New York Pitch Assignments

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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New York Pitch Assignments

#1 Post by WritersBlock » 20 May 2019, 21:04

Algonkian Writer Conferences - Pre-Event Writer Assignments

For the New York Pitch Conference Only

Below are seven assignments which include readings and links. All of these are vital to reaching an understanding of what elements go into the writing of a commercially viable literary project, whether novel or narrative non-fiction. There is more to it, as you will learn at the conference, but this is for starters and a good primer.

You may return here as many times as you need to edit your topic post (login and click "edit" at the bottom of your post), even following the pitch conference. Pay special attention to antagonistic force, breakout title, conflict issues and setting.

Quiet novels do not sell. Keep that in mind.

Michael Neff
NYC Pitch Conference Director
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Instructions for Posting Responses

After you've registered and logged in, read the assignments below, click on "Post Reply" on the upper left of the page and enter your responses in the box provided, then click "submit." Once done, your reply will appear in this topic. Please make one reply for all of your responses so the forum topic will not become cluttered.

Strongly suggest typing up your reply in a separate file then copying it over to your post before submitting. Not a good idea to lose what you've done!


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THE ACT OF STORY STATEMENT

Before you begin to consider or rewrite your story premise, you must develop a simple "story statement." In other words, what's the mission of your protagonist (hero/ine)? Their goal? What must be done? What must she or he create? Destroy? Save? Accomplish? Defeated?Defy the dictator of the city and bury brother’s body (ANTIGONE)? Place a bet that will shake up the asylum (ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST)? Do whatever it takes to recover lost love (THE GREAT GATSBY)? Save the farm and live to tell the story (COLD MOUNTAIN)? Find the wizard and a way home to Kansas (WIZARD OF OZ)? Note that all of these are books with strong antagonists who drive or catalyze the plot line going forward. More on that later.

If you cannot conceive or write a simple story statement like those above (which will help define your story premise) then you don’t have a work of commercial fiction. Keep in mind that the PLOT LINE is an elaboration of the statement, of this "primary complication" of story statement. Also, look over the brief summaries of these novels in the Author Connect Deal News. These contain the simple statement, but more elaborated into a short hook.

FIRST ASSIGNMENT: write your story statement.

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THE ANTAGONIST PLOTS THE POINT

Since the antagonist in most successful commercial fiction is the driver of the plot line(s), what chances do you as a writer have of getting your manuscript, regardless of genre, commercially published if the story and narrative therein fail to meet reader demands for sufficient suspense, character concern, and conflict?

Answer: none. But what major factor makes for a quiet or dull manuscript brimming with insipid characters and a story that cascades from chapter to chapter with tens of thousands of words, all of them combining irresistibly to produce an audible thudding sound in the mind, rather like a fist hitting a side of cold beef?

Such a dearth of vitality in narrative and story frequently results from the unwillingness of the writer to create a suitable antagonist who stirs and spices the plot hash. And let's make it clear what we're talking about. By "antagonist" we specifically refer to an actual fictional character, an embodiment of certain traits and motivations who plays a significant role in catalyzing and energizing plot line(s), or at bare minimum, in assisting to evolve the protagonist's character arc (and by default the story itself) by igniting complication(s) the protagonist, and possibly other characters, must face and solve (or fail to solve).

CONTINUE READING ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE: http://www.authorsalon.com/page/general ... iterature/

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.

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CONJURING YOUR BREAKOUT TITLE

What is your breakout title? How important is a great title before you even become published? Very important! Quite often, agents and editors will get a feel for a work and even sense the marketing potential just from a title. A title has the ability to attract and condition the reader's attention. It can be magical or thud like a bag of wet chalk, so choose carefully. A poor title sends the clear message that what comes after will also be of poor quality.

Go to Amazon.Com and research a good share of titles in your genre, come up with options, write them down and let them simmer for at least 24 hours.Consider character or place names, settings, or a "label" that describes a major character, like THE ENGLISH PATIENT or THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST. Consider also images, objects, or metaphors in the novel that might help create a title, or perhaps a quotation from another source (poetry, the Bible, etc.) that thematically represents your story. Or how about a title that summarizes the whole story: THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES, HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS, THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP, etc.

Keep in mind that the difference between a mediocre title and a great title is the difference between THE DEAD GIRL'S SKELETON and THE LOVELY BONES, between TIME TO LOVE THAT CHOLERA and LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA between STRANGERS FROM WITHIN (Golding's original title) and LORD OF THE FLIES, between BEING LIGHT AND UNBEARABLE and THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING.

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

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DECIDING YOUR GENRE AND APPROACHING COMPARABLES

Did you know that a high percentage of new novel writers don't fully understand their genre, much less comprehend comparables?

When informing professionals about the nuances of your novel, whether by query letter or oral pitch, you must know your genre first, and provide smart comparables second. In other words, you need to transcend just a simple statement of genre (literary, mystery, thriller, romance, science fiction, etc.) by identifying and relating your novel more specifically to each publisher's or agent's area of expertise, and you accomplish this by wisely comparing your novel to contemporary published novels they will most likely recognize and appreciate--and it usually doesn't take more than two good comps to make your point.Agents and publishing house editors always want to know the comps.

There is more than one reason for this. First, it helps them understand your readership, and thus how to position your work for the market. Secondly, it demonstrates up front that you are a professional who understands your contemporary market, not just the classics. Very important! And finally, it serves as a tool to enable them to pitch your novel to the decision-makers in the business.Most likely you will need to research your comps. We've included some great starter websites for this purpose below. If you're not sure how to begin, go to Amazon.Com, type in the title of a novel you believe very similar to yours, choose it, then scroll down the page to see Amazon's list of "Readers Also Bought This" and begin your search that way.

Keep in mind that before you begin, you should know enough about your own novel to make the comparison in the first place!By the way, beware of using comparables by overly popular and classic authors. If you compare your work to classic authors like H.G. Wells and Gabriel Marquez in the same breath you will risk being declared insane. If you compare your work to huge contemporary authors like Nick Hornby or Jodi Picoult or Nora Ephron or Dan Brown or J.K. Rowling, and so forth, you will not be laughed at, but you will also not be taken seriously since thousands of others compare their work to the same writers. Best to use two rising stars in your genre. If you can't do this, use only one classic or popular author and combine with a rising star. Choose carefully!

FOURTH ASSIGNMENT:

- Read Caitlin's Comparables on Author Salon: http://www.authorsalon.com/craft/view/62/
- Develop two smart comparables for your novel. This is a good opportunity to immerse yourself in your chosen genre. Who compares to you? And why?


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CONSIDERING THE PRIMARY CONFLICT - COMING OF THE "AGON"

Conflict, tension, complication, drama--all basically related, and all going a long way to keeping the reader's eyes fixated on your story. These days, serving up a big manuscript of quiet is a sure path to damnation. You need tension on the page (esp in fiction), at all times, and the best way to accomplish this is to create (or find them in your nonfiction story) conflict and complications in the plot and narrative.

Consider "conflict" divided into three parts, all of which you should ideally have present. First, the primary conflict which drives through the core of the work from beginning to end and which zeniths with an important climax (falling action and denouement to follow). Next, secondary conflicts or complications which can take various social forms (anything from a vigorous love subplot to family issues to turmoil with fellow characters). Finally, those inner conflicts the major characters must endure and resolve.

And now, onto the PRIMARY CONFLICT.

If you've taken care to consider your story description and your hook line, you should be able to identify your main conflict(s). Let's look at some basic information regarding the history of conflict in storytelling:

Conflict was first described in ancient Greek literature as the agon, or central contest in tragedy. According to Aristotle, in order to hold the interest, the hero must have a single conflict. The agon, or act of conflict, involves the protagonist (the "first fighter") and the antagonist (a more recent term), corresponding to the hero and villain. The outcome of the contest cannot be known in advance, and, according to later critics such as Plutarch, the hero's struggle should be ennobling. Is that always true these days? Not always, but let's move on.

Even in contemporary, non-dramatic literature, critics have observed that the agon is the central unit of the plot. The easier it is for the protagonist to triumph, the less value there is in the drama. In internal and external conflict alike, the antagonist must act upon the protagonist and must seem at first to overmatch him or her.

The above defines classic drama that creates conflict with real stakes. You see it everywhere, to one degree or another, from classic contemporary westerns like THE SAVAGE BREED to a time-tested novel as literary as THE GREAT GATSBY. And of course, you need to have conflict or complications in nonfiction also, in some form, or you have a story that is too quiet.

For examples let's return to the story descriptions and create some CONFLICT LINES. Note these come close to being genuine hook lines, but that conflict is present regardless of genre.

The Hand of Fatima by Ildefonso Falcones
A young Moor torn between Islam and Christianity, scorned and tormented by both, struggles to bridge the two faiths by seeking common ground in the very nature of God.

Summer's Sisters by Judy Blume
After sharing a magical summer with a friend, a young woman must confront her friend's betrayal of her with the man she loved.

The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud
As an apprentice mage seeks revenge on an elder magician who humiliated him, he unleashes a powerful Djinni who joins the mage to confront a danger that threatens their entire world.

Note that it is fairly easy to ascertain the stakes in each case above: a young woman's love and friendship, the entire world, and harmony between opposed religions. If you cannot make the stakes clear, the odds are you don't have any.

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

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OTHER MATTERS OF CONFLICT: TWO MORE LEVELS

Consider "conflict" divided into three parts, all of which you should ideally have present. First, the primary conflict which drives through the core of the work from beginning to end and which zeniths with an important climax (falling action and denouement to follow). Next, secondary conflicts or complications which can take various social forms (anything from a vigorous love subplot to family issues to turmoil with fellow characters). Finally, those inner conflicts the major characters must endure and resolve. You must note the inner personal conflicts elsewhere in this profile, but make certain to note any important interpersonal conflicts within this particular category."

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?


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THE INCREDIBLE IMPORTANCE OF SETTING

When considering your novel, whether taking place in a contemporary urban world or on a distant magical planet in Andromeda, you must first sketch the best overall setting and sub-settings for your story. Consider: the more unique and intriguing (or quirky) your setting, the more easily you're able to create energetic scenes, narrative, and overall story.

A great setting maximizes opportunities for interesting characters, circumstances, and complications, and therefore makes your writing life so much easier.

Imagination is truly your best friend when it comes to writing competitive fiction, and nothing provides a stronger foundation than a great setting. One of the best selling contemporary novels, THE HUNGER GAMES, is driven by the circumstances of the setting, and the characters are a product of that unique environment, the plot also.

But even if you're not writing SF/F, the choice of setting is just as important, perhaps even more so. If you must place your upmarket story in a sleepy little town in Maine winter, then choose a setting within that town that maximizes opportunities for verve and conflict, for example, a bed and breakfast stocked to the ceiling with odd characters who combine to create comical, suspenseful, dangerous or difficult complications or subplot reversals that the bewildered and sympathetic protagonist must endure and resolve while he or she is perhaps engaged in a bigger plot line: restarting an old love affair, reuniting with a family member, starting a new business, etc. And don't forget that non-gratuitous sex goes a long way, especially for American readers.

CONTINUE TO READ THIS ARTICLE THEN RETURN: http://www.authorsalon.com/craft/view/97/

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.

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LUKEC7BLANCHFORD
Posts: 2
Joined: 21 May 2019, 06:55

Re: New York Pitch Assignments

#2 Post by LUKEC7BLANCHFORD » 25 May 2019, 04:37

Please find below, my responses to the 7 assignments.


1. ACT OF STORY STATEMENT.

To solve the mystery of the Divine Beloved.

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2. THE ANTAGONIST STATEMENT
Antagonistic forces: The Abyss, into which psyche descends, the soul's wild voices are heard, and the divine begins to shine. This Abyss will manifest to the narrator in myriad supernatural guises -- as Medusa, the at-first horrifying face of the Feminine, as the Emperor of the depths of suicide and despair, as the Devil, as the lwa of Death, and as the Black Virgin. Each of these manifestations will challenge the narrator in his essential sanity and humility, as he struggles to discern true images from false, hope from despair, the Friend from the myriad splinters of the divine.


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3. TITLE

Questions for Werewolves.

Whirling under a Black Star.

The Black Light of Dreaming.


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4. GENRE/COMPARISONS

Clarissa P. Estees, Women who Run with Wolves. While this is a nonfiction book, the author tells many tales of the wild woman archetype, and teaches the reader to find wisdom in the shadowy depths of the psyche. Likewise, my book focuses on the divine wilderness, with the wolf as a dream guide, and the narrator's odyssey of learning to live with voices and images from the archetypal depths of the Abyss.

Karen Armstrong, The Spiral Staircase:   A deeply personal, literary memoir about the author's spiritual search and climb out of darkness. Likewise, my book is an intensely personal confession, and story of being seized upon by a spiritual darkness, and then learning to live with this and become free.

Helen MacDonald, H is for Hawk: Just as her book is rich with omens in embedded daily life, so too, mine is written in the language of omens and visions.


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5. PRIMARY CONFLICT

For a man entering middle age, there is a murder of a young woman in his home town, whose face he projects onto a woman he once knew. This catapults him into a visionary madness. And even as he gives up the mortal woman, he embarks on an odyssey of signs and divine traces, testing his mettle against his own sanity, to solve the mystery of the divine Beloved, and perhaps the riddle of death itself.


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6. SECONDARY CONFLICT

When voices arise from the dark, the narrator must deal with his own insanity, his fears of nightmare, the heart's cry in the face of mortality and separation from the divine -- to find his dream guide, his humanity, his sanity, and his faith. And he must yearn, to the depths of heartbreak, toward the ultimate source of all yearning, the Beloved.

On a secondary level, he learns to distinguish spiritual guides from the mind's illusions. He must learn to trust true images that guide him to a divine mystery, and deny bad images in our culture that also try to cast a spell on us.


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?

An example: On the few occasions where he meets a woman with whom he falls in love, he will always confuse her with the Divine Beloved. He will be condemned to always lose the woman he loves, unless he can see through these feelings to the silver thread that unifies creation.

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7. SETTING

The setting is the narrator's travels through modern suburban landscape, with their tenor of accident, desire, love, loss. A traveler's tale, through many episodic memories of suburban childhood and family, of a short career in cinema, of brief and hopeless encounters with women, of mystic religious circles, of pilgrimages to distant lands and shrines around the world.

Everywhere the veil between the mundane and the supernatural is very thin, in flux, and shamanist encounters and mythic signs commonly intrude upon a seemingly plain landscape of accidents, passing encounters, and memories.

TakingAcadia45
Posts: 2
Joined: 22 May 2019, 19:40

Re: New York Pitch Assignments

#3 Post by TakingAcadia45 » 27 May 2019, 01:36

Assignment 1. Story Statement
Françoise Marie Jacquelin, a French demoiselle, loses her betrothed in a senseless duel days before their marriage in 1638. She struggles to resolve her grief. She grows into a shrewd woman seeking a new life away from what might have been. A year later, she meets the erstwhile governor of Acadia. Françoise, now 18, is charmed by Charles de La Tour’s stories about wilderness Acadia. At 46, he is a widower with three Mi’kmaq daughters, a man in need of a wife. After a terrifying ocean crossing, Françoise arrives in Acadia, falls hard for her new husband and becomes swept up in an armed conflict between La Tour and his adversary Charles de Menou d’Aulnay. She discovers that Acadia has two governors with forts on opposite sides of the Bay of Fundy. D’Aulnay, an abrasive, arrogant nobleman, wants to crush La Tour and take the whole of Acadia for himself. La Tour’s fort on the River St. John has the best resources in all of Acadia. D’Aulnay is relentless to have it and engages in treachery and deceit to support his cause at the Court of France. He gets support there but the Company of New France supports La Tour. The Acadian Civil War erupts into a bloody power struggle with sea battles, fort attacks, and draws in the English colonists in Boston. Françoise becomes a strategic commander at Fort La Tour and challenges d’Aulnay’s aggression with shocking repercussions. Who will take Acadia? – Françoise and La Tour? D’Aulnay? The English?

