New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

A forum wherein 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 Conference - Assignments

#1 Post by WritersBlock » 02 Jun 2017, 22:57

Algonkian Writer Conferences - Pre-Event Writer Assignments

For the New York Pitch Conference Only

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

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

Quiet novels do not sell. Keep that in mind.

Michael Neff
NYC Pitch Conference Director
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Instructions for Posting Responses

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

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


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THE ACT OF STORY STATEMENT

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

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

FIRST ASSIGNMENT: write your story statement.

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THE ANTAGONIST PLOTS THE POINT

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

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

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

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

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

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CONJURING YOUR BREAKOUT TITLE

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

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

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

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

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DECIDING YOUR GENRE AND APPROACHING COMPARABLES

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

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

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

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

FOURTH ASSIGNMENT:

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


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CONSIDERING THE PRIMARY CONFLICT - COMING OF THE "AGON"

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

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

And now, onto the PRIMARY CONFLICT.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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OTHER MATTERS OF CONFLICT: TWO MORE LEVELS

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

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

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


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THE INCREDIBLE IMPORTANCE OF SETTING

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

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

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

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

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

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

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JULIETBOULETE9
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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#2 Post by JULIETBOULETE9 » 04 Dec 2019, 09:41

SEVEN ASSIGNMENTS

1. THE ACT OF STORY STATEMENT.
Through tragic historical events, man survives against all odds.

2. THE ANTAGONIST PLOTS THE POINT
In my fictional but historically true events novel, Bonded, the main antagonist is Setting. Young Nath, flees his volcanic homeland of Iceland in 1875, crash landing in Canada. Within a few days, a foreboding heavy snow begins to fall, the explorers hurry to build shelter and roads with depleting supplies. Six weeks later, the cruelest snow storm on record slams into the settlement. Several people die. Nath and his comrades construct snow plows and bury the deceased. But the snow and frigid cold is relentless. They decide to move to a more sheltered location in Gimli, only to run out of rations. Nath and his new pregnant wife, Anwa, travel north to the Swampy Cree Reserve to negotiate aid from Anwa’s brother, Mikom. They secure more rations, but are halted by the storm and can’t travel back. After a few days they get a break in the weather and travel back only to discover that they are too late; almost 100 deaths occurred in Gimli. They arrive, feeling defeated, but still save the remaining people. But only for a short time. As the rations dwindle yet again, Anwa and Nath set out onto the cold frigid lake, teaching themselves how to ice fish. They are successful and begin to teach others. As the spring and summer come, they feel they have succeeded and summon the rest of their Icelandic family, to join the Large Group, immigrating by boat. The Large Group unknowingly brings with them a truly terrifying disease. In the fall of 1876 after their arrival, a devastating smallpox epidemic, grips them all in a cycle of fear, racism and government quarantines. Several historical non-fiction characters are at odds with each other as they struggle to contain the epidemic, including the cold Dr. James Lynch, medical officer at Gimli, against James Settee, a British/Swampy Cree Church of England missionary, and his wife Sarah. Military personnel are summoned and the entire land of New Iceland, including Gimli, is quarantined. Nath and Anwa attempt to fight against these forces but fail. Nath and Anwa accept that they are trapped in the quarantine. Soon after, Nath’s father contracts smallpox. Nath rushes him to the hospital and returns with smallpox himself. Anwa nurses Nath with all her energy and miraculously he survives. But several days later, Anwa succumbs to the disease herself and dies a tragic death.
39 years later, Nath’s grandson, Mike, makes a decision to enlist with the CEF in 1917 and travels to Vimy Ridge, fighting in a gruesome emotional scene. Nath accepts that some events are simply out of his control, but his strength is what has enabled him to survive against all odds. Mike returns severely injured, but alive.

3. CONJURING YOUR BREAKOUT TITLE
A Settler’s Fight
A Paradise Called Gimli
Bonded: The Strong Among Us (This title The Strong Among Us has already been used for a Short Story by Steve Lyons, so I added Bonded in the front)

4. DECIDING YOUR GENRE AND APPROACHING COMPARABLES
Genre: Historical Fiction
Comparable Authors: Ken Follett (World Without End 2007) Black Plaque epidemic, historical time period 1350’s, massive human struggles against environment, strong romantic theme throughout book, several generations in book
Comparable Authors: Vanora Bennett (Midnight in St. Petersburg 2013) Strong romantic theme throughout book, similar time period 1911, political unrest and hardship

5. CONSIDERING THE PRIMARY CONFLICT
A strong idealistic Icelandic man, Nath, struggles to make Canada his new land in 1875, amidst an unforgiving frigid climate, devastating epidemics, racism and emerging governments.

6. OTHER MATTERS OF CONFLICT TWO MORE LEVELS
Inner Conflict: Nath falls in love with a Native woman, Anwa. They bond so closely and intensely, he marries her and they have a child, but he soon looses her to the smallpox disease. Nath is devastated. He raises their daughter and buries his broken heart, never being interested in another woman for 39 years, until Maria comes into his life. He is forced to face his innermost dark grief and set the ghost of Anwa free, in order to love again.

Secondary Conflict: Mike, Nath’s grandson, enlists with the CEF and fights in a gruesome scene at Vimy Ridge. Word does not arrive back to the family, leaving them all in terrible worry about whether he lived or died. Nath realizes he has been holding onto the pieces of Anwa through his children and grandchildren. Finally, it is revealed that Mike does survive, but severely injured. He learns to accept life and his choices as his personally distinct path, different from others.

7. THE INCREDIBLE IMPORTANCE OF SETTING
Lake Winnipeg is a beautiful paradise with natural sand beaches and beautiful sunrises and sunsets, but can change to a formidable frozen tundra in the winter, claiming lives like flies. Fishing is a common theme in the book, characters identifying with the lake and all its strength and its beauty, often artistically mirroring the character’s own struggles. Gimli and Willow Point are beach communities, with thick trees and forest, that the settlers build their homes on. Inland, the rough horse roads, carriages and changing farmland creates a nostalgic late 1800’s picture eloquently. Swampy Cree reserve is also described in detail as it is burned down to the ground by the government. Vimy Ridge, France is described in detail with its muddy plains, steep embankment and rotting corpses.

J A Boulet 403-990-9683 (new phone number)
aboulet@telus.net

ERINSHELEYE9
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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#3 Post by ERINSHELEYE9 » 04 Dec 2019, 16:28

1. Story statement:

In the midst of twenty-first century heartbreak, solve the mystery of who murdered nineteenth-century artist Will Everett’s wife.

2. Antagonist [SPOILERS CONTAINING KEY TO TWO MYSTERIES]:

Emily Everett, Will’s sister, has put up with her artist brother’s bohemian lifestyle and tried to create a respectable home for them while hoping one day to get married and have her own family. When Will recklessly falls in love with and marries the mysterious Sarah Melville, Emily’s world is threatened, especially when it comes to light that Sarah has a scandalous past and eventually plans to divorce Will on the (false) grounds of incest between Will and Emily. Emily snaps and murders Sarah but Will takes responsibility for it because he has come to understand how his own unintentional selfishness and use of women as idealized symbols of artistic inspiration have caused him to do great harm to those he loves. Will’s own behavior was driven by his artistic fixation on the sixteenth-century Italian poet Lorenzo di Alma, whose love for his foster sister Silvia, Will eventually learns, was a story of violence and kidnapping, not actual romance. So, while Emily turns out to have been the murderer, she is arguably not the true antagonist. Rather, the antagonistic force is the toxic dynamic between the women in Will’s life and his own well-intended obliviousness, inspired in part by a false depiction of artistic love in the poetry of an evil man.

3. Titles

Cities of Windows
The Red Curtain
Mansions of Many Apartments

4. Genre and Comps

Genre: Historiographic literary mystery

Comps: Margaret Atwood meets Diane Setterfield

5. Primary Conflict

I have written two lines for the rest of the assignments because there are two different POV characters with concentric plots in two different time periods, each with a distinct primary conflict.

Twenty-first-century plot: Young DC lawyer Diana Sydney, struggling out of an abusive relationship, must outwit art thieves and her own memories to clear the name of Victorian artist William Everett, who was hanged for the murder of his wife over a hundred years ago.

Nineteenth-century plot: Artist William Everett struggles to learn whether his new love affair is based on lies and also to finish an important commissioned painting, while slowly discovering that the Italian poet whose romance had inspired both was really a monster rather than a star-crossed lover.

6. Other Matters of Conflict

Twenty-first-century plot: Diana’s partner Jake has just humiliated her at a Halloween party, prompting their breakup. Still reeling from those events Diana is surprised to receive a sketchbook in the mail, the bequest of a recently-deceased aunt who knew Diana loves Victorian artwork. It is the sketchbook of William Everett, whose work moves her but whose notorious 1896 murder of his wife repulses her. Looking through the sketchbook Diana begins to notice clues suggesting the true story might be different from the accepted historical account. She pursues the mystery in part because of the escape it provides from her own crisis identity. Yet is uncertain whether the clues are real or the product of her own sadness, and also as to whether she should be working to vindicate another potentially abusive man.

A secondary conflict involves Nathan, a handsome Philadelphia investment banker who gets drawn into Diana’s sleuthing when he catches her sneaking into his office to view a painting in his bank’s private collection. Diana is attracted to how their minds work together, as they uncover both an art fraud and an investment fraud scheme. Yet she becomes angered by his criticisms of her life priorities and his failure to match her own romantic ideals. Diana is uncertain whether she truly likes Nathan or if she is simply looking for a new relationship in which to lose her identity again.

Nineteenth-century plot: William, who is known to fall in love rather easily, ends up running away with Sarah Melville, a beautiful woman he discovers working in the studios of a charlatan “spectral photographer,” and who claims to need rescuing. He feels at once that she must be his model for a newly-commissioned painting, “The Red Curtain,” based on a sixteenth-century poem about star-crossed lovers. However, from the very first night Sarah spends under Will’s roof he begins to doubt what her true motives were in pursuing him and to perceive the toll this state of affairs will take on the current lady of the house, his long-suffering sister Emily. It does not help that the very next morning he begins to uncover, through historical documents, the fact that the true story behind the “The Red Curtain” might not be the innocent one he thought he was painting, and his doubts about his new love, his work, and his role as protector of his sister begin to feed off of one another.

A secondary conflict involves Will’s best friend Ned, a wealthy young nobleman and far more successful and talented painter. As Sarah begins to show signs of preferring Ned over Will, Ned expresses doubts about whether Sarah is the right woman for his friend. In his increasing distrust of Ned Will remains oblivious to a great secret: Ned is actually in love with Will himself.


7. Setting

Twenty-first century: Diana’s world is the young professional’s Washington, DC of the present day, with its elegant restaurants, oak-paneled hotel bars, mauve-carpeted office buildings, and galas in the marble rotundas of the National Gallery. Through Diana’s eyes, however, these things take on a haunted aspect, as she considers the operation of memory on the world around her during her process of heartbreak and recovery from abuse. In particular, she is fascinated by the quality of the nighttime cityscape that allows the little glowing boxes of other people’s existences to become illuminated in a way that makes everyone appear to be interconnected through physical space. Her interest in this effect is one of the various points of connection the disparate settings create between my two protagonists across time. (Will is interested in the same quality in London of the 1890s, where the newly-proliferating gas lighting resulted in similar panoramas). This is also why my working title is “Cities of Windows.”

Nineteenth century: Will inhabits the artistic world of very late-Victorian London. He and Emily share a shabby house in Fitzroy Square, not far from the more bohemian Soho where Ned’s apartments and studios are. The small, creaking Everett house and studio creates a sharp contrast with Ned’s family’s vast, wooded estate in Kent, where their group of artists spends an ill-fated Halloween weekend that rouses Will’s resentment of and jealousy toward his friend. The artistic-historical setting for Will’s plot is also important: Will is a latter-day practitioner of the mid-nineteenth-century Pre-Raphaelite school of art, which emphasized medieval and mythological subject matter, jewel tones, and a general idealization of fairy tale tropes. By contrast Ned has taken up impressionism; the fact that his work is more cutting-edge than Will’s creates another source of tension. One important scene takes place on the campus of Oxford University, and particularly in the Memorial Union (where faded remnants of an old Pre-Raphaelite mural hang) and the Bodleian rare books library, where Will and Ned go to do research on the backstory of Lorenzo di Alma’s “Red Curtain.”

DaltonValetteE9
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Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#4 Post by DaltonValetteE9 » 04 Dec 2019, 18:18

FIRST ASSIGNMENT—Story statement
Stop the murders of Jack the Ripper and identify him.

