New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

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.
Joined:13 Sep 2019, 15:51
Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#26 Post by DelaneyWestwoodW6 » 14 Sep 2019, 00:39

FIRST ASSIGNMENT: Write your story statement.

Story statement: Discover the truth no matter the cost.
Plot line/Hook: A queer teenage warrior joins a secret feminine cult to discover the truth about the utopia in which she lives.

SECOND ASSIGNMENT: The Antagonist Plots the Point

Inspired by ancient Gnostic myths, the primary antagonist, YAHB, is portrayed as the God and Creator of the utopia of Oort. However, Yahb’s insidious plot to control humanity remotely through mind control and systematic self-enslavement becomes evident to MOON, the protagonist, as she risks her life to uncover the truth about her world. In reality, Yahb is nothing more than a deranged extraterrestrial who believes he is God, and he will do anything in his power to prove that he controls the galaxy.

Yahb intends to destroy the planet through MENDA, the leader of the feminine cult Moon joins. By taking control of Menda’s mind, he makes her believe that obliterating the planet will return the cult to the Hathorian Goddess, who they worship. Destroying the planet would eliminate Moon, who unknowingly poses a threat to Yahb’s reign. During the climax, Menda’s possession is revealed, and Moon fights her (and Yahb) to the death.

THIRD ASSIGNMENT: Conjuring your breakout title.

1. Behind Closed Eyes
2. Comply or Die
3. Attainment

FOURTH ASSIGNMENT: Deciding genre and approaching comparables

Behind Closed Eyes is a young adult science fiction/fantasy novel with the fast pace and gripping female lead of Marie Lu’s Warcross paired with the intricate worldbuilding and queer romance of Kameron Hurley’s The Stars Are Legion.

FIFTH ASSIGNMENT: Considering the Primary Conflict

Upon joining a secret feminine cult, a queer teenage warrior becomes unwittingly entangled in a nefarious plot to obliterate the planet.

SIXTH ASSIGNMENT: Sketch out the conditions for inner conflict your character will have.

In her desperate search for the truth, Moon battles with her Conditioning, her father’s secrecy, the planetary lock-down, and her newfound and mystifying connection to “the Darkness.” Additionally, her rising sexuality distracts her from the destructive nature of the cult’s agenda. Pretty soon, the Darkness is controlling her, and she’ll have to risk everything to overcome it.

Sketch a hypothetical scenario for the secondary conflict involving the social environment.

Already struggling to keep her father’s suspicions in check, Moon realizes the validity of his concerns when the cult’s destruction intentions are revealed. Her lover divulges that she is a spy and, desperate to save her planet, Moon has to choose whether to give up her own life or risk the life of her lover by allying with her to betray the cult.


Galactic conquest for human advancement takes center stage on Oort, a technological paradise of genetic engineering and infinite knowledge. A warrior-in-training, Moon spends her days synched up to the SYNCONET, the Synthetic Consciousness Network, where she practices fighting in the Realm of the Mind to spread the Oortian Way across the galaxy. Ever since the Uprising, the establishment of martial law pushes Moon to escape into her dreams. The secret feminine cult meets in the Dreamtime, a dimension of the here and now that affects innumerable layers of reality.

Joined:10 Sep 2019, 05:04

Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#27 Post by LauraMalin74 » 14 Sep 2019, 22:12


Raised by on the run communist parents, Laura grows up struggling to find her own roots; to become a writer, raise her kids alone and find true love.


The world is a tricky place for an independent woman who is trying to figure it all out, even more while raising two daughters on her own.
Most men in Laura’s life are unfaithful or have little stomach for her achievements. Internally, Laura struggles with the notion that even if she doesn’t need a man in her life, she really wants one.


Hyphenated, a memoir
Married to Myself: a memoir
Married to Myself: how I became happy with myself


Laura’s coming of age begins at 15, when she starts looking for her identity and to find love. Her journey on discovering her roots causes her to constantly move countries, sometimes convoluting her path. In parallel, as she stumbles on some wrong men, she ends up hurting from betrayals, heartbreaks and sexual harassments. Laura also struggles to financially support herself and her daughters as a writer.


Inner conflict

The need for being loved permeates Laura’s quest for her true self, which she is deeply determined to achieve. But it gets complicated once she also lacks sense of belonging. Laura will constantly feel like she doesn’t fit anywhere, and slowly build her safe haven in writing and motherhood. Deep inside though, she dreams of a partner to walk by her side and have her back.

Secondary Conflicts

Having been raised in different countries by communist parents, Laura struggles to feel home. An only child, she was educated by intellectual, divorced parents who gave her much more freedom and books than attention. Lonely, she is also looking for love, which could make her feel protected and grow roots with someone, somewhere.


The story begins in a bomb-shelter in a Kibbutz, in Israel, where Laura falls in love for the first time. She is only 15 and the very rural landscape sets a poetic tone.

Soon, Laura moves to France, the country where she was raised during her early childhood. She finds herself in the arid and cold north region, in a dangerous whorehouse. After escaping it, and surviving winter at a foster home, Laura moves to beautiful Paris to finish her studies in French Literature. Bewitched by the Seventh Art at the Cannes Film Festival, where she falls for a 30 years older lover, she confirms her calling: to write fiction.

Back to her breathtaking hometown of Rio de Janeiro, Laura struggles to fit in, until she finds love with a younger actor. After a helicopter accident that almost kills him, Laura decides to move to the Bay Area to pursue her writing at UC Berkeley; relocating later to LA to find an agent.

Back to Brazil to be with her terminally ill grandmother, Laura gets pregnant with her daughters, while she becomes the showrunner of a hit TV show and publishes her first novel. That’s also when her boyfriend of 12 years and father of her babies decides to leave them.

Between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Laura focus on her writing and the upbringing of her daughters – and random sex with men, women, and sometimes both. But her soul is scattered elsewhere, and she constantly travels. California, Angola, Paris, Chile and Russia are the highlights. In cold Geneva, for example, she spends one week with the number one best-selling Brazilian author of all times, in hopes he will endorse one of her novels. But he wants something else.

After publishing seven books and writing for TV and film, Laura moves to California with her girls, where she finally feels home. She gets engaged to the wrong guy, breaks up with him two years later, and holds a small ceremony of getting married to herself.

Joined:30 Aug 2019, 20:52

Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#28 Post by KendraW6Wood » 15 Sep 2019, 02:12

FIRST ASSIGNMENT: write your story statement.

Lodan and Lizzy embark on an unsanctioned truth seeking road trip to confront the family his mother kept secret and the boyfriend who ghosted Lizzy after she moved away.

SECOND ASSIGNMENT: sketch the antagonist or antagonistic force in your story.

Heather Dawson, Lodan’s mother, is a complicated antagonist. The choices she’s made to keep her son, Lodan, from learning the truth about their family and his father are merely her effort to protect him. Just as in nature a mother may eat her young to protect the other offspring from a sickness she instinctively detects in the ill-fated victim, Heather makes controversial decisions to protect Lodan. Losing her parents at a young age, her mother literally and her father figuratively, fuels Heather’s need to keep her son safe. An act that can be viewed as monstrous to some may be the very reason a family survives. However, how can Lodan love a person that has lied to him and done what she has done even if she is his mother. The question becomes how much sacrifice can human relationships survive? Can Lodan, who is struggling to understand all of the emotions percolating within continue to love him mom? Will he recognize love toward another when he feels it?

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

Truthseeking Roadtrip
Truth, Turtles & Tequila
Truth With a Side of Tequila

FOURTH ASSIGNMENT: 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?

Maddy in Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon has limited relationships with other people because her mother has told her she suffers from an auto-immune disease and must stay confined to their home. The only temptation that holds enough allure to defy her mother and risk her health is the boy next door. When Maddy learns her mother lied to protect her, she struggles to come to terms with her conflicted love and hate toward the parent that made bad choices out of love for her. Lodan finds himself in a similar struggle when confronted with the truth about what his mom has done to protect him.

In the book, Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Madson, two adolescents defy their parents and take their own route on a road trip that helps them better understand themselves and the important components to a loving relationship. Lizzy and Lodan also defy their parents and embark on a road trip with a mission. Their journey takes them on an internal path neither of them anticipated, forcing them to rethink love, passion, and what can tempt good people to make bad choices.

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.