Assignment 2. Sketch of Antagonist Force
Charles de Menou d’Aulnay, a French nobleman, is proud and vindictive with a strong sense of entitlement. He despises Charles de La Tour, an adventurer without noble credentials, admired and accepted on the strength of his charming personality. It incenses d’Aulnay that La Tour was granted a royal commission to govern the richest resources in Acadia – the St. John River Valley. Deceitful and treacherous, d’Aulnay uses lies and misrepresentations freely. With the help of his father, a councillor to the King, he undermines La Tour’s reputation and credibility at the French Court. La Tour can no longer go to France to state his own case without risking arrest due to d’Aulnay’s bogus claims promoted as fact. A surly, impatient man, the mere sight of La Tour’s pennants on a ship or fort sends d’Aulnay into a nasty tailspin. He is rude and obnoxious even with his wife and lieutenants. Criticism, however slight or constructive, prompts insults and verbal abuse. D’Aulnay governs Port Royal with fear and condescension. The only living creature that fully respects and trusts d’Aulnay is his dog, Pontius.

Assignment 3. Book Title Possibilities
i. Taking Acadia
ii. Beyond the Fog
iii. The Dread of Night

Assignment Four. Comparables (Possible readership audience)
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
The Red Tent by Anita Diamont
I, Eliza Hamilton by Susan Holloway Scott
Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory

Assignment Five. Conflict Line
In 17th century Acadia, a young woman arrives from France, marries a charming adventurer and takes up his struggle to defeat the man who seeks to destroy him.

CAROLINESCHLEYC7
Posts: 1
Joined: 23 May 2019, 20:31

Re: New York Pitch Assignments

#4 Post by CAROLINESCHLEYC7 » 28 May 2019, 02:23

Hi all,
Please find my responses below. I look forward to meeting and working with everyone!
Best,
Caroline Schley

1. Act of Story Statement
Fifteen-year-old Chris Miller yearns for more authority over her life

2. The Antagonist Statement
Chris's mother, Celeste Miller, is the antagonist in this story. As a self-made woman who built a successful career as a hospital nurse after leaving her own abusive family as a teenager, she is a strong believer in maintaining disciplined control over her life.

Celeste is convinced she knows what's best for Chris: from the selection of her friends and her high school to the depth of her knowledge about her father and her choices for a future profession.

For the past fifteen years, Chris's attempts at taking charge over her circumstances have been met with firm, loving deflection from Celeste. Far from an expression of inattention, this is Celeste's best method for expressing her love as well as her fear in the face of raising her daughter alone.

3. Title
"The Weight of the Sky"
"We Can Convince Ourselves"
"The Truth about Gravity"

4. Genre/Comps
YA Contemporary
Jandy Nelson's "I'll Give You the Sun"
Celeste Ng's "Little Fires Everywhere"

5. Primary Conflict
Chris Miller yearns for more authority over her life, but from her mother to her high school crush, other people are always making the rules. After Chris is raped a party she must decide if she has the strength to take control over the course of her own existence.

6. Secondary Conflict
Social Conflict:
Chris Miller transfers to a fancy, private school as a scholarship student at the beginning of her tenth grade year. Sure, she's had crushes and boyfriends before, but from the moment she lays eyes on Caldwell Barnes, his dark wavy hair and confident nature pierce something in her heart that's never been exposed. She is desperate for him to notice her and will try anything, from vodka shots to blow jobs, to keep his attention. But after her world is shaken by a sexual assault, she has to come to terms with the fact that he never cared about her the same way she cared about him.

Inner Conflict:
For her whole life, Chris has scoured every closet, conversation and map collection she can find for clues about the identity of her father. His absence leaves her full of self-doubt. In order to truly take authority over her life, she must develop her confidence and her ability to see the good in what's around her, even when circumstances become almost unbearably hard.

7. The Setting
The novel is set in contemporary Bridgeport, Connecticut, a location that allows for a realistic divide between wealth and poverty.
St. Catherine's of Bridgeport allows readers to be transported to a high school campus on par with the reality presented in Gossip Girl or Cruel Intentions, the kind of high-concept setting that is full of possibility. School bathrooms, science labs and farm-to-table cafeterias mix with multimillion dollars houses and expensive cars.
These environments stand in stark contrast to other parts of Chris's world in the less-fortunate areas of Bridgeport: the K Street Housing Project, her mother's small apartment and the Mexican restaurant where she works part-time.
The variety in setting available in this town helps the protagonist, Chris Miller to grow and explore as she questions how to take authority over where she belongs.

TakingAcadia45
Posts: 2
Joined: 22 May 2019, 19:40

Re: New York Pitch Assignments

#5 Post by TakingAcadia45 » 28 May 2019, 04:22

Assignment 1. Story Statement
Françoise Marie Jacquelin, a French demoiselle, loses her betrothed in a senseless duel days before their marriage in 1638. She struggles to resolve her grief. She grows into a shrewd woman seeking a new life away from what might have been. A year later, she meets the erstwhile governor of Acadia. Françoise, now 18, is charmed Charles de La Tour’s stories about wilderness Acadia. At 46, he is a widower with three Mi’kmaq daughters, a man in need of a wife. After a terrifying ocean crossing, Françoise arrives in Acadia, falls hard for her new husband and becomes swept up in an armed conflict between La Tour and his adversary Charles de Menou d’Aulnay. She discovers that Acadia has two governors with forts on opposite sides of the Bay of Fundy. D’Aulnay, an abrasive, arrogant nobleman, wants to crush La Tour and take the whole of Acadia for himself. La Tour’s fort on the River St. John has the best resources in all of Acadia. D’Aulnay is relentless to have it and engages in treachery and deceit to support his cause at the Court of France. He gets support there but the Company of New France supports La Tour. The Acadian Civil War erupts into a bloody power struggle with sea battles, fort attacks, and draws in the English colonists in Boston. Françoise becomes a strategic commander at Fort La Tour and challenges d’Aulnay’s aggression with shocking repercussions. Who will take Acadia? – Françoise and La Tour? D’Aulnay? The English?

Assignment 2. Sketch of Antagonist Force
Charles de Menou d’Aulnay, a French nobleman, is proud and vindictive with a strong sense of entitlement. He despises Charles de La Tour, an adventurer without noble credentials, admired and accepted on the strength of his charming personality. It incenses d’Aulnay that La Tour, was granted a royal commission to govern the richest resources in Acadia – the St. John River Valley. Deceitful and treacherous, d’Aulnay uses lies and misrepresentations freely. With the help of his father, a councillor to the King, he undermines La Tour’s reputation and credibility at the French Court. La Tour can no longer go to France to state his own case without risking arrest due to the resourceful d’Aulnay’s bogus claims promoted as fact. A surly, impatient man, the mere sight of La Tour’s pennants on a ship or fort sends d’Aulnay into a nasty tailspin. He is rude and obnoxious even with his wife and lieutenants. Criticism, however slight or constructive, prompts insults and verbal abuse. D’Aulnay governs Port Royal with fear and condescension. The only living creature that fully respects and trusts d’Aulnay is his dog, Pontius.

Assignment 3. Book Title Possibilities
i. Taking Acadia
ii. Beyond the Fog
iii. The Dread of Night

Assignment Four. Comparables (Possible readership audience)
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
The Red Tent by Anita Diamont
I, Eliza Hamilton by Susan Holloway Scott
Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory

Assignment Five. Conflict Line
In 17th century Acadia, a young woman arrives from France, marries a charming adventurer and takes up his struggle to defeat the man who seeks to destroy him.

Assignment Six. Primary and Secondary Conflict
Primary - The heroine, who lost her first love in a duel, struggles with her vow to never again be emotionally wounded. She negotiates a marriage contract based on an equal partnership. But she falls hard for the charming hero and she takes up his cause to defeat the antagonist at her own peril. At a critical moment, she thinks about why she came to Acadia and how everything evolved differently. She ended up living her life on her own terms but in a different way than she planned.

Secondary – After the antagonist treats her disrespectfully by locking her in a cold, bare warehouse, the heroine vows to defeat him. In every battle of arms and wits, she refuses to back away until there is nothing left. In doing so, she loses her home, her soldiers and has to have her child smuggled to safety. She negotiates clemency for her men but the antagonist reneges on the deal.

Assignment Seven. Setting(s)
This historical novel, Taking Acadia, has many dramatic settings in France, Acadia and Boston. The settings are urban, rural and on the sea. Some are:
  • A duel to the blood in the shadowy morning hours along a river bank with rising mists and fog in Chartres, France.
  • A business dinner party where the two main characters become attracted during lively discourse.
  • A meeting room in Paris is the setting for the signing of a marriage contract that makes the heroin an equal to her Acadian husband in marriage and in business.
  • A famous street in Paris where Henri IV was assassinated in 1610, is the scene for her lawyer as he ponders why a man would agree to such a marriage contract. He makes some parallels with then and now, 1638.
  • A voyage on a ship across the Atlantic along with an Irishman, keeping watch on her, is the scene for the heroine to come to understandings about her hasty decision to leave France, her own safety on the wild and stormy ocean and the unknown life ahead in a wilderness.
  • In Acadia, the vast and untamed landscape is the scene for all that occurs between the rivals. As it empties into the Bay, the river turns into dangerous waters that controls travel up river.
  • The rugged landscape, dense with fur-bearing animals and an abandoned stone house that has a role of its own, are all part of the setting for interactions of the characters.
  • There are scenes in the seat of power in Paris in the office of the Vice Admiral of France in the Louvre for new support against the antagonist.
  • A famous salon in Paris is the setting for contact with influential supporters and the news Cardinal Richelieu is dead signalling political change;
  • A fishing boat is the scene for a hasty escape from France to England.
  • A trip back to Acadia on the only ship in London for hire due to the raging English Civil War compromises the heroine’s situation. She has hired a rogue as a captain and once in Boston, sues for damages. The setting for this is a court proceeding before the magistrates and a jury of merchants and mariners in the backdrop of the puritan culture.
  • Another scene is at the fort where the heroine gives birth, the indigenous way, to a baby boy.
  • Port Royal Basin is the scene for a nasty canoe accident that turns the story in an unexpected direction.
  • The fort continues to be the scene for the last armed battle for Acadia.

C7OrnaGlick
Posts: 1
Joined: 21 May 2019, 10:02

Re: New York Pitch Assignments

#6 Post by C7OrnaGlick » 28 May 2019, 16:41

1. The story statement: Dana,25, is in love with Ori and will do whatever it takes to win his heart even at the price of her sanity and well-being.

2. The Antagonistic Force: Jerbi and Ori are Israeli Navy SEALs who are essentially married to each other. Their SEALs code of honor is taken to extreme by two main elements that shape their view of the world. The first – their mutual truama - Jerbi was severely wounded in the West Bank town of Jenin and Ori rescued him from the fire. The second – they both have feelings for the same girl, Dana. The latter, a college lecturer, causes both to question the two things their entire world is founded on. Their friendship and their absolute faith they are the elite. Her superiority to them intellectually is evident when she tutors both.
Since Jerbi and Ori both experience the world as a war zone in which only the strong survive, they direct all their aggressiveness towards Dana, completely forgetting she is a petite girl with a gigantic heart of gold who did everything in her power to help them. When she gets upset at their abusive treatment of her they simply have her kicked out and hit her. They also blame her for how they treated her.

3. Book Title: Sons of God

4. Comps: Big Little Lies meets The English Patient. Genre: NA contemporary, women's literature

5. Primary Conflict: A young college lecturer gives her heart, soul and intellect to two shell shocked Israeli navy SEALs, who in return use and abuse her.

6.Secondary Conflict/ Inner conflict: Dana feels frustrated, rejected and used but cannot stop herself from helping Ori and Jerbi since she senses their pain and needs. She therefore continuously tutors them and helps them with their schoolwork and even defends Ori at the disciplinary committee at the university after he is caught cheating on a test. All this despite knowing she is A. romantically drawn to Ori. B. he cannot reciprocate those feelings because of his military traumas and his comradeship with Jerbi. She knows she is somehow caught in the middle of a twisted love triangle, but she is torn between their needs and hers.

Social Conflict: Dana's natural habitat is the university's campus. She is a true scholar. Jerbi's and Ori's natural habitat, as civilians, is a Southern Tel Aviv dive bar. The conflict between those settings is created by the fact that Dana welcomes both guys in her territory but is rejected in theirs and even violently banished from it. The tension between the physical/ social spaces and what they represent: the world of bars and nightlife and the intellectual scholarly one, and the behavior of these spaces' representatives is the driving force of the plot which leads to its inevitable ending.

7. The setting:
The setting takes place in Israel and the occupied territories.
In Israel the main events take place in Tel Aviv and around it.
The story begins at a hospital near Tel Aviv, at an orthopedic rehabilitation center, in which the various rooms, are described in detail.
The background scenes take place both:
At northern Israel, at the Lebanese border where the helicopter crash, claiming 72 lives, occurred.
At the West Bank town of Jenin, where the ambush in which the antagonists’ lives were shaped occurred.
At the Haifa port where two Israeli SEALs drowned.
In the desert, in Southern Israel, where the Ze’elim Disaster occurred (At a large IDF training facility)
At Sirkin army base in central Israel, where the Israeli Sayeret Matkal base is located.
At the Atlit Navy SEALs base near Haifa, where there exists a beautiful antique fort which is part of the SEALs base.
In Tel Aviv, most scenes take place either at the homes of Jerbi and Ori, the student apartment type home. The Tel Aviv university campus and the bar in southern Tel Aviv where the antagonists work.

HEIDIC7DARLEY
Posts: 1
Joined: 23 May 2019, 03:34

Re: New York Pitch Assignments

#7 Post by HEIDIC7DARLEY » 29 May 2019, 03:04

1) THE ACT OF STORY STATEMENT:
Outcasts of Idumea struggle to escape enemies, thwart corruption, and find a safe haven for home and family.

2)THE ANTAGONIST PLOTS THE POINT:
Robbes Pierre Randolf,aka "Boss," is extremely good at his job. He hunts drosha women, who are harvested for their roe, which creates the most powerful aphrodisiac drug ever known.
His beloved wife Jenna (a roe addict) can no longer care for herself, their children--three-year Max and six-month Emmy, or their home. Her life is one continual chain of sensuous highs...even food has lost its importance. She is dying.
Boss hates drosha as the bringers of roe and the pain it has brought on his family. It's THEIR fault! He will hunt down and destroy every drosha ever born.
But Boss has guilt. Jenna took that first roe hit because of him. She hadn't wanted it. He'd convinced her. And when she'd gotten pregnant with Emmy, doctors urged her to abort for fear of roe damage. Jenna refused. And when Emmy came into the world bright, beautiful and perfect, Boss breathed relief.
At his core he blames himself for his wife's addiction. If something shows up in Emmy, it will be his fault. Oh how he HATES drosha!
---But what will happen when Boss eventually learns that children conceived under roe become drosha?

3) CONJURING YOUR BREAKOUT TITLE:

a) Drosha
b) Children of Idumea
c) A Darker Shade of Blue
d) Darkest Blue

4) DECIDING YOUR GENRE AND APPROACHING COMPARABLES:

a) My Genre is Science Fiction/Fantasy. Target age, new adult

For COMPARABLES: I have found similarities to my Drosha Book in Brandon Sanderson's THE STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE (THE WAY OF KINGS, WORDS OF RADIANCE, and OATHBRINGER). Sanderson's approach to World Building is similar to mine in that we both set up rules for the powers that develop and grow within characters throughout the story. There are definable economic systems, social constructs, religion, politics, customs, geography, weather, costumes, education, history and legends.
Sanderson also uses multiple POV characters (focusing on Kaladin, Shallan, Jasna, Dallinar,the Parshendi Eshoni and Szeth-son-son-Vallano). I also weave my story through the shifting points of view of Elysha, Marta, Talmage, Shem, Boss, and Troy.

Sanderson's heroes are flawed, as are mine. Jasna's brilliant, but struggles with compassion, Dallanar thinks he's going crazy, Shallon is broken and hides behind facade, Kaladin has prejudice from the bottom up toward gentry. In my book Elysha seeks love, safety and friends, but is jealous and has trust issues and difficulty with authority. Shem is brilliant, but fearful of the limelight and promoting his discoveries. Marta shatters when she loses her brother. Talmage's overly ambitious plans get others hurt and he's afraid to try again.

Economics and power go to whoever amasses the greatest wealth of gemstones, in Drosha, economic power goes to whomever controls the flow of roe.