SECOND ASSIGNMENT—The antagonist
Jack the Ripper is Theodore Roosevelt’s antagonist. In his investigation, Theodore discovers the Ripper to be his presumed deceased brother, Elliott. Elliott had always been in the shadow of his older brother and as Elliott became consumed by alcoholism and tormented by the deaths of his wife and son, he found clarity in a new identity, Jack the Ripper, who satisfied the desires Elliott had always felt but never acted on. A pseudo-philosopher and diabolical masochist, the Ripper works as a force. In a nihilistic approach to understanding the chaos that’s become his personal world, the Ripper believes the only way to have control over one’s life is to become a force, a determinate onto other things. And the greatest force is death. So he shall bring that onto others.
In targeting Theodore, the Ripper chooses to torture him emotionally and psychologically. The Ripper will turn Roosevelt’s own confidence against him and even cast doubt onto his older brother’s sanity. Theodore had confined Elliott to asylums and even declared a humiliating ‘writ of lunacy’ against him, so the Ripper wishes to drag Theodore into his own darkness.

THIRD ASSIGNMENT — create a breakout title
Roosevelt and the Ripper

FOURTH ASSIGNMENT—Develop two smart comparables for your novel.
The Alienist by Caleb Carr can offer a similar atmosphere (1890s New York City) and a set up (a killer being investigated), however what makes my novel distinct is the focuses more on historical persons/ events and the utilization of actual letters/ dialogue from individuals of that time. My novel also doesn’t have a fictitious protagonist but has the newly appointed Police Commissioner, Theodore Roosevelt, as its lead. As well, while the killer in The Alienist is revealed to be another fictional character whose own backstory, in todays reading of the text, could be viewed as homophobic, this is the Jack the Ripper, having arrived in New York from London. And the killers own identity offers a more personal and emotional impact on the protagonist than that in Carr’s work.
The Terror by Dan Simmons offers some of the similar brutal, horror like elements which my novel utilizes. It also depicts the gradual decline of sanity of the men involved in the narrative, a growing sense of urgency as this mysterious killer ensnares the men, and plays on real events and twists and bends them to blur the line between fiction and reality.

FIFTH ASSIGNMENT— write your own conflict line.
The newly appointed Manhattan Police Commissioner, Theodore Roosevelt, must investigate the murders of Jack the Ripper to identify and thwart this killer.

SIXTH ASSIGNMENT— sketch out the conditions for the inner conflict your protagonist will have and sketch a hypothetical scenario for the "secondary conflict" involving the social environment.
Theodore Roosevelt is a man who prides himself on his intellect. A man with extreme confidence and possessing a photographic memory, Roosevelt experiences turmoil through his investigation which has him doubt his greatest ally—his own mind. A man of black and white beliefs, Roosevelt is distraught and frequently conflicted by having to do increasingly unsavory acts to investigate his foe. This ranges from white lies to tampering with evidence to even framing others for murder. A specific example of this is bribing an officer into silence when evidence has been planted by the Ripper which appear to implicate Roosevelt in the murders. Roosevelt wishes to spare himself, his legacy, and the reform agenda he has been promoting at the police department, only to fall victim to the very cronyism he had been determined to be rid of. This is part of the murkier path Roosevelt goes down as he grapples with what he would be willing to do to bring justice to this killer.

A secondary conflict involves Roosevelt’s relationship with the other members who make up the Board of Commissioners. Roosevelt is not alone in his efforts to reform the police department, however his determination with solving the Ripper murders becomes obsessive. The Board seeks to diminish Roosevelt’s powers, bend to public demands, and scrap the investigation, which Roosevelt refuses on all counts, adhering to his aforementioned black and white beliefs on good and evil.

SEVENTH ASSIGNMENT— sketch out your setting in detail.
The setting is primarily in 1895 Manhattan. The Gilded Age of America sees a greater class divide with an increase in industrialization, pollution, crime, and vice. The wealthy throw lavish parties, purchase art from around the world, and exploit working women, while the poor barely scrape by, selling lemonade or oysters a penny each or being forced into prostitution.

Roosevelt straddles this divided world, he being a man of privilege but unlike so many others, employing empathy to connect with the common people. His office is downtown and he walks to it each day, seeing brownstones turn to tenements. He wanders the grimy streets at night and embarks on ‘Sin Tours’ of the most unsettling places Manhattan has to offer. This ranges from opium dens to drag bars to dilapidated seaports. Of course Roosevelt also engages with the financial and political elite, interviewing suspects in smoke filled hotel bars and playing puzzle games with steel tycoons while surrounded by J.M.W. Turner artwork. What makes this setting so compelling is both the richness and grittiness it can offer.

E9ElizabethKuyl
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Joined: 02 Dec 2019, 17:31

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#5 Post by E9ElizabethKuyl » 04 Dec 2019, 20:11

Algonkian Writer Conferences - Pre-Event Writer Assignments


FIRST ASSIGNMENT: write your story statement:

• Supernatural forces destroy a woman’s will to live, but not her faith, prompting God to act.


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.

• Kokabi is an Archangel—a being who guarded mankind against demonic entities, he was a ruthless killer of demons who violated the balance of good and evil. However, Kokabi's pursuit of glory drove him to interfere with a human, thus breaking the only rule in place over angels. After being cast from heaven, Kokabi became fueled by unbridled hatred towards God and Michael, an Ancient and his mentor. His quest for revenge propels him to seek a stone powerful enough to unleash Lucifer from Hell--a stone which he finds in a pendent around Ellie’s neck. Ellie, the protagonist, suddenly finds herself at the center of his implacable thirst for revenge.

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



Divinely Conceived
Divinely Revealed
Divinely Designed



- 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?

• A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas in relation to maturity and epic adventure.
• Fallen series by Lauren Kate in relation to religious content and a transformative hero.
• The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. In Clare’s series a specific event thrusts the protagonist down a path of discovery about the world around her and her true identity.



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.


• Caught in a war between heaven and hell, a women finds herself the target of a vengeful Archangle who propels her into a transformative journey to save her life and prove her divine worth.



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.


• Ellie, the protagonist, suffers from insecurities. She has deep seated resentment towards herself from being ridiculed and belittled by her father. As an adult she suffers with weight issues and they affect her life in general. Ellie’s best friend convinces her to go out shopping. While Ellie’s friend searches for clothes, Ellie waits anxiously in the changing room. She is in turmoil over what her friend is going to ask her to wear and how it will look on her. The poster in the dressing room similarly fills her with dread, as she compares the image of the model to her own image in the mirror. After her friend passes over some clothes to try on, Ellie panics at the tight clothing she is presented.


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?

• Ellie observes a burning apartment building. Alarmed that emergency services had not yet arrived she drives in to help. On her first attempt she fell down several flights of stairs. Unfettered by the ordeal she goes at it again and saves a man’s life. She continues to work only to find a coworker, who was envious of her lifelong friendship with a fellow officer, taped the fall down the stairs and showed it to other officers. Instead of focusing on her heroic accomplishment, her embarrassment over her weight issues caused her to withdraw even further.



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.



• There are three distinct settings within the first book.

Mission Hills is a town in the southwest of USA. The protagonist lives in a small house in a residential neighborhood. She works twenty minutes from where she lives in one of 5 police sub-stations that represent the north, south, east and west sides of town.

The Warden’s Keep is located on a parallel plain some forty minutes into the county of Mission Hills. There is no GPS that can function in and around its location, and the mailbox and gate are only visible if you bring a special invitation. Once you walk through the gate, you are led down a winding path that’s flanked by insurmountable blackberry bushes. The path shrinks until eventually you are marooned on a stretch of path just five feet long. Only the consumption of a special item will afford you safe passage to the keep. The keep is a modest mansion that’s guarded by two menacing gargoyles and is run by a strict nun who hides secrets. There is a door within the mansion that doesn’t open, but leads to a court that is presided by the previous Warden of the Keep.

Hell is configured into eight Sanctums and their respective eight Stratums; each Sanctum lies on horizontal parallels to the respective Stratum. The stratums of hell are varying geographical locations that progress into the earth and the farther into the ground the victim moves, the more progressive the torture. Each stratum is meant to test your loyalty to God and convert you to the devil. Upon death, you are judged and you either ascend to heaven, or descend through the stratums to Lucifer.
Up until recently, there was only one way into hell. Out in the county of Mission Hills, there is a non-descript gate that leads to hell. The gate has a biometric thumb pad only accessible to soul scouts. Once through the iron gate you travel 666 feet along a dusty dirt road, and hang a left into an abandoned rock quarry. The quarry is guarded by two fierce Gargoyles that are divinely appointed to ensure no human, who is not contracted to the devil, can gain admittance.
Upon entry, the pathways are almost black. Hell is one big cave so passages are made of rock, as is the ground. There is very little light. Once you step through you are immediately assaulted with haunting echoes and voices, blurred vision, sick creatures crawling on the grounds and dark apparitions. Then dread settles in for the duration of your stay. Dread in the form of past indiscretions, the ones that you’ve long paid penance for through years of guilt and have finally moved past.
The antagonist, Kokabi, resides in Sanctum II. Each Sanctum represents one stratum of earth. Inside the earth is where the devil keeps people trapped until they convert.
Lucifer’s personal quarters are in Sanctum VI. The devil’s throne, made of trapped humans, is located within his audience room--one giant platform where you may only enter at his invite. The ground is always smattered with human remains where occasionally Lucifer will find the scent of a human appealing enough and he will eat them, alive. The parts he no longer wants are discarded on the ground and are slowly devoured by Bati’s, fish with a very minute level of intelligence that lucifer keeps alive.

KELLIELYNCHE9
Posts: 1
Joined: 03 Dec 2019, 04:09

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#6 Post by KELLIELYNCHE9 » 04 Dec 2019, 20:16

FIRST ASSIGNMENT:
To save a dying earth, Mya must face the pain of her past in order to reveal the truth of what lies behind the Veils to Burnside’s elite citizens.

SECOND ASSIGNMENT:
Nicolas is a man who craves power and control, as a result of his chaotic upbringing. When he joins the lead officials of Burnside’s portals, this need becomes addictive as he maintains the system that ensures Burnside’s citizens remain privileged and naive of the oppression that makes their ease possible. High on power, he is shocked when his pregnant wife leaves him and goes into hiding in The Feilds. Years later, even after he finds her, Nicolas cannot let go of the ideals and values that gave his wife the ability to leave him in the first place. Stopping at nothing, not even care for his daughter, Nicolas formulates a plan of vengeance against The Feilds.

THIRD ASSIGNMENT:
The Veil Between
The Axil Turns
The Barrier’s Lies

FOURTH ASSIGNMENT:
This novel is set within a futuristic society, one that depends on the labor and oppression of many to ensure the comfort of a few. For this reason, I would say my novel is similar to The Hunger Games and The Divergent Series.

FIFTH ASSIGNMENT:
Mya befriends a strange woman who goes missing and leaves behind a diary in the bloody scene. Following the clues left behind, Mya discovers a world beyond her own where she learns that the truth behind the woman’s disappearance is deeply connected with her own past, her present pain, and the future of the earth as a whole.


SIXTH ASSIGNMENT:
Conditioned to believe she is what others put upon her (unlovable because her father says so or even worthy because a boy wants to marry her), Mya has to discover who she is when she is removed from the only life she’s ever known.

“Secondary conflict” - Mya knows the people of Burnside are not evil, just unaware. She could unveil their eyes but to do so would bring her to confront the one who took everything from her once, and wouldn't hesitate to do so again.



FINAL ASSIGNMENT:
‘'She’s here, she’s here!'’ the trees shook and the grass bowed under my feet. I knelt and pressed my fingertips to the Earth, heartbeat to heartbeat. I felt my pulse run through my veins. I was here. I felt a reinhabiting of my own body. I dug my fingers into the chilled dirt and found myself studying the way my fingers moved, immersing themselves in the flesh of the Earth, my own skin becoming real to me for the first time. Not my father’s to control, or even Logan’s to love, but my own, existing because I existed and not for the purpose of another. Tears trickled, mixing with my sweat. I stood up and the trees went straight-backed behind me. There, on that hill that Maeve loved so much and wearing the dress that once formed to the shape of my mother, I knew what I had to do. They would be with me the whole time. I ran back to the cottage, determined to find a way back to Burnside.

E9LawrenceBurgio
Posts: 1
Joined: 02 Dec 2019, 20:35

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#7 Post by E9LawrenceBurgio » 05 Dec 2019, 06:44

FIRST ASSIGNMENT: write your story statement.

Fleet Admiral Achilles Bruntrak of the Titan Administration’s merchant navy, has been suffering from alcoholism and depression since the murder of his wife three years ago. With nothing to live for, he has accepted a dangerous mission to lead a diplomatic team back to a post-apocalyptic Earth, a place the Administration vowed to never return, to broker a peace accord with its mysterious ruler, and save the solar system.

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

The main antagonist to Admiral Achilles Bruntrak is Colonel Konrad Wagner. Konrad is a brutal tool of the Titian Administration’s totalitarian regime. Born to the greatest military family in Titan Administration history, Konrad quickly climbs the ladder of power and gains influential friends including the Prime Minister. During the uprising on the mining colony Titan Major III, Konrad is ordered by the Prime Minister to eliminate all the inhabitants of the colony, guilty or not, sending a message to the Administration’s disenchanted citizens that rebellion equals death.

