#1 Story Statement:
A Culmination of Necessities is a Literary/Upmarket Fiction novel that tells the story of The Director of The National Gallery in London who is caught in a decades-old art forgery business. Upon vanishing from society he looks back on his life and struggles to find the parts that were real.
Albeit Salvador Dali is a major character in the first section of the novel, this is not historical fiction. Julien’s contempt for Dali merely serves as the catalyst for his art forgery business.
First and foremost, Julien blames all the loss in his life on Dali. Dali hides out and passively watches the Gestapo steal Julien’s father and the family fortune. When Dali informs Julien’s mother of the horror, she miscarries Julien’s only sibling, a baby sister. Years later, a jealous Dali banishes Julien to a boarding school severing ties between mother and son.
Decades later, while on his death bed, Dali declares no one will ever be as great an artist as him. Julien disagrees. Dali bets him a million pesetas and a caballo, a horse, that Julien cannot find someone to replicate his work. Julien does. Dali then breaks down and confesses to being penniless and unable to pay the debt. Julien is finally satisfied to win the last war between the two of them. But days later, Dali dies and leaves his $139 million fortune to the country of Spain.
#3 Break Out Titles:
A Culmination of Necessities
#4 Comp Titles:
Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
with the commercial appeal of The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro
#5 Primary Conflict:
Via a lucrative art forgery business, the Director of the National Gallery in London exacts his personal vengeance against the merciless man who raised him—Salvador Dali, as well as the art world who continues to uphold Dali in such high regard. That same world unjustly doesn’t recognize the original paintings of the talented Remy Scott, Julien’s artistic partner in the forgery business.
#6 Main Character’s Inner Conflict:
As this novel is a reflection on his long life before he disappears from society, Julien’s memories focus on his love for Remy Scott. He’s awaiting her arrival to London. Once she arrives, he will inform her of their art forgery business being exposed and his subsequent plan to flee together.
The more he reflects on his life, the more he realizes he never was actually able to love her. Because of Dali and all the pain and loss Dali inflicts on Julien’s life, Julien never trusts love nor the idea of being vulnerable to it. What’s more though, is that over their several decades together, Remy understands this truth and several times insists that Julien love her fully. Then her last insistence comes: she asks Julien to father her a child. In hindsight, he realizes this request of hers means that if he can’t love her, maybe he can at least give her someone who will.
Remy never arrives to London. Julien now confirms his suspicions that she finally has found love elsewhere. Julien knows he must step aside and let her have this chance at later-in-life love. And maybe…possibly, this unselfish act of his is actually the beginning of real love from Julien to Remy. Indeed it must be. Only it’s much too late. There is but one thing to do with his remaining years. Julien stocks his boat and sails away alone. The last scene is of Julien nestled under at a blanket of midnight stars, drifting in a dream state imagining his mother, his father, and baby sister Genève together. Just the four of them fly away; there had been no Dali and Julien felt love.
Main Character’s Secondary/Social Environment Conflict:
A disgruntled intern from Julien’s past returns with a vendetta of her own. A desperate divorcee knowingly sends three of Julien and Remy’s forged works to Sotheby’s for resale where the past intern now heads the Acquisitions Department. Days later the Uffizi Gallery receives several donated paintings from the divorcee. Then the Louvre and The Met receive similar gifts . . . thirteen forged paintings total. The divorcee creates false provenance papers for each piece, all of which the intern notices, intentionally lead back to Julien at the National Gallery. It’s only a matter of days before Julien’s old intern figures out his true connection to the pieces and she is able to exact her revenge.
This novel is set in small towns, big galleries, and sailing open seas situated mainly in European countries along the Côte d’Azur and other parts of the Mediterranean. The story spans Julien’s entire life beginning with his childhood in Occupied Beaune, France where his father owned a paint supply shop. After the Gestapo confiscates his father and the family fortune, Julien and his mother must move to the coastal town of Portlligat, Spain to live with her childhood best friend, Salvador Dali and his wife, Galarina. Years later, Dali’s jealously of Julien’s relationship with his mother causes Dali to banish Julien to boarding school on the Moray Coast of Scotland. After graduation, Julien becomes an apprentice at the Galeries Mourlot in Paris, France until finally settling in London, England for university and a long and successful career at The National Gallery. A sprinkle of scenes takes place on a sailboat on the open seas where Julien feels most at home. San Francisco appears frequently as artist Remy Scott resides there for the entirety of the novel.
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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