Pitch Conference Pre-Conference Assignments – June 2021
(1) THE ACT OF STORY STATEMENT:
Elis's world changed eleven years ago and in order to save it, she must embark on a quest filled with magic, mystery, and self-discovery to determine why it changed and how to fix it.
(2) THE ANTAGONIST PLOTS THE POINT:
In the story, the world is not black and white. Thus, good versus evil can be as clear as mud. Someone can be fully convinced they are right and good, but in truth, they are bemused by emotions they never thought could control them. Therefore, in truth, they are an evil force. The antagonistic characters and forces are the following: (1) Calli - Calli is blinded by her duty, haunted by her past, and guilty of enjoying her power too much. She cannot see the evil flaw in the path she blazes. (2) The Sanders Twins - The Sanders Twins are young teenagers trying to navigate the anger and frustration that comes with a loss of inspiration. It feels productive, powerful, and even, on some level, good to make someone feel the pain they feel. (3) Father – Father is scared and lost in the secrets he keeps. Fear comes tumbling out of him with an anger that rips through the world around him, hurting everyone in its path, including Elis. (4) The Council –The Council fails to question if the way things are isn’t the right way. They fail to truly see the pain that their apathy causes.
(3) CONJURING YOUR BREAKOUT TITLE:
The Insufferable Balance of Separation
The Symmetry of Dissolution
The Girl of the Light and the Things Between
(4) DECIDING YOUR GENRE AND APPROACHING COMPARABLES:
COMP 1: Gertie Milk and the Keeper of Lost Things – A little adventure, a little history, a lot of heart, and a lot of uncovering and learning about who she is, while also learning how to save the world from the antagonist(s).
COMP 2: Enola Holmes Series – Both stories feature a strong female lead, where the sharp sting of loneliness underlies her strength and independence. This backdrop is heartfelt yet also mysterious, offering the readers the ability to relate better to the heroine as she sets out on an adventure to uncover the truth.
(5) CORE WOUND AND THE PRIMARY CONFLICT
In a world without inspiration, a teenage girl embarks on a quest to understand the reason for the change, which will leave her questioning everything she thought she knew about herself, her family, and the world she calls home.
(6) OTHER MATTERS OF CONFLICT: TWO MORE LEVELS
Conditions of Protagonist’s Inner Conflict:
· Elis’s mother died when she was five, her father is either mean or absent from her life, and her grandmother is only coherent and loving sometimes. Inherently, she feels like anything good will inevitably end.
· Elis does not trust easily, and the few memories she has of her mother torment her of a love long lost but still cherished, as nothing seems to compare to that unconditional love.
· Elis has an insatiable thirst for knowledge and understanding. The contents of the attic room are more than just items, they are long lost treasures. Thus, even outside of her loss, her thirst creates even more loneliness, as no one understands it. This also leads to additional conflicts with Gran, M-Thompson, and the Sanders Twins.
· Elis’s relationship with Father is tumultuous. She feels as if she walks on eggshells with him, and over the years these eggshells have cooked up a strong distrust in herself. She doesn’t trust her knowledge or instincts, as they lead her astray with Father.
As an example: After Tay and Elis meet, Elis is convinced at times that Tay isn’t real because she is too good to be true. Tay is brazen and bold and trusts without limit. Elis is cautious and worried, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Yet, even still, she tries. The intoxication of companionship is maybe worth the risk because the misery of loneliness is a hole blacker than any other in her life.
Secondary Conflict: Elis and her father clash with either no words or harsh screaming ones. Her father is either a drone, a slave to the television, or angry. Elis cannot seem to predict when he will be one version of himself or the other. She tries to be a model child but, inevitably, she messes up, leading to one of two reactions from her father. This external conflict also fosters the tormented memories she has of her mother, as they are very different, and there exists an unbridgeable disconnect as to why things have changed so immensely.
Other conflicts of note: Calli and her sisters, Talia and her sisters, Ellington and Tay
(7) THE INCREDIBLE IMPORTANCE OF SETTING
The story starts in stone room, lit only by a candle. The candle sends shadows dancing across the walls. A mystifying painting occupies one wall, and the character’s thoughts are pulled to it and linger there, just the slightest.
The story moves to Elis’s school, detailing its bland brown façade and unhappy inhabitants and then to Gran’s house, where familiarity is key, but yet, even Gran’s house holds a dark truth. The story then introduces Elis’s three “home” bases. First, in the eaves of her house, sits an attic room chalked full of books, movies, music, and artwork. Elis spends time here learning of the past and always further organizing her treasures, seemingly forgotten by the world. Second, Elis frequents the woods, where nature seems untouched by the heavy, militant hand of humanity. And, third Elis takes refuge in the cemetery, now fenced off, with knee high grass and littered with unwanted objects, such as appliances.
Later, the story moves to a world where inspiration is so thick and deep it presents itself as magic. However, this place is not without its own mysteries. In this beautiful place where even the streets are green and warm, there sits a ramshackle house—the same house that sits in Elis’s world. How can this be? And, beneath the beaty, the magic, and the energy is a hauntingly tragic underlayer, a layer that only becomes apparent in time.
Many things are new for Elis on her adventure, and none are boring. Even the plastic curvature of the interior of a plane is new and exciting and acts as the backdrop for a triumph. And, as Elis travels back through these scenes again and again they change slightly as her understanding of the world is shaped and honed.
The culmination of the story sends back to that first stone room, yet now it is much changed. Eleven years of worldly possessions crawl up the walls and luscious, hand woven rugs engulf the floor. Its worldly ambiance is juxtaposed with simplicity of the first scene, and yet still the painting is a mystery that Elis works to solve.