Nothing More to Give
Lorraine B. Justice
FIRST ASSIGNMENT: write your story statement.
In Nothing More to Give three generations of a Sicilian-American family are followed through the stark realities of survival only to be caught in the end by the mafia’s grasp.
SECOND ASSIGNMENT: the antagonist or antagonistic force in your story.
The Mafia attracts brilliant corrupt businessmen, thugs, and cold murderers, but no one is as charming, intimidating, and dangerous as Frank Rizzoli, a local mob boss who builds an empire of crime in Eastern Pennsylvania.
THIRD ASSIGNMENT: create a breakout title (list several options, not more than three, and revisit to edit as needed).
Nothing More to Give
The Life and Death of Gina Licato
FOURTH ASSIGNMENT: Develop two smart comparables for your novel.
Two recent books about the Mafia that are not set in New York City, but in other parts of the US:
Smalltime by Russell Shorto (2021).
Western PA Mob story set in Johnstown, Pennsylvania in the 40s and 50s.
The Vapors, a Southern Family and the New York Mob, David Hill (2020).
Set in Hot Springs, Arkansas, in the 40s and 50s.
FIFTH ASSIGNMENT: write your own hook line (logline)
Threatened by the Mafia, a father uproots his family in the dead of night to escape the city and begin a new life in rural Pennsylvania. On a small farm, they barely survive the first winter until the oldest daughter Gina finds a job in the nearest town working for, and falling in love with, Frank Rizzoli, the local head of the mafia. A love child is the result of their relationship and Gina’s father once again finds himself in a power struggle of wills with the mafia and Gina, trying to keep her from ruin. This immigrant family saga is inspired by true stories.
SIXTH ASSIGNMENT: sketch out the conditions for the inner conflict your protagonist will have.
Domenic Licato, the father, is hopeful and happy as a young man with a growing family but as life takes its toll on him, he feels weak and ineffective; too weak to help his family in their time of need. When Gina gives birth to a son, Domenic sadly realizes the Mafia has become a part of his family.
Gina, the oldest daughter, never felt good enough or pretty enough, to have a good life. On her hands and knees in her old dress and farm shoes, scrubbing the kitchen floor in the Rizzoli house, she first meets Frank Rizzoli, the local Mafia boss who changes her life.
Next, likewise sketch a hypothetical scenario for the "secondary conflict" involving the social environment.
This Sicilian-American family is not wanted in the area by the other farmers and experiences deep prejudice. They are shunned by the local farm families and taken advantage of by unscrupulous farmers. In addition, the local KKK sends a message one terrifying night with a burning cross in their field behind the house. Their only friendly neighbor, an elderly African-American named Samuel, explains that the KKK will burn a cross for anyone who is different from them.
FINAL ASSIGNMENT: sketch out your setting in detail.
1. Bethlehem Steel, Bethlehem, PA, in the 1920s- dirty, rough, dangerous, long hours, and poor living conditions. Damp, drafty house near the steel mill.
2. Philadelphia, PA, the 1920s to 1930s- mafia ruled and dangerous, but it is a chance to make a life in America. The city is a lively melting pot and sets the scene for prohibition rivalries, murder, and corruption.
3. Scranton, PA, 1930s to 1940s- depression-era in a mafia-run town of manufacturing, distribution, gambling and truck heists. Scranton is the closest town to the rural farm the Licato’s rent.