue4u17 » 11 Jun 2017, 20:20

Seven Short Assignments

History Professor Dr. Jonah Harman returns from vacation to find his department’s records have been placed into the university’s new data warehouse by the new techno whiz Emily Maxx. A technology novice, he must figure out how to retrieve his secrets hidden within them before the system goes live and his life ruined.


History professor and department chair Dr. Jonah Harman seems to have it all. He has been with the university for 20 years, is somewhat of a celebrity thanks to appearances as an international history and diplomacy expert on local television, and is often invited to speak around the world. A family man with a wife and 2 kids Jonah is the envy of his peers because of a seemingly unending stream of funding for his research. His idyllic world would not exist if anyone learned the truth which he will stop at nothing in order to protect.

o Metadata
o Stored


o The first novel in my mystery series could be described as Harrison Hunt style mystery where Buried Secrets meets The Circle.
Harrison Hunt Mystery Series (FIVE DAYS IN MAY), 2009, Author House

o Genre: Mystery, Thriller and Suspense
o He is an amateur sleuth
o Finds mysteries through his work
o Discovers in this first of the series that he has a previously untapped talent for solving murders
o He works with someone to solve the mystery

Buried Secrets by Irene Hannon, 2015, Revell
o Genre: Fiction, Suspense and Intrigue
o First novel in a series (Men of Valor).
o She works with someone to solve the mystery
o Danger begins to shadow them
o Plot Point: Someone will stop at nothing to make certain a life shattering secret stays buried

The Circle by Dave Eggars, 2014, Vintage Books

o Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Fiction, Technothriller, Literary
o The heroine has a new job
o Setting is on a campus
o Technology plays a significant role in the story

Well-respected history professor Jonah Harman will do anything to protect his idyllic life when a technology upgrade threatens to reveal his secrets.

Heroine is working to get a new computer system launched. Antagonist is working against the launch so that he can protect his secrets.


Heroine’s Mother is coming for a visit at an in opportune time.

Heroine begins to suspect her love interest Max Larkin may be the one sabotaging her work.

Originally my story was to be set in Boulder Colorado. I chose this locale because I had been there and hiked and loved it for its beautiful scenery, hiking, and the university. I had planned to write on my book there last summer at the end of a 6 week coaching job I had gotten there. Unfortunately I found myself in the Bermuda Triangle of nothing good. From minor to major stuff it was a horrible experience that included 2 trips to the ER. Once I escaped, and I truly view it as such I learned that that Boulder is a hotbed of the occult including witches.
So, now, I am in a pickle because in my mind’s eye and the existing writing of the story is set there in Boulder.

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Joined: 20 May 2017, 00:10

Re: Algonkian Novel Workshop Assignments

#35 Post by kSue4u17 » 12 Jun 2017, 01:40

History Professor Dr. Jonah Harman returns from vacation to find his department’s records have been placed into the university’s new data warehouse by the new techno whiz Emily Maxx. A technology novice, he must figure out how to retrieve his secrets hidden within them before the system goes live and his life ruined.


History professor and department chair Dr. Jonah Harman seems to have it all. He has been with the university for 20 years, is somewhat of a celebrity thanks to appearances as an international history and diplomacy expert on local television, and is often invited to speak around the world. A family man with a wife and 2 kids Jonah is the envy of his peers because of a seemingly unending stream of funding for his research. His idyllic world would not exist if anyone learned the truth which he will stop at nothing in order to protect.

o Metadata
o Stored


o The first novel in mystery series could be described as Harrison Hunt style mystery where Buried Secrets meets The Circle.
Harrison Hunt Mystery Series (FIVE DAYS IN MAY), 2009, Author House

o Genre: Mystery, Thriller and Suspense
o He is an amateur sleuth
o Finds mysteries through his work
o Discovers in this first of the series that he has a previously untapped talent for solving murders
o He works with someone to solve the mystery
Buried Secrets by Irene Hannon, 2015, Revell
o Genre: Fiction, Suspense and Intrigue
o First novel in a series (Men of Valor).
o She works with someone to solve the mystery
o Danger begins to shadow them
o Plot Point: Someone will stop at nothing to make certain a life shattering secret stays buried
The Circle by Dave Eggars, 2014, Vintage Books

o Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Fiction, Technothriller, Literary
o The heroine has a new job
o Setting is on a campus
o Technology plays a significant role in the story

Well-respected history professor Jonah Harman will do anything to protect his idyllic life when a technology upgrade threatens to reveal his secrets.

Heroine is working to get a new computer system launched. Antagonist is working against the launch so that he can protect his secrets.


Heroine’s Mother is coming for a visit at an in opportune time.
Heroine begins to suspect her love interest Max Larkin may be the one sabotaging her work.

Originally my story was to be set in Boulder Colorado. I chose this locale because I had been there and hiked and loved it for its beautiful scenery, hiking, and the university. I had planned to write on my book there last summer at the end of a 6 week coaching job I had gotten there. Unfortunately I found myself in the Bermuda Triangle of nothing good. From minor to major stuff it was a horrible experience that included 2 trips to the ER. Once I escaped, and I truly view it as such I learned that that Boulder is a hotbed of the occult including witches.
So, now, I am in a pickle because in my mind’s eye and the existing writing of the story is set there in Boulder.

Posts: 1
Joined: 20 May 2017, 18:52

Algonkian Novel Workshop Assignments

#36 Post by LeeDoyle » 13 Jun 2017, 01:25

These Crimes Between Us by Lee Doyle

1. Story Statement

Lynette, JJ and Maggie must confront a family legacy of infidelity and betrayal.

2. Antagonist plot line

Heather Fauxbor, paralegal secretary and the spoiled daughter of a washed up San Francisco socialite, is every vulnerable, married woman’s nightmare; and the predictable solution for neglected husbands.

Blond-haired, blue-eyed and botoxed, Heather presents as emotionally undemanding and snaps up Bart Willits, a Marin County attorney. Bart’s now ex-wife, Lynette Willits, a mother of three, is reeling from the affair and divorce and her mother’s recent cancer diagnosis. She quietly hatches an unusual plan for revenge, which brings to light the forces that led to her marriage’s undoing, and her father’s betrayal of mother Maggie, 35 years earlier.

3. Breakthrough Title

These Crimes Between Us

4. Comps

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison

5. Primary conflict
A 45-year old woman and mother of three betrayed by her husband, takes revenge on the “other woman,” and discovers the father she idolized had an affair 35 years earlier — with devastating consequences for the entire family.

6. Inner Conflict + Secondary Conflict

- When Lynette discovers her father Harold had an affair when she was a young girl, devastating her mother Maggie and contributing to Maggie's cancer, Lynnette's heart is pulled in multiple directions. Maggie is emotionally unraveling. A passive woman, she finally asserts herself and decides to stop cancer treatment despite Harold's pleas not to give up. At the same time, Lynette takes up with JJ, a co-worker and former Army Ranger haunted by his experiences in Somalia. JJ is her first relationship since her divorce. Enraged, confused and trying not to fall in love, Lynette decides to trust JJ even as she's facing her father's betrayal of her mother, and confronting the underlying reasons her own marriage crumbled.

-The five members of the women’s group Lynette belong to struggle with infertility, loss, and insensitive spouses and boyfriends. Clare’s loss of a twin in utero shatters her, bringing the women closer.

7. Setting

These Crimes Between Us is primarily set in Marin County and in San Francisco — just before the dot-com market crashes — specifically Twin Peaks (on JJ and the protagonist Lynnette’s first date, she’s looking out at Twin Peaks while they wait for the elevator, where she and her ex-husband lived as newlyweds); SafeSoft’s headquarters in South of Market; and a Mission district art gallery, Atomic.

In Marin, the social environment is driven by political correctness and an obsession with being self-actualized. Mount Tamalpais in Marin County is a strong presence throughout the novel, during the Women’s Circle meeting, when Lynette’s son Scottie goes to the Marin General ER after a skateboard accident. Here, we first meet Bart, Lynnette’s ex-husband, now living with the antagonist, Heather Faubor.

