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Goldmine by Michael Feldman

1. STORY STATEMENT

After being scapegoated and fired for hacking his company, Tyler Morlin must clear his name and prevent the real perpetrator from destroying his family.

2. ANTAGONISTIC FORCE

Jane Ortega met Tyler when he joined her team at Google. She instantly became infatuated with him but initially checked her impulses because he was a committed husband and father. When she could no longer contain her lust, she sideswiped his wife Jessica on her bicycle commute in a hit-and-run murder with no witnesses, giving Tyler her shoulder to cry on and ultimately ensnaring him in a romantic relationship.

She introduced Tyler to Bucky Thomas, the CEO of Blanco Energy, a coal-fired electricity plant, who hired him to lead the company’s transition from polluter to solar power producer. Fueled by a grudge against Bucky after he broke off an affair with her, she teamed up with Reese Dillard, COO of Blanco Energy, who wanted to settle the score for being passed over for the CEO role after spending twenty-five years rising up the company ladder. They built a massive operation to steal Blanco’s electricity to mine billions of dollars of Bitcoin and disgrace Bucky.

Obsessive, crafty and vengeful, Jane will stop at nothing to get what she wants, even if that means destroying anyone who gets in her way.

3. BREAKOUT TITLE

Goldmine

The Mother Lode

Settling the Score

4. COMPARABLES

Genre: suspense/techno-thriller with relatable, flawed protagonist and fierce antagonist

The Chain by Adrian McKinty — kidnapping thriller with a protagonist who finds she’s capable of much more than she had thought to get her daughter back; ruthless, diabolical antagonist; plot involves high-tech (spyware, bitcoin, etc.)

Firewall by Andrew Watts — accessible techno-thriller with good action, character development, likeable protagonist and clever twists

The Spider Heist by Jason Kasper — morally-flexible protagonist redeems herself after being scapegoated and fired

5. HOOK LINE

When a widowed single-dad engineer is falsely accused of hacking a power plant after discovering a plot to steal its electricity for a lucrative Bitcoin mining operation, he must discover the truth before the real perpetrator murders his daughter and destroys his reputation.

6. INNER CONFLICT

Tyler carried the albatross of self-doubt after he made the difficult decision to take his wife off life support following her accident. Lacking her guidance and encouragement, his social anxiety grew and he lost the confidence to stand up to his superiors at work when they accused him of not being a team player. He second-guessed his actions, worrying he was making the wrong choice.

SECONDARY CONFLICT

Saddled with medical bills from his wife’s hospitalization and his daughter’s disease, Tyler reluctantly joined a coal-powered electric company to make ends meet. The lucrative assignment drove a wedge between him and his teenage daughter, Maddy, who blamed the company’s toxic emissions for causing her rare lung disease. She asserted her independence as they argued about his decision to join Blanco, date Jane and spend time with friends he wouldn’t consider ideal role models.

7. SETTING

Goldmine takes place in June, 2019. Most of the scenes are in Tyler’s home in Rockville, MD, an upper-middle-class city in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area, whether it’s dialog between Tyler and Maddy or Jane, or time in his home office and on the phone with other characters. Tyler’s home office is meticulously set up for his technical projects. Other locations in downtown Rockville include Tyler’s favorite cafe, Roaster’s, his lawyer’s office, Spazio’s restaurant and the theater where Maddy performs.

Much of the action takes place at Blanco Energy’s headquarters, coal-fired plant and solar farm which are located in rural Dickerson, Maryland, forty-minutes Rockville.

The climactic scene takes place at the upscale Knyght Hotel in Washington, DC.

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THE ACT OF STORY STATEMENT

The New Guardians must rescue one of their own before he falls into the clutches of the Shadowlings, henchmen of the Stygian King.

THE ANTAGONIST PLOTS THE POINT

Three Main Antagonists

Sealed within the boundaries of the Void, a grey dimension devoid of sunlight, the Stygian King rules with an iron fist. His ambition is to expand the borders of his dimension to absorb all of creation into the Void so that he may rule over all that lives. He is aided by the immortal Shadowlings, who are bound to him by their life force, and a traitorous ex-Guardian.

Lauryn Green is a powerful sorceress and among the most powerful Shadowlings. She’s one of the last of the Stygian King’s generals not sealed in the Void. She poses as a human and uses humanity to further the Stygian King’s goals while keeping her true nature a secret. Prior to being bound to the Stygian King, she was worshipped as a self-styled goddess. She yearns for those days again.