Two teens take an unsanctioned truth-seeking roadtrip to confront her boyfriend for ghosting her after she moved and ask the rest of his family why his mom kept them a secret from him.

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. Will this involve family? Friends? Associates? What is the nature of it?

Inner Conflict
Until seventeen year old Lizzy moved next door, Lodan didn’t give much thought to his relationships. He’d been a loner most of his youth and content in that role. He and his mom were a team of two. When Lodan learns his mother has been lying to him about their family history, he’s suddenly a kite adrift, untethered from the security of his mom’s hand. Lizzy’s mothering nature appeals to him. She doesn’t hold tight like his mom, but rather acts as a guiding wind, encouraging him to explore his identity outside of his relationship with his mother. Lodan initially confronts his fear that he will never feel the attraction he’s witnessed between other peers his age. Why can’t he feel that toward anyone? Just when he discovers he does have the capacity to feel attraction toward and could potentially love someone other than his mother, he learns the horrible truth behind what his mother has done to protect him. His shock and anger become tangled with his love for her and his new understanding of love toward others. Placed in a life-threatening situation and bearing witness to emotional losses of all types, Lodan is forced to make decisions that ultimately help him decipher his feelings toward his family and his friends.

Hypothetical Conflict
If Lizzy dragged Lodan to a high school party, he would be hesitant to engage with anyone directly. If a spirited game of beer pong were taking place, he would hang back and watch unless Lizzy begged him to partner with her. If people began breaking off into couples, Lodan would panic and chastise himself for not feeling attraction toward anyone enough to partake.

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.

This story takes place in a number of settings across America. However it begins and ends in Laketown, NY. This small tight-knit community in western New York state is comprised of fourth and fifth generation residents because even the graduates who can’t wait to put the sleepy town in their rearview are drawn back into its open arms like first loves at a reunion. The gray, cold, endless winters are best tolerated by attending the spirited and competitive high school basketball games, themed church events, or belly-up to the bar where everybody knows your whole life story. Summers are spent at Little League games, summer recreation at the park, biking through the quaint streets, or if you’re lucky indulging in all the fun a lake offers. Many of the residents and their stories are deceptively simple on the surface but anyone who takes the time to sit and chat for a spell will get an earful of the jaw-dropping triumphs and tragedies that make Laketown the only place most of its residence would ever want to call home.

Joined:10 Sep 2019, 01:22

Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#29 Post by MarcW6Hennemann » 15 Sep 2019, 02:56

RICHARD M.: “Too Close to Call”
Marc Hennemann

Story statement:
A self-made man has risen from abject poverty to the heights of American politics. He is about to run for president of the United States against an opponent who has vast wealth, privilege, and family connections.

The antagonist plots the point:

Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy will stop at nothing to make his son President of the United States. Senator John F. Kennedy knows his father bribed at least three governors to win him the nomination. He also knows the ambassador is conspiring with the mafia to help him win the election. Even that isn't enough. JFK and his running mate, Senator Lyndon B. Johnson, plot with a Texas banker to bribe electors from the Deep South to vote Democratic. Election night ends in a virtual tie, with a recount in Hawaii set to decide the issue. A Kennedy campaign official threatens a Hawaii state court judge. The Chief Justice of the United States is blackmailed. After a 5-4 Supreme Court decision, Kennedy concedes the election and Nixon is sworn in. The drama between Kennedy and Nixon is not over. It will resume in RICHARD M.: "Dulce et Decorum est...," the second book in the RICHARD M. series.

Breakout titles:

1. RICHARD M.: "Too Close to Call"

2. The Kennedy Deception

3. The Great 1960 Election Race

Genre and Comparables:

Genre: Alternative history

Then Everything Changed (Jeff Greenfield, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 2011). Greenfield writes three stories in his book, all of which turn on relatively small events with huge (and sometimes catastrophic) consequences. In the first, Senator John F. Kennedy is assassinated in December 1960, before the electoral college can meet to confirm the election results of the previous November. How does the government handle the constitutional crises? Who will be the next president and vice-president and how are they determined? In the second, Sirhan Sirhan only gets one shot, and that misses Bobby Kennedy. What happens then? Is the Democratic convention a disaster? What about the anti-war protests/riots? Who is elected president in 1968 and how does his term go? The third story allows President Gerald Ford to talk his way out of his “no Soviet domination” gaffe in his debate with Jimmy Carter. What was the effect on Ford? Carter? Reagan? Who would each party nominate in 1980?

My book, RICHARD M.: “Too Close to Call” is, like Greenfield’s, comprised of events which differ only slightly from reality: an FBI investigation that wasn’t actually ordered, a rock that wasn’t actually thrown, a speech that wasn’t actually given, a recount that wasn’t actually crucial, a letter that wasn’t actually written. Another common point between Greenfield’s book and mine is that all the characters in both are real people; no fictional characters, no composites. Such is not the case in my second comparable.

The Last Hurrah (Edwin O’Connor, Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 1956) O’Connor’s iconic character of Frank Skeffington (a thinly disguised James Michael Curley) endears himself to some, astounds others, and enrages still others when he announces his intention to run for another term as mayor of his fair city (a very thinly disguised Boston). O’Connor takes his readers deep inside Skeffington’s campaign, showing them both the strategy and the tactics used by the aging politician. The book climaxes on election night when Skeffington, absolutely certain of victory, unexpectedly loses in a landslide.
RICHARD M.: “Too Close to Call” does much the same. My readers go inside the Nixon campaign as he deals with the many crises during his run for the White House. How does Nixon handle his dreadful debate performance? How does he cope with the steady dissolution of relations between the United States and Cuba? How does he react when Martin Luther King is set up to be murdered in the Georgia State Prison? Here you will meet a different Richard Nixon than you think you know; ruthless and frightened, decisive and floundering, cunning and naïve.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the influence on my writing of possibly the greatest alternative history author active today: Harry Turtledove. Turtledove wrote an eleven-book series based on Robert E. Lee’s General Order 191 not being lost in September 1862 and the resultant Confederate victory in the Civil War. As James Baldwin wrote: “For want of a nail…the kingdom was lost.” On such things as these turns the history of man.

Primary conflict:
How does Richard Nixon counter John F. Kennedy’s charisma, his vast wealth, and his political chicanery and win the presidency?

Other conflicts:

As election day gets closer, the tensions within Richard Nixon rise. He has never lost an election, but he has also never faced a foe the likes of Kennedy. How can he respond to Kennedy’s tactics without costing himself votes? Does he have to descend to Kennedy’s level, with JFK’s charges of racism and “soft on Castro” to win, or can he remain true to both his principles and his Quaker upbringing? When the election finishes in a virtual tie, with a recount in Hawaii deciding the outcome, both sides take the issue into both the federal and state courts. Nixon knows the Kennedy team is using threats and bribery. Must he do the same, or will he let others do his dirty work?

Early on Nixon is faced with a choice: will he side with the civil rights revolution which is just starting to heat up in the South, or will he try to retain the votes millions of southerners gave President Eisenhower in 1952 and ’56? His natural instinct is to side with those who are fighting poverty and injustice. He must make a calculated, cold, political decision. Will he give up southern white votes for northern black votes? Or will he turn his back on black aspirations and try to attract the southern whites, thus hopefully depriving Kennedy of a traditional base of support, one he desperately needs. Or will he try and split the issue down the middle, possibly gaining both northern blacks and southern whites, but possibly losing both as well?

Richard M.: “Too Close to Call” is set in the United States from June 1960 to January 1961. You see John F. Kennedy aboard his campaign plane “Caroline” planning a response to a criminal conspiracy charge by the governor of New Jersey. The Attorney General and Vice President Nixon decide what to do about the charges, and then meet with President Eisenhower in the oval office to get his permission to put their plan into action.
Nixon campaigns in the south getting such a warm reception, particularly in Atlanta, that he questions his strategy of going after northern black votes. Is the south a possibility?

The governor of New Jersey talks to the FBI in his office and vowing to do whatever he can to make sure JFK doesn’t win, meets with the Republican leader in his state to ruin Kennedy’s chances.

