Seven Assignments for New York Pitch Writers

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

#26 Post by babeoconnor » 12 Mar 2017, 16:40

Harley Dragon Fly by Babe O'Connor
Second Assignment - The Antagonist Plots the Point
Reader demands for sufficient suspense, character concern and conflict

My book is composed of 2 independent story lines that alternate and intermingle, finally converging at the end to tell one complete story.

Book-1 (Primary Plot)

Holly's true intentions are all but impossible to determine throughout the book. Is she a cleverly deceptive enemy or ally and lover? She is extraordinarily likable, stunning, quite the conversationalist with a witty sense of humor, but Holly is also an enchantress with a strange and inexplicable power over James. She is fun and entertaining to be around. He finds her irresistible, yet something about the attraction is disturbingly unnatural to him. At times she seems to be his true love and faithful companion, but at other times he is certain he is being manipulated. Her actions on occasion seem bizarre, confusing and remarkable. When she finally reveals that she is really a Ciiu, a bio-engineered insect creature, James is disgusted and loathes her. As time goes on however he comes to feel he should trust and help her although doubts remain. To his dismay he finds he is still sexually attracted to her. General Roth explains to James that once Holly Brain Bonded with him that he is hers to manipulate and control. Roth tells him that what Holly did to him is really called soul sucking and he is screwed big time. James has serious doubts about Roth's sincerity and honesty, especially since he needs James' help to find and secure Amaranth from the Ciiu.

I have other characters that play an antagonist role too, but Holly is the main antagonist. There is Craw, the zany best friend of James and his bother Philip whose personality quirks serve to spice up and complicate things throughout the story. There is General Roth, an amoral, ruthlessness, treacherous and sociopathic who tries to use James's talents to achieve his own ends. There is Sledge Hammon who is a bit of a shallow, bumbling thug and bully reminiscent of Biff from "Back to the Future". He is grimy, husky and strong, but not too bright appearing at just the wrong, right moments to impede and make life more difficult for James and his brother Philip.

Book-2 (Second intermingled story)

Talibah, whose name in Arabic means: "Seeker of knowledge", is the first C.I.I.U. (Covert Insect Infiltration Unit) operative, a bioengineered creation of Dr. Sarah Chamberlain, a brilliant scientist. Talibah's mission is to seek out terrorists, secure their secrets and the exterminate them. Talibah was enhanced to target a specific terrorist, the master mind behind the destruction of the Twin Towers. She is beautiful, charming, immediately likable and with a great sense of humor, in other words irresistible. In addition, she can release a pheromone cocktail onto a victims skin to makes them want her all the more. She can also insert an organ known as a Feletto through a victim's mouth to attach to their brain enabling her to read their thoughts and also cause them to hallucinate in order to extract intel from them. Almost any man the meets her finds her irresistible including the president. She is suppose to be on our side, design by Dr. Chamberlain to protect the USA from terrorism. Nevertheless, Dr. Chamberlain grows increasingly concerned she may have her own agenda and may be smarter than humans. When Talibah begins to hear voices, the result of overwhelmingly strong compulsions Dr. Chamberlain designed into Talibah that are stronger than any drug addiction or other human motivation which drive her crazy. When Talibah and another CIIU operatives find the nuclear bomb in upstate NY will she is torn between defuse it to save the USA or yielding to the voices screaming in her head to detonate it?

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Re: Seven Assignments for New York Pitch Writers

#27 Post by babeoconnor » 12 Mar 2017, 16:49

Third Assignment - Conjuring your Breakout Title

My genre is either science fiction or paranormal-romance or science fiction romance. Here are title examples from science fiction romance:
Friday by Robert Heinlein
Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey
Cordelia's Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan series
A Civil Campaign. by Sharon Lee
Liaden Universe by Steve Miller
Gabriel's Ghost by Linnea Sinclair
The Fall, Daughters of Suralia, by Christie Meierz
Wreck of the Nebula Dream, Star Cruise: Marooned by Veronica Scott
Overload Flux by Carol Van Natta

I recognize I am suppose to try to provide 3 possible title options for consideration, but I like this one:
My Title: Harley Dragon Fly by Babe O'Connor
(An Entirely True Story in an Alternative Reality)

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Re: Seven Assignments for New York Pitch Writers

#28 Post by babeoconnor » 12 Mar 2017, 17:48

Harley Dragon Fly by Babe O'Connor
Fourth Assignment - Deciding your Genre and Approaching Comparables
My book is composed of 2 independent story lines that alternate and intermingle, finally converging at the end to tell one complete story.

Genre is either science fiction or paranormal-romance or science fiction romance.

I recognize that ideally, what I am being asked to do, is to provide smart comparables and make the case that my book would capture a specific group of readers who have shown interest in a similar current set of books. I am also suppose to try to steer clear of big name titles. I am having trouble doing this, in exactly that way, in part because I believe my book does not closely resemble another. You are probably not going to like what I did here, but I gave it my best shot.
Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss
Similarities include fictional novel that has 2 story lines that intermingle and wind there way through a wide variety of different adventures. There is a love story between the main character and a women that could be viewed as an antagonist. Both have a wide array of colorful, memorable characters.
Jurassic Park - Michael Crichton
Similarities include providing a convincing account of how bioengineering can be used to create life forms that do not currently exist today. Human lose control over the creatures. Reader is left wondering at the end if they have really regained control.
Tithe - Holly Black
Similarities includes a paranormal romance where a human falls in love with an inhuman creature.
Harry Potter
Similarities are associated with the thrill of competing in dangerous games with flying creatures. There is often a quest for something magical and mysterious that they do not always fully understand. In my book it is the Amaranth Vessel.

There are also some comparisons with some movies:
The Sting
Similarity is that throughout my book what might appears real and true may not be. The creatures have been engineered to deceive and mislead. Is it only the enemy that is being mislead?
I was kind of shocked at some of the similarities with Avatar when I first saw it. I have been writing Harley Dragon Fly off and on since 2005. Similarities include a romance with an alien, flying on creatures, although with my book it is more involved and different since the pilot is inside engaging in a form of symbiosis. There is a struggle for dominance between humans and an alien race.
Back to the Future
Similarities include an antagonist, Sledge Hammon, who is much like Biff. There are also intermingling past and future story lines, although there is no means for the characters to jump back and forth between the two. It is clear in both the actions in the past have dramatic consequences for the future.

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Re: Seven Assignments for New York Pitch Writers

#29 Post by babeoconnor » 12 Mar 2017, 17:54

Harley Dragon Fly by Babe O'Connor
Fifth Assignment - Considering the Primary Conflict - Coming of the "AGON"

My book is composed of 2 independent story lines that alternate and intermingle, finally converging at the end to tell one complete story.

Book-1: A talented bioengineer and dragjack pilot is torn between his love for an enchanting bio-engineered inhuman women and the possible devastating implications his help, aiding in the plight of her race, might have for the entire human race.

Book-2: An unbelievably brilliant scientist, with aspirations to become as famous as Einstein or Newton, navigates turbulent political waters in an attempt to have her outlandish project-of-a-life-time funded to develop human looking, alien creatures to combat terrorism regardless of the risks and consequences to humanity.

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Re: Seven Assignments for New York Pitch Writers

#30 Post by GMBrowning » 12 Mar 2017, 18:26

KARMA CITY by: G.M. Browning

Science Fiction: completed at 74,000 words

Story Statement: A micro-predator, known as “Malady,” has crippled humanity; but when Dr. Marcus Graves’ engineered cure evolves to a greater threat, it falls to mercenary, Luna Briggs, and the shotgun toting drifter she loves, Jameson Shoals, to stop this new killer-elite before it supplants mankind.

Antagonist Sketches:
Dr. Marcus Graves; main antagonist:

Dr. Marcus Graves has always felt that if a cure for Malady were discovered, it should be given only to deserving individuals to better society. This belief led Graves to furthering his scientific work independently. His focus shifted from preventative treatments for the uninfected population, to treatment options for the infected population.

Graves took ownership of a black high-rise on the western side of Karma City and named it Sable Tower. There, he established Graves Enterprises and formulated *Quell, the only drug of its kind capable of quieting the adverse effects of Malady. With the sick finally able to find temporary respite, Dr. Marcus Graves has achieved what many have called a miracle.

The power of Graves Enterprises is threatened when the Malady parasite demonstrates a resistance to Quell. Graves turns to darker science with his undisclosed “Project GEMNI” — Graves Enterprises Malad-X Neural Implant— aimed at creating a stronger parasite, called Malad-X, to kill common Malady. In secrecy, Graves begins testing his new parasite on helpless, captured people. The Malad-X parasite turns the victims into enraged killers desiring only the slaughter of those infected with common Malady. Graves becomes determined to cross-infect the population—pitting the infected against the infected—until the only people left alive are those sick with his parasite, and dependent on Quell.

Elliot Burroughs; aka “Gemni”; secondary antagonist:

Elliot Burroughs, lead researcher for Graves Enterprises, suffers with Malady. He offers to serve as “patient zero” for Dr. Graves’ trial application of the new Malad-X parasite. The hope is that Graves’ Malad-X will kill the common Malady in his brain, then perish from the accumulation of toxins resulting in a cure. The Malad-X trial goes horribly wrong.

Errors in the bio-chemistry evolve the Malad-X strain. The parasite, now a form of “super Malady,” achieves consciousness and completes a deep synaptic neural bond. Elliot Burroughs’ consciousness, personality and very existence is overtaken by the parasite who claims the name “Gemni.”

Gemni escapes into Karma City and discovers that, as a super Malady parasite, he has unique and inhuman abilities. By mere thought (projected synaptic pulse) he is able to “turn” those infected with common Malady to obey his commands. Gemni becomes a hive-mind, flipping Malady infected people into obedient killers against those who are uninfected. His goal is to “awaken” Karma City’s infected population to rise up and claim the world by infecting others or killing the resisting uninfected.

Comps: Dan Brown’s Inferno meets Mira Grant’s Parasite.

Similarities to Karma City:
• Genetically engineered parasites
• Real world science and technology
• Parasites react against host
• Reminiscent of a Michael Crichton science thriller

Similarities to Karma City:
• Male and female protagonists
• Brilliant scientist antagonist
• Cutting-edge science theme
• Antagonist plots to end humanity
• Threat of devastating biological outbreak
• Protagonist fails

Conflict Line:
As a sentient parasite threatens to supplant mankind, it falls to a gun-slinging drifter, female mercenary and cowardly doctor to stop a crazed scientist from unleashing a greater monster on humanity.

Levels of Conflict in Protagonists:

Jameson Shoals: Main Protagonist, Drifter, Survivalist-

Abandonment has darkened his heart. His mother died from the Malady parasite, leaving his father to raise him. After a fight with inner city thugs, his father becomes infected and mysteriously goes missing. As a boy, Jameson runs into the Void Lands, seeking the truth about what happened to his father. He wanders the infected Void Lands, learning survival skills and honing his combat abilities, all the while remaining free of infection. He begins to realize that he is strangely immune to the parasite.
As a man, Jameson often resorts to violence to keep himself and others safe. He maintains a driven, no-nonsense, kick down the door attitude. He values his partnership with female mercenary, Luna Briggs, above all else, and struggles to confess his growing love for her.

When Jameson and Luna return to Karma City in search of Jameson’s lost father, they find themselves thrust into the middle of a secret war brewing between dueling scientists and an inhuman predator determined to supplant mankind.

Jameson’s immunity to Malady fails him; he becomes infected with a genetically enhanced strain of the parasite—Malad-X. His unique bio-chemistry evolves the Malad-X organism, awakening it with an intelligence and personality all its own. The parasitic being in his mind promises greatness through a shared evolution, but quickly challenges everything Jameson knows of himself. He comes to understand the power of his love for Luna, as it proves the only thing that keeps him in control. Jameson can’t deny the truth, however, that trusting the creature of his infection may be the key to saving the world.

Luna Briggs, Protagonist, Mercenary-

Rachel O’Keefe lived with her father and older sister, Samantha, in a small mining town at the foot of Rime Mountain. The isolated life drove her young mind to desire freedom and exploration. The train that rolled through her town beckoned her and stirred her imagination.

An accident at the mines changed Rachel’s life. Believing her father and sister killed, she ran away to escape her sadness and boarded the train. The massive steam engine carried her far from home, deep into the lawless and savage Void Lands. In the dirty town of Lobos, a vile man attacked her, throwing her to the ground, tearing at her clothing. She was saved by Mandy Briggs, a member of the feared Iron Tribe. This band of brutal marksmen, lived on the train and dedicated their lives to defending the railways. Under Mandy Briggs’ guidance, Rachel joined the Iron Tribe. The tracks, the train and her rifle became her new way of life and she took the name Luna Briggs.

Years later, now a strong woman and seasoned warrior of the rails, Luna Briggs’ suffered another accident—one of her own making. During a routine stop, the train was attacked. Luna, sworn to defend, went to work, shooting down the attackers. One man came straight for her. Her rifle boomed, killing him in front of his wife. Through her rifle scope, Luna noticed something familiar about the woman. It was her sister, Samantha. Luna Briggs, in her blind devotion to the Iron Tribe, had just betrayed the sister she thought she lost so many years ago. The guilt of the act became deep sadness. Luna could not endure the depths of her despair. Abandoning the Iron Tribe and hoping to die, she jumped from the train as it rolled over the East River of Karma City. She fell to the icy water.
By the warmth of a campfire, Luna awoke to meet her rescuer, Jameson Shoals. Inspired to experience the world off the rails, she decided to join Jameson, aiding him on his own quest to uncover the mysteries of his past, all the while hoping to bury the truths of her own.

