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.
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New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#1 Post by WritersBlock » 27 Aug 2019, 01:25

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

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!



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.



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).


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.



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).



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!


- Read Caitlin's Comparables on Author Salon:
- 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?



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.



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?



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.


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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Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#2 Post by PiaKealeyW6 » 30 Aug 2019, 15:38

The Pull of the Earth
Pia Kealey

FIRST ASSIGNMENT: write your story statement.

A grieving woman seeking refuge as the artist-in-residence at a once-famous, remote architecture school becomes inspired by its nature-based vision that could save the world—just as she finds out it’s going to be changed into a playground for the super-rich.

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.

In Grace’s fight to save Taliesin from exploitation, an absentee investor group is the real antagonist. (Her childhood friend, Kenneth Arneson, who hired her for this post, is the person who engages them.) The antagonist is represented in the first part by Nick Oleander, who is an attractive but powerless cardboard cut-out the faraway rich investors hide behind. A well-educated twenty-nine-year-old, he thinks he knows more than he actually does about things, including architecture. He takes the liberty of replacing the understated, original entry gate to the Wisconsin campus with a completely inappropriate, blaring, commercialized one. He blunders about like the elephant that’s brought in for his birthday party.

In the second part, at the Arizona campus, Stephen Vorac is the representative antagonist—another charismatic, likeable, well-dressed guy with persuasive rhetoric about how ringing the modestly-scaled landmark property with a 'Creative Circle' of residential buildings for super-rich wannabes to be a part of the creative process will solve financial problems and be great for everyone. When challenged by Grace about the harm to the desert ecosystem and the jarring juxtaposition with the landmark organic architecture, he shrugs it off as necessary to maximize the ROI, return on investment, which is his job—and one that he needs to afford his child’s Ivy League tuition.

Irie May, the event coordinator, is the emotional antagonist. She’s an admiring friend at first, albeit with a stressful habit of tossing burning cigarette butts around without putting them out. And she is actually a needy narcissist Grace must stand up to in reclaiming her power and self-worth. Irie believes that she and her son, Lincoln, a student at the architecture school, are destined for greatness, having convinced herself they’re descendants of the founder, Frank Lloyd Wright. One after another, people who should support Irie fail her. It’s the story of her life. She has her own agenda, and she's going to take everything she can—it’s rightfully hers, after all—and leave. Including the urn of Wright's ashes.

THIRD ASSIGNMENT: create a breakout title

Fall from Grace
The Architect’s Ashes
The Pull of the Earth

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?

As in Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder, the protagonist is a reflective, independent woman dedicated to her meaningful work, carrying guilt from an accident that caused harm, and mourning the death of a parent. She goes to a new, very different environment, immersed in nature, where things get worse. Ultimately, she has a transformational experience and rises to the occasion to save a person or place.

With a maelstrom around her and loss as her companion, the protagonist’s ability to stay grounded and find meaning comes via submerging her hands in her art, as with Claire’s papermaking in The Time Traveler’s Wife. The reader is taken inside the details of the craft, the tools, the challenges, and immersed in the artist’s world, where she uses her art to process her human experience. Grace’s stained glass artistry in The Pull of the Earth is both her bloodline, as a fifth generation glass artisan, and her lifeline. Her very first task is to overcome her glass trauma so she can work again.

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.

A grieving woman seeking refuge as the artist-in-residence at a once-famous, remote architecture school becomes inspired by its nature-based vision that could save the world—so she's not going to let it be changed into a playground for the super-rich.

SIXTH ASSIGNMENT: sketch out the conditions for the inner conflict your protagonist will have.

The main inner conflict stems from the trauma from Grace’s mother’s accidental fall to her death during their botched reinstallation of a Tiffany window. Grace has been destroyed inside by guilt and grief. She also has trauma around glass work and has not touched a glass project in the nine months since the accident. But the job she’s taken is as a stained glass artist in residence. She ordered supplies to be sent ahead, and in one scenario, she goes into the workshop and sees the supplies waiting, challenging her. She first distracts herself with other busyness. A memory surfaces from her early days in the glass studio with her mother, which brings up the tensions between them and ends with Grace remembering when she told her, “You’re a terrible mother.” The anger and regret fuel her to open the crates of supplies. She weeps over them, cuts her finger, writes Mama in blood, wipes off the letters and puts the glass back in the crate.

Next, likewise sketch a hypothetical scenario for the "secondary conflict" involving the social environment.

Grace starts off as the housemate of the event coordinator, Irie May, and at first, they become fast friends, and Irie is Grace’s fan. But Irie is continually disappointed by Grace. A narcissist with a posse, the perceived slights get broadcast and others dragged in. In one case, Irie asks Grace to connect her with a gallery where Grace’s artwork is scheduled for a show. Grace forewarns her she doesn’t think they do photography shows, which is Irie’s medium, but she shares the contact info. Grace later has a conversation with the gallery owner about her show, and he mentions Irie contacted him and it won’t work out. Soon after, Irie’s sitting with her group and asks why Grace why she got the gallery owner to cancel Irie’s show. Grace tries to explain there never was a show, and they don’t even carry photography. Irie manages to make it seem like Grace is the one who’s dissembling, instead of that Irie was lying—in part because Irie believes her own lies, which makes her very convincing.
The nature of it is that once Grace has gone from idealized to discredited, Irie sours other people on Grace. It becomes one more way in which Grace has to be strong in herself.

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?

The writing of The Pull of the Earth (and its subsequent three more books in the series) was largely inspired by three places that are the settings—and living within the ‘organic architecture’ that’s united with the land, is the catalyst for Grace’s transformation.

Home base for Grace is based on the 125-year-old stained glass studio where I once worked. There’s nothing quite like such a place, with vertical shelving full of glass is grouped by color, light tables laid with a breathtaking variety of glass types, and artisans in smocks soldering lead cames around pieces of glass to form, or repair, windows.
Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin, and Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona, are both incredibly rich settings that are national historic landmarks. Setting almost becomes a character in my stories. Taliesin rises out of the greenest valley Grace has ever seen, echoing the stone strata along the hills, with the spirit of place seeming to come up through the stone floor into her body. Wright’s desert camp, Taliesin West, is made from rocks picked up from the ground into ‘desert masonry,’ built with the low lines of the desert horizon and the design concept of ‘ships coming down the mesa.’

Along with a visit to the studio in Brooklyn, The Pull of the Earth is set at the (still extant) architecture school at Taliesin and Taliesin West. (I have renamed them in my pitch—something I want to discuss at the workshop, whether to use real name/place or not.)

The Pull of the Earth pitch

Grace Avila arrives from Brooklyn to serve as artist-in-residence for the once-famous architecture school in flyover territory with a crate of beautiful stained glass and two secrets that are tearing her apart. One is that if she’d stood her ground on that windy scaffold where she and her mother were reinstalling a Tiffany window last year, her mother would still be alive. The other is that since seeing her mother’s broken body on the sidewalk beneath a shattered panel of stained glass, Grace hasn’t been able to touch a piece of it, much less practice her craft. With a pall hanging over everything that’s always meant home, work and identity, she hopes going to a new place might help.

But this place called Taliesin has tragedies of its own, old and new. Considered Frank Lloyd Wright’s ‘autobiography in wood and stone,’ it was what he built for the love of his life, who was murdered there soon after, and his masterpiece set afire. Yet, Grace discovers, he rebuilt, and their love story lingers. Now, a century later, the place is at risk again, failing financially. And the powers that be are willing to do anything to stay solvent—even build condos for the super-rich on the landmark property.

Grace walks alongside the earthy grad student, Christian, who seems to know what she needs better than she does, in the Wisconsin woods and the Arizona desert. Her feelings that have been locked away with her secrets begin to return like the tender shoots of the fiddleheads in the forest. Immersed in nature and an architecture that’s all about community and communion with nature, she learns about forgiveness, belonging and where the roots of home really lie.

About Pia
Pia’s life has been steeped in the worlds of architecture and writing since childhood, growing up in a book-filled, Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired home just eighty miles from the architect’s estate in Spring Green, Wisconsin. In adulthood, she has worked for two of the nation’s most prominent architectural arts studios as a marketing and PR writer, lived in a family of architects, restored several homes, hands-on—and worked to inspire people around the power and reach of architecture.

Her articles have appeared in national publications including the Stained Glass Quarterly, Traditional Building Magazine, and Parabola. She ghostwrote two chapters of the nonfiction book, The Legacy of Edwin Howland Blashfield, Dean of American Mural Painters,2009 by W.W. Norton. Toward excelling in fiction writing, she’s attended the Iowa Summer Writing Festival in Advanced Novel three times and done a workshop with L.A. Times book critic, David Ulin.

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Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#3 Post by W6GenevaKachman » 01 Sep 2019, 02:19

I enjoyed reading your assignment responses. Architecture figures in my novel as well.

Love the description of the stained glass studios, how interesting. I looked up Taliesin in Arizona and Wisconsin -- what great inspirations for a novel.

Seems like you're going with the title The Pull of the Earth - I liked The Architect's Ashes as well, but might change it to Pansaer's Ashes? Or maybe that's too much like Angela's Ashes.

I'll have my stuff on here in the coming week, then you can comment on my titles, if you'd like :)

Have a great Labor Day weekend!

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Joined: 27 Aug 2019, 07:50

Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#4 Post by W6LindaKoeniguer » 04 Sep 2019, 01:33

FIRST ASSIGNMENT: Write your story statement

A widowed nurse fights a corrupt corporation to clear her daughter’s name, prove that her death was not a suicide and find her murderer.

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.

Beatrice Haven is facing two antagonists. The first is YoungNSvelte Industries, the company that selected her daughter Julia for a slot in their internship program as a junior accounting assistant. Julia found discrepancies that would jeopardize the company’s very existence if they become public, which gives them reason to want her dead.

The second is the man who actually kills her. His agenda is quite different. Daniel Snow is the guy everybody trusts and nobody really knows. His true identity is hidden behind lies and fake IDs. He plays his role so well that he’s able to face his victim’s mother, knowing perfectly well who she is, and project total innocence. He manipulates people and events so that his victim will be where he wants her to be when he wants her to be there. This killer is no psychopath. He has a plan for his future and Julia’s in his way. He leaves nothing to indicate that Julia Haven’s death was anything other than suicide. He doesn’t torture her or savage her body. He doesn’t need her to suffer. He just needs her to die—along with anyone else he sees as a threat.

THIRD ASSIGNMENT: Create a breakout title

Much Ado About Murder
Even I Alone
The Confession

FOURTH ASSIGNMENT: Develop two smart comparables for your novel.

In the film Eye for an Eye starring Sally Field, the protagonist’s daughter is raped and murdered. Despite his obvious guilt, the killer is released on a technicality. The film follows Karen McCann as she tracks her daughter’s killer and avenges her death. Like Karen, Beatrice is the mother of a murdered child seeking justice for her daughter, but that’s where the similarity ends. Julie McCann’s killer was caught. In Much Ado About Murder, the police don’t even believe a murder took place. Whoever killed Julia Haven went to a great deal of trouble to make it appear that she killed herself. The only one who isn’t fooled is her mother.

In the Kay Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell, the protagonist is a strong, intelligent, professional woman. Dr. Kay Scarpetta is the chief medical examiner for the Commonwealth of Virginia. She investigates murders because it’s her job. She has the training, education and experience to be an expert at what she does. Like Dr. Scarpetta, Beatrice Haven is strong, intelligent, and she doesn’t let go. Unlike her, however, Beatrice is not a forensic pathologist. She’s not a cop, Federal agent, or detective. She is a registered nurse. She has neither training nor experience in police investigations. All she has to work with is her wits, courage, determination and the wry admission that she’ll need some serious therapy when this is over.

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.

A recently widowed nurse fights corporate intrigue, foreign criminal interests and a clever killer to clear her daughter’s name, prove that her death was a murder and find the people who killed her.

SIXTH ASSIGNMENT: sketch out the conditions for the inner conflict your protagonist will have. Why will they feel in turmoil? Conflicted? Anxious?

Beatrice Haven battles corporate interests and foreign intrigue to prove that her daughter’s death was no suicide and find her killer. The police have closed the case, so there’s no help there. If Bea’s going to get justice for her daughter, she’ll have to do it on her own. Further, she’s doing this with no training or experience in police procedures. Through the course of her investigation she challenges powerful people who have deadly secrets to hide, and will do whatever is necessary to hide them. They throw up roadblock after roadblock, lie after lie. Soon they’re hunting her.

Next, likewise sketch a hypothetical scenario for the "secondary conflict" involving the social environment.

Along with solving her daughter’s murder, Beatrice must deal with her own rage, pain and unresolved grief. The story opens as she confesses to her priest that she intends to kill the people who murdered her daughter. He is stunned by what she tells him and does all he can to dissuade her. She agrees to think about what was said, but nothing he can say will change her mind. She is a recent widow still mourning the loss of her husband, and now she’s lost her beloved daughter under the most horrific of circumstances. She means to make the killer pay for Julia's life, and if the price is her soul, so be it.

FINAL ASSIGNMENT: sketch out your setting in detail.

Much Ado About Murder is set primarily in Gainesville, Florida, where Julia Haven is attending the Waynesford College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Her mother graduated from University of Florida back in the day, but Julia chose Waynesford because they offer the internship program with YoungNSvelte Industries that she wants to enter. Waynesford is a small, private college not far from the U of F, but not affiliated with it. The campus is beautiful and highly reputed. It was founded in the late 19th century by Jackson Waynesford, patriarch of a very old, very upper-crust and immensely wealthy Florida family with connections to YoungNSvelte. Gainesville is also where YoungNSvelte’s corporate headquarters and production facilities are located. Julia works at this location until she is summarily dismissed under charges of theft and breach of confidentiality.

There are secondary settings in this story. The first is St. Catherine’s Catholic Church, where Beatrice confesses to a shocked priest that she intends to go after the people who killed her daughter with deadly intent. The second is Beatrice’s home located between Vero Beach and Melbourne, where she examines the evidence that convinces her that Julia’s death was no suicide. The third is Julia’s apartment in Gainesville where her body is discovered. The fourth is the hotel Beatrice stays in as she investigates Julia’s death. Additional settings include the Gainesville Police Department and the Gainesville Medical Examiner’s office where Beatrice finally convinces the authorities that she was right about how her daughter died.

