Re: Assignments - French Q and St. A Novel Workshops
Posted: 17 Feb 2018, 04:49
1) Story Statement:
Cure worldwide infertility without enabling an Aryan-type nation
2) Antagonistic force:
Dr. David Criswell is a disgraced medical researcher whose early attempt at curing infertility was a very public failure. He lost his wife and family, as well as his professional credibility. Desperate to restore his reputation, he seeks a top-notch researcher he can mentor.
He learned of Maggie’s research at the NIH and knew she could succeed, could finally cure worldwide infertility. All she needed was the unlimited resources and complete independence only he could provide.
Criswell owed this to his son-who took his ex-wife’s maiden name in shame, to his daughter-who would soon be too old to conceive, and to the world.
Sometimes, the end justifies the means, and the deaths of ten study subjects blamed on Maggie was the means to lure her from the NIH and into seclusion where her work progressed at remarkable speed. When the cost outpaced his funds, he was forced to accept investment by a pharmaceutical company. Though not the deal he’d made with Maggie, he would protect her and her work. The primary goal was a cure, and public recognition of his role in it. He would get his family and his reputation back and, hopefully, a grandson.
3) Breakout Title:
An Unacceptable Cure
The Future of Men
After: The Next Generation
Michael Crichton's Andromeda Strain
PD James' The Children of Men
5) Primary Conflict
With the cure to worldwide infertility within her grasp, a scientist fights betrayal and time to save the future of humanity.
6) Other Conflict
Inner conflict – Maggie’s failure to pay attention when signing forms at the IRB enabled a study that killed 10 women. She feels guilty about the deaths, and about her escape and therefore appearance of guilt. Because of the prior deaths, she is unwilling to begin human trials until she is certain there will be no deaths, therefore she impregnates herself as the initial human subject.
Secondary conflict – The research supervisor is one of only a handful of people who interact with Maggie and her colleagues. Unbeknownst to Maggie, his wife was one of the study subjects who died. He complicates her work, refusing requests, despite Criswell’s guarantee she will have whatever she needs. He makes his hatred of Maggie apparent, considering her a prima donna, and there is frequent conflict, until his obstructionism results in the death of one of Maggie’s pregnant orangutans.
The first part of the novel is set in an underground lab space, the 3rd level basement of a research institute. The lab itself is interesting in that there is a well-decorated habitat for the orangutans, to resemble a jungle. The team lives in small dorm-type rooms down the hall, and eats together in a small room with a kitchen. Food is delivered via a dumb-waiter from the main kitchen above. The dumb-waiter plays a role later as transportation for Maggie.
Other areas of the research institute are state-of-the-art, and reflect the demanding nature of Dr. Criswell.
Later, when they escape the lab, they drive through snowy mountain roads of North Carolina to a cabin on a large estate. It is well-appointed and beautiful, with mountain views. The surrounding terrain plays a role when one character is injured falling down a cliff, and later when the team is attacked.
The prior property owner was a survivalist, so there is a provisioned underground bunker and an intricate but poorly maintained tunnel system linking the cabin to the main property. It is here that Maggie retreats and eventually delivers her baby, loses her friend, and survives her final betrayal.
Re: Assignments - French Q and St. A Novel Workshops
Posted: 17 Feb 2018, 13:38
[b]1) Write your story statement.[/b]
Working Mom Raey competes in a Man's World and narrowly escapes with her family and character intact.
Sure of himself Stew, is a cocky guy with a winning smile that accompanies his meat hook grip. Like a robust crockpot concoction, he has a little bit of all the right Type-A ingredients simmered together to make the perfectly successful soup; he is more than a broth, he's Stew! People seek after him, he's delicious and charming, like a warm bowl of Beef Bourguignon with potatoes and carrots and beans on a cold winter's day. He will take slightly overripe veggies and turn them into something that everyone can appreciate. He will inject wisdom and maybe just a little bit of beef lard into them to make them delectable to Upper Management. Stew.