Ethan Hardy is a vengeful, power-hungry ex-Guardian who betrayed his teammates to the Shadowlings. His powers broken, he paid dearly for his betrayal, but continues to ally himself with the Shadowlings for the promise of power and vengeance. When the New Guardians are chosen, he has the means to find them. He conspires with Lauryn Green to eliminate them.

CONJURING YOUR BREAKOUT TITLE

The New Guardians: Birth, Betrayal, and Rescue

The New Guardians: Deadly Genesis

Hunt for the Missing New Guardian

DECIDING YOUR GENRE AND APPROACHING COMPARABLES

My book has elements of both science fiction and fantasy genres for young adults. I've chosen the following two books for this assignment:

1) Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer 

2) Legendborn by Tracy Deonn by Peter Lerangis

My book is designed to be the first self-contained story in a larger seven book series story arc.  

CORE WOUND AND THE PRIMARY CONFLICT

Hook line: When the New Guardians are targeted for death at the moment their powers awaken by the Shadowlings, one of their number turns up missing and must be found before their nemesis captures him and force him into becoming an unwilling pawn in the Stygian King’s ambitions.

OTHER MATTERS OF CONFLICT: TWO MORE LEVELS

Mateo Cortez is manipulated by a friend of the family, Raphael Ortiz, to use his powers for illegal purposes to pay for his mother’s medical bills. He’s overbent with guilt until he learns the truth.  

The New Guardians are novices and aren’t allowed to go on missions. When Mateo turns up, Mei Ling directs the students to stay at school and leave the rescue to Zarbus. The students are torn between following the rules and setting out to rescue Mateo.

Mei Ling is a Guardian who trains the New Guardians, successors to her generation of Guardians. The Shadowling, Lauryn Green, killed her fiancé, Ramon Soltero, fellow Guardian and teammate to Ling and Ethan Hardy. Ling seeks revenge against Green.

SETTING

1) The primary setting of the story is New Pangea, a fictional country that has remained hidden from the world since its founding. It is the oldest and most technologically advanced civilization on Earth, but they’ve only just revealed themselves to the rest of the world fifteen years ago. 

New Pangea is roughly the size of Ireland and Great Britain combined and is located west of Ireland and south of Iceland in the North Atlantic. It is divided into five provinces. The story takes place in three of the provinces: the Arncola Wilds in the North; Venmark to the west; and at the center, Cancona—where the nation’s capital, Kingston, resides. At the heart of Kingston, the imposing structure of Castle Matheson rears tall, dominating the landscape. The venerable abode is centered on two-thousand acres surrounded by a twelve-foot-high wall of stone.

Much of the earlier parts of the book is set in Castle Matheson. There are literally thousands of rooms in this castle, and this is where Prince Kyle Matheson (a New Guardian) lives.

2) The Arncola Wilds is where Prince Kyle meets his beast-mate, Moonshadow. . This province is undeveloped wild jungle where beasts of all kinds exist.

The story is set in modern times, but the New Pangea's indigenous creatures and plant life are from the Tertiary Period. (I took the liberty of creating some of the creatures since new species are being discovered all the time.)

3) New Pangea’s Academy for Exceptional Youth is located in the remote Beauwood Forest in the eastern province of Venmark. There’s an invisible, intangible energy field that surrounds the school which deters predatory creatures from entering the grounds.

The main school building is a large, four-sided stone structure with a large courtyard in the center. There are four detached dormitories spread out at each corner of the school.

There are also condos on the campus where faculty and staff live as well as a school hospital. The gym and fine arts building are separate from the main school building. There’s also a series of underground labyrinths on the campus and an underground lagoon.

There’s a lot of greenspace on the campus, and the walkways are made of cobblestone.

4) Other settings include:

A farm and a carnival in Michigan

A house and a university in Ethiopia

The Phoenix Metropolitan Area

A clothing store in Shanghai, China

A pocket dimension at the school only accessible to the New Guardians, their mentors, and the principal, where the New Guardians train to use their powers and study up on the Shadowlings by reading historical accounts of them in the Guardian Library.

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Algonkian Writers Conference-  Seven (7) Shorts

By Natasha Von Imhof

 

 

1)     Story Statement(s)

·       A wise and experienced consciousness, paired with a youthful and vigorous body, to spread positive energy throughout the world.

·       Die, but then be given a second chance at life to make the world a better place

 

2)     Sketch the Antagonist

There are several secondary characters that act upon Lindy (main character) to provide conflict. Chloe the school bully tests Lindy’s patience and tolerance for mean-girl behavior, Mrs. Severson the US History teacher tests Lindy’s ability to navigate condescending authority, and the alcoholic soccer team captain pushes Lindy to use her talents and ability to the level that she is capable. 