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Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#5 Post by LORETORUZZOW6 » 05 Sep 2019, 00:54

1. Story Statement
The struggle to protect an innocent college student from expulsion based on false charges of sexual assault.
2. The Antagonist
Roger Parish, Associate Dean of Student Affairs for Disciplinary Matters, measures success through increasing the number of sexual assault claims filed by female students and rigging the disciplinary hearings to assure that virtually all male respondents will be found at fault and dismissed.
Though claiming to remain neutral, Parish is predisposed to “believe the victims” and prove that the males have transgressed.
After the protagonist’s son is found innocent in his first disciplinary hearing, Parish ignores the boy’s request for assistance when faced with a subsequent false accusation. The dean then convinces the second girl to file a Title IX claim that he knows is a lie in unlawful retaliation against the boy.
3. Titles
Substantial Damages
Sins of the Father
Over My Dead Body
4. Genre / Comparables
Legal Fiction – with a focus on characters and motivation as in Scott Turow’s work Presumed Innocent;
The story also parallels the dramatic interplay of accusations and retribution found in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.
5. Primary Conflict
A New York attorney fights a major university’s application of student discipline to advance the #MeToo movement despite incontrovertible proof of his son’s innocence.
6. Other Conflict
The father’s inner conflict stems from the realization that he has himself engaged in unwelcomed sexual advances and is concurrently having an affair that he fears will ruin his ability to continue earning a living.
The father’s strategy and tactics place him at odds with all of his family members, and his self-righteousness eventually destroys the relationships he hoped to repair.
7. Setting
Initial and recurring conflict centers on the campus of a major urban university, where the effort to out men who engage in unwelcomed sexual advances has become a cause celebre.
The camera then narrows on an administrative hearing within the university where the truth or falsity of one girl’s accusations must be resolved by a panel of academics without guidance of legal principles like due process.
Conflict moves to the home in an otherwise normal, affluent suburb, where the protagonist and his son fail to find relief despite the son's vindication at the first hearing.
Conflict returns to campus, inside the student’s dorm and surrounding the student’s involvement with a university-sponsored dramatic production: both outside the theater (where protestors disrupt a performance given by the wrongly-accused boy); and on stage (where the protagonist sees his worst fears play out before him in a presentation of The Crucible).
Before another disciplinary hearing can be convened, the action moves to federal district court downtown – where both the boy and his accuser are effectively put on trial.
Unable to bear the strain, the boy returns home where his parents fear he has become suicidal.
And despite the ultimately successful resolution of the boy’s lawsuit, his protagonist father is cut adrift to make his way in a city that no longer seems to have a place for him.

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Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#6 Post by KeithMcCormickE5 » 05 Sep 2019, 04:17

FIRST ASSIGNMENT - write your story statement

Protect her family or defend a vulnerable city.

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.

Ischyros, a general who rose to power during the last cycle of wars, finds himself pushed aside. He had expected to rule his home city of Thenardy. He feels betrayed by his city, by the gods, by his own aging body. He travels to other cities, seeking a position of influence, but meets with no success. One day he returns to Thenardy changed as if by an immortal hand. He claims he met a goddess who granted him the strength of a demi-god. He soon convinces his city’s Oracle, a person who shapes magic on behalf of the citizens, to create others like him, soldiers with strength beyond nature. Rival cities, alarmed by this escalation, threaten war. Ischyros, now a leading power once again, welcomes the coming hostilities. To him, war is the crucible where you can prove your value. It is the chance to dominate enemies and eliminate them forever. He also has not forgotten his city’s neglect, and may not care who wins as long as he is on the winning side.

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

The Gifts of Arete
Under the Hand of the Goddess
The Empty Vessel

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?

Circe by Madeline Miller — steeped in Ancient Greece and mythology, but very personal
Uprooted by Naomi Novik — a country girl drawn into a magical life she did not choose

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.

A young woman who serves the Oracles, or magical defenders of her city, must choose between trying to stop an escalation of power that threatens everyone or going along with the destructive course in order to keep her family safe.

SIXTH ASSIGNMENT: sketch out the conditions for the inner conflict your protagonist will have.

Eurymache trusts two people - her brother and sister - and views the rest of the world with suspicion. Against her will, and as a result of her father’s schemes, she is thrown in with the Oracles and Vessels of Arete’s temple. She responds in fear and anger, seeing enemies everywhere, even among those who could be her friends.

Next, likewise sketch a hypothetical scenario for the "secondary conflict" involving the social environment.

Eurymache’s sister, Halie, embraces her new life in the city. She is surrounded by beautiful things and is valued for her skill at weaving. When she gains the attention of a wealthy local who offers a marriage pact to be fulfilled when she is of age, Halie welcomes the chance to leave poverty and hardship behind. Eurymache, who would never make such a bargain herself, sees only the dangers and the limitations. The sisters quarrel as they never have before, and instead of healing, the breach only seems to grow deeper.

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.

The story is set in a secondary world inspired by Ancient Greece. Singers tell of a golden age, long ago, when new gods came to the world, carrying with them a power that could destroy the stars. The old gods, mute and inscrutable, stepped aside into the shadows — except for Arete, goddess of Excellence.

It was a time of bloodshed and savagery. One of the new gods, Mufokles, gave gifts to all creatures of earth and air and sky, for he pitied their weakness. Humanity he denied, for he hated their cruelty. When Arete intervened, the god granted human beings a gift of magic meant to create hatred and division. He bound it tight, so that humanity would chafe against its limitations, yet allowed power enough to tempt them.

The cities of this world cluster together. They are always scraping against one another for advantage, yet are separated enough by mountain and river to form distinct and disharmonious cultures. Kleos finds glory in battle, Atria in shrewdness and trade, and Thenardy in politics and invention.

The gods have been silent for many years, and an age of doubt has crept in. Those in power seek godhead for themselves, at least in the hearts and minds of their inferiors.

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Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#7 Post by W6KATEJACKSON » 05 Sep 2019, 04:38

Kate B Jackson

1. (Story Statement) Newspaper journalist Audrey Harris must uncover her hometown’s underbelly of corruption and secrets to solve the murder of her conspiracy theorist ex-boyfriend and write a retrospective feature true to its history.

2.(Antagonist) The antagonist of WHEN SHADOWS FOLLOW is less a single person and more a force. Small towns are like a family; they protect their own. When Audrey begins to pull the thread on Chattertowne’s 250-year history, she encounters resistance from multiple sides. Town founder Jonathan Chatterton’s descendent Peter is trying to protect his family’s legacy, its fortune, and its secret history of corruption. Chamber of Commerce administrator Peg stonewalls and threatens Audrey. Town historian and biographer, 99-year-old George refuses to reveal what information was contained in pages missing from the City Archive’s only copy of his book about Chattertowne’s sordid past. Her mother has been resistant her entire life to reveal the truth about the source of her own family’s generational shame. Her ex-boyfriend Marcus pays the ultimate price – his life – for his attempts to shed light on the underbelly of crime and coverups that he believes led to his father’s disappearance more than 30 years ago. Some are active participants, some are merely complicit bystanders, defending the honor of the town and its leadership out of misguided loyalty. Audrey finds herself wondering if anyone can be trusted, including herself.


4. (Comps)
Mary Kay Andrews SUNSET BEACH (St. Martin’s Press 2019) The protagonist in Mary Kay Andrews' novel SUNSET BEACH, Drue Campbell, has found herself in a similar predicament to my protagonist Audrey Harris. Both of their lives and careers have stalled out, leading them to return to their roots. Both have complicated relationships with family. Ultimately, they both get caught up in murder cases tied to decades-old mysteries that have present-day consequences.

Annie Barrows THE TRUTH ACCORDING TO US (Dial Press 2016) While THE TRUTH ACCORDING TO US is set in the 1930's and my novel is present-day, there are similar dynamics at work. Both protagonists find themselves mired in the provincial self-protective ways of small towns. Willa, like Audrey, wants to uncover the truth about her family and her hometown. Secrets long held aren’t given up without a fight.

Lisa Lutz THE SPELLMAN FILES series (Simon and Schuster) Like Izzy Spellman, Audrey is trying to find herself in the midst of chaos and the expectations of others. Neither are great in the romance department and both are trying to protect their little sisters from the consequences of poor choices. Like THE SPELLMAN FILES series, WHEN SHADOWS FOLLOW is meant to be a fun mystery that also examines family dynamics and personal identity.

5.(Primary Conflict) When her conspiracy theorist ex-boyfriend is murdered, a small-town newspaper columnist must risk her own life to uncover secrets going back as far as 250 years.

6. (Inner conflict and secondary conflict) Audrey’s inner conflict starts with her own struggles with identity and self-worth. A legacy of secrets and dysfunction in her family have left her questioning her instincts and ability to read people. She wages a battle between what she wants to believe about herself – her potential, her capabilities – and her fears that she’s lacking good judgement, prone to missteps (both literal and metaphorical), destined to repeat the mistakes of those who’ve come before her.

Audrey is drawn to two men, both of whom have her questioning herself. Darren, her co-worker crush, tests her confidence, often leaving her feeling insecure and uncertain. Holden is hot and cold, pulling her in one moment, the next pushing her away because he’s not free to pursue her. She’s often angry and frustrated with herself for engaging with them, for giving them power over her emotions.
Because she’s lacking confidence in her ability to set and hold boundaries, her right to do so, and her fear of rejection if she does, that spills over into her relationships with family, co-workers, and pretty much everyone with whom she interacts. Constantly second-guessing herself, she vacillates between unwarranted trust and irrational distrust… not only of others, but of herself. When there are criminals and murderers involved, that’s a pretty bad time to feel like she can’t trust her gut.

7.(Setting) WHEN SHADOWS FOLLOW is set in present-day New Hampshire in a fictional place called Chattertowne. Named by settler and founder Jonathan Chatterton for himself, Chattertowne is a moderately small city on the banks of the fictional Jeanetta River, about twenty miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean. Initially it was a logging community, but now is also a fishing and shipping port town.

Jonathan Chatterton settled the area, a valley at the base of hills once inhabited by the Pennacook People. Southeast of Concord and inland from Portsmouth, Chattertowne was officially chartered in 1761. Jonathan’s wife Madeleine died the following year during childbirth and Jeanetta, the Pennacook woman who’d attended the birth, stayed on to care for the child. Eventually Jonathan and Jeanetta – who he called Nettie – had a child of their own, but convention and a lack of courage kept their relationship and the paternity of their son a secret. Jonathan named the river that skirted his settlement after Nettie, but the origin of the Jeanetta River was kept hidden.

Audrey spends the majority of her time either at her nondescript apartment that she shares with her sister Vivienne or at The Coastal Current Newspaper where she works. Her boss and co-workers comprise quite a few of her interactions. She also spends a fair amount of time down at City Hall, interacting with the sexy Deputy Mayor, the poker-faced Assistant Police Chief, and surly head of the Chamber of Commerce. While researching Chattertowne’s history, Audrey encounters several characters along the way, including the hipster running the community center, the octogenarian running the city archives, and a 99- year-old author and local historian. Finally, an essential location in the story is the marina, where more than 30 years ago one man was found floating dead and another had gone missing, where Audrey comes upon her murdered ex-boyfriend and where the story ultimately climaxes.

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Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#8 Post by GrishmaShahW6 » 06 Sep 2019, 02:21

1. Story Statement

As terror tensions rise in Mumbai, can a second act of fear, thousands of miles from New York and the 9/11 attacks, help Aanya emerge whole again?

2. Antagonist

The antagonist in my novel is one of the many evils of globalization, specifically acts of terror. Aanya, the daughter of Indian immigrants, symbolizes all that is positive about globalization. Her journey begins at a roadside motel along I-95, Georgia and just as she begins to manifest the American Dream, it is shattered by an act of terror in New York City. Years later, she escapes the shadows of her life in New York to advance her high profile career at a tech firm in India, only to encounter another act if terror, destroying the embryonic development of a little known Indian dream. No matter where Aanya goes, she encounters the beauty that lies in dreams coming to fruition after long, hard struggles and the realities of globalization that shatter them.

3. Breakout Title


4. Comparables

Inexhaustible rings like Crazy Rich Asians (Kevin Kwon) meets Behold the Dreamers (Imbolo Mbue) and evokes A Place for Us (Fatima Farheen Mirza).

5. Conflict

Aanya arrives in India, escaping the shadows of her life in New York, to advance her high profile career at a tech firm, but finds herself amid terror tensions in Mumbai… can reliving an act of terror help Aanya emerge whole again?

6. Internal Conflict + Secondary Conflict

For years, Aanya has thrown herself into work avoiding any intimacy, but while pitching her company’s software at the prestigious Taj Hotel in Mumbai, she meets Abhi. They are both instantly drawn to each other, however, Aanya’s past stifles her …Aanya’s main inner conflict is both grief and guilt. She is unable only forgive herself for what happened on September, 11, 2001 not only because she feels responsible for the person’s death, but because she feels that she can never love like that again.

Second Conflict

Aanya’s secondary conflict is that she finds herself attracted to a younger man. While he is not that much younger, she is conflicted not only because she is older, which is culturally unaccepted among Indians, but because she is a widow. She feels she is not good enough for the high-profile, yet humble executive, Abhi, at the Taj Hotel.

7. Setting

Part one of Inexhaustible bring us to modern day India brimming with new money as it is not only the youngest country on the planet, but one that is witnessing rapid economic growth. We start in Delhi/Gurgaon, home of new found glitter and glamour among the world’s most renown companies and neighborhoods. By Chapter three, we shift to Mumbai and find ourselves at the prestigious Taj Hotel amid dignitaries, Heads of State and the elites of Mumbai, hobnobbing and falling in love with two of the characters. Much of part one takes place at the Taj Hotel and/or other parts of Mumbai.
Part two of the book takes us on a journey through Aanya’s love-filled childhood at a roadside motel along I-95, Georgia. Here we meet Aanya’s family and her childhood sweetheart Ayaan, along with his family, all of whom immigrated to the United States in the seventies. We witness the rise of the American Dream as two families work ardently at run-down motels in the South, holding their heads low, so their children (Aanya and Ayaan) can one day lift theirs high. A few chapters in, we shift to a fast paced life in New York City, both pre and post 9-11 as Aanya enters adulthood and lives through the 9-11 attacks.
In Part 3, we return to modern day Mumbai, mainly at the prestigious Taj Hotel amid a big, fat Indian wedding and the possibility of a high tension terror attack.

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Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#9 Post by BRIANW6DOUGHERTY » 06 Sep 2019, 02:56

First Assignment: Write your story statement.

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Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#10 Post by CeliaW6Zeilberger » 06 Sep 2019, 19:01

First Assignment: Write your story statement.

A lonely American diplomat serving in West Africa, reeling from a divorce and a terrorist attack she survived in Afghanistan, has to navigate America’s increasingly dysfunctional politics and defeat Russian spies seeking to bring her down in her quest to get nominated as an ambassador, her lifelong dream.