3) Breakout titles
“Good Morning, Enrico” (my favorite title, the main character’s elderly father and his bird, Enrico)
“Swimming Upstream” (a play on words, the protagonist works in the Upstream part of the O&G)
“The Mapmaker” (another play on words: protagonist is a homemaker and a map maker)
4) Genre: Fiction
Literary and Fictional influences:
“Prodigal Summer”, “The Lacuna”, by Barbara Kingsolver
“A Prayer for Owen Meany” by John Irving
“The Devil Wears Prada” by Lauren Weisberger
"Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom
“American Chica” by Marie Arana
“American Childhood” by Annie Dillard
Realism infused by: Real life experience and “Basin and Range” by John McPhee
Classics: “The Great Gatsby”, and “A Tale of Two Cities”
Two of my favorite authors are John Irving and Barbara Kingsolver. I love Irving for his rich characters, quirky humor, use of symbols, and his ability to weave a colorful story within a story. Kingsolver is an expert with setting and she writes beautiful prose, with meticulous attention to nature, and complex female characters. Before embarking on this novel, I have been writing short article-type pieces, with a style I will compare, with the utmost humility, to Mitch Albom’s. My writing style is similar to Albom's in that it is: slice of life, bittersweet, with touches of faith, nature, and reality thrown in.
The novel I am writing, Good Morning, Enrico, is most simply described as “Tuesdays with Morrie” meets “The Devil Wears Prada”. Protagonist Raey leaves home in suburban Detroit, her suitcase brimming with hope, character, and courage. She is encouraged to study science by her rather utopian physicist father (compare w/ Arana, Dillard), who gives her the somewhat false impression that men will respect her opinion. As an adult and working mother in Houston, Raey is determined to find her way through the maze of cul-de-sacs and complex corporate politics. She looks on as rich and shallow people destroy other people’s lives (ala Gatsby). Her boss, an arrogant guy named Stew, is similar to the very bad boss from “The Devil Wears Prada”. Raey realizes she is becoming more and more like her bad boss. Antagonist Stew and the influential and sexy Mari are the Tom and Daisy (Gatsby) of the story. When her mother dies and her co-worker Gil starts a downward spiral, Raey pauses to re-examine her working mom priorities. Spurred on by pressure from Stew, she confides in the wrong person and loses Gil's trust. Raey’s elderly father suffers a series of strokes, she finds herself making frequent trips back home (“Tuesdays with Morrie”). There she has trouble downshifting from the stressful life she left behind in Houston, but the song from her father’s bird helps ease the pain. During her visits she has deep discussions with her father about physics, God, life, and death (Albom). Throughout the book, her geologic insights keep her grounded. Her mapmaker brain takes her on several surreal bicycle dream journeys into the detailed street maps of places she has lived. The dreams eventually carry her home (inspired by Kingsolver and Irving).
[u]5) Primary Conflict:[/u]
Working Mom Raey proves she can have it all, and narrowly misses losing it all when she collides with the last bastion of Good Ol' Boys, in the form of successful and smooth-talking Stew Mathars.
[u]6 A) Inner conflict: [/u]
A very young child, Raey is consumed with curiosity. Her physicist father and teacher mother nurture this and send her outdoors to explore. At some point they start to worry she will grow up too “un-ladylike”. They send her to Sunday school where she sees a beautiful Dogwood tree and her love of nature leads her to believe in God. As a child, Raey has trouble understanding the concept behind one’s “soul” and her father tries to explain it using a prism and light as only a physicist can. Her beliefs also plague her in an industry where the rules about right and wrong (exemplified by the antagonist, Stew) are different than those she carries with her from her mid-western upbringing. Faced with the tragedies of 9/11, her mother’s death, and her co-worker’s tragedy, Raey searches for true answers. The religious people she meets give her pat, unsatisfactory explanations. Discussions with her detached, scientist friends, some who are atheists, leave her feeling empty and alone. As her father ages and his health declines, he and Raey reflect on the ultimate Truth and read the news reports about the Higgs-Boson (God Particle). Shortly before his death, they finally arrive at a “Pascal’s Dilemma” type solution. When she returns to work, grief-stricken and alone, she wonders aloud about whether there is a “Light at the end of the tunnel”, a snarky co-worker replies, “Yes, but watch out, it could be a train”.