Jack Halligan, Subplot Protagonist, Investigative Reporter/Writer-

Jack Halligan is a beloved investigative reporter who writes articles for the Karma Daily newspaper. A native of Karma City, Jack has recently contracted the Malady parasite and is suffering with the early stages of infection. He spends his days in the diner across the street, comforted by his girlfriend, waitress, Donna Lynne.

If the nightmares and memory lapses weren’t enough to cope with, Jack becomes haunted by ghastly hallucinations of his dead father. The apparition appears before him in the form of a grotesque, animated zombie that fluently recalls the past that Jack’s illness has made him forget.

Jack moves through Karma City, chasing lead after lead on a story that is unfolding around him. He learns of the corrupt scientific endeavors of Graves Enterprises, interviews witnesses and catches the trail of Jameson and Luna as they combat the darkness threatening the city. It isn’t long before Jack Halligan is dodging bullets alongside Jameson and Luna, fighting for his own life and offering his talents to ensure their success against the enemy.

His sickness has made him forget the life he once lived. When the enemy gains the upper hand and the lives of everyone he cares for are at stake, Jack is tested and must remember who and what he used to be.



Karma City is a similar to Chicago or Detroit. It is crowded, run down, with high rises, skyscrapers, subways, highways, railways, districts (Central Karma/Greely Park, Oasis District/Oasis Hospital, Sable District/Sable Tower, Undertown, Red Light District), a waterfront and ship yard, a market station, river, and neighborhoods. An elaborate railway and subway system connects the districts of the city to the world beyond. Outside Karma City, the society has decayed to a “Void Land” of lawlessness, sickness, and death.

Life in Karma City is difficult; most of the population is infected with a brain-damaging parasite called “Malady.” Malady affects the human host in three progressive states as the parasite advances through its life-cycle. Night terrors/hallucinations, then memory loss, and finally depression/paranoia. These affects compound, rending the infected mentally unstable and often times criminally insane.

There is no law enforcement or political structure in Karma City or anywhere else. People live recklessly and most struggle to stay safe and keep healthy. Urban crimes of all sorts are commonplace and violence is a way of life. Many people arm themselves against their neighbors and trust is a fading virtue. People work jobs and keep to organized daily routines out of a diminishing desire for a normal life.

The city is sustained through the rail system. A great steam powered locomotive, owned and operated by a ruthless, cold and ambivalent order called “the Iron Tribe,” brings in the goods from settlements out in the Void Lands and moves the people in and out of Karma.

Setting of Karma City Captured in Scenes (excerpts from manuscript)-

The midday sun flashed between the tenements and high rises as the ambulance sped through the crisscrossing roads and narrow alleyways. Jameson Shoals sat in the passenger seat and noticed his reflection in the window. His face looked different from Karma’s citizens, harder, unyielding. I remember this place, he thought. The only thing that’s changed is me.

The buildings of brick and stone wore brandings of graffiti while broken windows— some boarded, others agape and glassless—added to the bleak reality of the times. The decay of the neighborhoods stemmed from the alleys, spilling into the streets, contaminating places once beautiful and proud. Litter tumbled like autumn leaves, filling potholes, and packing gutters. Streetlamps leaned, winking as if clinging to life like the rusted cars that sputtered and choked. People wandered, people begged. They slept on the sidewalks beside the warm subway vents. They sipped coffee in bus stops and huddled around trash fires. Abandoned homes stood like monuments but to what, none cared to recall, or even could recall.

Jameson and Luna met on the rooftop. Luna stood with one foot propped on the ledge and her rifle slung over her shoulder. The wind whistled through the surrounding buildings as clouds bloomed overhead. Voices murmured from the streets below. She looked at the citizens ambling along the streets and alleys. From the rooftop, they looked like tiny figurines or wandering insects. Sounds of traffic and the far away clatter of the train united the noise of the city, turning it all into a strange music. She tied back her hair to keep it from blowing into her eyes and turned to face Jameson, who stood nearby eyeing the skyline of Karma City.

At the twenty-four-hour Greely Park Diner, Jack Halligan slid into his booth by the window, where he could watch the people of Karma City carrying on as best they could. A mother pulled her child away from a homeless man who crouched on the curb, coughing into gloved hands once outstretched for handouts. Another man in a suit and overcoat waited at the bus stop with a newspaper under his arm. He gave up his spot under the glass shelter so the woman and child could depart the cold wind. The man turned up his collar and shivered as the cars streaked by, blowing up litter on swirls of smoky exhaust. A smile passed between the man and woman. The bus arrived and collected the three, leaving the shelter free for the homeless man to claim for his camp. Jack knew the beggar would be there a long time. Days. Weeks. He would die there.

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Re: Seven Assignments for New York Pitch Writers

#31 Post by NYptchJeff » 12 Mar 2017, 23:06

Story Statement:
Mystery Genre
Dr. Woodlock must figure out why politicians and dissidents are dying from natural causes and stop it

Antagonistic Force:
Former Maine Governor Gurion Flint knew his programs could deliver prosperity for all citizens, not just the rich. His passion for empowerment also protected those incapable of creating brighter futures for their families. Son of a former US Commander in Chief, he ran as the Republican nominee two election cycles in a row. The driven man invested thousands of hours of effort and millions of dollars, but was twice spurned by the electorate.
After his first devastating loss, Flint devised a plan which forced the executive and legislative branches of the country to implement his ideas. Win or lose. Dissidents dying of natural causes elicited terror but no obvious remedy. A couple of hundred people would die to establish his behind the scenes control. The greatest nation on earth would be saved from allowing the weight of entitlements to mire it in the mud where it would slowly die.
Flint attacked the nation’s problems head on in Presidential contests, behind the scene as a puppeteer, and as an aide to the man who held the office. No quarter remained in which the dedicated man did not apply himself to saving the country he loved.

Breakout Title:
1. Natural Causes
2. Personal Plague
3. Precision Murder

1. Dan Chaon (Penguin Random House) In the book, Ill Will, a psychologist deems a series of unconnected murders in Cleveland as unrelated until he must play catch up to solve them. Set amid world politics in Washington DC, my novel Natural Causes forces a scientist into a similar situation. As a pathologist, I emphasize deductive forensics as well as psychologic profiles to stop the killing of national leaders..
2. Dr. Michael Savage (Macmillan) Abuse of Power examines whether a reporter should risk his and his families’ lives to prevent extremists from controlling the world. My story, Natural Causes, throws a forensic pathologist into the quandary of morality versus personal survival.
3. David Hagberg (Macmillan) Abyss portrays the battle between environmentalists and ruthless business profiteers willing to kill to accomplish their goals. A CIA agent must link clues and stop the evil doers. The sleuth in my novel, Natural Causes, is a forensic pathologist who employs science to stop the pro-business antagonist from controlling the world. My thirty years as an MD pathologist provide background for this narrative.

Primary Conflict line:
The new Democratic administration dies on Inauguration Day, and the Republican Speaker of the House assumes power. Pathologist Jonathon Woodlock must find the pattern in a series of deaths by natural causes.

Secondary Conflict:
Dr. Woodlock repeatedly determined that multiple high-ranking politicians and judges succumbed to death from underlying diseases. Sheer numbers proved his conclusions were a statistical impossibility, no matter what the findings indicated.
Political leaders from around the world and anyone who vocally decried the hijacking of government fell to disease. Dr. Woodlock’s own outspoken son is killed and he himself becomes a target for murder.

This novel stresses uncertainty and the hubris of making plans. No one remains unchanged, and many relocate, begin or end relationships. The story begins in Washington DC on Inauguration Day, and the country expects a peaceful transition of power. The President and Vice President die, and the Speaker of the House is sworn in. He and his family move into the White House.

An FBI forensic pathologist and his wife had just moved to Miami to begin their retirement. He is called back into service and must return to the nation’s capital. A mathematician from Cambridge in the UK is begged to help unravel the killings. She travels to Vegas for a conference and finds love. Both she and her boyfriend make DC their home for the duration of the crisis.

World leaders travel to DC for the funerals, and several of them fall ill and die. Protests and mourning take place in their home countries. Fear sweeps across America as the deaths spread to politicians and outspoken detractors of the new regime outside of the beltway. Scenes take place in boardrooms, living rooms, churches and the streets of foreign nations.

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Re: Seven Assignments for New York Pitch Writers

#32 Post by mmrobbie » 13 Mar 2017, 00:12

Pre-Pitch Assignments by Mindy Robbie:

When a talented actress dumps her rich fiancée she embarks on a series of misadventures that lead to the opportunity of a lifetime.

Hugh, Ava’s ex-boyfriend, is an entitled son of a Lord. He sets Ava on her quest after letting her know she is not talented, educated or pretty enough to be special. Hugh is highly educated but narrow in his understanding of Ava’s artistic world. He tries to use his money and superior social standing (in his view) to control Ava but this results in Ava leaving the relationship, inspiring Hugh to revenge.




Modern Fiction, Coming of Age, Romance

STORY OF MY LIFE by Jay McInerney (This is a compelling story, told in the first person by a male writer who captures the voice of a twenty-year-old manipulative but highly amusing actress.)
AFTER YOU’D GONE by Maggie O’Farrell (a compelling narrative about a strong female protagonist with hidden family secrets including a page turning love affair, set in London.)


After breaking up with her rich fiancée, Ava Porter, needing money and a home, must find a job (but would prefer a career).


Ava’s family members appear in her story via flashback as she tries to reconcile her past, present and future.
Ava, recovering from her broken relationship, stumbles upon a new love interest, her ex-boyfriend’s ex-best friend, Josh (a man with ‘eyes like love’). Ava wonders which of the men in her life have ‘added (to her sense of self) and which ones subtracted.’
Inner conflict: Ava must get a job, a home, a career… and somehow find the elusive creative and romantic happiness she craves.
Social conflict: Ava embarks on a series of soul destroying auditions with callous casting agents that force her to stand up and use her voice as an empowered young female.


London, West End, Theatre – stage centre a young actress stands reciting her audition with steam rising from her shoes in a London winter.

London boroughs, (W1, Chelsea, Fulham and the West End – Ava practically knows every street where she goes to castings)

The East End, Ava works briefly as a substitute teacher and experiences a very different world than the one she grew up in

In Australia
Sydney, Australia and Brisbane, Australia
Two modern cities, one very cosmopolitan (Sydney) and the other (Brisbane) suburban and tropical. Much of Ava’s childhood plays out here in flashback.

Los Angeles, USA – the creative hub where Ava imagines living the dream…

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Re: Seven Assignments for New York Pitch Writers

#33 Post by babeoconnor » 13 Mar 2017, 03:16

Harley Dragon Fly by Babe O'Connor
Sixth Assignment - Other Matters of Conflict: Two More Levels

My book is composed of 2 independent story lines that alternate and intermingle, finally converging at the end to tell one complete story.

An inner conflict throughout the book comes from James' conflicting feelings for Holly. He has never been so attracted to any women before, but at the same time he suspects she may be using him and manipulating him. When they first arrive a Dragoon James can not sleep, so he makes his way to the Lake Merlin hot springs. Holly appears out of nowhere, strips off her cloths and slowly enters the pool making sure James gets a complete view of all of her. Holly then all but succeeds at seducing James, but he stops her at the last minute. Even though Holly is irresistible and enchanting it is all moving way too fast and feels unnatural to James. In total disbelief and feeling rejected she flees where James then finding himself alone and now unsure if he did the right thing. Opportunity knocks but once.

A secondary conflict James encounters often in the book is associated with Sledge Hammon who is a bit of a shallow, bumbling thug and bully somewhat reminiscent of Biff in Back to the Future. He is grimy, husky and strong, but not too bright appearing at just the wrong, right moments to impede and make life more difficult for James and his brother Philip. Sledge is a dragjacker, which is kind of like a biker, where in the future motor cycles have been replace by biologically engineered giant prehistoric dragonflies. The pilot climbs up inside forming a type of symbiosis through sensitive nerve-muscle sleeves. Sledge hates James with a passion for reasons that are unclear. Sledge appears with his gang the Rippers, on the day of the Martyr Call qualifications, cornering James, Philip, Holly, Craw, Katie and Holly's brother Hamilton on the edge a Beggar's cliff which towers above Tar Lake. Sledge and his cousin, the Weasel a perpetual instigator and the Rippers threaten James and his comrades. They can not just push them off the cliff without James drawing first blood. It is part of the dragjacker code and there are plenty of witnesses so Sledge tries to provoke James into action by taking aim a Holly who by now James is completely infatuated with. James who is normally cool headed and in control all but loses it when Sledge insults Holly. To everyone's surprise, Hamilton steps in to save the day.

An inner conflict arises from the voices Talibah hears with increasing frequency as the story unfolds. Talibah found it extremely unsettling when she heard these voices in another's mind when she had Thought Leeched with them. As she exterminates more and more terrorists, they begin to haunt her thoughts eventually talking in her head, making her question her purpose and reason for living. The voices become ubiquitous, inescapable over time which makes Talibah feel as if she is losing her mind. There is no escape. When she discover the nuclear weapon in Tupper Lake NY, the voices try to convince her that her only escape and chance at salvation is to detonate the bomb. Akilah, Marcus Bennett and Clarence all arrive to try to convince Talibah otherwise even if that means killing her.

