You stumble out of bed. You have a brilliant new idea for a novel. Your fingers are itching to attack the keyboard. Or maybe you’ve finished a novel already. You were so in love with this idea when you started, but by the time you were done, you felt stuck. It’s got potential, but something’s gone wrong. You’re ready to throw it away. For both of these scenarios, the question is “What now?”
Whether you’re a plotter or a pantser, the best way to think of both of these situations is like an architect: Develop a blueprint and make sure your vision is clear. You will need to understand the DNA of your story (the elements that help develop the story and grow it into a novel) and define the right foundation (story beats, story arc and the heart of the story).
Participation is open to all conferees, however 12 participants who submit material prior to the conference will benefit from feedback on their work. (Details below.)
In Book Blueprint: From Foundation to Completion, we will use master-level techniques to architect your novel so that it can withstand all the obstacles a novel faces through its lifecycle.
Book Blueprint is made up of four day-time workshops and an evening “Rogue” session. Although participation to all sessions is not mandatory, the most value will come from jumping in and committing time to the process. The magic happens by sticking to it!
The Book Blueprint will cover:
- Developing the concept and identifying the genre of the story
- Breaking down the story beats
- Hammering out the story beats (Rogue session)
- Finding the Heart of the story (Romance, Bromance, and Beyond)
- Balancing the story structure
By the time you are done with this series of workshops, you will be able to attack your keyboard, knowing your story is built on solid foundations: a concept that excites you, story arcs that properly evolves over time, beats that will drive the plot forward, and heart in your story that will keep the reader committed to your story world.
The 12 advance submission slots are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Conference pre-registration is required. Participants must email the following to Ara Grigorian (ara at araTHEwriter dot com) on or before February 1, 2016:
1. The Concept: Keep it simple. It should be compelling with the least amount of words. That’s why it’s so hard! Your concept (or logline) should be no longer than a paragraph, ideally in one or two sentences you should be able tell us what the story is about. Another approach may be to develop the “hook” and “book” sections of a query letter – what’s interesting/cool/unique about your story? What happens that makes it compelling?
Example of a tight logline: A bullheaded cop comes to L.A. to visit his estranged wife and her office is taken over by terrorists. (Die Hard) ~ It’s simple, compelling and ironic!
2. Genre: What is your story’s genre? What book or movie is it like? Who is the audience?
3. Story Synopsis: Keep it to one or two pages. You don’t have to go too deep if you don’t have it. Take me through the main scenes. If you don’t know how it ends, that’s okay too. Go as deep as you can but try your best to at least think it out up to the mid-point of the story.
Great resource on Publishing Crawl.
Note: This will give you a leg up on developing your story beats!
4. First Chapter (if available): First chapter (up to 15 pages) of your manuscript in standard format: double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12-point font, 1” margin, single-sided
5. The Who: Whose story is this? Why this character? What makes him ideal? What is his goal (external)? What does he need (internal)?
Who is your antagonist (or the person who will cause problems for your hero)?
What makes your antagonist justified in their position?
NOTE: There is no additional fee for submitting material to Book Blue Print. Please put “SCWC Submission” in the subject line of your e-mail, and send your pages as attached Word documents.
Staffed by Ara Grigorian
Ara Grigorian is a technology executive in the entertainment industry who helps firms and individuals leverage strategy, leadership, and technology to produce extraordinary results with lasting value. He earned his Masters in Business Administration form University of Southern California where he specialized in marketing and entrepreneurship. True to the Hollywood life, Ara wrote for a children’s television pilot that could have made him rich (but didn’t) and sold a video game to a major publisher (who closed shop days later). Fascinated by the human species, Ara writes about choices, relationships, and second chances. Always a sucker for a hopeful ending, he writes contemporary romance stories. Ara is an alumnus of both the Southern California Writers’ Conference and the Santa Barbara Writers Conference. His debut novel, Game of Love (Curiosity Quills Press), won the 2015 Readers Favorite International Book Awards Gold medal in Sports Fiction.