John and Marina’s wedding and meditation center is set in the building of the shuttered modeling/casting ILM studio used for the early Star Wars films.

One chapter is set in Washington D.C. at the Vietnam Wall, the Hyatt Hotel; and another in downtown Mumbai, India; in the point of view of JJ, the male protagonist.

Character backstory happens in Somalia (JJ’s military service), Kentucky (Maggie’s childhood home), Syracuse, NY (JJ’s childhood home) and Costa Rica (JJ’s father).

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Joined: 14 Jun 2017, 00:42

Re: Algonkian Novel Workshop Assignments

#37 Post by hokiehen731 » 14 Jun 2017, 19:12

Pre-event assignments:

I. Story Statement:
When she loses her father, Genevieve must realize her own goals while fulfilling those her father began in spite of a dangerous man from her father’s past who threatens everything she’s working toward.

II. Antagonist:
Jack Parker
41, works in capital city (sits on board at central location of local credit union branches in state), but commutes to the suburbs of Concord, where he lives with his wife, Macy, and four-year-old daughter, Charlotte Emilie.
Domineering, rough, abusive, physically and emotionally manipulative: doesn’t let his wife speak, controls the money, heavy-handed with daughter. Over the 17 years of their marriage, he has progressively become more dominating: places demands on Macy physically and sexually, puts her on diets, scheduled personal trainers
Genevieve encounters him only once during a conference call where she was defending an idea she had to recruit more local members. Tina, the branch manager, made a comment about the “girl who has to bring her dog to work.” He looked Genevieve up on social media and employment records to find out that she was the daughter of the vet who “failed to save his dog.”
When Jack was 15 (nerdy, gangly, awkward) his dog of 9 years drank antifreeze that Jack was supposed to have disposed of after he and his dad had changed it on the old car they were fixing up for him to drive. They rushed Jasper into Dr. O’Sullivan’s office, but it was too late and the vet couldn’t save him. Jack never got over the loss and blamed the vet for his dog’s death to avoid responsibility.

Cole & Lincoln
Lincoln was jealous after seeing Andy, her ex-husband with Genevieve, and is using Cole, one of the men on Andy's construction team, to try to scare her off.

III. Title:
The Dog Days
Where the Road Rises (to Meet You)

IV. Comparables:
Nora Roberts The Search

V. Conflict Line:
By herself, she is figuring it all out -- her purpose, her work, a budding romance -- but being a supposed witness to a crime is threatening to strip her of it all and possibly her life.

VI. Inner Conflicts:
A. Her meeting with Wanda where she figures out that it was her dad’s intention for her to take over the business, the guilt of not realizing it for herself and not really “hearing” him herself.
B. Finding the courage to quit her job and tackle the running of the business.

VII. Setting:
Homestead and farm, Sully’s, of Genevieve’s great (times 3) grandfather that has been kept in the family. 73 acres nestled at the foothills of a small mountain range called Split Mountain, about 3 hours west of the coast. The old farmhouse has been renovated by Genevieve’s dad, who also renovated the stable to convert into a kennel for the dogs he boards. An hour and half drive from her mom and dad’s home in Stout’s Mill, a small town near the college city of Concord, where Genevieve has an apartment.

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Joined: 15 Jun 2017, 23:52

Re: Algonkian Novel Workshop Assignments

#38 Post by akwun1945 » 15 Jun 2017, 23:57

Anne Kwun
New York Pitch Conference-Assignments Anne Kwun
First Assignment: story statement
Jun-Ah Koh was born in Seoul, Korea shortly after Korea was liberated from Japanese occupation. The country had been ransacked for the past thirty-six years by the Japanese colonialism. Nevertheless, her family was well off. Jun-Ah was a bright free-spirited girl, attending a prestigious international school, geared for a successful and productive life, which turned upside down when Korean War broke when she was four and half years old. This story describes how the war affected a little girl’s life, whose father being captured by the communist, mother running after him, herself being ‘abandoned’, left in the basement surviving with the help of her grandmother and a maid, until Seoul got recaptured three months later. Then, in another three months, Korean War made the worse turn, followed by Retreat to Busan and her life as a refugee in the new town began.
Back in Seoul, Jun-Ah’s father being the chairman of ‘The Electric Company’, Koh family often entertained UN/US military officers. Young American lieutenant showed up in Jun-Ah’s house one day, and they became friends. It was her first crush. Lt. Callahan left Seoul at the end of his ‘hardship tour’. Jun-Ah came to US and met (Lt.) Captain Callahan, and they fell in love. Then, Korea went into the political turmoil, and her father got indicted. Jun-Ah returned home to help her mother who was going through unbearable ordeal. At the meantime, Jun-Ah lost contact from Callahan. She returned to US to find out that her love of life was ‘missing in action’ in Vietnam. She lost the purpose in her life. She struggled to find the way to move on.
Second Assignment: Sketch the antagonist or the antagonistic force
When Jun-Ah was growing up, Korea was a sexist society, prejudiced against a young girl being bright and outgoing. When Jun-Ah finished memorizing ‘Chun-Ja-Moon’ which contained one thousand Chinese characters, at age six, instead getting praised, her paternal grandmother said “Who would want to marry a girl like that? She will probably end up being an old spinster.” Then when her brother was born, grandmothers from both sides totally doted on him and treated Jun-Ah like a second-class citizen.
Other antagonistic forces were, Korean War, Revolution in Korea, military coup, and the distance between the two lovers, when she fell in love. Though it is a heartbreaking love story and some overlap with ‘Romance novel’, I think, I should put it in a genre of ‘historical fiction’. My protagonist had to endure many difficulties in her life, caught in the middle of war and the political turmoil that her own family was directly involved, and most of all, her personal tragedy of losing her sweetheart, her sun. That why I am considering a title option of ‘Sunflower under the flag.” Yet, she moved forward with positive out-look in her life.
Third Assignment: Breakout title
Uniform (current working title)
Sunflower under the flag. (option)
Fourth Assignment: comparables
‘The Joy Luck club’ by Amy Tan
‘The Surrendered’ by Chang-Rae Lee
Fifth assignment: Inner conflict of the protagonist
Difference in culture; different moral values, Jun-Ah being frightened by intimacy. Also torn between her responsibility to her family going through trouble in Korea, yet not wanting to leave her lover in US.
Sixth assignment: sketch out the condition of inner conflict and hypothetical scenario
1st example; In Seoul, when she was four years ole, her first ‘perm’ experience;
Finally, the beautician liberated her from the ‘space helmet’ and took down all the rollers. Jun-Ah’s long straight hair turned to multiple loops dangling freely over her head and shoulders. She always had lots of hair, and after the perm, the volume of her hair had tripled. She turned into a shaggy dog, a poodle that had not been groomed for months. And her hair was flying out to all different directions.
Jun-Ah’s mother told her. “I am so proud of you Jun-Ah! It looks beautiful!” Then, all the guests in the salon jumped in and said “Wow! She looks so pretty with the perm! She looks like a little doll in the show case.” Jun-Ah wasn’t sure whether it made her prettier or uglier. She was just happy and relieved that it was finally over. This experience had given Jun-Ah a sense of an ‘accomplishment’. And she’d made her mother happy and that was another important achievement.
2nd example; Her first intimacy
Jun-Ah felt bad that she had messed up an important ‘romantic’ moment. She wanted to tell him, “I am sorry, I should have kept my mouth shut. I never meant to disappoint you. I have pined for your affection all these years; I would let you, no one else, make me a woman. Let it happen. Please try it again. I will do better next time around.” But her windpipe must have gotten plugged up. No sound came out. She struggled to regain her voice back and finally was able to say, “I messed up, didn’t I? Do you want to try it again?”
Final Assignment: The setting
The setting of this book jumps around as the protagonist moved around. Half of them are in Korea, but instead of showing the dilapidated city of Seoul and people starving, it also shows the life of the people in the upper end.
One example,
Busan’s Train Station was very different from Seoul Metropolitan Train Station. It was very plain, a two-story concrete building probably at the size of two elementary school classrooms, with a flat slab roof and cement walls and regular windows around, nothing like a fancy hallway of Seoul Train station. Seoul Metropolitan train station had a beautiful décor with stained glasses, sconces, the ceiling of the entry foyer was very high and looked like a dome that was painted green. It looked almost like a small castle with the green roof sitting on top of the pinkish brick building trimmed with whitish grey stones. It was beautiful.
Seoul Train Station also had nice shops and restaurants, and its second-floor restaurant served ‘Yang-Sik’ the western food. That restaurant was one of the best Yang-Sik places in Seoul, probably only second to the diplomat’s club.
2nd example, in US
Out of all the places that Jun-Ah had visited in US, she was most impressed by the NASA Goddard Space Center. She was always fascinated with the idea of traveling through the space. She used to get indulged in science fiction comic books. However, she had no idea how expensive the whole space project would take. There was a model of a space-ship on display. She saw a mid-plane of the ship cut open, showing a surface that was covered with hundreds of shiny metal pieces sized about an inch by half an inch. According to the guide there, each of those pieces, the little chip would cost a thousand dollars. If a little piece like that was that expensive, how much the whole ship would cost? It was difficult to imagine. Regardless, going to the moon and travel to the other planets would be a ‘dream come true’. Jun-Ah wondered if that day would ever come in her life time.