A secondary conflict arises when Dr. Chamberlain struggles throughout this tale with the layers of government bureaucracy and two different presidents which are major obstacles to her success as well as proponents at other times. She must continuously navigate these ever changing waters which make for an interesting trip and also provide obstacles to demonstrate her skills and cleverness. Each president is different and present at a different times during the course of her project. She must handle them so as to satisfy their goals and motivations, which at times are at odds with hers, in order to get her project approved and completed. Each of the presidents have their own different perspectives, quirks and idiosyncrasies. Sarah struggles to meticulously form plans and map out each step in order to maneuver and manipulate them, but of course there are numerous unforeseen consequences she encounters any of which could prevent securing approval and funding for her project, her life's dream. Her project is so outlandish that under normal circumstances it wouldn't stand a chance of being accepted. The bureaucracy materializes into visible physical entities via a self-conscious secretary of defense, an all too eager to please head of homeland security, security agents that follow order to the letter that arrive unexpectedly or take dramatic unexpected actions. Another time it takes the form of a board of peer scientist that attack and leer at Dr. Chamberlain.

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Re: Seven Assignments for New York Pitch Writers

#34 Post by babeoconnor » 13 Mar 2017, 03:23

Harley Dragon Fly by Babe O'Connor
Seventh Assignment - The Incredible Importance of Setting

This may be a bit more than you were looking for. This 4 examples that hopefully capture the importance of setting.

Martyr Call Games Location at base of Mt Bush
From the air, Zig Canyon appears as a deep, substantially circular abyss with immense lightning-bolt shaped, zigzagging cracks exploding out its sides in all directions. Deep and narrow, snaking out in a series of short sharp random alternating angles, the cracks give the appearance of a shattered mirror from the air at a distance. However, each jutting crack is as impressive as a river canyon it's own right carved into the valley floor. These uneven fractures travel in different directions stretching some 23 miles, stopping just short of the surrounding mountains. The central chasm of Zig Canyon is a nearly perfect circular trench with steep cliffs descending straight down on all sides to Tar Lake, whose water is so thick and black from ash and soot, it is hard to believe it is water. Tar Lake is no lake. It doesn't even remotely resemble lake water . . . at least not any earthly lake. I don't know if death has its own color, but if I had to pick one it would be the color of Tar Lake . . . yes I like it, Tar Lake, the color of death.
As they move closer, a fog becomes visible, a misty vapor composed of steam and sulfur laden smoke from minor volcanic activity rising in sporadic intervals from the cracks jutting out from the canyon. A small irregularly shaped volcanic mountain protrudes upward from the center of Tar Lake. This odd geological feature, known as Mole Hill, is crowned with lurid glowing lava shedding an eerie and subtle illumination on to the negligible amount of dark smoke sputtering erratically from its top.
At the northwest end of Zig Canyon, just outside the circular hub, an encampment some 11 miles wide can be seen. Dead, petrified trees still litter the valley floor directly surrounding the canyon. These black remnants, left over from the violent birth of Mt. Bush, have only been removed from this encampment area know as "Hell Hole" or more commonly simply called; "the Hole.".
Hell Hole is harsh and depressing, an unbearable place. The air is saturated with the smell of rotting eggs. Sulfur dioxide fumes hang thick, complements of the plethora of abutting volcanic vents. One's eyes constantly itch and burn. It can be difficult to breath at times. There is the constant sound of coughing and it is not uncommon to see people cough then vomit as if it were a single inseparable action. What else could this place be called but Hell Hole? Nevertheless, the rival gangs claim to want no other place. I must admit they do throw a good blowout celebration there every year at the end of the games. By then everyone has grown accustomed to the environment."

Mt. Bush, worlds new tallest mountain
The thinnest of crescent moons, opaque and camouflaged by the sky, is barely visible positioned just above the mountains to the west. The snow cap, above the doughnut cloud is still bright, but no longer so bright that it is difficult to look at directly. It has morphed into a more somber, glowing dark-orange spike almost the color of gold, as the sun continues to set. It is June, but it wouldn't be any different in August or January for that matter. Mt. Bush keeps its snow cap all year long.
The mere presence of breathtaking Mt. Bush, rising an unfathomable 18.2 miles above sea level, renders Zig Canyon small and insignificant by comparison. Over 7 times taller than Mt. Fuji, it even towers over the "Infamous Everest" which is less than a third its height. Its majestic beauty and unprecedented height make it sublime, yet oddly bizarre. It would be completely out of place anywhere in the world . . . but that is especially true sitting here in New York State."
The base of Mt. Bush is a dark blue with smaller intermittent lighter blue streaks running vertically. It is a mix of Navy blue and lighter glacial blue. These beautiful blue shades come from solidified lava intermixed with New York State granite and blue glacial ice extruding through cracks at the bottom of the mountain all year round. The perpetual ice is due to some odd super-cooling effect emanating down from its peak. An internal convection mechanism which is not well understood is responsible for perpetuating these mini-glaciers.
The top of Mt. Bush is snowcapped, a pure virgin white especially in the bright daytime sunlight. The pool of molten lava in the caldera at its peak combines with some little-understood, one-of-a-kind, atmospheric anomaly associated with its extreme altitude generating a perpetual reddish doughnut-shaped smog. This cloud-ring surrounds the entire the mountain about 3 miles below the peak. About 53% of earth's atmosphere resides below an altitude of 3.5 miles and about 89% of it sits below about 11 miles. Conditions at the top of Mt. Bush are more like the surface of the moon than what one would expect to find on earth. During the day, the sky is as black as night. Even with the noon sun directly over head, the brighter stars are clearly visible. The air is so thin it is impossible to breathe. When it is 61 degrees Fahrenheit at ground level, the temperature at the top of Mt. Bush is typically about typically minus 83 oF . . . yeah 83 degrees below zero Fahrenheit is damn cold all right.
The upper 90% of Mt. Bush lies in the Dead Zone. Hundreds have tried, yet no one has successfully climbed to the top. It has proved impossible even with breathing equipment. The maximum attainable altitude of the most advanced helicopter is well under 5 miles so forget about any air rescue if you get in trouble. There just isn't enough air to support a helicopter's blades. It doesn't matter how fast they spin, the blades just can't create lift at such high altitudes. The lowest layer of atmosphere, the Troposphere, is separate from the Stratosphere by an the imaginary line called the tropopause at an altitude of about 11 miles. That means the top of Mt. Bush actually towers another 7 miles into the Stratosphere. No other mountain peak reaches above the tropopause . . . Yeap, conditions at the top of Mt. Bush are completely alien."
Adding to the peril is the jet stream . . . Yeah, that's right. Just think about it. The jet stream, the river of air continuously moving at about 151 mph anywhere from about 5 to 7 miles above sea level, its winds relentlessly pounding Mt. Bush. At certain times of the year the constant assault of wind on the upper half of the mountain is as strong as a category 4 hurricane force, bordering on category 5 strength. The extreme winds blow so hard they make wind chill on any exposed skin a grave problem. It is so cold it is like being burnt with a branding iron."

The Dragoon Plateau on Mt. Bush
Dragoon is the closest one can get to paradise on earth. It is truly Conway's Shangri-La . . . lost then found again. Nowhere else on earth can one find anything even remotely resembling the unique ecosystem of this plateau. It is like stepping into another world when one lands on this large flat ledge, some 11 miles long and 2 miles wide, sitting about 1 mile up the south face of Mt. Bush looking down on Zig Canyon and Hellhole off to the southwest. Everything about it is bizarrely fascinating. Take for example the labyrinth of caves at the far end leading deep into the mountain. Legend has it that at least one of the caves leads all the way to Zig Canyon on the valley floor and another to the very top of Mt. Bush." The plateau's warm, Lake Merlin water, fed by natural hot spring,s nurtures thousands of scrub oak and dwarf pine trees which thrive even at the higher altitude creating something of a natural bonsai forest. The plateau is amazing lush, in striking contrast to valley floor just below near Hellhole which is still devoid of life even after all this time.
The trees at the far end of the valley have grown back, but as you get closer they gradually become sparser finally being replaced by ancient chard stumps. The area right around Zig Canyon still looks like a scene out of a disaster movie. It is completely understandable since Zig Canyon was ground zero when the nuke detonated back in 2014."
Dragoon on the other hand is pristine . . . always has been. It is paradise. Facing south means the Dragoon mountain ledge receives maximum sunlight which gives it a uniquely stable climate all year round. It really is an oasis."

Rainbow Bursts on the Dragoon Plateau
The intensely blue waterfalls, similar in color to Glacial Ice, plummet in parallel streams like wispy ribbons of imperfectly matched color. Each vertical stream is a slightly different shade made even more pronounced against a backdrop of sapphire blue granite and ice patches extending upward as far as one can see forming irregularly shaped patterns adorning the face of the mountain.
The highest of the falls is off to the far right near the south edge of the plateau dropping about 5077 feet, almost a full mile, but not straight down. It first plunges about 2081 ft. impacting a small ledge where it explodes into 3 separate, but closely aligned cascades each then plummeting the remaining half mile before crashing into Lake Merlin.
The other falls all impact multiple intermediate ledges too. Three of the falls hit 2 ledges breaking apart into a pair of streams before completing their journey to Lake Merlin.
James' favorite is the one that hits 5 small ledges on its way down eventually diverging into 11 individual water falls before impacting the lake.
There are more than 19 different streams of water perpetually crashing into Lake Merlin. The waterfall impacts create a thin translucent fog-like mist of variable density that is perpetually transforming. Patterns of hundreds of tiny ever-changing, almost ghostlike rainbows hover over the lake, each made iridescent as the sunlight penetrated the vapor.
Not only do water falls drop from above, but beautiful cascades also emanate from within the Lake exploding without warning skyward. There are somewhere between 53 to 67 geysers spread in and around Lake Merlin going off at irregular intervals. Some of the smaller ones fire every couple of seconds. Most of the larger more-impressive geysers take longer to blow, the times varying anywhere from a few minutes, to several hours and some even taking days to geyser.
Caught off guard by the largest geyser, known as "Rainbow Burst" detonates from near the center of the lake unexpectedly. "Rainbow Burst" only erupts at irregular intervals about every 7 - 11 days. The legendary geyser explodes right in front of the boys shooting over 311 ft into the air. The gushing water blasts high above them. They watch as the stream of atomized water-vapor descend. For the next few minutes an intense, fine, warm spray splatters the entire Dragoon plateau. As it drizzles down, there is an explosion of colors just like fireworks from the sunlight striking the mist. Like a countless supply of prisms it produces hundreds of tiny, short-lived rainbows scattered all over the plateau. It is almost as if it is raining rainbows.
The moisture floats on the air, lazily descending to the ground as the eruption politely quells. Making way for new formations, the older mini-rainbows fade away, but fewer new ones appear as the rhythmic cadence of the dynamically changing iridescent patterns begins to dissipate.
There is a feeling of sadness as the spectacle wanes. The last of the warm mist settles out across the plateau, its over. James is thinking it is almost as if he can hear in his mind everyone say; "Ahhhhhh"and "Ooooh", just as they would say at the fading moments of a flamboyant fireworks display. There is really no good way to describe this event in words. It is by far the most spectacular sight James has ever seen.
Once one comes to appreciated the effects of the water fall and geysers first hand, it is far easier to understand how the moisture from the warm waters of lake Merlin helps keep the temperature of Dragoon fairly constant all year long. It would be all but impossible for the temperature to drop below 61 F at night. That rarely if ever happens. It is normally spot on at 71 to 73 oF on sunny days and pretty much every day is a sunny at Dragoon. The sheer immensity of Mt. Bush breaks up any storm system that dare approach. In some ways it is like living inside the eye of a hurricane.
Still it seems quite bizarre to find this green oasis in midwinter sitting on a 1 mile high plateau in Upstate New York. Funny how this paradise originated from the aftermath of a nuclear explosion hundreds of years ago.
"Well Philip there you go, one more Dragoon sunrise we will never forget."
"Is there any sunrise here that doesn't have something unique and special to offer James?"

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Re: Seven Assignments for New York Pitch Writers

#35 Post by paulaperrone0623 » 13 Mar 2017, 04:06


A lawyer risks everything to bring her decades-old nemesis to justice.


Nikolas “Niko” Kazikis, a world-renowned orthopedic surgeon, inventor and lawyer, is haunted by his dream of a political future dashed by a sensational paternity suit brought against him more than thirty years ago. Brute force, big-time bribes, perjured testimony and political pull granted him victory; however, he sustained significant damage to his reputation. He hates lawyer Ann Bellini and her client, Ceci Chauvin, the mother of Nicholas Chauvin, for ruining his hopes for a larger stage: a Louisiana Supreme Court judgeship, the Governor’s Mansion, or perhaps a U.S. Senate seat.

Niko’s hatred is so all-consuming that it provokes him to murder his wife, Lydia, who was secretly supporting Nicholas Chauvin. She had been convinced that Nicholas was Niko’s son and rightful heir, which outraged Niko.

At first, Niko’s deed goes undetected; however, Niko’s household manager, Weezie Boucree, alerts her old friend Ann of her suspicions of foul play. In order to bring Niko to justice, Ann must also bring down a cabal headed by Niko and his fiercest political ally, Billy Babineaux, Sr., who reigned as New Orleans’ D.A. for almost four decades. Despite Babineaux’s “retirement”, people still obey his commands. Together with their henchmen, they make for formidable opposition.