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

The antagonist of the story is Sara Sage. Sarea Sage is a 24-year old diplomatic spouse who becomes a Russian agent. Newly married and looking for excitement and meaning, she is initially dazzled by the glamour of diplomatic life. However, she becomes disillusioned due to her husband’s careerism and the insularity of the diplomatic compound on which she lives. She longs to be a powerful woman like Eugenie. So, when a new friend proposes she join a team of Russian spies, she acquiesces. The only problem? The Russians want to use her to take down Eugenie and Josh. As she becomes more and more complicit, she starts to have doubts--but it might be too late.

Third Assignment: Create a breakout title.

i. All Protocols Observed
ii. The Public Servants
iii. Department of Swagger

Fourth Assignment: Develop two smart comparables for your novel. Who compares to you and why?

Like Meg Mitchell Moore’s The Islanders, the novel is an examination of the secrets, self-destructive tendencies, and relationships of an inter-connected group of characters in an insular community. However, this novel is set in a U.S. embassy in West Africa, and these characters’ secrets have wide-ranging geo-political ramifications.

Will appeal to readers of American Spy.

Fifth Assignment: Write your own conflict line.

A tragedy-scarred American diplomat must battle Russian spies plotting to take her down and reckon with competitive and politically compromised fellow public servants in her quest to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming an American ambassador.

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.

The protagonist struggles to maintain her patriotism and dedication to her job at the embassy, and to push aside her doubts about the increasingly ignorant and politically compromised nature of many of the people in power in Washington, in order to achieve her ambitions.

Sixth Assignment (Part II): 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?

The protagonist struggles to make her relationship work with her former college flame, who has just been appointed the embassy’s new CIA Chief, despite their long and tumultuous history, the complications of a workplace romance, and his wandering eye and history of infidelity.

Seventh 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?

The novel mostly takes place in the guarded expat haunts of a dusty country in West Africa. Much of it takes place in diplomatic residences. These homes all have matching American furniture and swimming pools, which serve as centers for embassy social life. They are decorated with a hodgepodge of African art and Americana, and feature marble detailing and high ceilings. However, the embassy homes cannot remain completely insulated from the outside world: smells (sewage, fresh plantains, burning trash) from outside permeate the compound walls, and the sounds of stray roosters from the streets greet them in the morning.

The characters in the book also frequent a handful of restaurants and bars that cater to expatriates and local power players. Some of these restaurants are decorated in an overwrought colonial style, with chandeliers and gilded paintings. Others are ultra-modern fortresses that could be found in New York or Dubai. Despite the glamor of these places, they are located amidst potholes, open gutters, and goats. They also party at private islands that are owned by shadowy oligarchs and decorated accordingly.

From time to time, the characters venture in military planes and armored embassy vehicles to rural villages for official visits and ceremonies. These villages lack electricity and running water and feature dusty open fields, palm trees, mud huts, and roving goats. However, when the main characters come on their diplomatic business, they turn the villages into lavish reception areas. Chiefs come out in elaborate robes with their entourages, and all the villagers dress up in traditional outfits (with U.S. branded hats gifted by the embassy staff) and sing and dance.

Some of the book’s final chapters take place in Washington, which forms a sharp contrast with the aforementioned settings. The Washington of the novel is marked by pre-fab high-rises, sterile government buildings, and ordered highways.

Paranoia and pomposity permeate throughout the book’s settings. People assess each other by their importance and who they know, and everyone goes out of their way to project power—over the local population, over their colleagues, and in general. Moreover, suspicion permeates each place—people worry that others, whether foreign spies or colleagues, are trying to undermine them.

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Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#11 Post by SUSANMONTGOMERYA5 » 06 Sep 2019, 21:33

Algonkian Writers Conference-pre-event first assignment 9/6/19
My Story Statement
Europe on the cheap with a bohemian mom and a shaggy terrier

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.
200 words or less

Is it conceivable that I am my own antagonist? As much as I was excited about a lengthy stay in Europe, as much as I wanted to see Paris and Amsterdam again, I was anxious about my mom’s drinking habits and our dog’s safety and comfort. Mom said she would not die without having seen Paris again. How could I refuse that? Me, the quaintness of the architecture of Amsterdam and its people brought out in me a strong desire to stay in the city and to then explore the Dutch towns, especially to see Keukenhof with the riot of colorful tulips. I was nervous that my mom might embarrass me, a young woman who thought very much about what others said. I was worried about Clancy, our West Highland terrier who we could never leave behind, but were we wrong to take him on such a trip? He was six years old after all and he had the bladder the size of a basketball.
We had both given our notice at our jobs, booked passage in “steerage” on the QE2, was it too late to change our minds?

189 words

THIRD Assignment-Create a breakout title

And Then the Dog Died

Hey Arthur Frommer, We Did It!


Assignment Four-Genre comps
The Hideaway-Laura Denton, although fiction, it tells of love, and struggle to stay with a life you know or move out of your comfort zone for family
The Glass Castle-Jeannette Walls, a memoir of a dysfunctional, unconventional family, depression, and lastly, love
Trading Places: A Daughter’s Memoir: Becoming My Mother’s Mother-Sandra Bullock Smith, the role reversal many caregivers find themselves in and the rewards for having done so. Not to mention some fun along the way.

Assignment Five


Fifth Assignment-Write your own conflict line following the format above. Keep in mind it helps energize an entire plot line and the antagonist must be noted or inferred.
AM I my own antagonist? Should I turn this memoir in progress to a piece of fiction?
In my story I was worried, anxious-yes, conflicted as to whether my mother and I were doing the right thing. We both gave up jobs after saving for two years to make this move. My confident mother’s plan was to make a permanent move if possible.
I did all the leg work, followed Europe On Ten Dollars A Day to the letter. Hand wrote letters on onion skin paper and sent them by air mail to Amsterdam and Paris with some special stamps I had to buy at the post office. I did not speak Dutch or French but was able to get my requests for a hotel room across using dates and our names.
I wasn’t sure how our West Highland terrier would do on a trip like this.
A middle aged woman with a love affair with alcohol convinces her introverted twenty-something daughter to pull up stakes and move to Europe for six months in the 1970’s. Heightening the daughter’s anxieties are controlling Mom’s drinking habits and taking care of a six year old eating machine disguised as a terrier.

Sixth Assignment-Other matters of conflict
Not wanting to disappoint or let my mother down I went along with plans for this trip. I knew my mother would not make it alone. The trigger was not in these exact words but the message t to me was ‘If you love me you will do this with me.’ I even applied for and was offered a job at the Amsterdam Hilton…. can you imagine? John Lennon and Yoko staged a “Bed-In” here in 1969 and I could work there as a linen room attendant. My mom said that would work for me unless they asked me to fold fitted sheets, a bit of humor there.
Sixth Assignment-Other matters of conflict

Still working on this…..Sketch a hypothetical scenario involving social environment. Will this involve family? I am struggling with this. The entire story IS family,

Seventh Assignment-

Watching her stuff a can opener and a bra into her raincoat pocket on her way out the door, I knew this would be another memorable adventure with my mom. On that cold March day many years ago my mother, Clancy and I left our rented apartment in a suburb of Washington, DC and headed for and extended stay in Europe. We had been planning this trip for so long, stashing away most of our salaries, living in a relatively inexpensive second floor apartment, anxious to shed a quirky landlady who would prowl our yard at night wearing a raincoat lining.

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Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#12 Post by MariaSkyttaW6 » 06 Sep 2019, 23:15

Under the Moonflowers, NY Pitch Conference

1 Story statement

Louise Aster finds herself when she finds love in the wrong place with Aristide Montague. Through that love she finds her calling and realizes that she may need to sacrifice the love of her life to achieve her goals.

2 Antagonist

Aristide is a very successful artist with complicated and often conflicting personality traits. On one hand, he is very handsome, very generous, charming, encouraging and kind. Aristide is also romantic, warm, amusing and attentive lover with his partners. But, he has a dark side.

Aristide grew up abused, misunderstood and maltreated. As a result, there is a somberness and secretiveness about him. Aristide can at times be demanding, stubborn and self-centered. He is very ambitious and highly dedicated to his work; his art always comes first. Although he can be a wonderful lover, Aristide frequently finds love wherever he goes, which means that he has numerous changing love interests and sex partners, often at the same time. While involved with Louise, Aristide is also having an affair with young, naive Oliver Darlington and frequently has sex with an old, shrewd, but kind friend, Madame Dubois.

Aristide doesn’t usually mean to hurt people, but his actions have unintended consequences. He simply doesn’t see the world the way most people do and doesn’t understand the gravity of his actions.

3 Title

Under the Moonflowers

4 Comparables

Under the Moonflowers is like The Paris Wife by Paula McLain in that it deals with the enchanting, but often complicated and difficult lives of artists and lovers in the post-WWI Paris. Much like Ernest and Hadley, Aristide and Louise are also faced with infidelity, poverty, substance abuse, artistic struggles, hope, love and despair, either in their own lives or those of their closest friends. The characters in Under the Moonflowers are entirely fictional, but have been inspired by the real lives of many well-known artists.

Under the Moonflowers draws inspiration from the Decadent and Symbolistic art movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In Dangerous Liaisons by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, his main characters Marquise de Merteuil and Vicomte de Valmont are conniving, manipulative and shrewd, but also intelligent, charming and good judges of character. Although neither Louise or Aristide is heartless or malevolent, they both share many of the characteristics of de Merteuil and de Valmont; they are both intelligent, good liars, they can be unfeeling, are both quite worldly and not easily fooled.

5 Primary conflict

During an enchanting summer with on the French Riviera, instead of a few weeks of carefree fun, a young woman must decide the direction of her life; she must choose between security and convention or passion and potential ruin.

6 Secondary conflict

Inner conflict: Louise struggles with conflicting desires; she is not sure she can pursue both her passion and calling for music and her love for Aristide. Louise loves Aristide but realizes that their relationship, with all its baggage - other lovers, two strong-willed minds and two broken spirits - is not a good basis for a relationship.

Social environment: Louise struggles between what she wants out of life and what is expected of her. Her father is intend on her marrying a wealthy but boring duke, who Louise calls Lord Tedious. Choosing to follow her heart would not only damage her already fragile relationship with her family, but would risk her losing the financial support on which she relies and her reputation - possibly in exchange for nothing.

7 Setting

The story starts on the 1920s French Riviera. Louise and Aristide are both guests at an opulent mansion owned by a British ex-pat. The house is located on the Mediterranean coast, just a few miles outside an old fishing village quickly transforming to a tourist destination. The house is surrounded by lush gardens, flowers, the sea, a warm summer and the carefree atmosphere of the 1920s upperclass youth.

The second part of the story is set in the 1920s Paris, in Montparnasse and Montmartre, with their many artists, ex-pats, Parisian cafes, art galleries and cabarets. Louise finds that the Paris of the 1920s is a city of opposites. It is both poor and rich, malodorous and fragrant, clean and dirty, elegant and decadent, with an immense sense of hope reverberating through the artistic circles. Even the Tour Eiffel is dressed in bright yellow. Louise is surrounded by the glory, ambition, dreams, poverty and pitfalls of the young artists trying to make it there. By the end of the story, in the mid-1930s, Paris has gone through some changes. A new decade has brought on a change in the atmosphere; more people struggle financially, the world has become more serious, and a sense of fear and doom hangs all over Europe.

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Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#13 Post by ToddBequetteW6 » 08 Sep 2019, 02:33

Blood Perfect, NY Pitch Conference

First Assignment: Story Statement

In Blood Perfect, Joe Turner must defend his lover’s father against an airtight prosecution, fight the demons of a repressed childhood memory, and eventually survive the reality that he was no more than a pawn in the trial of his life.

Second Assignment: The Antagonist

Defense attorney Joe Turner’s antagonist is Arnie Kotkin, Joe’s adversary in the prosecution of his lover’s father. Kotkin is an obnoxious sycophant who condescends at every turn and employs sleazy courtroom tactics. While Kotkin is insufferable by any measure, Joe’s reaction to the prosecutor lends insight into his insecurities and lack of mental stability.

Kotkin is meticulous in his preparation and wears expensive suits and a syrupy smile of self-confidence. Joe wears his emotions on his sleeve, striped ties and while he never admits that his alcoholic binges effect his trial preparation, his loathing of Kotkin’s constant composure is revealing.

Joe’s reaction to Kotkin’s underhanded courtroom antics reveal Joe’s pride in his legal ethics. These morals are tested when Joe, somewhat irrationally, believes he may be defending his own father’s killer, and fantasizes about intentionally losing the trial.

Many of Kotkin’s eccentricities, like dragging his heels on the courtroom tiles, seem innocuous. However, by the trial’s end, the pressure of the trial makes every step a fingernail on the chalkboard of Joe’s fragile psyche. Joe humorously fantasizes about tripping Kotkin on his way to the podium and screams invective at the prosecutor from the privacy of his car, demonstrating the impact of his antagonist.

Third Assignment: The Breakout Title

The Perfect Witness (and Other Small Deceptions)

Love, Gin and the Perfect Witness

Blood Perfect

Fourth Assignment: Two Comparables

1. “No Further Questions” and other books by Gillian McCallister: A former attorney, like myself, Ms. McCallister writes suspenseful courtroom dramas. Ms. McCallister’s books are written from the perspective of the protagonist, and feature moral dilemmas born of family secrets, similar to those faced by my mine. Finally, like my Joe Turner, Ms. McCallister’s protagonists, despite their faults, are self-deprecating and likeable for that reason.

2. “I is for Innocent” by Sue Grafton: Although written from the perspective of a private investigator rather than a defense attorney, Ms. Grafton’s books are quite similar in tone. Like my manuscript, her books are set in California, and she writes with a breezy frankness about crime the way I hope I write about defending the accused. Ms. Grafton’s protagonist, Kinsey Milhone, mirrors my protagonist in her modest professional success and failed love-life. There are comedic aspects of the book that enhance the storytelling which are likewise present in my work.

Fifth Assignment: Conflict Line

Blood Perfect by Todd Bequette

A young attorney, while drinking away demons of his childhood, struggles to defend his new found love’s father against a mountain of evidence and a singularly obnoxious prosecutor.

Sixth Assignment:

Inner Conflict of Protagonist

Joe is racked by a repressed memory of witnessing his father’s murder as a child. He recalls only confused snapshots of the tragedy, and drinks in excess to escape the feeling that he was somehow responsible. The bloody images in the current trial trigger more frequent memories until the penultimate flashback reveals a young Joe frozen with fear as he watched his pleading father die. Joe is devastated by the realization that his failure to act – long Joe’s lament about many aspects of his life – contributed to his life’s tragedy.