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Re: Algonkian Novel Workshop Assignments

#39 Post by AmyGinsburg » 25 Aug 2017, 05:25

FIRST ASSIGNMENT: write your story statement.
When the grid goes down, a middle-aged suburbanite couple struggles to survive in a world where necessities become increasingly scarce and civilization begins to disintegrate. How will Luke and Rachel survive this dark new world until the power … hopefully … returns?

SECOND ASSIGNMENT: 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 a modern world with no modern attributes – no electricity, no internet, and no cell phones. There is not nearly enough food, water, gasoline and other essentials. With government, police, and civilization all but gone, desperate people and anarchy lurk in every corner of suburbia.

Along their journey, the protagonists Luke and Rachel tangle with more specific antagonists including robbers, rapists, and beggars as well a lack of medical care, water, and heat. Starvation, injury, and death become more and more likely with each passing day.

THIRD ASSIGNMENT: create a breakout title (list several options, not more than three, and revisit to edit as needed).
32 Days (The second book in the series of two will be called 32 Weeks)
Powerless (The second book in the series of two will be called Powerful)
The After Days (Don't know what the second book in the series of two will be called.)

Dystopian but also women’s fiction.
Comparables: The Age of Miracles: A Novel: Karen Thompson Walker. Although the main protagonist of 32 Days is a middle-aged woman rather than a teenage girl, both books focus on what happens to a one family when there are incredible societal changes. Unlike most dystopian novels, which often include revolution and heroes battling to save the world, my book and The Age of Miracles concentrate on how one utterly ordinary family handles extraordinary, unexpected world shifts.

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.
Luke and Rachel, a smart but wholly unprepared middle-aged couple who know more about PowerPoint presentations than disaster survival, battle the myriad consequences of a non-working grid.

Rachel and Luke must overcome a variety of obstacles on their path to survival – everything from how to go to the bathroom to how to bury a friend – that test their resolve, savvy, and fortitude.

SIXTH ASSIGNMENT: sketch out the conditions for the inner conflict your protagonist will have
Rachel isn’t sure she can summon the courage and moral flexibility necessary for survival in a world where today's laws and unwritten rules no longer apply. For example, do Rachel and Luke share their food and water with friends in need or do they decide to save only themselves? Do they loot? Will Rachel, who’s never slapped anyone or held a gun, maim and kill to protect Luke and their home? Will she and Luke be able to learn the skills they need to survive? Will she and Luke transform into the people they must become to survive until the power … perhaps … returns?

FINAL ASSIGNMENT: sketch out your setting in detail
Luke and Rachel live in an upscale suburb of Washington, DC. It is a nondescript neighborhood where bureaucrats and business owners never detach from their smartphones and computer nerds cheer their soccer-playing children on Saturday afternoons. When the grid goes down, the cul-de-sacs and strip malls of suburbia change from a place of mundane ordinariness to one of constant peril.

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Re: Algonkian Novel Workshop Assignments

#40 Post by SkyeGray » 26 Aug 2017, 19:17

Kim Ford writing as Skye Gray

Story Statement

A harrowing adventure ensues along a bike trail when a storm twists two strangers lives together, forcing them to confront the scars of their past. But what if the past just won’t let go?

Antagonist Sketch

Rose Lanzo has been serving a ten-year sentence at Muncy State Correctional Institute in Pennsylvania. She is the mother to protagonist Maryn Lanzo, a 16-year-old high school student who suddenly awakens to her mother, who she barely knows, two years before her scheduled release date. Rose, a drug and alcohol addict, has been clean since the beginning of her sentence, right after her husband was killed, and her son was born. Rose’s only joy has been writing letters to her children.

Her mother’s sudden homecoming was the last thing Maryn wanted, and the timing couldn’t be worse. Rose acknowledges her horrible choices in the past, but her only dream is to begin a relationship with her daughter and son. Her journey is challenged by trust and forgiveness, furthermore; being a prior felon, and addict never seems to stop haunting her.

Breakout Title

Trail of Scars
Don’t Blink
Let Me Go

Genre & Comparables

The genre is mystery/adventure/thriller.

The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain – Saga of a family in crisis, impacted by suicide written in first person. A story of three people surviving a fatal event in their lives.

[/i]#919 in Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers & Suspense > Psychological Thrillers
#1060 in Books > Audible Audiobooks > Mysteries & Thrillers
#3937 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Women's Fiction > Contemporary Women
The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens – A story written in first person about the burdens people carry, alcoholic mother and young antagonist struggling to keep it together.
#65 in Books > Audible Audiobooks > Mysteries & Thrillers > Suspense
#79 in Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Mystery > Amateur Sleuths
#121 in Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers & Suspense > Psychological Thrillers

Fiction: Mystery/Crime
Allen Eskens's THE LIFE WE BURY, about a Minnesota college student on a dangerous quest to discover the truth about a dying convicted murderer, but hamstrung by a dysfunctional mother, sibling guilt, and a haunting childhood memory, to Dan Mayer at Seventh Street, in a nice deal, for publication in fall/winter 2014, by Amy Cloughley at Kimberley Cameron & Associates (World English).

With Love From the Inside by Angela Pisel - A complex relationship between a mother and a daughter, written in first person multiple POV. Her mother is in prison and she seeks to discover the truth.
#186 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Women's Fiction > Mothers & Children
#414 in Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers & Suspense > Legal
#1808 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Women's Fiction > Domestic Life

Angela Pisel's WITH LOVE FROM THE INSIDE, about a mother on death row for the murder of her infant son who reconnects with her adult daughter, pitched as Orange is the New Black meets Jojo Moyes, to Sofie Brooks at Putnam, for publication in 2016, by Jill Marsal at the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency (World).

Primary Conflict

Maryn’s life is in turmoil as her addict mother Rose returns early from prison, and her boyfriend Antonio takes his own life.

Inner Conflict

She is devastated and blames herself. The police want to talk to her, her mom begs for a relationship, and she just wants to run from everyone.

Secondary Conflict

Maryn reads some of her mother's letters and realizes her mom struggles just like her. Her boyfriend's parents blame her for their son's death. Her friends abandon and blame her as well. She decides to escape and stay with her cousin in Washington DC, but the train is full, so she rides her bike instead. The journey is much more challenging than she expected when she is trapped in a flood and meets someone who she doesn’t know, but has significantly impacted her life.


