Algonkian Writer Retreat Assignments and Readings

A forum for writers in the Algonkian Writer Retreat to engage in writing assignments and further studies in the art of fiction writing.
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AprilBairInk
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Joined: 01 Sep 2018, 16:21

Re: Algonkian Writer Retreat Assignments and Readings

#51 Post by AprilBairInk » 01 Sep 2018, 16:45

Deadly allergies, the Spring Virus Syndrome, must be stopped.

jillparker
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Joined: 28 Aug 2018, 21:58

Re: Algonkian Writer Retreat Assignments and Readings

#52 Post by jillparker » 04 Sep 2018, 06:12

This is still a work in progress, but with only two weeks before the retreat, I wanted to get at least this much posted. Thank you!

Story Statement:
Choose between the life she loves and the eternity she has always dreamed of.
(Is it problematic that this statement ends with a preposition? It sounded unwieldy with correct grammar.)

Antagonist/Antagonistic Force:
My antagonist starts as a vague, menacing force behind the odd events surrounding the death that starts the plot. This darkness is eventually identified as the secret society behind the strange events, and further embodied as the head of the group. This character will threaten the protagonist, and present her with an ultimatum that drives the plot to its climax.

Breakout Title:
Blood Cure
Blood Born

Comparables:
Michael Talbot , "The Delicate Dependency "
I read this book when I was very young, and it has stayed with me for years. I feel like my writing style is similar to Mr. Talbot’s, as well as my desire to make supernatural characters as believable and sympathetic as possible. It was from this work that I began formulating my own “scientific” explanation for vampirism.

Conflict Line:
A model wife and mother must choose between a quietly happy life with her family, and the fantastical world of her dreams with her soulmate.

Conditions and Conflicts:
Before the protagonist is faced with her major ultimatum, she finds herself attracted to another man, and contemplating cheating on her husband, with whom she is frustrated. This thought of infidelity seems far less risqué once she begins to consider leaving everything behind. Does the weight of her choice make it easier to cheat? Does the temptation she is already facing make it easier to walk away from her husband?
She also struggles with her faith as the story line progresses. Shaken by the tragedy that begins the story, she wants to turn to her beliefs for comfort. She feels abandoned by God, and shocked by how quickly she considers breaking from her own moral code to have an affair. Then the offer comes that would have her turn her back on all natural laws and become, for all practical purposes, immortal. Even if she chooses to remain merely human, she will have to reconcile this dark knowledge with her lost faith.

Detailed Setting:
There are few things as picturesque as fall in a Midwest farming community. Summer conjures images of beach and surf under a blue sky. Winter brings to mind snow covered mountains. Spring could be anywhere with green meadows and early flowers.
But fall belongs in the heartland, where fields of corn and beans fade gradually from vibrant green to rustling brown before red and green behemoths pace through them, swallowing them whole. Acres of woods that were uniform green only days before take on an endless variety of hues under a sky somehow bluer than seems possible. The sun, setting noticeably earlier with each passing day, still has plenty of warmth, and more years than not there will be what the locals call an “Indian summer.” (No racism intended; not sure anyone nowadays even knows why it was ever called that.) But by October, no matter how warm the day, the nights and early mornings are crisp, and most houses will be displaying the staples of Halloween decorations; pumpkins, scarecrows, and various creatures of the dark rendered in lifelike molded plastic.
People in these small towns really do talk about the weather, and the harvest, and the high school football games. Everyone kid grows up wanting one of two things: settle down here and raise a family like the generations before you, or leave after graduation and never look back. A good many end up doing the opposite of what they had planned.

writerwoman6013
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Location: Pensacola, FL
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KNB's Algonkian Writer Retreat 2018 5 completed assignments

#53 Post by writerwoman6013 » 05 Sep 2018, 20:16

So my name is Katherine Nelson-Born and here goes my response to the first five (5) assignments thus far as a novice participant, looking forward to the writer retreat in two weeks.

FIRST ASSIGNMENT: write your story statement.

In the early 1970s, a runaway teen orphan and the orphanage teen handyman, linked by second sight, fight a plot to incite race riots threatening to blow apart the lives of New Orleanians.

SECOND ASSIGNMENT: in 200 words or less, sketch the antagonist or antagonistic force in your story. Keep in mind their goals, their background, and the ways they react to the world about them. NOTE: I couldn't figure out how to shorten this sufficiently...