Secondary Conflicts

1. While flipping through an investigator’s file of his father’s unsolved murder, Joe happens upon a sketch artist’s depiction of the suspect and somewhat irrationally believes that his current client may be his father’s murderer. Before Joe’s theory is disproven, he struggles with a moral dilemma. While ethics dictate that he should withdraw from the trial due to the obvious conflict of interest, Joe considers intentionally losing the case to exact vengeance against his father’s killer. “While I’m not sure how to win a given case, I’m was pretty sure I could figure out how to lose one.”

2. In college, Joe considered Amanda out of his league, and so is somewhat disbelieving when the romance takes off. He is self-conscious about his frail physique and sees sex as a minefield of manscaping issues and orgasm anxiety. Additionally, Joe is famous for his inaction, especially with respect to relationships. As Joe puts it, “Life happens to Joe.” However, Amanda is persistent and after Joe bungles a few opportunities, he and Amanda enjoy truly uninhibited love-making. When Amanda’s father is acquitted, Joe can’t wait to tell her, finally ready to give into his feelings and actually pursue something in his life. Joe’s leap of faith crashes to earth with the realization that Amanda has used him to secure the perfect witness to win her father’s freedom.

Final Assignment: The Setting

The book is set in crime-ridden Oakland, California. Joe’s law office borders the seedy part of downtown, and is cluttered with boxes of files in various stages of litigation.
The defense attorney’s interviews with the accused take place in the gray dampness of a jail cell, on phones through tinted yellow glass. The lighting is poor, the cement seats, cold, and the phone cords too short for comfort. The odor is a unique blend of mustiness and disinfectant, and Joe is struck by his relief upon being let out after each visit.

Joe’s home is a two-bedroom bungalow on a quiet street in the Glenview section of Oakland, convenient to the courthouse, and purchased with a timely inheritance from his uncle. While the home’s exterior fits nicely in the hilly neighborhood of narrow streets and tidy homes, the interior décor remains a half-step above a college dorm room, reflecting Joe’s lack of motivation for change and self-improvement. A hideous mustard-colored recliner, left in the garage by the previous owner, proudly dominates the living quarters. It sits in the middle of the room, covering too much hardwood floor, but the perfect distance from a flat screen, Joe’s only furnishing purchase of note.

The setting of the trial is the Alameda County Courthouse, its classically appointed courtrooms a throwback to a bygone era. The bench, counsel table, and clerk’s station are carved mahogany, the wood extending two-thirds up the 20-foot ceilings. Centered behind the bench, where the judge sits high above the proceedings, an enormous American flag is draped from the ceiling. The jury box is encircled by an old railing, the chairs at fairly close quarters and anchored to the floor. Just like in the movies, a swinging gate separates the well of the court from the gallery.

Several trial preparation witness interviews take place in the crowded and chaotic hallways of the courthouse, filled with anxious attorneys and all manner of criminal miscreants. The smell of pot, recently legalized in California, wafts throughout the hallways.

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Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#14 Post by AliciaW6Blando » 09 Sep 2019, 03:02

Story Statement (Life Experiences Memoir):
As a young doctor practicing during the early days of the HIV epidemic, I was unsure of myself and the effectiveness of my profession. I gained confidence in the purpose and direction of my life after seeking guidance from fortune-tellers.

Antagonist Forces:
I always conformed. My parents guided me throughout my education, from grade school through medical training. They told me, “Improve your life through education.” I obeyed them.
I started making independent decisions during college and medical school, still influenced by societal norms. Society mirrored the same ideals as my parents. Conform.

Western Medicine diagnosed patients from lab data analysis and images from the emerging technology of MRIs and CT scans. I was more interested in past knowledge and information that came from nature and intuition, than from high tech medicine. When my friends and colleagues mentioned herbs and acupuncture, I didn’t elaborate about my additional interests in shamanism and the divination arts, like astrology. I excelled in the medical community’s rules and found balance by keeping quiet.

No one knew of my growing belief that a relationship exists between astronomical cycles and the descriptions of human personality; that planetary rhythms influence the plight of man.
The tenets and mythology associated with Astrology have been rejected by the scientific community as having no explanatory power for describing the universe, let alone, for the practice of medicine.

As a short, Asian female, in a white male-dominated field, I wouldn’t do well if they knew.

Breakout Titles:
He’s an Astrophysicist. Don’t Anybody Ask Him, “What’s Your Sign?”
Wasting Time, Making Mistakes: How I Found My Astrological DNA
20/20 Foresight Using Astrological DNA

A combination of three memoirs:
1. In the Land of Invisible Women. A Female Doctor’s Journey in The Saudi Kingdom by Qanta A. Ahmed, MD
2. How Not To Be Wrong by Jordan Ellenberg. “Math touches everything we do. It makes the world make sense…we can see the hidden structures beneath the messy and chaotic surface of our daily lives.”
3. Wild by Cheryl Strayed. A memoir of a young woman who healed herself, while undertaking an eleven-hundred-mile, solo hike for which she had no experience.

Primary Conflict:
After finishing medical training, I found myself practicing in the middle of a nascent HIV plaque. Surrounded by death, I feared that I’m wasn’t cut out to be a doctor. I set out to search for a manual to see where I fit.

Secondary Conflict:
If I quit, I have no way to make a living in expensive New York City. How can I pay off my student loans? Will I end up working in a fast-food restaurant?

Internal Conflict:
How can I waste all the years of schooling? How can I face my friends and family, especially my parents? What will I tell them? What will I do? I don’t like to fail.

The setting is a classroom with a white erasable board, and chairs similar to grade school seats with attached laminate desktops. As my mentor, Iris teaches Astrology, I follow the circular blueprint of the zodiac plotted as a map of my life. Studying this visual representation divided into twelve sections, my natal chart, I have flashbacks associated with the meaning of each slice. The pathos, drama and comedy that marked my educational experiences in Indianapolis, New York City, and Milwaukee come to life. I see my travels to North, Central, and South America, working with indigenous healers. I understand why I gravitated toward palm readers, psychics and astrologers. In this classroom, I found a manual to guide my life.

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Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#15 Post by PHILDANDREAW6 » 09 Sep 2019, 19:40

1. Story Statement
Fight to survive in the trenches of WWI when life’s only challenge has been on a college football field.

2. Sketch the Antagonist or Antagonistic Force
Woody McFadden is a hard-working everyman. His efforts on the Amberson College gridiron open gaps in the defense for Hal Dowd to make big gains. It’s 1913, the days of excess before income tax and prohibition. Hal enjoys the celebrity that comes with athletic achievement while Woody picks himself up and wipes mud from his face. Hal strives to heighten his status and reputation. He grudgingly accepts he owes his success to someone he considers his inferior. By example, Woody points out Hal’s shortcomings in character. Woody falls for Polly Glavin, who attends a local college, but Hal makes his own move on her despite Woody’s interest.
Upon graduation, Woody and Hal meet again as soldiers in France during the Great War. Woody deals with threats from platoon bully Pvt. Harper until life-threatening battles begin in the trenches. Woody, who demonstrated quiet leadership on the football field, follows what unfolds in battle and anticipates troop movement to help his platoon make it through the next battle, through the next day. Hal must accept that easy success hasn’t taught him anything when faced with machine gun fire, artillery, poison gas, and an enemy entirely more threatening than a schoolboy rival.

3. Breakout Title
1) Fall of the Monarch; 2) Fields of Fire; 3) Second Chances from the Trench

4. Comparables
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
No Man’s Land by Simon Tolkien
A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

5. Primary Conflict Line
Woody McFadden knows high rank meant privilege in civilian life, while in war it brings grave responsibility. When Hal Dowd is awarded a battlefield promotion, Woody knows men’s lives will rely on a man who has experienced only success and a wealthy lifestyle in gin and jazz days of excess before income tax and prohibition. Success hasn’t taught Hal survival in the life-and-death situations the men will face on the battlefields of WWI France. It will be up to Woody to pull the men through.

6. Inner Conflict
Woody understands Hal’s easy life of privilege and success hasn’t taught him to adapt to life-threatening situations. As acting platoon sergeant, he must distinguish incoming artillery from outgoing, when to take cover in the trenches, and when to go over the top. When Hal shows the effects of the stress of new responsibilities, Woody is conflicted in questioning Hal’s ability and his own responsibility to step in when other men’s lives are on the line. The inner conflict is also brought out by the opportunities Woody and Hal experience to reinterpret past events and acquaintances while at war. They meet people who demonstrate admirable traits in character that Hal would not have recognized in the past, traits Woody realizes Hal lacks. In war, they are both offered the chance to learn from soldiers, civilians, and refugees, people similar to those they had known in youth, many of whom Hal had arrogantly dismissed.

Secondary Conflict
Woody falls for Polly Glavin, who attends a local college, but Hal acts first and makes his own move on Polly despite Woody’s interest. The attention of neither man distracts Polly, who struggles to pursue a career in journalism at a time of global conflict, when fledgling democracies, fascism, and communism challenge established monarchies.

7. Setting
A New England Ivy League university, 1913 to 1917, including football fields packed with fans, parties, mansions, and gin joints.
World War I France, 1917 to 1918, among battles and airplane dogfights, as well as among bantering comrades trying to keep sane in the trenches while facing artillery, gas attacks, and going over the top.

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Joined: 06 Sep 2019, 20:26

Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#16 Post by JonathanEppsW6 » 09 Sep 2019, 22:24

Story Statement:

Jackson Warner is willing to do whatever it takes to stop the next mass shooter.


The antagonists in the story are the shooters, the killers who have shot and who will shoot people in public. The issue itself, hanging in the air, is antagonistic. The problem of what has gone wrong to provoke young men to do these things is an aspect of the antagonism. Terror is my antagonist, culminating in one character who is intent on causing chaos through murder. He enjoys killing because he feels so low only other people’s suffering makes him feel better.

Title Options:

American Wrath: Captive of Seasons
Captive of Seasons: The American Wrath Series
Captive of Seasons: Spring (Summer, Fall, Winter)


William Diehl’s Primal Fear
I chose Primal Fear because of the disturbing, psychological twist in the young male character.

Jeff Lindsay’s Darkly Dreaming Dexter
I chose Darkly Dreaming Dexter because Captive of Seasons has a similar psychological effect of a troubling obsession. Who is right? Who is wrong? The subjectivity of criminal motive is an issue; the questionable behavior of a vigilante, of someone who takes it upon themselves to dole out justice, elaborates that issue. Jackson Warner is not a serial killer – even of these serial killers – but he does become obsessed with the lurid, virtual world of disaffected young men, particularly the ones who go on to kill.

Conflict Line:

Jackson Warner lives a regular American life until a massacre at the local high school threatens to upend everything.

Inner Conflict:

Jackson is deeper into middle age, at 52. He is single, never married, no children. His mother and younger sister and her family live 20 minutes away. His on-again, off-again girlfriend is his next door neighbor. They are right for each other but met too late in life to have had a family. Jackson thinks he’s a pretty normal guy living his life until the first school shooting; then, he begins to feel an irritation in his core. He tries to move on from the horrible events but cannot when he accidentally reads his twenty-two year old nephew’s computer screen and discovers an illicit chat group on an obscure website. He obsesses over the group’s fascination with death and gore and the shooters. He senses they are local and begins to track one of them as a potential killer. He joins all of the social media disguised as a young man just to try and get into this young man’s head. He becomes more and more convinced this chat group member is a killer and must be stopped. Or is he/she just a disaffected twenty-something in a disturbed and inhospitable world? Jackson doesn’t bother to consider it.

Jackson’s inner conflict stems from the anxiety of older age and his encroaching mortality; his isolation in living alone for so many years (even though he is near loved ones); the disturbance of public, mass shootings; the sense that his waning vitality and manhood must take a last stand against the more evil aspects of the world; that he is alone in his outrage, in his quest to annihilate this menace.

One of a couple of secondary conflicts involves Jackson’s young nephew who is lost and erratic, addicted to his computer, hardly ever away from it. He is finishing college with no prospects. He slowly spirals downward; and then, very quickly, he falls. This conflict starts near the beginning of the novel and ends just before the climax.

Jackson’s girlfriend and neighbor, Penny, provides many conflict/resolution arcs throughout.


The setting of the story is a typical American town – Anywhere, USA. It’s close to a major city but also near to deep country. It is suburban but has its own downtown. It is more like a township. It could be mid-west or coastal, middle/upper middle class America.

Jackson’s house and home, inside and outside, are integral to the setting which parallel his external and internal self. His inner conflict is a kind of confessional setting. His outer conflicts are the problems of the world.

The chat room is a secondary, maybe tertiary setting.

Various locations around downtown.

A large, natural preserve is the final setting where nature takes over – each main character acts according to his or her true nature at the climax.

It is an internal/external thriller. Inside the protagonist/outside in the world. Domestic and wild. Civility versus brutality, inside of people and in the world.

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Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#17 Post by W6RickLenz » 10 Sep 2019, 02:52

Danny Maytree, an old actor, stumbles back to 1974, into the youthful thrill and promise of a Hollywood career replay. One problem: his wife, the love of his life, is not in this world, making any Hollywood success meaningless. His second time through becomes a quest to get back to his beloved Samantha.

Cast back in time, itself a seemingly unassailable adversary, Danny encounters Valory Valentine under suspicious circumstances. She knows things about him she has no way to know. She recognizes his house when that’s impossible. Muse #1 of his three “muses” in his second time through 1974, Valory is a mystical, otherworldly presence, aware of and possibly a part of the unseen forces that are shaping Danny's fate. Is she a time traveler too? A crazed fan? She seems willing to help him in his “quest,” but when she learns that he must wait until the moment Danny originally met Samantha the first time through before making himself known to her, Valory says, “So do we get to have fun with these bodies in the meantime?”

“I’m married. Hasn’t she been listening? And why hasn’t she reacted with more surprise to my story? I don’t see how there’s any chance Valory Valentine is a coincidence.”

Valory has a hidden agenda. Maybe more. When Danny drives her from LA down to the desert to meet his abusive, now dying father, she lets slip that she knows exactly who Danny is and has known since before they met. Their meeting was not an accident. Will she help him or destroy him?

Hello, Rest of My Life
I Loved, a Lifetime Ago, You
Danny and Samantha: Take Two

“Dance Dance Dance” by Haruki Murikami
Hello, Rest of My Life is time travel Murikami. I’ve had a decade-and-a-half of psychotherapy. My wife and I have read spiritual material of all kinds every day for years. In the last 2 ½ years I have read all of Haruki Murakami’s novels. He has become a powerful subliminal influence on my latest writing. I am not a sci-fi writer, but I love intelligent, otherworldly stories, galvanized by unseen forces the protagonist and the reader begin to penetrate as the story reaches its climax. “Hello, Rest of My Life” is close in spirit and feel to all of Murakami. I have chosen “Dance Dance Dance” because in it, the hero is searching for his “mysteriously vanished girlfriend.” In “Hello, Rest of My Life,” he is searching for his beloved wife, lost in time and the space.