The entire story takes place along the 335-mile bike trail between Pittsburgh, PA and Washington DC, known as the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Towpath. Over one million people ride this trail annually. Maryn lives with her Aunt Darla and little brother in a row house right off the bike trail in blue collar, McKeesport, PA. The other POV is Hartman, a 26-year old male who lives in his family trailer in the small town of Ohiopyle, PA right next to the bike trail.

Every mile of the bike trail is different. Maryn has biking and camping experience but underestimates weather changes, people questioning where her family is, cell phone reception, power outlets for her phone and sheer fatigue.

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Re: Algonkian Novel Workshop Assignments

#41 Post by BayRylee » 27 Aug 2017, 23:50

Dawnn Moore

Story Statement
The most powerful man in the world is not who he thinks he is and must fight for the truth by keeping his power.

Antagonist Plot
1944: Five men built the foundation of Elucidate.

United concern: Without unified guidance and supervision the world would find itself in a perpetual cycle of world wars. Another Hitler imminent. The world was very broken, and only a select few could fix it.

• Generation 1 (1944-1964)
o Mold civilization to the same beliefs and religion to build world unity
o Create one world with one government for peace and prosperity
o Enforce strict code of conduct with tribunal style world military
o Stay in the shadows—pull strings—build a worldwide network of selected agents of change
• Generation 2 (1964-1984)
o Mold civilization to the same beliefs and religion for a perfect world
o Create one world with one government – worked to keep powers from coming together
o Termination of those that do not follow the Code of Conduct
o Stay in the shadows—pull strings—CREATE a worldwide network for the future
• Generation 3 (1984-2004)
o Mold civilization to what they believe is optimal performance
o Create one world government – raising and indoctrinating babies and clones
o Termination of those that do not follow the Code of Conduct
o Infiltrate government and international businesses and aid organizations at all levels
• Generation 4 (2004 – Present)
o Mold civilization to the image of Elucidate – only the perfect should survive
o Create on dominating world force through existing governments
o Termination of those that do not follow Elucidate doctrine
o Emerge as the world’s leader by putting Elucidate Apostles in the top government positions

Elucidate will stop at nothing to keep President Lincoln from exposing them.

Breakout Title
Assigned Power
Rise of Truth, Downfall of Power

Maya Banks’ light science fiction mysteries
David Baldacci political mysteries

My goal is to create a novel that stands with two of my favorite series. Since both are by very popular authors, I did not use them in my two comparable.
Maximum Ride series by James Patterson meets Origins in Death by JD Robb

Political Mystery with Light Sci Fi

Conflict Line
Forced down a self-discovery path fraught with misdirection from those closest to him, the newly elected President of the United States finds himself in a fight for his life as he uncovers who he is and the secret organization who created him.

Inner Conflict
Theo is confident when we first meet him. Newly elected as President, his life reads like a storybook. His confidence slides and self-doubt creeps in when he stumbles onto the realization that someone else's agenda is playing out and he is merely a pawn in the game.

He feels he is living a double life as he doubts everything around him while portraying a strong and confident world leader. He cannot trust anyone close to him and gradually starts to suspect everyone.

It wears on him creating a shift in his personality. He becomes withdrawn, self-reflective and those around him find him moody.

Gradually he starts to trust Bryn and believes she wants to help him figure out the truth. Her job as a reporter worries him, but his need for an ally outweighs the risk.

As information comes together, he transcends from overwhelmed and moody to just plain mad. He shifts for only hunting for answers, to wanting revenge, finally vowing to right the wrongs of Elucidate.

Secondary Conflict
Bryn was in love with a boy many years before who should be the President. When he invites her for a one on one interview, she thinks it is so they can talk about the past. When she throws out a few opening questions to start the conversation, she realizes he has no idea who she is. How can someone she once shared her entire life with—in secret—not remember her at all? She realizes President Theodore “Theo” Lincoln is not the Theodore “Linc” Lincoln she once loved. His story is the same but his memories as not.

After the interview, Theo must piece together what he knows is his past and what Bryn has told him his past was. How can he not remember her and what they shared? The persistent questions refusing to leave him alone and start him on a journey to find answers about her, them, and himself.

Main setting: White House

Mystery shrouds the White House—rooms only certain people can go into, dark and dank tunnels, false walls with removable panels—one can truly be alone even in a House with so many people.

The public areas staged to give the American public a false sense of security and openness. The private areas heavily guarded to protect the president and his inner cycle. The forgotten areas the perfect place for clandestine rendezvous.

As the story progresses into the dark recesses of Elucidate the White House loses some of the innocence that the bright lights and history affords it.

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Re: Algonkian Novel Workshop Assignments

#42 Post by heraldpoet » 28 Aug 2017, 05:59

-- from Matt Waller --

Story Statement
When a college football player tries to rape 20-year-old feminist Hannah Radhe and continues to terrorize her while the school turns a blind eye, Hannah must pull off a seamless murder, then out-think the charming detective who suspects her and the dean who's out to silence her.

Homicide Detective Alan Cowley, 40, has a haunted face that has seen it all, but he continues to be driven by a relentless skill at solving tough cases. Dogged and impersonal, interested only in the facts, loyal to procedure but trusting his gut, he often jumps to the right conclusion ahead of his superiors, irking them but earning their respect. He dislikes department politics and tries to stand apart from them. He has no ambitions beyond continuing to be what he is and do what he does. Physically he’s slim, slightly shabby in attire, and looks unthreatening; though well-trained in using force he prefers to use his mind. At home Cowley has a tense, irritable wife and a 24-year-old son in the Navy, who both know that his first love is his work. Beneath the surface he nurses a hard, absolute moral code that has never been seriously challenged—until he encounters Hannah.

Alistair Haughton, Dean of Students at Hills College, presents the persona of a scholarly, witty, wise and paternal soul. In reality his only mission is to protect the college's financial health. His very identity is wrapped up in his mission: he sees himself as the guardian of a high and august tradition. His task is to maintain a line between the abstract student body of bright, clean, upward-gazing young men and women, in which amber alumni memories find themselves, and the reality of drunken frat parties, depressions, suicides, pregnancies, and sexual assaults that actually occur on campus. He fields student complaints with well-polished speeches that all involve an end goal of hushing them up. When this proves difficult—as, with Hannah, it proves VERY difficult—he can become flustered and stressed, believing himself to be caught unfairly in the middle, and capable of any corruption.

A Clean Thing
The John Brown Girl
The Train Math Girl

I’m unsure of comparables in the world of books, but to use movies, my story is like a combination of “Thelma and Louise” and “The Thomas Crown Affair.”

Primary Conflict Line
After a college girl protects herself from a serial rapist football player by murdering him, she must defend her ingenious alibi while trying to expose the recorded evidence of his deeds, which would also expose the college's cover-up of campus rape culture.

Inner Conflicts
Hannah is torn between her desire to return to her normal life, and her higher goal of exposing the truth about the rapist who terrorized her and about the college football program that knowingly covered up his assaults.

Scene: The moment had come: Hannah's alibi seems triumphant. The evidence she set up to prove she was aboard the train at the time of the murder has come in, convincing the police of her innocence. They are releasing her from custody and clearing her of suspicion; she can walk free and return to her life as it was. However, the tape of the rapist's confession that she left at the crime scene is still suppressed by the powers-that-be; the reputation of the football team is being kept artificially clean, meaning the whitewash policy will stay in effect and other abused girls will be silenced by it. All she has done will be for nothing. And Hannah knows that the tape must come out as evidence -- IF she is put on trial. So at the last moment before leaving prison she whispers a confession to the lead detective, ensuring that he'll keep pursuing her.

Secondary Conflicts
Though Hannah is clear in her mind about why she murdered the rapist, she is desperately afraid that the taint of murder will affect those she loves.