There's also a major and minor love story going on. With Sanderson it's between Dalanar and Navani, Shalon and Adolin, but she kind of likes Kaladin too. In my story it's between Shem and Elysha, Boss and his wife, Jenna, and the puppy love between Marta and Talmage.

Because the scruff children in my book are little geniuses, I find similarities with Orson Scott Card's ENDER'S GAME. Scruff (the orphaned and abandoned children of roe addicts) have formed clans within the City. They work together building tunnel networks and communication systems, teaching one another and (despite a prevalent dislike of personal hygiene) they thrive. Because scruff were conceived under the influence of roe, they have drosha characteristics; which means they are physically perfect and possess superior musculature and nervous systems. Mentally they are off the charts. Each on thrives in their particular talents. Unlike regular drosha, they do not fade to blue skin tones when they sleep, or glow when they feel love.

My scruff aren't pitted in a fight against the 'buggers,' as Card's Ender and his friends were. Their struggle is against Protectorate (police) and WG Health officials who are using a bio-warfare disease in an attempt to wipe the scruff out. Talmage and Marta figure out how to keep the clans safe when Biological Assault attacks, and Protectorate strike out at them. There are supply shortages, the elements, and men who consider scruff of no more worth than the garbage they pick through to survive.

GOOSE GIRL by Shannon Hale probably inspired my use of the wind as a magical source. Ani's wind-speaking is similar to Elysha's. But the Shanadra Wind in Drosha is actually a character, or should I say characterS. The combined force of innocent droshs spirits---those men, women and children slaughtered in the drosha holocaust who have come seeking revenge. They've chosen Elysha as their champion for justice and the Winds protect, help, communicate with and guide her. They also do her will.

5) CONSIDERING THE PRIMARY CONFLICT--COMING OF THE AGON:

DROSHA by H.D.Darley

Hunters and corrupt law enforcement stalk Drosha and scruff. Scientists use bio-warfare against them and Government exploits and destroys them. They struggle to survive and right the wrongs afflicted against them, seeking a place where their families can live in peace.


6) OTHER MATTERS OF CONFLICT: TWO MORE LEVELS

Elysha and Shem were children during the Drosha holocaust, caused by the passing of Mandate 24-638. World Fathers had presented evidence that drosha were a separate species from human (despite the same 46 chromosomes). As non-humans, they became non-citizens...and therefore held no rights of property, power, law or protection. Assets were seized. High positions revoked. And since killing a drosha broke no law, open season was declared. Only those who had seen it coming and gone into hiding survived. When 'roe' was discovered, the hunting started in earnest. Growing up, hiding in plain sight, seeing your friends discovered and picked off one by one, affected Shem and Elysha. They couldn't trust anyone or get too close. They were always looking over their shoulder. They had to play dumb and hide their abilities. And neither dared dream they might someday find someone like themselves that they could love wholeheartedly and start a family with.
So when Elysha meets Shem, the man whose memories as a boy used to come into her mind from time to time, she's terrified beyond reason. That and the coming of her first roe, which will kill her (and him) if not sated. Hunters murdered her best friend in front of her eyes just before the coming of her first roe. Elysha WILL NOT let that happen to her! She and Shem determinedly struggle to escape their pursuers through underground waterways, explosions, going over waterfall, getting trapped under ice, hypothermia, storms and an avalanch. When they at last get respite by joining forces with scruff and an underground Drosha spy network (Lord Fallston's Sky City) they set a plan to infiltrate and release all the drosha women imprisoned in Central Pharmaceutical, where drosha women are routinely harvested for their roe. Cutting off WG's roe supply will weaken the populous. They provide an optional cure for roe addicts to replace their lost supply of roe, but it turns them into drosha.

Drosha have a moral code within their DNA. If they violate it they go crazy as Troy does. He becomes a psychopathic hunter hunting hunters.

7) THE INCREDIBLE IMPORTANCE OF SETTING

Shanadra Winds are blowing in the beginning, (because of the prophecy about their coinciding with the dawning day of retribution). It's bitterly cold and unforgiving. Stark, gray skyscrapers stand as if deserted. Roads are empty of movement. Trees are bare skeletons. Ripple snow patterns across roads and walkways, piling drifts, vision is obscured by cloud and snow gusts. Winds lay an undertone of mournful music and whispering voices. Everything is gray or white, color-muted snow.

Idumea City: cobblestones streets, old shops with wooden shutters, alleys, water towers and aqua ducts, steam punk gear-works for outdoor elevators to futuristic sleek sky scrapers (cylinder shaped). There are speed rollers, hovering luma lamps, float cars and tube trains that travel super sonic in vacuum tunnels both above and below ground.

Sky City: which floats above the ocean and is therefore 'its own micro-continent-, unclaimed and exempt from WG rule, is beautiful and sleek. With soaring, gothic-like arches--it grows lots of vines and flowers through the walls themselves. Light blue, translucent marble is the preferred building material. It glows at night. People use the City's 'hover technology as a power source to jet around on footboards. Trees are tall with bio-altered leaves in floral colors. the roadways are copper and gold colored metals (part of the 'float' technology. Architecture is long and graceful. Moss instead of grass. Vertical wall and roof-tile gardens grow. Since cultivation area is limited, there's vegetation growing on roofs.

Scruff Underground: they live in tunnels with dirt floors, slides, chimneys, ladders, wooden walls, stone and brick. Light comes from glow baskets and lanterns--a main fireplace. There are baskets of foodstuffs. Make-shift shelves are stacked with garments and blankets. There's a machine shop where needed items are cobbled together from junkyard parts. Rube Goldberg-type machines wash clothes and scrub dishes (because kids like to be entertained--right?). There are cooking nooks and baking ovens, a kiln and a workshop where scruff make anything they need. But everything's cobbled together haphazardly because scruff are the ultimate scavengers.

Clothing: fropas (shawl-hooded floor length capes), tromars (robes, these vary in length) Rags for scruff. Fabric reader-patches sewn into sleeves give digital info. Boots are thigh high down to half-calf. Heels are optional. The wealthy wear silks, pearls, gems, and cut lace, similar to British Royal Court in the seventeen hundreds.

NatashaNuhanovicC7
Posts: 1
Joined: 21 May 2019, 22:35

Re: New York Pitch Assignments

#8 Post by NatashaNuhanovicC7 » 29 May 2019, 11:47

Assignment #1: Story Statement

After experiencing the war as a child, the protagonist must deal with its returning shadows twenty years later, including the search for the boy, a childhood love, who disappeared during the war.
______________________________________________________________________________

Assignment #2: Antagonistic Forces

Fragmentation of soul through trauma weaves through the protagonist’s every-day reality. A sense of floating, disorientation, absence of linear time and displacement follow the “I”. The ultimate goal is a desire and need for connection in a world that now seems impossible to connect to. The main barrier is the large chasm between the multiple inner selves and between the world one had hoped to find and the world that one witnessed. In a sense, the “I” is its own antagonist, not fully able to come to terms with the inner shadows, yet continuing to try. I have tried to depict the complex duality of being and with that comes a less clear-cut definition of protagonist/antagonist. A more accurate way of describing the way these manifest in my book is the interplay between destructive forces and life-affirming forces. The characters are the “I” (through time), the “You”, the boy, God, and the stray dog. The boy and the stray dog can be seen as the most life-affirming, while the “I”, the “You” and God flow in and out and contain binaries, exemplifying the struggle to still fight for a humane world amidst the horrors, even the horrors of one’s own soul.
______________________________________________________________________________

Assignment #3: Breakout Title

1. The Boy’s Marble
2. The Boy With the Marble
______________________________________________________________________________

Assignment #4: Genre and Approaching Comparables

Genre: Literary Fiction with a poetic, magic-realist flavour
Comparables: I have tried to stretch the boundaries and create something unique, while still remaining commercial.
- Tea Obreht’s “The Tiger’s Wife” compares to my book in the sense of it being semi-autobiographical and speaking of the experience of the war as a child and the subsequent trauma. Another similarity is that Obreht’s book also involves a hint of magic-realism. However, where our books differ is that my kind of magic-realism swerves more into the poetic than Obreht’s book. Yet, all the while, I have been very mindful of retaining its commercial appeal by: 1. Having a clear plot-line and 2. Expressing the traumatic and horrific through a very innocent and child-like voice/language.
- Michael Ondaatje’s more experimental style with poetic influences has probably also influenced me over the years and challenged me to step beyond the familiar parameters of storytelling
______________________________________________________________________________

Assignment #5: Conflict Line

Twenty years after the war, the “I”, now an adult, continues to try and find what was lost: the boy, a more harmonious self, and a sense of home.
______________________________________________________________________________


Assignment #6: Levels of Conflict

Inner Conflict: The protagonist struggles with a sense of displacement and disorientation throughout the novel. Traumatic moments, i.e. points of fragmentation, are returning from the past into the present, as though they have never passed at all. These feelings are shown through very simple and detailed moments such as the “I” as a child, tying the shoelaces one last time before leaving home, extending it for as long as possible.

Social Conflict: On top of displacement and disorientation, a deeper sense of questioning what it means to be human and how the human being can be capable of such atrocious acts (war), arises in the “I”. Some scenes are: the mother covering the eyes to protect the child “I” from seeing a dead body on the street weaves in with blinds occurring in the protagonist’s present, the child “I” waits for the boy on the bench, but he never comes, a stray dog appears instead. There are many moments of extreme inhumanity, described through simple and tangible, almost touchable moments.
______________________________________________________________________________

Assignment #7: Setting

The settings of my novel are multi-layered and constantly interweaving. On the simplest level, the settings are to be divided into the city-scape of Montreal (Canada) and of war-torn Sarajevo (Bosnia). The plot that takes place in Canada is the present, while the war-torn Bosnia is in the past. However, these two run parallel as linear time ceases to exist. In war-torn Bosnia settings involve: the bedroom one is leaving, the car waiting outside, driving to the border, the border, and recurring scenes of signs of war, but subtly hinted at, rather than through explicit definition. In Montreal, the “I” is walking through the city in order to meet a “You” it does not remember or why the meeting is supposed to take place to begin with. Objects from current city-scape (flowers on the street, trees, etc.) transport into overlapping (or similar) objects from past settings.

Furthermore, there is a setting of God inside a bar, the childhood “I” waiting on the bench in the dark for the boy, the stray dog leading the childhood “I” through the streets and to the boy’s apartment building, while the present “I” is lead by its own shadows to the “You’s” door. Places from memory also appear such as lavender fields, balconies, stairwells, elevators. The spaces always signify a particular feeling, an atmosphere.

The setting intentionally is not described in close detail, so that it can acquire a kind of trans-physical space in which one acquires the feeling of being in multiple places at the same time, yet not fully in either, which is where the “I” resides. This feeling is then, subsequently, recreated in the reader.

JonathanRobbinsC7
Posts: 1
Joined: 21 May 2019, 00:07

Re: New York Pitch Assignments

#9 Post by JonathanRobbinsC7 » 01 Jun 2019, 01:02

1. Story Statement:
Aiden’s seen ghosts ever since he survived a traumatic car crash as a kid. Now, as an adult, he's sent to the Facility, a cutting-edge psychiatric institution for patients with paranormal disturbances.

2. Antagonistic Forces:
Two storylines play out side-by-side: one following Aiden’s childhood trauma and the other detailing his experiences as an adult at the Facility. Each storyline has its own antagonist. The first is Max, one of Aiden's childhood friends. Max's father is the neighborhood preacher who gets convicted of rape and child molestation. After he goes to jail, Max wreaks havoc around town, joins a Satanic cult, and murders several members of his father's former church to get justice for the lives his father ruined. Max's perverse quest for justice parallels Aiden's struggle to process trauma as a child. The second antagonist is the head psychiatrist at the Facility. She claims to have benevolent motives, but when two patients turn up murdered in their own beds, Aiden suspects foul play and fears he could be next. This storyline resolves Aiden’s struggle to cope with life after trauma, particularly how to deal with authority figures that can’t be trusted. There is also a third antagonist who transverses both timelines: Diana, the ghost of a girl who committed suicide. Throughout the novel, she acts as both Aiden’s best friend and a looming temptation to just end it all.

3. Breakout Title:
Rehab for the Paranormally Disturbed
My Life as a Dead Person
Half Dead

4. Genre and Approaching Comparables
Genre: Contemporary Adult Fiction, with elements of Paranormal SF and Satire
Gillian Flynn's Sharp Objects and Chuck Palahniuk's Haunted. In Sharp Objects, Gillian Flynn delves into the psychological effects of childhood trauma and how they play out in adult life, which is very similar to Aiden’s journey. In Haunted, Chuck Palahniuk interweaves satire and dark humor with paranormal absurdity, which is similar to my style of writing.

5. The Primary Conflict
When ten-year-old Aiden starts seeing ghosts after surviving a car accident, he befriends a girl who killed herself decades prior, and then must resist the urge to follow her lead after a second trauma invades his childhood.

6. Two More Levels of Conflict
Inner conflict: Aiden is terrified to face the reality of what was done to him when he was a child because he doesn’t think anyone will believe him. He considers pain and emotions to be signs of weakness, and he’s scared that if he acknowledges his own trauma, he won’t be taken seriously. He’d much rather live in a state of intellectual denial. But years of suppressing his feelings send Aiden into a spiral of drug abuse, depression, and eventually a suicide attempt inspired by his best friend. Secondary conflict: Aiden is the only child of a wealthy couple. His father is absent and cold. His mother is careless and actively engages in affairs with other men. This family dynamic further incites Aiden’s fear that no one will care for him or take him seriously.

7. Setting
The novel jumps back and forth between two main settings. The first is Aiden’s childhood home in an upper-middle-class neighborhood outside of Denver, Colorado. At first glance, the setting wouldn’t seem all that interesting. But through Aiden’s eyes, the reader sees that his house and neighborhood are infested with ghosts—suicides, infanticides, entire families taken out by drunk drivers. The second setting is the Facility. It’s situated in the northern Arizona wilderness. The outer walls and roof are made of glass, so the patients are at least able to enjoy the mountainous scenery while undergoing top-secret paranormal treatment. The Facility is broken into six wings (six is a symbolic number in the book), some containing therapy offices, others containing high-tech equipment designed to test for/treat paranormal ailments (i.e. extracting alien implants from the body, scanning brainwaves to test for psychic ability, etc.). There’s also an underground room beneath the Facility, ominously referred to by other patients as the hole. This is where patients are taken either for disciplinary action or special procedures.

15505Sbbell
Posts: 1
Joined: 01 Jun 2019, 00:03

Re: New York Pitch Assignments

#10 Post by 15505Sbbell » 01 Jun 2019, 02:26

FIRST ASSIGNMENT: write your simple story statement.

An ambitious, money-obsessed man’s devastating loss leads him on to an unconventional journey to redemption.

SECOND ASSIGNMENT: in 200 words or less, sketch the antagonist or antagonistic force in your story.
THE ANTAGONIST: Bill Holt


All his life Bill Holt strives to anchor his life on doing the right thing. Although he is raised by a powerful and wealthy family, he is a hard-working self-made man. But following a moral high road can be fraught with bumps and curves, causing those with the best of intentions to lose control. When the protagonist upends Bill’s career, Bill is confronted with a moral dilemma. After a great deal of soul searching he successfully takes Bryce (the protagonist) down with a sophisticated financial insider trading scheme. He justifies his behavior by rationalizing it in the name of justice —not revenge. But his plan goes too far and Bryce is forced to forfeit everything he has worked a lifetime for. He loses his senior position in his law firm, his wife, all of his friends and his vast wealth. Bill is haunted by what he has done, but can not reverse the situation without going to jail. He is caught in a quandary and feels he has no way to make amends.

THIRD ASSIGNMENT: create a breakout title

THE SOULS THAT WHISPER BACK
REDEEMING BRYCE ELLIOTT
THE ART OF REDEMPTION



FOURTH ASSIGNMENT: Develop two smart comparables for your novel.

Tom Wolfe writes about decadence in impressive detail, illuminating greed and ruthlessness through his complex characters’ conceit and powerful themes. He creates a world that is vivid and transporting. THE ART OF REDEMPTION opens with the same thematic style with a host of complex characters. Like Wolfe’s, characters the protagonist’s life takes an unexpected epic downfall.