6B) Secondary conflict(s):
Raey meets Gil, a co-worker she confides in daily, and together they form a deeply emotional bond that is dangerously close to love. At a company picnic, Raey sees Gil's legs and compares them to bicyclist Ben's legs, which leads her down a path of lustful attraction that she think will get in the way of their great working friendship. Gil has a best friend Paul, a snarky PhD. The three of them eat lunch together everyday. Paul and Raey fight over Gil’s attention and friendship. Ben starts getting jealous of Gil and Raey gets jealous of the pilates out-fitted Mom down the street. Her children even like that Mom's cookies better than Raey's. Worried, she shifts her focus from work to her family. In an effort to be a good mother, Raey records weekend adventures with Ben and the kids in a journal she calls the “Crockpot Chronicles”. When she meets her nemesis at work and his name is Stew, she cannot resist chronicling him, with poems and mean-spirited entries. Gil remarks that Raey is becoming more and more like Stew in order to compete with him. A manipulative woman named Mari who epitomizes everything Raey hates about women’s sexualized roles, enters the room at a Driller’s Conference. Raey is disgusted with the men, like Stew, who drool all over Mari. Raey is at work with Stew and a bunch of co-workers in a high-rise in Houston when the buildings fall on 9/11. They are glued to the TV, but Raey is frantically trying to call her parents who are visiting friends in DC. She is trying to reach the school and encounters a mean stay-at-home mom who yells at her for not picking up her kids faster. Rushing home she gets stuck in a horrible traffic jam. Raey is away on a business trip on the other side of the world when her father falls ill. She is immediately thrown into a cycle of guilt and condemnation. She says something insensitive to antagonist Stew about her friend Gil, who is facing a terrible fate. Gil's tragedy unfolds.
Part One: (1960-1965) Detroit, Virginia, and Oak Ridge, Tennessee:
The story begins and ends with Raey visiting her father’s basement apartment in a house built into a hill west of Detroit. He lives there with his bird, named after the famed physicist, Enrico Fermi. Raey flashes back to her childhood in Virginia, and there is a house with her father’s office in the basement, built into a hill. The setting: the beautiful rolling hills of Virginia, a wonder-filled snowy day, a creek in the backyard, a dogwood tree, and government housing in Oak Ridge where a bully rules the stairwell, a really big swimming pool and a rather confining Laundromat. Her siblings and family become her “rocks” and she later maps them to different rock-types. Her nemesis Stew is introduced in the likeness of the stairwell bully. The events of JFK's assasination are hazy and through the eyes of a three-year old Raey, but she can't help tying the event to her growing understanding of rivers and nature.