When Admiral Bruntrak arrives at Titan Major III, his investigation uncovers a sinister agenda that includes the murder of the colony’s commander. Relentlessly demanding answers from the Prime Minister, Bruntrak accuses Konrad of murder, thus setting in motion their bitter relationship. Three years later, the Administration receives a cryptic message from the ruler of Earth requesting a conclave on the planet to discuss a threat to all mankind. The Prime Minister masterfully orchestrates the pairing of the two adversaries he’d like to dispose of once and for all, and gets them both to agree to join the mission to Earth, a place where Titan citizens haven’t been for 1500 years.

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

The Colonel’s Vengeance
The Admiral’s Anguish
The Sacrificial Lambs

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?

Genre – Post apocalyptic Science Fiction

Nora Roberts – Year One and The Rise of Magicks – is about the downfall of man via a plague. It’s about apocalypse and the aftermath with supernatural powers fighting repressive regimes. My story and series follow a similar backdrop but differ in scope and scene.

James Rollings – James always finds scientific facts to build his stories around. James weaves in past historical incidents with science to create believable science fiction novels. I focus on creating a world where the science fiction is believable and plausible with only small leaps to the magic.

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.

The Colonel’s Vengeance by Lawrence T. Burgio
After 1500 years of solar conflict, Admiral Bruntrak is tasked with brokering a truce between the Titan Administration and the plague tainted survivors on Earth who need to work together to save humanity from a new foe.

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.

The Colonel’s Vengeance by Lawrence T. Burgio
Joining the admiral on his quest to negotiate a truce with Earth is Colonel Konrad Wagner, the man Bruntrak accused of murder during the uprising on Titan Major III. The Prime Minister works his magic to get the unlikely duo to agree to go on this adventure together. However, the admiral doesn’t trust the colonel and is concerned that he will be the target of the colonel’s vengeance.

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 Colonel’s Vengeance by Lawrence T. Burgio
The admiral accepts the risks involved in the mission is because his life is empty since the murder of his wife by the Asteroid Pirates. Asteroid Pirates prey on merchant shipping, and the admiral was well known for battling these bandits. He blames himself for her death, and with no children to occupy his thoughts, his mind is saturated with dreams of avenging her death.

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.

Opening scene – The Containment Vessel - The destruction of the containment vessel. The containment vessel is an Earth orbiting complex of command stations, supply depots, and target and terminate platforms that rules over the inhabitants of Earth. The containment vessel has survived for over a millennia, but falls in the opening scene.

Scene two – Jupiter - Admiral Bruntrak arrives at the Jovian Administration Center at the summons of the Prime Minister. Here we see the focal point of the Titan Administration. Here is where he is told of the mission to return to Earth.

Scene three – Traveling to Earth - The crew depart for their mission to Earth on the battle cruiser Kratos. During the mission we have the interaction of all those attending and their tumultuous histories. During their voyage an interstellar intruder is captured and autopsied on space station Einstein, leading to a disaster on the station.

Scene four – Passing the remnants of Titan Major III. - The admiral recalls the tragedy of the destroyed mining colony, and Colonel Konrad Wagner’s murderous actions.

Scene five – Approaching the Moon - Passing the moon as they approach Earth. Against the admiral’s judgement, teams are sent to investigate the dead lunar base.

Scene six – The arrival at Earth and the subsequent landing of the diplomatic team. - The crew’s expectations are far from the reality they face. The ruler of Earth orders them to abandon their space craft and take a two week march through the Rocky Mountains to the ruler’s lair.

Scene seven – Meeting Lord Keljun - The team finally meets Lord Keljun, and as with all they have seen so far, Keljun is as unpredictable as the planet. Lord Keljun uncovers betrayal of some of Bruntrak’s team, breaking their truce, and his retribution is swift and harsh.
Sensing that Bruntrak and some of his cohorts had nothing to do with it, he allows them to attend the conference, where unexpected guests arrive and more intrigue is presented. The explanation of how things are, and how they got to be are the premise of book two, The Father, Son, and the Holy Host.

E9JamesDobbins
Posts: 1
Joined: 04 Dec 2019, 13:12

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#8 Post by E9JamesDobbins » 05 Dec 2019, 15:42

1. Story Statement:

Robert Grayson, a father, and life-long libertarian survivalist has been preparing for the end of civilization for years. Now the worldwide electrical grid is destroyed, and humanity is rapidly dying off from lack of modern medicine and comforts, Grayson finds himself in the best position possible: a house, hidden on a hill, filled with supplies to ride out the chaos until the population become manageable enough for his own son to strike out on his own in a new world. Yet, there are dangers, specifically, the town of Grove, which lies in the valley below the house. The government there is constituting itself, using murderous tactics to keep outsiders (city dwellers) from entering the small village. Grayson fears the town discovering his horde of goods and ruining his plans for raising his son to become a strongman. But then a stranger appears in their home, hungry and desperate for help. Grayson must decide the fate of this stranger.


2. The Antagonist:

Darius is a former yuppie from New York City. He escaped the first days of death and destruction by staying mobile and eventually abandoning his girlfriend. He walked north, away from the crowds, and kept walking north until he could find some version of safety he once knew. In the city, before the blackout, he was an elitist, a well-paid investment engineer and a believer in technological progress. He lived a good life, was well paid, and lived in a sort of milieu where everyone he knew went to an Ivy League school, was a success, and never had to worry about material problems, until the worldwide catastrophe. Starved, wounded, and scared, he finds a house deep in the woods that, after breaking in to avoid the descending chill of autumn, discovers a home with all the food and material comforts he could ever need, for years and years, until Grayson and his son return from scavenging. Now Darius, politically and economically the opposite of who Grayson was before, now is a prisoner in the home.


3. Title:

F.D.E. (Flat Dark Earth)
The title derives from the USA’s best-selling body color of the AR-15 assault rifle (Grayson’s favorite weapon): Flat Dark Earth.

4. The novel is similar to Ballard's High-Rise and McCarthy's The Road, with a touch of It Can't Happen Here and The New Jim Crow. Overall. The story is an allegory of the US prison system set in a dystopian nightmare.


5. Conflict Line:
A father must protect and teach his son how to survive in a world of chaos. Cut off from what is left of civilization in a post-energy world, the family isolates itself from other survivors. But when a stranger appears, all of the father’s well-planned contingencies are put to the test as he decides how to square his moral principles with the reality of hosting a prisoner.

6. Other Matters of Conflict:

To keep his family safe from the growing threat of a small-town government eager to find them and take their supplies; to maintain a business relationship with his only friend in town, a bully and drunk named Lonigan, who himself has captured a beautiful woman that Grayson would like to possess to raise his motherless son; and, to resolve his inner conflict and loneliness, Grayson grows at once closer to and more distant from his enslaved captive, Darius.

7. Setting:
The story is set in a fictional small town in upstate New York, a town that is relatively conservative and fearful of outsiders. The main employer before the blackout was a private prison. The town is set in a valley, with farmland to the south and the town itself set against a hill to the north. There was, at one point, much new construction built on the hills around the town, but those projects were abandoned when the state banned fracking, much to the anger of the citizens of Grove who need and wanted more jobs besides working for the prison, or the few small stores downtown. From Grayson's point of view, the point of view of his secret home on the hill, he can observe much of the town from his back deck, on occasion taking shots at locals to disrupt their lives and keep the terror of the situation alive in hopes the town would destroy itself from within. The town, after the blackout, elected a new government dominated by one family: the DeBeasi. They rule with brutality under the guise of fairness and promise of an American restoration.

KathrineE9Wright
Posts: 1
Joined: 03 Dec 2019, 01:08

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#9 Post by KathrineE9Wright » 05 Dec 2019, 18:44

FIRST ASSIGNMENT: write your story statement.

Two sisters learn that when objects have memory, history can be retold.

___________________________________________________

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.

History is told by those in power. And they’ll also do anything to keep that power. An underground group will stop at nothing to keep the society from achieving its goals to bring back objects through time that hold the imprint of memories and help them uncover and retell history. Including putting the characters in harm’s way of dangerous serial killers.

At the same time, the neglected and crowded Victorian house that Emma inherits, is another antagonistic force. It is falling apart, and is stuffed to the rafters with useless clutter. While her partner Stephen is anxious to have her quickly clear it out and put it on the market so they can go on a long-awaited trip, Emma has to figure out what happened to her childhood friend Dickie that led him to leave the house to fall into such chaos.

And finally, Emma’s grief at losing her mother and her boyfriend twenty-three years ago manifest into a large set of fears that keep her from moving forward in her life and which she must confront - including the fear of flying, the fear of settling in, the fear of clutter, and the fear of letting go.

___________________________________________________

THIRD ASSIGNMENT: create a breakout title.

World on Fire
Objects, Memory, Fire
What you Didn’t Already Know

___________________________________________________

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?

Genre: Upmarket literary fiction

It’s like “Life after Life” by Kate Atkinson, only the characters don’t repeat history, they collect objects that have memories imprinted on them so they can retell it. In the act of recreating history by having the same character repeat events over and over, Atkinson’s book is similar to “World on Fire,” where the main characters return to a previous space-time to find objects that can help them reinterpret events that occurred and may have been documented inaccurately to the advantage of those in power.

It’s like “The Time Traveler’s Wife” by Audrey Niffeneger only the characters control their time travel for their important mission to bring back objects that are imprinted with memories and will help them set history straight. Where Niffeneger’s book jumps between several times and dates, and seemingly randomly which puts the main characters in chaotic settings, characters in “The World on Fire” go deliberately back in space-time with an objective to set history straight, even as an underground group puts them in danger as they try to prevent them from succeeding.
____________________________________________________

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.


After inheriting a crowded Victorian house from her childhood friend, a woman returns to her hometown and uncovers the work of a secret society charged with bringing objects back through time to correct history. In Paris, her half-sister meets a stranger who recruits her into the societies’ work, and eventually goes missing, seemingly at the hands of a dangerous underground group that will do anything to stop them.

______________________________________________________

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

Emma is still reeling from her mother’s death from a car accident and her boyfriend Cy’s disappearance twenty-three years ago. While she has created a good life for herself in Seattle with her partner Stephen, a travel bug who restores old homes, she herself is both terrified of traveling and fearful of staying in one place very long. In fact, she’s afraid of many things, and she’s exhausted at feeling that way. Emma must confront her fear of clutter and her past when her friend Dickie dies due to a falling stack of newspapers in his childhood home in Salt Lake City, which is overflowing with stuff, and she is left to figure out why.

Emma’s half-sister Janie doesn’t just want to move to Paris and have her adult life begin, she wants to BE Parisian. She unwittingly makes friends with a mysterious woman who sees a skill that she wants to take advantage of, and which leads Janie into danger. Meanwhile, the ExPat serial killer is wreaking havoc on her new neighborhood on the Left Bank. Eventually, Janie goes missing and Emma must confront her fear of flying to go to Paris to find her half-sister.

Marshand runs a vintage shop at Les Puces - the flea markets - in Paris. She is desperately trying to keep the society’s work going, even after an underground group has been undermining their efforts to collect objects that have memories imprinted on them and help the society set history straight. She needs new recruits, but is a terrible mentor. And when she encounters several strangers, she’s never sure who to trust.

Meanwhile, Cy conducts his work for the society from the in-between, where he’s banished himself after his actions cause horrendous, life-altering pain to several people. Regretting his choices and stuck in grief for the life he didn’t get to live, Cy is nevertheless determined to keep those he loves safe from harm - especially when they each have their own run-in with a serial killer.
______________________________________________________

FINAL ASSIGNMENT: sketch out your setting in detail.

In one of the oldest neighborhoods in a bowl of mountains, below the foothills of Salt Lake City, across the street from the park with giant cottonwood trees where the main characters all grew up, down the street from Uncle Louie’s famous lion statues, a once-stately Victorian home has fallen into chaos and disrepair. Worse yet, its owners not only let the house go, the rooms are overstuffed with things - magazines, books and tapes and CDS and other media, furniture and toys and dolls and fabric - so much so that a falling stack of newspapers has killed the home’s owner. But all is not it seems among the stacks and stacks. Just as many rooms have been meticulously kept and restored as are brimming full of random objects. Just as much light shines through as there are doors that are stuffed shut from clutter. When Emma inherits the house, it becomes her job to sift through the rubble and chaos that remains to uncover what secrets the house holds.

Meanwhile, a quaint flat in the Latin Quarter in Paris is the new home of a young American expatriate anxious to begin her new job and step into her own adult life. Can Janie Short navigate the language, the arrondissements, monuments, bridges - and tourists - to find a genuine, unique Parisian experience all her own? At the infamous St. Ouen flea markets outside of the city’s perimeter, Janie meets a stranger who will help settle in to her new city - and lead her into dangerous backward space-time travel to uncover and recapture history.