This has been by far the most difficult assignment because I have not pigeon-holed my manuscript as purely a legal thriller, although it technically fits the description of that genre. Instead, I would place the manuscript into more of a general fiction/legal thriller cross-genre (if I am using the term correctly) and here is why:

My story is told by four characters, all in first person, to give the reader a more intimate picture of how a thirty-year old case and its unspeakable aftermath has affected each of them. The story is told in the present tense and liberally uses flashbacks. The decades-old civil litigation intertwined with a present-day murder trial provides a backdrop for the intersection of the main characters’ lives and allows those characters to reflect on the choices over time they each have made.

In addition, the passage of time allows each of the characters to see events in hindsight more objectively. Through the use of first person, the reader is able to connect with the main characters and understand the collateral damage and its corollary, the potential for human growth, each of them has sustained in their individual quests for truth, or at the very least, inner peace.
To that end, I have chosen as my comparables the following two novels: “The Ex” by Alifair Burke (2016) and “Midwives” by Chris Bohjalian (1997).

“The Ex”, characterized as a “legal thriller”, is written in first person and is as much a character study of a conflicted trial lawyer haunted by the wrongs she perpetrated on her former fiancé as it is a legal thriller. The story is told in real time and in flashbacks from twenty years before. Through the vehicle of her representation of the former fiancé in a murder trial we learn much about Olivia Randall: her glaring flaws, her guilt and her secrets.

She becomes real through her inner reflections and crisp dialogue with others, not simply a stick figure racing through a “whodunit” or “whydunit”. By bringing to closure her emotional indebtedness, she is finally able to move on with her life.

In “Midwives”, Chris Bohjalian captures the plight of Sybil Danforth, a midwife, who when faced with a crisis, makes an irrevocable mistake in judgment. Told in first person by the midwife’s daughter who attended her mother’s criminal trial for involuntary manslaughter fifteen years previously, the book uses the literary device of the midwife’s diary as a second voice telling the story from another perspective.

Although “Midwives” is characterized as “general fiction”, the plot is inextricably woven around the criminal trial proceedings which provide the novel with abundant suspense. Yet the heart of the story is how the events of one moment in time forever alter the lives of one family. What the reader takes away is an intimate portrayal of the Danforth family and the secrets binding them together.


Having quietly remade her life after losing a highly publicized case, a lawyer must confront her demons in order to expose a shocking criminal conspiracy and bring down her old nemesis.


Years after leaving New Orleans, remaking her life and finding personal happiness, Ann Bellini returns to Louisiana to the funeral of her former client Ceci Chauvin. As she crosses the border into Louisiana, she starts to recall scenes from Ceci’s lawsuit which had haunted her for decades. In the past, she had felt guilty for taking a case that she was so ill-equipped to try in the first place. For years she had second-guessed herself and the decisions she had made but had finally begun to put it behind her; however, Ceci’s death brings all the bitterness and angst into full focus. She feels ashamed that at the woman’s funeral she is reflecting on how she was dragged into Ceci’s vortex of conflict with Niko Kazikis instead of focusing on the fact that Ceci has died and the sadness that must bring to her only son, Nicholas.

Nonetheless, complicated emotions come into play. The nine years she devoted to Ceci’s case without pay were the better part of her child-bearing years. In fighting for one woman’s child, she forfeited the right to have her own child, her own family and financial security. Although now happily married, she can’t help but think that she missed out on a big part of her life.

No matter how hard she tries to repress them, those same feelings of guilt, anger and resentment bubble to the surface, all intertwined with one another. As such, she finds herself volunteering to help Nicholas with the probate of his mother’s modest estate as she grapples with why she feels such an inordinate responsibility for Nicholas’ education and well-being, even though Nicholas is now a grown man.


Since the story is told in first person by four main characters, all protagonists, I have chosen one secondary conflict scenario for each of these characters.

Ann Bellini:

While Ann is spending an unplanned night at the old Chauvin cabin on Bayou Teche, an intruder breaks into the cabin, deadly alligator in tow. She recognizes him as a disgraced former cop, one of the D.A.’s henchmen from decades before, recruited for “special assignments”. She confronts her would-be killer and engages him in a psychological game of survival. She buys time to plan her escape by questioning why his boss wants to kill her, how he will get away with the crime, why the alligator won’t turn on him once he releases him, all to keep him talking. She plays to his ego, then asks for one last favor before he unleashes the vicious animal on her.

The tension mounts as he describes to her how he will take the bag of the alligator bait (raw, rotting chicken) from the pouch at his waist and throw it across the end of the bed, causing the alligator to jump on the bed. Conceding that she is ready to die and that such a death is inevitable, she makes one last request.

Emboldened by her apparent acquiescence, the intruder “grants her last wish”, that being her request to cover her face so she does not have to watch the beast come after her. In that split-second interlude, she is able to conceal her pulling of a gun out from under her pillow. As he focuses on releasing the latch on the alligator’s muzzle, averting his eyes downward, she shoots her adversary right between the eyes. Blood spurts everywhere. The intruder’s hand goes slack, releasing the latch. Panicked, she pitches the blanket laden with bait at the end of the bed onto the thrashing beast and the dead man, covering their bodies, and makes her escape.

Weezie Boucree:

Raised the better part of her youth in an orphanage, Weezie more than tried the patience of a young nun, Sister Olivia, who was in charge of her education and spiritual upbringing. Yet when Weezie finds herself in grave danger, almost half a century later, she has serious misgivings about the federal witness protection program. In desperation, she surreptitiously returns to the Mother House of her youth to seek refuge under the Convent’s protective wing.

Sister Olivia, now the Mother Superior of the Order, is somewhat nonplussed that Weezie would be so brazen as to ask the Order for help. Yet once she hears Weezie’s plight, she reluctantly agrees to help her. This go-round, Sister Olivia is calling all the shots and aware that her charge in all likelihood, will not run away. She imposes restrictions upon Weezie that seem Draconian.

At first Weezie objects but Sister Olivia impresses upon her that these are the house rules and that she is enforcing them for Weezie’s own protection, “just like I tried to do years ago,” Sister Olivia slyly remarks. During the six week period Weezie is under cover at the convent, she and Sister Olivia first reach détente, then deepen their understanding and appreciation of one another.

Rachel Rosenberg:

Rachel, an only child who grew up in NYC, has had a complex and difficult relationship with her parents, particularly her mother, for as long as she can remember. When she was in college, she took a trip to visit a friend in New Orleans and seizing the opportunity to bolt, never returned home. She met and married a Southern Jewish man, quite different from the East Coast Jewish boys she had known growing up.

Her parents, both professors and very left-leaning, find her husband’s family much too conservative and have kept their distance. Rachel has tried to convince her parents that her husband’s family does much philanthropic work in the community with their substantial fortune and are very good people. Her parents will have none of it, claiming instead that she has “sold out”.

Not only that, they are appalled that their only child works as an Assistant District Attorney instead of a Public Defender. This is a source of constant pain for Rachel, because she continues to engage with her mother, only to be belittled again and again.

Nicholas Chauvin:

Nicholas Chauvin was too young to understand the extent to which Ann Bellini sacrificed her career and personal life for him and for his case. He views his father’s refusal to acknowledge him as his cross to bear in life.

Right before the murder trial of his father Niko is to begin, Nicholas flies in from medical school in Guadalajara to testify. Ann’s husband Tom volunteers to accompany the federal marshals to pick him up from the airport and take him back to the rented French Quarter apartment where Nicholas will be staying with Ann and Tom and their security team for the duration of the trial. On the trip back from the airport, Nicholas reveals to Tom his deep-seated anxiety over testifying and the damage he fears that the father who never acknowledged him will wreak on his potential medical career.

He tells Tom he has a sense of duty to testify out of respect to Niko’s deceased wife but wonders if he is doing the right thing for his future. Tom, normally not one to anger, almost blows his top at Nicholas, citing not only the death of Niko’s wife but Ann’s close brush with death just weeks before and the lost years of her life, all for naught. He argues that all Ann ever wanted to do was what she thought was right by him. “Get a grip and man up!” Tom tells him, deposits him on the doorstep of the guest bedroom and slams the door behind him.

The next morning, as Ann is up early fixing herself coffee and making preparations to leave, Nicholas emerges from his bedroom. Appearing deeply distraught, he asks if she has a few minutes to spare. She asks what is on his mind. In a rush of words, he apologizes profusely for his lack of appreciation for all she had done for him, all that she had risked and lost. He tells her that he can never repay her and that he hopes that she will forgive him for his selfishness.


The story takes place is three primary locales: New Orleans, Louisiana, St. Martin Parish, Louisiana, and Guadalajara, Mexico. Each of these places offer unique opportunities for interesting sub-settings. A couple of chapters also take place in Rosemary Beach, Florida, that state’s panhandle being an enclave for well-to-do New Orleanians.


Since so many novels have been set in New Orleans, it is important to show parts of New Orleans the reader may have never known about. To that end, several scenes take place within the confines of a convent of African-American nuns, the Sisters of the Holy Family, in New Orleans East. A number of other scenes occur at the spectacular Orleans Parish Criminal Courts Building at Tulane and Broad in Mid-City (where the courtroom scenes from the movie JFK were filmed).

One scene takes place in the Lower Ninth Ward at a local bakery owned by Weezie’s son while other scenes help the reader picture Southern Jewish life in Uptown New Orleans. Of the few scenes which take place in the French Quarter, the most memorable happens to be an FBI raid of the former D.A.’s home on Royal Street caught on film by a local TV crew. The crew also captures the former D.A. committing suicide as the feds bust down his door.

There are also flashbacks of an Audubon Park crawfish boil, the Half-Moon bar in the Irish Channel and Civil District Court in the nineteen eighties. Other scenes take place in places long revered by locals but no longer open: Bali Ha’i at the Beach, Frank’s Steakhouse on Freret in Uptown and the Genghis Khan in Mid-City.


The rural parish (county) of St. Martin provides an excellent backdrop for a few major scenes: the funeral of Ceci Chauvin which takes place in the oldest Catholic church of the Parish, the courthouse in St. Martinville where Ann Bellini meets up with an elderly lawyer who gives her information about Nicholas’ forebears and the “death by alligator” scene which takes place in the old Chauvin cabin on Bayou Teche. Throughout the manuscript there are also flashbacks of other happenings in the area.


Since Nicholas Chauvin was blackballed from every medical school in the United States by his vindictive father, Nicholas was forced to leave the country to realize his dream to become an orthopedic surgeon as successful as the father who would not claim him.
In the colonial town of Guadalajara in the Mexican state of Jalisco is an accredited medical school attended by many students from the United States. Nicholas is enrolled there and is roommates with a fellow student, a young man named Mario from El Paso who has family in Mexico. They end up renting rooms in a once-grand home near the Plaza owned by the young widow of Mario’s deceased cousin.

Through Mario and the widow, the back story about the house is told. It was once owned by the most famous mariachi band leader in Mexico, the widow’s deceased father-in-law. This provides an opportunity for the reader to explore colonial architecture and the origins of the mariachi in Jalisco.

Mario not only introduces Nicholas to life in the city but also takes him on a memorable train trip to the nearby town of Tequila for a distillery excursion.


The scenes which take place here are, for the most part, inside the exclusive compound in the Panhandle of Florida, located a few hours from New Orleans.

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Re: Seven Assignments for New York Pitch Writers

#36 Post by broxbrox2 » 13 Mar 2017, 04:19

1. Story Statement

Defend all accused clients to upend human supremacy.

2. Antagonist

The Charger thinks any man or woman who denies human supremacy is a traitor to his or her class. An old man in a white robe, he brings harsh charges in Court against the accused, whether they be human, clone, cyborg, or machine. With scorn for the Defender, who does his best to represent anyone or anything regardless of class, the Charger will stop at nothing to maintain humanity’s place at the top of all the classes. As chief enforcer of the Class Acts, the Charger withholds information, overcharges cases, and demeans the accused, all to keep the other classes in line and humiliate the Defender. The Magistrate almost always defers to the Charger, and the Defender wins only the rarest of cases. But when he does, the Charger grows furious and storms off. The Defender suspects the Charger is also conspiring against him outside of Court.

3. Titles

The Fifth Class
The Court of Man

4. Comparable Books

Red Rising, except on earth with clones, cyborgs, and robots
Wool, but topside in a kangaroo court

5. Conflict Line

A man who will defend anyone or anything in court challenges human supremacy over clones, cyborgs, and machines.

6. (a) Inner Conflict

Henry’s role as Defender places him in the middle of an unjust class system. But the struggle without finds its way within. His father sits on the Human Council where he supports human supremacy, while his mother languishes in the Pen for fomenting class rebellion. Torn between the worldviews of his father and mother, Henry tries to carve a path between their views, making society more fair on a case-by-case basis. In doing so, he finds himself conflicted about whether he should be trying to change the system from within or working to replace it with something better, and whether he can handle the human cost of distinguishing what is just from what is not.

(b) Secondary Conflict

When Henry finds out that his father and mother have tentatively joined forces to create a Fifth Class of enhanced humans, he sees a volatile alliance with opposing motives. His father wants to increase humanity’s numbers to stave off class rebellion, but his mother wants to shatter the whole class system with the altered humans. In this uneasy alliance, Henry is torn between his father and mother, and he is unsure whether he should even support this radical change. He’s skeptical another class will end systematic pro-human animus and better the lot of all the classes.