As the two campaigns crisscross the country, there are dramatic scenes everywhere: the murder of a county sheriff in South Carolina; powerful speeches in Florida, Illinois, New Jersey; bribery in Georgia and across the Deep South; discussions of blackmail in the governor’s office in Honolulu and actual sexual blackmail in the private chambers of the Chief Justice of the United States. The battle rages from the Federal Courthouse in Honolulu to the Supreme Court in Washington DC, and when the court cannot decide the issue, the final vote has to be taken in a joint session of Congress. There is high drama as Nixon presides over the meeting which will decide his fate: the Hawaii congressional delegation splits over how their votes are to be counted, the Speaker of the House makes a dramatic speech, Senators Kennedy and Johnson do the same and the issue is finally decided! It all ends with the pomp and circumstance of the inauguration of a new president. Or does it?

Joined:06 Sep 2019, 00:14

Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#30 Post by AngelinaW6Love » 15 Sep 2019, 03:28


New York Pitch
Story Statement : Alicia James struggles to survive and escape a life of bondage and and return to college in 2015.
Antagonistic Force- The antagonist force is a life of bondage in 1853. She slave trade dominates southern culture . The goal is to keep slaves in bondage mentally and physical for profit. Unfortunately there is no no legal remedy considering the captives are not recognized as humans . The culture has made it socially acceptable to treat humans inferior for the sake of profit . There is a temporary antagonist Robert Wilkes Jr., son of a prominent planter . He struggles with internal conflicts , managing his role on the plantation and desiring to see the captives treated with dignity and equality.
My comparable novels are KINDRED by Octavia Butler and TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE by Solomon Northup
A young woman finds herself lost in a world of bondage. She struggles with acclimating as a slave while fighting to escape a life of torture and degradation. She explores emotional conflicts that crosses blurred lines of love .
Alicia takes a stroll as she leaves the field , overhears the overseer Harold speaking with the plantation’s owner. She hears him telling Mr. Wilkes how he’s “keeping the niggers in line.’’ She feels a ball in her stomach , and signs in frustration. She fights her inner voice that tells her to remind Harold he’s being used to abuse other blacks like him. She hears Wilkes tell him”Boy I know you handling business like you always do.” She walks toward Harold and Massa’ Wilkes then stopped as she had a flashback of Harold’s whip across her back . She turned and went towards the cabin fighting back tears of frustration. SECONDARY CONFLICT: Alicia struggles to look Rob in the eye as he caresses her face. She longs to spend every waking moment with Rob. Yet she struggles with guilt and frustration knowing his family has accumulated wealth on the blood and sweat of slaves.It feels so pleasurably wrong. She can’t imagined being the owner’s son little dirty black secret.
Bridges of Grey opening setting is in a the fictitious town of Wilmington, VA , where she’s attending college on a predominantly African -American campus . The campus is close knit and picturesque in a quiet southern town surrounded with memorabilia of the Civil Right Movement in the 1960’s. Alicia is a college freshmen. The town is predominantly black . Alicia’s interim professor takes to group on a trip to Jamestown Island . There is a small settlement of homes nearby owned by descendants of slaves. It has often been said many were killed there or escaped in search of freedom.
7a. The secondary settings vary and change frequently. There is a historical place near Richmond , Va where she is sold for the first time. She works on a tobacco plantation but has traveled with a group of captives over Virginia. Most of the dialogue takes place in the field where she labors until she is bought in the house to work . She travels as a fugitive with abolitionist friends passing through Virginia and Maryland on a quest for freedom. She is captured and sold in Hagerstown Maryland . The story’s tone darkens as she is bought by the Wilkes’ and shipped to Natchez , Mississippi .Natchez is deeply rooted in the slave trade. The city is infamous for uprisings and lynchings. Natchez is the epitome of southern aristocracy and opulence in the 1800’s.

Joined:06 Sep 2019, 00:14

Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#31 Post by AngelinaW6Love » 15 Sep 2019, 03:35

I tried to attach my file so it look organized and easily legible, kept getting error messages that file was invalid . So I copied and pasted but it looks jumbled. I appreciate any feedback to make it look more organized. I'm not very savvy with tech at times, but this should be simple.


Joined:01 Sep 2019, 05:24

Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#32 Post by RandalNerhusW6 » 15 Sep 2019, 08:44

1. Story Statement:
In 1879, two girls—Talks Like Thunder, Apache, and Falling Star, Cheyenne—fight to stop the U.S. Army from exterminating their way of life. As soldiers close in, they are trapped in a desperate fight to reach safe haven.

2. Antagonistic force in the story:
The military spend years mercilessly taking the land and resources from the Native Americans. The Army’s size, strength, experience, and assortment of superior weapons make it an unconquerable enemy.

The US Army’s worst is Sergeant O’Riley. Battle-hardened from the Civil War and after many years of eradicating natives from the West, he is a cold-hearted killer. O’Riley tries to molest thirteen-year-old Thunder, but she fights back until help arrives. Soon afterward, O’Riley leads an attack on Thunder’s village, scalps her best friend, and then steals Thunder’s horse. Years later, through a strange turn of events, O’Riley’s patrol attack Thunder’s band at the Canadian border.

3. Breakout title:
Red With Native Blood

4. Two smart comparables:
I’ve been unable to find comparable novels, especially in the Native American genre. I wonder if Red With Native Blood leans toward a high concept novel. Teenage characters mastering the most difficult of adulthood challenges, may appeal to a wide audience. Several beta readers like the idea of a novel reminding them of a long-forgotten time in our history.

I’m looking forward to everyone’s help on this.

5. Conflict line:
As Thunder and Star hide from and ambush soldiers, they meet other native fugitives along the way and form a band. Thunder is also searching for her lost love, Golden Eagle, and Star is looking for a safe place to hide away her sacred medicine bundle for Cheyenne of the future.

6. Protagonist’s inner conflict:
Thunder is on alert day and night for enemies and always psyched to take action.

Scenario: At dawn, she awakens to cattle bawling and spies soldiers heading toward them. Instead of running for safety, she and her band ambush the soldiers, who outnumber them two to one.

Secondary conflict:
Thunder begins by wanting to kill all white people to avenge the massacre of her people. However, Falling Star subtly works on Thunder’s conscience little by little.

Scenario: Thunder’s group meets an orphaned white boy. Thunder spares the boy, and offers him a place among her band.

Staying alive by what only nature provides, brings unique challenges for Thunder and her friends. Nearly every day they are in need of food, water, and shelter.

Scenario: Deep in the Chihuahua Desert, in spite of the band’s tremendous thirst, they let the horses drink their entire water supply.

FINAL. Sketch out your setting in detail:
With the characters on the run from soldiers, settings (roughly thirty-three) take place from Mexico to Canada. Everyone is pushed to their limit when traveling through the Chihuahua Desert, wastelands, and snow-covered Rocky Mountains.

Joined:15 Sep 2019, 01:37

Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#33 Post by JOHNW6CASTELLANO » 15 Sep 2019, 19:16

First Assignment: Story Statement

Uncover the secrets of a decade-old court case gone wrong before a relentless predator succeeds in committing a series of brutal murders.

Second Assignment: Antagonistic force

The antagonist is a shrewd and cunning woman who uses her physical beauty to lure the protagonist, a private investigator, into accepting a false yet reassuring façade, diverting suspicion in other directions. An exterior of sweetness and sensual overtones covers a dark path of revenge on five co-workers who deprived her from a share of the spoils that put an innocent man behind bars. A calculating killer, she uses the protagonist just as she’s used others, slowly and steadily drawing out information that aids her in the hunt. She takes pleasure in knowing each kill elevates the panic and torment of her next intended victim while awaiting the inevitable.
The antagonist has special ops military training in her past, which aids in the single-minded quest for payback, and which she keeps well hidden from the protagonist and others beneath an unassuming exterior.

Third Assignment: Breakout Title

Dead Man’s Touch
Dance with the Dead
Brick City Boneyard

Fourth Assignment: Two Comparables

Where It Hurts, Reed Farrel Coleman. Why it compares: It’s a noir style thriller with a broken ex-cop protagonist, now a PI, trying to straighten out his life while solving a tough case with little help from others. In my noir thriller, the protagonist is similarly situated in a mental state of hopelessness, working with evasive clients while trying to stop a killer.

Down the River Unto the Sea, Walter Mosley. Why it compares: Another noir style thriller with a flawed protagonist, beaten down by the system, trying to overcome difficult odds and corrupt cops while working his case as a PI. My protagonist is fighting an emotional struggle while dealing with difficult clients, mob types, con men, angry cops, and an elusive killer.