M.J. Rose’s mixed genres bleed into the main plot to combine and form a page-turning thought-provoking novel. THE ART OF REDEMPTION is cross-genre story wedding a commercial Wall Street drama with a philosophical through line. This type of novel opens a commercial opportunity to reach more readers as the blended genre appeals to multiple audiences. There is now plenty of room on the virtual shelf for books that defy easy categorization. Successful writers in this category include Audrey Brown, Charlaine Harris, Sandra Brown, Justin Cronin, David Mitchell, to name a few.


FIFTH ASSIGNMENT: write your own conflict line following the format above.

When Bryce is ten months shy of reaching his goal to secure the reins of his father-in-law's law firm, things begin to spiral out of his control. One of his schemes goes too far, and Bryce's innocent victim slyly strikes back with a knockout force that pitches Bryce into a free fall. He loses everything he has spent a lifetime trying to achieve. The man who’d been on a steadfast mission to govern his own destiny is adrift in a world of stifling solitude.

SIXTH ASSIGNMENT: sketch out the conditions for the inner conflict your protagonist will have. Next, likewise, sketch a hypothetical scenario for the "secondary conflict" involving the social environment.

INTERNAL CONFLICT. The protagonist loses everything he has worked a lifetime to achieve and is forced to set a new direction in his life. In the scene below, he is leaving NYC on a bus following his downfall.

A group of fun-loving, noisy old-timers tottered onto the bus. Their sweet scent, slightly sharper than a baby’s, wafted past Bryce as they shuffled down the aisle. As Bryce watched the seniors dodder past him, his thoughts strayed off to the remarkable parallels between those in the dawn of their lives and those at the sunset: Soft skin, innocent faces, sensitive stomachs, and eyes filled with fear, curiosity, and wonderment over the unknown. Was it a mere coincidence? Or was man's existence in some way circular? He gazed into the cataract-impaired eyes of a very old man wobbling down the aisle and wondered if the man was about to embark on the ultimate journey back to where he came from. As the old man passed, Bryce caught a glimpse of his own reflection in the bus window and wondered about his own destination. He felt a profound sense of emptiness.

SECONDARY CONFLICT: His family. The self-centered protagonist’s family is altruistic. The scene below takes place at a reception following his uncle’s funeral.


“You are a miserable son-of-a-bitch, Bryce. I still can't believe Mom has not seen the light about you. She still believes in her heart-of-hearts that God has a special plan, mission, or whatever she calls it, for you just because you almost died at birth. Your life is nothing but a mission of greed. And because of you, and nothing else, our father is dead, so you could go with your debate team to Washington,” Jeff snapped back.

Bryce sat back and shot a haughty look at his younger brother. “Listen, pal, we were both given the same opportunity in life. I grabbed the brass ring and got it. You aimed for nothing and got it. Nothing! Tell me, how's the life of a pseudo-poet and Xerox service technician? How you support two kids and a wife beats the shit out of me.”

“I'm happy with my life and at peace with myself, which is more than I suspect you are,” Jeff snapped back.

The chatter of the surrounding crowd had quieted a bit, and heads had turned toward the couch where the three siblings were seated.

“Stop it!” Kate interjected and physically placed herself between the modern version of Cain and Abel. “Please, out of respect for Uncle Frank, please for Mom's sake, just drop it. Okay? Please, not here, not now!”

Bryce exercised restraint. He had a strange premonition this would be the last time he'd be in the home at 201 Stantonville Drive, and it made him a little melancholy. The perplexing emotion took him by surprise because he’d never cared for the place and rarely had premonitions about anything except business.

As he and Lydia got ready to leave for the airport, Elizabeth thanked Lydia again and tightly wrapped her arms around Bryce. “Have a safe and peaceful journey, son, and if you ever lose your way, just look for the light.”

Bryce kissed her on the cheek. Her religious metaphors made Bryce, the agnostic, uncomfortable. He turned and headed out the door into the gloomy November night.

SEVENTH ASSIGNMENT: sketch out your setting in detail.

The first part of the story takes place in Manhattan at the world-renowned international law firm of Mortimer and Weintraub. The firm and the characters are the embodiment of power, conceit, ruthlessness, and greed. This is where Bryce both rises to the pinnacle of success and power, and paradoxically suffers his epic downfall. Below is a scene from the book.
Bryce blithely twirled his chair around, plopped his feet atop his credenza, and looked out over the resplendent view of Manhattan and the Hudson River. It was the end of January; a covering of snow glistened in the sunlight. He felt like a king surveying his realm, intoxicated with power. He was a man in control, not one of the poor fuckers who spent a lifetime kowtowing to a chain of morons —themselves powerless peons. It had been two weeks since the new partners were announced, and Bryce was feeling like there was no limit to what Mortimer & Weintraub could accomplish with him at the helm.

The second part of the story takes place in Southampton. Once a pillar of the social scene here, Bryce now lives in a dilapidated shack. Following his economic downfall, he is invisible to those who once courted him. He is forced to confront his past and try to understand who he is. The solitude of the beach, his dire economic circumstances, and a mystical and transformative book prods him to contemplate the many dimensions in his life and opens a new path. A text follows from the book . . . He starred out at the vast indomitable sea and felt as if he were drowning in a mire of oblivion.

PRE-EVENT ASSIGNMENT. You must go to your nearest library or bookstore and examine the BOOK JACKET or FLAP of five different novels--all within your chosen genre. The elements of these short, cliffhanger synopses will serve as a basis for creating the ideal pitch for your novel.

The Art of Redemption, a story about an ambitious, money-obsessed man’s devastating loss, which unexpectedly leads him on a journey toward redemption. Thematically close to The Bonfire of the Vanities and The Alchemist, The Art of Redemption will appeal to readers who enjoyed The Wolf of Wall Street as well as Girl in Hyacinth Blue.

Bryce Elliott is a morally bankrupt, world-renowned attorney who has one goal in life: he wants to make one hundred million dollars by his fortieth birthday. Bryce believes that money alone has the power to emancipate a man from the shackles of a powerless and meaningless life. His life is evolving as planned: he is rich and powerful, living on Fifth Avenue in New York City, and master of a universe that he has carefully and meticulously cultivated. Just when Bryce is about to reach his goal, his life takes a dramatic and very unexpected turn. An ancient and mysterious book, Art and Artists, is indirectly passed on to Bryce by The Keeper of the Royal Academy in London. The book has no publisher or author and is full of personal revelations from artists both famous and unknown. Bryce is told four details about the book: he's not to ask questions about the book because the answers are indefinite and intangible; the book has been in existence for hundreds of years; the book will inexplicably change from time to time, and the ownership of the book is provisional. The book steers Bryce towards a different journey.

The story is relevant in today’s world where the insatiable greed of a few has taken an immense toll on many—politically, economically and spiritually. The novel addresses the eternal philosophical question: is there direction and meaning in one’s life beyond the individual's own will?

The novel integrates two strains of storytelling; financial thriller and a spiritual inquiry through the medium of art. The Times summed it up as an intriguing and unique bold hybrid: Wall Street meets The Alchemist.

JohnC7Strand
Posts: 3
Joined: 25 May 2019, 21:59

Re: New York Pitch Assignments

#11 Post by JohnC7Strand » 04 Jun 2019, 18:56

Assignment 1
Story statement: Jay seeks to uncover the connection between a mysterious lake and the Apollo space program.

Assignment 2
Primary antagonist: Burkholder has devoted his life to a Top Secret government project designed to communicate with a light-inhabiting alien race. After working with Jay’s father for decades, he poses as Jay’s therapist to influence him into visiting an extraterrestrial site here on Earth, which has the façade of an idyllic mountain lake. But as he keeps convincing Jay to go back, he is unwittingly playing into the hands of the aliens, which have no regard for carbon-based life and seek to use Jay’s DNA for their own purposes.

Assignment 3
Possible titles: BURNING ANGELS, THE INTELLIGENCE HACK, PERFORMANCE: HUMANS ON EARTH

Assignment 4
Comps: CONTACT by Carl Sagan: The driving force behind the government’s objectives is to establish contact with an extraterrestrial species that appears to be sending them messages through a family’s DNA. To that end they execute a series of actions informed by what they believe to be the alien preferences. Ultimately, these actions lead to revelations about the meaning of Earth and life-supporting planets like Earth.

EVERYTHING'S EVENTUAL by Stephen King: Jay is a gifted hacker with an unusual talent for all types of disruption. He is being used by forces he doesn’t understand and is unwittingly responsible for the deaths of millions.

*LOST by J.J. Abrams (a TV series): The action revolves around ‘the lake’ and attempting to understand what exactly the lake is and how it works in practice. In doing so, Jay copes with feelings of loss and anger over the deaths of his brother and father.


Assignment 5
Primary conflict: Jay struggles against alien and government forces attempting to use him to unlock the secrets of human intelligence.

Assignment 6
Internal conflict: Jay struggles against his desire to uncover the secrets of his father’s past and the fear of the awesome power they seem to wield.
Example: Each time he returns from his father’s favorite lake, most people in town suffer acute insomnia and hallucinations that take the form of dark shadows. Although, Jay himself is unaffected, the person closest to him is, yet he feels like he has to keep returning if only to find out what it all means.

Secondary conflict: Jay is torn between love for Lena who has compassion for all and his ambivalent feelings towards others that manifest in a desire to destroy anyone who insults someone close to him.
Example: When a drunk in a wine bar makes fun of how skinny Lena is by calling her ‘Long Stick Pip’, Jay seemingly shrugs it off. But despite his promise to Lena, he can’t control himself and finds a way to hack into the drunk’s accounts and wreck his life.

Assignment 7
Setting: Jay feels compelled to journey again and again to an idyllic mountain lake where he sees flashes of light all around him and trees blink in and out of existence. But it is always under guard and is just as mysterious as the deceased father he is attempting to get to know. By contrast, Jay lives in a town devoid of anything remotely interesting, save for one person, who he continues to come back for – Lena.

AnnaBrightC7
Posts: 1
Joined: 25 May 2019, 09:46

Re: New York Pitch Assignments

#12 Post by AnnaBrightC7 » 07 Jun 2019, 14:31

Assignment 1
Be a successful detective and break through the barriers of prejudice.

Assignment 2
Back home in the Pacific North West, Billie’s loved and respected but the second he steps out into the world he’s made to feel as if he doesn’t measure up.
The director of the French Secret Police calls him a retard, disgusted that a person who’s developmentally challenged could be considered worthy of working a case. A German businessman treats him with less respect than a dog. Jet-setters in Ibiza blatantly ignore or wrinkle their noses at him for daring to invade their trendy paradise. People unaccustomed to someone a bit different shrink back from him and he must continually win them over.

The antagonistic force of prejudice bears down upon the brothers with the gravity of social bias outside the enclave of friends and family. Billie becomes a mirror that reflects the warped image of those who focus solely upon this difference and can’t see him for the person he is.

Assignment 3
BROTHERS of the LOST SOUL AGENCY
THE DOWN SYNDROME DETECTIVE

Assignment 4
In this High-concept, Up Lit series, a developmentally challenged Sherlock Holmes meets a low brow version of The Rosie Project and collides with The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.
There’s nothing comparable to what I’ve written on the market, albeit you will encounter the excitement and adventure of an Arthur Conan Doyle story, the difference in how a person born with a certain condition perceives the world, as in Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project plus the humanity and warmth pervading McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series.

Assignment 5
Removed from a trusted environment, where he’s respected and loved, Billie’s thrust into a society that doesn’t expect much of him and together with his brother he attempts to bridge the gap between worlds.

Assignment 6
Dox is conflicted. Is it wrong of him to bring his brother along on detective jobs and subject him to ridicule? Should Billie stay home? He loves his brother and has a hard time refraining from slugging anyone who insults him, but violence scares Billie and there’s always another bigot lining up to have a go.

How do you deal with a society that never wholly accepts you?

Hypothetical scenario:
Dox is methodical but Billie searches for clues in places where no one in his right mind would look. His randomized and itchy fingered methods of detecting unearth leads and enrage the police, who are left with mud on their face. Instead of accepting that they’ve been bested by a backwoods detective and Down syndrome sleuth, the authorities arrest the brothers for obstruction and throw them in jail.

Assignment 7
Part of my fascination with writing this series is that I get to travel.
We start in Paris at the elegant Hotel de Ville, with La Siene snaking through the city in a band of gray silk, proceed to Manhattan under a blood red moon and take an involuntary dip in the Hudson.
Flying to Rio de Janeiro, a city that takes us to extremes with its splendorous beaches and sprawling slums, we solve a case and move on to Barcelona, graced with Gaudi’s organic architecture and labyrinthine market places. Further south, on the island of Ibiza, we attend a foam party at Club Amnesia then dive into the jewel-like aquamarine of the Mediterranean.

Homeward bound, we sail to a lush rain-forest in the Pacific North West with creamy white spirit bears and russet wolves: a place where bio mass – the actual weight of life – is greater than anywhere else on the planet. Digging deeper into the landscape we kayak past licorice ferns and trek into Hidden Valleys, a secret First Nation abode. The story culminates on a ledge with an endless panorama of forest and water extending before us.

C7MichaelSchneider
Posts: 1
Joined: 26 May 2019, 00:54

Re: New York Pitch Assignments

#13 Post by C7MichaelSchneider » 07 Jun 2019, 19:07

1. The chosen hero must navigate through the many obstacles that impede his path to save the world he knows.

2. The opposing forces that hero must face vary, but fall into two distinct categories: Abstract and Collective.

The abstract portion firstly consists of the protagonist’s depression. It hinders the very foundation of the way his power functions and causes him to be very reckless with his life because even though he’s chosen he simply cannot see himself as truly necessary. The other part is Astinos’ inexperience combined with the sudden recognition of humanity within the collective opposition, which is set off by the very first encounter.

Those within this collective are the ‘world enders,’ so to speak. They are the much more directly understood threat. Though domination and destruction seem to be the sole driving forces, it’s not nearly so simple. Blood-line feuds, undying mutual histories, pure lust for power, and even the pursuit of knowledge regardless of ethics or humanity, these are some of what drives the individual members of this antagonistic force. There is even a contrast of brutality and affection, though the latter is perverted by the environment they come from. With the exception of the ‘Supreme Hive Queen,’ Hoobrum, all members of the enemy force fall under one of three divisions: Scouting, Extermination, and Experimentation.

3. Ode to the Darkest Days: Origins; Where the Dark Lies: Origins, Symphony of Darkness: Origins

4. Genre: New Adult, Fantasy

• Fatemarked by David A. Estes: (From a foundational stand point, this book shares a good deal of similarities with mine. While the story told is very different, the set-up is certainly comparable.)
(a) Both Estes’ and my own star characters that are teenagers, though my group as a whole is more varied in age. Still, the two most important characters of my novel, Veronica and Astinos, are sixteen and nineteen respectively. While Fatemarked leans lighter in terms of subjecting its characters to adult experiences, it still handles them with an honesty that is more expected of an Adult novel. Simply put, while there’s a difference in how much Estes and myself take advantage of the the more liberal bounds of a New Adult, we both expose teenage characters to more mature experiences.
(b) Both Fatemarked and my novel feature less physical and environmental description than is usual, meaning that not as bogged with, what at times, seems like ‘page dressing.’ It not only helps keep the story tight and moving, but allows more focus to fall on the characters.
(c) Both Fatemarked and mine are character driven. That being said, the characters in mine are a bit stranger as a whole. However, despite my view of his being more of the type expected, Estes’ and mine both are explored in ways that really allow the reader to get to know them.
(d) Veronica, my character, and Anisse, his, are female characters among the lead cast, who are effected by sexism. They are very different people, but they share that struggle, clearly dealing with emotional and psychological consequences of their experiences.
(e) Lastly, both books feature setting jumps. While his are clearly divided up, the fact remains that it, like mine, presents the movements of various characters throughout the story, allowing many views prior to an eventual meeting. It puts the reader ‘in the know’ about many things that the characters do not. That being said, I focus on the antagonistic elements more than he does.

• Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien: (Looking at the more presentational aspects of novel creation, there are similarities between his first book and mine, though foundational commonality is not entirely absent.)
(a) The Fellowship of the Ring (FOTR) features poetry throughout, as does mine. There is a difference in how it is implemented. Most of the instances are before each chapter, with only scarce appearances within the narrative, proper. There is also an underlying purpose to their presence beyond the mood they create. Both my use and his, however, color the experience of the reader.
(b) Tolkien created multiple fictional languages, while I can boast one with another in development. I don’t claim my current to be quite as skillfully created as someone who had so much more experience on the subject, but with over 250 words and growing, it is indeed a usable language. I even have rules found in the back of the book and like him, I have a history informing a certain degree of its structure.
(c) A surplus of background history in general is another common trait, with much of mine in vocab, rather than being laced throughout the text or in pages that precede the story, like in FOTR. The notes I use to define at the bottom are abbreviated versions. I’m considering putting full versions of them in an appendix at the end. These consist of histories in regards to people, plants, and animals; I believe it matches up nicely with what he does, at least in regards to providing extra depth to the world
(d) There is a good degree of similarity between Astinos and Frodo. Both are more or less lacking in skills that would make one peg them as capable and were leading rather simple lives. Like him, Astinos doesn’t really possess any skills that could be utilized for ‘grander things.’ Granted, Astinos is ‘chosen’ and gets powers that put him above the average person, but he’s never been a fighter, or a hunter, or learned ‘tough love on the streets.’ Astinos is just a guy thrown into a situation that seems like he has business being in. Like Frodo, he needs the people with him; he’d be dead without them. After all, in the early going, his powers don’t really work and never really takes the role ‘leader.’

Note: Unfortunately, certain important aspects such as some key narrative features and the presence of the character 'Methprosue' could not be likened to an existing book, at least not in the genre. I would be happy to elaborate further, if it is desired.

5. After being pronounced ‘chosen,’ Astinos must navigate his way past the farce that is his mission’s simplicity, facing truths that are just as sharp as any blade. What’s more, he must balance the weight of the responsibility thrust upon him with his desire to rescue Milena, the woman he loves, who has been taken and is held somewhere in the vast lands of the secluded North.

6. Secondary:
• First and foremost to the plot is Astinos’ history with the political and religious hierarchies of the Artloian Empire. Though mostly only alluded to in this first book, it has had a huge on him, such as his assumptions about authority figures and played a major role in the development of his depression. Astinos’ experiences with the nobility and church of the Artloian Empire causes him to distrust the intentions of all those in power. He will act in a false manner— meek and complimentary— that hides a roaring disdain, sometimes even absolute hatred.
• There are social conflicts within in the Sybusa, the fortress that Veronica’s people call home. When the survivors arrive there, tensions arise due to prejudice and will reach their peak in the next book. However, even before they progress to the eventual tipping point in book 2, the tension leads to a fight between two most central characters of the first book, Astinos and Veronica.
• As she is guiding them to safety, the refugees from the attacked on Willowick take out their anger on Veronica in a very sexist way. Despite her being only sixteen, they make crude sexual remarks about her in accordance with questioning her fitness to lead. This sexism was displayed prior to this, but the strain of the situation causes it all to balloon.
• The strain caused by their fear of death and having seen many die already, also leads to general tensions between the main cast, who have for different reasons held on to their sanity and the refugees from Willowick. Astinos and his companions must deal with those who succumb to the pressure and at point fall under the sway of a truly vile individual.
• Present more in the second half, there is a struggle for the secondary characters to find roles in the new state of things. They become disillusioned and feel powerless, as most are not warriors. While this resolved in book 2, the groundwork is laid in this book
• Xavier and Barth are hinted to be a couple all throughout the second half of the novel and are explicitly revealed towards the end. They have been in a relationship for over a decade, but kept it a secret due to societal pressures. Now in Sybusa, in the second half, they end up struggling with this new freedom to be gay, fighting over if they should be open about and what the relationship will be, moving forward.

Example: Astinos’ experiences with the church and nobles, means that if, for example, he was called, “A feckless ape, without an ounce of true worth, a man fit only to retrieve feces from a noble’s pet dog or serve as a footstool for the High Chantor’s secret ‘pleasure-girl,’” he’d agree without hesitation; he would likely add a bow that would put his face against the floor. However, in his head, he might be beating the nobleman or Chantor over the head with their favorite teapot or using their best pair of boots to crush their testicles.

Tertiary/Inner:
Astinos:
• Can he kill the enemy? It seemed much easier before his opponent Gactehar proved far more sympathetic than he expected. Now he can’t help but wonder what stories the others may have.

• Can he overcome his errors and not drown in them? Astinos takes lost life upon his shoulders. He’s tortured by the lives he’s allowed to be lost. These tragedies make him doubt he was the right person to be chosen. That leads to a confusing push back, for as a believer in the Creator, a mission by an Archium should be infallible. He’s pushed back and forth by these conflicting conclusions.

• Can he truly be the hero he was told he was told he was? At his core, he doesn’t believe that at all. Milena was the one who made him feel like he a person who was valuable, but with her taken, he finds it impossible to think of his life as being worth enough to save the world or even her. And then, of course, he feels even lower of person, for such a conclusion is in defiance of the Archium.

Ex: All three issues hinder his powers. He can’t find the answers he needs to the mysteries that persist, the remedy for the guilt that builds, or a belief that he truly is capable. Without these, it’s likely he will lose because even if he finds the ability to fight under these conditions, his powers will be weaker and he will have less control; he could end up allowing innocent people to get hurt, either by the enemy or himself, either intensifying his inability to function as a hero.

Veronica:
• Veronica fears her own anger, largely because of an incident that occurred when she was thirteen. She has an unconscious lock on her strength that is holding back her fighting potential, even when it comes to enemies that she has no qualms about engaging; she herself is not aware of this latter fact. It has also affects her emotionally, causing her to label herself as a ‘monster’ on more than one occasion. She wants to be a hero, more than anything. And giving into to anger defies her vision of one.

• Veronica feels guilty over her attraction to Astinos, as she is supposed to helping him rescue Milena and the feeling is new for her, bringing forth a kind of intensity that she is not used to. It further fuels her self-labeling of ‘monster.’ It should be noted, though, that part of what fuels it is an unnatural force buried within her mind.

Ex: Of all these, the trauma is the most central for this book, with the other gaining notable importance in the next book. A scenario of the former would be: Veronica is walking around at night and some drunk dudes start making rude comments about her. She’d likely try to ignore them, but eventually she yell back at them and flash them eyes that would likely make them run. Despite the fact that she handled a situation that she didn’t start without even laying a hand on them, even getting that far would fill her head with negative thoughts about herself. She fears even approaching that edge, of coming anywhere near being brought to violence against another person.

7. From location to location the environment changes, with tension always present. (A town on the brink of panic, a remote refuge full of death, the vast sands of the Oslanta and Nacafowta deserts, a fortress whose safety is soured by an air of social tensions, lands adjacent to the destroyed city of Halah, and the place that holds the bulk of Astinos’ traumas, Northern Artlo.) And yet there is the ever-present contrast of comedy, laughs in defiance of the despair; it is the way that one survives. And yet, be it crushing fear or looming danger, something is always creeping about, hiding amongst happy moments, though sometimes so subtle that it’s hard to see. The same goes for the many mysteries and questions.

Most of all it’s about the people, though. Hardships of many characters are not simply put on display, but thoroughly explored. Though are the ‘chosen one,’ their lives meaning something within the story. In fact someone as unlikely as a young woman who can’t fight, isn’t a leader-type, who doesn’t have some hidden intelligence, etc. proves herself to be one of the most influential in saving the world.

All in all, it is a setting that is full of mystery, laughs that range from cute to absurd, and threats that refuse to remain ‘put away.’

elenashapiroc7
Posts: 1
Joined: 06 Jun 2019, 00:01

Re: New York Pitch Assignments

#14 Post by elenashapiroc7 » 08 Jun 2019, 01:40

NB: This book is a memoir, not a novel.

1. Story statement

Understand men and the world they have created, yet go on living.


2. The antagonist

Tom, the professor. I fell in love with him when I was 27, while not falling out of love with my husband. After two years of trying to forget him, I had a relationship with him with the knowledge and consent of my husband. The connection was passionate and electric, but he was not a good man—evil seems too grand a word, he was just a garden variety asshole: the kind of man who cheats on his wife with his students, passive-aggressive and cowardly, vicious when jealous. He nevertheless induced a crisis within me; I had chosen him, so why did he treat me badly? What did it mean that I could love a man who lied constantly? He shattered my worldview. With him I enacted the Freudian fracture that daughters are supposed to have with their fathers, the drama I never had with my own father because I never had a connection with him. He was my first extramarital lover, and the lover who brought all the other men after him—the men with whom I rebuilt myself and my ability to love.

3. Titles

Dive
Chronicle of a Body
Flowers, Alive

4. Comparables

Kathryn Harrison, the Kiss
I’ve had several people bring up this book while discussing my memoir, and it blew my mind at first, because I did not have sex with my father! Well, not literally. It makes sense within the context of Tom being a catalyst father figure, and some of what happens being a little bit shocking. For instance, I eventually have sex for money, all in a spirit of discovery. Like Harrison’s memoir, mine is also rather unflinching.

Marguerite Duras, The Lover (L’amant)
I grew up in Paris, and it shows in the general “frenchness” of my memoir. Like Duras, I also write of myself in the third person at times and move the story unexpectedly in time and space. The Lover might be the work of hers that most closely connects, given my memoir also features a cataclysmic lover who upends my life. The sensuality of my prose can recall Duras. An interviewer at Publisher’s Weekly also compared my first novel to Anaïs Nin’s work.

5. Conflict line

A wife takes an older lover, who shatters her heart and worldview. The only way forward she can find is… a string of other lovers.

6. Conflicts, secondary

After my collision with Tom I was shattered, gutted, empty, hopelessly depressed. Therapy and pills did not work. I came to the conclusion that the insurmountable strength of my pain came not so much from being wronged by an individual—the impact of Tom on my life was of allegorical scope. It was an encapsulation of the man-woman problem, the power imbalances inherent to biology and a patriarchal society. The only way forward was to study this problem with dedicated fieldwork, namely more men.

An additional complication to this whole process was that I had a husband the whole time! A husband I did not want to lie to, who had to watch this whole bizarre process. It brought up interesting questions on what makes a marriage. After all we signed a ketubah, or wedding contract, a leftover from times in which the man more or less purchased the woman. This makes me property. Perhaps a central conflict in my life is that I do not want to be property, and this is very difficult within a patriarchal and capitalist system.

7. Setting

Psychological setting:

Adultery. A great deal of the memoir takes place in adulterous space. It’s a strange, hermetic place, necessarily secret, where emotions are amplified. It is a transient space that induces a certain kind of weird honesty in people rarely found in this world, a space where pressures are released. It is, perhaps, a necessary underworld where people can be their true selves in order to keep functioning beneath their masks in the greater world.

Physical settings:

Childhood in Paris. Where I was formed, which means I will never be entirely American, and thus always a bit of an outsider, an observer. This strange little disconnect makes me entirely suited for adultery: I am always in two places at once.

San Francisco, where I have sex with millionaires. Adultery is in many ways a rich man’s sport: one needs time and special space for it, which usually means money. It gave me an opportunity to study not only men, but rich men, which certainly amplified the power issues I was grappling with. It was a fascinating place to visit, but I would not want to live there.

RawleBrownC7
Posts: 1
Joined: 03 Jun 2019, 05:58

Re: New York Pitch Assignments

#15 Post by RawleBrownC7 » 08 Jun 2019, 02:54

FIRST ASSIGNMENT: write your story statement.
Khadijah Jenkins must prove that she is a loyal friend and a worthy life partner by saving New York City from an environmental disaster.

SECOND ASSIGNMENT: in 200 words or less, sketch the antagonist or antagonistic force in your story.
Gennady Malenkov is a rough-hewn Russian oligarch. Driven by ruthless ambition, he plays Hunger Games type contests with his fellow plutocrats while stabbing them in the back and causing endless pain to the unwitting players. He is seething that Forrest Underhill’s project will steal one of his customers and make Forrest richer at Gennady’s expense. He is willing to do anything, including the destruction of New York City, to get his way.
Forrest Underhill is a wealthy plutocrat with the tunnel vision of someone born into wealth, unable to see how his actions affect others. He has Gennady’s venality without the criminal pathology. His willingness to put New York City at the risk of environmental disaster precipitates the conflict.

THIRD ASSIGNMENT: create a breakout title
Superhero 2.0
The Backasswards Savior
An Unusual Rescuer

FOURTH ASSIGNMENT: comparables
Contemporary adult thriller – irreverent, heavy comedic overtones approaching satire
Hunger Games meets ‘Cari Mora’ (by Thomas Harris)

FIFTH ASSIGNMENT: write your own conflict line following the format above.
A successful businesswoman must take on a group of plutocrats whose hunger for wealth threatens to destroy the ecosystem of New York.


SIXTH ASSIGNMENT: sketch out the conditions for the inner conflict your protagonist will have.
Inner: A successful businesswoman with serious doubts about her ability to be loyal falls into the trap of proving to a group of friends that she is indeed loyal by taking on a Herculean task of going up against powerful forces. Our unlikely hero, a gay, black, woman, has severe feelings of inadequacy, having been born in a penal institution and spending the first six years of her life under the tutelage of a mad psychologist. However, she has acquired mad martial arts and ninja skills, being taught by the owner of a Chinese takeout restaurant who felt sympathy for her when he caught her robbing his store when she was a teenager.
Secondary: A serial cheater, who grew up with feelings of abandonment from society and her family, sees a way to win back her lover by taking on a herculean task to impress her. If she fails she will be abandoned again, this time by her lover.

FINAL ASSIGNMENT: sketch out your setting in detail.
Metropolitan New York City – the haunts and hang out spots for a wide array of classes, races and economic sectors of society. Manhattan penthouses with magnificent views to cramped subway cars. Underfunded city neighborhoods in disarray to over-organized condo building communities in trendy neighborhoods. Coffee shops and diners, night clubs, yachts on the Hudson, penal institutions, brownstone Brooklyn, the ‘forgotten’ parts of Brooklyn. Leisure vessels on the lower Hudson to hiking trails outside New York City. The Hamptons, and Uber, make an appearance as well as various upstate sporting activities.
There is also a scene of a US Army helicopter rescuing two of our characters from a boat under attack by the Mujahideen.
The interaction of the people who inhabit these various settings displays the classism, racism, and sexism prevalent in the urban metropolis.

LuAnnBillettC7
Posts: 1
Joined: 06 Jun 2019, 00:01

Re: New York Pitch Assignments

#16 Post by LuAnnBillettC7 » 08 Jun 2019, 04:45

1. THE ACT OF STORY STATEMENT


16-year-old photographer Jules must accept the supernatural changes within her to catch a killer.

2. THE ANTAGONIST PLOTS THE POINT


In Sensitivity Strikes, Jules is grappling with two strong forces: a supernatural ability she doesn’t want, and a killer no one else seems to believe exists. She must learn to accept and control her powers of sensitivity, pushing many potential allies away in the process. The more she is able to harness her powers, the deeper she digs, the closer she gets to finding the killer. Ultimately, she must also learn to protect herself as the killer may be closer than she thinks.

3. Breakout Title

Sensitivity Strikes

Sensitivity Strikes, book one of the Sensitivity Girl series.


3. GENRE AND APPROACHING COMPARABLE


Genre: YA Supernatural Thriller

Comparable Titles:

The Hidden Memory of Objects
by Danielle Mages Amato

“Megan Brown’s brother, Tyler, is dead, but the cops are killing him all over again. They say he died of a drug overdose, potentially suicide—something Megan cannot accept. Determined to figure out what happened in the months before Tyler’s death, Megan turns to the things he left behind. After all, she understands the stories objects can tell—at fifteen, she is a gifted collage artist with a flair for creating found-object pieces. However, she now realizes that her artistic talent has developed into something more: she can see memories attached to some of Tyler’s belongings—and those memories reveal a brother she never knew.”

The Hidden Memory of Objects compares strongly with Sensitivity Strikes as Meg, like Jules, is dealing with mysterious powers and must learn to understand and use that power to understand her brother's death. The protagonists both offer the first-person present occasionally unreliable, narrative. The teenage characters learn significant secrets about themselves and those around them. Digging deeply into what lies beneath the surface, they discover how little they really knew about the people in their lives.


We Were Liars
by E. Lockart

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars, like Sensitivity Girl, investigates secrets, lies, and what lies hidden from the surface. Truth and Lies are presented, not as black and white concepts, but a range of gray areas based on circumstance and point of view.