7. Setting

Humans pass their time in leisure throughout the Human Sector, a natural landscape comprised of the Big Lake, the mountainous Tops, and beautiful greenery. Tending to their well-furnished homes and amorous social lives, most humans in their prime avoid the Court and fear the Cove, where the young bide their time in the Nest and the old await their fate in the Elder Towers. Surrounding them is the Clone Sector, a vast land of cityscapes and technology unknown to all but a few humans. There clones dedicate themselves to the arts and sciences, unlike the humans who succumb to the vice and lethargy of class supremacy. Beyond the clones is the Cyborg Sector, where clone-and-machine hybrids toil in polluted air and rough terrain, mostly in factories and mines. The largest sector is next, filled with machines that move around with purposes masked to all the other classes. An entirely covered structure, the Machine Sector spreads over a vast uncharted territory, the end of which is the boundary of the known world.

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Re: Seven Assignments for New York Pitch Writers

#37 Post by cytinspired » 13 Mar 2017, 07:59

Story statement
Recover her true personal history and find out whether her husband is a partner or an assailant while running a successful global tech business.

There are a few forces at work against M. Pendleton in the novel. The memory lapse and blank space in place of clear recollection that for a type A control freak must be immediately remedied, exactingly recovered. The force responsible for that lapse. An overly machinated world that consumes her life’s work and personal life. The veiled villain from her past.

Breakout Title
M. Pendleton
The Pasithea Dream Project
World E-raced
Beneath Waking

Husbands Secret by Liane Moriarty (based on synopsis - reading in progress)
  • Mystery and suspense around a life partner that complicates love for and true understand of others and underscores how multifaceted our experiences and personal identities
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch (based on synopsis - reading in progress)
  • Character-driven science fiction about a creator subject to the power of his own creations, most significantly his imagination, perceptions, memories and (sleeping) dreams. The mystery around dreaming vs. reality pervades the story and helps drive the suspense.
Conflict Line
A successful tech business owner struggles to recover her memory of recent and distant events, which could harm her professional and personal pursuits and hint of a dark past.

There are a few forces at work against M. Pendleton in the novel. The memory lapse and blank space in place of clear recollection that for a type A control freak must be immediately remedied, exactingly recovered. The force responsible for that lapse. An overly machinised world that consumes her life’s work and personal life. The veiled villain from her past.

Inner Conflict (non-hypothetical, part of story):
M. adores her father and appreciates all that he’s done for her. He’s a model of dignity and strength as a father and as a successful businessman. She emulates him in many ways. But the more she aspires to attain his success and focus, the further she gets from him in proximity, as her life becomes increasingly busy and work obsessed. His illness becomes the impetus for her to take a break and spend real time with him. She also takes the opportunity to reevaluate her life and find the answers she’s searching for.

Secondary Conflict (non-hypothetical, part of story):
M.’s shame about her past is tied to an inexplicable aversion for having a family of her own. Throughout years of her husband’s insistence on starting a family together, M. retreats further and further into her resolve to repress her personal family history and avoid having a family of her own.

The story is set centrally in 2030 Silicon Valley. Climate extremes and their effects (including desertification, receding coastlines due to rising sea level etc.), are felt in many areas of the world and the threat of the natural elements weighs heavy on minds. M.’s company, Hi-Tek Fashions, addresses — with imaginative, high-end wearables — the serious lifestyle dilemmas brought on by 2030 climate change.

Driven by accelerated advances in robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence, the manufacturing, mining, construction and mechanical maintenance industries are nearly entirely occupied by machines. Those who traditionally filled those roles are displaced and entering a new type of service economy, focused on serving the every whim (delivery, home massage, taking on the everyday tedious tasks etc. to help patrons save time and optimize their lives) of the super wealthy, as well as more common services for the middle class. Silicon Valley is the hub of this technological disruption.

Hawaii, where M. returns to care for her father who has suffered from a stroke is a welcome respite. Though affected by climate extremes (burning sun due to depleted ozone layer) it’s somewhat removed from the tech revolution and offers a more relaxed pace of life and stronger human-to-human connections.

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Re: Seven Assignments for New York Pitch Writers

#38 Post by Maguire428 » 14 Mar 2017, 06:42

2 + 2 = 5. T. Maguire.

Story statement.

A twenty-first century lawyer meets a girl, gets the girl, and, after a long marriage, loses the girl through a government policy encouraging the elderly to proactively end their lives.


The novel's antagonist force is the future U.S. government, and the ideology it represents. It takes away freedoms and betrays fundamental values, claiming to thereby further an overtaxed planet's sustainability. Eventually, it encourages citizens to end their lives upon reaching the age of 77. The protagonist's elderly wife, unlike the protagonist, wishes to comply. This causes her to leave him.

No single official embodies the government -- or is even named. This government is not all-powerful, evil, or purely self-interested. Many problems it responds to (e.g., food shortages resulting in incentives for vegetarianism) are not disputed by the protagonist. Until the final pages, there appear to be no black hats and no white hats for these adversaries; both sides seem to present shades of gray.

Breakout title.

2 + 2 = 5.


September 11, 2001.

Genre and comparables.

Dystopian; literary fiction.

An obvious point of comparison is George Orwell's 1984.

* Both stories are set thirty to forty years in the future;

* Both depict worlds worse than the present world;

* Both imagine governments that could logically flow from their time periods' political climate;

* Each offers at least one invented political/policy statement;

* Protagonists in both are professionals who have romantic relationships with nonprofessionals (i.e., in my novel, the spouse), and who rebel against the government.

A more recent novel that compares to mine is James Howard Kunstler's World Made by Hand.

* Both infer, without directly presenting, government failures;

* Both suggest (contra Orwell), that environmental realities would hinder any totalitarian government's hold on power;

* Both consider the value of love and life apart from politics. While both Kunstler's and my principals react to political landscapes, neither appear to be creations of the landscape in the manner of Orwell's protagonist.

Primary conflict.

The protagonist continues to challenge the government, even when it becomes less forgiving of dissent. What are the stakes and risks?

Other conflicts.

Secondary conflicts.

There are two crucial secondary conflicts.

Inseparable from the primary conflict is that between the protagonist and his wife. Each enters the marriage with conflicting values and hopes. The resources the protagonist devotes to his professional battles include those that should be devoted to his marriage, with far-reaching effects.

The other crucial conflict is between the government and those actively opposing it. Most prominent are father and son relatives of the protagonist. Each takes a separate route: the father seeks to combat the state, and the son attempts to flee.

Inner conflict.

The protagonist's general inner conflict involves his struggles to find meaning in his life in the changing times. He is transparent about this: he would be a superstar in his profession, a knight in shining armor, a bomb-thrower. Inevitably, his ambitions work against each other, spurring failures.

Thus, even as he despairs of the country's direction, the protagonist capitalizes on that direction for favorable legal results he himself calls "absurd."

In addition to suppressed guilt about his occupation, the protagonist understands its effect on his marriage. He is unaware, though, until after the fact, how neglect and need for meaning in her own life propels his wife to embrace the government's end-of-life position.


The physical setting in which the narrative is recounted is mid-twenty-first century America. The protagonist's rural New York State has been hollowed out by a tax on vehicular miles driven. Texas threatens to secede; white male terrorists target New York City commuter tunnels; and Christmas and Hanukkah are moved to new months so that December can be focused on the unifying holiday of Winter Solstice. To ease population pressures, the government promotes shortened life-spans. When circumstances drive the protagonist to travel from New York to New Mexico, he witnesses a country on the brink of collapse.

More importantly, the setting of the novel is the protagonist's mind. A nonagenarian, he begins to list (actual) favorite books, movies, and compact disks and "jot a few notes." Out of these comments and memories, the setting of the novel appears, as well as a roadmap of how the protagonist and his world got to where they are.

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Re: Seven Assignments for New York Pitch Writers

#39 Post by courtneypsak » 14 Mar 2017, 07:07



Save herself and her daughter from her husband and the dangerous people he’s involved with.


Seth was an orphan taken under the wing of notorious mob boss, Tommy Welles, working as an errand boy and eventually becoming his right hand man. Determined to turn legit, he creates another life for himself where he has a wife, daughter and an almost honest business, with a few side deals that he’s forced into by Tommy.

But the partying and drugs keep calling him back and he winds up getting wrapped up with Christie, a drug peddler, who Seth tries to help out and eventually falls for. Christie’s discovery of his first wife, Eve, brings Christie to her breaking point; forcing Seth to do whatever it takes to keep her quiet.

Tommy is a well-known mob boss who is suspicious that Seth is crossing him. Tommy uses his old tricks to try to control Seth, even using Seth’s girlfriend Christie as bait. Seth isn’t aware that Tommy knows his darkest secrets. When he finds out Seth has ratted him out to the FBI, Tommy decides to hit Seth where it hurts.


The Hidden Wife
The Shattered Life


Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Megan Miranda- All The Missing Girls
I find that Megan Miranda is a good comparable for me for several reasons. In general, Megan’s books are suspenseful page-turners. She doesn’t dwell on descriptions, however she provides enough detail to inform the reader of the setting and key points to drive the plot forward. I too, write fast paced stories, as I don’t like to lose the reader on too much information that isn’t necessary to moving the story forward.

In Megan’s novel All The Missing Girls, she plays a lot with the timeline, which adds to the suspense of the novel. I do the same in this manuscript, when the main character Eve, discovers that her husband has another wife. The novel then goes back to two years earlier, when the reader meets the other wife Christie and learns how her relationship started with Eve’s husband. Told through alternating chapters of present day (Eve) and the past leading up to present day (Christie), the reader starts to figure out who exactly is trying to kill Eve and the truth of what really happened to Christie.

Ruth Ware- Woman in Cabin 10
Ruth Ware is another good comparable because she provides a lot of twists and turns in her novels. While reading the Woman in Cabin 10 I had a very hard time figuring out who the woman could be that fell off the boat, when it was a small cruise that everyone was accounted for. It had very much that Agatha Christie feel to it, but more suspenseful.

In my novel, I wanted to provide a lot of twists and turns that would keep the reader guessing. Who was trying to kill Eve and why? Eve struggles with the thought that her husband could be both a sweet loving man and a killer beneath it all. When she finds out Seth’s other wife Christie is missing, Eve’s convinced that Seth killed her. Readers slowly learn this isn’t the case, and follow Eve on a journey of mystery and discovery.

In both her novels Woman in Cabin 10 and In a Dark, Dark Wood, Ruth Ware does a great job of foreshadowing and leaving context clues. I magnified Seth’s differing behaviors to foreshadow what’s to come by highlighting his insecurities and incongruity.


After discovering her husband’s murderous double life, a woman must protect herself and her daughter from him and the dangerous people he’s involved with before she ends up like his other wife, missing.


Eve is conflicted after she discovers that her husband has another wife. She’s afraid to confront him, knowing that he will only deny it and quickly cover his tracks. She must secretly investigate him without his knowledge, bringing her to stages of anger, heartbreak and at times doubt in whether it’s all-true or if she’s just making it up in her own head.

Example of Hypothetical Scenario: Eve sees a text on his phone from a woman wishing him a happy birthday from “Your Wife”. Eve is upset and angry, but also tries to weigh the likelihood that this could just be a wrong number, despite evidence to the contrary.

Hypothetical Scenario for Secondary Conflict: After Eve’s daughter, Sadie, disappears at the playground; Eve finds her talking to a strange man. Sadie tells Eve the man asked her to confirm her parent’s names and where she lived. Eve starts to notice the same man following her.


Setting one (Eve): A small suburban enclave outside of New York City filled with well to do successful people. The wives stay home and husbands work in the city. It’s important to keep up appearances in this town, so there aren’t many people you want knowing that your world is falling apart. It’s the last place you’d expect organized crime and murderous spouses.

Setting two (Christie): The city of San Francisco, with hip trendy clubs owned by criminals and affluent mansions that overlook the San Francisco Bay. All are paid for in blood and drugs where money is used to pay off the local cops. Even if you manage to meet a guy who sets you up, you can’t escape the crooked cops or Tommy’s guys from keeping an eye on your every move.

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Re: Seven Assignments for New York Pitch Writers

#40 Post by babeoconnor » 14 Mar 2017, 16:44

Harley Dragon Fly by Babe O'Connor
Update to Fourth Assignment - Deciding your Genre and Approaching Comparables
Now that I give it more thought perhaps listing the Sting as an example of as comparison movie is not best. I am thinking Inception is a far better comp for similar reasons:
My understanding is that Inception was not a book, but a screen play by Christopher Nolan. The similarity is that throughout my book what might appear real and true may not be. The creatures have been engineered to deceive and mislead and they can do this by "Thought Leeching" with humans where they can create illusions making them believe they are living any reality they chose. There are several scenes where characters believe what they are experiencing is real, only to find later it is not and then left wondering if perhaps they are still experiencing a fabricate reality . . . so it is much like a dream, within a dream, within a dream.

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Re: Seven Assignments for New York Pitch Writers

#41 Post by danslone » 15 Mar 2017, 05:03

A Beautiful Pandemonium by Dan Slone

1. Story Statement:

Stay alive long enough to stop the Trow from destroying most of the life on Earth.