Blaze runs a sex trade operation in New Orleans’ French Quarter in the early 1970’s, partnering with Mob Boss Carlos Marcello and a Wiseguy known as “Mr. New Orleans,” Frenchy Brouillette.
Blaze is Azazel and/or Kalfu, the dark counterpart to Papa Legba, the Voodoo intermediary between gods and humans. Blaze prefers his human form, which is of indeterminate age and race, tall with olive skin, dark eyes, a scar blazing from his right eye down his jaw line, and missing a piece of his right ear, slim, dapper, bald and hairless, always dressed in head-to-toe black, including his Fedora. He works at night and sleeps during the day, seldom rising before dinnertime.
Blaze’s associate, his right-hand man, is Diego, a demon who helps Blaze oversee other demons haunting New Orleans. Blaze plans to turn the humans on each other and usher in a new order with the coming new year and a new recruit, Mark “Jimmy” Essex, who will go down in history as the New Orleans Howard Johnson’s Sniper, during which Police Chief Giarusso thinks there are multiple snipers and nearly declares martial law but holds off for fear of causing a race riot in downtown New Orleans.
After going through hell in the US Navy, taunted by white officers and baited into fist-fights, Jimmy Essex is court-martialed and discharged. His military experience teaches him how to hate and how to kill his enemies. Even the New Orleans Black Panthers are not radical enough for him.
“While most of the people in this town are throwing themselves a New Year’s Eve party Sunday night, around 11pm I will attack the New Orleans Police Department,” Jimmy informs Blaze.
He continues: “The killings on New Year’s Eve are to give Chief Giarusso and his Pigs a taste of what’s coming.” He takes a breath. “We get all the Brothers riled up for an uprising, and you bring your, what do you call them, associates, into the action,” Jimmy waves at Diego, “and we’ve got a goddamned army.”
“You have no idea how right you are.” Blaze smiles down at Jimmy.
“On January 7th, Operation Ho-Jo will light the dynamite that blows up this city,” Jimmy asserts.
“I like the way you think, young man.” Blaze give Jimmy’s shoulder a fatherly squeeze

THIRD ASSIGNMENT: create a breakout title (list several options, not more than three, and revisit to edit as needed).
Burning Down the House: A Novel
Battle Royal in the Big Easy: A Novel
Miracle in the Big Easy: Book One (Series of Three)

FOURTH ASSIGNMENT: Develop two comparables for your novel...immerse yourself in your chosen genre. Who compares to you? And why?
NOTE: Again, struggled with narrowing this one down, so here goes...

Comparable #1: Ransom Riggs’ series: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children—Teen & Young Adult; Science Fiction & Fantasy; Mysteries & Thrillers; Historical
Introduced me to shallows and monsters and brave young people who embrace their peculiarities despite the protagonist’s self-doubts and neuroses brought on by doubting parents…

Sue Monk Kidd’s Secret Life of Bees; The Invention of Wings;-- Literature & Fiction; African American; Historical – introduced me to re-visiting the deep South in the era in which I grew up…one girl’s struggles and her friends who help her overcome them

Jasmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones; Sing, Unburied, Sing—Science Fiction & Fantasy; Magic Realism; Coming of Age—simply brilliant writing to which I ASPIRE

Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone: Literature & Fiction; Historical Fiction; Women’s Fiction; Women’s New Adult –introduced me to a young woman coming of age in the 70’s, MY coming-of-age era, and what I recall of returning Vietnam vets and PTSD and, of course, a community of friends without which disaster always awaits…

Alice Hoffman: The Museum of Extraordinary Things; Practical Magic – Literature & Fiction; Historical Fiction—introduced me to sisters and witches and magic and magic realism I wanted to emulate

Christopher Moore: Practical Demonkeeping—introduced me to practical demon-writing😉

Rebecca Rasmussen: The Bird Sisters: A Novel—Literature & Fiction; Historical Fiction; Coming of Age—REPRESENTED by
My (potential) AGENT—Michelle Brower with Aevitas in NYC!

Laura Lane McNeal: Doll-baby—a Coming-of-Age novel set in civil-rights era NOLA! Need I say more????

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

A runaway teen orphan, seeking to learn more about a mysterious grandmother and her own mysterious powers, finds herself caught up in an inhuman power struggle threatening to incite a race war and destroy the social order of New Orleans in the tumultuous early 70’s.

writerwoman6013
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Joined: 05 Sep 2018, 00:07
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KNB's 2018 Algonkian Writer Retreat Assignments

#54 Post by writerwoman6013 » 05 Sep 2018, 22:03

This is Katherine Nelson-Born, and I see I already violated a request to include ALL assignments in ONE (1) posting, so here goes...

Below are my responses to Assignments 1-7 for the 2018 Algonkian Writer Retreat in two weeks.