Can vintage shop owner Marshand DeLeon train Janie well enough to help keep the society strong in the face of ongoing threats from the underground? Only if she can keep her intrigued and engaged in object recovery - and help her learn the ins and outs of her new city - while not letting her get ahead of her burgeoning abilities. This eventually leads Janie to Notre Dame on the day it goes up in flames.

In another dimension called the in-between, a man is paying penance for terrible events he caused when he was barely an adult, and where he must stay to help protect those he loves from violence at the hand of serial killers who move through time.

______________________________________________________

Book jacket assignment

It’s said that you should collect moments, not things. That memories persist in what we do, think, and feel, but not in the places we live or in the objects we touch or buy.

And wasn’t it George Orwell who said, when objective truth is lost, lies will become history?

Lies are already history, because history is told by those in power.

Years after her childhood friend and one-time boyfriend Cy Collier has disappeared, Emma Locke inherits an old house and its intrigue, which leads her into a curious world where hoarding meets time travel.

A neglected and overstuffed Victorian house across from the oldest park in Salt Lake City holds the keys to rediscovering important history that has been incorrectly told. Emma is called to uncover the secrets that her childhood friend and neighbor Dickie Collier left in his journals - and in his and his brother Cy’s calling to sift through filaments of time to collect and record the imprint of memories in objects. Their secret life’s mission? To recapture - and retell - history.

When Emma’s younger half-sister Janie Short disappears days before she starts her new job in Paris, Emma must confront her fear of flying to find Janie, who also becomes immersed in the dangerous world of reinterpreting the past when she meets Marshand DeLeon at Les Puces de Saint Ouen, the flea markets of Paris.

Marshand De Leon- a senior member of the society that brings objects back through time, uncovers previously unknown, essential facts, and pushes those new historical renderings into the academic and arts community - sees a unique gift in Janie that she is determined to put to use. When Marshand encounters a member of the underground, a group blocking the Society’s efforts, Marshand must act to protect their important work.

Meanwhile, the ExPat serial killer is racking up body count in Janie’s new arrondissement on the Left Bank. And one member of the society is determined to make up for some terrible history of his own and take action before anyone else gets hurt.

While searching for Janie, Emma ends up at Notre Dame on the day it catches fire, leading her into the past to uncover why everyone she loves has had a brush with a serial killer - and what her old neighbors and their house have do with it.

EvaMoraliE9
Posts: 1
Joined: 04 Dec 2019, 15:59

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#10 Post by EvaMoraliE9 » 05 Dec 2019, 19:26

Story Statement: Stay alive in a harsh climate while being tormented by brutal captors.
Antagonist: Stalin’s Soviet regime is ruthless, especially to those in the occupied countries. Roze and her family are roused in the middle of the night and arrested as “enemies of the sate” along with 30,000 other Lithuanians. The men, including Roze’s husband and teenage son are sent to concentration camps in the Arctic. Roze, together with her infant son and young daughter, are jammed into a cattle car along with other women and children and endure a month-long journey to Siberia. With little food and water, many die, and their bodies are tossed out like garbage. When they reach their final destination, a collective farm in the Altai region, the women and children are turned into slaves and brutalized by the Soviet security police (NKVD) while compensated with very little food. Many die from dangerous work, starvation, and disease. The incarnations of this brutality are Siminoff who beats a woman to death, Major Yagadov who dislocates Roze’s wrists when she refuses to spy on her friends, and Morozov who descrates corpses and beats a young man to death for no apparent reason.
Siberian weather is another antagonist in the story just as it is in Jack London’s “To Build a Fire”.
Breakout Titles: Siberia 1941 – Deported - Exiled to Siberia
Comps: Kristen Hannah’s The Nightingale (woman fights oppressive regime); Ruta Sepetys’s Between Shades of Gray (from an adult perspective – family suffers deportation to Siberia)
Conflict Line: After being exiled to Siberia with her young daughter, Roze must struggle to keep her daughter and friends alive despite the harsh climate and the brutal NKVD.
Inner Conflict: Roze would be able to keep herself and her daughter safe if only she would give in to Major Yagadov’s demand that she betray her friends by spying on them.
Secondary Conflict: Roze’s daughter and the other deported Lithuanian children are sent to a Soviet school to be indoctrinated into the Communist regime. Roze, along with the other women, are determined to keep their Lithuanian heritage as they resist the government’s attempts to sovietize the children.
Setting: In Siberia the wind howls across the steppe as temperatures dip to -30 degrees Fahrenheit. If the deportees walk outside they are likely to get lost in the blinding snow and freeze to death. There is no glass in the windows of their ramshackle cabin, and the blankets are repeatedly blown away, while the women and children endure the cold with little or no food and a weak fire. When the snow isn’t blowing, the women are sent to the taiga and forced to do the perilous job of sawing down giant cedars. For the slilghtest infraction of the rules, they can be sentenced to long prison sentences and sent to the mines of Kolyma. Children are sent to the Soviet school where they are not allowed to speak their own language as they are indoctrinated into the Communist regine by a constant stream of propaganda. Even in the summer there is no respite as temperatures rise, and the women and children are forced to work long hours while being harassed by ruthless NKVD guards. Yet, when not suffering from the weather, the women see the stunning beauty of Siberia.

MeghanE9ROSE
Posts: 1
Joined: 03 Dec 2019, 00:11

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#11 Post by MeghanE9ROSE » 05 Dec 2019, 20:39

First Assignment

To uncover a new power that is threatening the delicate balance between Heaven and Hell, Gweniver princess of Hell must pretend to be a Valkyrie in order to ally with the Archangel Michael, putting not only herself in jeopardy, but the lives of her friends and the future of her entire realm, Elysium.

Second Assignment

Angus, former Celtic god of love and eternity, is now on the rise. Consuming souls to gain strength, he creates monsters from innocence to do his dirty work, and his incessant need for power is threatening the mortal world and the balance between Heaven and Hell.

Third Assignment

Elysium
The Fields of Elysium
The Devil's Daughter
The Princess of Hell
Hell’s Princess


Fourth Assignment
Young adult Fantasy

Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
Fallen By Lauren Kate
The Penelope Ad By Margret Atwood


Fifth Assignment

Demons are leaking into the mortal world at an alarming rate, causing mayhem wherever they appear. Heaven puts pressure on Hell to stop the flow of demons, but as soon as one hole is closed, two more open up. With Heaven and Hell occupied with one another, Angus has time to grow in power, unnoticed and unchecked.



Sixth Assignment
Gwen allies with an archangel in the hopes of spying and gaining information on this mysterious new power that has been growing, but the alliance turns first into friendship and eventually into love. If caught, Gwen would be charged with treason for betraying Hell.

Gwen’s brother Damon uses her to help in his plot to overthrow Hell. He begs for her help, playing off of her humanity, tricks her into spying on the archangel, and then betrays her to their father, The Devil.

Gwen faces an internal struggle: She was raised in Hell. Her father is The Devil himself. She should be accustomed to the torture of souls, but she never truly lost her humanity. Gwen feels for the mortals, so she collects their souls and brings them to rest in peace in Elysium. She wants nothing to do with her family in Hell but is left with no choice.


Seventh Assignment
There are several settings in the first book.

Elysium, Gwenivers realm. Looking out the window to the fields of grass blowing gently in the wind, I close my eyes, letting the warm wind sweep my hair off my shoulders. The seas of golden grass go on for miles. In the distance, I can see the mountains that contain the first and second circles of hell, sharp jagged peaks that speckle the horizon. Kharon, the ferryman, guards the River Styx, a deep, black, slow-moving river of death that forms the boundary between Elysium and the circles of hell.

The City of London, in the mortal world. This is the one place Gwen feels comfortable in the mortal realm. Ever since she lived on the British Isle during the days of King Arthur and Camelot, Gwen has always found this ever-changing city a comfort, with its cobblestone streets and damp, misty air.

The Nine Circles of Hell. Ruled by the princes of Hell and her father Hades(the Devil), ruler of the underworld. They vary in temperature and wickedness. The first circle is a frozen wasteland, whereas the fifth circle, home of Pandemonium and the capital of Hell, is hot with flat, black rocks and magma seeping through the stone.

The Fae, home to the Seelie and Unseelie Courts of the Fairies. The lands are vast and wild, with roaming monsters. Lush forest abruptly gives way to snowy tundra, and danger lies around every turn.

Valhalla, the home of the Valkyries. A dense tropical forest, located on an island warded against outsiders. Hidden deep within the vegetation of the forest, the Valkyries dwell, there they keep the souls of warriors they have collected.

JasonLimE9
Posts: 1
Joined: 05 Dec 2019, 09:09

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#12 Post by JasonLimE9 » 05 Dec 2019, 23:44

1st Assignment: STORY STATEMENT
- Uncover the history, source, motive, and experience behind a mysterious drug. 

2nd Assignment: ANTAGONIST
- The primary antagonist for much of this story is F. C. Grigz, the founder and chief executive of a biotech company. Grigz is by all reports an unfeeling and imperious man who, in his pursuit of power and authority, has chosen solitude, shedding all those close to him, including his only child. His determination brings him fortune and influence, but it is also what ultimately destroys him (and the lives of several others) when he proceeds with illegal human experimentation in an effort to resurrect his company's failed Alzheimer's palliative.

3rd Assignment: TITLE
- WINTERBLIND
- THE PATHOLOGY OF MEMORY
- ABSENCE AND IMMORTALITY

4th Assignment: COMPARABLES
- Generosity by Richard Powers: shares some plot elements and themes.
- "Story of your Life" by Ted Chiang: has a similar braided narrative structure.

5th Assignment: PRIMARY CONFLICT 
- [Like much literary fiction, my story has no straightforward protagonist-vs-antagonist conflict.] The mythology that has developed behind the figurehead of a budding transhumanist movement muddies the truth regarding this man's role in the scandal that undermined the very movement he represented. The man commissioned to write the biography about this transhumanist figurehead must uncover the man behind the legend in order to understand his own strange experiences, which are beginning to parallel those endured by the subject of his book. 

6th Assignment: INNER & SECONDARY CONFLICTS
- Example of inner conflict: Addicted to a drug that induces debilitating nostalgia and obsessed with the nondescript woman who visits him in a recurring dream, this lovesick addict must commit either to his fantasies or to the real world. 
- Example of secondary conflict: In an effort to keep his secrets his own, a man refuses to speak of his personal life. This includes depriving his own daughter of the identity of her absent mother. 

7th Assignment: SETTING
- The bulk of the story is set in a fictional upstate New York city called Silver-on-the-Shore. Silver-on-the-Shore's mid-century prosperity declined dramatically over the years, until a man arrived in the nineties and modernized this Rust Belt city, leading to the city's eventual status as the spiritual center of transhumanism. The story is set in two places within the city: Lake Practus and Building 50.      
The city was named for its shingle beach that outlines the eastern rim of Lake Practus, and this is where the renowned Dag Hundred allegedly waded into the lake and disappeared without a trace. This setting also serves as the center of the community and the source of Grigz's acquisition of influence.      
Building 50 is an old residential apartment building that embodied both the prosperity and the decline of the city, and is rejuvenated with the city's return to eminence. It is within this building that love interests develop and end, both in the real world and in fantasy. Also, it is this building's unique design--a defunct system of steel ducts within the walls, once used for an in-house laundry service, that connects each apartment to a single room in the cellar--that enables the element that triggers the drug-induced, recurring dream. 

GLORIABACHMANNE9
Posts: 1
Joined: 01 Dec 2019, 05:50

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#13 Post by GLORIABACHMANNE9 » 06 Dec 2019, 01:23

By GLORIABACHMANNE9

FIRST ASSIGNMENT:
After 500 years of debate and historical uncertainty, the shocking identity of da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is finally uncovered.

SECOND ASSIGNMENT:
Art historian Mitchell Porter is convinced that he has uncovered preliminary information that will lead to his finally solving the mystery of the sitter’s identity in the Mona Lisa painting. To carry out this project, he is awarded a multi-million dollar grant from the Ziffer Foundation. Scenes of current investigation and discovery are interspersed with those taking place in the town of Vinci during the Renaissance period. These latter scenes, dating back 500 years, bring to life the early years of Leonardo da Vinci, ranging from the time of his birth to his final years. The shocking details of Leonardo’s early years are revealed, and how these bizarre life experiences impacted his unwillingness, after over 15 years had elapsed since he had been commissioned to paint it, to release the Mona Lisa portrait to the Francesco del Giocondo family. Through the historical detective work of Mitchell Porter, supported by the scenarios depicted of da Vinci’s early years, the mystery of who sat for the Mona Lisa painting is finally unmasked.


THIRD ASSIGNMENT:
Mona Lisa Unmasked
Mona Lisa: The Mystery behind the Smile
Mona Lisa: The Sitter Exposed


FOURTH ASSIGNMENT:
Historical Fiction

FIFTH ASSIGNMENT:
Mitchell Porter’s reputation as a globally respected art historian is teetering on falling over the cliff to professional doom by his putting forth the concept that Mona Lisa is actually the ‘female’ depiction of Leonardo da Vinci himself and not, as most respected art historians agree, a portrait of Lisa del Giocondo, wife of a wealthy silk merchant.