Fifth Assignment: Conflict Line

A disgraced former lawyer turned private investigator must outwit a cunning killer—who’s convinced the police of another’s guilt—before his clients are all brutally murdered.

Sixth Assignment: a) Protagonist’s Inner Conflict

Protagonist must break free from the depths of despair and depression in order to outsmart a savage killer. Why he will feel in conflict: Protagonist’s wife ended up collateral damage in a shoot-out. Blames himself for not keeping her safe, fights his inner demons to rise above his impaired emotional state of mourning. Hypothetical scenario-questioning his ability to catch a clever killer while his mind is clouded with grief, knowing he’s also a target and may be next to die.

b) Secondary Conflict: A low level mobster is out to get the protagonist for not protecting a family member from a gangland hit. The protagonist must watch over his shoulder for the thug and his associates who are out to make him pay.

Seventh Assignment: Setting

The story is set in Newark NJ, (nicknamed Brick City in the second half of the last century), current day. The protagonist lives in a run-down two-room apartment in the tough West Ward district. He’s faced with an array of inner-city types, from low-level mobsters to con men and dirty cops. The sub-setting also includes a local, old-time boxing gym where the protagonist works out his inner rage, trying to rid himself of the demons that have chased him since the death of his wife.

Joined:13 Sep 2019, 18:41

Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#34 Post by ZyaMosesW6 » 15 Sep 2019, 20:57

Zya September 2019 Class.

Joined:27 Aug 2019, 14:30

Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#35 Post by DelphineLedesmaW6 » 16 Sep 2019, 22:06

1. Story Statement:

On the Upper East Side of Manhattan, there’s a grieving mother-daughter duo that’s about to go off the rails. Violet is the reformed good girl who imagines the road to freedom is paved with her lost virginity. Amanda, her mother, is engaging with a multitude of demons to avoid dealing with her self-imposed isolation after the death of her husband. As each woman careens through a multitude of poor choices, what--if anything--will remain of their bond?

2. Antagonist Plots the Point:

Several antagonistic forces fuel this unorthodox mother-daughter tale of female empowerment. One thing both women share: the insurmountable death of the family patriarch, Violet’s father and Amanda’s husband, Tim Lawder. His disappearance leaves an indelible stain in their lives, one that—despite the passing years—remains impossible to erase.

The other antagonistic force they share in common: each other. Violet loves her mother, is devoted to her. She also feels a need to rebel against the crushing pressure to live up to her standards for excellence, to stay strong for the both of them in the face of life’s obstacles, and to always remain a “good girl.” Along the way, school (“the administration”) and the student population (represented by Brooke Dunham, a former childhood friend and popular girl who now looks down on Violet) add to the mix of antagonistic forces that cause Violet to react.

On her end, Amanda Lawder is completely devoted to her daughter. That factor, combined with her depression after her husband’s death, cause her to isolate herself from society, burying her head so deeply in the sand that she neglects the changes in her daughter and in her own body until a health crisis and a crisis at Violet’s school make them impossible to ignore.

3. Breakout Title:

How to Succeed at Raising a Slut

Lady Problems

4. Genre and Comparables:

How to Succeed at Raising a Slut is comparable to Gabrielle Zevin’s Young Jane Young. Both stories contain alternating POVs and combine social commentary about women’s health and sexuality with entertaining writing and sharp humor.

How to Succeed at Raising a Slut is also comparable to Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams. An unorthodox tale of female empowerment, Queenie is similar in its poignant yet funny portrayal of women finding themselves in a moment of personal crisis.

5. Considering the Primary Conflict:

Six years after the tragic loss of the family patriarch, a middle-aged mother and her teenage daughter must learn to overcome their shared grief in order to finally find themselves—and each other.

6. Conflict: 2 More Levels

The inner conflict for Violet Lawder has to do with reconciling her responsibility to her mother (and we learn in a twist at the end, to her dead father) while also living her own life, establishing herself as an individual and allowing herself to make mistakes.

The inner conflict for Amanda Lawder has to do with separating herself from her teenage daughter. She must accept that she will end up alone in two years’ time when Violet goes off to college after having spent the better part of six years focusing all her attention on her-- to the detriment of her own social, emotional and physical well-being.

One hypothetical reaction Violet could have would be to tell her mother the secret her father asked her to keep just days before his sudden death. This, of course, would hurt her mother--it’s the reason she’s held it from her for the past six years. The impetus for this revelation might be a huge, blowout fight with her mother over her behavior at the prestigious UES prep school that now threatens to expel her.

A second hypothetical reaction Violet may have relating to her environment would be to turn in her arch-enemy and former best friend, Brooke Dunham, to the school administration for a crime she hasn’t committed (stealing or cheating). The impetus for this action would be Brooke’s repeated bullying at a time when Violet is already feeling overwhelmed by her homelife and the pressures of school.

One hypothetical reaction Amanda may have would be to lock Violet inside their Upper East Side apartment for a few days, not allowing her to leave as punishment for her behavior. This might be brought on by one of their fights over Violet’s attitude in her personal life and at school. It would be Amanda’s misguided attempt at exerting some control over her wayward daughter while also insuring that she would have her attention all to herself for a few precious days.

A second hypothetical conflict Amanda might have in response to her environment would be to steal something from the purse of one of the PTA presidents she is working with in organizing “Teacher Appreciation Events.” She would do this out of anger over a fight she recently had with her daughter and as retaliation against the school that is shunning her.

7. The Importance of Setting

The setting is the Upper East Side of Manhattan today, a world of wealth, privilege and prestige on a collision course with the elements that define our time: the ubiquity of social media, the era of children in cages, the #MeToo movement and the current state of our environment on the verge of collapse (countdown: 12 years).

In this story, we see Amanda and Violet’s home, a comfortable (read wealthy, but not superwealthy) apartment located on East 76th Street. The home is so comfortable, in fact, that it’s the place where Amanda has been hiding out, setting up a fake Instagram persona while also stashing or eating a variety of items she occasionally steals for sport. Her home (and specifically her en suite bathroom) is also the place where Amanda has been concealing and tossing a never-ending succession of feminine hygiene products necessary in battling her ongoing health crisis.

Berkeley-Walsh is the Upper East Side Prep school where Violet Lawder attends high school. In the lower school, her mother, Amanda, is currently lending a hand to a rag tag group of PTA parents in charge of organizing special event for the faculty. For her, Berkeley-Walsh is the perfect place for her only daughter with its prestigious reputation, its state of the art, glass encased STEM facility and its red brick exterior (“with a smattering of ivy”). For Violet, the place is like another version of hell. It reeks of sweating, pubescent bodies. The kids are spoiled, superficial and victims of Instant Gratification Culture. The faculty and staff, while well-intentioned, is powerless before an administration beholden to its board and a handful of generous donors.

Along the way, the reader enters a couple of wealthy homes (each sparse and cold, whether out of aesthetic preference or the fact that their owners are too busy working outside the home to do anything about it); a gynecologist’s office (reception area, office and exam room) that is also cold and bare; and a couple of upscale Manhattan coffee houses where Matcha tea infused with a variety of substances (orange blossom, rose water, CBD...) are all the rage.

Joined:16 Sep 2019, 12:24

Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#36 Post by JackFieldW6 » 17 Sep 2019, 18:37

Jack Field

Assignment 1:

Selfish Heroine must learn to accept the help of others in the battle to save her friend and all of those in the dystopian forest city.

Assignment 2:

The antagonist in this story is the overlord Zyron Crane. He rules all of Greentown from the top of the Jade tower and has many lackeys to do his bidding, including Krimpel Tyke who is his number one catcher of children and his army of Knockknocks. After the “greening” there were many battles to take control of the new world, but it was Zyron Krane who emerged victorious. Through his magic and mad science, he was instrumental in creating many of the “altereds” that now inhabit Greentown. Now he wants to harness all of this power again for his greatest invention of all, the dream machine, a machine that will help him “dream to life”. All of this will be done by harnessing the power of children’s imaginations and dreams, which when combined with some fairy magic and his own abilities he will be able to create his dreamtime creature which will finally do away with all of the altereds and allow him to control everyone and everything that happens in Greentown and all of the surrounding lands.

Assignment 3:

Bellatrix Moon.
After the Greening.
Dreamers of the Jade Tower.

Assignment 4:


The Wizard of Oz - L. Frank Baum. Similarities here include the young girl who meets up with an unusual bunch of friends and allies on her way to strange new place except Bellatrix Moon is going to try and rescue her friend and not just get home.