“What the Wind Knows” by Amy Harmon.
“What the Wind Knows” is about a man and a woman finding a love they never imagined possible, losing it then finding it again. It has a strong appeal to women. The Hero of “Hello, Rest of My Life” says: “It’s not news, I suppose, if I confess I’m a man who loves chick flicks.” Both books are atmospheric, compelling, time travel love stories with elements of magical realism.

An aging actor with a second chance at youth and “fame” realizes getting back to his wife, the love of his life, is his deepest desire. But Hollywood is seductive, in more ways than one—maybe this time he could get that lead in a Stanley Kubrick film.

Danny Maytree was a self-involved young actor, a loose cannon who helped undermine his first marriage then almost methodically destroyed a promising career. His halcyon acting days behind him, he meets and falls in love with Samantha, a centered and beautiful woman, whom he marries. His life improves infinitely. It’s a beautiful love.

But deep within him, he questions whether he really deserves Samantha. Also, as he ages, he wistfully contemplates what might have happened if he had run his acting career with any of the maturity he’s developed in his later years.

Raised in abusive circumstances, guilt toward his father runs deep. It doesn’t matter how young Danny was when it happened, he remembers his father killing his mother. Even though he knows it was an “accident” that his mother fell off that balcony, Danny has never forgiven his father. The beatings he suffered at Dad’s hands didn’t help.

In this replay of his early-thirties, having been changed by a lifetime with Samantha, he contemplates the power of forgiveness. Patricia (Muse #2), his therapist from the first time through, agrees to treat him again. Even though he’s told her his crazy story, she can’t resist taking him on as a patient; Danny knows things about her he has no right to know. She helps him open up, especially about his love and need for Samantha.

He meets Rue (Muse #3), a fourteen-year-old girl, who lives up the street behind Danny’s old Benedict Canyon home—but there is no street behind that home. Rue shows up later, in different form, and helps him see the beginnings of his pathway back to Sam. (While "The Wizard of Oz" certainly couldn't be called a comparable, there is a parallel between The Tin Man, The Scarecrow, and The Cowardly Lion helping Dorothy find her way home to Auntie Em et al. and Danny's 3 muses helping--or hindering him from?--finding his way home to Samantha.)

The main setting is a beautiful, California Spanish home on Benedict Canyon in Beverly Hills California. This is the house Danny Maytree lived in with his first wife, Fleury.

The book begins on the veranda of Danny and Samantha’s house in Valley Glen in the San Fernando Valley, on the other side of the Santa Monica Mountains and a world away from Beverly Hills and Hollywood. This is the house he tries to drive home to in his vintage Pontiac Firebird on the day he unwittingly makes his transition from 2020 back to 1974. This house is now back to being exactly as it was when Sam and Danny bought it—his first solid hint that his life has been turned upside down.

As he goes through the motions of being the young actor he used to be, most of the action takes place in LA, about which one character says: “All you poor unfortunates, plunked down together on this big parcel of desert—not big enough, when you think about it—sagebrush in your sushi, coyotes eating your cats, too many freeways, too few freeways, the most bizarre sense of reality per capita in the world.”

Other “locations: 1. Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park, known for its geologic wonders and long popular in theatrical and television location shoots, especially sci-fi adventures, requiring a barren or otherworldly landscape. 2. Three chapters take place in the desert, mostly in Passion Falls, a hundred miles southeast of LA. The setting for the major scene there is his father’s backyard with rusty barbecue, scrawny mesquite, and Dad’s girlfriend’s brave attempt at a lawn, the color of old and dry tobacco. 3. LAX, where Danny has to go on his way to meeting Stanley Kubrick. 4. Calabasas: a brushfire rages as Danny’s heart is “cured.”

Much of the denouement of "Hello, Rest of My Life" takes place in the Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks Recreation Center, a half-mile long park where Danny shoots the film ("Hello, Rest of My Life") that he prays will result in the fulfillment of his (and Samantha's) dream that, regardless of what age they may be, the lovers are reunited.

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Joined: 10 Sep 2019, 01:12

Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#18 Post by GinaWindW6 » 10 Sep 2019, 04:15

1. Pitch Line
A vulnerable young woman, who recently left her childhood home with no support, must master her own mind and life while America’s most powerful capitalist and sorcerer uses skull jumping, to try and turn her, into his greatest weapon against the world’s oldest organization devoted to good magic and benevolence.

2. Antagonist-
Cram the raw, destructive force of capitalism into one man. Stokes Bickley. Neglected and spoiled beyond reckoning, he was raised in the wealthiest family in America. His incredibly high IQ, perfect breeding, and appearance enabled him to manipulate everyone.
With bored disdain he moved onto sorcery. His prestige allowed him to learn everything from the most powerful shamans and sorcerers on earth.
Now malevolent toward every thing, he is a perpetually hungry animal, right before the kill.
Using his money and bad magic, he loves to obliterate. Destruction is his coffee. His goal is to enjoy manipulating everything. Including the oldest and last organization devoted to preserving good magic, and it’s fairy godmother, CEO. No one is impervious.
Except Perhaps Vichy.

3. Titles
La Luna Sur Paris- and other stuff
The moons untamed (unrestrained?) in Notre Dame, The impossibilities
Mistakes are my expertise

4. Genre
This YA manuscript is a whimsical, multifaceted myth of it’s own.
As a scholar, I crafted a story with history, mysticism and archetypes. As a reader, I wrote what I enjoy reading; a funny, hipster, urban fantasy that crosses international boundaries. As a psychologist, I drew my characters from the most complicated people; one could fall in love with. I derived the manuscript’s conflicts from the heartbreak I seek to comfort, in today’s young and very lost girls. I aim to inspire hope and make them giggle.

The night circus by Erin Morgenstern
Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
TV Series Legacies created by Julie Plec

5. Primary Conflicts
Vichy has no idea why world famous shamans start asking her for favors when she is the girl who starts avalanches while snowboarding.
She also doesn’t know that the world’s oldest corporation devoted to protecting good magic, which hangs by a thread in the modern era, depends upon her to save it.
Her grandmother taught her the mystical power of skull jumping and she can be impervious to bad magic at times, but her mistakes follow her everywhere she goes. Her exasperation deepens as the irresistible sorcerer she is hired to stop enters her mind, through skull jumping, in search of the secret she hides. If he finds it, she will be his greatest weapon against the world. Now, her paycheck is not the only thing on the line.

Historical and mythological forces descend and she will need all of the help she can get, from her “train-jumper” best friend and the cast of magical characters that come with the job. Especially, when she disappears with the sorcerer into a blizzard in Aspen.
And she needs them as she tries to avoid living out her own dark fantasies in an ancient castle in Paris.
But how can she learn to rely on “magical others” when she is rendered so truly vulnerable by life and in an era, when one’s person’s success is another’s betrayal.
With her best friend, she embarks on an original mythos full of twists and turns and where she is constantly failing at life’s impossibilities. Can she overcome her failures? Will she betray herself by falling in love, or loosing herself in a career before she knows herself? What if she betrays the last stronghold of good magic by giving into Stokes Bickley? Can she withstand everything he will use against her and keep her mastery over her mind and life? How can she maintain loyalty to anything when she is thrown into such an intense world so very young?

6. Inner Conflicts
The two young women in this story are terrified by what this world has to offer them and their futures, and are timid about love, since modern boys have stopped courting girls but are most afraid of living superficial lives, where they are not given a myth, a safe haven where they can come to know their own selves. The novel takes on the topics of the modern girl’s coming of age. Can they become brilliant at handling the impossibilities of reality, accepting rejection and enduring betrayal?

7. Setting
The pace and settings are dynamic and move rapidly. In one chapter, the protagonist is in gondolas and riding in a snowcat and in the next chapter she is in a helicopter. At times, Vichy works in a large high tech office in Paris and in a contemplative moment, she shelters in secret earthy caverns. The manuscript moves from the high Rockies in the heart of winter’s wrath, to drinking champagne at exquisite soirees within fine European architecture.

Sentences from Scene Examples- out of order and context
The Aspen Ski Company’s night-skiing lighting system was on. An amber glow descended down the mountain. Dim lighting, illuminated dense patches of dark pines that separated ski runs. A valley of enormous peaks hugged the city. Fragrant wood-fire smoke wafted through the night air. The moon hung loosely over pine branches, bent low, heavily laden with fresh snow. At the top of Aspen Mountain, stars and planets glimmered and clouds temporarily gathered and rapidly dispersed. The color of the peaks matched and reflected the hues the fast moving clouds. Glorious layers of pine forests, frozen alpine gardens, iced over tundra, and sheer granite, mountain tips glistened.

Underworld Paris-
Together, they were perfectly at home in the abundance of twisting and turning candlelight caverns. Velvet draperies veiled some passages while gothic chandeliers illuminated others. Hand carved goddess statues were illuminated every few feet. Fresh flowers at their bases. Deep within the heart of the fairy realm, as she ran her hands along stonewalls, in a world full of mystery, she was at ease. They moved through mineral caves filled with artifacts. Distant openings harbored offshoots of other passageways. One could get, indefinitely lost in the stone slabs covered with witchy symbols.

Notre Dame
Moonlight streamed through stained glass windows caught dust particles and morphed into a nebula. Bodies moved in sensational gowns and Venetian menswear. Figures ceaselessly floated, found other bodies, coupled up, and swirled. Masqueraded physiques doubled up in infinity mirrors. The sound of Notre Dame’s bells flooded the Cathedral.
Colorful rays of soft moonlight illuminated a sculpture of the great mother Mary. Yesterday, the sculpture sat surrounded by women who prayed in earnest for their children.
Now, those prayer benches were cleared. In their place, stretched a feast, set to allure Bacchius. Exquisite, culinary delicacies from all over the world dripped off of each table.

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Joined: 27 Aug 2019, 06:59

Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#19 Post by W6GenevaKachman » 10 Sep 2019, 09:13

1. Story Statement:

Ann Arbor architect turned wedding cake designer must rebuild her life, after professional and personal failure strike simultaneously.

2. Antagonist:

Nearly 300 years ago, Sonya Chloe was born to extraordinary parents – her mother overseer of the Imperial Romanov Orchards, her father designer of St. Peterburg's canal system. Tragically, he was arrested on trumped-up charges and executed, sending his wife, daughter and daughter's betrothed in flight to North America. Only the daughter made it to their Quebec cabin rendezvous.

There, in the midst of a blizzard, she achieved immortality. Seated in a green velvet wing chair next to an empty fireplace, she'd nibbled at her last foodstuff - a small, barely sweet fruitcake. The Fruitcake of Immortality, as it turned out.

She then traveled to the Arctic, to see what was left of the ice prison the Russian Empress had forced her father to construct. Wandering among the lumps of ice remaining, she vowed to style herself a Snegurochka, or Mother Frost, and on the very spot build an ice palace worthy of her lost loved ones.

Rabidly anti-imperialist, she supplies support, mostly monetary but sometimes magical, to worthy projects, throwing her grantees a big party once a year. Here she expresses her whimsical side, if not a touch of pettiness. For example, using teacups once belonging to royalty for dessert, because “revenge is sweet, when you eat ice cream out of your enemy's tea cup.”

3. Breakout Title(s):

An Ann Arbor Christmas Carol
Sonya Chloe and the Last Day of Snowspell Soiree
Revenge is Sweet (When You Eat Ice Cream Out of Your Enemy's Teacup)

4. Comparables:

The Snow Child, by Eowen Ivey

My story too centers on a Snegurochka – except she's 270 years old and has plenty to say about politics and history, both Russian and American. She also has her own winter holiday and an Arctic ice palace, not to mention a monopoly on bagged ice production. Whereas Faina, Ivey's Snegurochka, leaves the protagonist Mabel with what she's always wanted, a child (actually, a grandchild), my Snegurochka supports worthy projects around the world. Finally, Mabel is a professor's daughter; my protagonist lives in a college town and has a degree in architecture.

A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

I deconstructed A Christmas Carol from a feminist perspective, introducing a female protagonist and combining the three spirits into one person – Sonya Chloe Eropkin, a 270-year-old Russian Snegurochka, or Mother Frost. Scrooge's obsession with wealth accumulation is translated into Cassie's enthusiasm for palace architecture, entirely unconcerned with the political and economic factors that made palaces possible. Her chance for “redemption” lies with helping rehab a famous Detroit eyesore – decrepit Michigan Central Station.

5. Conflict Line:

An architect turned failed wedding cake designer, on verge of financial ruin, must build a new career for herself out of the ashes of the old ones, even if it means rejecting the reason she became an architect in the first place.

6. Inner Conflict:

Cassie was so bored as a junior architect that she quit to become a wedding cake designer, blending features of famous international architecture in her successful designs. When her wedding cake business fails, Cassie needs to reinvent herself professionally before her savings run out and she loses her house.

But it's not so easy to go back into architecture, after having left it to become a wedding cake designer – how do potential employers know she won't just up and quit again? And she's not sure, even if she could land such a job, if she wants to. But what options does that leave her? She's been summarily drummed out of the local wedding cake market. Although Harold, a Detroit 4H urban gardener, is urging her to “join his team,” working on some project he's yet to clarify, Cassie doesn't know anything about urban gardening, or even how her skill set would apply to urban architecture. But Cassie's acutely aware that financial pressures will only intensify in coming months.

Secondary Conflict:

Cassie's ex was a physics grad student, often rigid in his thinking and a bit elitist – he'd never even held a summer job! This is a sensitive subject for Cassie, having been raised by a single mother in a working class neighborhood. Cassie's quite upset when Dave, the new tenant she's developing feelings for, ends up coming to her mom's for Thanksgiving. The sight of him lounging in the doorway to her childhood bedroom, Heineken in hand, while she shares a childhood reminisce with her friend's preteen daughter – this brings to Cassie's mind the unpleasant picture of a frat brother on a Saturday evening, and she says so.

7. Final Assignment / Setting:

Cassie's lifelong love of palaces inspired her decision to become an architect. So it's not surprising that a trip to a palace – the quirky, kitschy Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota – inspired the difficult decision to leave her cushy junior architect job and become a wedding cake designer. To this end, she purchased a blue cinder block house emblematic of dynamic, financially savvy Ann Arbor: The previous owner, an artisanal baker, had converted its garage into a commercial-grade kitchen, yet had the foresight to throw in a bathroom so it could also work as a studio apartment.

A good thing, since Cassie's wedding cake business did eventually (and spectacularly) fail. Her friend, a real estate agent / would-be sci-fi writer, quickly found a tenant to rent it for at least a few months. The tenant was a handsome system architect turned van converter. Everybody's more than one thing, or yearns to be, in Ann Arbor!

