Assignment one: Write your story statement.
A djinn girl saves a human boy from demon control.
Assignment two: In 200 words or less, sketch the antagonist or antagonistic force in your story.
Iblis, a demon, goes on a lifelong crusade after witnessing a startling taboo: the first humans killing other living beings. He becomes an avowed enemy to humans, feeding on their immorality, driven to corrupt them into destroying themselves through whispered suggestions. He campaigns on warring philosophies between himself and the djinns and angels, two fellow supernatural beings who advocate and guide the humans to lead ethical lives. A treaty to foster civility between the triumvirate of demons, djinns, and angels is put into place, and while it single-handedly restricts Iblis and his demon followers, it also puts Iblis at an advantage the over-confident djinns and angels overlooked. For instance, he’s allowed unlimited influence over one human every several decades, someone with the potential to adapt to Iblis’s whispers to sabotage humankind; Hitler-esque individuals with demonstrated history of promise. By design, Iblis has caused massive human casualties this way. He vigorously makes cases against humans at the nightly Resurrections, a trial of the dead to determine their true final place of rest, and his demon followers use the remainder of the night as their playing field, permitted by the treaty to corrupt human minds and exacerbate their horrendous, dormant ideas.
Assignment three: List three options for a breakout title.
· Biting the Apple
· The Story of the Djinn
· Artira’s Dilemma
Assignment four: Develop two smart comparables to your novel.
· Kingdom of souls, by Rena Barron—the dark, African magic and how it weighs heavily in this novel’s beautifully-painted world aligns well with my story’s heavily demonstrated supernatural element. Like my narrative, it’s a plot-driven story of a brave black teen girl (or at least a girl who appears to be a black girl, in my heroine’s case) on a mission to balance the world she knows by whatever means necessary.
· City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare—It’s fast-paced and witty, the story of a teenaged girl forced on a journey to rescue her mother in an obstacle world full of demons, vampires, werewolves and Shadowhunters, all while she realizes she herself isn’t a normal human. As with my story, it showcases a variety of beings that the protagonist comes up against and must defeat to achieve her purpose.
Assignment five: Write your own hook line/logline with conflict and core wound following the format given.
A modern-day djinn girl falls in love with a high school bad boy she journeys with to ancient Egypt to save—him, and inadvertently all humans—from demon influence.
Assignment six: 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.
Artira sums herself up as a failure. She can’t do anything right—in other words, “as a djinn would.” She has exposed her djinn form to a human once (which is forbidden), unintentionally causing that human lifelong mental anguish. She hates anything that has to do with dead people, which has garnered more than a few frowns among djinns, and even her djinn talent can’t be compared to her siblings’. While they have immediate solutions to problems, like manipulating the weather and creating illusion, she can only time travel, which she no longer takes advantage of for fear her impulsiveness and luck will cause imbalance. Worse, her past behavior has prevented her from advancing to the merit-based adulthood of the djinn world.
When the human under her care, Red, gains the Sight and is able to see into the djinn world, he is just as soon determined to be the demons’ next target in their determination to commit all humans to damnation. Artira is hesitant. She has always been that djinn, and the last thing she needs on her slate is another infraction for helping Red. But she cares for Red more than she cares about her reputation, and her time-traveling ability is just what Red might need to be saved from demon clutches. In the end, she makes the decision to time travel with him to secure the branch needed to save him.
Secondary conflict comes in the form of Red's engagement to an Egyptian princess after he accidentally kills a lion and becomes a hero. While Artira knows that it makes sense for Red to agree to the marriage to keep up their palace facade, she finds it difficult to deny feelings of jealousy—even if Red has no idea how she feels about him. In addition, King Solomon, visiting Egypt to claim his Egyptian bride, has a unique power over djinns, and Artira finds herself drawn to its dangerous potential in her quest to secure Red’s chances of avoiding demon influence.
Final Assignment: Sketch out your setting in detail. What makes it interesting enough, scene by scene, to allow for uniqueness and cinema in your narrative and story?