Part One Chapter Titles and Setting:
1. Detroit: Dawn (Father, Enrico, Foreshadowing)
2. Virginia: Physics and The Lord's Prayer (Her parents, The Nuclear family, God, Foreshadowing of her mother’s later illness)
3. Virginia: Heroes and Rock types (Her siblings, The Nuclear family)
4. Oak Ridge: Sticks and Stones (Bully in the stairwell, Antagonist intro)
5. Virginia: The Dogwood Tree (God, Rebellion, Rules)
6. Virginia: The Creek behind the house (<PP 1, JFK) Foreshadowing)
Part 2: Detroit (1965-1980)
Raey’s family moves to Detroit and her exploration continues as she learns all about Lakes and Glaciers, reads a biography about the Wright Brothers, and learns to ride her bike. She picks up early street mapping skills and has an aptitude for puzzles and math. She encounters more bullies, fighting them, joining them, and ultimately learning how to avoid them. She seeks solace in the Crabapple Tree in their backyard, and rides her bike to the pool and the lake to escape. Her parents have high expectations - represented by the quarter jar they leave on the kitchen table. Raey hits puberty and continue to compete with the boys, but is not good at flirting with them, much to her mother's chagrin. The pockmarked streets of Detroit mimic Raey’s adolescent acne. Raey starts noticing unfairness in the world, from the 1967 Riots through Vietnam, when her brother's draft card arrives, to the 1975 Edmund Fitzgerald disaster. The autumn leaves and grey skies serve as a backdrop to her mother’s future illness. Riot-ravaged, run down, unemployed Detroit is a sharp contrast to the idyllic lawns of her suburban home. Her father’s denial and utopian outlook adds to the disparity she sees around her, in a city segregated by wealth and poverty. Snowy days, a love of swimming, trees, clouds, riding her bike around ordered streets, the lake, and a growing belief in God and disbelief in Religion persist as underlying themes.
Part Two Chapter Titles and Setting:
1. Detroit, Michigan: Glaciers and the Lakes (Geology, The Nuclear Family)
2. Detroit: Bullies and Bicycle Dreams, part one (Antagonist, Physics, Father)
3. Detroit: A not so Civil War (< PP 2, Race Riots)
4. Detroit: Fall in Michigan (Detroit in decline and Mother’s illness)
5. Detroit: Mercury and The Crabapple Tree (Father, God, Geology)
6. Detroit: The Quarter Jar (The Rules, Boundaries)
7. Detroit: The Clarinet Player and Bicycle Dreams, part two (Antagonist)
Part 3: Minnesota and Colorado (1980's)
Raey’s love of snow and lakes lead her to Minnesota for college. She swims and bicycles and takes art classes. There she meets enlightened and educated men like her father and falls for the wrong one (a Stew-like character). To appease her father, she takes a geology class and loves the part about the creek (tieback to part 1). She embarks on field trips to see geologic settings in the snowy and frozen upper Midwest, learning more about the imprint the Glaciers left. She then embarks on a summer field trip to Colorado where she is in awe of the geology but encounters a very bullying field instructor (another Stew-like person). She seeks solace near a Cottonwood Tree and decides she is more like a Cactus Tree, in reference to the song she is listening to, she is "busy being free". Back for her senior year in Minnesota, her boyfriend dumps her and she recovers by riding her bike around the trails and lakes the glaciers left in the Twin Cities. There she has a fateful meet-up with her future husband, Ben Stone. Like the Wright Brothers he is an expert when it comes to fixing her bike and her broken heart. Together they ride across the river to St. Paul to witness a bridge implosion where their love story begins.
Part 3 Chapter Titles and Setting:
1. Winter in Minnesota: (Love, Geology, Foreshadowing)
2. Minnesota: On Puzzles, Poetry, Provenance and Providence (< PP 3, Love)
3. Minnesota: Glaciers and Rivers (Geology, God, Determination)
4. Minnesota: Bicycle Dreams, part three (Love, Antagonist)
5. Summer in Colorado: The Cottonwood Tree and Cactus Tree (Antagonist, Independence)
6. Minnesota: Bridges (<PP 4) (Antagonist, Love, Foreshadowing)
Part 4: Houston, Desks, Day Care, and Dioramas (1990's - 2000)
Raey and Ben marry and move to Houston for their jobs. They experience culture shock from the heat and the traffic. Frustrated they start escaping to ride their bikes around the beautiful Texas Hill Country. They encounter a young family whose kids are climbing the giant Live Oak trees. The scene is so idyllic that Raey and Ben decide they want to start a family too. Two kids later, Raey is returning to work and mastering the work-home juggling game, working in a high rise downtown. The traffic jams, air pollution, flooding rains, and humidity in Houston are a sharp contrast to her beloved snowy Midwest. Raey escapes with her family, teaching them to ride their bikes around the complex maze of bike trails near their house. The setting is a Houston high rise, Houston traffic jams, and torrential downpours, mixed with sunny days in suburbia. They live on a cul-de-sac that is a part of another cul-de-sac, on a dead end street. This is in contrast to the ordered streets and blocks and trails she had growing up. The streets in Detroit were easier to understand, and the streets in the Twin Cities followed the glacial imprint (lakes and rivers). The sprawl in Houston is non-geologic and mostly a maze that has Raey feeling lost and hurried.