But the real antagonist is Lindy herself. “Some of the greatest battles in your life will occur in your own mind.”  (variations of this theme have been offered by Sheldon B Kopp, Jesse Owens, Tim Kennedy, Dalai Lama, Ali Vincent)

The antagonist is Lindy’s free will to choose to accept her plight, and in doing so, to engage in deliberate service to her community to affect positive change in the world, or, instead choose to live her second chance at life as a self-indulgent individual.

 

3)     Create a breakout title

·       Live Twice

·       Live Again for Good

·       Second Chance to Do Good Things

 

4)     Two smart comparables for your novel

Live Twice is women’s contemporary fiction that nudges readers to wonder about the things they would do differently if given a second chance. 

Just as readers cheered on Cannie in Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner, or rooted for Lilian in Garden of Small Beginnings by Abby Waxman, Lindy demonstrates that it’s possible to turn a tragedy into something positive and meaningful. 

 

5)     Hook line, with conflict and core wound

Live Twice, by Natasha Von Imhof

·       Lynn is a professional 51-year-old wife and mother who dies in a car accident but “wakes up” the next morning in the body of a 16-year-old girl, and spends the next two years discovering how and why this mind/body swap occurred.  

 

6)     Matters of Conflict

Youth is often wasted on the young. But what if this time, it isn’t?  Lynn is a professional 51-year-old wife and mother who dies in a car accident but “wakes up” the next morning in the body of a 16-year-old girl.  Lynn asks herself, am I dead? But she can’t deny that she feels very much alive, albeit inside a slovenly and sweaty teenage body. Why did this happen? But more importantly, how did this happen? Lynn just wants to go back to her old life, but can she?  Or, does she have to embrace this new and permanent situation and make the best of it?

Live Twice takes place during the junior and senior year of high school when Lynn finds herself a student again thirty years later. Initially, she has to process her grief and let go of the family she left behind. As she moves forward, she decides to reinvent herself to represent both her mind and body, and changes her name to “Lindy”, a blend of “Lynn” and “Mandy”, the teenager’s body her consciousness has inhabited. Right off the bat, Lindy has to deal with practical matters such as attending algebra class, getting a job, and fending off the school bully who sees Lindy as a threat.

At the end of her junior year, Lindy learns how and why the mind/body swap occurred: it is a consciousness transfer of biblical proportions when specific circumstances collide, for the purpose of applying her knowledge, maturity and wisdom to make the world a better place through meaningful and numerous positive interactions.

During her senior year, Lindy has to decide how to embrace this strange second chance, such as whether to have a romantic relationship with a boy her age, or how to navigate the dynamic of having more life experience and insight than many of her teachers and superiors. Finally, Lindy has the opportunity to meet up with her family again. Should she? How will they accept their mother as a teenager?

Ultimately, Lindy’s must engage in an internal battle of free will, either choose to accept her plight, and in doing so, to engage in deliberate service to her community to affect positive change in the world, or, instead choose to live a life of self-indulgence.

Live Twice is women’s fiction with a touch of magic realism that nudges readers to wonder about the things they would do differently if given a second chance. 

 

7)     Setting

The book takes place present day, in a low income neighborhood in Dallas, Texas. When Lindy regains consciousness in her new body, she finds herself in a dingy and dim apartment with catatonic Carrie, the only other occupant. The apartment is near Overton High School where she attends for her junior and senior year, as well as close to various community parks, Southern Methodist University, and is within driving distance of the sprawling ranches north of town owned by Dallas’s wealthy elite.  

This centralized and urban location allows Lindy to interact with her struggling neighbors, her classmates, a potential boyfriend, as well as use her wisdom and experience to influence families of all social and economic strata.

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Submitted by James Charles

Story Statements

Love should not sentence you to life as a pirate.

Survive abduction by pirates to get back to the woman you love.    

Antagonist force

In seventeenth century Tuscany, Salvatore’s father banishes him to a life at sea for fathering a child out-of-wedlock with a Jewish woman, Leah, who is forced by her father to marry a widower with children whom she does not love.

Captured by Caribbean pirates, Salvatore must survive a life of piracy before attempting an escape to get back to Leah where he hopes to find that she still loves him.

During her unhappy marriage and while taking care of her husband’s family and helping to run her father’s business, Leah secretly sets aside funds she later uses to sponsor her exceptional son’s education whom she is forbidden to see and make herself known to.

After pen paling with Galileo Galilei, and while working in Florence with the support of Medici Duke Ferdinando II, their son, Pietro, develops revolutionary scientific treatises until  Salvatore’s ruthless brother, the Bishop, turns him over to Papal inquisitional authorities who compel him to stand trial for heresy. 