FIRST ASSIGNMENT: write your story statement.

In the early 1970s, a runaway teen orphan and the orphanage teen handyman, linked by second sight, fight a plot to incite race riots threatening to blow apart the lives of New Orleanians.

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

Blaze runs a sex trade operation in New Orleans’ French Quarter in the early 1970’s, partnering with Mob Boss Carlos Marcello and a Wiseguy known as “Mr. New Orleans,” Frenchy Brouillette.
Blaze is Azazel and/or Kalfu, the dark counterpart to Papa Legba, the Voodoo intermediary between gods and humans. Blaze prefers his human form, which is of indeterminate age and race, tall with olive skin, dark eyes, a scar blazing from his right eye down his jaw line, and missing a piece of his right ear, slim, dapper, bald and hairless, always dressed in head-to-toe black, including his Fedora. He works at night and sleeps during the day, seldom rising before dinnertime.
Blaze’s associate, his right-hand man, is Diego, a demon who helps Blaze oversee other demons haunting New Orleans. Blaze plans to turn the humans on each other and usher in a new order with the coming new year and a new recruit, Mark “Jimmy” Essex, who will go down in history as the New Orleans Howard Johnson’s Sniper, during which Police Chief Giarusso thinks there are multiple snipers and nearly declares martial law but holds off for fear of causing a race riot in downtown New Orleans.
After going through hell in the US Navy, taunted by white officers and baited into fist-fights, Jimmy Essex is court-martialed and discharged. His military experience teaches him how to hate and how to kill his enemies. Even the New Orleans Black Panthers are not radical enough for him.
“While most of the people in this town are throwing themselves a New Year’s Eve party Sunday night, around 11pm I will attack the New Orleans Police Department,” Jimmy informs Blaze.
He continues: “The killings on New Year’s Eve are to give Chief Giarusso and his Pigs a taste of what’s coming.” He takes a breath. “We get all the Brothers riled up for an uprising, and you bring your, what do you call them, associates, into the action,” Jimmy waves at Diego, “and we’ve got a goddamned army.”
“You have no idea how right you are.” Blaze smiles down at Jimmy.
“On January 7th, Operation Ho-Jo will light the dynamite that blows up this city,” Jimmy asserts.
“I like the way you think, young man.” Blaze give Jimmy’s shoulder a fatherly squeeze

THIRD ASSIGNMENT: create a breakout title (list several options, not more than three, and revisit to edit as needed).
Burning Down the House: A Novel
Battle Royal in the Big Easy: A Novel
Miracle in the Big Easy: Book One (Series of three)

FOURTH ASSIGNMENT: Develop two smart comparables for your novel...immerse yourself in your chosen genre. Who compares to you? And why?
Comparable #1: Ransom Riggs’ series: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children—Teen & Young Adult; Science Fiction & Fantasy; Mysteries & Thrillers; Historical
Introduced me to shallows and monsters and brave young people who embrace their peculiarities despite the protagonist’s self-doubts and neuroses brought on by doubting parents…

Sue Monk Kidd’s Secret Life of Bees; The Invention of Wings;-- Literature & Fiction; African American; Historical – introduced me to re-visiting the deep South in the era in which I grew up…one girl’s struggles and her friends who help her overcome them

Jasmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones; Sing, Unburied, Sing—Science Fiction & Fantasy; Magic Realism; Coming of Age—simply brilliant writing to which I ASPIRE

Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone: Literature & Fiction; Historical Fiction; Women’s Fiction; Women’s New Adult –introduced me to a young woman coming of age in the 70’s, MY coming-of-age era, and what I recall of returning Vietnam vets and PTSD and, of course, a community of friends without which disaster always awaits…

Alice Hoffman: The Museum of Extraordinary Things; Practical Magic – Literature & Fiction; Historical Fiction—introduced me to sisters and witches and magic and magic realism I wanted to emulate

Christopher Moore: Practical Demonkeeping—introduced me to practical demon-writing😉 I love the biting humor & dark comedy.

Rebecca Rasmussen: The Bird Sisters: A Novel—Literature & Fiction; Historical Fiction; Coming of Age—REPRESENTED by
My (proposed) AGENT—Michelle Brower with Aevitas in NYC!

Laura Lane McNeal: Doll-baby—a Coming-of-Age novel set in civil-rights era NOLA! Need I say more????

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

A runaway teen orphan, seeking to learn more about a mysterious grandmother and her own mysterious powers, finds herself caught up in an inhuman power struggle threatening to incite a race war and destroy the social order of New Orleans in the tumultuous early 70’s.