5. Conflict Line
Jules has always struggled with social situations and interpersonal relationships, as well as feeling out of place. Jules doesn’t want to be special; she wants to be invisible.

6. Primary and Secondary Conflict

Jules must first wrestle with a set of abnormal powers she does not want. While she felt like she might be freakish in the past, her ability to see deeply into the feelings and character of others means is definitively a freak. The more she tries to ignore it, the more aspects of the ability are revealed to her.

Until she discovers her best friend hanging lifeless in his barn. Based on her recently acquired abilities, Jules knows its murder. When she learns that law enforcement has written it off as just another teen suicide, Jules is forced to re-evaluate her powers, her relationships, and her goals in order to catch a killer.



7. Setting


Sensitivity Strikes is set in a fictional small town in central Pennsylvania in the very early 1990s.
Primarily middle to lower middle class, single income, nuclear families live seemingly one-dimensional lives, and those families not falling under that description stand out in stark contrast. Yet even in small town America, is anyone ever exactly who they appear to be?
Jules works for a small catering company which places her in direct contact with people at their most important and vulnerable moments. She is witness to a wide range of characters from a variety of financial and social perspectives. Jules studies it all from behind a buffet station and a camera lens. The time period enhances the depth of mystery involved in finding information and connecting to others without the modern aid of digital cameras, cell phones, computers, and the internet. Very little is instant in 1991. A soundtrack of indie music and MTV’s 120 minutes provides therapy for Jules and the tone for the range of secrets and surprises Jules lying in wait for her in her journey.

TedWesenbergC7
Posts: 1
Joined: 23 May 2019, 02:42

Re: New York Pitch Assignments

#17 Post by TedWesenbergC7 » 08 Jun 2019, 17:58

1. The Act of Story Statement:
Capture North Korean rebels, who are his siblings, to save Seoul from nuclear attack.

2. The Antagonist Plots the Point:
The Chollimas. North Korean rebels who kidnap people and steal secrets for ransom to fund their nuclear ambitions. Led by Kang and Aruem, a deadly brother-sister pair, they aim to overthrow the North Korean regime, which grows fat on shrimp while the nation starves. The regime of elites who charged their father, a national hero, with state crimes when he tried going South to retrieve his illegitimate son in Seoul. Kang escaped from North Korean death camp, where he developed a flair for brutality and Elvis Presley ballads. Areum, a former North Korean opera star, was forced out of showbusiness to bear the child of a murderous army colonel. Having played mistress to the highest-ranked officials—including the Supreme Leader himself—Areum’s connections run deep. Now that she has sprung Kang from Prison Camp 22, they will launch their plot to reignite the war between North and South Korea—a war the North cannot win. The Chollimas will attack South Korea with tactical nukes, making it appear as if the North is responsible. Finally, the rotten regime that destroyed their family will crumble. But something takes them by surprise. Their father’s bastard has grown up to become Pok Seo-jun, South Korea’s finest operative—the man who specializes in capturing high-value targets.

3. Conjuring Your Breakout Title:
-Seoul Operative
-Blood of the Hanminjok
-North Korean Blood

4. Deciding Your Genre and Approaching Comparables:
-Barry Eisler. Author of the John Rain series, about the Japanese assassin who makes death look like natural causes.
Barry Eisler, former CIA, left intelligence work to write novels set in Asia, with a Japanese protagonist. His audience reads espionage and techno-thrillers. When surveyed, this audience reads primarily for: 1) pleasure, 2) escapism, and 3) to learn technical aspects of a discipline: I.E. spy tradecraft, new technologies, martial arts.

-Jack Carr. The Terminal List. 2018 hit techno-thriller.
Jack Carr, former Navy Seal, writes novels informed by military experience. My work in military intelligence informs the plot, characters, their goals and dilemmas.

5. Considering the Primary Conflict:
To stop a nuclear attack by North Koreans, South Korea’s top operative must face dark family secrets linking him back to the North, and even his own death.

6. Other Matters of Conflict:
-Inner conflict: When a high-profile mission goes wrong – in a very public way – Pok, South Korea’s top operative, finds himself deactivated from Sky Branch, alone, and haunted by suspicions that his late father spied for North Korea.

-Secondary conflict: In the black moment, Pok learns that the North Koreans behind the nuclear attack now claim to be related to him, and to have information about his father’s mysterious disappearance—worse they’ve captured Nari, Pok’s co-operator (and love interest).

7. The Incredible Importance of Setting:
1. Seoul, South Korea: Urbane and sophisticated. Concrete and glass.
-Port of Incheon: glittering with bright lights, yachts and cigarette boats. A behemoth cruise ship brimming with sounds of laughter and clinking glasses.
-Pok’s apartment: a poorly-lit, two-bedroom for one. Fridge filled with lonely beers and half-used condiments, kitchen sink smells of gun rags. Only photographs are of his ailing mother and mysterious father.
-Red Lounge: cocktail bar, low-lit, plays Korean wartime records. Ideal venue for conversations both sensitive and intimate.
-Sky Branch HQ: heavily-fortified, imposing. Office of National Intelligence Services (NIS).
-Lotte World Tower: 88-story glass superstructure. Heart of the Seoul skyline. A symbol of capitalist power, in direct contrast to the poverty of communist North Korea.

2. North Korea, Undisclosed Locations: Darkness. Mists rising over mountains of incandescent green. Brutalist architecture.
-Fatherland’s Bounty: a North Korean fishing boat—a ghost ship of starved corpses. Reeks of rotting squid. A deck slippery with melted ice and littered with cigarette butts. Not even a VHF radio.
-Prison Camp 22: child prisoners with earth-spattered faces tilling fields. Interrogation chamber, drab, concrete, smells of saliva and human entrails.

3. Jeju Island, South Korea: Sunshine and swaying palms. Steamy nights. Luxurious restaurants, boozy tropical drinks and plates heaping with aphrodisiacs.
-The Villas: high-end hotel, bright rooms, fluffy beds in the honeymoon suite.
-Grand Oceano: luxurious seaside hotel, which hosts a millionaire’s auction.
-Kang’s Lair: The caves at Alddreu Airfield. Renovated WWII airplane hangar, where Kamikaze pilots trained, and tortured prisoners starved.
-SPA jimjilbang. A bathhouse where the super-rich conduct business and satisfy desires.
-The Chollimas’ plane: Antonov A-2 Colt, North Korean special operations asset. Will fly nuclear payload into the heart of Seoul, colliding with Lotte World Tower, to reignite the war.

KARENDAUGHERTYC7
Posts: 1
Joined: 27 May 2019, 06:21

Re: New York Pitch Assignments

#18 Post by KARENDAUGHERTYC7 » 10 Jun 2019, 03:47

ASSIGNMENT 1: The story statement
Leah McKinney must tell the truth in order to save her life.

ASSIGNMENT 2: The Antagonist
Nash Sanders is a former college football star. He’s used to the limelight and being the center of attention. He’s also the very definition of a narcissist. He’s charming, gorgeous and sucks the life out of everyone he meets. Nash gives just enough for Leah, the MC, to think she matters and to keep her hanging on for dear life. A small compliment or an “I love you,” here and there. He preys on her because she’s weak. He creates doubt in Leah through manipulation and control. Nash only sees his needs, wants, and desires. He serves no other purpose to Leah other than to cause chaos, distorted thoughts and feelings of worthlessness.

ASSIGNMENT 3: Breakout Title
Finding Emma Street
The Me I Was Before You
Chasing Emma Street

ASSIGNMENT 4: Comparables
“Big Little Lies” by Liane Moriarty
“One Day in December” by Josie Silver

ASSIGNMENT 5:
A young woman’s narcissistic boyfriend uncovers her dark secret and threatens to expose it to everyone.

ASSIGNMENT 6:
Inner conflict:
--In this particular scene, the MC, Leah, is triggered by shame/guilt that already exists in her life from a dark secret in her past. She desires to be loved. To feel like she matters so she makes concessions in her relationships and chases after the wrong thing (in this case Nash—the antagonist).

“It’s okay, you’re right, babe. You don’t want me. It’s fine. I get it. It’s not important to you. Okay, go back to bed. It’s fine. Fuck you,” he said flicking the lights off and slamming the bedroom door so hard it knocked one of our picture frames off the wall.

My body flinched at the sound. I hated when he acted like this. It was his drunk talk, and I knew it was his way of getting me to do what he wanted. But, I could never convince myself of it. My heart shattered at his words. Did I not prove, over the last four years, that I would do anything for him, even if it wasn’t what I wanted? I had taken him back after he cheated without even so much as a lecture about how awful he hurt me. Wasn’t that enough? His words only enhanced my feelings of worthlessness. My mind would annihilate any common sense and replace it with a distorted thought of why he treated me like this. If I could just get out of bed at 2 am and celebrate with him, he wouldn’t cheat. If I could just stop complaining about being tired and do this for him, then he would realize how much I loved him and not look for someone else. So, I threw the covers off and chased him like I had so many other nights. Disregarding my own needs and tending to his, but that’s what you do in relationships. It’s a give and take. In the kitchen, he was eating Doritos as the half-empty bottle of Crown was sitting on the counter. I apologized for my selfishness and overloaded him with praise of how proud I was of him. My arms wrapped around his waist and I stood on my tiptoes to kiss his lips reassuring him, again, that I loved him. I fought hard against my inner bitch screaming at me to kick him in the balls and go back to bed, but the need for Nash to love me was too great. I put on my best-tired smile and listened to him for the next two hours talk about the project until he passed out. It was 4 am.

Secondary conflict:
**In this secondary conflict, the MC is battling her feelings that she has for a former lover who she is still very much in love with. However, if he knew her secret about keeping her pregnancy, she knows it would destroy everything.

I told Julia everything. How Ethan and I had fallen in love. I told her about Emma Street Bar and about the promises we made to each other. How he told me I was special and different and he’d always love me—and then the pregnancy. I explained that he was scared and I was, too, but he still dropped me off at the abortion clinic to terminate my pregnancy.

“Dr. Stewart had a private practice in south Dallas and he paid for my rent when I told him I couldn’t go through with the abortion. He helped me find an adoptive family. That summer I had a little boy and I named him Spencer.”

Julia was on cup number 3 by the time I explained the details about Dr. Stewart and how he was running a secret side gig as an abortion doctor while being one of the top-rated OB-GYN doctors in Dallas.

“I never saw Dr. Stewart or Ethan ever again because I moved back home and started college at—“

“Arkansas. Your degree is from the University of Arkansas,” Julia finished my sentence.

“Right. I moved home and finished school there. I knew Spencer was taken care of and with a great family, so I tried my best to forget. I never in a million years thought I’d ever see or hear from either one of them again—until last weekend.”

I told Julia about Dr. Stewart being Thad’s uncle and while that was shock enough, Ethan was Dr. Stewart’s stepson.

“Ethan’s dad passed away when he was very young,” I told her remembering the night Ethan told me about his father. “He told me his mom was remarried, but we didn’t talk much about his parents. I had no idea his stepdad was a doctor.”

Julia was in disbelief. Hanging onto every word, eyes wide, wine cup number 4 half empty.

“So not only was Dr. Stewart at dinner but Ethan as well.”

“Holy shit,” Julia said quietly.

“I know. But it’s worse.”

“It can’t get any worse,” Julia said.

“Something fell through with the agency during Spencer’s adoption process. The family backed out at the last minute. I had no idea because I had already left and chose not to have any contact with any of them. Julia, that night at dinner,” the tears started rolling down my face. “That night at dinner at the Stewarts,” I tried again.
“They--,”

“They what, Leah?” Julia demanded. “They what?”

“Spencer. He—they,” I couldn’t get the words out.

“They have him? They fucking have him?” Julia asked.

“Yes. They adopted him. I saw him.”

Julia sat back on the couch and stared at me in disbelief. For several minutes neither of us said anything as the tears rolled down my face. Julia got up and walked over to me. She took my cup and filled it with more wine. Leaning over she wrapped one arm around my shoulder as I laid my head against her and cried harder. She held me in silence for a few minutes as I processed, for the first time, the events that had unfolded in Dallas. And then, through the silence, she said, “So, are we kidnapping him? Is that what this conversation was about? We’re kidnapping your son, right? I mean, I’m in, I just wanted to make sure we were on the same page.”

We both laughed. We talked some more about Ethan, Spencer and the Stewarts before deciding that both of us were too drunk to drive home. With the hum of the printer working overtime, we passed out on the couch as the bottles of wine sat empty on my desk.

ASSIGNMENT 7: The setting
Louisville, Kentucky:
The story begins in Louisville on the trendy, historic Bardstown Road area. This area of Louisville is as legendary as Churchill Downs in the fact that every May, celebrities, socialites, and commoners frequent the location during Derby week. Louisville has character and charm and yet a vibrant middle America feel. Throughout the novel, the scenes in Louisville change from trendy streets (like Bardstown) to inner-city high schools where the MC works.

Dallas, Texas:
A secondary setting is in Dallas, Texas. From a glamorous country club located in prestigious Highland Park to the campus of SMU, Dallas provides a relatable setting. It’s also the place for the infamous Emma Street (the book’s working title) which is a little dive bar in Deep Ellum.

Newton, Missouri:
Newton is the MC’s hometown. A sleepy village of 10K people in the heart of America. With its rolling hills and a church on every corner, Newton is no place for a girl with a wild side. It packs just enough love to make the MC feel safe and enough judgment to last a lifetime.

DanC7Socci
Posts: 1
Joined: 06 Jun 2019, 20:07

Re: New York Pitch Assignments

#19 Post by DanC7Socci » 10 Jun 2019, 05:59

1. Story Statement –
A reporter undertakes exposing a crooked conman billionaire who is heavily indebted to powerful foreign interests and, under their control, becomes a candidate for U.S. president.

2. Antagonist Force - Roland Krush is a charismatic, ruthless billionaire celebrity businessman who has prevailed despite allegations of fraudulent business dealings and criminal associations throughout his career. Krush accepts an offer from The Party to promote his corporate brand while serving as a sacrificial candidate for U.S. president against opposition thought to be unbeatable. Krush however intends to win the election by playing to “PAWS – Powerful Affluent Whites” and conning “GAWS – Gullible Angry Whites”. He is confident GAWS will believe anything he promises or claims. He predicts GAWS will interpret his sound bite driven, bullying campaign rhetoric as strong, patriotic leadership.

Krush is deeply in debt to foreign business associates led by Sammy Wing. Wing will do whatever is necessary ensure Krush’s election. Wing’s objective is to have a U.S. President he can control while selling Krush’s cooperation to the highest bidder. Kate Jessup, reporter for the Washington Chronicle, begins writing an expose series on Krush’s crooked businesses to jumpstart her stalled career. Just as she is ready to publish her first article, Krush’s candidacy for president is announced. On the campaign trail Krush derides Kate publicly and incites crowds against her. Kate must persevere through threats, attempts on her life, sources with false information and flagging support from colleagues. In addition, some information sources stop cooperating or are involved in fatal accidents.

3. Breakout Title -
Greed & Gullibility
Pierce the Mirage
Foreign Control

4. Genre
Suspense/Thriller

Comparables –
Girl with Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
It Can’t Happen Here, Sinclair Lewis
The Candidate (screenplay) by Jeremy Larner

5 Primary Conflict – Reporter Kate Jessup must overcome attempts to discredit her stories, lynch mob hysteria and hitmen attempts on her life to expose Roland Krush, a ruthless self-serving conman controlled by foreign interests, before he can be elected U.S. president.

6. Inner conflict – Kate must rationalize if her intense commitment to stopping Krush from becoming president is generated by anger she feels from the unrelated murder of her father, a rural county judge, by a criminal her father sentenced. Kate questions whether the risks she is taking for potential career gain to expose a crooked candidate for president are justified or if she is simply pursuing a hopeless effort to avenge her father’s death.

Secondary conflict – Kate deals with the personal conflicts of pursuing an expose series to advance her career while colleagues urge her to drop the project due to physical danger for her, others at the newspaper and her information sources. While Kate’s management encourages her efforts, since her articles increase readership, she knows that if the opposition is successful in discrediting her stories her career will be over.