The Wizards of Once – Cressida Cowell. This has some similarities with its strange creatures and mismatched characters who have to come together to help fight dangerous forces that threaten everyone’s lives.

Movie comparable – Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Our loner heroine has to learn that she sometimes needs to rely on other people and get the help of other especially if she is going to survive in the dystopian world that she lives in.

Assignment 5:

Young loner of the forest, Bellatrix Moon must join together with an eclectic crew of altereds to help rescue her friend from the top of the Jade tower, defeat the child stealing Zyron Crane and destroy the dream machine forever.

Assignment 6:

The heroine of the story is a young girl called Bellatrix Moon. She is self sufficient and independent and lives in Moonshadow forest. Bellatrix ends up on a mission to Greentown to help rescue her friend Reza Lark.

Bellatrix tries to do everything on her own and she does not want the help of others. She believes that she will only be let down by them. The belief that ‘I’m better off on my own” is the demon that haunts her. She believes that she is able to do everything by herself but after she arrives in Greentown, she soon finds out that this is not the case, she absolutely needs the help of others no only to do the basics but just to survive in a place like this.

Bellatrix starts to learn about the importance of family, in whatever form it may be. She begins to realize that she cannot do everything on her own, but she still has a tendency to get in her own way. This at times is her almost fatal flaw and even though she gains allies and friends that help her navigate through Greentown there are times when she still tries to do everything on her own and things don’t always go to plan because of this. It is not until near the end that she realizes that she does need the help of others and that it is ok to ask for help and not have to try and do everything on your own and a family is very important no matter what form it takes.

Assignment 7:

Setting 1:

Moonshadow forest. This is the location for the opening part of the story. At first glance it seems like any type of fairytale forest, but many things have changed in the entire land after “the greening” and Moonshadow is no exception. The world of Zenoss has changed everywhere since the greening. Moonshadow is now a completely overgrown forest where almost no daylight hits. It is a dark and overgrown tangle of leaf and bark. It is a place where plants have mutated with animals and animals have mutated with plants, and it seem as though almost anything can come alive and move. Plants, trees, flowerflies, vinesnakes, jeeper creepers and many more. It is a forest where everyone who lives there has to be on alert all of the time, on their guard from potential threats which seem to be everywhere. This is also the reason that most of the inhabitants of Moonshadow live up high in a place called Treetop Town, where it is safer from the perils of Moonshadow, until they have to venture down to the forest floor in search of food which is very scarce.

Setting 2:

Greentown. This is where two thirds of the story takes place. It is a forest like city that is the center of this dystopian fairytale setting. It is the most dangerous location in all of the Kingdom of Zenoss. Greentown is a maze of narrow winding streets and laneways. Imagine strange and unusual characters moving about (similar to Mos Eisley in Star Wars) making their way around narrow dark sinister and murky Victorian style streets and laneways that have all been covered and overgrown with every type of tree and plant during the greening. It is not a place for the faint of heart, and this is where our heroine finds herself for most of the story. Rising out of the center of Greentown is the Jade Tower where Zyron Crane has his seat of power. This is where Bellatrix must go and along the way there, she will come across some very strange characters, some good, some not very good. Greentown seems to be where most of the altereds live now many of them underground and in the shadow, stonemen, treepeople, shapeshifters, fairies, scarecrows and many other types of altereds. It is a bold and dangerous place that Bellatrix must navigate her way through, and she will need the help of all of her new friends if she is to survive this treacherous location.

Joined:16 Sep 2019, 03:04

Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#37 Post by LANCEJENKINSW6 » 17 Sep 2019, 19:50

A homegrown defense attorney defends a gay music teacher wrongly accused of murdering a student in a rural, Southern town where the radically fundamental church and its pastor rule, risking his reputation, career, and the life he has known to save the teacher from an unjust conviction.

The antagonist is the face of Freeden and its leader, Dr. Daniel Henson, who pastors the local, ultra-fundamental Baptist church and possesses more respect and authority than anyone in town. Nearly everyone in Freeden attends Dr. Henson’s church and follows him, and he is determined to keep it that way and maintain his power. What Dr. Henson believes is ultimately what the townspeople believe, and this proves damaging for Dwight Kerry, the wrongly accused, who before his arrest was already viewed as an outcast for being a gay man in a town whose citizenry largely characterized such an identity as nothing better than an immoral preference. Once Dwight is accused of murdering his seventeen-year-old student, who is also the son of a prominent member of the church and community, it offers a platform for Dr. Henson to rally his followers and publicly levy hatred toward Dwight, his identity, and the man who comes to his aid, local defense attorney Ben Bailey. Despite an overwhelming lack of evidence, Dr. Henson will stop at nothing to ensure Dwight is convicted and Ben Bailey is exiled for supporting him.

A New Requiem
And Silenced He Was
The Guilty Shall Be Judged

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – Owens made her solo novel debut in Crawdads, and like A New Requiem, it is based in a Southern setting (North Carolina as well, actually), exhibits themes of injustice, features a murder and trial story that keeps the reader turning the page and wanting more, and in many ways flows the same. There are moments of easy reading followed quickly by intense drama and a surprise ending that, like in A New Requiem, exhibits deep meaning and is not intended to be the typical “make-everyone-happy” finish. Where the Crawdads Sing, like A New Requiem, prevails as a work of literary fiction in achieving something more special than the typical notion of “good guy triumphs.”

A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum – Rum is a debut novelist in 2019 who quickly hit The New York Times Bestseller list and has already received critical acclaim for her novel which brings to the forefront the difficulties Palestinian-American woman face evading the hardships and often-oppressive realities of certain Arab cultures. A New Requiem is comparable because it, too, is a work of fiction examining a certain culture and geographic region’s intolerance and difficulty to advance into a new era of thinking. In the American South and the Bible Belt of America, there is still a stern majority opposition to progressive thought, and my effort, through refined storytelling, is to also bring to light the scathing realities of prejudice that still exist in the United States today.

A gay music teacher is wrongly accused of murder, and a local attorney must defend him against a powerful pastor and his biased followers hellbent on convicting the man whose identity is strikingly different from the town’s radically fundamental norms.

Ben Bailey struggles to fit in with the townsfolk of his hometown Freeden but longs so much to be accepted by his peers despite being so different from them. Freeden is full of people who are narrow-minded and intolerant toward things different than their own social norms, and that could not be more dissimilar from the man Ben has grown to be. He has never known anything but his small-town life in Freeden and feels he must conform to Freeden’s “good ole’ boy club” in order to maintain his reputation. His struggle becomes even more complex when Dwight Kerry is wrongly accused of the murder of seventeen-year-old Braxton Jones. Ben recently befriended Dwight when he joined the community chorus and chose to participate in the chorus’ spring concert, Mozart’s ‘Requiem’, yet he is ashamedly embarrassed to be seen with Dwight in public for fear of what others in the town may think of him for spending time with a gay man in a place where his sexual identity is not acceptable. Once Dwight is accused of raping and murdering Braxton, Ben’s decision to defend him in his trial puts their friendship and his unpopular stance that Dwight is innocent, at the forefront. Ben realizes that he must let go of wanting to appease his peers in favor of doing what is just.

From the very beginning of the story, Ben begins to realize the people of Freeden are a ferociously judgmental people, yet still struggles with whether to conform and try to fit in with the people he has known his entire life. He realizes the townsfolk are blindly following Dr. Henson and his church’s message of intolerance toward things different than what they are accustomed to, and through the arrest, trial, and the events that follow works tirelessly to change them. He longs for Freeden’s populace to be a more empathetic people and try to understand Dwight’s identity rather than judge him so harshly but wrestles with the reality that their bigotry may never falter. Ben comes to believe some of his fellow townspeople may realize their fallacies if he can expose the unfair, preconceived judgments of Dwight during a public forum such as the trial – and risks everything dear to him to ensure that happens.

A New Requiem is set in the fictional small, Southern town of Freeden, North Carolina, where Ben Bailey has lived his entire life. He was born into a family that garnered a poor reputation, and in small-town Freeden, reputation is everything. Nothing exceeds the importance of social notoriety, and everyone longs for it. The church, which towers over the town both literally and figuratively, is the most powerful institution in Freeden. Consequently, the pastor, Dr. Dan Henson, is the allegorical mayor of Freeden – people listen to and follow him, and he knows it. The justice system is influenced by his power, as are the major decisions and actions from those in local government to the hierarchy of the local newspaper and television mediums.