SIXTH ASSIGNMENT:
Inner Conflict: Mitchell Porter’s main evidence, sophisticated facial recognition, to prove that Mona Lisa is actually da Vinci is openly questioned by the most valuable member of his team, Simon Andrews, a world renowned expert on artificial intelligence.
Secondary Conflict: Mitchell Porter, a man in his mid-forties, is made to question his own sanity by several of his colleagues who infer that his quest to uncover the identity of the Mona Lisa sitter as the female persona of da Vinci is actually being driven by his cognitive confusion caused by early Alzheimer’s Disease.

FINAL ASSIGNMENT:
This novel employs several settings that range from modern day---conference rooms, a Pennsylvania sheep farm, an obstetrical unit in a general hospital, The Morgan Library and Museum and an artificial intelligence lab in a major university- to time travel back to the Renaissance period---a caravan crossing the Alps into France, luxurious villas and simple homes, a church, …even a midwife’s cottage. What makes the settings especially interesting as well as important to the development of the narrative is the critical interplay between the modern day settings and those taking place in the Renaissance. Uncovering the answer to the mystery of Mona Lisa’s identity in the present is dependent on developments taking place in a succession of Florentine area settings occurring more than 500 years ago.

SheilaEnglishE9
Posts: 1
Joined: 04 Dec 2019, 22:17

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#14 Post by SheilaEnglishE9 » 06 Dec 2019, 01:52

First Assignment - Story Statement
Stop the creation of monsters without becoming one.

Second Assignment - The Antagonist Plot

Dr. Laura Wells leaves her prestigious position as lead scientist to pursue experimentations prohibited by her company. Brilliant, but devoid of beauty, she works to prove her worth to the attractive, but unethical Dr. Phillip Moreau.
Wells combines science and magic to alter DNA for physical enhancements, but her victims soon take on horrific and unexpected changes.
Moreau pursues the same combination of science and magic to create a superior race and rid the world of substandard humans. He seeks Wells’s help in order to regrow his leg, which he lost during an animal attack. Moreau is driven to fix himself in order to lead the race he hopes to create.
As each doctor nears their goal they become obsessed with solving the final process needed to complete their work. Both feel the answer can be found only in the Frankenstein diaries. The diaries are said to be the property of Adam Frankenstein, who would die before giving them up. Unfortunately for them, Adam is immortal.
One doctor hopes to enlist and control Adam. The other seeks only to destroy him. But, they must work together to gain the diaries.


Third Assignment - Conjuring Your Breakout Title

1. The Deadly Pieces: An Adam Frankenstein U.S. Marshal Novel
2. Lord of Monsters
3. The Science of Monsters

Fourth Assignment - Develop two smart comparables
1. JD Robb’s In Death with paranormal elements (F & SF)
2. Stephen Blackmoore’s Eric Carter Series with classic horror (UF & H)

Fifth Assignment - Conflict line – Primary conflict

The immortal Frankenstein creature must stop two evil scientists from creating dangerous creatures while undercover as a U.S. Marshal in modern-day Houston.


Sixth Assignment - secondary conflict - inner
Adam Frankenstein believes his immortality is the result of being created, not born, thus without a soul and searches for missions and causes that might earn him the right to die.

Secondary conflict – social
While keeping his real mission secret, Adam Frankenstein, a solitary monster hunter, is forced to partner with no-nonsense U.S. Marshal, Rebecca Hughes, to locate a fugitive that knows the location of a meth lab that hides a horrific secret lair.


Seventh Assignment - The Importance of Setting
Everything in Houston, Texas was big, so Adam Frankenstein fit right in. So did Mary Shelley’s League of Supernatural Hunters, which Adam sometimes took assignments from. The League branched out from their headquarters in a dark and nearly abandoned industrial area to secreted rooms and passageways in the city’s underground tunnel. Its diversity welcomed every type of person … and creature.
While Adam’s partner, Rebecca Hughes, grew up in Houston and knows it like the back of her hand, Adam knows its secrets from over a century ago; hidden places, paths and people that time had long forgotten. A city infected with a growing evil not even the League could cure.

LinaMurrellE9
Posts: 2
Joined: 01 Dec 2019, 08:42

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#15 Post by LinaMurrellE9 » 06 Dec 2019, 12:59

This is a duplicate post please delete this one, thanks.

LinaMurrellE9
Posts: 2
Joined: 01 Dec 2019, 08:42

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#16 Post by LinaMurrellE9 » 06 Dec 2019, 13:14

SEVEN ASSIGNMENTS

FIRST ASSIGNMENT: Story Statement

Estella uses her position as wife to an abusive Senator in the 1950s, ancient secret societies, and magical powers to positively impact the world of politics. Will Estella abandon her responsibilities and risk her life to run away with her lover, Michael, a secret service agent, or will she remain in the glamorous and powerful world of a Senator's wife?

SECOND ASSIGNMENT: Antagonist and Forces

The antagonistic forces in the story are racism, sexism, and stagnation during the earlier half of the 20th century.

The main antagonist is Xavier Cyrus, the abusive future Senator who meets and marries Estella, the protagonist in college during the 1950s. He belongs to an old-money political dynasty and believes he is destined to one day be President of the United States. Xavier is a handsome narcissist who does whatever he likes without care for the consequences because he has his family's protection and connections. He is a sexist racist who does not believe in equality for all but will say and do whatever is necessary to get elected, including joining unscrupulous ancient secret societies and participating in their rituals. The protagonist, his wife, Estella, is forced to marry him because of an unwanted pregnancy. Due to her magical powers, his family connection, and wealth, he easily becomes a congressman, and his influence grows exponentially. Without Xavier's consent and behind his back, Estella uses her position as his wife to lobby to aid the civil rights movement, and women's rights, however when he finds out the abuse increases violently. He thinks that space exploration is a waste of time and money, but he indulges Estella in a condescending manner when she lobbies for this cause.
He cheats on Estella with many women, including Hollywood stars, but his arrogance will not allow him to believe that his wife has found love with his secret service agent who is Black, until after their divorce. When Xavier does find out about the affair, the repercussions are explosive.

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

1) Memoirs of the Senator's Wife
2) The Magic Circle of Auset
3) Mission to the Blue Star

FOURTH ASSIGNMENT: Comparables

Genre – My project primarily falls into three genres:
1) Women’s Fiction- Serious
2) Literary Saga
3) Historical Paranormal Realism (defined as the paranormal, impacting history in a realistic, plausible manner- I have coined a new sub-genre under Science Fiction /Fantasy)

1) The Stand by Stephen King- Stephen's good versus evil theme with mild religious overtones is similar to my project.

2) East of Eden by John Steinbeck- My project has some brutal but honest themes as John's and is a family saga set in turbulent times combining religion and mythos with more recent historical events.

FIFTH ASSIGNMENT: Conflict Line

What will abusive, racist Xavier, and his family do when he finds out his wife Estella's secrets, her true identity as a Black woman passing for White in the 1950s, her affair, and lobbying against him?

SIXTH ASSIGNMENT: Inner Conflict

Estella is conflicted about having an affair or running away with Michael Should she leave her abusive cheating husband for his secret service agent, Michael? Should she break her vows, risk their lives, lose custody of her child and never accomplish her political goals to have an affair or run away with Michael?


Secondary Conflict

The social environment at the time is rife with racism and sexism. Estella is conflicted in regards to joining secret organizations and using her maternally inherited magic powers, including mind control. She does not believe using these powers is ethical and has reservations about using them on the unsuspecting. Estella overcomes her reluctance when her family convinces her to help Xavier win his almost un-winnable congressional seat with her mind control powers. She uses her powers so that she can aid the civil rights movement and women's rights with the political influence her husband will gain if he wins.


FINAL ASSIGNMENT: Setting

This saga takes place across America during the most turbulent times of the 20th century. From race riots to the Cuban missile crisis, the assassinations of JFK, MLK, and Malcolm X, civil rights marches, and the first step on the moon, the reader is in for an exciting historical ride. Estella rises from a dust bowl destroyed dirt farm in Texas to being a Senator's wife attending political galas and using magic to lobby members of Congress in Washington DC.


Estella's mother, Michelle, is warned of a fire by a dream of a blue star in space and a deep voice stating, "I am Ausir, wake up Auset." After the trauma of watching her husband and her first son killed by a fire set by racists during the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 in Oklahoma, Michelle is devastated. A very light-skinned Black woman, Michelle, walks out of her body and her former life as a member of the "privileged few and talented tenth" elite Blacks and in walks Renee, who pretends she is White. She realizes that no Black is safe unless everyone is safe. Renee vows to change the world from a new vantage point as a White woman in the "Game" as her grandfather's ancient secret organization called the world in which we live. Michelle/ Renee succeeds in changing the world by becoming an activist and raising her daughter Estelle to become a lobbyist and a powerful senator's wife. However, Estelle must eventually choose between the power of being a Senator's wife and the true love she found with Michael Hagar, her abusive husband's Black secret service agent.


______________________________________________________

BOOK JACKET ASSIGNMENT

Memoir's of the Senator's Wife is a dark historical saga involving a cruel politician, a forbidden love affair between the politician's wife with a Secret Service agent, and the magic that influenced history. The setting is during the '50s to the present-day, their drama spans decades of the most turbulent times in America.

Handsome Xavier Cyrus meets and marries the impoverished Estella in college during a tumultuous courtship. Being a member of a wealthy prominent political family, Xavier runs for Congress. He easily wins, thrusting his new family into the exciting DC social scene and an Ancient Secret Society. However, Xavier's abuse and indiscretions with celebrities quickly destroy their marriage. Estella uses her position as wife to the Senator and magical powers to positively impact the world of politics. Due to the responsibilities of motherhood and duty, Estella remains in her unhappy marriage but finds love with her kind and gentle protector, Michael.

Will Estella abandon her responsibilities to live happily ever after with Michael, a secret service agent, or will she remain in the glamorous and powerful world of a Senator's wife?

RichardRookerE9
Posts: 1
Joined: 03 Dec 2019, 20:52

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#17 Post by RichardRookerE9 » 06 Dec 2019, 18:42

1. Story statement:
Defy Jim Crow and bring down the signs and symbols of segregation.

2. Antagonistic force in the story:

Jim Crow is a living, breathing force alive and dominating the population of the South. He diminishes the lives of African Americans. He intimidates families into subservience. He legislates laws that stunt human potential, deny opportunity, and humiliate adults in front of their children. He threatens lives by burning crosses and brandishing nooses. Those crosses, those nooses destroy lives and devastate families. He manifests himself in white robes with white hoods. His cowl is designed to make men cower. He goes by aliases – Ku Klux Klansman, White Citizen Councilman – that cast a pall of threat and danger and subjugation over an entire race of people. He forces himself upon every man, woman, and child with black skin, and he is a malignant contagion that infests the lives of every white.

Jim Crow is over 100 years old and yet has the vibrant strength of life in its prime. His wealth controls the economy. His bigotry controls hiring. His strength enforces racism. His coercion ensures supremacy. He is the author, director, and puppeteer of the show known as Life in the land of the South. Despite forces seeking to overthrow his reign, Jim Crow will fight to the death for his survival.

3. Breakout Title
Buses Are a Comin’ – Memoir of a Freedom Rider


4. Genre and Comparables
Genre: Memoir
Comparables:
Memoirs that tell stories of courage in horrific situations appeal to readers because they provide vicarious emotion and urgency. They allow readers to wonder if they have in them what the author needed to have at the time of trouble. New York Times top-ten bestseller All the Gallant Men by Donald Stratton with Ken Gire (William Morrow, 2016) is such a story. Stratton, one of five remaining USS Arizona survivors, gives the reader a memoir providing an in-depth recounting of December 7, 1941 and how he survived it. Buses Are a Comin’ compares well because both memoirs tell the story of heroic action in response to a great wrong. Both books center on a pivotal day in history and explain its historical context. Both books follow the life of an average American caught up in extraordinary circumstances in the service of his country. Both books reveal personal insights with lessons and inspiration for today, and both tap into a market desiring to learn stories from a generation of heroes soon to be gone.

The last memoir by one of the thirteen original Freedom Riders was published two decades ago when John Lewis, prominent civil rights veteran, wrote Walking with the Wind (Harcourt Brace & Company, 1998). Because of the demand for personal stories of civil rights activism, Lewis’s memoir was re-issued in 2015 in conjunction with his graphic novel March: Book Two (Top Shelf Productions). Both books include Lewis’s account of his experience on Freedom Ride 1961. But John Lewis had to leave the Ride and was absent from it on the day that propelled the Freedom Ride into the pantheon of signature events in our nation’s civil rights history. Buses Are a Comin’ provides a first-hand account from inside a Freedom Ride bus on that day.