Scene: The day after committing the murder Hannah is at home with her parents. Though she successfully carried off her meticulous plan, acting throughout with focused confidence, she now feels sick at heart, sitting in her familiar apartment as her loving parents sympathize with her over her sexual assault. She feels her hands are stained with blood. She can't bear to lie to them, even as she mustn't say or do anything to implicate them in her crime. Worse, there are still loose ends she must clean up, and so she falsifies errands to get her out of the house...

The significant action of the novel involves motion: a train ride and car travel across New England from Boston to New York and back again that enables a murder scheme. Therefore the real setting is "winter" -- a biting cold pre-Christmas December in which college campuses stand almost emptied in the darkness, buildings creaking; in which passengers on Amtrak platforms hunch necks into thick coats (a good milieu in which to hide); in which salt-whitened highways give way to the sudden silence of black ice; in which an unexpected thaw restores a field to wet gristly grass, erasing footprints that had been there the day before. Early darkness, hardness, and perversely unpredictable weather dominate.

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Re: Algonkian Novel Workshop Assignments

#43 Post by dhartzler » 02 Sep 2017, 06:32

From Denise Hartzler (Algonkian Park Sep '17)

#1: The Story Statement:
Risk everything to get down the mountain.

#2: The Antagonist:
Joseph-Jon is a rugged man living life in solitude with his wife, Louisa-Jean. Their cabin is tucked away in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia; however, the house was bequeathed to his older brother who is letting them live there so the cabin doesn’t fall into despair. Joseph-Jon works on a cash-only crew clearing the forests that surround his home. He feels stuck in his job because he never finished school and hates what he does because he is destroying the land that allows him to hide from society. His wife, Louisa-Jean, has a head full of romantic dreams and concoctions of getting rich quick so that Joseph-Jon can save their cabin and land. One night in desperation, Joseph-Jon and Louisa-Jean befriend a woman who convinces them to scam social services by fostering a child that she steals from a hospital. This provides him with a consistent monthly flow of cash that never accumulates because of his drinking and “surprises” for Louisa-Jean. The child also gives him a sense of something he can control. As time passes and the child becomes a teenager, her insistent questions and reactions to her guardians push beyond Joseph-Jon’s control.

#3: Breakout Title:
The Hope Leaf
Valley of Freedom
Loneliness on a Mountaintop

#4: Genre & Comparables
Genre: Smart Middle Grade Fiction
Child of the Mountains by Marilyn Sue Shank (keeping faith, loneliness, resilient spirit, and determination)
Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart (facing dangerous men, quest to be reunited with family)
Among the Hidden by Margaret Haddix (child in solitude, risk everything to return home)

#5: The Primary Conflict:
Longing for a home in the valley may seem like Kat's childish dream, but for her, this hope is her strength, it’s her breath, it’s the magnetic pull to get her off the mountain away from the hellhole her hideous guardians call home.

#6: Other Matters of Conflict:
Conditions for the inner conflict of Protagonist:
Kat relies on JJ and Louisa-Jean for basic survival needs (shelter, food, books, etc).
Kat is afraid of JJ’s temper and gun. If she tries to run what will happen to her when she is returned to his custody? Fear keeps her in the shack.
The mountains. She knows the path to the cliff’s edge to see the valley town but she doesn’t know of the path to get away from the shack.
She is daydreamer much like JJ’s wife, Louisa-Jean. Are daydreaming and hope the same thing? Is she becoming like Louisa-Jean?
Threat of losing her books. Kat is book smart, which makes JJ’s hatred towards her more intense. He often threatens to burn her World Books which have given her an education.

Secondary conflict involving social environment: Hypothetical scenario:
Kat and her friend Albie are talking about why Kat hasn’t tried leaving. She touches her busted lip feeling how "their meanness is like a boot stepping on her chest crushing any breadth of courage." Albie begs her to leave with him. He pleads that his parents will help her find her family and keep her safe from the Parsons. The thought of spending a day in the comfort and safety of Albie’s family makes Kat feel hopeful yet sad. She reacts to his offer by getting mad at him for not understanding what will happen to her if she is returned to the shack by his parents or anyone for that matter.

#7: Setting
The main setting of the story is the cabin in the woods of West Virginia. Kat refers to the cabin as "the shack" because it is a six-room cabin with a slanted front porch. There are two splintered steps leading up to the covered porch. The frayed welcome mat used to read “Hello” but the “o” has worn away and it now reads “Hell.” There are two pairs of shoes outside the screen door, both belonging to Kat (only her shoes must stay outside). The springs on the screen door make it slam shut every day so there is no sneaking out. The entire place has wood paneled walls and popcorn ceiling yellowed from the Parsons smoking habits. In the living room is wood burning stove, JJ's recliner, a brown floral sofa where Louisa-Jean naps and a wood rocking chair next to the stove. The kitchen is torn out of a 70's magazine. Mustard yellows, deep forest greens and oranges. The bedrooms and the enclosed back porch along with one bathroom complete the shack. Outside the shack is JJ's shed of tools and an extra freezer for his hunting rewards.

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Joined: 06 Sep 2017, 01:28

Re: Algonkian Novel Workshop Assignments

#44 Post by ninamckissock » 12 Sep 2017, 00:59


Which secrets would you protect to your grave? If you get close to having to reveal it/them, would you include all the details honestly? Who would you reveal them to? Why? Is getting caught or changing world history as we know it a valid reason to reveal the secret? If revealed, Billie--a WWll female undercover pilot I knew, was confronted with missions she knows may have killed her and altered the course of the early war on Guadalcanal, South Pacific. Treated like a "curiosity" was dangerous--she was forced to have female genital mutilation, had to go undercover as a male bomber pilot, flying the broken airplanes to repair facilities...


Billie's conflicting inner thoughts--her battle with unrealistic gender roles, and suppressing her talent and intellect, is one of her antagonists. The Mother Superior who manipulates her emotionally and physically, the priest on Guadalcanal who does nothing until the end, and the young Japanese soldier who seduces her with kindness, then returns to kill. It seems to be a story of the license one is allowed to take during wartime. (Who knows how it will actually turn out!)


1. At Ease. (It's a military term. I want to have the subtitle In the Arms of a Woman, but I realize this is long. The "woman" reference is that one of the main characters is a First Division Marine and as I form this book, I've discovered that there are five females he gets involved with, who make him into a man again. They reorient him to life, love, humanity.

2. In the Arms of a Woman. (Stop laughing)

3. Freggio. (This refers to the scars monsignors purposely inflict on their young female lovers faces so no one else will want them.)


I have a question. Most of us are either wrong or don't know our TRUE genre. I'm ambivalent to do this assignment. I have a feeling it's Military Historical Fiction. Don't people kinda make up a genre sometimes? With my first book, I sat on the floor of a massive B&N, took photos of the books I thought were my comps, researched the literary agents, then queried them. Took weeks.

Okay. Here's my comps as of now:

1. Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

2. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

3. A Gentleman in Moscow: A Novel by Amor Towles


At Ease by Aurora Faria (my pseudonym)
Having taken over her deceased grandfather's crop dusting business when she was fourteen, twenty-four year old high time pilot "Billie" is reluctantly accepted to teach navigation to the British pilots in Terrell, Texas. She falls in love with a student and sets forth on dangerous flying missions to the South Pacific to deliver a message and arms. Billie learns a lesson about the exempt rules of war, the common people who affect the outcome of war, and the entrenched societal beliefs about gender roles.


Primary conflict: Being a female within a male environment. It wasn't about proving herself--she had self-confidence; it was about downplaying and following the gender rules as she landed in many countries with different gender rules. My book opens in 1998 and she's living and working for her niece. Billie wants to live her life without sharing the secrets, but a box arrives...
And she is forced to share all but one secret with her niece.

Secondary conflict: Billie falls in love for the first time in her life when she is twenty-four. He's a British pilot she taught and when he's deployed to Northern Africa, they put a plan together to meet. She ferries B-17 bombers and other fighter planes across the oceans, has a few mishaps, is captured and released...