2. The Antagonist:

Powerful interdimensional beings, who have inspired many Human myths, once ruled the Earth and want it back. Their mad king, surrounded by body parts of those who have crossed him, will sacrifice anything, even his own son, to retake the world, the only place where his race can perform magic. His general Thest has a deep hatred for the earth-born Sylph, the bioengineered sentient parrot-like beings created by Trow renegades, periodically distracting him from creating the cataclysm to end the reign and technology of the invasive apes. Spurred on by his ambitious wife, also one of the most bloodthirsty leaders the Trow army has spawned, he has almost completed his mission when a young Sylph shaman stumbles upon it.
General Thest’s lieutenant inspires instinctual fear in all creatures he encounters. Working as Thest’s spy to recruit Human accomplices into the Trow conspiracy, he lies with ease and kills with glee. Like other Trow who have stayed on Earth too long, he has been driven mad by Human technology, but he hides his pathology beneath the mask of an intense eco-activist.
If the Trow retake the Earth by killing the Humans, the Sylph and all other species will be destroyed as well.

3. Breakout Title:

A Beautiful Pandemonium
Shadow Kingdoms
Sylph Awakening

4. Genre and Comparables:

Genre: Fantasy


Muriel Barbery's The Life of Elves. A battle being fought on earth between forces of good and evil will be decided by Elves, who live in a world hidden from human sight.

Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys. The backdrop of gods creating a reality behind the reality perceived by most people. A protagonist adrift and buffeted by events, who eventually assembles the power and desire to reshape the world. A theme that day-to-day life sometimes undermines our search for our greater selves.

5. Primary Conflict:

Aran, a novice Sylph shaman, receives unprecedented powers, and their use could stop the Trow plot to rule the planet once more. But to succeed, he must overcome Trow death squads, banishment from his own people, and the taboos preventing him from communicating with Humans.

6. Inner Conflict:

Human poachers, mistaking her for a bird, kill Aran’s lover, once his anchor in a drifting life. He becomes a shaman to obtain powers for avenging her death, but along the way he begins to question whom he wants to punish. As his focus diminishes, he feels the pull of the drifting life increase. When he finally acquires the powers he seeks, he finds that to protect his people, he must not also save but also seek help from the Humans.

Social Conflict:

When Aran returns to the Sylph colony with significant wealth, the head of the
warrior clan herself is dispatched by his brother to assure his safe passage.
From her past history with Aran, she neither likes nor trusts him. Later, while sentencing Aran to be banished, his brother claims that she actually was sent as a spy, not a protector. Aran must decide if he can trust her with the real reason the Trow are trying to kill him.

7. Setting:

The book follows three different species through their sometimes overlapping scenes.
The story of the Sylph begins in the lush rainforest and mysterious cloud forest of Costa Rica, moving on to a container ship crossing the Gulf of Mexico. It transitions to the path of a merry bunch of thieves as they travel through small Florida coast towns and Disney World’s Enchanted Tiki Room, then into a hurricane outside Miami. After time spent back in Costa Rica’s jungles, the Sylph story reaches its climax over the Yellowstone volcano caldera.
While the Human story follows a similar series of scenes, the Trow story weaves in and out of them as well, but it also explores new ones in The Land, the bleak Trow home world. Also included are quirky meeting locations selected by the increasingly unstable Trow general, like a tourist trap called “Hell,” an abandoned ecolodge, and a lake where lightning strikes are common.
It is the jungle setting, however, that dominates so many of the scenes, as a source of fear and solace.

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Re: Seven Assignments for New York Pitch Writers

#42 Post by dkoulouki » 15 Mar 2017, 07:03

YA Paranormal Fantasy by Dimitra Koulouki
1. The Act of Story Statement
The struggle of a teenage boy to reconnect with his frail body despite the obstacles posed by his narcissistic society.
2. The Antagonist Plots the Point

Five feet ten and only ninety-eight pounds, sixteen year old Athan tries to find his place in a world that is extremely pre-occupied with the self, constantly seeking approval and admiration, which is what Athan doesn’t have. A world that sees life as a set of mechanisms waiting to be figured out, which breed endless rules limits and boundaries, even rules for the way you should look, wanting boys to expand and girls to shrink. A world that sees everything as objects – that sees the earth as a stock of resources waiting to be utilized, as a storehouse of raw material waiting to be developed. A world that cannot see that life is about the felt relationships with the earth, with nature, with one another, with other creatures that surround us. That cannot see that the earth is a breathing land, a body of wonder, a shuddering field of intelligence in whose round life we participate through the senses of our bodies.

At the moment of Athan’s greatest despair, a young boy in a khaki jacket will emerge from the darkness of a mysterious mine in the forest to teach him the above truths about life: that his body is not an object that can be humiliated and despised by the arbitrary rules of the human mind.

The boy’s sudden disappearance will lead Athan to the depths of a horrifying abyss where the boy is held hostage by an evil darkness, which is none other than the human, which will attempt to lure Athan into believing that he and all humans are only minds, powerful entities that possess everything else, even their bodies – urging Athan to let the boy perish.

Athan will chose to go against the dictatorship of the human mind, and re-enchant his body by refusing to believe that his body is his. He is his body. Therefore, saving the boy.

3. Create a breakout title.

Khaki Boy
Hero in the Making

4. Deciding your genre and choosing comparables.
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
5. Considering the primary conflict
Athan feels shame for being as skinny as he is, believing that he has no impact on his world and no place in it, therefore, seeks a way out through obsessive gaming in hope of becoming a pro-gamer and live in a gaming house 24/7, in other words: disappear from the real world.
6. Other matters of conflict.
a. Athan is bullied at school by Paul Theronton, captain of the school basketball team, who is a serial bully that goes after students who are ‘weak’ in some way, trying to devalue them so that he could feel so much more superior. Paul is a boy abused by his own father for not being able to live up to his expectations. Paul’s anger breaks out as aggressive, violent, deadly, since everyone knows that he was behind the Ryan Willow incident: a pale boy who dared go out with one of Paul’s girls, and was severely bullied for that, to the point of being led to suicide. Athan begins to be stalked by Paul after that and feels he’s next.

b. Alison Mackee was Ryan Willow’s girl, one of the queen Bs he should never have got involved with, which is what triggered his death. Athan is in love with her but fears the consequences. Alison cares for him, sees Ryan in him, but fears about what could happen to him if she shows her feelings for him.

c. Athan’s father, who has turned from cop to criminologist considers his son a loser for being so bad at school, anti-social and an obsessive gamer, and so much less than the cadets he trains at the police academy he teaches, not realizing that his son suffers so much because he is ashamed of his body.

d. Magdeline Greenshaw is the queen of the queen Bs, beautiful, excellent at everything, politically correct, and a grandiose narcissist that pulls all the strings as regards all the bullying in Athan’s high school. Frank Theronton is Paul Theronton’s very wealthy father, who donates loads of money at school, and is also a grandiose narcissistic figure. Athan knows that it is that kind of people who make all the rules that govern their narcissistic world and the source of all his suffering, yet there are moments he catches himself admiring them.

7. The Incredible Importance of Setting

a. Athan’s high school is where we first see Athan in. He hates the building, the teachers, the subjects and everything else about it. He feels embarrassed in it, and very afraid because of the bullying that takes place. He wants to become a pro-gamer and never have to return there.
b. His home is the next place we see, where he lives with his family, who are of Greek descendants: a place where he feels safe, especially to his Greek grandparents’ presence in it.
c. His mother’s atelier, an extension at the back of the house, which is full of the paintings she’s been making for her first art exhibition, whose theme is Spring, therefore dedicating her paintings to the myth of the Greek spring god Dionysus. Strange things have been happening with the paintings.
d. The forest which surrounds his high school that stands a top a hill at the edge of town is where a mysterious mine unlocks on the night of a grand tournament, during which his mother pulls the plug on him for lying to her about the math term exam so he could play in the game. A strange boy emerges from the mine that night, which comes to change Athan’s life, making him reconnect with his body. The boy is the chthonic god Dionysus, the most unifying god.
e. The mine is what Athan enters, when after bonding with the boy and finding a new meaning in life, the boy disappears. The boy was just a projection all that time , because the real boy is in the depths of the mine in real danger, calling out to him to save him.
f. Athan enters the mine and reaches a mystical world, where everyone is dying because of the evil darkness that has taken over their world and holds the child hostage. Athan will enter a horrifying forest and fall into an abyss where, he will realize that the mystical world is the reflection of his own arrogant world and that he is up against the greatest evil threatening mankind: who it is that wants humans unconnected, from each other, from nature, from the universe, even from their own bodies: THE HUMAN MI

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Re: Seven Assignments for New York Pitch Writers

#43 Post by AshDog17 » 15 Mar 2017, 08:39



MAID OF BAIKAL by Preston Fleming
Genre: Alternative historical novel set during Russian Civil War, 1918-1919


The story’s primary protagonist is Zhanna, a modern-day Siberian Joan of Arc. Her mission is to help the White Russian Forces defeat the Red Army in the Russian Civil War--by making the White regime worthy of winning.


The primary forces antagonistic to Zhanna’s goals are the Red Army and the Bolshevik regime in Moscow. But just as damaging to her mission are Siberia’s military leaders, whose narrow-minded prejudices and dogged resistance to reform throw repeated obstacles in her path. Those in authority dismiss her advice and sell her efforts short. From the start, her father forbids her to seek an audience with the governor in Irkutsk. When she finally sees the governor, he refuses to give her a letter of introduction to Siberia’s military dictator in Omsk, Admiral Kolchak. When she at last gains an audience with the Admiral, he and his Chief of Staff will not send her to the front or offer her any military role. Only after she overcomes their objections is she able to confront the Red Army in battle, at first in the out-of-the-way town of Uralsk, and later in increasingly bold raids and battles along the Urals Front. Finally, after taking the supreme risk of attacking the strategic city of Kazan, Zhanna rides into a Bolshevik ambush, is captured, and undergoes a brutal interrogation and show trial. But having by now alienated the Siberian leadership by her insubordination, they decline to come to her aid.


Maid of Baikal (preferred)
Virgin of Baikal
Joan of Siberia
Virgin of Baikal
Warrior Virgin
Warrior Virgin of Baikal

4. COMPARABLES: Upmarket, Alternative Historical Novel, Literary Fiction

Below are some commercially successful alternative historical novels of recent decades:

Man in the High Castle (1962), by Philip K. Dick. (Axis Powers win WWII and rule America.) Hugo Award winner. Paperback version published in 1964. New paperback published 1992 and a new version in 2012. Amazon TV series based on the book appeared in 2015, with a second season released in 2016.

Fatherland (1992), by Robert Harris (Axis Powers win WWII and rule Europe.) Book-of-the-Month-Club selection. Paperback version issued in 1994. HBO film released in 1994.

SS-GB (1978), by Len Deighton (Axis Powers win WWII and rule Great Britain.) Mass market paperback published in 1982. New trade paperback issued in 2012. BBC miniseries released in 2017.

Plot Against America (2004), by Philip Roth (Charles Lindbergh defeats FDR as US President.) Trade paperback released in 2005. James Fenimore Cooper Award winner for best historical fiction. Sidewise Award for Alternate History winner.

Yiddish Policemen’s Union (2007), by Michael Chabon (Temporary homeland in Alaska for WWII Jewish refugees.) Won Hugo Award, Nebula Award, Locus Award, and Sidewise Award for Alternate History. Debuted at #2 on NYT Bestseller list and remained on list for 20 weeks.

11/23/63 (2011), by Stephen King, (Protagonist goes back in time to prevent JFK assassination.) Trade paperback released in 2012. Won LA Times Book Prize (Mystery/Thriller). Hulu TV miniseries released in 2016.

NOTE 1: Nearly all recent alternative history novels have made history turn for the worse. Examples have portrayed Napoleon defeating England, England quelling the American Revolution, the South winning the American Civil War, the Axis Powers winning WWII, and the Soviet Union winning the Cold War. The theme of an Axis victory has been employed so often that it has been reduced to cliché.
MAID OF BAIKAL aims for a more positive outcome: to create a fictional outcome that prevents a century of communist oppression and averts some 100 million violent deaths inflicted on inhabitants of communist regimes.
The book’s premise is this: if the White Forces could have beaten the Red Army, how might they have done it?
I believe that today’s readers of commercial fiction might be receptive to an alternative historical novel set in a relatively unfamiliar setting that changes history for the better.

Other notable novels of the Russian Civil War:
The Don Flows Home to the Sea (1941), by Mikhail Sholokhov. Nobel Prize for Literature 1965.
Doctor Zhivago (1957), by Boris Pasternak. Nobel Prize for Literature 1958.
White Guard (1971), by Mikhail Bulgakov.
People’s Act of Love (2006), James Meek.

NOTE 2: With the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution due to arrive in October 2017, I expect that new books about the revolution will appear in coming months. To date, however, I have not seen any major new work—fiction or nonfiction—about the Russian Civil War set for release during the war’s centennial year in 2018.


A young woman from provincial Siberia answers a call from inner voices to help the White Armies defeat the Bolsheviks in the Russian Civil War. But first she must overcome her superiors’ refusal to send her into battle and their reluctance to do what is necessary to make the White Forces worthy of victory.


PRIMARY CONFLICT: Zhanna has vowed to defeat the Red Army in the Russian Civil War, both to free Russia from Bolshevik tyranny and to set her country on the path toward democratic self-rule.

SECONDARY CONFLICT: While Zhanna has pledged allegiance to the Siberian military dictator, he and his inner circle obstruct her every move. Unless she can dissuade them from their authoritarian ways, the Siberian regime will fail to win popular support and will yield to the Red Army. Though Zhanna has attracted a loyal personal following, her brashness and insubordination have aroused powerful enemies, and when she most needs their help, she finds setbacks and betrayals lurking around every corner.