The setting of this story is parallel worlds. The supernatural realm, where demons, djinns, and angels roam, and the undernatural realm, where these beings also roam, but this realm is primarily inhabited by humans. The narrative opens with the protagonist, an adolescent djinn girl named Artira, naughtily entering the undernatural as a human. She treacherously explains the existence of djinns to a man standing outside of a dance club, all the while peeking in on the human she’s assigned to watch over as he dances inside. She’s caught by her siblings and races through the streets/forest to her home, a castle among thousands of djinn homes in her own realm, and New York City’s Central Park in the undernatural. The significance of this djinn habitat (Fort Gotham) is that it houses the Tree of Immorality—the very tree Adam, centuries before, removed an apple—and it is the site where nightly Resurrections are held to determine the hereafter for demised humans.
To atone for her latest misstep, Artira’s siblings convince her to attend the Death Rounds, a nightly trip her parents make to cemeteries, opening graves and notifying the dead of the coming Resurrection. After an unexpected occurrence, the protagonist flees to the streets/forests and runs into a group of demons she feels compelled to follow. The demons work the night haunting human homes, as well as a psychiatric facility, where a host of these particular humans can readily see the protagonist and the demons.
The story then dives into Artira’s daily routine as she follows and guides her assigned human throughout the day, Red, whispering to him to do the right thing as he fulfills a doctor’s appointment and attends a charity event at his uncle’s mansion. She patiently observes the witty banter between Red and his friends. By the end of the night he gets his first glimpse of her as he takes a jog through Central Park.
Red, believing Artira is a human, spends the next few days with her in camaraderie. On their last day in the haunted house they’ve been frequenting, she mistakenly goes through a door. This frightens Red. Exposed, Artira is forced to secretly follow him the next day, but makes herself known to him while he’s in school. Red’s hostile to her, wanting her to go away, and ignores her when she no longer deems it necessary to hide herself. That night, after her day duties to Red end, her father prophecies Red will be the next human the demons will choose to cause great mischief on earth, and volunteers Artira to bring Red to Fort Gotham so the family can meet him. Red is overwhelmed by this world he can now see, and at dinner with Artira’s family he gets a taste of just how blind he has been, from the ambrosia he is served, to questions about the plausibility of humans searching the earth for other lifeforms (“all they need do is look around”), as well as, the useless in to genetically modify onions. Artira leaves Red in the castle while she mandatorily attends the Resurrection of the dead at the grassy fields of the arena, balking as the dead are brought before a waiting audience of djinns, demons, and angels.
Artira gives Red a grand tour of Fort Gotham the next morning. He becomes adjusted to seeing the two worlds together and is wide-eyed with wonder upon seeing supernatural “ice cream” shops and similar businesses, newspaper stands, and museums dedicated to human history as seen through the eyes of the supernatural world. They also witness a djinn turn into a demon, an occasional sad occurrence.
Fearing for her human, Artira makes the decision to take him to Ilgahim, she tells Red, to plead his case. In Ilgahim, the demon inferno of the underworld, she must journey through the Mad Seas of Rage to get there. The course is filled with Guardians of Ilgahim, large beasts whose job it is to scare anyone who wishes to visit Ilgahim into abandoning the trip, a firing-breathing baby, a dragon, a sea that causes all who crosses it to temporarily lose their memories, a boring sea during which nothing but paranoia develops in the traveler, and a multi-era pirate crossing—all of which they successfully make it through. When they arrive in Ilgahim and secure the information they need, Artira uses time travel to import them to ancient Egypt.
Artira and Red land in ancient Egypt to find a piece of the Tree of Morality, whose whereabouts she learned of in the underworld, and is the key to saving Red. It’s during the Iron Age, in the 22nd Dynasty, the Late Period of ancient Egypt, when linen robes and wigs were in abundance. There, they weave their way through a lion hunt in an oasis by the Nile, and into a Bubastis palace, Red intermingling among royals as Artira finds the sources she needs to get the branch. The palace is Pharaoh Sheshonq’s treasure, tiled walkways lined with ram-headed sphinxes, black granite statues, and large braziers burning bright on the portico. The halls are lined with sunken reliefs and large pillars in the shape of lotus blossoms, and servants abound, from the servers to the bathers.
Finally, we get to see Artira go from invisible, to the Queen of Sheba, to unwilling imprisonment in an oil lamp, when she is forced to grant three wishes to the owner of the person in possession. The final battle of wits and will at the pyramids to take charge of the branch is peppered with drastic physical transformations and unprecedented ploys.