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Debra Campbell-Heidlage

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    I'm a former newspaper reporter and public relations specialist who writes romantic historical fiction.

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  1. file:///C:/Users/Dheid/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image001.jpg FIRST ASSIGNMENT: write your story statement. I Will Remember You is an historical romantic novel where past meets present as a sheltered teenager deals with the aftermath of rape in a small midwestern town and finds unexpected love. 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. Since my story is about a teenage rape victim, the assailant is the primary antagonist, but because it appears to be a random act until the end where all things are revealed, I would say it’s more the antagonistic force that drives the narrative. I Will Remember You is a YA that also examines the actions of at least two other antagonistic forces – one is a much-older boyfriend of the protagonist, Ava, whose actions unwittingly set the stage for her attack and whose motives and actions seem straight-forward but present an ethical, if not legal, dilemma. The secondary protagonist, Sandy, is a popular high-school football stand-out, and an unexpected and unlikely ally to Ava. A victim himself of a troubled past, he’s worked hard to achieve his status as quarterback of the school’s football team and is attempting to lead the Eden High School Eagles to their first state championship in history. His girlfriend, Casey, has been a catalyst in his recovery from an abusive childhood and has plans for their future. A celebrated soccer player in her own right, she throws some obstacles in the way to help prevent what she fears is a budding romance between Ava and Sandy. THIRD ASSIGNMENT: create a breakout title (list several options, not more than three, and revisit to edit as needed). I Will Remember You A Shortcut to Eden The Things We Hold Dear file:///C:/Users/Dheid/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image001.jpg FOURTH ASSIGNMENT: - Read this NWOE article on comparables then return here. 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? Comparables to I Will Remember You Clockwise by Elle Strauss – A YA time-travel novel. The first in a series of five. Panic by Sharon Draper. A YA novel about the rape of a teenage girl and the aftermath. I picked these two because they emphasize two separate elements intrinsic to my book. The first, the Clockwise series, is by a New York Times bestselling author, Elle Strauss, and brings the time-travel element to life as the past- meets-present aspect is successfully woven within the framework of the book and both challenges and shapes the character of protagonist, Casey Donavan. Panic is a novel written by an acquaintance of mine. An African American and fellow Cincinnatian, Sharon Draper, is a New York Times Bestselling author who has won numerous awards for many successful YA novels. Panic takes a look at the underbelly of the world of teen exploitation and its aftermath. She does a good job successfully navigating this tricky topic and bringing light and hope to protagonist, Diamond Landers, after a grisly attack that nearly costs her life. 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. The past meets present as a sheltered teenage girl, whose storied life is shattered by rape, finds healing and love with a wounded high-school hero. 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? In a number of places in the story, Ava battles her choices in dealing with the aftermath of rape and an unwanted pregnancy. Mid-way through the story, an impromptu gathering of family and friends brings her status to light. Her zany would-be suitor, Avery, demands to know the baby dad and accuses Sandy, her troubled, popular new friend, and Adam, her doctor boyfriend, both of which are present. They are exonerated as the truth of her rape emerges. Her parents are mortified, Sandy accuses Adam of complicity, and Sandy’s integrity is questioned by Adam leading to an assault by football teammate, Avery. This scene is a climatic one that builds then unleashes as the addition of Avery as a catalyst adds levity and tensions brewing just below the surface erupt. The secondary conflict is the one that Ava feels as a complicated relationship toward Sandy develops and she finds direction in the ongoing narrative that he shares with her about a young woman captured by Native Americans during the American Revolution who endures unimaginable hardship but finds love among her captors. 