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

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

Miracle is not sure if her second sight is a blessing or a curse since mostly she feels like a freak, especially when the nuns make the sign of the cross upon her approach. She turns sixteen on Christmas Day 1972 and is about to be transferred from the only home she has ever known to an orphanage for older girls. Deciding she can learn more on the outside about a mysterious grandmother and her own mysterious powers, Miracle runs away Christmas Eve, armed with a fake ID from her only friend, the orphanage’s part-time teen hunk handyman, Gabe. New to the streets of New Orleans, Miracle finds trouble fast, and together she and Gabe, linked by second sight, are drawn into an otherworldly battle between good and evil that will test their friendship and change their lives forever.

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

Shortly after she turns sixteen on Christmas Day 1972, Dorcas Miracle Wilborn will start the new year being transferred from St. Philomena’s to St. Elizabeth’s Orphanage for Older Girls in uptown New Orleans. She runs away Christmas Eve to the French Quarter, hoping to get a job at a go-go joint, armed with a fake ID from her only friend, the orphanage’s part-time teen hunk handyman, Gabe. Wanting to learn more about her powers inherited from a mysterious grandmother rumored to be a past stripper and part angel, Miracle runs into a demon barker named Diego and is soon running for her life, right into the Hummingbird Grill, a greasy spoon favored by New Orleans’ underworld where Gabe also works. Gabe lives in New Orleans’ infamous Desire Housing Project, home of the New Orleans Black Panthers and worries about a vision he has of his older brother, Rafe, getting mixed up with an unhinged sniper. Gabe’s brother is a Black Panther who works with Diego as a runner for Blaze, a sex-trade boss with mysterious powers who works with New Orleans crime family father Carlos Marcello. Linked by shared apocalyptic visions and destinies they have yet to grasp, Miracle and Gabe find themselves drawn into an otherworldly battle between good and evil that tests their friendship and rocks the city of New Orleans.

swillshire
Posts: 1
Joined: 31 Aug 2018, 04:10

Re: Algonkian Writer Retreat Assignments and Readings

#55 Post by swillshire » 07 Sep 2018, 01:55

...

