Algonkian Conference homework – First 7 Assignments
Weave a story to convince people that an acquaintance killed in a terrorist attack was a close friend and that her child should be entrusted to an unlikely caretaker.
2) Sketch the Antagonist
My antagonist needs to be fleshed out. The original conflict concept was that the protagonist has created life based on half-truths and secrets that catch up to her. But I believe I can expand the role of a one of the characters into an antagonist.
C is the love interest of Anna. He is well off, in a position of power in the company where they both work and enjoys the “game” he and Anna have of keeping their relationship a secret. He uses her professional to further his career while letting her believe that the intimate relationship they have is one of a kind – but in fact is just one of many relationships he enjoys.
While charming, he is used to getting his way and when confronted turns mean. He enjoys playing people and considers deceiving people a talent. This something that he and Anna do together but what she doesn’t realize is that she is also part of his game.
3) Create a breakout title - not more than three
The Lies we Tell
The Fractured Life of Esperanza
Could this Life be Mine?
4) Develop two smart comparables for your novel.
The Art Forger – Barbara A Shapiro
This story of a woman keeping secrets in order to get something very important to her and the unraveling of lives as those secrets start to be revealed. The people she trusts may or may not be trustworthy. And her web of lies gets harder and harder to maintain. Her love interest initially seems a dream come true but his lack of ethics puts her in danger.
This work is similar in theme – in my work the woman has kept her personal life secret and has allowed people to believe things about her, in particular a key relationship, was something it wasn’t. Both novels are set in current times in major US cities.
Intimacies – Katie Kitamura
A quiet story (I know ;-) about self discovery after a less than perfect but not tragic childhood. In this story the protagonist, a professional working in the Hague, is trying to understand the truth about her current love interest as well as other characters in the novel who are not what they seem. She is also trying to figure out what “home” means to her, another theme of the novel I’m working on.
Other Novels that might work
More than words – Jill Santopolo
Not her daughter – Rae Frey
The Address – Fiona Davis
My Name is Lucy Barton – Elizabeth Strout
The Glass Hotel – Emily St. John Mandel
5) Write your own hook line (logline) with conflict and core wound following the format above.
The Lies we Tell by Stephanie Douglass
After a chance meeting in a hotel, two women who at first blush seem very different, develop a budding friendship. When one of the women is killed in a terrorist attack, her new friend embellishes their history in order to take her child.
6) Sketch out the conditions for the inner conflict your protagonist will have. Next, likewise sketch a hypothetical scenario for the "secondary conflict".
Anna has always told herself and others that she prefers to be alone. But as she finds herself in the company of a woman and her daughter, her fondness for the child starts to tug at something her in she thought was buried. Initially she feels denial and then longing. And when she has the chance at having the child to herself, fear and determination.
In the secondary conflict we will see into Anna’s childhood. One that was not bad, but where she was unwanted; an afterthought to parents who were more interested in their work and each other.
7) The Setting
The main setting for this novel is an upscale hotel in New York where the protagonist lives when she is in NY. Anna will, in the opening scene, talk about how seamless her life is in the hotel and thinks of The Hotel as taking care of her. The hotel provides a place where she can be known but also anonymous.
The other places we will visit in the novel are her small condo in San Francisco where in her other life she has a mix of interesting neighbors. And when we see her in her childhood, in a slightly run down home in a poor farming community in California’s Central Valley.