With a little breathing room, Cassie starts taking her two cats to the park every day. Besides the usual acres of mown lawn, softball diamonds and soccer fields, there's a lush wet meadow that absorbs runoff after heavy rains. This wet meadow is also a portal that, frighteningly enough, transports Cassie to the Imperial Romanov Orchards in St. Petersburg, circa 1740. Further “travels” take Cassie to a cottage in Quebec and then to an Arctic ice palace, Palais du Nord.

Cassie, astonished and overjoyed, circles the ice palace, taking in its six wings around a central rotunda, the tiny cupola at the top. She surmises the floor plan to look like a snowflake lying flat on the ground. There's a blizzard-proof fountain; an ice slide topped by swan chariots (of ice); and on the palace roof, a crown of sorts, huge ice curls that actually make up the Holiday Memory Retention Roller Coaster.

The sole occupant is Sonya Chloe, a 270-year-old Russian woman who's styled herself a Snegurochka, or Mother Frost. Within the gold and pastel Salon of the Nine Muses, a replica of the one in Catherine the Great's so-called Chinese Palace, Sonya Chloe explains many things to Cassie, including why she wears a huge yellow hoop skirt: “When the night last six months, one must become one's own sun.” While Cassie notes the similarity between the ice palace's dome and that of the US Capitol, Sonya Chloe boasts that the agriculture-themed pattern on her massive yellow skirt is the same as that on the yellow curtains in the White House, which are used as backdrop for presidential speeches.

Cassie's visit to Palais du Nord forces her to rethink her uncritical enthusiasm for palaces, recognizing them as not simply sites of visual delight, but also of historical injustice.

Alongside Cassie's bewildering introduction to Sonya Chloe, she's also getting to know Harold, a Detroit 4H urban gardener. He takes Cassie and her tenant Dave on an urban garden tour; even in the 90s, the time period of the novel, Detroit was filled with vacant lots ready for tilling and planting.

She also becomes acquainted with Detroit's “anti-palace,” the decrepit Michigan Central Station. Opening in 1913, it consists of a 3-story lobby, a lower concourse, and 18-story office building. The last train left the station in 1988; vandals, scrappers and graffiti artists had already wrecked havoc on the building by the early 90s. Designing wedding cakes with an eye to incorporating architectural elements was one thing; helping to turn Michigan Central Station into a world-class urban agriculture institute was something else altogether. Was she up for it? Was this the direction she actually wanted her life to go? And she wonders, what will Dave, tenant and new love interest, think of all this? Will he be as stuffy as her ex?

Things get even more complicated, when Cassie learns Sonya Chloe and Harold already know each other, and they'll all be together at the ice palace, along with other guests (some immortal, some not) for the big Snowspell bash in January. Cassie's making the cake, a replica of the ice palace itself. Meanwhile, back in the commercial kitchen/studio apartment, Dave's whipping up something for Cassie, to try and win her heart.

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Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#20 Post by ChrisA5Davis » 10 Sep 2019, 19:03


- Discover purpose by leaving Tutwiler for a new life in euphoric California.

SECOND ASSIGNMENT: The Antagonist Plots the Point

Mert Marshall is the manifestation of evil. He controls all aspects of his world. For generations, he’s held supreme dominion over his spouses, his hired hands and associates, and Felton’s (protagonist) family. Mert was responsible for the deaths of his two wives—the maiming and extradition of his third. He raped a teenage girl, which later resulted in her demise while giving birth. He orchestrated the presumed accidental death of Felton’s father (Errol), as well as the suicide of his fourth wife, Ev. Directly and indirectly, he’s responsible for the insurmountable challenges Felton faces in trying to leave Tutwiler for good.

THIRD ASSIGNMENT: Create a Breakout Title


FOURTH ASSIGNMENT: Develop Two Smart Comparables

- Genre – Upmarket / Literary Fiction

1 - Peace Like a River by Leif Enger—efficiently written with a backdrop of religious & spiritual influence. There’s a collaborative sense of mission shared amongst the POV and supporting characters. Functionally blurs the lines with the surreal and the absurd, yet the story remains grounded in realism. Characters are deprived and desperate. Ending is cast in resolution, realization and acceptance rather than cliché optimism or contentment.

2 - Canada and the Bascombe novels by Richard Ford—character-driven plot, process of interpersonal development, occurrence of a quiet epiphany through self-examination and discovery. Always an undertow of desperation and personal compromise. Characters are deeply flawed. Ordinary incidences drive the scenes and the story, yet the character’s inner conflict creates suspension of disbelief. Perspective and key scenes convey a sense of unease and apprehension. Leaves audience satisfied, yet wondering what’s to come.

Both of these writers consistently explore aspects of critical relationships such as father and son, ex-wives, children, etc. Specifically, they discover how a son might idealize his father, and how a father can be aware of how he is perceived by his children, and to some measure, how some fathers might be oblivious or even indifferent. I believe this to be the most important relationship in a son’s life, even in the absence of a father. This seems to be a deep vein in my own work. I have realized that as boy I might have viewed my father too favorably, and even constructed rationale for some of his best, yet futile intentions. These relationships are a wellspring of complexity and emotional inherences.

The Ford and Enger father characters are sympathetic yet incredibly flawed. They make terrible decisions and stupid mistakes, which can even jeopardize the reader’s support. Yet the writing—especially the inner voice, compels the reader to forgive again and again. I am naturally drawn to characters that make life-altering mistakes or seem to be hapless to some degree. Such is the case in Enger’s father-character, as well as the father in Ford’s Canada.

One personal goal is to write a story I’d like to read. Both of these works certainly qualify as favorites for me.

FIFTH ASSIGNMENT: Primary Conflict

In the 1990’s Crossroads culture of the Mississippi delta, bereaved and hapless young Felton is desperate to escape his woes and discover his destiny, but tyrannical landowner, Mert Marshall’s plans to coerce him into killing an alcoholic cop seeking to avenge his daughter’s death, drives him to the brink of madness, cold-blooded murder, and even suicide.

With nothing less than his soul at stake, a bereaved loner (Felton Fowler) must choose between a destitute life or the prospect of instant payoff for fulfilling the diabolical intents of a tyrannical old man.

SIXTH ASSIGNMENT: Levels of Conflict

When Felton’s fiancée betrays him, he becomes homeless, and is forced to abandon his plans for leaving Tutwiler for a new life as a muralist in California.

Inner (Emotional)
Felton has never grieved his mother’s suicide nor his father’s unfortunate accident, yet when a few small details are revealed, his anguish manifests as anger and resentment, and he is no longer just a pawn in the dealings of others.

FINAL ASSIGNMENT: Importance of Setting

The town of Tutwiler is just south of popular Clarksdale, which is recognized as the birthplace of the blues. Though the exact spot isn’t clear, the surrounding area is known for the Crossroads, where legend has it that bluesman Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in return for musical success. Tutwiler is a tiny rural community, landmarked for the local funeral home where the body of young Emmett Till was prepared for transit to his mother, after his brutal murder and near burial. Though sketchy, there’s also an infamous tale of the beating and lynching of alleged rapist Dago Pete in the early twentieth century. More so, the town is known as the spot where legendary bluesman W.C. Handy (Father of the blues) first heard the slide guitar, which is depicted in a mural that spans what remains of the old train station. Presently, Tutwiler is a carcass of a town. It is referenced often in many blues songs specific to the delta. The local economy is driven by a private prison that houses vicious criminals from all over North America. An eyesore, Tutwiler is situated precisely where intersecting highways converge. The town is impoverished, desolate—the epitome of misery. Considering regional folklore, and the town’s troubled past, Tutwiler holds a close association to the presence of evil.

The flat landscape of the delta, and the miles of wide-open space creates a sense of isolation, and a feeling of departure from the modern world. Opportunities for a life outside of agriculture—specifically, the planting industry, are scarce. The locals are impoverished. Their dialect can be perceived as a pidgin language. Though there is a deep-seeded prevalence of folklore, especially regarding the existence of malevolent entities, the area is abundant with churches—primarily of Baptist or Pentecostal denomination. A respectful fear of evil is every much as relevant to the culture as the staunch belief in a Christian God. The weather conveys a sense of misery with its suffocating heat and humidity, devastating thunderstorms and gray winter days that are either too warm for the season or too cold for the climate.

Thematically, the essence of Tutwiler evenly translates to the characters’ sense of exclusion from the world and common society. The Crossroads culture of the region supports the conflicting wills of evil versus good, and the blurred lines between right and wrong.

The antagonist’s southern-gothic house is not only typical of an upper-class planter in the deep south, but its vacancy represents how alone he is in this world. Theoretically, he holds dominion over his hired hands, and often he views his kingdom of flat empty space from his big windows. The big empty house fosters the feeling of a malicious presence lurking about, especially considering the egregious acts that have occurred inside those walls. The house is the central setting for the antagonist’s world. He interacts with those that are either submissive or beholding to him. In that space, there can be no doubt that he is in control.

The dilapidated schoolhouse where the homeless protagonist takes shelter serves to convey the desolation and misery he feels. Since the protagonist and his love interest both dropped out of school, it is illustrative of a life bereft of prospect for anything better. The insertion of an ill-fated child into that setting, creates the juxtaposition of futility for her dreams as well.

Tutwiler’s only option for dining is Papa’s. Originally, it was one of many Juke Joints commonly found in the delta region in the mid-twentieth century blues culture. The blues club was first called Papa Legba’s—named for the legendary voodoo spirit that was apt to coerce musicians into selling their soul for musical success. After its closure, years later it reopened as a diner. The name was shortened to Papa’s, and it became a quick-stop for truckers traveling north to Memphis or south to New Orleans. Regardless of its functional purpose, the essence of its roots support the point where life-altering decisions are made by desperate characters.

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Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#21 Post by VICTORIASAMSW6 » 10 Sep 2019, 20:06

Until Then - Victoria Sams

One.) The act of a story statement

Survive a family full of lies to be with the one she loves.

Two.) The Antagonist Plots the Point

Thomas Edwards, Stefan’s adopted brother, starts out as their father’s errand boy. Thomas has always been envious of Stefan, especially with the family company being left to him. He was more than happy to interfere with Stefan’s life when Sophia was brought into the picture. He and their father purchase VAS, the company Sophia works for. Their motive is to control her life. Then in hopes to break Stefan and Sophia apart, Thomas tells her about the contract between Stefan and Jess. When Sophia doesn’t back down, out of spite toward Stefan he buys the building Sophia’s bar tending job is at which is also one of their Grandfather’s oldest friends businesses and closes it down. His antagonistic behavior continues into the second book.

Henry Edwards, Stefan’s father, is the puppet master in this story. He controls everything at this time, that is until Stefan’s impending 25th Birthday. Stefan’s Grandfather made it so that if Stefan doesn’t take his place in the company, it will be split between the highest bidders. Henry’s fear of losing all of his power causes him to believe he can control Stefan by manipulating him into a deal where Sophia comes out unharmed. He was wrong.

Three.) Conjuring Your Break Out Title

Until Then
The Choice of Love
Let You Love Me

Four.) Deciding your Genre and approaching comparables

Young Adult

Gossip Girl

In the book series/show you follow Serena, Blair and their friends as they navigate their way through their very messed up lives. Some characters have learned traits from their parent’s. Some will do anything to be the complete opposite. All of these attributes trickle down into their friendships causing more problems than they ever wanted. In Until Then Sophia is immersed in this life she didn’t know existed, while Stefan is trying to be anything but how the world thinks he’s supposed to turn out.


After follows Tessa and Hardin, a complicated relationship that was never meant to happen. It all started as a bet that Tessa was never meant to find out. Everything and everyone, even Hardin himself cause problems time and time again forcing them apart. In Until Then Sophia and Stefan were never meant to meet, let alone fall in love. With Stefan’s life being planned out for him, the contract, his family, his friends, everything is standing in their way. While Sophia tearfully trudges through figuring out what she deserves and what she doesn’t.

Five.) Write your own conflict line

A young girl moves to a new city for a new life, but instead finds herself in a relationship with one of the city’s most important heirs. She didn’t know what life she had stepped into, until she realizes she has to figure out how to stay true to herself, while everyone seems to want to break her.

Six.) Sketch out the conditions for the inner conflict your protagonist will have.

Inner Conflict

Sophia Brooks is an anxiety ridden young girl who is about to take on the biggest journey she’d never thought she would live. Her father died in a car accident after picking her up from school when she was little. She watched him lay in a pool of blood while the paramedics ushered her away. Her Mother then spiraled down into depression and dated men that were the least bit kind. She grew up not trusting love, due to her mother’s horrible relationships, she was apprehensive of almost everyone she met including Stefan. Who in the end proves that she may be right to not let people in.

Secondary Conflict

During time spent away from Stefan due to an unforeseen trip, Sophia finds out details of Stefan’s past that cause her to question everything he’s ever told her. This causes her to second guess the trust that she has put in him, because from her viewpoint he has been lying since the beginning. His family takes advantage of Sophia’s weakness, and uses Jess to incite even more troubling issues where Sophia has to decide to either stay or run. She is forced to come to terms with what she deserves.

Seven.) Sketch out your setting in detail.

The story opens up on a plane where Stefan and Sophia meet. In the midst of her trying to refrain from having an anxiety attack from her fear of the flight, she has to endure the company of Stefan whom she finds very arrogant and rude. The story continues in New York City where they part, only to be brought back together when Sophia arrives at the doorsteps of Stefan’s home. The home is an old Brownstone with a tiled entryway adorned by an over hanging chandelier. The house has a large living room with a fireplace that leads to the white marbled kitchen. Much of the story takes place involving the Brownstone that Stefan owns. Sophia finds herself living with him, and two of his friends. One of whom she finds a friend in and the other who dares to hurt her.

We follow Sophia to both of her jobs. The first is at Joe’s bar, the quaint New York bar that is owned by one of Stefan’s Grandfather’s oldest friends. A black door that leads into the bar that consist of a long brown bar taking up one side of the room, with tables on the other. We visit this setting many times throughout the story. It’s the setting in which Stefan finds himself drawn to her, and when Sophia finds herself caught up in a sibling rivalry that she never asked to be involved in. Joe’s bar is used as leverage when Thomas threatens to buy it and take Sophia’s job along with it. It’s also the place where Sophia feels like she can go to when she needs to get away.

The second job she has is at VAS Marketing. A chic marketing company in a posh high rise. She thinks the worst thing she has to worry about is her drill sergeant boss Miss Franklin. She was never more wrong when Thomas and Henry show up to make a deal. She does however find a friend in Cam while working at VAS.