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. I Will Remember You takes place in Eden, Indiana, population around 10,000 and is filled with the peculiarities and quirky personalities you expect from a small town. I use eccentric characters and novelties to the region to spice the narrative with humor because my story could be fairly dark otherwise. SCENE ONE: Advanced Biology 305 at Eden High School where Ava Cooper contemplates her senior year in the fish tank that she abhors. The bad boy that she’s known most of her life, Sanderson, “Sandy” Cole, shares a seat next to her as they have periodically through school since their names are alphabetically adjacent. She, a self-imposed social nobody, and he, the quarterback and captain of the football team, find themselves in a tense pairing as lab partners. SCENE TWO: Rinaldi Park, two blocks from Ava’s house, where she attempts to rendezvous with her much-older boyfriend, who’s a recent medical grad headed for third-world relief. On the look-out for a partner to share his humanitarian agenda, Adam meets the stunning and vivacious, Ava, at summer camp. He proposes that they marry after she graduates and he moves to Eden and takes a job at Eden Memorial for the duration. A short-cut at dusk takes her through a wooded area of the park where she’s raped. SCENE THREE: Ava’s bedroom which Sandy invades on Monday morning to collect her portion of their biology assignment. He discovers Ava in bed with a horrific black eye. When he refuses to leave despite her insistences, the truth is revealed and she descends into hysterics. He consoles her and an unlikely relationship begins as he emerges her only confidante. SCENE FOUR: Ava’s bedroom where she spends the next week trying to diminish/disguise her disfigurement and navigating the concerns of friends and family. Sandy climbs through her window to bring her homework and try again to convince her to go to the police despite the fact that she’s destroyed all the evidence and fears her story will be met with skepticism. SCENE FIVE: Sandy and Ava meet with a part-time, retired cop, who, he assures her, is discreet and is a liaison for a vigilante group that includes Sandy’s father, an alcoholic with a past. She spends the day with Sandy riding horses on their farm and bonding. SCENE SIX: Back in school, Ava deals with the fall-out of her obvious injury. Her doctor boyfriend, Adam, makes an unexpected appearance at school and she flees with Sandy who tries to convince her that Adam’s poor judgment made him complicit in the attack. Determined to protect Adam from scrutiny or suspicion, Ava agrees to meet with him for the first time since the attack and he helps to assuage their disconnect. SCENE SEVEN: The Eden High School Eagles play their neighboring rival, Jennings County High School, conflict erupts, and Sandy is injured. Adam, who has taken the job as athletic trainer, tends to him. Eden wins a narrow victory. SCENE EIGHT: Ava uses home remedies to improve Sandy’s injured ankle and gives him some much-needed advice. During the course of the next twenty-four hours and given that Ava’s parents are out of town, Ava, now six-weeks pregnant, confides in Sandy. He consoles her, advising her to terminate the pregnancy. To distract a conflicted Ava, Sandy tells her a story of a woman abducted by Native Americans during the American Revolution who falls in love with her captor. SCENE NINE: Thursday nights become routine study sessions for homework and tests due on Fridays. They also become a kind of pre-game prep session as Ava, sensing that Sandy goes hungry at home, feeds him, and finishes his homework. He sleeps on the futon periodically because his unrelenting lifestyle of practice, lifting, homework, and rescuing his delinquent father, takes all his reserves. Ava encourages the sleepovers because she’s suffering nightmares from the assault. SCENE TEN: Casey, Sandy’s girlfriend, hears gossip about Sandy and Ava and confronts her at school. A humorous exchange follows that salvages the situation and creates an unlikely pairing between the two. Ava finds herself double dating with Sandy, Casey and another member of the football team, Avery, for the evening’s sports banquet. Ava has an encounter with Adam and the two share tender moments in his car before the end of the evening. SCENE ELEVEN: The relationship between Sandy and Ava deepens and they continue their Thursday-night routine which is a thread throughout the story and is always accompanied by another segment in the ongoing saga of Brave Eagle and Cherry Blossom, the Native American captive story. SCENE TWELVE: Ava, anxious to help the struggling Sandy to lead his team to victory, searches his gym bag for a dress shirt and is reminded of the difference in their world views when she finds a condom. She decides to distance from him to avoid the heartache she assumes is in the making. SCENE THIRTEEN: Casey arranges for Ava and Avery to accompany she and Sandy to the Homecoming Dance where Sandy’s clever devices convince Ava that his relationship with Casey is a ruse and temporary. Their complicated friendship is restored. He is invited to her room via the window and they have another installment of the Brave Eagle/Cherry Blossom saga. SCENE FOURTEEN: Ava sneaks out of her room the following morning, leaving Sandy to sleep on the futon, for a pre-arranged date with Adam. He