5. Conflict Line
Determined to follow his Papa’s advice to “Do something,” eighteen-year-old African American Charles Person joins Freedom Ride 1961 and leads his fellow Riders into a bus station, into a mob, and into history as nonviolence works to defeat Jim Crow’s violence.

6. Matters of Conflict:
Inner Conflict:

As the youngest Rider and still a teenager, Charles wonders if he belongs among the veteran activists on the Ride. He has marched, sat in, gone to jail, and served eleven days in solitary confinement. But he feels small next to Riders who have spent years in prison for their pacifism and decades in the struggle for equality, nonviolence, and justice.

Secondary Conflict:
Charles knows that because he is under age 21 he must get the permission of his parents to participate on the Freedom Ride. He feels compelled to lie to them about the nature of the Freedom Ride. He believes his mom and dad will not approve of risking his life on an endeavor with this degree of danger. He accentuates the nonviolent aspects of the Freedom Ride and conceals the threats he will face.


7. Setting
Buttermilk Bottom/21 Bradley Street:
Charles grows up in “Buttermilk Bottom,” the poorest section of Atlanta. Rain makes unpaved streets become sloughs of mud into which children delight in sinking and adults decry tolerating. A two-room second-story apartment is home to Charles and the four other members of his family. Warped planks form the floors, the walls, the ceilings. The balcony feels solid, but its railing looks more like rolling waves than leveled wood. Most windows in the apartments are glass; a few are holes in walls boarded up with slats of pine. No foundation exists. Every eight feet or so, blocks of stacked bricks prop the building three feet off the ground. Piles of dilapidated bricks litter the perimeter of the building. A lot of brick is missing from the supports that hold the building up. It tilts, but it stands.

Virginia Highlands:
A bowling alley in Virginia Highlands, a wealthy section of Atlanta, welcomes white customers and hires black teens as pinsetters. The diner next door allows the bowling alley’s black employees to order take-out food, but allows them no seating.

Morehouse:
At Morehouse College, an all-male, black college in Atlanta, everything is big. The buildings. The classrooms. The expectations. Yates and Milton, a student hangout, is a maelstrom of dissatisfied activism among the African American students who have had enough of Mr. Jim Crow.

Jail and Solitary:
A small, singular jail cell is limited to a cot and a toilet, but full of stench and stain, confinement and loneliness. A light hanging from a long electric cord looms like a noose. The lock on the cell door becomes Charles’s nemesis.

Friendship House:
A large brick Quaker mansion in downtown Washington, D.C. houses Charles for his Freedom Ride training. Quiet, peacefulness exists everywhere – in the décor, in the demeanor of those inside, in the pace of life. This is shelter from the bustle that exists outside its doors in the nation’s capital.

Freedom Ride buses:
Greyhound and Trailways buses are symbols of standing up to Jim Crow. Integrating seats – whether in back or in front – bring reactions ranging from indifference to leery concern to brutal violence.

Birmingham:
The most segregated city in the South, known as “The Magic City” to whites and “Bombingham” to blacks, is a war zone to the Freedom Riders. Ordinary bus stations and the airport terminal become gauntlets of opposition. Whites line up in hungry anticipation of getting their hands on the African Americans and their colleagues attempting to disrupt the life to which the city is accustomed.

E9MaryjoColagiovanni
Posts: 1
Joined: 03 Dec 2019, 20:40

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#18 Post by E9MaryjoColagiovanni » 06 Dec 2019, 19:31

STORY STATEMENT: A teacher must defy school administrators in order to protect the students under her care.

ANTANGONIST:

Terry Flynn, head of the Theatre Department at Willow Oak Academy and the school's resident Shakespeare expert, publicly mesmerizes his students with his teaching high jinks while furtively seducing girls to satisfy his prurient sexual appetites.
On campus, Terry is renowned for acting out what his students need to know, lecturing from the theatre stage, often dressed for the part, by turns channeling Romeo, Hamlet, Falstaff in a fat suit, Lady Macbeth in drag, inducing paroxysms of laughter, bouts of hushed awe, and contagious outbursts of applause. By comparison, Amelia Milhaven, Terry's young colleague, sees herself as a merely pedestrian teacher. Her insecurities get reinforced and exacerbated each year by Terry's trenchant dislike of her. He lives to bait and humiliate her, "flynning" her into an increasingly marginalized position within the school.
But when Terry leaves for an unexpected 14 month sabbatical and Amelia must assume his teaching duties, the students start confidentially providing her with snippets of details that when pieced together reveal the ugly, non-contestable truth: Willow Oak's superlative actor and educator is a predator. That evil reverberates when Amelia discovers that the Headmaster is complicit in his "best" teacher's backstage abuses.

BREAKOUT TITLES:

Keeping Company with Shakespeare
Reading Shakespeare in Room 223
What We Find When We Are Lost

DEVELOP TWO COMPARABLES:

1) Sigrid Nunez: The Friend
In Nunez's work a woman, while mourning the suicide of her friend, adopts his Great Dane.
In my work, a woman, while mourning a miscarriage, assumes responsibility for teaching a colleague's seminar on Shakespeare.

Both books posit grief as the premise and then create mechanisms (Great Dane/Shakespeare's seminar) to explore and expiate that grief.

Nunez announces: "What we miss--what we lose and what we mourn--isn't it this that makes us who, deep down, we truly are."
If what Nunez writes is true, and I believe it is, then it follows that what we find when we are lost--be it the company of a dog or the sonnets of Shakespeare or the well wishes of 154 high school seniors--has the power to translate that loss into a curiously precious gain.

2) Marie Semple: Where'd You Go, Bernadette
The structure of both books is mosaic. Semple splices email messages, secret correspondences, a report card, an FBI report, a TED talk transcript etc into the body of her novel. The inserts are a constant reminder of the need to accommodate the voices that populate any given world and have the potential to either upend or advance the narrative.

My patchwork inserts all come from the personal essays of Amelia Milhaven's students, who use Shakespeare's sonnets as jumping off points for moving on to make confessions, air insecurities, address hurts or, at times, just have some raucous fun. The inserts are interruptions that actually advance the plot--which is intended to replicate how the classroom dynamic works as multiple voices chime in to forward the class agenda. In this instance, the seniors in Room 223 are living to subvert authority in their quest to graduate on their own terms. Who better than Shakespeare to serve as their rebel-rousing guide out of high school?

3) Azar Nafisi: Reading Lolita in Tehran
Choosing this book requires me to jump genre fences in order to compare Nafisi's memoir about teaching literature with my literary novel about reading Shakespeare's sonnets. The books have so much in common: the "classroom" as backdrop, students who are "characters", and the shared objective of reading literature within the confines of a "safe" community. The desired end is liberation because, as every literature teacher earnestly believes, what we read should set us free.

CONFLICT LINE: A teacher, grieving a miscarriage, must overcome her own pain to safeguard her students from the distresses and difficulties they are confronting and the dangers they have not anticipated.

SKETCH OUT THE CONDITIONS FOR THE INNER CONFLICT YOUR PROTAGONIST WILL HAVE:
Since her miscarriage (which took place in the spring of the year when many of her current seniors were students in her sophomore classes) Amelia has been unable to rebound from her grief. Although she does not talk about it, her students are keenly aware of her situational depression and its source. Amelia has resolved to keep the door to her trauma locked, the key hidden. Any references to her pregnancy or any allusion to her as maternal leaves her cold, distant, almost punitive.
What then would happen if the students dared to find a way past their teacher's metaphorically locked door? Would she cry? Holler? Run away? Although they do want to intrude, there is no way to get close unless or until she makes room for them. They have two choices: find the key or break down the door.

SKETCH OUT A HYPOTHETICAL SCENARIO FOR THE "SECONDARY CONFLICT":
Amelia's miscarriage is threatening to ruin her marriage to her husband Paul Linden, who has cried out his grief and routinely visits the grave site, where he tends to the ivy he has planted. Amelia resents Paul for the openness with which he appears to have coped while she has remained locked in pain that is calcifying around her.
What if Paul were to take Amelia to the cemetery she has never visited in an effort to break past her resistance? Since the marriage is on the verge of falling apart, Paul suspects that this nudge would break the bond that barely binds them of late, but he is desperate to find some way to help his wife acknowledge their loss because if she doesn't, she is going to lose much more than just their marriage; she will lose the chance of recovering herself.

SETTING
The majority of the story takes place in ROOM 223, the classroom of Amelia Milhaven, who is a full time English teacher at Willow Oak Academy. To find your way there you need first to enter the gated and fenced 64 acre wooded campus located in an unnamed Midwestern town.
Acceptance into this private, non-sectarian, co-educational high school is reserved for students smart enough to make the cut and with parents rich enough to pay the $30,000 tuition (albeit there are a few all-inclusive scholarships offered each year). The campus is aptly named for the trees that predominate on the grounds. The school's natural beauty is enhanced by Deer Creek, which runs along the northern perimeter of the grounds and by Nag Hill, the highest elevation on campus with breathtaking views. The grounds are large enough to warrant a separate Maintenance building and an on-campus Caretaker's House, where the head janitor Julio lives with a wife so shy that no one has ever heard her say a word. The multiple buildings and many sports fields are interconnected by well-ordered pathways and considered prettiest in the autumn when acorns and yellow ginkgo leaves are falling, as many squirrels actively scamper to put aside their winter's repast and the students, well bundled against the blistering winds, rush to classes. The school also has a house, a little more than half a mile away from campus where the Headmaster and his family have been living, all expenses paid, since he got promoted from his position as Head Principal to Headmaster fifteen years ago.
Every building, and there are a good many, serves its designated purpose and has distinctive faculty members affiliated with it. Coach Vaughn holds court in the Allbright Athletic Center when he is not terrorizing his football players on the field. Terry Flynn "owns" the theatre, teaching from the stage rather than in a classroom and using the entirety of the backstage as his capacious office. But Willow Hall, the biggest and oldest of the buildings, is the school's finest with its Norman Revival architecture. It possesses two bi-symmetrical wings that branch off from the central portal, flanked by two massive cylindrical towers. Walking into that building, you are immediately overwhelmed by the smell of musk. Headmaster Bixby's presence dominates because his office is what first comes into focus beyond the wood doors that are too heavy to be welcoming. The antechamber to the Headmaster's Office is guarded by the ever present, ancient Mrs. Ford, who has the power to approve or deny entrance to any seeking a meeting with the esteemed leader of the school. The Headmaster's office is flanked by those of his two principals, both middle aged white men, both partial to well-worm leather furniture and nautical paintings, despite the fact that they live in a land-locked state. The first floor, therefore, inspires quiet and reserve, leaving no doubt that this a place where traditions are honored and routines obsessively upheld.
But once the students reach one of the two stairwells, situated at either end of the extensive marbled hall and begin to climb up to the second floor, where English, classics and history classes are held, constraints start to loosen and they begin to relax.
Room 223 is exactly hallway between the stairwells. It is a spacious room, much bigger than most, with 5 large windows that look out onto one of the two school parking lots but also offer a view of the woods in the distance. Ms. Milhaven, in anticipation of her new teaching assignment, has reconfigured the classroom to meet the needs of the senior seminar format. For the first time in her career she has pushed her desk into one corner at the front of the room and disbanded the orderly rows of chaired desks that used to face front and center and instead rearranged them to form 2 half moons. Each day her students look across at each other. Running down the middle of the room is a Persian rug, a birthday present that Amelia's husband gave her fifteen months ago, a mere week before her miscarriage, and which she has finally taken out of storage to add color and warmth to the classroom. The students frequently walk up and down the rug, like a runway, when giving their prop-intensive presentations on Shakespeare's sonnets.
Many of the students have gotten into the habit of leaving their props behind in the classroom so that as the months unfold, the room keeps getting increasingly cozier and refreshingly less academic. Those props, as numerous and idiosyncratic as the students supplying them, include a mannequin of Shakespeare with the bard's likeness painted on its face, a plaster of paris penis thoughtfully affixed below in the private area, and smart attire that changes with the weather; a charcoal sketch of a student's father, who died five years earlier; an orange-yellow sun artfully hand painted on the eastern front wall of the classroom in violation of school rules; 2 wood coffins, hand-made by the class's drug dealer; a photograph of the history teacher who occupied Room 223 before taking his life by hanging from the rafters of the ceiling. So many props keep adding new dimensions to the room that it has become something more than a place; it is a character in its own right as it bears witness to the experiences of these energized seniors, who find themselves engaging in far more than obligatory readings of Shakespeares. And because of the students' penchant to leave so much of themselves in Room 223, they consider the place a safe haven, a space that is no longer a part of the school but somehow removed from it--offering relief and benefits to them as they do the essential, non-academic work of letting go of the Willow Oak moorings that have supported them throughout their adolescence. Now they are after something much finer: now they want their freedom.

CHRISPAICELYE9
Posts: 1
Joined: 03 Dec 2019, 00:46

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#19 Post by CHRISPAICELYE9 » 06 Dec 2019, 21:37

1. THE ACT OF STORY STATEMENT.
A teenage space pilot must overcome a perilous environment and the demons in her mind to get off a mysterious planet and return home.