gooddeborahh
Posts: 1
Joined: 04 Sep 2018, 23:22

Re: Algonkian Writer Retreat Assignments and Readings

#56 Post by gooddeborahh » 09 Sep 2018, 21:35

Assignment 1: Story Statement
Confess your true identity and wartime past to your American wife and hold onto her love and loyalty.
or
Hours from arrest and deportation, Viktor must come clean to his American wife about his true history as a German soldier and escaped prisoner of war and plead for her continued love and loyalty.
Assignment 2: Antagonists
In the 1953 story, the protagonist’s mother-in-law, Flora, who knows him as Levi Jansen, discovers his Wanted photo and learns he’s actually Viktor Schmitz, a German POW who escaped internment in the fall of ’45. Outraged and fearful, she demands that he turn himself in, or she will, rejecting his plea that he was never a Nazi. Flora always felt isolated living in her late husband’s hometown and feels further stigmatized by her troubled son, Leo, a veteran of Normandy. Flora is desperate to preserve the family’s already shaky reputation even if she has to alienate her daughter.
Viktor's wartime antagonist is Gerhard Fuchs. At first, he appears cultured, twinkly-eyed and avuncular, but Viktor and his comrades quickly learn otherwise. A true believer in the National Socialism, Fuchs forms a phony friendship with the American camp commander for his own ego. He listens for anti-Nazi sentiments among the prisoners, and subtly warns that he will notify the Gestapo; their families will be punished for such disloyalty. After V-E day, Fuchs denies both Hitler’s death and the atrocities the prisoners see documented on film. He murders Viktor’s friend, a vocal anti-Nazi prisoner, and then threatens to frame Viktor for the crime.
Assignment 3: Break out titles
The Leipziger from Alabama
Alӓbama (The reader will learn that this was a nickname given to the protagonist by another prisoner of war.)
The Bricklayer of Jordan, New Jersey
Assignment 4: Two comparables
The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck. Three widowed German women and their children form a makeshift family after the fall of the Third Reich. Each must come to terms with the choices they made before, during and after the war.
The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies. A German soldier escapes from a prison of war camp in a Welsh village and a romance begins with the young woman who shelters him.
Both books are literary historical fiction, the former a little more commercial.
Assignment 5: Conflict Line
A young German who has concealed his wartime past for eight years is forced to reveal it to his American wife and risk the loss of his marriage, his home and his adopted country.
Assignment 6: Inner conflict
Viktor is terrified and feels boxed in from the opening page. He must confess to his American wife that he has been lying to her about his identity since the day they met. He’s promised her mother he would tell the truth and then turn himself in to the local police by midnight the next day. If he takes off instead, his wife and her family might be in serious legal jeopardy and his crazy brother in law may kill him. He knows his betrayal was enormous and anticipates Claire’s bewilderment and anger. He is racked with guilt and remorse, though still hopeful that her love for him will somehow survive this blow.
He also fears that if he is deported back to his hometown, Leipzig, East Germany, he will be immediately imprisoned by the secret police there, after living for eight years in America. His too-brief life with Claire has been the only period of relative peace and stability for the last ten years. As he looks around their little house, he’s deeply proud of his meticulous upkeep, the furnishings, the garden and his plans for improvements and aches that it will all be lost.
Once he reveals himself, he is shaken by his memories of life under the Third Reich and as a prisoner but also recognizes his relief. He despairs about becoming a fugitive again, donning yet another false identity. In response to Claire’s questions he must relive terrible moments from his boyhood. Though he was initially a proud member of the Hitler Youth, he was kicked out for a minor infraction. Soon after, his father was deemed “politically unreliable,” and lost his civil service job. Viktor still believes the two events were connected. He is devastated that yet again, years later, his own actions may harm his innocent wife. And yet, he believes that if not for ripple effect of that one fateful, youthful choice, he might never have enjoyed the happy home he had with Claire.
Secondary conflict: While a POW, Viktor is faced with the murder by hanging of his good friend, Willi. He is grief-stricken and enraged at Fuchs and his accomplices. While Viktor blames himself that he did not do enough besides warn his friend of the danger, he is also angry at Willi, who ignored his warnings and was reckless voicing his political opinions so openly. He wants justice for Willi, but when Fuchs intimates he will finger Viktor for the crime if he talks too much, his well-laid escape plans will be ruined. During his interrogation by American military police, he wrestles with his conscience.
Assignment 7: Setting
1953 story: The setting is a fictitious town, Jordan, New Jersey. It is just big enough to support a small commercial district and a movie theater (current attraction: Shane) but has only three full time policemen. Like many towns after the war, the farmland around the town center is being chopped up into lots and sold to former GIs who build small homes and start families. Viktor, a bricklayer, is pleased to have gotten in early on this real estate boom and, as noted above, is a very engaged and proud homeowner. Much of the action is set inside their house and backyard so there is helpful period detail: a newly installed clothesline, a party-line telephone on a hall table, honeymoon in Niagara Falls photos, etc.
Wartime story: a prisoner of war camp on American soil will be new to many readers. In Viktor’s first camp in Aliceville, Alabama (capacity: 6000) there were double barbed wire fences, guard towers and barracks, workshops, recreation halls, libraries, a hospital. For the duration, camps were ordered to adhere strictly to the Geneva Convention, so the prisoners were fed the same as American military and had the same amount of living space. The rules permitted Viktor to draw portraits of Hitler and the display of Nazi symbols inside the barracks but after V-E day this was prohibited. The hope was that prisoners would write home about their good treatment and indirectly prevent abuse of American POWs held in Germany. After the surrender, the prisoners are required to see a film about the concentration camps. Their rations are soon cut by two thirds; despite American denials, the prisoners believe there is an obvious connection.
Daily discipline among the prisoners is overseen by German officers—this sometimes allows for terrorizing based on political views, which Viktor witnesses. His passive acceptance of Nazi ideology begins to erode. There are also differences among the men depending on where one was captured. Those taken prisoner in North Africa are more optimistic about Germany’s eventual victory than those who captured in France, like Viktor’s friend Willi, who believes German surrender is inevitable. Tension erupts based on this difference in outlook. The prisoners are sent to work on American farms, planting and harvesting crops. Viktor picks cotton alongside an older black man and after a quiet connection develops, he learns the customs and rules of the Jim Crow South. Later, as a fugitive, he observes the North’s more subtle but unmistakable racism.

KcBurns9395
Posts: 1
Joined: 10 Sep 2018, 22:28

Re: Algonkian Writer Retreat Assignments and Readings

#57 Post by KcBurns9395 » 10 Sep 2018, 22:45

FIRST ASSIGNMENT: Story Statement
1880's bombshell blonde defies societal norms to strike it rich.