Part 4 Chapter Titles and Setting:
1. Houston: Springtime in Texas (Family)
2. Houston: Crockpots and Hummingbirds (Antagonist, Family, Friends)
3. Houston: Tidy Desks and Cul-de-Sacs (Foreshadowing, contrast)
4. Detroit: Revisiting The Quarter jar (Expectations, the Establishment)
5. Houston: Swimming Upstream (Foreshadowing)
6. Houston: Guy Clout and the Drooler’s Conference (Antagonist, Co-worker)
Part 5: Houston, Detroit, and Airport Hubs (2001-2017)
She continues to have bicycle dreams and this time she is losing her way, lost in a maze of cul-de-sacs and streets with unintelligible names. Her daughter's mapmaker brain has the complex maze of streets all figured out, and her son and his imaginative friends have a series of hero and warrior adventures. Raey learns a lot watching her children playing with their friends in the parks and on the bike trails. Her son encounters a bully and sets up a toy soldier to guard his room. During 9/11 she is panicked trying to locate to her family and she starts worrying and questioning everything. In the news, the glaciers are melting and her father blames her for working in a dirty carbon-fueled industry. Her mother passes away and she must fly home in spite of her fear of flying and being separated from family. Gil's situation is worsening and Raey i too busy to notice. She embarks on a business trip around the world, trapped in International airport hubs and lounges when she hears some very bad news about Gil but cannot reach him. Her father visits and falls ill. She must wind her way through the traffic of Houston and the HR maze at work in order to help him. Her father moves back to Detroit for recuperation and Raey finds herself flying there on weekends, exhausted and stressed while Stew runs her project into the ground. Sitting in her father’s quiet apartment looking out at the beautiful trees reminds Raey of her idyllic childhood. Every time she visits, or her father speaks, Enrico starts singing a beautiful song. At some point, she slows down enough to listen. Setting: Houston high-rise, traffic jams, suburbia, Airports, planes, and Detroit.
Part 5 Chapter Titles and Setting:
1. Houston: The Guy Guarding the Room (Foreshadowing)
2. Houston: The Day Everyone Cared (<PP 5 9/11)
3. Houston: Melting Glaciers (Unraveling, co-worker tragedy)
4. Houston, Traffic Jams: Clouds and Concrete (<PP 6 -Mother's death)
5. Flying: Business trips (Independence, Antagonist, facing fears)
6. Flying: Houston to Detroit: Bicycle Dreams, part 4 (facing death)
7. Detroit: The Tree Outside His Window (Climax, Father’s Death)
Part 6: Houston, Antarctica, Detroit (2017-) Denouement
Raey's father passes away in Detroit. Raey returns to Houston and her grown kids are leaving for college, taking their bikes with them. She is tired and sad and trying to stay interested in work, when Gil's friend Paul invites her to lunch to tell her the real story behind his death. Meanwhile, the Larson Ice Shelf is about to give and Ben wants to see it, so he surprises her with a trip to cheer her up. They wind up sipping champagne on an ice-flow in Antarctica. She sees a penguin mother shouting after her little penguins as they leave the nest and she can relate all too well. Raey is sad but the Glaciers fill her with an awe and appreciation of the big picture and what really matters. They fly back to Detroit to see if Enrico is still there. While there Raey and Ben visit the mock up of the Wright Brother’s shop at Greenfield Village. Detroit is recovering and so is Raey.