INNER CONFLICT: Zhanna, a capable young woman with normal hopes, dreams and fears, receives a call from inner voices to go to war. To answer the call, she must put aside everything she holds dear and risk body and soul to pursue her mission to its end. Zhanna accepts the mission bravely and perseveres in the face of overwhelming obstacles, not knowing whether she will survive to see her goals fulfilled.


The Russian Civil War is one of the least understood conflicts of the twentieth century, yet one of the most critical to the course of modern history. Most Americans don’t know that the United States sent 8,000 American troops to Siberia in September of 1918 to protect the Trans-Siberian Railway and safeguard vast quantities of Allied war materials stored in the Russian Far East port of Vladivostok. The American Expeditionary Force in Siberia, and American and British officers in liaison with the Siberian regime, play an important role in Zhanna’s story.
MAID OF BAIKAL moves from Zhanna’s tidy home near Lake Baikal, to the well-ordered provincial capital of Irkutsk, to the refugee-clogged Siberian capital at Omsk, and on to various war-ravaged towns and cities along the Urals and the Volga Fronts, where Zhanna fights battle after battle against the Red Army. In each of these places, the reader experiences the Russian people’s wartime suffering, their leaders’ heedless arrogance, wanton Bolshevik cruelty, and the awesome power of Russia’s vast distances, harsh climate, untamed spirit, and deeply rooted societal decay.
Scene by scene, the reader experiences the Russian Civil War in different seasons and terrains, and from various perspectives, whether on horseback or aboard carriages, sleighs or trains. The immense variety and scale of the Russian settings and the limited power of mere humans to act on so large a scale, makes Zhanna’s pivotal impact on the Russian conflict all the more remarkable, and her character the more compelling.


(SCENE SET) In a quiet town near Siberia’s Lake Baikal, Zhanna Dorokhina turns eighteen as the Russian Civil War rages far to the west. For years, she has been hearing inner voices telling her to be a good girl, study hard, and nurture her faith because a great task awaits her. (MAJOR COMPLICATION) But now, the Voices have turned ominous, foretelling Russia’s doom if the White Armies fail to destroy the fledgling Bolshevik Regime in Moscow. They instruct Zhanna to travel to the capital to warn the Siberian dictator, Admiral Kolchak, that his forces must reach the Volga by summer, capture the city of Samara, and convene a new national assembly or all will be lost. The voices also direct Zhanna to seek command of an army so as to lead the Siberian offensive if she must. When Zhanna tells her father her plans, he forbids her from pursuing such madness. (PLOT POINT AND RISING ACTION) But she persists in the face of relentless opposition, overcoming one obstacle after another until at last she leads her own brigade, fights her way from the Urals to the Volga, and stands beside the Admiral during his inauguration as regent of a new White Russian government. Yet by now the war has become an obsession, and Zhanna’s success has aroused powerful enemies. To her horror, the Admiral balks at a final assault on Moscow and negotiates a cease-fire instead. (CLIFFHANGER) Defying orders from Kolchak’s Chief of Staff, until now her ally, Zhanna leads her forces north to Kazan and wins her greatest victory there, only to ride into a Bolshevik ambush soon after. Held captive, she suffers a pitiless interrogation and show trial but, having alienated the Siberian leadership, can expect no rescue. And so Zhanna must face her tormentors alone, without knowing whether she will live to see the Bolsheviks defeated and her prophesies fulfilled.


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Re: Seven Assignments for New York Pitch Writers

#45 Post by blackberrygelato » 16 Mar 2017, 09:19


Story Statements
Rejected by their family for a shared foresight ability, a granddaughter and her long-dead grandmother reach out to each other across time.

Struggling to overcome a failing marriage, a woman risks everything to learn about a prescient ability she shares with her long-dead grandmother changing everything for both women.

Antagonist Forces
Anna’s mother HELEN is obsessed with maintaining the family’s reputation in their small town. Overly devoted to her father Lee (dead two years as the story begins), she will stop at nothing to protect his legacy, even if it means isolating her daughter in the process.

LEE’s temperance and impeccable standards served him well during his many terms as the mayor of Port Townsend, WA and in state government circles. Underneath his respectable veneer, Lee was fiercely protective of his reputation and distrusted independent-minded women. As a child, a medium predicted his parents’ death in the 1918 flu epidemic, leading to a fear of the profession. When his wife and later his granddaughter showed prescient abilities, he reacted with suppression, distrust, and stony silence.

After Anna has a prescience that her husband GARRETT will be leaving the family, he rejects her ability outright and leaves her, defending himself with cries of free will, aligning their children to his side.

Breakout Titles
Wool Dresses in Summer
The Way Back Home
Heart of the Wildflower

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, 2014 (Similarity: Two extraordinary women dare to have a voice in the world under the cruel inequality of the sexes)

Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, 2008 (Similarity: A journey taken to find the key to her mother's past. The Boatwright sisters hold some similarities to Melina’s best friends, as they help Anna learn about who she is.)

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett, 2016 (Similarity: In a series of vignettes spanning fifty years, it tells the story of children whose lives were disrupted and how they intertwined.)

Anna’s Primary Conflict:
Anna’s prediction that her husband was abandoning them threatens her marriage and isolates her from her family, reminding her of the fear and isolation she experienced as a child when she tried to warn people of what was to come. She is motivated to learn all she can about the gift, but at what cost?

Anna’s Secondary Conflicts:
When Anna discovers that her long-dead grandmother Melina had shared her prescient ability, she is eager to learn more. Her mother pushes back hard against this, following her father’s example when she insists that Anna not speak of these things.
The information she needs is in the hands of three of her grandmother’s best friends: one has advanced Alzheimer’s, another is in Italy (address unknown) and the other is extremely mysterious about some important events in the past that were covered up.
Anna hasn’t been able to finish her novel since her husband’s departure. The problem: she doesn’t know how to help her protagonist find her voice in a male-dominated society.

Anna’s Inner Conflicts:
Anna chooses passion over common sense when she disappears one day without a word. She is torn apart about leaving her kids with her mother, but finds herself unable to go back.
As secrets of the past begin to be revealed, Anna is unsure where to throw her loyalty.
As her grandmother’s secrets come out, Anna wrestles with the oppression her grandmother and her friends experienced. The choices they had to make resonate weigh heavily on Anna’s mind

Two unnervingly hot seasons in the Pacific Northwest in two separate time frames, the early 1950’s and present day.

Her grandmother’s caboose in 1952, a gypsy-like home for an immigrant mother and her twin girls.

The lovely Victorian seaport town of Port Townsend is the home of Lee Bennett’s family and community. Lee’s grand Victorian home is stiff in stature and strict in rules. After his death, it goes to his daughter Helen, who doesn’t change a thing.

Their neighbor Aggy’s home is next door; one of Anna’s regular haunts when she takes care of her elderly neighbor a few times a week.

Willow Bridge Inn: the home of Essie, Melina’s best friend, and the place where Anna goes to to seek answers about her grandmother. The Inn is nestled in the mountains an hour outside Port Townsend and is a retreat for people out of touch with themselves.

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Re: Seven Assignments for New York Pitch Writers

#46 Post by robingwdean » 16 Mar 2017, 16:32

1. The Act of Story Statement
Warn the government of a catastrophic surprise attack by Russia.

2. The Antagonist Plots the Point

Kazmir Zakrevsky, in partnership with Josef Stalin, killed millions of Russian people in the 1930’s. Because of his deadly efficiency and ruthless ambition he has risen in to the highest ranks of the Russian government and is now ambassador to the United States. He has planned a catastrophic first strike attack on the US. He is also the unyielding and despised father of Anastassia Zakrevsky, whose current boyfriend is the novel’s protagonist. When his daughter and her boyfriend overhear a secret meeting discussing the attack, he decides they must both be killed before they warn the US of the surprise attack.

3. Title
The Page Boy
The Messenger

4. Genre and Comparable
Genre: Action-Adventure
Without Warning by Joel C. Rosenburg: An Action-Adventure novel about an imminent attack inside the United States.

5. Primary Conflict:

Protagonist Jimmy Kelly has stolen the Attack Plan from the Russian embassy and Russian ambassador, Kazmir Zakrevsky wants it back and Kelly dead.

2 more levels of conflict:
A. protagonist Jimmy Kelly is accused of the murder of his roommate and kidnapping the Russian ambassador’s daughter and the FBI, Russian intelligent agents and every police officer in the country is searching for him.
B. Russian super spy, known only as Silver-hair has made killing protagonist, Jimmy Kelly his personal challenge.

6. Conflict-turmoil

A. The Russian Ambassador’s daughter and protagonist’s Jimmy Kelly’s girlfriend, despises her murderous father but is torn between betraying her country and helping saving the United States from the attack.
B. Pursuing Jimmy Kelly, FBI special agent Ed Sutton can’t decide if he is innocent or guilty. Should the kid be trusted and can he be believed that a Russian attack is about to happen?

7. Setting

It is 1958 at the height of the Cold War and Jimmy Kelly is appointed a page boy in the United States Capitol. It is a job he doesn’t want in a place he doesn’t want to be. A chance meeting with the Russian ambassador’s beautiful daughter draws him in to a world of political intrigue and deadly spies.

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Re: Seven Assignments for New York Pitch Writers

#47 Post by westieluv » 16 Jun 2017, 01:09


Assignment 1: Story statement
Before Columbus is the story of Empress Califia of Atlan, a women who inherited an empire and now must keep it vibrant and flourishing in the face of possible war, from the Pelasgians of the Mediterranean, and a mutinous attempt instigated by her own cousin, Nosfret.

Assignment 2: Sketch the Antagonist
Califia the only daughter of the current Empress of Atlan, Amara, is a woman of truth and integrity. She must take over her mothers’ role after her untimely death. Though, she has been trained well to assume the mantle of leadership, by various tutors and by Amara, she knows that she needs additional support to achieve her goals for the empire. She finds this support in Menefer, the current High Priest of Atlan, and of course, in her Chief-Lady-in Waiting and cousin Nosfret. Califia soon discovers that her trusted team cannot be trusted.
The Califia Chronicles- Before Columbus
America Before Columbus
Assignment 4: Comparables
Dr. Jewell Parker Rhodes-Voodoo Dreams A Novel of Marie Laveau
My novel, similar to how Voodoo Dreams uses the back drop of New Orleans and the historical person Marie Laveau, uses the story of the California Blacks Indian Nation as the bases of a story of life in the Americas before the arrival of Columbus. It is a synthesis of historical fact and fiction which I am hoping amounts to good storytelling. I want people to actually learn and question what they have been taught about in school and what has been edited from our history books.
Assignment 5: Primary Conflict- Secondary Conflict
Califia a newly minted empress, must navigate the waters of running an empire alone and deal with a mutinous coup attempt from her cousin, Nosfret. She must also avert the possibility of war.
Secondary conflict
Califia must deal with the discovery that her trusted advisor, Menefer, is also her father. He is also a co-conspirator with her cousin, Nosfret, and was planning her death.
Assignment 6: Inner Conflict
Califia is torn, while dealing with the reality of the fact that her own cousin wants to see her dead. The fact that a woman that she grew up with and confided in, secretly hated and resented her. Their entire relationship has all been an act to put Nosfret in a position to bring her treasonous plan into fruition. She must also come to terms with the fact that her trusted advisor, Menfer, is also her father and wished her death as well. Now, she must deal with them both.
Assignment 7: Setting
My story takes place entirely in the Empire of Atlan. The empire of Atlan was a territory that was rich in resources and minerals. It stretched from what is now California to Bahia, Mexico. The empire included the Pacific Island Nations of what is now Hawaii and Australia.

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Re: Seven Assignments for New York Pitch Writers

#48 Post by Sheridanlong » 17 Jun 2017, 18:03

The Act of Story Statement

Via ruthless opportunism, unparalleled deceit, and an unscrupulous commitment to winning, Elle Ellerbe has achieved The American Dream at the cost of her own happiness. Kidnapped by armed assailants in the midst of a corporate heist, Elle is given a second chance to redefine her principles, re-hash her priorities, and build the life she truly seeks, as a member of the criminal underground.

The Antagonists: Elle Ellerbe and Vladimir Volkov

The wealth, affluence, and professional prestige which mark Elle Ellerbe's adult life bear no resemblance to the orphanage and destitution which defined her childhood. Through ruthless opportunism, unparalleled deceit, and a commitment to winning no matter the cost to herself or others, Elle Ellerbe has achieved The American Dream she always envisioned for herself. Still, her ascent has come with heavy burdens: an abusive fiancé who resents her endless deceit, a degrading lover who suspects her manipulation, and a personal struggle with the manic depression which claimed the lives of both her parents. Desperate for true love, the one thing she has always desired yet never experienced, Elle dreams of escaping the miserable existence she has violently forged for herself. When armed assailants kidnap Elle in the midst of a corporate heist, she is given a new identity; a second chance at building the life she truly desires as a member of The Syndicate, an international criminal enterprise. Still, in Elle's new existence, her marked selfishness, affinity for toxic relationships, and desire for absolute control recreate the same unhappy scenario she encountered in her former identity. As Elle's idyllic aspirations for her new identity waiver, her former existence begins to invade her new life at every turn. Forced to confront herself as the true obstacle to her own happiness, Elle makes a power play which will change her life and the lives of everyone she is connected to, forever.