2. THE ANTAGONIST PLOTS THE POINT
The antagonistic force is the KO’JARI, a telepathic alien race whose planet has been colonized by humans. The Ko’Jari seem kind and inviting, and develop a wonderful relationship with the human colonists. Juke, the story’s protagonist, even forms a beautiful friendship with one of the Ko’Jari boys. But secretly, the Ko’Jari have been threatened into submission by the colony leadership, so they devise a plan to do away with Earth and its inhabitants.

Using their telepathic abilities, the Ko’Jari form an alliance with a far-off alien race with powerful and deadly technology. The plan goes off without a hitch, destroying Earth in a massive explosion. The colonists are now on their own and far outnumbered by the Ko’Jari, who easily overpower and imprison them.

Unbeknownst to the Ko’Jari, Earth’s destruction also caused space pilot Juke Salazar to veer off course and crash on an unknown planet. Throughout most of the story, the antagonistic force appears to be the setting. Juke deals with environmental threats alongside her pet piglet, Trish. It is not until she completes her journey and returns to the colony that she learns of the Ko’Jari’s betrayal and must save what is left of the human race.

3. CONJURING YOUR BREAKOUT TITLE
The Space Captain
Escape from Planet Nowhere
The Ko’Jari Trials

4. DECIDING YOUR GENRE AND APPROACHING COMPARABLES
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
  • Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
    The Martian by Andy Weir

5. CONSIDERING THE PRIMARY CONFLICT
A mysterious phenomenon causes a young space pilot to crash land on an unknown planet teeming with shadowy monsters and threats. Her captain and mentor is dead. Her only companion is a pot-bellied pig named Trish. Her mission: get home.


6. OTHER MATTERS OF CONFLICT TWO MORE LEVELS

Inner Conflict: Juke starts off very self-confident, spunky and outgoing. Her inner conflict comes into play after the crash and largely rests with an immense sense of guilt. She feels responsible for the crash and the death of her captain. She later kills and eats Trish, which adds another layer of guilt. Finally, she learns about the Ko’Jari’s betrayal and, beyond the anger, she feels guilt because her captain was suspicious of it all along and she discounted his worries. The experience humbles her but leaves her with trauma that will linger far beyond the events of this story.

Secondary Conflict: The secondary conflict is the actions of the human leadership the new colony. At the beginning of the story, the captain Silas Devlin, is suspicious of the new land deal taking place. These suspicions are complicated by the fact that the colony president is Silas’ father-in-law. All comes to a head in the third act when the new land deal is revealed to be the catalyst that led to the destruction of Earth. This secondary conflict is something I would like to expand upon in a sequel novel.

7. THE INCREDIBLE IMPORTANCE OF SETTING
This is a world where Earth is dying. Humans have all but given up on the old world and put all their resources into seeking new ones. In that effort, humanity has developed incredible new space travel technology and spent decades exploring new worlds. They’ve now successfully colonized a distant planet called Tiberius, and started a village there called New Piha. It has beautiful beaches, purple trees, strange animal life and a race of native inhabitants called the Ko’Jari, who speak to each other through their minds. Most of the first act of the story takes place in New Piha where we see the alien culture and learn about the ways of the Ko’Jari.

Most of the story takes place on Mars, where Juke crash lands. All of her ship readings indicate she is on Mars but when she steps off the ship, Juke is met with an arctic tundra. As the story unfolds the planet looks less and less like Mars, as the snow melts away, Juke sees bright green grass, then endless black sands. The world is empty, save for wave after wave of monstrous black creatures called pincers. It’s a lonely setting and Juke’s isolation takes a toll on her mental state. When she learns that the environments and creatures she’d seen were in her mind and finally reaches the space station, the place is like a utopia inside of a big clear bubble.

Juke returns to New Piha in the final act of the story, seeing a sharp contrast to the environment after the Ko’Jari have betrayed the humans and destroyed the village. The setting helps inform her new view of the Ko’Jari people, transitioning them from friend to enemy.

terryunumb53
Posts: 1
Joined: 30 Nov 2019, 20:47

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#20 Post by terryunumb53 » 07 Dec 2019, 01:48

Story Statement (Terry Unumb)

Long-trapped between my yearning for my volatile mother’s embrace and my desire to escape the dysfunctional undertow so prevalent in our relationship, I step away from my professional role as a clinical psychologist to share, through the compelling drama of story, my journey as the abandoned daughter of an abandoned mother who struggles to learn how to support her own child in a healthier way. “In the Absence of Lullabies” unsparingly traces my path to insight and acceptance of the mother I had, the mother I aspired to become, and my journey home to myself.


Sketch the Antagonist (Antagonistic Force)


Unlike the Radio Mother I imagine as a child—a mother who has the energy to soothe—“Real World” Mom is like a bundle of wires: tangled and frayed. The mother who gave birth to me can light up a room with her high voltage power, but is also prone to bouts of short-circuiting.

Any spark of happiness collapses under the weight of Mom’s disappointment with her "lousy life,” a life cluttered by eight clamoring children and a working-class husband whom she views as complicit in having robbed her of her Hollywood dreams. Downward-spiraling moods are charged by rage-filled words, the impact of which are more brutal than being struck with any stick. Driven by her history of emotional abandonment, what my mother wants, with ferocity, is a dutiful daughter to keep bound to her side. And I become that daughter, until a young woman eventually inhabits my body. A woman who still longs for her mother, but who has a voracious appetite, too. A woman who wants more. For herself.



Conjuring the Breakout Title:


#1: In the Absence of Lullabies: A Memoir
#2: Motherbound: A Daughter’s Memoir
#3: Tangled Vines: Searching for my mother, Discovering myself
#4: Lullaments: Songs for the Journey Back to my Mother and Home to myself



Comparables:


1. Motherland: A Memoir of Love, Loathing and Longing (Focus: Mother/Daughter; not a therapist)
Elissa Altman, Published August 2019

2. Smoking Cigarettes, Eating Glass: A Psychologist’s Memoir
(Therapist/Literary Memoir but not mother/daughter focused)
Annita Perez Sawyer, Published June 2015

Sorta, Kinda, Not Really?:

1. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and our Lives Revealed (Commercial memoir/not mother-daughter)
Lori Gottlieb, Published January 2019.

2. Becoming Myself: A Psychiatrist’s Memoir (Not very self-revealing?; not mother-daughter)
Irvin Yalom, M.D., Published 2017, Paperback 2019.



Conflict Lines:

Fifth Assignment: Primary Conflict Line

As a five-year-old girl, the mother I longed for lived in the radio: attentive, loving and calm, unlike my real mother—who also lived behind a wall and was hard to find on the dial—but was none of those things. Many years later, still emotionally healing, I must confront the issue that bookends motherhood: how does the abandoned daughter of an abandoned mother learn to support her own daughter in a healthy way?


Sixth Assignment: Sketch out the conditions for the inner conflict your protagonist will have. Sketch out one hypothetical scenario in the story wherein this would be the case—consider the trigger and the reaction.

(Condition: Mother’s cold silence; Trigger: Mother’s subsequent rage; Reaction: protagonist’s horror, shame, panic, fear of abandonment)

Facing my mother after one of her downward-spirals in mood that devolves into rage, I realize I have only two choices. The first: to accept that she does indeed wish her very own children dead—and then bury those blinding words in a hole so deep they could never be unearthed. The second: to admit that I, as one of those children, have somehow failed her yet again—and then strive to redeem myself by becoming an even better, more dutiful daughter. I must bear, like a sack filled with stones, the weight of her misery.


(Scene that illustrates above):

I blinked several times, willing my eyes to adjust to the dark. With her arms crossed over her chest and her head lowered, my mother looked as if she were asleep. But then she lifted her chin and stared right at me. No sign of greeting. No acknowledgement of my presence.
The relief I’d felt began to slip away. What’s going on? Is she okay? What should you do? the voice inside me demanded.
“Mom?” I finally whispered, worry paralyzing the words. “Mom, are you okay?”

And then her words slithered across the room.
.
“I wish to Christ all of you were dead.”



Sketch out a hypothetical scenario for the “Secondary Conflict”

(Nature of the conflict: As a young adult, I not only marry my mother, I become her).

Scenario: Trapped in a marriage that I have willfully entered, no longer able to contain the rage toward my husband about which I had been silent before, I “do a Mom.” Grabbing my purse, I use it to push every object off a hall table as I sweep out the door. A game of cat and mouse follows, as I wait to see whether my drunk husband will stagger to the parking lot in search of me. Just when he is near enough to hear me—but not within easy shot of the neighbors—I pounce. “Don’t come near me you bastard! You asshole !” Stabbing him with words, I call him every horrible name I can think of. “You rotten son-of-a-bitch who doesn’t care if I live or die!” I use my mother’s language to hurt him in the same way she had once devastated and wounded me.



Final Assignment: Sketch Out Setting in Detail

Note: Setting shifts over time but story is rooted in a 1960s working class neighborhood on Chicago’s south side, during a period when racial tensions are simmering and “white flight” is increasing.

Description:

The street along Peoria became my home away from home, a galaxy of sensory delight. My first mission beyond the porch took me to the curb some twenty paces away. I stood there, flushed with pride and self-importance. At my feet, finely ground glass reflected shiny worlds of light.
Behind me, dandelions dotted the dry lawn and as I turned and floated along the sidewalk, I already felt a long way from Daddy’s rule about not leaving the front steps. Several doors down, a house similar to ours was in the middle of being torn down. Dad said they were building a new school, but as a Catholic kid enrolled at St. Bernard’s, I knew the chances that I would go to that school were zero. The house looked as if it had been bombed into rubble. Only a few walls with water-stained wallpaper remained. I stared as older kids, none of whom I recognized, raced like termites around collapsed beams and discarded lumber. I scooted my way down a narrow plank to what had been the basement and stayed there for a long time, ready to run if a dead body were discovered under all the wreckage. But really, I was imagining myself as a member of the hunt.









Story Statement (Terry Unumb)

Long-trapped between my yearning for my volatile mother’s embrace and my desire to escape the dysfunctional undertow so prevalent in our relationship, I step away from my professional role as a clinical psychologist to share, through the compelling drama of story, my journey as the abandoned daughter of an abandoned mother who struggles to learn how to support her own child in a healthier way. “In the Absence of Lullabies” unsparingly traces my path to insight and acceptance of the mother I had, the mother I aspired to become, and my journey home to myself.


Sketch the Antagonist (Antagonistic Force)


Unlike the Radio Mother I imagine as a child—a mother who has the energy to soothe—“Real World” Mom is like a bundle of wires: tangled and frayed. The mother who gave birth to me can light up a room with her high voltage power, but is also prone to bouts of short-circuiting.

Any spark of happiness collapses under the weight of Mom’s disappointment with her "lousy life,” a life cluttered by eight clamoring children and a working-class husband whom she views as complicit in having robbed her of her Hollywood dreams. Downward-spiraling moods are charged by rage-filled words, the impact of which are more brutal than being struck with any stick. Driven by her history of emotional abandonment, what my mother wants, with ferocity, is a dutiful daughter to keep bound to her side. And I become that daughter, until a young woman eventually inhabits my body. A woman who still longs for her mother, but who has a voracious appetite, too. A woman who wants more. For herself.



Conjuring the Breakout Title:


#1: In the Absence of Lullabies: A Memoir
#2: Motherbound: A Daughter’s Memoir
#3: Tangled Vines: Searching for my mother, Discovering myself
#4: Lullaments: Songs for the Journey Back to my Mother and Home to myself



Comparables:


1. Motherland: A Memoir of Love, Loathing and Longing (Focus: Mother/Daughter; not a therapist)
Elissa Altman, Published August 2019

2. Smoking Cigarettes, Eating Glass: A Psychologist’s Memoir
(Therapist/Literary Memoir but not mother/daughter focused)
Annita Perez Sawyer, Published June 2015

Sorta, Kinda, Not Really?:

1. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and our Lives Revealed (Commercial memoir/not mother-daughter)
Lori Gottlieb, Published January 2019.

2. Becoming Myself: A Psychiatrist’s Memoir (Not very self-revealing?; not mother-daughter)
Irvin Yalom, M.D., Published 2017, Paperback 2019.



Conflict Lines:

Fifth Assignment: Primary Conflict Line

As a five-year-old girl, the mother I longed for lived in the radio: attentive, loving and calm, unlike my real mother—who also lived behind a wall and was hard to find on the dial—but was none of those things. Many years later, still emotionally healing, I must confront the issue that bookends motherhood: how does the abandoned daughter of an abandoned mother learn to support her own daughter in a healthy way?


Sixth Assignment: Sketch out the conditions for the inner conflict your protagonist will have. Sketch out one hypothetical scenario in the story wherein this would be the case—consider the trigger and the reaction.