The town’s small downtown district is charming and quaint, but poor socio-economic conditions persist and make it even more difficult for successful people like Ben Bailey to fit in when the townspeople resent those who have achieved more than them or whose culture seems more affluent than them. Nothing is more important to the people of Freeden than the church, and anything that violates the basic principles of Dr. Henson and Freeden Baptist is shunned upon. In Freeden, intolerance reigns supreme, and its people possess an inability to see their own hypocrisy.

Southern hospitality is not afforded to those different from the cultural norms of Freeden -- you are like them, or you are the enemy.

Joined:17 Sep 2019, 23:18

Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#38 Post by AmyJacquemardW6 » 18 Sep 2019, 00:01

Escapism: The Awakening
By Amy Jacquemard

FIRST ASSIGNMENT: Story statement

Ellie must play a reality TV escape room game to dodge imprisonment and win the million dollars to buy her way out of the corner she’s backed herself into.

SECOND ASSIGNMENT: Sketch the antagonist

Jacob Novak is an ingenious media mogul whose penchant for testing limits – both human and technological – have built him a reputation as the tyrant of blockbuster box office thrillers. He, along with his guru-like stepbrother Gabriel, are the showrunners of the new breakout reality game TV show Escapism. Only unlike Gabriel, he wants to rule the world not save it. Using his genius intellect and his pioneering technology, Simulated Immersive Reality, Jacob’s goal is to highjack his stepbrother’s genius psychological programming and tools to do something quite different than the promised “transformation into aliveness.” Instead he wants to mentally imprison those who are weak-of-mind, which is most humans, and have them unwittingly pay him handsomely for the privilege. Only Ellie is getting in his way and not following the script. She must be stopped – or used – whichever will move his master plan forward that much quicker.

THIRD ASSIGNMENT: Breakout title list


FOURTH ASSIGNMENT: Two comparables

YA Genre
In terms of game play and cyphers/puzzles within a virtual reality environment, READY PLAYER ONE is a comparable within the YA/Sci-fi genres.

When looking at the fable aspect and learning through fiction, I have always been inspired by and admire THE ALCHEMIST.

A young woman desperately trying to dodge incarceration for embezzlement joins a sequestered reality TV show to escape the law and potentially solve her money problems, only to get caught up in the psychological machinations of the show runners and teammates playing the game.

SIXTH ASSIGNMENT: Internal conflict & secondary conflict
Internal conflict: The main psychological aspect and underlying goal of the game Escapism is the internal shift into awakening that the showrunner Gabriel preaches to the world. Within the first sub-room of the main escape room, Ellie has to face the thoughts, emotions and choices she made on a pivotal day in her past – the day she entered the foster care system, the same day her older brother left, abandoning her to the vagaries of the system. Through the process of solving the puzzle and to escape this particular sub room, Ellie must relive that fateful day until she makes a shift within herself that will change her life. And this is only the first of several sub rooms, all personal maelstroms, that she will need to traverse to escape the first of six main rooms.

Secondary conflict: The game requires groups of six to team up to escape the first of six main escape rooms. There can only be one winner, but they must work together as a team to successfully escape the rooms. Ellie instantly butts heads with a know-it-all prima donna, Malory, and the creepy older man, Peter. Add to that, she experiences stark differences with her new-found friend, Indigo, an extrovert to her introvert, and bad boy rock star Jared who anyone would want to get close to but is way out of her league. Sides are quickly taken and it becomes us against them with not only the showrunners, but the players as well.


ESCAPISM starts out in normal everyday settings, but as soon as the game begins the settings veer to the supernatural. The first setting is where production for the reality TV show is housed which is a big barren warehouse out in the middle of nowhere – the players are spirited away to no-man’s land. They are then transported to where the actual escape rooms are located – a old abandoned prison, which is exactly what Ellie is running from.

Inside the prison they enter into different cells to access each of the six escape rooms. The first room, covered in this first book, is a simulated reality of Dali’s “The Persistence of Memory” or as most of us know it, the melting clock painting. Only this is not a painting, they are actually within the landscape of the painting and it is all very real. Everything is outsized, including the fly on one of the clocks (and he talks). The entire landscape is real within the room – the players can smell the ocean, touch the gooey clocks and admire the Mediterranean cliffs on the horizon. Even the water appears real to the touch.

Within the Dali room, the players then access sub-rooms. Each room has a different theme and feel. The first is the past room accessed through one of the clocks which is speeding backwards. This is where Ellie must go back to a scene from her past. Her first foster home. The second room is each player’s personalized Fear cell. Each player must enter a cell that contains their worst fear – which is not necessarily what one would assume (i.e., an airplane crashing, spiders, or pitching to an agent/editor). These fears are more personal, the kind that each of us create within our own minds to keep us from being fully alive. Then there is the Distraction room, a very familiar place where players get sucked in by the mirage of fulfillment through outside sources; social media, TV, food, alcohol, gambling – all the human vices. The Want room is next which is magical beyond belief, crystal grass, small elephant fairy like creatures, and deer who have crystalline ridges along their pink furred backs. Ellie discovers more rooms, each containing a clue, cyphers to decode and mentors to guide her. All rooms are a means to get back to the Dali room and to finally escape back to the prison to win the first room of the game.

Joined:17 Sep 2019, 22:59

Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#39 Post by SanjuktaGhoshW6 » 18 Sep 2019, 03:50

I. FIRST ASSIGNMENT: Write your story statement

In the first manned mission to outer space, scientist K. Adams must effectively negotiate a conflict between human ethical conduct in deep space and promoting an overzealous scientific program involving bioengineering

II. 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.

The first antagonist is a veteran space tycoon, who exhibits time and again an absolute disregard for anything other than his purpose at hand. When he “acquires” the protagonist as his star for the mission, he robs the young man of his past life.
The second antagonist is a charismatic engineer and mission commander - turned friend of the protagonist, with a seriously conflicted persona. He is edgy, smart, confident, an irrational risk-taker and the lucky Jack who is hard not to love. Yet his love for technological advancements transcended boundaries of responsible science. Equally, his craving for the protagonist’s support and consent drives him mad with frustration. He does not stop at attempting on the protagonist’s life even if that meant killing a part of him with it.
The third antagonist comes in even complex form. She has a strong personality. She is the most celebrated astronaut with yet another complicated relationship with the protagonist, which does not alleviate her from his suspicion in secretly participating in an illicit bioengineering program.

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


IV. FOURTH ASSIGNMENT: Develop two smart comparables for your novel
THE STORY OF YOUR LIFE (1998) by Ted Chiang, which was made into a feature film “Arrival,” (2016) is a non-dystopian scientific fiction involving arrival of aliens on earth in space ships. The aliens called heptapods are peaceful. There is tension and struggle as the protagonist races against time to understand the communication of the aliens, which is nothing similar to ours. The theme integrates some complex ideas involving non-linear language and Fermat’s principle of least time in physics but tells a compelling story to a wide, unrestricted audience.

Similar to this novel, Divergence sets its storyline on a premise much frequented in science fiction (FTL, galactic mission in case of Divergence), but it is non-dystopic. It features some realistic science and drama. For example, the exoplanet of their destination is lifeless, despite its similarities to earth. The theme in Divergence integrates a few complex ideas involving space science and genetics but it is a story for an unrestricted audience.
In THE STORY OF YOUR LIFE, the underlying question is: does prior knowledge of the future affect a present decision, which could alter the fate, in other words, change the future? The answer can be subjective, and controversial. However, at the end, an aspect of being human is revealed, and that aspect makes one very respectful of what we possess, the conscience.

In DIVERGENCE, the underlying theme focuses on the fact that as science advances, many areas open up that appear theoretically feasible to do. But can we actually perform or test anything and everything that is feasible? Do we arrive and leave a pristine planet as explorers only? Here too, there is an element of our conscience that guides us through the decision. Same as the impact of precognition on decision-making in THE STORY OF YOUR LIFE, the decision-making whether or not to launch a cutting edge scientific experiment in an uninhabited planet’s surface in DIVERGENCE could be subjective and controversial. Ethics can be controversial, wedged in between being conservative and progress retarding in one extreme of the spectrum, and justly protective and futuristic in the other.
Ultimately, both novels tell stories of life, love, friendship and conscience that everyone can relate to.