SECOND ASSIGNMENT: The Antagonists
Baby Doe battles societal norms when she does physical labor (goes into a mine), divorces, becomes a mistress and strives to become a wife. The face of these norm are Mrs. Teller, Augusta and Bill Bush.
Mrs. Teller begins life as a miner's wife in Blackhawk, just like Baby Doe. But she is invited into Denver high society after her husband strikes it rich. She becomes the voice of the society ladies and a bug in the ear of the wife of Baby Doe's lover. She is threatened by Baby's youth, beauty and naked ambition. Mrs. Teller's weapon is her ability to keep Baby Doe out of accepted society.
Augusta is the wife of Baby Doe's paramour. She is a no-nonsense New Englander, a matronly woman, a pioneer, She is tough as nails. She believes she sees Baby Doe for what she is and isn't afraid to call a spade a spade. She fights to keep her marriage intact, because to have a wandering husband is better that to be a divorcee.
Bill Bush is Baby Doe's paramour's right hand man, his fixer. He is pretty slick. He is an opportunist in his own right and sees Baby Doe as competition for the rich man's attention and money.

THIRD ASSIGNMENT: Breakout Title:
Silver Linings
Lucky Strike
Silver Queen
Golden Mean

FOURTH ASSIGNMENT: Comparables
My genre is historical fiction, contemporary Westerns. Larry McMurtry and Willa Cather are heroes which I would never dare to compare myself
These are more recent Amazon best sellers (in historical & western categories)
1000 White Women by James Fergus (2 book series)
Far Away Home by Susan Denning (2 book series)
The Good Journey by Michaela Gilchrist

FIFTH ASSIGNMENT: Conflict Line
Victorian Era woman defies convention when she works in a mine, divorces her ne'er-do-well husband, creates a plan to become a mistress and wife of a rich man and finally loses wealth and family in the recession of 1893.

SIXTH ASSIGNMENT: Inner Conflict
The rules for behaving like a lady and leading a good Catholic life were very clear. Yet Baby Doe crashed into conformity and met obstacles with a mixture of ambition, practicality and, sometime foot-stomping anger. She would probably call it grit. She looked for signs that God approved or disapproved of her plans, but in the end she reasoned that He didn't want her to genteelly starve to death.

Scenario:
Baby Doe decides to have her picture taken for her new paramour. She places her chin in her hand, tilts her head saucily and grins a toothy smile. Madam, the photographer says, please close your lips. But I am happy, she declares. It is not customary to show teeth, he explains. Not much about me is customary, she thinks.

FINAL ASSIGNMENT: Setting
The action opens with Baby Doe and her new husband arriving the a Colorado mining town. The hillsides look like the faces of the rugged old miners that pock the land with mines and slag heaps; the tree stumps resemble a stubbly beard. Dust fills the air. Narrow rutted street meander in front of storefronts, each with its own boardwalk, creating a staircase of continual up and downs, leading nowhere. In Central City, saloons and banks, shanties and brick residences, livery stables and railroad trusses formed a crazy quilt pattern of a town. The boomtown lacked the planning and plotting of civilized cities like Denver. Miners laid claims and merchants built stores wherever the wished. Streets then jigged and jogged to meet them, like the wanderings of a drunken cow. The surrounding hills rumbled with thumping pumps and shrieking steam hoists. Soiled doves called to customers from their windows. The dry air smelled like dust.
After striking it rich, Baby Doe stuffs her mansion with all types of Victorian bric-a-brac and objets d'art. Her new husband is making money faster than she can spend it - there is no top to go over. She buys carriages and horses to match her dresses. 100 peacocks stroll the grounds.
The final scenes are in a boomtown gone bust. She lives with her ghosts in a shed at the head of her late husband's most profitable mine, now filled with water. She has stuffed newspaper into the chinks of the rickety shanty to keep out the howling wind. The tiny home holds a cot, a small stove and a table with two ladder back chairs, one for company that never comes.


JulesKnowlton
Posts: 1
Joined: 15 Sep 2018, 05:45

Re: Algonkian Writer Retreat Assignments and Readings

#59 Post by JulesKnowlton » 15 Sep 2018, 06:13

Jules Knowlton

Story Statement 1—

Steal the book. Make the family great and prosperous again.

The Antagonist 2—
The main antagonist is Magdalena Rabbanor, the leader of a secret consortium of psychics, pulling the strings at the highest level of government. Faceless, she can manipulate the minds of others into believing what she wants them to believe. Though possessing an unknown secret agenda that the protagonists attempt to discover, she diverts attention from her activities by hiring herself out to the highest bidder in order to maintain the instability within the city and further the animosity of the three powerful families. The reader comes to know her first through the activities of the sub antagonists: Sabine Von Eskhardt of the Canidae family and Ilya Gorev of the Hirudin family. There are also other levels of antagonists, those merely antagonistic towards the protagonist who possess the possibility of change for the good, through circumstance and even accident.