Inner conflicts: Learning about love, loyalty, having been protected all her life and how the realization that you must face your grief, that enemies come in seductive disguises and that love stays with you forever. No matter what.

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Joined: 12 Sep 2017, 22:31

Re: Algonkian Novel Workshop Assignments

#45 Post by Gthomas49 » 12 Sep 2017, 22:38

Hi guys! Sorry for the delay. I missed the part about posting our answers. Also, I'm working on two novels and deciding which should be my main focus right now, so I had to answer the questions twice. Here you go!


FIRST ASSIGNMENT: write your story statement.
Abigail Du Bois, a starling in a gilded cage of doves, struggles in a binary society where she is the exception to the rule.

Born of a Caribbean mother, when Fiona Spring learns of her aristocratic parentage, she may even more reluctant to accept it than society is.


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.
Camilla Granville is the sister of Prentice Mallory and Fiona’s begrudging aunt. She is a proud and snobbish woman, whose husband turned out to be a compulsive gambler who lost all of his fortune and hers. She places all of her hopes on her children, Luisa, to marry someone very wealthy and responsible like Sebastian Graves who would keep Luisa and herself in a high position and Reginald, whom she hopes will inherit her uncle’s fortune. As his older sister, she has always resented that Prentice received the inheritance and because she is a woman it skipped over her, and he was able to stay a bachelor because he wanted to marry a Negro woman while she was forced to marry, however his bachelorhood ensures Reginald’s fortune. She uses her pride to overcompensate for her precarious position in society. Camilla doesn’t consciously recognize at first, but she finds her disturbingly familiar with an uncanny resemblance to her mother. Reginald’s attraction to Fiona looks like history repeating itself. The only way to save his already tarnished reputation is to marry him to a woman from a respectable family, but there aren’t many takers, and Reginald shows little interest in pursuing the more acceptable women in society, at least honorably. Her brother leaving his fortune to Fiona is her last straw, and she is determined to reclaim what she believes what is rightfully hers rather than let it go to some upstart half-breed who will ruin the family’s name and complexion.

It’s not so much that Fatima is accustomed to getting her own way, though she is, but she is accustomed to being the center of attention. An already pretty girl, her sharp green eyes and blazing red hair have been known to stop both horse and rider in their tracks. She is used to having many suitors and has been taught that people are simply useful tools. She comes from a from a family of opportunists, including a father who has been quietly stealing from the bank where he works for the past few years to support his lavish habits and switched from the Confederacy to the Union, in name only, because it better served his interests. Fatima resents the change the Civil War brought and thinks that the slaves are uppity for wanting more from their lot, because that’s what they deserve, but she tries to hold her tongue in this “New South.” Her resentment is compounded by the introduction of Abigail with whom she not only has to associate but also watch her friends fawn all over t lsjdflj. Abigail’s emerald eyes and dark skin soon eclipses Fatima’s title as unique beauty, and like the Negroes who run loose on the city streets, Abigail seems sent to take everything from her, including Charles Harrigan. Confident in her wiles her father’s determination to have a rich decorated Union officer as a son-in-law to help the family’s image in the newly reconstructed Union, Fatima has no doubt that she would soon have Charles as her own. Her advances are lost on him, which frustrates a girl who has never been refused by a man, and Charles’s obvious interest in Abigail becomes more than she is willing to bear. It is the final symbol that the days of a defined racial hierarchy is being ripped away and needs to be preserved, no matter what the cost.


THIRD ASSIGNMENT: create a breakout title (list several options, not more than three, and revisit to edit as needed).
Some Other Metal than Earth
Like Cypress Drowning in a Bayou
The Starling’s Gilded Cage

Daughter of Consequence
Fortune’s Spring
Absalom’s Daughter
West Indian Mahogany



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

Genre: Historical Fiction/Drama/Romance/African-American

1. An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole is a research driven historical drama/romance with an African-American heroine and an interracial romance set during the Civil War. Cole’s black heroine is not subservient to anyone nor is she a slave (even when she pretends to be). However, Cole does not ignore the racial disparity of the time to create a fantasy setting.
2. Philippa Gregory’s stories often contain rich details and lavish settings. She writes about situations and times in history that people think they know, but are told from a new light, often giving a new perspective to our understanding of history.

1. Alyssa Cole: Though she doesn’t have anything during my actual setting (1820’s England), her stories tend to be research driven and show black historical characters exclusive of slave shops and with agency. They does not reiterate the same story of oppression and show the presence of people of African descent in places where it is forgotten or ignored, such as the royal court of Scotland’s James IV.
2. Since I have not found lot of fiction written with bi-racial characters of consequence in Regency or Georgian (or even Victorian) England, I’m using William Thackeray’s Vanity Fair for its “mulatto” heiress from St. Kitts. Miss Swartz, one of the wealthiest characters in the novel, attends finishing school, is adulated by her cohort, and becomes a more formidable player in the “marriage market” than her European schoolmates. Unabashedly courted by the father of one of the primary male characters, who unscrupulously breaks his son’s engagement for Miss Swartz, her 100,000 pounds, and the prospect of his son “buy[ing] a peerage,” her existence in this 1840’s novel demonstrates that there are far more intriguing possibilities involving characters of African descent than our current literary portrayals allow.



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.
Haunted by the ghosts of the Civil War, a Creole heiress’s self-imposed isolation in Reconstruction Atlanta is tested by the relentless pursuit of a Union Officer, who is haunted by ghosts of his own.

When a poor violinist’s introduction to society reveals her aristocratic heritage, she must reconcile herself to a father she never knew fight for a fortune she never expected.


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.
Abigail lost both of her brothers in the war and her father’s disappearance and assumed death for most of its duration caused her to consider loving a man too precarious a position. This is shown often in her refusal of Charles’s advances, who, as a white male, has all the ability to abandon her any time convenient.

Fiona has always felt inadequate because of her father’s abandonment. When she discovers a secret room filled with portraits of herself, she realizes that the French painter who was allegedly charmed by her unique appearance has really been commissioned by her father all these years. Now she must decide if his silent affection makes up for his absence.

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?

Abigail’s secondary conflict is troubling, because I am still ironing out if her positon in society or her romantic interest in Charles is the primary conflict. Her secondary may be her determination to not feel inferior or be in a subjugated position, which would be impossible for an African-American woman in a relationship with a European-American man. Another option, if I focus on the romantic element entirely is Abigail’s’ dear friend other suitor Paul Moncrief, who by race, positon, and personality is the person she “should” want to be with, but she does have feelings romantic feelings for him.
Fiona’s secondary conflict involves her mother, who has been evasive about her father’s identity for years and has always treated her as a burden.



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

My main settings in Louisiana during the Civil War, which includes Bonne Terre, the DuBois family plantation in Plaquemines Parish and their townhouse in New Orleans (the latter may be cut); Reconstruction Atlanta, in the elegant houses on Peach Tree street; Paris after Abigail and Charles marry, and briefly Montreal, Quebec, when Abigail leaves Charles to find a speech therapist for their daughter, visit her family, and reconnect with an old beau.

The story begins in Southwark, a poor borough in south-east London, but most of the action takes place in the West End, either in Fiona’s new apartment or the Vicountess’ townhouse in Mayfair. There are also a stint in Surrey/Kent (haven’t decided) at the Vicountess’ yellow, stucco Regency country house and Heallfrith, Mr. Graves’ family home, which overlooks Prentice Mallory’s home, that Fiona inherits. More than likely, there will be a large portion of time spent in Fiona’s inherited home in the later portion of the book, but I am still in the process of ironing out everything.


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Re: Algonkian Novel Workshop Assignments

#46 Post by ckmathey914 » 13 Sep 2017, 01:15

Assignment 1: Story Statement
After being hired to investigate the disappearance of a popular missing English professor at the Academy of Cuisines in Hyde Park, New York, detective Kate Bronte must overcome her guilt and fear over the death of her elder sister Mimi and her attraction to a young man with a violent past.