7. Settings include –

- Washington Chronicle newspaper offices, Washington, D.C.
- Manhattan offices for separate meetings between Roland Krush and his campaign manager, his foreign controller, and his fortune teller
- Hong Kong offices of Sammy Wing, the foreign controller
- Bejing meetings between Sammy Wing and high level representatives of the People’s Republic of China
- Moscow meetings between Sammy Wing and high level representatives of the Russian government
- Protagonist Kate Jessup’s hometown for her father’s funeral.
- Multiple locations on the campaign trail including debates in New Hampshire, Texas and Michigan
- Television studios for news station interviews

ImmortalAngel
Posts: 1
Joined: 04 Jun 2019, 08:33

Re: New York Pitch Assignments

#20 Post by ImmortalAngel » 12 Jun 2019, 06:11

1. Story Statement

Tordan - the former king of his people who has been enslaved, his memory erased, and turned into a cyborg by an invading alien force – must save an elven princess from execution and escape to her homeland of Renwyn.

2. Sketch the Antagonist

A brilliant strategist and hardened Ardak (fiercely intelligent bipedal tiger) warrior, General Slash has conquered ten worlds before Aurora, rising high into the ranks of power in the Ardak Empire. At over a thousand years old, he is one of the oldest living Ardaks. Like the king of the Ardak Empire, his father was also killed by the elves when they originally stole the Ardaks’ crystals from their home planet a thousand years ago. He hates the elves for their betrayal and is solely focused on conquering Aurora for the King and regaining the crystals at all costs. He has no consideration for races he considers inferior and glorifies in torturing his prisoners of war for information and allowing them to be brutally experimented on and turned into cyborgs.

3. Breakout title:

Tordan
A Broken Cyborg
Broken by Magic

4. Genre and Approaching Comparables:

Linnea Sinclair – Action, lots of sci-fi, and romantic elements to full romance
Laurann Dohner – gritty action, sci-fi and romance

5. Conflict line:

When Tordan wakes from his chip and realizes he’s been enslaved by an alien race, he must confront who he really is and his attraction to the mysterious elf he saves.

6. Other matters of conflict:

Individual: On a secondary level, he confronts his guilt over being free and feeling attraction while the rest of the cyborgs are still enslaved. Once he finds out he was their king, he must confront the fact that he left them behind.

Secondary conflict: A man who claims to be his cousin informs him that he was the king of his race before the enslavement, and he feels another layer of guilt at escaping without freeing his people. He feels a duty to get the elf to her homeland to ask the elven king for help.

But his cousin informs him that the elf he’s with cannot be trusted and that the elves have turned them away since the invasion, so he worries about his reception when they arrive.

7. Setting

The setting is the planet Aurora. The Ardaks invaded a year ago and conquered the mountain realm, building a huge fortress into the side of the mountain. Tordan wakes in the caverns below the mountain, where he is guarding the prisoners of war in cells of solid rock. They escape through the harsh darkness of tunnels, over a lava flow, through a forest and canyon, and finally through the ruins of a city demolished in the invasion, each of which offers new challenges and battles against both nature and their pursuers.

Finally, they make it to Renwyn, the elven realm, which has been protected by double shields, and inside they find a forest paradise still filled with magic. But it brings home the fact that the elves hid behind the shield while the rest of Aurora fell, and they have to face the king to find out why.

The final battle between the elves, cyborgs and Ardaks happens in some below-ground caverns under the plain between the mountain and the elven realm – where the Ardaks snuff out their fire and their roars echo along the walls of the caverns, the cyborgs’ eyes glow red, and magic flashes in the darkness.

C7RebeccaMyers
Posts: 1
Joined: 10 Jun 2019, 20:02

Re: New York Pitch Assignments

#21 Post by C7RebeccaMyers » 13 Jun 2019, 04:52

BOOK-FLAP ASSIGNMENT
Sometimes you must let go of something you love to keep it. In the 1970s at the confluence of the early environmental and modern women’s movements, Rebecca Myers partners with her biologist husband to protect a private 1300-acre wildlife sanctuary in the Adirondacks and develop programs, exhibits, and trails for a nature education center. The newlyweds left their jobs at the Kansas University Museum of Natural History to fall in love with the northern forest and their mission to protect wildlife and transform their neighbors of loggers, hunters, factory workers, would-be poachers, and wide-eyed schoolchildren into true believers of protecting the wonders of nature.

In the memoir Sanctuary, Myers conveys her transformation as a suburban-raised artist and educator into a competent naturalist and her courage as a wife in an abusive, controlling marriage to find love, intimacy, and freedom through the healing forces of nature. Her mentor and husband can’t seem to find peace in this idyllic setting and his perfect job. Comic relief occurs in his friendships with a New York State conservation officer and a logging family and struggles with his nemesis, the Beaver Lady, an elderly conservationist with a beaver zoo in her home.

In haunting, lyrical prose, Rebecca Myers crafts an inspiring and unforgettable experience of what it is like to live close to nature, to raise and set free orphaned wildlife, and to let go of the life and love dearest to her heart. Her insightful reflections on what is sanctuary mirror the universal search for peace we can only find within ourselves.

1. FIRST ASSIGNMENT: Story Statement
Sometimes you must let go of something you love to keep it.

2. SECOND ASSIGNMENT: The Antagonist
A well-rounded and intelligent biologist, handyman, and hunter, Larry could name all the birds, mammals, snakes, and plants when leading field trips for the Kansas University Museum of Natural History. During his abusive childhood, the woods were his escape and refuge whenever his father beat his mother or came home in a drunken rage targeting anyone who crossed his path. Larry grew up in a household where obedience, abuse, and despair had the upper hand. Sarcasm was the only humor he knew. College and working on a doctoral degree in ecology was his only way up and away from his family.

Larry was the perfect choice to manage a private 1300-acre wildlife sanctuary and nature education center in the Adirondacks of upstate New York. Here he could be his own boss and live in nature. Larry was a loner but didn’t want to live alone. He sought the ideal mate to support him, a woman who managed the educational programs for the KU museum, marrying her the day before they arrived at the sanctuary. He met his nemesis in the Beaver Lady, an elderly conservationist who kept beavers in her home and had donated part of the sanctuary. He had little tolerance for the Beaver Lady or his staff who couldn’t keep a clean and orderly workshop—but least of all for his wife who shared his dream, but knew her own mind and didn’t include obedience as part of their wedding vows.

3. THIRD ASSIGNMENT: Genre and Breakout Title
Genre: Memoir, Nature, Environmental Nonfiction
SANCTUARY: A Memoir of Wildlife and Marriage in the Adirondacks
SANCTUARY: Out of the Adirondacks
SANCTUARY: A Lost Love, A Lost Life, a Found Peace

4. FOURTH ASSIGNMENT: Comps
1. The movie version of Out of Africa for the haunting tone of looking back at an unforgettable sense of place and time in nature and the struggles of a marriage (the book did not include the marital struggles, only the film version)
2. Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver for the lyrical nature writing
3. A Million Fragile Bones by Connie May Flower for the braided joy of living in nature and the pathos of an abused childhood and the environment
4. Here If You Need Me by Kate Braestrup for the woven pathos and joy of working with Maine game wardens as a spiritual advisor while mourning the loss of a spouse
5. The antithesis of H is for Hawk because of living among wildlife and setting them free, but similar in lyrical beauty and revelations in nature.

5. FIFTH ASSIGNMENT: Conflict Line
A young artist and educator struggles 10 years to stay on a wildlife sanctuary for a mission and place she loves, despite the abuse from her biologist husband.

6. SIXTH ASSIGNMENT: Primary, Secondary, and Inner Conflicts
Primary Conflict:
To our Adirondack community, we seemed like the ideal couple and partners, the artist and the biologist, both educators and lovers of nature. But at home, Larry’s unpredictable rage makes me confused and conflicted. How can I help him? Will he ever change? It’s as if we gave our marriage vows to the Sanctuary, not to each other.

Secondary Conflict:
Larry met his nemesis in the Beaver Lady, an elderly conservationist on the sanctuary who kept beavers in her home and donated land to the sanctuary. He had little patience for this mock scientist who anthropomorphized animals out of the their natural dignity and kept a house zoo with a swimming pool for beavers. The smell of the beaver musk, fermented leaves, wood smoke, apples, and urine permeated her cottage. The Beaver Lady had little regard for Larry’s skill as a scientist. She hated the animal specimen he brought with him from the museum, the skulls and taxidermy showcased and used as teaching tools at the nature center, and his wearing a leather belt and boots.

Inner Conflict:
Most of the time, my husband and I were great work partners as the nature center attracted more and more visitors. But each time violence erupted, I worried it’s my fault. I couldn’t imagine leaving my husband, because I thought love would prevail, and I would also have to leave behind everything I’ve worked for and the sanctuary I loved.

7. FINAL ASSIGNMENT: Detail Settings—Unique and Cinematic Scenes in Your Story
The Times: The times range from 1971 to 1983—the headwaters and confluence of the modern environmental and women’s movements. The memoir takes place at the University of Kansas Museum of Natural History, a childhood tour of some national parks, and a 1300-acre wildlife sanctuary in the Adirondack foothills of upstate New York, near the village of Dolgeville where time stood still compared to the social revolution on the college campus we had just left. Most of all, Larry wanted obedience—as if in the Adirondacks we lived in older times, as if we weren’t on the cusp of social change. This conflict would endure in our marriage.

KU Museum of Natural History: The museum seemed like home to me. Whenever I pulled open the heavy door to the museum, noise of amazement echoed in the open gallery from a young school group viewing the panoramic diorama of North American mammals—with scenes spreading from the tropics to the Arctic that first wowed visitors to the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. I smiled at the cadence of questions and the excitement of discovery. After all, I had just graduated from KU with a Bachelor of Science in Education, and I was bursting with the idealism of changing the world one child at a time.

When I interviewed and hired scientists for the museum’s summer program, Larry stood out as an eager and accomplished applicant. Beyond being a biologist, he could drive the museum’s old blue bus on field trips and even fix it when needed. How that impressed me, as did his six-foot-four tan, muscular frame whenever he took a t-shirt off his long back and drove the bus down hot, dusty backroads.

The Nature Center: The late-1800s dairy barn that became the nature center towered above the forest, a wilderness cathedral made from hand-hewn beams of beech and woodpeckered planks of pine. We developed educational programs and welcomed our community congregation into this Notre Dame of nature to transform our neighbors of loggers, hunters, factory workers, would-be poachers, and wide-eyed schoolchildren into true believers of protecting the wonders of nature.

The Wildlife Sanctuary: Exploring the 1300-acre wildlife sanctuary brought discoveries about nature, ourselves, our dreams, and our marriage. One example: We were like the beavers. The beavers’ dam attracted wildlife, and our work at the nature center would entice visitors for years to come. Younger generations would revel in their connection with nature and take up their role as responsible Earthkeepers. Our future children would grow up loving nature in this northern Eden. It would take much, much more than a beaver’s loud tail-slap on the water to wake me up from my beautiful dream. What is sanctuary? Is it just about safety? Isn't marriage a refuge? What about a feeling of peace, a deep sense of connection? A communion with nature?

Seasons: The seasons were characters and settings unto themselves and brought their own set of challenges and adventures in this wilderness—especially for a suburban-raised housewife.

Winter: We arrived in the middle of a blizzard, our moving van stuck with the tires spinning in a purgatory of going nowhere. A logging truck appeared through the snowfall, and the loggers hooked up our van and dragged it to our new home. Wrapped in deep Adirondack winters, time suspended in white as the wind moaned with yet more frozen cargo. We wrapped ourselves in layers of clothing, too stiff to bend, like mummies. Spring was a foreign country. A trickster thaw would signal time to gather maple sap. Adirondack winters resonate with a deep solitude that I find not at all lonely. The heavy, soft stillness is broken only by the community of wind, the cracking of trees, the bright-day dripping of melting icicles, and the snapping of fire in the wood-burning stove. Even in the sleep of winter, the woods feel alive. I am surrounded, embraced by their grace.

Spring: Eventually, spring overpowered winter with the warmth and will of new life as the white canvas of the Adirondacks transformed to green. A concert of birds migrated into the area. Birds and frogs attracted their mates and claimed their territory through song. Spring peepers trilled their sexy chorus. The woods and the meadow came alive with returning and yearning. With such a chorus of lust all around us, where was our call? We explored the woods more than each other. In nature, creatures like the newt adapted. Could we? Could we transform from newlyweds and become sure-footed in our marriage? Could we grow both independently and together? Questions bit at me like the no-see-ums we slapped—the first pesky tyrants to emerge in a wet spring.

In the spring, NYS Conservation officers often brought wild orphans for us to raise: fawns, black duckling, woodchuck, skunk, owlet. Raising them, but setting them free was one of my most important lessons. Life is about letting go. My daughter Athena, a great-horned owl, was always free as I became a relentless provider for her ravenous hunger. Calling her at sunset, this far-flung beckoning conjured the wild part of myself—my soul—to come back to my body as she swooped in to receive her prize. These gifts of wild orphans gave me something to love, protect, nurture, and set free. And in my darkest moments, that was the most precious gift of all.

End of summer: We celebrated the end of summer and the nature center season with a barn dance. Old Hudson was at the heart of it with his string band. How did he play without music? My classical music training limited me to reading and interpreting printed music. It was as different as reading a story aloud to telling one. His band spun songs out of the night air. Old Hudson did not tuck the fiddle under his sagging chin, but jutted it out from his chest, as if he wanted the sound to come directly from his heart.

Autumn was a time of preparation for the deep winter, chopping and storing wood along with the garden harvest, baking bread on a wood-burning stove—and for patrolling the Sanctuary against hunters. The boundaries of the Sanctuary were all clearly marked, but what were Larry's boundaries on the Sanctuary and in our marriage? We purchased horses to patrol the Sanctuary, even though I was scared of them. What we didn’t know about keeping horses could fill a barn, but we learned. Shady became my confidant in my troubled marriage, and he helped build my confidence. All summer, I taught Shady to pull an antique cart. By fall he was ready. The strong autumn wind blew his black mane like a flag. Behind Shady’s tail, the sulky wheels spun as he clip-clopped down the lane scattered with leaves. I bounced in the seat as the sugar maple trees on either side of the road crowned our triumph in full, blazing glory.

House/Home: The house was small and simple like a picture any child might draw. Covered in gray asphalt shingles, it was not the pretty log cabin I had envisioned, but I did not let myself feel disappointed. Buried in snowdrifts, our gray house sagged on its old stone foundation. Any small critter that was not hibernating could crawl in. An opossum this far north surprised us when she scurried across our dark, dirt-floor basement. We eventually rebuilt the house to three times its original size, kicked off by an Amish-syle barn raising when framing the roof with our logging friends. We used antique wood stoves to cook our food and warm ourselves. You think these times will last forever, that they will never end. Those were my bread-baking and soup-making days—days that would never come again, when time was slow and the house smelled like a home.

The Village: I stepped back in time whenever I entered the old Dolgeville grocery store, letting my eyes adjust to the darkness before I stopped at the worn wooden counter. The smell of fresh coffee beans, oranges, and grains mingled with decades of musty odors seeping out of the old walls. Wooden shelves, crammed with canned and dry goods, climbed all the way to the high ceiling like an interior skyscraper of food. My neck bent to my back as I scanned upwards while the snow from my boots puddled on the plank floor.

The village American Bicentennial event planners asked me to write and direct a musical scene, because I had earlier produced a community variety show at the Dolgeville High School. Inspired by the book Drums Along the Mohawk, a collection of American colonial songs and a book of dances from the 1700s I had purchased in Boston, I created musical vignettes featuring farmers who had taken refuge in forts along the Mohawk River during the Revolutionary War.

JohnC7Strand
Posts: 3
Joined: 25 May 2019, 21:59

Re: New York Pitch Assignments

#22 Post by JohnC7Strand » 13 Jun 2019, 21:20

JohnC7Strand wrote:
04 Jun 2019, 18:56
Assignment 1
Story statement: Jay seeks to uncover the connection between a mysterious lake and the Apollo space program.

Assignment 2
Primary antagonist: Burkholder has devoted his life to a Top Secret government project designed to communicate with a light-inhabiting alien race. After working with Jay’s father for decades, he poses as Jay’s therapist to influence him into visiting an extraterrestrial site here on Earth, which has the façade of an idyllic mountain lake. But as he keeps convincing Jay to go back, he is unwittingly playing into the hands of the aliens, which have no regard for carbon-based life and seek to use Jay’s DNA for their own purposes.