Breakout Title 3 —
Shape, Shifting Through Darkness, The Secret Lie in Everything

Comparables and Genre 4 –
My novel is similar in tone to Vic James’s The Dark Gifts Trilogy, set in familiar, yet revamped, dark settings with political power struggles in which magic magnifies character traits. VE Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic with a thieving protagonist traveling between different iterations of a city rather than different inner realities, also bears similarities.
Genre - Adult Speculative and Adult Urban Fantasy

Primary Conflict 5 —
Jonathan Solokovski is a man with the ability to manipulate his own image. He seeks to steal a powerful book in order to bolster the fortunes of his family, but once it is in his possession, he becomes snared by a frightening psychic who creates an elaborate trap, warping a reality of his own making. Jonathan must rely on his memories, the book and unpredictable friends on the outside to free him from his prison while running and hiding from entities real and imagined who seek to make him disappear forever.

Inner Conflict 6 —
When Jonathan Solokovski attends the party, with the intention of stealing the book, he is plagued by feelings of inadequacy, prompted by the memories of conversations where his cousins voiced concerns about his ability to perform the job. These stay and become magnified as he becomes trapped in the mansion. He must sort out what is real and what he is being manipulated into believing and must search his memory, scouring past resentments, grudges, slights and misguided decisions in order to believe he is worthy of being saved.
There is a back story involving Jonathan’s ex-wife where she fails to see, until after the marriage falls apart, how his philandering is not a condemnation of her or of their relationship but rather a manifestation of his insecurity. There is also conflict between the cousins, Mikhail and Alexander, harboring resentments feed by the false trappings of money, success and supposed happiness.

Setting 7 —
Certainly, the city, gray and gritty in winter, with its unreliable power structure, sustaining the wealthy while keeping everyone else in the dark, provides the seed of the plot, the desire to change the status quo. It is a superficial, cold and cruel place as exemplified by the University party during which a murder takes place and in the classrooms of the wealthy high school where Jonathan teaches. The scenes shift to the bedrooms and mansions of the Hirudin and Canidae as Jonathan attends the party of the year. The grandeur of the setting becomes magnified as the action becomes more baroque until Jonathan finds himself trapped inside the walls of the mansion. The action then alternates between Jonathan’s experiences within the shifting realities of his mind and those of his cousins, students and family, as out in the no-less frightening city they must come up with a plan to free him.

marykathleentod
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Joined: 16 Oct 2018, 00:49

Re: Algonkian Writer Retreat Assignments and Readings

#60 Post by marykathleentod » 30 Oct 2018, 19:24

NOVEL 1
Story Statement
To find her identity, a woman must first uncover a family scandal.

Antagonist
Li Jianyu is the father of Patricia Findlay, the story’s protagonist. He’s the grandson of the founder of Lotus Commercial Bank. Jianyu’s father sent him to live in the United States for many years in order to learn American banking practices and to demonstrate his ability to take over the bank. His driving motivations are: to maintain the bank’s success and to secure a grandson who will ultimately inherit responsibility for the bank. Jianyu is savvy, smart, and ruthless. He has two children: David who’s forty-five and gay, and Patricia who’s forty-one and married to a Caucasian. Jianyu and Patricia have a mixed relationship—he admires her intellect and determination, but clashes with her strong will and resents the fact that she sees herself as American and married outside her ethnicity. Nonetheless Patricia is the only possibility of an heir and when she and her husband move to Hong Kong at Jianyu’s demand, he insists that her role, despite three miscarriages, is to have a child. Lurking in the background is a family secret. Jianyu’s father committed inheritance fraud by excluding his half-brother from a share of the bank. Jianyu has paid blackmail for thirty years to keep this secret hidden and when Patricia begins exploring her ancestors, he feels threatened.

Title Options
• The Admiral’s Wife
• East Rising Sun
• A Matter of Duty
• Divided Legacy

Genre and Comparables:
Genre: a dual timeline novel of women’s fiction. This novel will appeal to women who enjoy historical fiction and stories featuring strong female protagonists.
Comparables: I’ve selected a number of dual timeline novels.
• Kate Morton – The Lake House (2015) – a woman in present day uncovers a family secret from the past
• Iona Grey – Letters to the Lost (2015) – blends a mystery with two love stories—one set in present day, the other set in WWII
• Lauren Willig – The Ashford Affair (2013) – a dual timeline family-based story with a mystery and an exotic setting (Africa)

Primary Conflict Line
A woman torn between her Chinese heritage and American upbringing confronts her father’s demands and uncovers the secret he’s been hiding for over thirty years.

