1 - Story Statement In the near future, Charlotte has managed to snag a place at Watson, the best school in the city, giving her a chance at college and a well-paying job. Food and employment are equally scarce. Fat is a sign of beauty, wealth and success; Charlotte is very thin. In Watson, she’s finally found a way to rescue her family from crushing poverty, but her victory lap is tainted by a grim diagnosis: a degenerative disease is slowly robbing her of her eyesight. This world is unforgiving to the disabled: blindness means no job, and no job means no future. If Charlotte is going to succeed, she must find a way to pay for the expensive nanotechnology capable of reversing her condition. She’s approached by Ever, a popular rich girl who offers access to the tech to fix her eyes in exchange for help with a personal project. The proposal seems like the solution to all her problems. 2 - Antagonist Statement Relentless would-be assassins chase Charlotte and her friends deep into the city’s underground of body-augmented mobsters, corrupt cops, and the starving homeless, killing anyone who gets in the way. The antagonists dress in the uniform of the city’s political extremists, but there’s no clear reason why they would target a harmless group of high schoolers. They are proxies for the real villain, who harbors bone-deep resentment and rage, and seeks revenge as payment due for her misery. This villain (Ever’s mother) is rich and beautiful, but has suffered indignities and abuse, for which she blames her daughter. 3 - Working Titles Module Charlotte4Ever The City Underneath 4 - Comps This story is YA Sci-Fi / Dystopian Thriller Feed (MT Anderson) We Set the Dark on Fire (Tehlor Kay Mejia) Ready Player One (Ernest Cline) Moxyland (Lauren Beukes) In Time (movie) 5 - Logline (Pitch) In the not-too-distant future, Charlotte, poor and going blind, and Ever, rich but abused, make a pact to help each other escape their own personal hells; but someone wants to stop them–terminally. 6 - Conflict Inner Conflict – Charlotte is primarily driven by her desire to save her family from poverty, but the way she’s going about it is a deep source of shame, based on family values and her perception of how her mother will react to what she’s done to roll back her diagnosis. Although Charlotte ultimately believes the ends do justify the means, she still feels intense guilt about going against her parents’ inherently virtuous approach to earning vs handouts, and sneaking around behind their backs. Secondary Conflict – Further into the story, Charlotte comes up against a second (and more immediate conflict): if she stays with Ever, there’s a chance she could get killed, but if she leaves, she definitely won’t get her payment. This conflict morphs into something more intense; as Charlotte and Ever become real friends, leaving Ever behind means abandonment of someone she cares about. At this point, both girls feel guilt over dragging each other into their individual drama; as each realizes the other believes her cause is good and not at all selfish, they become allies invested in each other’s survival, leaving the transactional nature of their early relationship behind. 7 - Setting The story takes place over a single night in a city implied to be Manhattan about 100 years in the future. While the individual scene settings change, all of them are relatable to the city, even without working knowledge the layouts of today’s neighborhoods. Parts of the city are upscale and clean, overwhelmed with restaurants, ads, and cars; others are barren reminders of poverty. Some of the story takes place underground, moving between clubs, tunnels that used to be part of a pre-flood subway system, and buried stations. Having the majority of the story taking place at night, and then further and further underground, is a deliberate choice; using darkness in conjunction with desperation is meaningful when they finally emerge into the light (which is also not safe).