Assign. 2: The Antagonist plots the point
The antagonist, Rosemary Hershey, is an English professor in the missing man's (Nick's) department. She has an overwhelming need to control people in the department. She despises Nick because he doesn't acknowledge her superior skills, her status as the de facto dean of the department. She arranges for Nick to hire Will Dean as his gardner, as a way to keep tabs on Nick's activties with students. When she learns of Nick's affair with Ava, a beautiful married professor, she uses Will to spy on them (encouraging Will to become a voyuer/quasi-detective). When Rosemary realizes that Ava has killed Nick in an argument turned violent, she calls Will in to help her get rid of Nick's body. She tells Ava that she will provide her with an alibi for the murder night, and then begins to manipulate Ava to be her ally in departmental politics. Rosemary is a skilled manipulater and shrewd observer of human psychology, and may have unexpressed homosexual feelings toward Ava. She is sociopathic in her lack of respect for most people and her hatred of those who do not acknowledge her superiority. Her hold on Will is both emotional and economic: she knew his (late) mother, has helped him in his troubled past, and is his landlady, getting him jobs in Rhinebeck. She uses him to spy on people she wants to control.
At every stage of the plot, she instructs Will to find out what the detective has learned. The one thing she can't control is Will's attraction to Kate.

Assign. 3: The Breakout title

Lovecraft Lane
The Last House on Lovecraft Lane

Assign. 4: Genre and Comparables
Tana French, In the Woods. First person narrator is a Dublin murder squad detective (male) whose is attracted to his detective partner (female). The narrator/protagonist is damaged, unmarried, and incapable of committing to a relationship because of something in his past. My novel is not as cynical in perspective, but has similarities in its psychological thrust, with a sagatious detective who knows how to read human behavior, and a detective duo.

Ruth Rendell, Inspector Wexford Series.

Assign. 5: Primary Conflict
The antagonist, professor (Rosemary Hershey),uses the accidental death of a colleague (Nick Abramson) in order to blackmail and coerce the woman who killed him (Ava) into a relationship that will further her goals and desires. She uses Nick's handyman (Will Dean) to help her dispose of Nick's body, and to learn what the detective has learned about the murder. She feed's Will's fear of re-incarceration, by prompting him to kill the detective (Kate). However, Will is also drawn to the detective, which complicates matters. Denouement: Will tries to kill Kate. She disables him and he reveals Rosemary's plans and actions.

Assign. 6: Inner Conflict of Protagonist
Kate Bronte's inner conflict arises from her fear of powerlessness in the face of evil. She was powerless to help her sister before her violent death, and is powerless to help her sister's uncontrollable 18-year-old son. Her career requires her to power through an investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice. she has to be able to face evil and conquor it, but she has moments where she is paralyzed with fear because she knows what evil can do.
Her desire to bring perpetrators to justice is at conflict with her desire for the shelter of a loving relationship where she can find peace. Nick's house is a refuge for her, and she falls under the spell of its beauty and serenity. She is drawn to Will (the handyman) because he created it out of rubble, but her desire for refuge leads her to let her guard down with Will, blinding him to his dangerous past and potential for destroying her.

Assign. 7: Setting
The setting is Nick Abramson's remote Rhinebeck house, which is set apart from its neighbors in that it is an old gatehouse to a long-demolished mansion that has been lovingly refurbished. Kate stays in the guesthouse on the property, which leaves her vulnerable to Will, who turns up at odd times to further his relationship with her.

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Re: Algonkian Novel Workshop Assignments

#47 Post by novamg11 » 03 Mar 2018, 05:43


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Re: Algonkian Novel Workshop Assignments

#48 Post by MorganBH90 » 12 Sep 2018, 01:54

Morgan Hall

1/ Write your story statement

A boy with no name or memory of his past awakens to find himself, along with thousands of other children, trapped within a dreamworld, where the only way to wake up and escape back into reality is to press further into a realm of strange and wondrous fantasies made real. With the help of two unlikely companions--a young and eccentric boy named, Leo, and his callous and leery big sister, Nani--the boy with no name finds himself immersed within a mystery revolving around his own identity, as well as his enigmatic connection to his two mystery companions, and finally, finding answers surrounding the existence of this fantastical realm separated from time and space alike, and uncovering the truly horrifying reality blanketing a once surreal utopia-turned-living nightmare.

2/ 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 Dreamcatcher: An enigmatic force to be reckoned with, even within the world of the unreal. For awakened beings, the world of Dream can be taken for a paradise. A second life defines the first life, with but one exception: the mysterious enemy of the human spirit, the legendary Dreamcatcher. A person, a thing, a figment of imagination--it is unclear for our heroes in the beginning. A friend, a foe, a harbinger of death and a bringer of life, all at once? Nothing is for certain, all except for the cause of the pandemic infecting the minds of countless wandering souls - the “gray fisher”, a keeper of keys and secrets. An insurgent against the tides of Light and Darkness, a ship without a flag. A beast with no nation… the Dreamcatcher is anything but predictable. And it is this figure whom our heroes must seek out, destroy, befriend, or even simpler… understand. All in order to uncover the reality of their new existence. To free the imprisoned minds of untold masses of souls, the Dreamcatcher must be found, and it must be reckoned with.

3/ Create a breakout title (list several options, not more than three, and revisit to edit as needed).

“Tale of a Trilogy”
“Dreams of a Trilogy”

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

Fans of Rowling’s Harry Potter universe will definitely find appeal within my dreamworld setting, considering the countless possibilities--some ridiculous, some hilarious, some outright terrifying. But outside of Hogwarts, I’d better compare this story to Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights, and the characters themselves, of my main protagonist, Abe, being a fearless knight and a walking mystery, and his companions, Leo, whom takes up the role of both comedic relief and a source of intelligent speculation regarding the symbolism and spiritual concepts witnessed by the heroic trio, and, finally, Nani, the female member of the trio who I’d say is a perfect fusion between Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy, with the attitude of an armored bear.

However, despite this being a fantasy tale set within an unconventional "Nightmare in Dreamland", I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from my favorite novel of all time, Richard Adam’s Watership Down, in the way the story is that of a journey of both survival and coming to terms with life’s predicaments - understanding the identity of Light and Darkness, and how Darkness is not so much cruel as it is a welcoming notion, and that Light is not always warm, but also hot, warped by flames. The rabbits in Adam’s tale have to rely on their cunning and camaraderie to ensure their existence within a world that is constantly trying to destroy them. Abe, Nani, and Leo soon find themselves just as plagued by notions of being at war with the entire world surrounding them, and discover that their only chance--rather, their only OPTION--is to rely on another, trust in one another, and in no one else.

5/ Write your own conflict line following the format above. Keep in mind it helps energize an entire plot line and the antagonist must be noted or inferred.

Finding themselves trapped within a strange dreamworld, three wandering teenagers set out to find a way to awaken back into the real world.

6/ Sketch out the conditions for the inner conflict your protagonist will have. Why will they feel in turmoil? Conflicted? Anxious? Sketch out one hypothetical scenario in the story wherein this would be the case—consider the trigger and the reaction. Next, likewise sketch a hypothetical scenario for the “secondary conflict” involving the social environment. Will this involve family? Friends? Associates? What is the nature of it?

Internal Conflict: Abe (Abraham) is a boy who awakens within a so-called “dreamworld” with no recollection of his past within the so-called “real world”, and thus, is instantly struck with a spiritual dilemma, of personal identity versus existential reality. He confides in his inherent desire to uncover the mystery of his identity, but finds the external desire to protect his companions a higher priority. He seems to hold no real concern for his own well-being versus safeguarding Leo and Nani throughout the course of their journey into the depths of fantasy-incarnate... there is a reason for this, a personal mystery he must solve on his own. He strives to understand his strange feeling of attachment and familiarity with his two fellows, who appear to feel the same for him. The name “Abraham” is given to him the moment Leo seems to recognize him from a dark corner of his and Nani’s own past, and the reality of this name, and the mystery associated with it, further leads Abe down a road of becoming less-and-less “real” and more-and-more a figment of someone else’s imagination.