While Leah fights to free Pietro, Salvatore fights for his life and to return home to confront his father, his brother the Bishop, and to find the woman he loves.

Titles

For Loving a Woman

I Only Care that I Love You

Comparables and Genre

Historical Romance

Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, by Diana Gabaldon

A Pirate’s Love, by Johanna Lindsey

Hookline

In seventeenth century Tuscany, Salvatore is banished to a life at sea by his father for loving a Jewish woman and must battle Caribbean pirates, Spanish Conquistadors, and North African warlords to get back to the woman he loves.

Inner Conflict

After his capture and forced employment on board a cutthroat pirate ship, and so far from home, Salvatore wonders whether he should fight to go home at all because so much time has passed and Leah most certainly has moved on with her life, marrying and loving another.

Secondary Conflict

Furthermore, not only will his wealthy father disown him for his crime of passion, but after an unfortunate incident on board the merchant ship during his escape before his capture by pirates, Salvatore knows he will most certainly hang if he were to return home to Tuscany.

Setting

We begin in seventeenth century Medici-controlled Renaissance Tuscany where Leah, a young Jewish girl, gives birth to her, and Catholic Salvatore’s illegitimate son, Pietro.

Shortly after Pietro’s birth, Salvatore is forced to sail to the Caribbean on his father’s merchant ship where he is captured by pirates. The ship ports in pirate-haven Port Royal, Jamaica, in Puerto Rico, and sails the Caribbean assaulting merchant ships while out-running Spanish Galleons.

Later, Salvatore is marooned in Spanish Florida, where he at first is captured by Native Americans, then has to battle Conquistadors in St. Augustine.

Subsequently, he makes it to Jamestowne, Virginia, eventually sailing on a supply ship on its return voyage to London.

Thereafter, he earns enough money to book passage on a ship sailing to Naples, but is kidnapped and enslaved in Morocco.

Finally, he makes it back to Tuscany to battle his brother the Bishop and the Roman Inquisitors who are holding his son on trial for heresy.

 

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1.       Story Statement — Sean Ryan must leverage his engineering training and newfound abilities as a Silversmith to save two worlds.

2.       Antagonist — Lord Rueben kills King Madison and attempts to set himself up as the new ruler just when our Protagonist (Sean) arrives. Rueben orchestrates multiple attempts to assassinate Sean, who is a threat to his power. Rueben is so absorbed in his quest for dominance that he allows the zerst (monstrous antagonistic force) to gain a foothold in human lands. He has allied with Lady Vivian, Lord Cyrus, and the self-righteous Captain Nicholas, who he manipulates and discards as needed.

3.       Titles

·         Silversmith (Current working title)

·         The Altar – Book 1 of the Silversmith Chronicles

4.       Comparables —My novel is science fantasy and has secondary world-building and a closed magic system like Mistborn, The Lightbringer Series, and The Warded Man. It also has light science fiction elements like The Martian and Exo. My two comparables are Mistborn and The Martian.

5.       Log line — An engineering prodigy must combine his new abilities as a Silversmith mage and his training as an engineer to battle dangers that threaten two worlds.

6.       Character turmoil and conflict           

·         Sean finds himself on another world. As an introverted movie buff with math skills, he feels ill equipped when asked to lead a nation thru impossible odds.

·         Prior to the events of this novel, Sean was in the US Army. He killed a child soldier in Afghanistan, and guilt from this changed who he is and how he sees the world. It’s also the source of some of his bad decisions. He must face this guilt if he is to succeed. 

·         Sean is attracted to Amilia but the religion on Mayim says he must marry fifty wives and breed an army of Silversmith. He refuses this mandate and searches for another way.

·         Sean develops the ability to create Silversmith. Amilia wants him to convert her but it’s dangerous and he initially refuses.

·         Amilia is a princess/queen who wants to be a soldier. Her society tells her she should have a large body and sit and look pretty. She likes being fit and exercising with the soldiers. She dreams of being a warrior even though society disapproves. 

·         Amilia is mocked and disrespected by the Lords and Ladies but respected by the people. She is forced to be queen for a short time after the assassination of her father.

·         Amilia is attracted to Sean but refuses to be part of the Harem the religion says he must have. Even though Sean is rejecting this idea, She doesn’t want to be the reason he rejects a path that could save Mayim.

·         Nicholas is an arrogant captain and expert bowman. He is righteous but blindly loyal to an evil man.

