Attached are my working responses for Hidden Depths. Looking forward to workshopping and capitalizing off the wisdom of this group.
FIRST ASSIGNMENT: write your story statement.
When an American naval destroyer becomes the fifth ship to vanish in the Arctic during the Cold War, the ship’s lone surviving officer must battle both paranormal and geopolitical threats to save her crew and keep the ship’s warheads out of enemy hands.
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.
Dr. Kransiv and Dr. Ivonov represent the opposing American and Soviet forces during the Cold War and the competition in the sciences and global positioning. Both countries have received intelligence of strange occurrences and energy spikes in the Atlantic. The Soviets investigated first—research vessel Volksov, led by Dr. Victoria Ivonov, covertly investigated in the Atlantic and found the source of the strange disturbances: the Rusalka, a mythical species of sea creatures that use a form of energy fusion to feed off sailors but are capable of controlling human thought and action. Ivonov discovers the creatures first, and strives to harness their capabilities, sacrificing her crew to them for their allegiance. Ivonov miscalculates and when she tries to leave the area, she finds the creatures, and now herself, trapped. Ivonov begins capturing ships, knowing eventually a ship with enough firepower to release the Rusalka and their abilities will come to investigate.
Dr. Kransiv leads the USS King into Ivnov’s trap, the American’s believing they have the lead on a new energy source in the Atlantic. Kransiv also sacrifices the Kings crew in pursuit of the energy source, and in doing so, leads them into Ivonov’s trap.
THIRD ASSIGNMENT: create a breakout title (list several options, not more than three, and revisit to edit as needed).
The Sixth Sea
Red Sky in Morning
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?
Kit Brightling Novels by Chloe Niel: Supernatural seafaring series with a female protagonist.
Kate Daniels Novels by Illona Andrews: Urban fantasy novels based on lore with a strong female protagonist.
FIFTH ASSIGNMENT: write your own hook line (logline) with conflict and core wound following the format above. Though you may not have one now, keep in mind this is a great developmental tool. In other words, you best begin focusing on this if you're serious about commercial publication.
When the rest of her crew vanishes in the Arctic during the Cold War, a lone female officer must navigate rough seas and paranormal threats to save her ship and keep its ballistic missiles out of enemy hands.
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.
Cat had always had an aversion to the “noise” of the mainland, feeling far more comfortable at sea than land. These feelings magnify ten-fold when they begin searching a remote section of the Atlantic. Already facing a great deal of scrutiny as the ship’s lone female officer, Cat begins to feel self-doubt, exacerbated when she begins to be physically affected, hearing and sensing things in the area. When Cat begins to sense strange events in the area and hear voices, she wonders if she is actually bad-luck for the crew, and maybe she isn’t capable of command.
SIXTH ASSIGNMENT (B): 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 only woman on the USS King, Cat is isolated by her gender and has to battle the perception that 1) women are bad luck onboard a ship, and 2) women don’ t belong in the Navy. Not everyone in the crew is against her, but even her allies unintentionally isolate her at times.
FINAL ASSIGNMENT: sketch out your setting in detail. What makes it interesting enough, scene by scene, to allow for uniqueness and cinema in your narrative and story? Please don't simply repeat what you already have which may well be too quiet. You can change it. That's why you're here! Start now. Imagination is your best friend, and be aggressive with it.
The story takes place in the North Atlantic Ocean between the Faroe Islands and Norway. The islands in the novel are fictional, located in the middle of a cold ocean current that circulates arctic water down into the Atlantic and back up to the arctic. The main island lies in a rift, hidden from the main world and accessible only through a dangerous sand bar, which is full of wrecked ships, lured to their demise by the Rusalka. Much of the story takes place on various ships:
USS King: A US Naval Destroyer equipped with a nuclear ballistic payload.
Cargo Ship Venture: A landing craft type cargo ship carrying several loads of luxury goods.
Volksov (USSR): A salvage vessel.