Scenario: Abe instantly feels an unexplainable attachment to both his companions, who both feel the same for him, but are either unknowing or unwilling to indulge the truth behind this strong connection.

Secondary Conflict: The wandering trio is met with wonders and nightmares throughout their trek into the depths of the dreamworld, where they face certain trials and foes and allies alike that seem to challenge the classical division between light and darkness, whereas “Light” and “Darkness” are not all that they originally seem to be, and the true antagonizing force behind the dilemma of the entrapped souls of Dream exist within somewhere beyond the human spirit - a force that truly does not hold a place within the realm of humanity. To understand what is “good”, there must be a total understanding of what makes something “evil”. On the surface, our characters may seem to be heroes, some even villains. But as time progresses within a land beyond time, the truer realities of their beings are slowly uncovered into either something truly noble, or something truly monstrous.

Scenario: This world of “Dream” was originally intended to be something that it is no longer, plagued by a force beyond Light and Darkness, responsible for twisting the notions of good and evil, transforming knights into dragons, and heroes into villains. The wandering trio find themselves to be just as much a part of this turmoil as the forces attempting to run them down.

7/ 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.

“Dream” is a world beyond space and time, a place of fantasy-incarnate, which takes the existence of dreams themselves into a dangerously bizarre twist of realism. Imagine the surface of the human spirit--that force that connects all of humankind into this immaterial notion of “humanity” and sets it all up into a separate plane of existence, where every thought and action adversely effects the design of human history, which is a story that is constantly being edited, evolving. In Dream, the history of humanity is like a book that can be read from front to back. But reading it a second time will reveal certain elements you may have missed, or perhaps they were just recently added. In terms of a “land beyond time”, you’ll meet characters from all walks and ranges of life and time, from the moment in history where we “woke up” and determined the notion that we were “different” compared to the other critters running about this lonely blue jewel floating within an impossibly vast universe, to the moment where it all “ends”.

Within this world beyond space, things that seem to be material are in fact immaterial, and there is a nexus of links connecting every mind within the realm - barriers including language, dialect, even references to pop-culture, are all rendered obsolete. People understand each other, but that does not mean that they truly UNDERSTAND. In this world, there are floating mountains and gigantic birds of prey; flying pirate ships and talking rabbits. Witches and gunslingers and knights, oh my… but all that is wonderful is complimented by things not so glamorous, and things originally intended to be one thing turn out to be quite the opposite. Witches become angels, knights become dragons... for this is a utopia that was originally meant for travelers of the mind, and now, has become a prison for the wanderers of dreams.

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Re: Algonkian Novel Workshop Assignments

#49 Post by EliseZollerC7 » 13 Mar 2019, 23:51

Jane has lost the use of her legs because of a freak accident and is persuaded by a house finch named Oramus to travel with him into her dreams on a quest to regain the use of her legs and save herself from a mysterious force that no one else can hear or see that howls in the corners of her bedroom.

The primary antagonist in this story is death itself. However, there is a character that enters the plot that complicates an already desperate struggle.

There were those who should have loved her as a kitten and did not. She had to make her own way in the world from a young age. She was betrayed by a lover, and she wears the pearls he gave her to this day. Now, she has an insatiable desire for revenge and enjoys using power to watch others squirm, like a child who tortures bugs.

Fritilla is glamorous, rich, beautiful, and powerful. Don’t underestimate the depravity of a cat bent on toying with power for amusement. She has cheated gangsters who loaned her money. She has betrayed friendships to build a wildly successful Grand Hotel on the Riviera. And, she has watched that Hotel descend into financial ruin and flames. She knows how to use a blow-torch.

Since losing the Grand Hotel, Fritilla has built a new empire ruling a gang of rats in a wine cave. She likes the idea of keeping a band of filthy, rugged rats busy finding jewels and food for her while their relatives cower in the dark. And, she likes the idea of building this empire right under the mansion where she lives by day as a benign house cat.

Now she wants to know how it feels to destroy beings as they cross the thin line between life and death and Oramus and Jane are in her sights. The strange, gnat-like swirl of darkness that envelops the evil cat has reached out to ensnare the girl and the bird.


Oramus’s Riddles
Beautiful Dreamer
The Tale of Oramus and Jane


What would happen if Mary Lennox met Merlin, and would she recognize him if she did?

This is a magical realism novel for middle grade readers that deals with the themes of life and death touched on in The Bridge to Terabithia and is thrilling and magical like The Blue Sword.


Jane thinks she might be able to use her legs again and regain the life she knew before her accident, but impossible riddles and dark forces stand in her way as she must travel through a dream world that seems to be arrayed against her, toward a goal that looks ever more elusive.


This novel has two protagonists, Oramus and Jane.

Primary Inner Conflicts:
Jane’s inner turmoil is driven by the desire to regain the life of adventure in her forest that she had before an accident that left her legs paralyzed. In addition, she senses bewildering and frightening forces around her that no one else seems to be able to see, a mysterious wind that she sees just on the edge of her vision and feels - even indoors. She doesn’t want to deal with these challenges or understand this wind. Jane is twelve. She just wants it all to go away.

Oramus is a gifted house finch who speaks in the languages of humans. He is old, retired, and wants nothing more than to be left alone after a distinguished career. He’d also like the Owl Council to award him the Crested Medal for his lifetime of service to the Great Wood. The Owl Council, however, has recalled him from retirement to send him out one last time to befriend Jane and take her on a healing mission. He just wants to get this last assignment over with and go back to his library. Jane doesn’t want to participate.

The inner conflicts of both protagonists are laid out early in the book when Oramus manages to get to Jane’s bedside and tries to convince her to travel with him in her dreams and perhaps regain the use of her legs. Jane trusts no one, she has been betrayed by too much in her young life. Why should she trust this strange little bird? The two of them exchange insults before Jane finally relents and agrees to let Oramus travel in her dreams with her, because life is pretty boring when she’s confined to her bedroom and maybe there is a grain of truth in this little bird’s wild promises.

Secondary Conflicts

Jane could use a friend, but she has become spoiled and self absorbed and unable to accept an offer of friendship and healing. Throughout the book she is thrown into stranger and stranger circumstances as she follows Oramus, afraid of losing the one being that seems to know his way through this bewildering landscape. They face adversity together and she comes to trust him and in so doing makes a friend. This process begins when she agrees to help him rid a cave under his house of a rat infestation – just for the adventure of it. It culminates when she agrees to help him reclaim an orb that the evil cat, Fritilla, has stolen from his family.

In the course of their travels together, Oramus sees Pamina again, the love of his life whom he betrayed when he was young and foolish. He needs her to help him complete the Owl Council’s assignment. He wants her forgiveness.

Pamina helps Jane understand what forgiveness means and in the end shows Oramus that she too understands forgiveness. He is grateful for something he did not earn and feels he did not deserve. He learns humility.


The Tale of Oramus and Jane begins in The Great Wood, an old growth forest thick with magic. It is ruled by an Owl Council, a group of forest creatures who train their members to speak in the languages of humans and watch over troubled children from the trees and sills next to their houses.

Oramus, an old, transcendently gifted house finch, is assigned by the Owl Council to help Jane. Because Jane is frail and close to death, the only way he can help her is to travel with her in dreams.

The action in the novel goes back and forth between the world of Jane’s dreams and the Great Wood. In Jane’s dreams, the two protagonists travel on a mission to dark rat-infested caves, a medieval town, a Grand Hotel on the French Riviera, and the Golden Box - a massive orange box made of pulsing light that protects the archives for the Book of Songs. The final scene in Dream involves a science laboratory in Room 32B where Oramus must explain a chart of birds that refuses to stay on the page.

I have written about and illustrated this world. My illustrations for this novel can be seen at

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