An important part of the story takes place during Thanksgiving in a home in upstate New York. Sophia knew her friends were wealthy, but when she visits their Holiday Homes she starts to understand the type of people she is surrounded by. The long winding driveways that lead to the mansions that are each uniquely built along with the wild parties and new people she meets make her second guess everything she believed about Stefan.

A point in which Sophia and Stefan are finally brought back together is the Winter Gala that takes place at a museum. The museum entrance brings you into a winter wonderland. White trees and flowers are designed to lead you through the museum and down into the Gala. Servers are rushing about, everyone is dressed in long gowns and black and white tuxedos. The Gala takes place in a large room that has cascading stairs with large columns placed about the room. Music coming from the piano and classical singer fills the room giving causing a whimsical feel.

The end of the book takes place at the Brownstone once again, during a party to celebrate their two friends engagement. A dance in the kitchen that makes Sophia think she might love Stefan. A girl who was not invited makes a decision that changes Sophia and Stefan’s relationship forever. The last scene Sophia is standing in the snow in an alley alone with tears streaming down her face. This scene sets up the second book.

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Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#22 Post by JulietA5Williams » 11 Sep 2019, 17:42

1. STORY STATEMENT: Del and his friends must learn forgiveness in order to save the world from Armageddon.

2. THE ANTAGONIST: There are basically 3, but they are interrelated. Their first antagonist is Dr. Hol, the researcher who developed the nutritional serum that was given to them when they were children and which gave them physical disabilities—which can become their strengths, if they choose. When the damaging effects of the nutritional serum were made public, Dr. Hol was disgraced, left his research position, and practiced general medicine for a few years. But he wound up discovering a process that an even more powerful scientist/information network developer, Professor Snu, added to his own research to create Blanquet, which is supposed to treat people with addictions or predilections to violence, but does so by disconnecting certain interactions in the brain, which leaves them emotionless, devoid of personality, and sometimes speechless. But they are easily trained to do menial jobs that no one else wants, and companies don’t have to pay them as much as fully-abled people, so it solves an economic problem, so now the corporate government wants to get more people on Blanquet to expand that cheap labor force. Snu is basically blackmailing Dr. Hol, and first he compels Hol try to get the Serum Six to be part of his new research study. The Serum Six refuse to comply and escape. But when they try to recover the body of their friend they are captured again and taken to the presidential mansion, and this time Snu gives them an impossible choice: take Blanquet voluntarily or we will force you to take it, and either way, we’ll use you as poster children to convince others to take Blanquet. Meanwhile, the jingoistic president has escalated a war with the Eastern continent, so while he is bombing people and schoolchildren, the Serum Six have to get away from Snu without being forced to take Blanquet, stop the president from launching a nuclear weapon, and impart a whole lot of forgiveness to shut down the demons.

The Third Armageddon
The Demon Thief

Guardians of the Galaxy – man whose mother died is a scavenger, forms bonds of friendship with a motley assortment, and only by strengthening their friendship with each other can they defeat the bad guy, who turns out to be working for an even more evil guy behind the scenes. (I swear I saw this for the first time long after I’d developed my idea!)

The Lightning Thief (though YA) – first-person story of a boy who finds out his true parentage and goes on a quest with friends to stop a war. In so doing, they especially the narrator, discover & build their own strengths. They also learn that the being they thought was the bad guy wasn’t really, that there was an even worse bad guy directing all the nefarious events.

5. CONFLICTS [how is the primary conflict different from the story statement? Just more elaborated upon?]
Primary: Faced with an impending Armageddon and increasing attacks by demons, Del and his friends must learn how to forgive in order to save humanity—including the doctor who disabled them as children.

Protagonist’s primary inner conflict: Having learned after the death of his mother when he was young to suppress his feelings, keep quiet, and disturb as little as possible, Del as a 20 year-old adult prefers to stay in the shadows and quietly steal things, except when he gets triggered by unfair treatment toward his friends or if his friends try to get too emotionally close, and then he loses his temper. But now, faced with an impending Armageddon populated by demons that are threatening to take over, he has to speak up, confront his emotions, and face the grief in his childhood, or else he and his friends will be overrun by the demons.

Social environment: everything is monitored by the corporate government, so Del and friends must move around the country, asking for advice on how to fight the demons and developing their skills without attracting the notice of the data minders who monitor all activity in the Western continent.

Also, the demons are taking over more & more people, so they are getting angrier and less patient with each other, and are more likely to turn on each other or report each other to the corp govt.

Also, the corp govt is also using a substance called Blanquet, which is supposed to cure addiction and violent tendencies, to create disabilities in people so they can have a more docile and cheaper labor force. The Serum Six get wind of this and decide to go after this practice and defeat the demons associated with this, at least. In so doing, they attract the attention of Professor Snu, who is the mastermind behind the networks that monitor everyone as well as being a research scientist who developed Blanquet with the Serum Six's old nemesis, Dr. Hol.

In general, the setting is the Western continent, which is N and S America which were combined following the Ocean Overflows. The presidential mansion is no longer in WDC because that got flooded; it is now in St Louis which is more centrally located (but still in the old US because no one who has power ever willingly gives it up). The states have been reconfigured and renamed to single or double letters. Our heroes travel to several different states. They begin in state C, in the town of HIA (cities have been renamed to airport codes), in an abandoned five & dime which they outfitted with scavenged or stolen furniture and various deterrents to keep out intruders and the camos (police). Neighborhoods and cities are frequently torn down and rebuilt to make things newer and more consumer-attractive, and also to make work for people who work in construction so they continue to have paying jobs. Every city has a climate woods—an area set aside where trees are allowed to grow, and animals and birds are allowed to live in an effort to preserve some wildlife and hopefully stave off another Ocean Overflow. Otherwise everything is pretty much paved over, regulated, built up with shops or homes. Most greenery in the cities are silicone look-alikes, not actual plants. Livestock intended for consumption include many more animals than currently (ostriches, llamas, antelope, etc.), although some species such as cattle have died out due to overbreeding or they could not survive the ocean overflows. Livestock and agricultural products are raised on giant breeding farms outside the city limits. The diversity of food products is much greater, as cuisines from all sorts of cultures have mixed together. People’s names have been simplified to single words only, usually single syllables only, to make them easier for everyone to pronounce and to get rid of surnames which have been the basis for so much bigotry. So racism and ethnocentrism are supposed to be wiped out, but in reality it is alive and thriving. The president of the Western continent maintains an active hatred toward Easterners, and encourages the populace to do the same. People are supposed to be so more tolerant, and OK with people with disabilities working in lots of jobs. But in reality, the people with disabilities are being exploited, and the population still regards them as potentially contagious. Everyone has a data device, usually an interactive sleeve, that records everything they do and communicates that information to the corporate government, which could add but usually deducts money from a person’s bank account if they make a purchase that the corp govt deems unhealthy or risky or potentially threatening. Everyone has a face ID, which usually appears on the chin so it’s readily visible to camos or the corp govt cameras, but it can migrate to an obscured part of the face if a man grows a beard or if someone wears a scarf. The face ID communicates occupation, state of residence, age, health status, and birth order. This enables easier monitoring, though the fact that some people could have the same face ID yet look wildly different allows people to believe they maintain their individuality and uniqueness. Everyone is supposed to be a happy consumer, and if you appear to be otherwise, at the very least, those around you would be suspicious of you—what could you possibly be upset about in this place where so much is provided to you, where all is known and regulated, where you can buy anything you might want? At the worst, a visibly uncontent expression would get you monitored more closely, judged a threat, possibly imprisoned.

In this landscape are the demons. They latch on from the outside and burrow their way in and take up residence inside people. Some demons, such as those who live on active addicts, don’t even bother living inside any longer. Del, with his yellow eyes and double eyelids thanks to the effects of the nutritional serum, can see the demons before anyone else can. First he sees them in the trees in the climate woods, and then as he gets rid of some of his personal barriers, he is able to see them inside people. At first he can see them only within people he dislikes or has no personal connection to, and only in bright sunlight. But as he becomes stronger and less burdened, he is able to see them inside everyone all the time.

When someone is forgiven for something, the demon that has been controlling that negative feeling is expelled from the body. Most people can see these demons, and most laypeople completely freak out at the sight. Demons that get expelled are not happy about losing their cushy homes, and they go find other demons living in the trees and they return to their original host with reinforcements, trying to burrow their way back in. Or they go in search of another host altogether.

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Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#23 Post by MATTHEWSHERLEYW6 » 12 Sep 2019, 03:23

FIRST ASSIGNMENT: Write your story statement.

Detective Jack Warner must find kidnapping victim Alexis van Dornan before she meets the same fate as his sister, twenty-seven years earlier.

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.

Harrison Meechan is a wealthy sociopath who acquired his wealth by murdering his parents. Denied admission to Oxford University’s Department of Experimental Psychology, even after his continued arguments that he should be admitted because of his parent’s wealth, Meecham strangled the Admissions Director to death. Fearing he would be discovered as the killer, Meecham relocated to the United States, where he obtained his doctorate degree in psychology and embarked on efforts to publish his theory on earned privilege versus entitlement. When various psychological publications cite the same reason for their rejection of Meecham’s work, lack of long-term, credible research, Meecham uses his stolen wealth to acquire two vastly different properties, a log cabin and a gated mansion. He kidnaps wealthy individuals and forces them to live simple lives in the log cabin while snatching poor people and installing them in the mansion. With surveillance cameras everywhere, neither group can escape as Meecham conducts his long-term study of human behavior. When Meecham kidnaps Alexis van Dornan as part of his study, Detective Jack Warner is assigned the missing person case and Warner’s dogged pursuit causes Meecham to take risks which result in him no longer being able to control the environment of his research subjects.

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

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?
• THE DEAD GIRL IN 2A by Carter Wilson - the primary element of the story is psychological manipulation
• THE CHAIN by Adrian McKinty - the primary element of the story is kidnapping
General comps based on genre alone: books by Megan Miranda and Randall Silvis

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.

A veteran detective must find a kidnapped socialite before she meets the same fate as his younger sister, twenty-seven years earlier.

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.

Why does Detective Jack Warner feel turmoil about being assigned a missing person case that he believes is a kidnapping?
Twenty-seven years ago, he witnessed his sister being kidnapped. He intervened with a baseball bat to drive the kidnapper away, but not before his sister’s throat was cut resulting in her death and he received a slash across his face, resulting in a permanent scar.

Hypothetical Scenario for Inner Conflict:
Warner’s boss (detective lieutenant) tells him he knows how Warner hates working kidnapping cases because of what happened to his sister, but because of the flu epidemic that hit the Missing Persons Unit, Warner must help with their caseload. Warner tells his boss it’s fine but goes to his desk and can’t breathe. When he reads the case report, he gets angry at the victim’s husband for not reporting her being missing soon enough. He wonders whether his anger is the result of police instinct or guilt about his sister’s case.

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?
Hypothetical Scenario for Social Conflict:

Conflict between Detective Warner and the Assistant District Attorney who released Warner’s kidnapping suspect with no charges, based on a technicality involving seizure of evidence.

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.

Primary Setting #1:
Kidnapping victims who were wealthy are forced to live in a remote log cabin with no communication with the outside world. They must all dress the same and grow their own food. Multiple surveillance cameras are overtly present in every room.

Primary Setting #2:
Kidnapping victims who were poor are forced to live in a gated mansion. They can have anything they want except communication with the outside world. Multiple surveillance cameras are overtly present in every room.

Secondary Setting:
Socialite victim’s home, which is filled with covert surveillance cameras, unbeknownst to her.

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Joined: 11 Sep 2019, 04:49

Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#24 Post by JoaniElliottW6 » 12 Sep 2019, 23:27


Story Statement
Sara Grayson must finish her dead mother's book.

(Conflict Line)
A washed-up writing teacher takes on her mother’s dying wish for her to write the final book in her best-selling series.

SECOND ASSIGNMENT: the antagonist

SARA GRAYSON faces an unexpected antagonist in her mother’s publisher, JANE HARNOIS. Though legally compelled to work with Sara due to her mother’s contract, Jane is horrified to have her company’s most important book in the hands of a complete amateur. Jane sabotages Sara’s efforts from the outset in hopes she can get her to quit before the deadline so she can legally void her contract and hire a real writer.

Jane is precise, demanding, and driven to succeed. As the head of Iris Publishing, she’s protective of the company and rightfully nervous to have their biggest book thrust in the hands of an untested amateur in what she believes was an emotional and foolish choice by Sara’s mother. The future of Iris, and her success as a woman at the top of her publishing house, depends upon it. Jane has worked hard to rise to the top in a man’s world and only assumed the head two years ago. She sees Sara’s possible failure as her potential failure.

THIRD ASSIGNMENT: breakout title


Genre: Women's Fiction
It’s FANGIRL for grown-ups with the flavor of WHERE’D YOU GO BERNADETTE.

FIFTH ASSIGNMENT: conflict line

A washed-up writing teacher takes on her mother’s dying wish for her to write the final book in her best-selling series.

SIXTH ASSIGNMENT: inner conflict

Inner Conflict Scenario One
When Sara learns that her mother’s dying wish is for her to write the final volume in her world-famous series it forces her to confront some painful denial and insecurity about herself as a writer and artist. Sara had always dreamed of following in her mother’s footsteps and becoming an author. She was accepted to an excellent creative writing program at UVA but after facing a particularly harsh writing workshop, she overheard some other writers claim that Sara was only accepted because of her famous mother’s influence and not because she had any talent as a writer. Devastated, Sara dropped out of the program three weeks later. After she graduated from college, Sara summoned the courage to return to her writing and finish her abandoned novel. When finished, she took it to her mother’s famous editor, PHIL DVORNIK, for his feedback. He was incredibly harsh and Sara never regained her confidence as a writer. She essentially closed the door on herself as an artist and has never reopened it.

Secondary Conflict Involving Social Environment
Secondary conflicts include Sara coming to terms with her mother’s death and dealing with secrets she discovers about her parents’ past. Sara has a close relationship with her sister and they work at untangling family secrets together. Sara also needs to move past her painful divorce and to find love again in a new relationship that’s fraught with complications.
Another key interpersonal conflict is Sara's relationship with her mother’s editor, PHIL. When her mother’s publisher sabotages her efforts in hopes she will quit, Sara is forced to go to Phil for help.