Inner Conflict
Patricia Findlay struggles with the purpose of her life if she’s unable to have children.

Secondary Conflict
Patricia’s mother is interfering. She expects Patricia to be a dutiful daughter and to follow Chinese traditions.

Because this is a dual timeline story, the story set in the past also has conflicts. I’ve concentrated on the present-day story for these assignments.

Setting
Both present-day and past timelines occur in Hong Kong. Some scenes in both timelines are set in the same locale. In present-day Hong Kong, Patricia lives in a world of privilege because of her parents’ wealth. Scenes occur in the plush office towers of the banking industry, in her parents’ lavish home on the Peak, in her own apartment, at the Mandarin Oriental hotel, in a private box at Happy Valley Racetrack, having lunch at a typical Chinese restaurant, on a luxury junk, and at a series of qigong classes in a hillside park.

The past timeline occurs from 1912-1914. Settings include on board a ship as it docks in Hong Kong harbour, at Government House for a fancy ball, at Happy Valley Racetrack, at the admiral’s home on the peak, on the Praya during a typhoon, at a Chinese temple, taking a rickshaw through the streets of Hong Kong, and in Singapore.

In 1912, Hong Kong was relatively small compared with today. It was controlled by the British and the Chinese were considered second class citizens. By 2015, the city is controlled and dominated by its Chinese majority and by Mainland China. It’s highly energetic, densely populated, and full of modern skyscrapers. The story conveys some of these contrasts.

NOVEL 2
Story Statement
Find love, friendship and purpose amidst the devastation of Paris.

Antagonist
The antagonist of this story isn’t a person, it’s the siege of Paris followed by the uprising and rebellion of the Paris Commune all of which took place in 1870 and 1871. In June 1870 rumours of war began to stir; by August Prussia and France were at war and by the end of September Napoleon III had surrendered and the Prussians had surrounded Paris. As the siege unfolded, fear replaced uncertainty, starvation replaced rationing, and bombardment began. Although thousands fled Paris, Camille and Mariele, the story’s two main characters, remained. They found purpose by helping others in desperate circumstances and experienced personal danger and hardship. Not long after the siege ended, the working class rebelled and took over governing the city. Like the French revolution of 1789, chaos and violence erupted. Particularly threatened were the wealthy class like the families of Camille and Mariele.

Title Options
• Paris in Ruins
• A Time of Turmoil
• When Destiny Called
• City of Darkness

Genre & Comparables
Genre: women’s fiction. The story will appeal to those who enjoy the blend of love and war, and to those who enjoy coming-of-age novels or novels set in Paris.
Comparables:
• The Daughters of Mars – Thomas Keneally – two women serve as nurses during WWI and find the men with whom they wish to spend the rest of their lives.
• The Nightingale – Kristin Hannah – two sisters find different ways to serve and survive WWII
• Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution – Michelle Moran – a story of the horror and turmoil of the French revolution and the struggle of one woman to survive

Primary Conflict Line
Two women, each on the verge of love, find purpose and maturity while helping others survive the devastation of war.

Inner Conflict
Camille rebels against society’s norms and its expectations of young women. Mariele wonders if she’ll come to love the man she’s agreed to marry or if her marriage will end up like her parents.

Secondary Conflict
Secondary conflict for both women comes from the expectations their families have for their futures and the restrictions placed on their freedoms.

Setting
In 1870, Paris is a magical place and a centre for intellectuals, fashion, and the arts. Napoleon III has ruled for twenty years and with the help of Baron Haussmann, has redesigned the city’s streets, parks, and architecture. While the wealthy and a new aristocracy have significant influence, the working class festers under the weight of inequality and failing social institutions. When war breaks out, most middle class and well-to-do Parisians believe Napoleon will swiftly defeat the Prussian army. They debate the tactics of the generals while sipping coffee or wine at outdoor cafés while the warmth of August spills into September.

By December, the trees of Paris and its famous parks, like the Bois de Boulogne, have disappeared for firewood. The city is cut off from the outside world. Soldiers and members of the National Guard are everywhere. Children dressed in little more than rags beg for scraps while their mothers wait in line for whatever dwindling supplies of food are available. Winter has come early. People freeze to death for lack of heat. And then the Prussian bombardment begins.

Several weeks after Paris surrenders, and just as a few elements of normal life are restored, members of the Paris Commune overthrow the government and plunge the city into chaos once more. More than two months later, while much of Paris is in flames, the French army finally defeats the Commune.

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