(Condition: Mother’s cold silence; Trigger: Mother’s subsequent rage; Reaction: protagonist’s horror, shame, panic, fear of abandonment)

Facing my mother after one of her downward-spirals in mood that devolves into rage, I realize I have only two choices. The first: to accept that she does indeed wish her very own children dead—and then bury those blinding words in a hole so deep they could never be unearthed. The second: to admit that I, as one of those children, have somehow failed her yet again—and then strive to redeem myself by becoming an even better, more dutiful daughter. I must bear, like a sack filled with stones, the weight of her misery.


(Scene that illustrates above):

I blinked several times, willing my eyes to adjust to the dark. With her arms crossed over her chest and her head lowered, my mother looked as if she were asleep. But then she lifted her chin and stared right at me. No sign of greeting. No acknowledgement of my presence.
The relief I’d felt began to slip away. What’s going on? Is she okay? What should you do? the voice inside me demanded.
“Mom?” I finally whispered, worry paralyzing the words. “Mom, are you okay?”

And then her words slithered across the room.
.
“I wish to Christ all of you were dead.”



Sketch out a hypothetical scenario for the “Secondary Conflict”

(Nature of the conflict: As a young adult, I not only marry my mother, I become her).

Scenario: Trapped in a marriage that I have willfully entered, no longer able to contain the rage toward my husband about which I had been silent before, I “do a Mom.” Grabbing my purse, I use it to push every object off a hall table as I sweep out the door. A game of cat and mouse follows, as I wait to see whether my drunk husband will stagger to the parking lot in search of me. Just when he is near enough to hear me—but not within easy shot of the neighbors—I pounce. “Don’t come near me you bastard! You asshole !” Stabbing him with words, I call him every horrible name I can think of. “You rotten son-of-a-bitch who doesn’t care if I live or die!” I use my mother’s language to hurt him in the same way she had once devastated and wounded me.



Final Assignment: Sketch Out Setting in Detail

Note: Setting shifts over time but story is rooted in a 1960s working class neighborhood on Chicago’s south side, during a period when racial tensions are simmering and “white flight” is increasing.

Description:

The street along Peoria became my home away from home, a galaxy of sensory delight. My first mission beyond the porch took me to the curb some twenty paces away. I stood there, flushed with pride and self-importance. At my feet, finely ground glass reflected shiny worlds of light.
Behind me, dandelions dotted the dry lawn and as I turned and floated along the sidewalk, I already felt a long way from Daddy’s rule about not leaving the front steps. Several doors down, a house similar to ours was in the middle of being torn down. Dad said they were building a new school, but as a Catholic kid enrolled at St. Bernard’s, I knew the chances that I would go to that school were zero. The house looked as if it had been bombed into rubble. Only a few walls with water-stained wallpaper remained. I stared as older kids, none of whom I recognized, raced like termites around collapsed beams and discarded lumber. I scooted my way down a narrow plank to what had been the basement and stayed there for a long time, ready to run if a dead body were discovered under all the wreckage. But really, I was imagining myself as a member of the hunt.












Story Statement (Terry Unumb)

Long-trapped between my yearning for my volatile mother’s embrace and my desire to escape the dysfunctional undertow so prevalent in our relationship, I step away from my professional role as a clinical psychologist to share, through the compelling drama of story, my journey as the abandoned daughter of an abandoned mother who struggles to learn how to support her own child in a healthier way. “In the Absence of Lullabies” unsparingly traces my path to insight and acceptance of the mother I had, the mother I aspired to become, and my journey home to myself.


Sketch the Antagonist (Antagonistic Force)


Unlike the Radio Mother I imagine as a child—a mother who has the energy to soothe—“Real World” Mom is like a bundle of wires: tangled and frayed. The mother who gave birth to me can light up a room with her high voltage power, but is also prone to bouts of short-circuiting.

Any spark of happiness collapses under the weight of Mom’s disappointment with her "lousy life,” a life cluttered by eight clamoring children and a working-class husband whom she views as complicit in having robbed her of her Hollywood dreams. Downward-spiraling moods are charged by rage-filled words, the impact of which are more brutal than being struck with any stick. Driven by her history of emotional abandonment, what my mother wants, with ferocity, is a dutiful daughter to keep bound to her side. And I become that daughter, until a young woman eventually inhabits my body. A woman who still longs for her mother, but who has a voracious appetite, too. A woman who wants more. For herself.



Conjuring the Breakout Title:


#1: In the Absence of Lullabies: A Memoir
#2: Motherbound: A Daughter’s Memoir
#3: Tangled Vines: Searching for my mother, Discovering myself
#4: Lullaments: Songs for the Journey Back to my Mother and Home to myself



Comparables:


1. Motherland: A Memoir of Love, Loathing and Longing (Focus: Mother/Daughter; not a therapist)
Elissa Altman, Published August 2019

2. Smoking Cigarettes, Eating Glass: A Psychologist’s Memoir
(Therapist/Literary Memoir but not mother/daughter focused)
Annita Perez Sawyer, Published June 2015

Sorta, Kinda, Not Really?:

1. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and our Lives Revealed (Commercial memoir/not mother-daughter)
Lori Gottlieb, Published January 2019.

2. Becoming Myself: A Psychiatrist’s Memoir (Not very self-revealing?; not mother-daughter)
Irvin Yalom, M.D., Published 2017, Paperback 2019.



Conflict Lines:

Fifth Assignment: Primary Conflict Line

As a five-year-old girl, the mother I longed for lived in the radio: attentive, loving and calm, unlike my real mother—who also lived behind a wall and was hard to find on the dial—but was none of those things. Many years later, still emotionally healing, I must confront the issue that bookends motherhood: how does the abandoned daughter of an abandoned mother learn to support her own daughter in a healthy way?


Sixth Assignment: Sketch out the conditions for the inner conflict your protagonist will have. Sketch out one hypothetical scenario in the story wherein this would be the case—consider the trigger and the reaction.

(Condition: Mother’s cold silence; Trigger: Mother’s subsequent rage; Reaction: protagonist’s horror, shame, panic, fear of abandonment)

Facing my mother after one of her downward-spirals in mood that devolves into rage, I realize I have only two choices. The first: to accept that she does indeed wish her very own children dead—and then bury those blinding words in a hole so deep they could never be unearthed. The second: to admit that I, as one of those children, have somehow failed her yet again—and then strive to redeem myself by becoming an even better, more dutiful daughter. I must bear, like a sack filled with stones, the weight of her misery.


(Scene that illustrates above):

I blinked several times, willing my eyes to adjust to the dark. With her arms crossed over her chest and her head lowered, my mother looked as if she were asleep. But then she lifted her chin and stared right at me. No sign of greeting. No acknowledgement of my presence.
The relief I’d felt began to slip away. What’s going on? Is she okay? What should you do? the voice inside me demanded.
“Mom?” I finally whispered, worry paralyzing the words. “Mom, are you okay?”

And then her words slithered across the room.
.
“I wish to Christ all of you were dead.”



Sketch out a hypothetical scenario for the “Secondary Conflict”

(Nature of the conflict: As a young adult, I not only marry my mother, I become her).

Scenario: Trapped in a marriage that I have willfully entered, no longer able to contain the rage toward my husband about which I had been silent before, I “do a Mom.” Grabbing my purse, I use it to push every object off a hall table as I sweep out the door. A game of cat and mouse follows, as I wait to see whether my drunk husband will stagger to the parking lot in search of me. Just when he is near enough to hear me—but not within easy shot of the neighbors—I pounce. “Don’t come near me you bastard! You asshole !” Stabbing him with words, I call him every horrible name I can think of. “You rotten son-of-a-bitch who doesn’t care if I live or die!” I use my mother’s language to hurt him in the same way she had once devastated and wounded me.



Final Assignment: Sketch Out Setting in Detail

Note: Setting shifts over time but story is rooted in a 1960s working class neighborhood on Chicago’s south side, during a period when racial tensions are simmering and “white flight” is increasing.

Description:

The street along Peoria became my home away from home, a galaxy of sensory delight. My first mission beyond the porch took me to the curb some twenty paces away. I stood there, flushed with pride and self-importance. At my feet, finely ground glass reflected shiny worlds of light.
Behind me, dandelions dotted the dry lawn and as I turned and floated along the sidewalk, I already felt a long way from Daddy’s rule about not leaving the front steps. Several doors down, a house similar to ours was in the middle of being torn down. Dad said they were building a new school, but as a Catholic kid enrolled at St. Bernard’s, I knew the chances that I would go to that school were zero. The house looked as if it had been bombed into rubble. Only a few walls with water-stained wallpaper remained. I stared as older kids, none of whom I recognized, raced like termites around collapsed beams and discarded lumber. I scooted my way down a narrow plank to what had been the basement and stayed there for a long time, ready to run if a dead body were discovered under all the wreckage. But really, I was imagining myself as a member of the hunt.

ViolaNarangE9
Posts: 1
Joined: 06 Dec 2019, 01:54

Re: New York Pitch Conference - Assignments

#21 Post by ViolaNarangE9 » 07 Dec 2019, 12:49

Story Statement

Toma Bronsky, an insecure synesthete-barista, learns to be herself, find her voice and inner calling by guarding and listening to the chord of the ancient song within her body that seeks for its other pieces, broken and hidden in different worlds.

The Antagonist — Frank

Frank is a maverick and smuggler between different worlds, makes his living by selling weird and unique goods on bazaars, such as salt and other spices from the Earth. He spends all his profit on alcohol. As he finds a strange sound, he decides to trap it and wait until the right customer appears.

In the past he used to be a sailor and Toma’s (protagonist) grandfather, but disappeared, as everyone thought because of getting deadly drunk or sunken in oceans. He didn't love Toma’s mother and always thought she was not his baby, in-between his sails he kept drinking and beating his wife. Through Frank Toma inherited synesthesia.

When meeting Toma after 20 years, Frank is abusive and impatient, as he used to be with her mom. He thinks she does not have his blood, since she is very opposite to him — shy and insecure. He uses her only to hide the valuable possession (sound) to win some time. Frank can even betray Toma and put her in danger just to save himself. He does not reveal his identity to her, but through his blunts and challenges he throws at her she starts suspecting the connection.


Title

Her Echo


Genre and Comparables

Adult fantasy novel

Comparable: His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman (1995-2000)


Conflicts

Primary Conflict

An insecure synesthete is forced to go out of the shell and find her inner voice by guarding the sound trapped in her body from ruthless sound hunters

Inner conflict

Toma is insecure and shy because as a synesthete her perceptions of the world are different and she's been ridiculed on this issue since her childhood. She chose not to fight or accept her otherness, on the contrary, she is embarrassed to be different and tries to hide it from others. She has even changed the country moving to Portugal from Russia. She also avoids any conflict, since as a child she saw how her grandpa mentally abused her mother. She is running away from her family roots and self.

Scenario: she has worked for madam Rosali (cafe’s owner) for a few years, but never revolted. Madam is a powerful woman and holds control of all the street of Janjero. On the day when Toma decides to confront her and quit, she easily loses her confidence when madam makes a remark about Toma’s hair.

Secondary conflict

Toma lives in a chaotic street full of disputes, gossip, jealousy. There are “old” inhabitants with madam Rosali in charge, who despise newcomers and “new” people, mainly immigrants, who bring in new culture, rituals and businesses. People on the street of Janjero do not accept Toma and treat her quite coldly, since she behaves weird.


Setting

There are parallel worlds, where the matter, consciousness and laws of physics take different shapes. The disturbance in one world can cause damage in another — the human footprint stirs up environments in other worlds. The leaps through worlds are almost impossible, but happen when the same combination of sounds, light and matter repeats itself. The leaps are sequential and have a special order: if you make a leap, you will never go back to your world.

Earth. Our world as is. The portal leads to the World of Sands.

World of Sands. It consists of deserts, bazaars, heavy sand storms and yearly Althing, which all sands attend. The portal leads to the Stone World.

Stone World. It preserves the memories from all the worlds in stone. It has the Stone army. The sound hunters use this world to get slaves. The Dark world hires mercenaries here. The portal leads to the Dark world.

Dark World. It used to be the World of Light, but lost its light a century ago. The subjects here hope that light will come back with a new ruler. This world has the Hall of Judgement where everyone who breaks the universe law or portal law can be sentenced to death.

Other worlds: Ocean world, Ice world, Tree world, Air world.

World of Silence (Mauna). It has a temple/library of all sounds from different worlds. It is ruled by a monk. He strives to make the world where creatures can only talk via thoughts without any sound. Here, the General who serves the monk seeks for power and sends sound hunters to find the ancient song.

World of Consciousness (Ultima Thule). It is invisible and does not have any portals. It governs all other worlds. The way to this world can only be found through the ancient song, which witnessed the Big Bang that started a new cycle of the universe. The consciousness is constantly learning about itself by testing different forms of matter and allows unpredictability and chaos in the system. When it learns everything, it explodes and reborns again, hence the Big Bang.

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