THE MARTIAN (2015) by Andy Weir is comparable strictly in the sense that it brings in drama and problem solving with a realistic basis throughout the story, which makes it a scientific novel rather than far-fetched sci-fi. It is one of my most favorite novels. It may seem rather outrageous that Divergence perceives itself in the category that involves realistic problem-solving because the latter centers around space travel involving many light years’ distance. However, an explanation of the scientific imagination is laid out where possible without wishing to sacrifice any dramatic aspect. In the least, one logical explanation exists behind each assumption. It may reflect the fair measure of research before writing.

V. FIFTH ASSIGNMENT: Write your own conflict line
His opponent is too smart to reason with and win a clean victory. Adams has to confront and overpower the mission commander with shrewdness to dissuade him from setting up the sinister bioengineering program and steer the mission back to home base safely.

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

At the beginning, Adams is unsympathetic to the cause of the mission. His past life is torn from him as he is hauled into an immensely risky program with no hope of making it back alive. Although everyone on board fears his sharpness, assuming he is capable of destroying the mission in one small move, he is not a murderer.
As time passes, his creation fruitions into a viable mode of space travel across the galaxy. He is responsible for their fate. He becomes the one everybody trusts to the helm. He steers them through groundbreaking discoveries. The mission is now his own.
A mounting pressure rises on his conscience. He must severe the unhealthy parts of the program and preserve their seminal achievement. Yet for better or worse, he is completely in dark about the whereabouts and details of the ill-famed RO program. If finally he is unable to prevent the RO program from maturing, he is determined to end the mission such that nobody returns alive.
When he brings everybody back safe, he is no longer the same. The earth he left behind seems unfamiliar.

VII. 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.

• Twenty third century earth: society undergoing a post-war rehabilitation phase with major geopolitical and economic restructuring – life is different from the present.
• An elaborate habitosphere on Mars: the size of a small state of the United States happens to be the pleasure ground of the privileged, shimmering with consumerism.
• Peripherals: a small section of people who are born and raised in the satellite settlements, including Mars. They have developed curious psychosocial framework of mind, such that their logic is what we are unaccustomed with.
• A group of extraordinarily brilliant people concentrates in a small town. There is a piece of history about them is lost and is best that way.
• Adams has his feet firmly planted on the ground, is extraordinarily brilliant, sensitive, mature, responsible, nature loving. He adjusts to any situation. Is he normal?
• A spacecraft. Confined dwelling of twelve intelligent living beings and a variety of intelligent non-living objects. They call it the white planet. It is a very well designed craft with the ability to sustain them, mentally and physically.
• Space. The unknown and the unforgiving territory. Perilous spacewalks, external repairs, accidents, injury.
• An exoplanet in a dual star system. It is beautiful, with active geophysical systems. Yet it is barren. Could it ever bear life forms? Or does it?
• Life. As we know it, there are only carbonaceous life forms with specific self-replicative units. Human imagination has not conceived a self-replicating form that is much unlike our own nucleic acids. Could there be similar forms in a non-carbon backbone? How many abortive attempts at biogenesis did earth suffer before the perfect ribonucleic acid was formed?

Joined:13 Sep 2019, 22:55

Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#40 Post by LeoTulchinW6 » 18 Sep 2019, 06:13

1) Story Statement:
Come to terms with past traumas, grow the hell up, and save your world from soul-sucking monsters.

2) Antagonistic Force:

Antagonist: Adamastos
Protagonist: Gideon

Love and hate are two flavors of the same emotion, if you think about it: Intense, laser-focused, all-consuming passion directed towards someone else, unimpeded by rational thought. Adamastos doesn’t have a fixed word for how he feels about Gideon. All he can do is compartmentalize, and focus on his three simple goals: Conquer Green Meadows, find and murder the unknown entities that turned him from human to monster against his will, and make Gideon pay for setting it all in motion.
The two boys are intimately connected, their relationship a relic of Gideon’s murky past. Adamastos knows this. Gideon does not. To Adamastos, this is a problem. What good is revenge when the victim doesn’t understand what it’s all for? As our villain works to uncover the mysteries behind his own creation and lay waste to the town that brought him nothing but misery and shame, he strings Gideon along with terrible reminders of the boy wizard’s greatest humiliation.

3) Titles:
Sunweaver’s Son, Sunweaver, Inkborn

4) Genre: YA Fantasy
Comps: Song of Achilles, The Magicians, Simon vs. the Homo Sapien Agenda

5) Conflict Line:
A socially awkward 17 year-old wizard struggles to protect his New York suburb from an army of beautiful monsters led by a face from his past.

6) Conditions for Inner Conflict:

Unlike most kids, Gideon doesn’t have the luxury of making mistakes. When it’s your job to keep the people you love safe from monsters, even your smallest missteps quite literally cost people their lives.
Gideon’s mother, the Sunweaver, is a radiant beacon of light against the darkness of the world, the one woman even monsters fear. She is an impossible standard of heroism for Gideon to live up to, a daunting legacy for a kid trying his best at a difficult job. She vacillates regularly between babying Gideon and worrying about his every move, and expecting him to live up to his fullest potential as both a wizard and a high school student.
That means doing his homework and keeping up shifts at the local bookstore, and all while juggling his magical apprenticeship and duty to protect the town when night falls. Gideon flounders in this normal world, unable to properly express himself or pursue his passions, not that he even knows what those really are. He may be able to face down monsters with a quip and a spell, but talking to his crush or making new friends feels as impossible to him as magic does to us.
Gideon learns to create his own unique style of musical spell; wielding a conductor’s baton rather than a wand, his initial tentative notes increase in confidence and power as he gradually learns to revel in his own sound. He impulsively auditions for Kiss Me Kate at school, is cast as a lead and suddenly is immersed in music in a new and startling way. .
It makes life even more confusing when the seemingly clear division between the natural and the supernatural starts to break down. A mysterious portal appears at a backyard party. Gideon’s best friend Ralda catches him in the act of a spell. Holly Forbett, snooty popular girl extraordinaire, may or may not be one of the Inkborn Gideon is sworn to destroy.
All of this is far more than most adults could deal with, and again, Gideon is a seventeen-year-old kid. He’s anxious, socially awkward with low self-esteem, but fortunately, a wry sense of humor which keeps him buoyant. He struggles with profound, private guilt over his past actions; namely, killing his last boyfriend (someone just as damaged as Gideon himself, and evil to boot). Gideon is regularly forced to face these demons in the form of his classmate Bryan, another kid wizard and former friend who never lets Gideon forget his childhood mishaps. Gideon also has to grapple with Adamastos, who dredges up these memories as a way to emotionally manipulate Gideon while quietly consolidating control over the Inkborn factions of Green Meadows.
Many of these inner conflicts come together one fateful night, when Gideon is out on patrol. He sneaks into an Inkborn lair, rushes to save a hostage without having a plan, and almost gets them both killed. Of course, Mom shows up in the nick of time to fix everything. She yells at Gideon for making such a stupid mistake, breaks his wand as punishment, then announces that she has to leave indefinitely to deal with an emergency a few towns over. Little does she know, Adamastos watches this all happen, visible to Gideon but not his mother. The monster taunts him, goads him towards a chase, laughs at him while Mom seemingly does her best to make him feel like an abject failure.
Gideon simultaneously feels ashamed of himself for his inability to live up to his mother’s standards, furious and frustrated with her for not understanding that he’s trying his best, and terrified at the possibility of having to keep everyone safe when she’s not around, especially with Adamastos lurking in the wings, waiting to wreak havoc. Then there’s the added layer of Gideon wondering whether or not he’s even a good person, wondering if all this turmoil and sadness is a work of karma, punishment for everything he did to the boy he once loved.