After the murders of his parents at the hands of the KGB, Vladimir Volkov was raised by his Uncle, a Russian bookie in Sheepshead Bay Brooklyn. After elevating himself from local street level crime to multi-million dollar international theft, Vladimir struggles to reconcile the demons of his past: drug addiction, stalking, and a series of violent rapes against women. Having achieved some modicum of peace following years of self-deprivation as a means of atonement, Vladimir sets into motion a plan which will reunite him with the love of his life: Elle Ellerbe. After kidnapping Elle in the midst of a corporate heist, Vladimir initiates Elle as a member of The Syndicate, the international criminal group under which he operates. The life Vlad dreams of building with Elle spins out of control as their mutual deceit, self-serving decisions, and sexual dysfunction erode their romantic intentions. With his personal achievements and newfound peace hanging in the balance, Vlad must find equilibrium with Elle's new presence in his life or release her forever.

Breakout Titles

The Syndicate Rules
Elle and Vlad

Genre and Comparables

Genre : Crime Fiction / Romantic Fiction

I have to preface this by saying I searched long and hard for novels with a black female protagonist in the context of characters of non-black cultures. My findings were thin and the journey of the protagonist is not at all comparable in emotional complexity/cultural context. I'm going to use a television show as a comparable for that reason.

Scandal meets Fifty Shades of Grey
Insecure meets The Firm

The Primary Conflict

Elle Ellerbe resents the decisions she has made to achieve the wealth and influence she holds, yet in order to achieve the true love and happiness she longs for, Elle must make sacrifices she may not be prepared to accept.

After silencing his inner demons, Vladimir Volkov feels ready for the life he has always envisioned with Elle Ellerbe at his side, but maintaining the peace of mind he found absent of Elle may require greater discipline and sacrifice than he is capable of exhibiting.

The Secondary Conflict

Vlad and Elle work cohesively to defraud a major insurance corporation of $20 million in the biggest heist of Vlad's career. As the two use their respective skill sets to stage and execute the heist, a power struggle of epic proportions threatens to collapse both their romantic and working relationships.

The Inner Conflict

Elle desires wealth and affluence so strongly that the ruthlessness she employed in her former life has become embedded in her personality. Elle struggles to employ new principles such as compromise, submission, and honesty to foster the true love she has always desired aside Vladimir Volkov.

Vlad created an idyllic version of Elle during the many years he stalked her without her knowledge. Now that the "real" Elle is a part of his life, he is largely unprepared for the mutual power struggle and manipulation present in their dynamic. As Vlad struggles to maintain the mental stability which allowed him to suppress his demons, his desire for violence and for rape re-emerge in his psyche.

The Setting

The setting changes often throughout the story as the main characters are employed in international criminal enterprise and live somewhat nomadic lives as a result.

Charlotte — a city in the South, beautiful Charlotte looks and feels like a suburb yet offers a somewhat metropolitan business experience, serving as headquarters to major banks and other big business. As major figures in business, our characters live and work in upscale settings characterized by aesthetic beauty and modern convenience. These settings include:

Elle and Francois' luxury condo
Perth & Associates - Elle and John's (her lover's) corporate workplace

New York — after Elle’s kidnapping, New York City becomes the main venue. Our characters stay on the move between hotels and luxury residences owned by Vlad. As is characteristic to the “New York Experience” our characters frequent local restaurants, gyms, and coffee shops while conducting business and during free time.

The W in NYC
The Hamptons
Church Street Boxing Gym
Starbucks NYC
Richard Meier on Prospect Park
Kalamazoo Coffee
Cheryl’s Global Soul
JFK International Airport
Private Jet

Prague— Elle is officially initiated into The Syndicate inside an old castle which looks dilapidated on the outside, but has been renovated within. The main symposium is a sphere which seats hundreds of members around a stage at the bottom center.

The Syndicate Symposium

Paris — The novel rounds out in Paris, where our characters reflect and begin to plan for the “new world order” Elle created. This setting includes the site of a press conference, a restaurant, and Vlad’s private Jet en route to New York.

Faubourg Street
Le Grande Poisson
Private Jet

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Re: Seven Assignments for New York Pitch Writers

#49 Post by nzoldsoul2017 » 22 Jun 2017, 15:58

Story Statement:

Stop a plan to return the gods and monsters of myth to the world

The Antagonist/Antagonistic Force:

Julian Chaondreus is a titan of industry, a beloved philanthropist, a charming speaker, and a patron of numerous artistic and historical pursuits. He is also an immortal who is secretly planning to reunite the worlds of humans and gods. He is playing both sides: funding James Stephens’s summer archaeological digs to help recover the artifacts he needs to bring the worlds into sync, and also acting as the head of SENTRY, an organization he founded to stop the very act he is working to bring about.

But his machinations go deeper still. He is the ultimate master of the long con, in that he helped inspire James Stephens to enter the archaeological field as an undergraduate student, knowing that James’s bloodline held the “Divine DNA” that would produce the Daykeeper to unite the worlds - Toby. He already knew that Lucy’s family carried a different blood curse, and it would manifest in her birth as well.

His manipulations were perfected over thousands of years since he was created by the worlds separating. The pattern is that whenever he died by whatever means, he is reborn at age 13 in some part of the world with the memories of his previous lives. He has been persons of both genders and all cultures, as has his twin Jonathan Mundi. His primary goal at first was the re-establishment of the divine order of the world. To this end, he went about leading wars, starting cults, and traveling to the regions which had the greatest concentration of remaining magical energy. He is now focused on reuniting the worlds not for divine dominance, but due to his belief neither can be what it is capable of alone: the gods cannot learn without limitations, and humans have no sense of awe to order them.

Breakout Title:

-Worlds Apart
-Window into the Storm


-Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard
-Philip Pullman’s (His Dark Materials trilogy)


As two children begin a summer adventure in a mysterious Mayan site in the jungle, they learn the city’s downfall was part of a plan to keep the world safe from the beasts and terrors of mythology, which will leave the library and enter everyday life if they cannot stop it.

Inner Conflicts with Important Characters:

***Toby is thinking about another young man who sacrificed his life for something greater than himself, and whether he would - or could - do the same:

Would he give his life for a book? Teocinte did, and Will tried to. Were the codices more important than a rare copy of Bacon’s essays? Would the world be the same without it? How different would the world be with them? Like his father said, just imagine if someone burned all but four of the books created in America over the last 200 years? It was too mind-boggling for Toby to wrap his mind around. It was even crazier to imagine what had happened - what had actually happened - with the Mayan books.
The memory of Teocinte speaking to the men that first night in Copan around the campfire came to Toby’s mind. The loss of the stars made the world a poorer place. But after enough time had passed, people forgot that they were ever there. The empty spaces held no impressions of their former owners. They were simply blank. And soon they were forgotten, along with all of the gifts they had granted.

Is that what’s at stake? Toby wondered, as he fiddled with the pen used to darken the tracings of the hieroglyphs. The world’s got some problems, sure. But would magic coming back in make things worse, or fix all of them?

Movies always showed wizards and magicians waving a wand and solving an impossible problem. Walk through walls, turn into a tiger, blow up a building. But what if they took the wand to a person with cancer? What if they cast a spell on a criminal to make them tell the truth? Wouldn’t that be worth letting in some beasts? Like Lucy said, we could probably kill them if we had to. But would that just mean we’d need bigger zoos to hold all of the newly-endangered animals?


-Quiet, respectable Cambridge, Massachusetts with the world-famous Harvard University
-Dense jungle of Copan, with mysterious ruins and exotic cultural festivals and practices
-High-tech rooms with advanced computer equipment
-Bleak, windswept desert of New Mexico
-Dark, otherworldly caverns in NW, beneath Copan, and in the jungles surrounding the site
-A nuclear bunker-style prison for supernatural beings

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Re: Seven Assignments for New York Pitch Writers

#50 Post by JDMacGregor » 09 Sep 2017, 21:31

The Gambler of Garamemia – by Jonathan MacGregor


Conrad Zayne, a wisecracking gambling addict, must help a galactic peacekeeper, Sharvani Justice, solve a robbery and murder before the perpetrators escape.


Guilder Dalasi didn’t want anyone to get hurt... except for his boss, Rand Krónur, the owner of the Fleming Casino. Krónur had just financed a whistleblowing operation on Alpha Chymicus, the Trappist star system’s largest medical supply company, to halt their production of regulator patches, devices that help their wearer lessen addictive behavior. Krónur believed that by eliminating the patches, more people would patronize the Fleming, thereby keeping the institution financially solvent.

However, Dalasi had been depending on experimental medicine from Alpha Chymicus to treat his advanced lung cancer, giving him more time to spend with his wife and young son. So, to get his life back, Dalasi struck a deal with BravadoCorp, a major conglomerate seeking to buy failing businesses. Dalasi would engineer a heist of the Fleming’s vault by teaming up with various ne’er-do-wells competing in an upcoming card tournament. The missing funds would drive the Fleming into bankruptcy. In exchange, BravadoCorp would provide him one of their fixers to kill Krónur, and when the Fleming’s stock reverts to him, he would sell the property to BravadoCorp in exchange for enough money to save Alpha Chymicus.

After the plan is executed to perfection, Dalasi just needs to lay low and tell a few lies to keep Conrad Zayne and Sharvani Justice from finding the money and his trigger-happy accomplice before the upcoming tournament’s end.


The Gambler of Garamemia

Cards, Lasers, and a Dead Man’s Money

Gambling for Time


Genre: Adult, Science-Fiction, Mystery, Fantasy

The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi

Key Similarities:
- Both are science-fiction works with worlds that employ rapid travel between planets in their respective solar systems.
- The action begins on a planet in the middle of some type of game
- Winning said game is integral to preserving the main character’s quality of life
- Both novels revolve around a heist
- Use of first-person point of view from a wisecracking, sarcastic main character
- Both main characters are sympathetic and guilty of breaking multiple laws
- The authors of both novels have graduate degrees in the sciences
- Both works pass the Bechdel test

Key Differences:
- The Quantum Thief is not a mystery novel, and solving a robbery and murder are a large part of The Gambler of Garamemia.
- Some of The Quantum Thief is written in limited third-person point of view.
- The Quantum Thief is focused on executing the heist, and The Gambler of Garamemia is concerned with solving how it occurred.
- The Quantum Thief revolves around a well-known thief/con-artist. The Gambler of Garamemia focuses on a gambler known for his ability to see through the deception of other players when playing Windeln: a game where cheating is encouraged, and cheaters are only penalized when caught by an observant player.

Heat Wave by Richard Castle

Key Similarities:
- A strong-willed female detective paired with a wisecracking amateur sleuth
- Both the detective and her amateur partner are main-characters that display agency throughout the novel
- Solving the murder of a wealthy business mogul
- The female detective becomes frustrated with her less-than-serious partner

Key Differences:
- Heat Wave is not a science-fiction novel.
- Heat Wave is told from an omniscient third-person person point of view. The Gambler of Garamemia is first-person as told from the wisecracking amateur sleuth.
- Heat Wave features a budding romance between the female and male leads.
- Heat Wave follows an amateur sleuth who is also an investigative journalist. The Gambler of Garamemia follows an amateur sleuth who is also a competitive card player.


Conrad Zayne must help galactic policewoman Sharvani Justice solve a robbery that threatens the state of the Fleming Casino, and when the first body appears, they must ensure that the killer doesn’t strike again.


Conrad Zayne is a gambling addict with gambling debts up to his cybernetic eye and an illegal regulator patch that’s running on empty. He’s a finalist in the Fleming’s Windeln tournament, and the grand prize is large enough to wipe his debt clean and keep himself out of debtor’s prison. But Zayne must constantly choose between whether to satisfy his addiction or act responsibly. He’s forced to make critical decisions such as obtaining another illegal patch, cutting off toxic friendships, and asking for help to manage his addiction.


Zayne has set himself up as a contender in the finals of the Windeln tournament, and he’s on track to stay out of debtor’s prison. But in a moment of weakness, Zayne agrees to a friendly wager with Sharvani that he could help her solve the case. Now, he must balance his preparation for winning the tournament with his obligation to helping Sharvani solve the case by the book. But since the deadline for solving the case coincides with the end of the tournament, Zayne must decide if he should cut corners in the investigation to ensure his victory in the tournament or trust Sharvani and follow procedure.


Garamemia. The entirety of The Gambler of Garamemia takes place on the planet of Garamemia in the Trappist star system in the year 2354. Garamemia is a planet where the inhabitants are obsessed by all forms of games, and casinos such as the Fleming are cultural touchstones in their society. Garamemia is a melting pot, home to all sorts of species such as Humans, Elves, Halflings, Gurzilians, and the native Garamemians. The planet is one enormous country, filled with endless urban landscape. Three corporations are in a constant bidding war over the other corporation’s failing properties, and independently-owned property, like the Fleming’s grounds, is a rarity.

The Fleming Casino. The entirety of The Gambler of Garamemia takes place within a forty-eight-hour window in the Fleming Casino, which is located in Gamel, the capital of Garamemia. The Fleming is a microcosm unto itself, home to not only the casino and its renowned gaming floors but also ritzy restaurants, a 5-star hotel, and living quarters for both staff and rich patrons. During the forty-eight hours of the novel, the Fleming is hosting the annual Windeln Tournament: a tournament of a card game that rewards both deception and players who can spot deception.

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