Beginning: Los Angeles, Grauman’s Chinese Theater
The novel opens at the premiere of ELLERY DAWSON at Grauman’s Chinese Theater during a reception before the film. The place is overly decorated in a Belgian theme (a key setting of the film) The reception is elegant and exciting, filled with dynamic, beautiful people living fast-paced fulfilling lives. It’s a bright contrast to the neurotic, lifeless Sara Grayson who eats to fill the time and can’t wait to get back to her hotel room to finish Food Truck Wars. While everything is loud and exciting, Sara has been to a dozen of these with her famous writer-mother, and never wants to attend another one. She doesn’t know she’s about to literally collide with the super-star actress who plays Ellery Dawson and that her mother will collapse before the end of the night.
The bright, loud physical setting is a key opening because only three chapters later Ellery Dawson will become a key part of Sara’s life when she learns she’s supposed to write the final book in the Ellery Dawson series. The fate of this whole “empire” will soon be in Sara’s hands.

Opening Scene from book:
She refused to be triggered by breakfast food, so she went straight for the waffles. Real Belgian ones made of yeast dough—not batter. She’d eaten two of them already. Hot bronzed waffles with Nutella and strawberries and vanilla bean ice cream. There were times to avoid your triggers and times to chew them up slowly and deliberately. Plus eating was preferable to small talk, not that anyone would want to talk to her. They were here for Ellery and Ellery was everywhere.
Life size cut-outs of Ellery and her family stood proudly next to Belgian flags and clusters of red poppies. A Neuhaus Chocolatier table crowned the center of the room with truffles, pralines, and dark chocolate medallions stamped with Ellery’s portrait. Taps of Belgian Beer flowed at the open bar into frosty mugs with Ellery quotations about gifts and potential and other ridiculous ideas.
It was a stunning tribute to someone who didn’t actually exist.
Sara unwrapped an Ellery chocolate and quickly bit her head off. A clean snap is a sign of excellent chocolate, she’d read once. She let it melt slightly in her mouth before she chewed and swallowed. She unwrapped another medallion and bit the heads off several more, leaving a pile of unfinished chocolate torsos on her plate. For $300 an hour, her therapist, Sybil Brown-Baker might diagnose this as passive aggressive behavior.
Or would it be misplaced anger?
Sybil Brown-Baker sent a pamphlet home last week: “How We Transfer Feelings of Guilt, Hurt, and Anger.” Sara read it word-for-word and returned it the next day with her editing feedback, all free of charge: bad semi-colons, comma splices, and sentence fragments.
She didn’t teach freshman English for nothing.
She just earned next-to-nothing.
For now.
Her freelance work with Cozy Greeting Cards International was poised to take off. They loved her work and thought she had a real knack for cancer cards and could she please send more?
She ate more chocolate. Her sister, Anna-Katherine, chatted happily with members of the film crew near the waffle bar. Was this their tenth movie premiere? Or Eleventh? Their mom was nowhere to be seen. She was probably still talking to reporters.
At least they were done walking the red carpet, that veritable tripping hazard all lit up with flaming torches. Fans shouted their mother’s name, “Cassandra Bond!” like they didn’t get out much and shot their arms over crowd barriers with Ellery Dawson books for her to sign. Didn’t they know they could save $3.99 on the e-book?
Someone named Veronica with glossy lips and a fake facial mole, offered to take Sara’s plate. The catering staff at Grauman’s Chinese Theater are passionate about taking people’s plates. They also stop and study your face for a moment to determine if you’re an interesting part of the film, which means, are you an actor? Sara began making up random roles for herself. She’d raise her eyebrows and whisper, “Gang Boss” or “Python Wrangler” and nod her head knowingly.
She took a new plate and ate five more chocolates as she moved to the seafood table. Her armpits itched from using a dull razor and she could feel a cold sore stinging on the corner of her lip. Just be happy for Mom. It would soon be over and she could sink into a hot bath and finish Food Truck Wars. She was wondering if the blackened catfish tacos would beat out the grilled Mahi Mahi curry when the back of a woman’s hand suddenly slammed into her red plastic plate. A shrimp tail practically popped off her plate and lodged itself down Sara’s dress, precisely between her breasts. She straightened her back, feeling the chill of its exact location as her plate landed with a smack on the gleaming parquet floor. She smoothed her formal gown and strained to smile like nothing happened while Colin, from catering, picked up her scattered foil wrappers, chocolate, and shrimp. He piled it back on the plate and stood up to leave when he immediately froze in front of the tall blonde woman standing next to her. Beads of sweat broke out on his forehead as he absently handed the plate back to Sara. He had apparently left the planet and she suddenly saw why.
Char Fox.
Top five of Hollywood’s highest paid actors and star of the night’s premiere: Ellery Dawson.
Sara thought Char looked better as a person than as a piece of chocolate. She wasn’t sure that was true about herself. She would probably look better as chocolate. If she were ever made into chocolate. Which was highly unlikely.

Part One Setting: Bethesda, Maryland and Washington DC
Setting shifts to Sara’s work at the University of Maryland, Sara’s home, ANNA-KATH’S home (her sister) and CASSANDRA BOND’S home (her mother).
Cassandra’s home is a key setting. It’s a place that was once so alive for Sara. It still looks the same, but feels so different. This is also where her mother died.
Bethesda is a key starting place in the novel because it’s Sara’s base—her work, her home, even her attorney’s office is important because it’s where her divorce proceedings were handled. When we see Sara in Bethesda she’s a lost, gray figure, rather lifeless. It’s also important to present her as her lifeless self in an area that is just the opposite of that. The DC metro area, is fast-paced and I like placing the drab Sara in a setting filled with an abundance of over-achievers.

Part Two Setting: NYC
Sara goes to New York to work with her mother's former editor, Phil. Her mother spent a lot of time here so it’s familiar to Sara, but it’s even more fast-paced than DC. She stays in her mom’s apartment building and she discovers secrets her mother kept from her. NYC is laced with Cassandra Bond, Phil and the whole publishing world. She also runs into her ex-husband in NYC for the very first time since their divorce.

Arriving at Phil’s place for the first time
Scene from book:
Phil Dvornik lived in the Theatre District on 8th Avenue in Manhattan. Sara felt certain he had never attended a Broadway musical in all his life and here he was living next door to all of them. What a waste of a great location. Then she realized Phil probably went to all of those heart wrenching plays—the slow, sad ones that get rave critical reviews, but which most people only attend to look smart at dinner parties.
Sara squinted up at Phil’s stodgy building from across the street. The brick was brown, like an old potato, and the ornate cornice along the roof’s edge was a sorry bandage for what was clearly an expensive but cantankerous old building. “It figures he’d live in a place like that,” she said aloud to no one. New York was a safe place to talk to oneself. Even the doorman muttered to himself as he wrestled with the plastic on a dry cleaning order in the muggy wind.
Sara’s hair blew in her face and stuck to the ointment she’d just applied to her lip. The cold sore had magically appeared overnight, upper right lip. She’d just stopped at Duane Reade for ointment. Now she smelled like camphor oil. She swept her hair back into a low ponytail.
“I can do this.” She looked at her watch. Five to ten. She crossed the street.
Although Phil had been a prominent part of Cassandra’s life since Iris published her first novel more than twenty years ago, he had always lived in New York so Sara never spent much time with him. She remembered meeting him for the first time as a child. He said very little and strained to smile in a way that looked painful, like his face muscles weren’t used to that position.
Sara had asked for today’s meeting with Phil via email. He wrote back three hours later: “My place Monday at 10:00. We’ll talk. Phil.”
That was it.
Her stomach now crawled with insecurity at the thought of asking him for help. She carried her work bag, heavy with her laptop, writing notebooks, and a skittish plate of what her dad have called humble pudding.
She smoothed her hair back and introduced herself to Phil’s doorman.
She paused at the elevators.
“Are you getting in?” a resident asked impatiently. He held a large brown bag from Pick-A-Bagel that smelled like maple syrup and bacon. She stepped inside. The smell mixed with the camphor oil from her lip made her queasy. Her left eye started to twitch.

Part Three: Maine
As Sara’s takes control of her own story, she decides to write where her mother wrote most of Ellery Dawson and she determines to go to Maine. Her mother always wanted Sara to visit her there and she never did, so it becomes important on multiple levels for Sara to write there.
Maine becomes critical as a setting because it slows things down for Sara internally. It’s a place she has to get to know herself—and her mother. Maine is where Sara can do some healing and open her heart to new love. The forest, ocean, lakes, mountains, all give a sense of renewal and possibility and this is what happens for Sara both as a person and as a writer. Maine is where she meets Phil’s son, Nik, who becomes a key person for her. There’s a lot that’s happening physically in the land that mirrors what’s happening for Sara intellectually, mentally, emotionally. One of her key breakthroughs in the book actually happens through a sunrise on Cadillac Mountain.

One of the key sub-settings in Maine is Phil’s cottage where she stays. She arrives there and discovers it’s not really “Phil’s”; everything about it is her mother’s. She realizes he built it for her mother. It’s a heartbreaking moment when she discovers she didn’t know her mother as well as she thought and that her past self-centered behavior closed her to a lot of her mother’s needs.

Part Four: London’s East End
Sara’s father was British. She was born in the East End and lived there until her father died of cancer when she was eight. As plagiarism questions abound about her mother and questions about whether or not her father had an affair and fathered an illegitimate child with the plaintiff in the lawsuit, Sara feels like she can’t finish the book until she gets to the bottom of some of these questions. Sara heads to London to face questions about her family’s past. Though it was much grittier in her childhood and since been quite gentrified, it’s still the beloved and vibrant East End of Sara’s youth and she reconnects with a lost part of herself she hadn’t realized she’d been missing. Sara revisits her father’s school, her family’s old flat, neighbors, the streets she knew and the experience becomes a key part of healing for Sara and also piecing together some of the mysteries about her family’s past. Did her mother plagiarize her first series? Did her father have an affair? Who is Meredith Lamb?

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Joined: 10 Sep 2019, 20:57

Re: New York Pitch Assignments - 9/19

#25 Post by LisaW6Rayner » 14 Sep 2019, 00:34

Shelf Life of a Trophy Wife

1. Story Statement:
Tell-all story about the proverbial “Southern-It” girl who seemed to have it all, until she crashed and burned after coming to grips with all the emotional and sexual abuse suffered as a child, a teen and an adult.

2. Antagonist:
There are many antagonists in Shelf Life of a Trophy Wife, perhaps none greater than myself. But let’s try to count. First being my father’s best friend who molested me from the age of four. Then there is the teenage male babysitter who had me perform a striptease act when I was six. Perhaps it is the older, former boyfriend who drugged and date-raped me at the age of 18 just before I left for college. Or any one of the husbands from my three failed marriages —all who were mentally abusive and jealous and who wanted me for my sexuality but didn’t want to let me out of the house. This leads to me becoming a sexually active “object” who repeats the same mistakes with one bad relationship after the next. It is in the close examination of myself that I realize that I could never please my perfect Mother, whose silence spoke volumes over her disappointment of my life and the lives of my two sisters.

3. Titles:
Shelf Life of a Trophy Wife
Picture (Im)Perfect
If I Should Die Before I Wake

4. Comparables: Shelf Life of a Trophy Wife is a painful literary memoir -sad, revealing, but also funny and tender at the right times. Although it reads like a novel, its truth is its strength.
Novel Comparables:
Luckiest Girl Alive- by Jessica Knoll- “Her perfect life is a perfect lie.” It explores the unbearable pressure that so many women feel to “have it all” and deals with a secret buried in the past that still haunts; something private and painful that bubbles to the surface and threatens everything.

Mrs. Everything-by Jennifer Weiner- like Shelf, the story is heartbreakingly familiar, and feels as real as the entries of a secret diary. It explores a world where woman have to learn to navigate and continue to carry burdens passed on from generations past; a multi-layered story for the #MeToo era.

Memoir Comparables:

Three Women Lisa Tadeo
The Three Women is a groundbreaking portrait of erotic longing in today’s America, exposing the fragility, complexity, and inequality of female desire with unprecedented depth and emotional power.

Maybe you Should Talk to Someone Lori Gottlieb
Examines the truths and fictions we tell ourselves and others as we teeter on the tightrope between love and desire, meaning and mortality, guilt and redemption, terror and courage, hope and change.

5. Primary Conflict Line:
The proverbial “Southern-It” girl who seemed to have it all, wakes up after a failed suicide attempt and is forced to take a long look at her life after being taken to therapy by friends. There, she begins to break free from her Mother’s idea of perfection -a world where appearances are everything- comes to terms with the sexual and emotional abuse she suffered from the men in her life, and learns that it’s ok to be yourself, after all "Everyone else is already taken".

6. Secondary Conflict:
Inner: I rediscover my faith after my sister’s suicide and my own attempt a few years later, when I seek help from a psychiatrist who finally convinces me to look beneath the surface and confront the events that brought me to the brink of ending my life. I address the aftermath of growing up with a bi-polar sister, who’s illness kept our family hostage and the realization that most of our life was centered on “saving” her.

Social/Environmental Conflict: For a woman, I have found, it is a blessing to be born smart, a burden to be born beautiful and a curse to be born both. You see how one woman can overcome so much mental and sexual abuse, and find herself in the end. It speaks to those of the #MeToo movement, those voices that have been ignored for too long and it shines a light on why we have allowed it to go on. Simply put, it is because we just don’t talk about it. We hid it from our friends and family and co-workers but most damaging, we hide it from ourselves.
In the end, I discover that despite having closed my mind to my past, I knew that some day I would look beneath the surface of the “trophy” I had become and find the courage to speak up.

7. Setting:
SLTW opens in the office of a psychiatrist in Buckhead, Atlanta, where I detail the strange contrast between the browns of the Dr. and the faux beach themed office. The office becomes my safe place to tell the story. Through flashbacks the memoir is set in the Atlanta of the 60’s with its Brady Bunch decor and 70’s/80’s Athens, Georiga with the cold emptiness of a UGA dorm room.

Other locations include New York City, prior to 9-11, with its underground nightlife in the Meatpacking district, penthouse apartments and movie parties on terraces amongst the lights of Manhattan. The story then moves to Woodstock, NY and its “crunchy” people and drumming circles of drugs and musicians and Bob Dylan’s ghost.

Los Angeles features the red carpet of the Oscars, Shutters on the Beach and after-parties in the Four Seasons. Also Palm Springs,CA amongst the forgotten stars where I lived with my third husband in the early 2000’s before retuning to Atlanta after 9-11 in a gated community south of the city before fleeing the 7000 square foot French inspired home to a one bedroom apartment in Brookhaven. The Buckhead of the mid-2000’s was quite different from the Atlanta I left in 1998. From here I make my way into the Social Elite with Buckhead mansions off of West Paces Ferry and Northside Drive and attend charity events hosted at the St. Regis, Ritz Carlton and The Intercontinental. Finally, winding up in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida to the fairy tale world of Watercolor and the Fifty Shades of Grey antics in a whitewashed bedroom just beyond the sea off of 30-A.

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