takes her sailing on Lake Monroe in Bloomington where she reveals that she is pregnant. They share some tender moments and he maintains his commitment to her although she continues to question his character. SCENE FIFTEEN: Sandy reacts to being ditched and Ava must make amends. While Sandy is at Ava’s for a Thursday night dinner/study session, Adam, and later, Avery, show up and Ava’s pregnancy is revealed to all including her parents. Avery, a would-be suitor, accuses both Adam and Sandy of being the baby dad. Sandy charges Adam with complicity in the attack. Ava’s parents devolve into disbelief and self-recrimination. Adam sends a coarse jab in Sandy’s direction and Avery reacts by knocking him out. The exchanges offer the proper amount of theater to give a tense situation some much-needed levity. SCENE SIXTEEN: A delayed police report is filed by the attending officer. It appears in the local paper, although Ava’s name is withheld as a minor. Hoping to protect Ava once word gets out about her, Casey intervenes and devises a backhanded plan to drop cues on social media, hailing Ava an unwitting victim and heroine. SCENE SEVENTEEN: The plan is so successful that Casey devises phase two which includes an unveiling of Ava’s pregnancy during the upcoming Winter Form and countermand skeptics. SCENE EIGHTEEN: Sandy and the Eagles finish a hard-fought undefeated season and go on to the tourney. The eight games are filled with theater and heroics and Sandy sustains a minor injury which requires Ava’s unique brand of home remedies and ends up revealing Sandy’s dark past. A full-on team effort brings an exciting end to the season. The Eagles successfully navigate their first Division Three championship in the school’s history. SCENE NINETEEN: Winter Formal. The event where Ava’s pregnancy is publicly unmasked on schedule and she is escorted by Adam, part of Casey’s plan to reignite the fledgling relationship and defuse any speculation about his being a potential baby dad. Casey’s careful scripting is successful and Ava rightly emerges the victim of circumstances beyond her control. SCENE TWENTY: Sandy’s decision to distance from Ava for unknown reasons sends her into a spiral as demons of the rape and its aftermath continue to invade her sleep and force her to an uneasy conclusion. SCENE TWENTY-ONE: Ava is given an ultimatum by her parents to seek counseling at a private treatment center before making the final determination about whether to put the baby up for adoption or keep it as she desires. A sanctuary run by cloistered nuns is her destination in a remote place in upstate New York called Cherry Valley, strangely enough, the setting of the Brave Eagle/Cherry Blossom story. SCENE TWENTY-TWO: At Sacred Mercy, Ava is sheltered from the outside world (with the exception of her parents) and receives intense therapy including hypnosis, which reveals a startling and terrifying conclusion – that she knows the assailant, although she keeps it to herself. SCENE TWENTY-THREE: Using her mother’s recipe, she concocts a plan for the nuns, who are aged and in danger of losing their compound, to pack highly nutritious food replacement supplements for use in poverty-stricken areas. So successful, their income is sufficiently increased and Ava is invited to stay and oversee the packaging process. She opts to extend the original six-week program to six months to escape what she fears are repercussions from her assailant. SCENE TWENTY-FOUR: To keep costs down, Ava thinks of a plan to purchase rice at bargain prices. Since Avery’s family farm supplies most of the local rice demand, the Bakers receive an anonymous request for rice from Sacred Mercy, via Ava’s mother. Sandy becomes aware of the transaction, noting that Sacred Mercy is near a place in upstate New York called Cherry Valley. SCENE TWENTY-FIVE: The baby is born at Sacred Mercy with the help of a nurse-midwife and Ava is given a cottage to care for him. SCENE TWENTY-SIX: On her birthday a month later, she receives a surprise visit from Sandy, who has used the rice request to track her down. He hikes the distance from the road to the gated community and brings with him a bouquet of flowers, the kitten that he had given her named Peaches, and an explanation about his odd behavior the week after the tourney win and before formal. SCENE TWENTY-SEVEN: Avery comes along to provide his usual dose of levity and Sandy once again uses a clever means of persuasion to discern the identity of Ava’s assailant, a young man that had assaulted her years earlier and is unmasked by the use of similar verbiage in both attacks. Sandy convinces Ava to come back to Eden and help bring him to justice. The second chance denied Brave Eagle and Cherry Blossom is rectified in the present-day reunion of Sandy and Ava. In concluding the epic historical tale based on a true story, Sandy reveals himself as the ancestor of the mighty Brave Eagle and Ava, his unwitting and adoring captive. -30-
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