7) Setting in Detail:

From above, Green Meadows looks uncannily like a face. Dense forest wraps around town like a beard and a head of hair, wending its way around, between, and through parts of the face like thick scar tissue. Sleek silvery Uptown is the forehead, with wide, winding roads like furrows on a brow. Twin grids of green lawns and white picket fences are eyes, and Main Street cuts through them like the bridge of a pair of glasses. Penwick Hill is the nose, jutting proudly upwards, with Gideon’s house perched on the end like a wart, or a piercing. Downtown is the mouth, a muddled maw of neon and water, reds and blues and violets and inky black.
Move closer, and individual buildings take shape.
On Main Street we spot Bookbeans. It’s the classic independent bookstore, down to the eccentric proprietor and uncanny ability to remain in business despite larger chain offerings. The store looks something like a bicycle wheel from our bird’s eye view. Gideon’s desk is the central hub, and the shelves are the spokes and rim. The coffee counter doesn’t fit the metaphor, plopped to the right of the front door, but like Gideon says, you can’t have everything. Overlapping patterned tapestries hang from the walls, and the beanbag chairs scattered between sections lend the small store a cozy, relaxing atmosphere. The store serves as Gideon’s window into the normal world and a normal life, his “outside looking in”. Its customers are a living, breathing reminder of everything Gideon fights for.
There’s a small outbuilding attached to the back of the Bookbeans, opening out into the alley where Gideon piles the trash. Until recently, it was full of old junk, but Gideon cleaned it out and now it’s his Sanctum. It looks like the back closet of a quirky librarian-archaeologist. Its concrete walls and numerous standing shelves are packed to the breaking point with books old and new, along with magical curios of all kinds. Ventilation issues make the whole place smell like coffee mixed with campfire smoke. Gideon uses his Sanctum to conduct experiments, prepare spells, and occasionally sneak a nap during lunch.
Gideon’s best friend Ralda, meanwhile, has turned her family’s garage into a laboratory. It’s a mad scientist’s dream, full of bubbling beakers and intricate gearworks resting on neatly-arranged lab tables, with just enough space to house a mysterious gadget hidden beneath a large tarp. Whatever you do, don’t mention that last bit to Gideon. It’s a surprise.
Leave Ralda’s house and walk up Penwick Hill. There are twin lines of stainless steel that look like train tracks sunken into the pavement. Nothing runs on them, and no one knows who put them there. Such a small town doesn’t exactly need a trolley. In front of one particular house, a small section of the track is striated with lines of a darker material, a patch job a few years ago. Gideon stays far away from that house, when he can.
Later that night, you may very well find Gideon out on patrol, walking back down the hill towards Downtown in his long indigo coat. Searing neon, filthy water lapping against rotting wooden piers, and every kind of entertainment you want, but certainly don’t need. Gideon feels more at home here than he’d care to admit, especially with monsters lurking in the shadows.
You’ll find Gideon at Green Meadows High the next day, behind on sleep and homework and feeling decidedly out of place. The school is a redbrick square with an American flag planted proudly on the roof. It has a small field out front, surrounded by a horseshoe driveway that feeds directly into Main Street on both sides. Gideon sees little of either, shuffling from math class in the basement to English on the top floor, doing his best to stay out of people’s way and maybe, just maybe, run into a certain attractive someone in the senior lounge. School is Gideon’s main foothold in the human world, along with the root of his all-too-relatable insecurities. It’s almost karmically fair; magical powers notwithstanding, school will always suck. To make matters even worse, Gideon has yet to discover that a monster lurks among the student body, camouflaged by popularity and a well-chosen boyfriend. (And for God’s sake, don’t tell him what kind of black magic the social studies teacher is brewing up after hours. He needs something to look forward to in Book Two).
These are just a few of the distinct, dynamic locations that make Green Meadows feel like just as much of a character as Gideon himself. Every locale plays a distinct part in Gideon’s journey, along with immersing the reader in an engagingly familiar world full of perplexing secrets even Gideon himself has yet to uncover.

Joined:12 Sep 2020, 06:42

Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#41 Post by ALLIP6MANN » 15 Sep 2020, 19:33

Story Statement
To bring her brother back from the dead by winning a treacherous game run by heroes.

Peter Pan is a hero. He is a hero. He’s a hero. And he’ll do whatever it takes to save his world. So, what if he has to subject people to a deadly game? They’re criminals anyway. So, what if he has to tear apart families? His family was already torn apart because of how he failed. The only way the worlds will be safe is if Peter Pan succeeds in bringing down the celestial beings that nearly destroyed his home. To do that, he just needs a little more power. Neverland thrives on chaos, so he’ll bring the chaos to him in a wicked game of betrayal and blood. People will die, but they always die. At least he’s giving them a purpose when they do. And as for that girl with the dead brother… well we all have family members we’ve buried. Selfishness is just disguised weakness, so if he has to kill her to save thousands, he will.

Break Out Title
1. The Darkness We Hide
2. The Night and Her Darlings
3. All Our Wicked Bones

The Darkness We Hide is a YA Contemporary Fantasy that has all the strangeness of Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle with the magical life of Stephanie Garber’s Caraval.

Conflict Line
After being framed and tossed into a cruel prison system for fairy tale characters, a young monster hunter must team up with exiled criminals to navigate Peter Pan’s deadly game before her last remaining family member is torn from her forever.

Inner Conflict
To Ari, life is black and white. Monsters and humans. Heroes and villains. Things that kill little brothers and sisters who bring them back. But after a late-night hunting trip accidently makes her an accomplice to treason against a multi-world coalition she didn’t even knew existed, she is forced to confront her own biases and her role in other people’s stories.
As she grows closer to her criminal friends and more desperate to save her brother, Ari is forced to reevaluate the stories she’s been told of heroes and villains. Her friends bring another layer of conflict, coming in all the grays between hero and villain. Love and hate. Found family and the family that you choose.
We’re all someone’s siblings and someone’s friend and someone’s hero and someone’s villain. We’re all someone. Ari is about to find out just how much power you have by being a someone, and the destruction or healing one person can bring.

Secondary Conflict
Ari didn’t come here to make friends; she came here to get her brother back. She didn’t mean to get close to the pyromaniacs living in the sewer. But here she is, and here they are, and loneliness loves a crowd.
Ari knows the danger of having a family, and she can’t afford to get too close. But she is attracted to their comraderies, their fearless living, and, fatally, their secrets.
All families have secrets. All families have baggage. But when Captain Hook’s loyalties wobble between his crew and his brother, when Alice in Wonderland disappears into the night, and the dancing princess drowns her rage in underground clubs, their baggage could sink the Jolly Roger. It’ll sink Ari if she’s not careful, and careful has never been her forte.

Primary Setting- New York City; Unbeknownst to the citizens of New York, their beloved city is used as a holding ground for some of the worlds most dangerous exiles and prisoners. Fairy Tale characters from all across the stars are sent here to be held until trial- if trial ever happens. The loud, messy landscape of New York has shadows at every turn, and in this story, shadows bite. The prisoners are getting ready to bite back though, and the undercurrent of revolution stirs through the back alleys and sewers the criminals call home. Since their prison masters keeping them from getting a job, prisoners pay for goods and services with who they are willing to shoot and who they are willing to take a bullet for. With the gun already cocked and loaded, New York City might just become an underground battlefield.

Secondary Setting- Neverland; The infamous island-world has always held the Neverland Games- a chance for the greatest heroes to prove themselves against the worst monsters. Steeped in magic fed by chaos and traditions older than the island itself, Neverland has secrets. Ever since Captain Hook was banished, it’s been a dying island. With no one to feed its need for chaos, it’s not going to last much longer. Now, it’ll become the playing ground for the strangest game yet- one played by criminals.

Minor Settings-
• “The Nest”- The home of Ari’s new friends. It’s a small corner of the sewer cluttered with colorful furniture. Tea is always brewing (courtesy of Alice in Wonderland), a fire is always keeping the place warm (the necromancer’s son is scared of the dark after all), and there is always, always, coffee (how else is the dancing princess supposed to cure her hangovers?)
• Auntie’s Shop- Auntie is an exiled witch who makes her living selling odd potions and spells. Her shop is a cluttered safe haven for the group. Plus, it always smells like lavender, which is great for the stress levels.
• The Apartment- Jayce (Captain Hook) is not welcomed in the Nest due to some nasty past with some of the group, and so he lives in what is lovingly called “The Apartment”, a rundown place in Mott Haven that somehow still has a view of the harbor and the many ships that dock in the nearby marina.
• The Society Headquarters- ‘The Society’ is what the group not-so-lovingly calls the government of stuck up old heroes who exiled them all in the first place and now refuse to give any of them a fair trial. This archaic government’s headquarters is located under the Empire State Building and becomes the place of a heist and hostage situation. It’s pristine white walls and top-of-the-edge technology will have to go head-to-head with homemade bombs and sheer will power.

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