7.       Setting

·         My protagonist transfers to a secondary world. This fantasy world is sprinkled with light science fiction elements. The world looks like an Icy Rivendell with the visual vibrancy of Pandora.  I use two moons in very low orbits as a focal point for my protagonist when he arrives in Mayim. This is what stands out in his mind and screams he is no longer on Earth.

·         My novel features a closed magic system that centers around seven types of Silvers. A Silversmith is someone who can see and manipulate these Silvers. 

·         We find that an ancient religious artifact called The Altar is an ancient piece of technology. The Altar transferred Sean to Mayim and turned him into a Silversmith.

·         The world of Mayim is stuck in the iron age due to population and geographic constraints.

·         Mayim is full of strange creatures but also has some familiar animals from Earth.  A couple of examples: giant frogs are used by some of the people instead of horses, and some plants pull up their roots and relocate.

·         Zerst (Giant venomous reptiles) are invading from the south.

·         Belquist are mind-controlling zerst overlords. They look like Wyvern. (They only appear in two scenes in book 1)

·         The Bardan are an extraterrestrial threat that attack from space and pose a threat to both Earth and Mayim. (this threat is not imminent but motivates Sean to contact Earth.)

·         My novel has castles, weapons, and other themes you would expect in Western Europe based fantasies.

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Assignment 1 - Story Statement - Sixty Eight by Brian Freeman

A time and space bending tale of the massive challenges America faced in the late sixties, Sixty Eight centers on Lyndon Johnson, the 36th president of the United States. After losing his life to a heart attack on his ranch in Texas, he awakens in Vietnam at the height of the Tet Offensive. Unseen and unheard, like a revenant, he witnesses the chaos of the war around him while following a platoon of Marines. He’s then transported to Washington where he’s finally seen, overwhelmed by the challenges he endured before; the Civil Rights Movement, the war, Soviet aggression in Europe, and the upcoming presidential election. Faced with a flawed mortality, he begins suddenly transporting to Vietnam and back, witnessing the gruesome war firsthand as he dedicates himself to stopping it.

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Assignment 2 - Sketch the Antagonist - Sixty Eight by Brian Freeman

The Johnson Administration existed during a time where the mantra of young people was "don't trust anyone over thirty." LBJ was one of our final WWII presidents, while members of his National Security Council shared similar views on foreign policy. Walt Rostow, one of the biggest hawks in Washington and LBJ's National Security Advisor, as well as Bob McNamara, the Secretary of Defense, played vital roles in exacerbating America's war efforts in Vietnam. They convinced LBJ that the war was winnable when it never was, inclining the president to scrutinize his decisions on the war when the nation had already reached the point of no return. These are only two of many people who played an antagonistic role in the Johnson Administration.   

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Assignment 3 - Breakout Title - Sixty Eight by Brian Freeman

Sixty Eight is a trilogy of books spanning across 38 chapters, 80,000 words apiece and divided into even thirds. Because of this, I am not sure whether there needs to be a separate title for each book under the Sixty Eight moniker, similar to the Lord of The Rings (Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, Return of The King), or simply a numbered volume collection of three books. Considering the book centers more on 1968 than the narrator and main character Lyndon Johnson (the story is written in the first person), Sixty Eight, spelled informally as the title, seemed most appropriate. However, if each book needs it's own title under the Sixty Eight moniker, then my suggestions would be:

1). Sixty Eight - A Painless Fire (book 1)

2). Sixty Eight - The Anguished Kingdom (book 2)

3). Sixty Eight - Hope in the Homeland (book 3)

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Assignment 4 - Approaching Comparables - Sixty Eight by Brian Freeman

Sixty Eight is a speculative, historical fiction novel that is written in the first person. Because of the respect and admiration I have for Lyndon Johnson, I chose to have him narrate the story in order to give him the literary voice that he deserves. One book that  my story compares to in terms of perspective and depth of character is Claudius the God by Robert Graves. Written in the first person, Claudius the God is about a Roman emperor who deals with his own handicaps as he reigns on the throne during a political maelstrom. He's self deprecating and underestimated, yet decisive enough to reign as emperor for 13 years, reminding me of Lyndon Johnson, a flawed man who, in my story, opens up about his deficiencies as president while leading the nation during the most turbulent year in our history. Another story that my book compares to is The Sorrow of War by Bao Ninh. Written in a stream of consciousness style, the story is centered on the gruesome nature of the Vietnam war, consisting of reflections of past battles experienced by a North Vietnamese soldier. Firsthand recollections of the war are exactly what my story offers, experienced by LBJ and U.S. Marines when he's transported to Vietnam, bending time and space as a revenant while witnessing the conflict that defined his presidency. 

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