Part 6: Chapter Titles and Setting:
1. Houston: Performance Review and Quarter jar, revisited (Antagonist, God)
2. Houston: Empty Nest (Family, God)
3. Flying: Real Glaciers (Heroes)
4. Flying: Houston to Detroit: Bicycle Dreams and the Wright Brothers
5. Detroit: Enrico (Friend to the end)
Symbols from the Setting:
Bicycles (Rebellion, Independence)
Flying (Fear of Death)
Glaciers (The perspective that Geology brings)
Rocks (Family, Heroes)
Trees (God, Faith)
Birds (Friends, Hope)
Swimming, Water (Determination)
Clouds (Dreams, Aspirations)
Mazes, Cul-de-sacs, Traffic Jams, Maps (Finding her way)
Quarter Jar (Rules, Boundaries, High Expectations)
Light motifs: Shadows, Missing pieces, Mazes, Maps, Humidity, Haze
Re: Assignments - French Q and St. A Novel Workshops
Posted: 20 Feb 2018, 21:44
Assignment 1-Story Statement
Thalia, (the protagonist) must prove her claim of being an heir to the Windermere family fortune that was stolen from her as a child and fight her family and authorities to achieve it.
Assignment 2- Antagonists
This novel contains 7 antagonists all with the motivations of greed and grandeur, each striving to stop the others from obtaining the family fortune. All these characters have their own proclivity for immoral acts of self-indulgence as well as personal revenge against the other family members. None of them care who is hurt or destroyed in the process as long as they win.
Assignment 3- Titles
Narcissists in Bloom, Twisted Family Values, Hearts of Greed
Assignment 4-Comparable - Alex Kava’s Fireproof, Patricia Cornwell’s Points of Origen
Assignment 5-Conflict Line
A young girl, the only survivor, discovered in the basement of a burned out hospital for the criminally insane must prove she is the daughter of the C.E.O. who was part of a wealthy and predominant family.
Assignment 6-Inner Conflict
Thalia was raised to believe that manipulating and causing pain was the way to get what she wants but finds once she sexually conquers Detective Darrell Costa she struggles with feelings of remorse and guilt for hurting him. These are unknown feelings to her, which she must face by making a mense with the detective who despite what she had done to him has fallen in love with her. When Darrell refuses to beat her in order for Thalia to feel exonerated for her behavior, it changes her view of what she has always believed.
This story opens in the quiet hills of Vermont in the stark and leafless month of October where the air has begun to grow cold, and the sky darkens early in the day while fires burn not only in the chimneys of the local houses but in the mansions of the greedy who wish to funnel the finances of the hospital for the criminally insane into their pockets. The quiet hills of Vermont are meant as a serene, beautiful backdrop for characters that are harsh, devious and unexpected for such a place. The opening scene takes place on the back of a motorcycle and moves to a rustic bar and then to an idyllic cabin where the first of the unexpected deception begins. The story then moves to the police station and then go to where the two detectives explore the burned out remains of the hospital and find disturbing artifacts about the young girl who was found there after the fire. The turning point scene is when a new fire occurs at a VFW on the 10th anniversary of the hospital fire that is filled with colorful characters dressed in Halloween costumes that are questioned creating a twisted visual for the ordinary backdrop of a suburban bar. The clues gathered here take the detectives to the mansion of the wealthiest woman in the state where a sense of class distinction is created when the rich woman refuses to let the detectives on to the property as if they were beneath her. From here the detectives end up at the Ski resort bar that is filled with activity and noise that breaks the quiet feel of the Vermont backdrop. The antagonist, the young girl, found at the fire all grown up is at this bar and seduces one of the detectives. The rest of the scenes rotate between this bar and the mansions of two of the characters as well as a country club, an attorney's office, a science lab, the police station, one of the detective's cabin, the apartment of the other detective and the surrounding woods.