Assignment 3
Possible titles: BURNING ANGELS, THE INTELLIGENCE HACK, PERFORMANCE: HUMANS ON EARTH

Assignment 4
Comps: CONTACT by Carl Sagan: The driving force behind the government’s objectives is to establish contact with an extraterrestrial species that appears to be sending them messages through a family’s DNA. To that end they execute a series of actions informed by what they believe to be the alien preferences. Ultimately, these actions lead to revelations about the meaning of Earth and life-supporting planets like Earth.

EVERYTHING'S EVENTUAL by Stephen King: Jay is a gifted hacker with an unusual talent for all types of disruption. He is being used by forces he doesn’t understand and is unwittingly responsible for the deaths of millions.

*LOST by J.J. Abrams (a TV series): The action revolves around ‘the lake’ and attempting to understand what exactly the lake is and how it works in practice. In doing so, Jay copes with feelings of loss and anger over the deaths of his brother and father.


Assignment 5
Primary conflict: Jay struggles against alien and government forces attempting to use him to unlock the secrets of human intelligence.

Assignment 6
Internal conflict: Jay struggles against his desire to uncover the secrets of his father’s past and the fear of the awesome power they seem to wield.
Example: Each time he returns from his father’s favorite lake, most people in town suffer acute insomnia and hallucinations that take the form of dark shadows. Although, Jay himself is unaffected, the person closest to him is, yet he feels like he has to keep returning if only to find out what it all means.

Secondary conflict: Jay is torn between love for Lena who has compassion for all and his ambivalent feelings towards others that manifest in a desire to destroy anyone who insults someone close to him.
Example: When a drunk in a wine bar makes fun of how skinny Lena is by calling her ‘Long Stick Pip’, Jay seemingly shrugs it off. But despite his promise to Lena, he can’t control himself and finds a way to hack into the drunk’s accounts and wreck his life.

Assignment 7
Setting: Jay feels compelled to journey again and again to an idyllic mountain lake where he sees flashes of light all around him and trees blink in and out of existence. But it is always under guard and is just as mysterious as the deceased father he is attempting to get to know. By contrast, Jay lives in a town devoid of anything remotely interesting, save for one person, who he continues to come back for – Lena.

Pre-conference assignment:

After his brother dies, Jay receives an inheritance with unusual conditions. In order to claim it, he must travel to a lake in the mountains several times. Prodded by his therapist, Jay decides to fulfill the conditions, if only to get to know his deceased father, whose life had been devoted to space exploration, but otherwise remained shrouded in mystery. Much like his father, the significance of the lake itself is a mystery to Jay, especially why it is under guard and constant observation. Soon after his first visit, a massive earthquake strikes India. And each additional visit is followed by similar seismic catastrophe. Close to where he lives, people are troubled with vivid hallucinations. In the midst of a world that seems to be breaking down, Jay begins a relationship with Inken, a yoga instructor from Germany. As his love for her grows, he continues to discover more about his dad’s past and the highly classified role he played in the Apollo space program, which uncovered evidence of a light-inhabiting alien race. Only after several earthquakes does Jay understand that he is caught between his love for Inken and a compulsion to fulfill his destiny as the star of a cataclysmic drama.

JohnC7Strand
Posts: 3
Joined: 25 May 2019, 21:59

Re: New York Pitch Assignments

#23 Post by JohnC7Strand » 13 Jun 2019, 21:22

JohnC7Strand wrote:
13 Jun 2019, 21:20
JohnC7Strand wrote:
04 Jun 2019, 18:56
Assignment 1
Story statement: Jay seeks to uncover the connection between a mysterious lake and the Apollo space program.

Assignment 2
Primary antagonist: Burkholder has devoted his life to a Top Secret government project designed to communicate with a light-inhabiting alien race. After working with Jay’s father for decades, he poses as Jay’s therapist to influence him into visiting an extraterrestrial site here on Earth, which has the façade of an idyllic mountain lake. But as he keeps convincing Jay to go back, he is unwittingly playing into the hands of the aliens, which have no regard for carbon-based life and seek to use Jay’s DNA for their own purposes.

Assignment 3
Possible titles: BURNING ANGELS, THE INTELLIGENCE HACK, PERFORMANCE: HUMANS ON EARTH

Assignment 4
Comps: CONTACT by Carl Sagan: The driving force behind the government’s objectives is to establish contact with an extraterrestrial species that appears to be sending them messages through a family’s DNA. To that end they execute a series of actions informed by what they believe to be the alien preferences. Ultimately, these actions lead to revelations about the meaning of Earth and life-supporting planets like Earth.

EVERYTHING'S EVENTUAL by Stephen King: Jay is a gifted hacker with an unusual talent for all types of disruption. He is being used by forces he doesn’t understand and is unwittingly responsible for the deaths of millions.

*LOST by J.J. Abrams (a TV series): The action revolves around ‘the lake’ and attempting to understand what exactly the lake is and how it works in practice. In doing so, Jay copes with feelings of loss and anger over the deaths of his brother and father.


Assignment 5
Primary conflict: Jay struggles against alien and government forces attempting to use him to unlock the secrets of human intelligence.

Assignment 6
Internal conflict: Jay struggles against his desire to uncover the secrets of his father’s past and the fear of the awesome power they seem to wield.
Example: Each time he returns from his father’s favorite lake, most people in town suffer acute insomnia and hallucinations that take the form of dark shadows. Although, Jay himself is unaffected, the person closest to him is, yet he feels like he has to keep returning if only to find out what it all means.

Secondary conflict: Jay is torn between love for Lena who has compassion for all and his ambivalent feelings towards others that manifest in a desire to destroy anyone who insults someone close to him.
Example: When a drunk in a wine bar makes fun of how skinny Lena is by calling her ‘Long Stick Pip’, Jay seemingly shrugs it off. But despite his promise to Lena, he can’t control himself and finds a way to hack into the drunk’s accounts and wreck his life.

Assignment 7
Setting: Jay feels compelled to journey again and again to an idyllic mountain lake where he sees flashes of light all around him and trees blink in and out of existence. But it is always under guard and is just as mysterious as the deceased father he is attempting to get to know. By contrast, Jay lives in a town devoid of anything remotely interesting, save for one person, who he continues to come back for – Lena.

Pre-conference assignment:

After his brother dies, Jay receives an inheritance with unusual conditions. In order to claim it, he must travel to a lake in the mountains several times. Prodded by his therapist, Jay decides to fulfill the conditions, if only to get to know his deceased father, whose life had been devoted to space exploration, but otherwise remained shrouded in mystery. Much like his father, the significance of the lake itself is a mystery to Jay, especially why it is under guard and constant observation. Soon after his first visit, a massive earthquake strikes India. And each additional visit is followed by similar seismic catastrophe. Close to where he lives, people are troubled with vivid hallucinations. In the midst of a world that seems to be breaking down, Jay begins a relationship with Lena, a yoga instructor from Germany. As his love for her grows, he continues to discover more about his dad’s past and the highly classified role he played in the Apollo space program, which uncovered evidence of a light-inhabiting alien race. Only after several earthquakes does Jay understand that he is caught between his love for Lena and a compulsion to fulfill his destiny as the star of a cataclysmic drama.

CHERYLC7RIVERS
Posts: 1
Joined: 31 May 2019, 19:18

Re: New York Pitch Assignments

#24 Post by CHERYLC7RIVERS » 13 Jun 2019, 23:38

Hi all,
Look forward to meeting you in NYC next week.

The following answers relate to my novel, provisionally titled "Determining the Difference Between Bravery and Stupidity, Aged 49" that I wrote with Colonel Doug Dyer, US Army (retired). I refer to it as Determining in my answers.

Cheers
Cheryl

FIRST ASSIGNMENT: Story statement.

If she’s ever to find true love with her very own Rhett Butler, an Australian business school professor must bridge the seven thousand miles between her and a US Army Colonel in Afghanistan by conquering the slippery beast of online trust and accept that fighting the War on Terror can be quite distracting.


SECOND ASSIGNMENT: Sketch the antagonist or antagonistic force.

The antagonistic force in Determining is trust, as prejudice is the antagonistic force in Pride and Prejudice.

Throughout the book, the MC Nikki Cameron tussles with her trust in Colonel Chad Keating’s words and actions. Nikki experiences the differences between online trust, and the stuff that’s typically developed face-to-face, via plot events in Act 1 and 2.

Trust, or lack of it is personified in Jools, Nikki’s best pal and confidante. Jools is scathing about the trustworthiness of men in the virtual world and her skepticism is contagious. Nikki’s incorrect assumptions about Chad’s past and what being a Colonel in a warzone means exacerbate Nikki’s reluctance to trust and fall for Chad.

Nikki’s conceptions around trust are also tested as she deals with a crisis of one of her graduate students who is covertly filmed while having sex and is threatened by the risk of online exposure.


THIRD ASSIGNMENT: Title

Determining the Difference Between Bravery and Stupidity, Aged 49. – My favored title communicates the humorous tone of the book; helps attract its target market (middle aged women in pursuit of a light read); identifies the theme of bravery which is a crucial element to the story; and, helps place it on the sellers’ bookshelf near Elinor Oliphant is Completely Fine and books of that ilk.

Seducing a Colonel and Other Side Effects of Daring Greatly: Insights of a Middle-Aged Professor. – My second proposed title is a riff on academic journal titles (using the colon); alludes to the theme of bravery, the tone of the book and to the target market.


FOURTH ASSIGNMENT: Comparables

Genre: Commercial women’s fiction

Comparative title 1) The Break by Marian Keyes, published 2017.

Marian Keyes’ most recent best-seller has humor wrapped around some deadly serious subjects and is told in first-person present, like mine (Determining also includes Chad’s first person POV in his emails). Like Determining, Keyes’ book deals with the complicated love life of a soft-hearted protagonist coming to terms with being middle-aged; and, has a contemporary feminist sub-plot. In The Break, it’s the availability of abortion in Ireland, in Determining it is online harassment.
Note: I’m still to confirm The Break has been released to bookstores in the U.S. and it may be a useless comp, to U.S. agents if not. Will scamper to a US book chain before the conference.

Comparative title 2) Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey, published June 2019.

The new release, rom-com by Winfrey shares the lighthearted, first-person present tense of Determining and the protagonist has a similar fixation on movie characters. In Determining, Nikki is after her very own Clarke Gable/Rhett Butler rather than Annie’s desire for her version of Tom Hanks.


FIFTH ASSIGNMENT: conflict line

When a business school professor flies nine thousand miles to meet her online paramour, and he fails to show, she must confront her understanding of trust to rekindle their relationship.


SIXTH ASSIGNMENT: Other conflicts

Inner Conflict: Nikki is in the throes of divorcing her high functioning alcoholic husband, Paul when the book opens. When the husband she’s trying her best not to kill, dies in a bush fire, Nikki’s devastated, not least because of the expectations of society on how she ought to respond as a widow. She uses Chad as a confidante to her raw, guilty relief, because she doesn’t have to watch his Chad’s reaction. His responses increase her trust.

Secondary conflict: Nikki tries to guide her graduate student Courtney through the travails of her deepening relationship with her boyfriend Jake. When he and Courtney are covertly filmed having sex, Nikki must try to convince Courtney to officially name the perpetrator so the University can take some action against him.


SEVENTH ASSIGNMENT: Setting

Nikki and Chad meet at an academic conference in South Africa in June 2014. Their personalities, initial attraction and shared love of the great outdoors emerges on their trip up Table Mountain (where Chad calms Nikki’s fear of heights as they ascend in the gondola).

The virtual romance begins when Nikki returns to South East Queensland, Australia and Chad returns to Bagram, Afghanistan. Each is attracted to the exoticness of the other and they flirt humorously about the differences in their lives. Chad skites about earning his Ranger tab, while Nikki mercilessly mocks him with tales of her own bravery in Kakadu National Park dodging crocodiles.

The first crisis of the story occurs when a firestorm threatens Nikki’s home in October, 2014. Chad gives her advice (he was formerly a fire chief) but panics when she goes silent.

Their communication lulls following the death of Nikki’s estranged husband, Paul, and Nikki builds her new life in Brisbane (Paul’s funeral, interacting with colleagues and distracting herself with a student crisis; and buying a house).

She is prompted to reinitiate communication with Chad, at Christmas, 2014, when Nikki notes Australia is withdrawing her troops from Afghanistan. They slowly rekindle their flirtatious relationship and plan to meet in Clearwater, Florida in July 2015 at the conference. When her loquacious Colonel goes quiet, she wonders if her friend Jools was right all along to doubt his trustworthiness. Walking the romantic Florida beach alone is a far cry from her hopes.

Their relationship withers in the face of inadequate explanation by Chad and Nikki heads home to resume her life.

She steps back onto the tableau of her beloved Gone With the Wind when she heads to Charleston, South Carolina in September 2015, to do some research with a colleague and is there when she receives an email from Chad telling her that his son, Billy, has been killed in Afghanistan. Nikki goes to Billy’s funeral in Augusta.

She heads back home to Australia confused about Chad. Nikki eventually learns the truth about Chad’s heroism and his late arrival in Florida from an Australian Army Colonel. When Chad receives notification to deploy to Iraq, he decides to visit Nikki in Australia in a last-ditch effort to prove he gives a damn.

VictoriaL4Wieck
Posts: 1
Joined: 14 Jun 2019, 02:13
Contact:

Re: New York Pitch Assignments

#25 Post by VictoriaL4Wieck » 14 Jun 2019, 04:27

Story Statement

To save her sister, Aiyana confronts the dangerous forces behind sex traffic rings, organ traffickers, and ruthless gangs who prey on the thousands of newly created orphans in Tallyn, which is the only thriving city after the nuclear war.


The Antagonist

Damien Slayde, the CEO of one of the largest conglomerates in the world, is young, ambitious, and enormously successful. The son of a pastor, he appears to be fueled by compassion for the poor and has donated his precious time and hard earned money to their causes. But behind this façade, there is more to him than meets the eye. Despite all his successes, deep down there is an insecure boy who grew up with nothing, yearning for approval by amassing a fortune at any cost, including torture and murder. In his quest for insatiable power and greed, he reinvented himself and became a cold, hard object like a diamond, cut to perfection on the outside, with deeply hidden flaws on the inside. He can be charming and witty, or cruel and intimidating, at will, to friends and enemies alike. He is unpredictable, calculating, and one step ahead of everyone else.

Book Title Possibilities


The Girl and the Devil
Last Rose of Tallyn
Broken Flowers


Comparable Novels (Readership Audience)

The Girl Who Lived by Christopher Greyson, Young Adult Thriller
Darknet by Matthew Mather, Thriller
All Fall Down by Ally Carter, Young Adult


Primary Conflict

Aiyana must risk everything on a journey to Tallyn to save her sister, leaving behind her recently widowed mother, who lives in fear of losing both daughters


Secondary Conflict

Aiyana must fight both good and evil and win, to save her sister from her abductors. She must survive the lethal forces paid for by the political class, law enforcement, religious leaders, and business tycoons, who protect their interests at any cost.


Internal Conflict

Aiyana lives with unbearable guilt. Many innocent lives are put in danger, as a direct result of her actions to save her sister, including the lives of some family and friends, who aren't aware of the true risks involved.


The Setting

The story takes place in the year 2065, after the Third World War, in two cities of extreme contrasts. Comoros Island is a tiny paradise, which was not directly impacted by the war, with a diverse population living in harmony.

In stark contrast, Tallyn, known as the political and financial center of the world before the war, was directly hit by multiple nuclear bombs, killing millions instantly. Many of the survivors suffered from toxic radiation, life-threatening diseases, and severe shortages of breathable air, water, and medicine. Just two years after the war, Tallyn became the only thriving city and the heartbeat of the new world order, but it's a society plagued by secrets. The ultra-rich became even richer and enjoyed unlimited resources, while the majority of the population lived in tent villages, fighting hard for the bare essentials and scraps. Thousands of newly created orphans lived in fear of sex traffic rings, organ traffickers, and ruthless gangs that will do anything for a profit. However, the sands were shifting. Even without a clear leader, a dangerous and massive rebellion was brewing, with millions of citizens willing to risk their lives for a better future.

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