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Rated: 13+ · Other · Military · #2098389
The preparatory assignments for NaNoWriMo.
OCT 1, 2016
Identify the following:
(1) Protagonist(s). Who is(are) your main character(s)?
Jody Jordan (central character), Jeff Scott (love interest), Dr. Gold (psychiatrist), Sarah Hildebrand (roommate), Sergeant Clark (squad leader), Sergeant First Class Fujiwara (platoon sergeant)
(2) Flaw(s). What is(are) the protagonist's major flaw(s)?
Jordan's flaws include not opening up, psych issues from war including suicidality, drinks too much, messy, become a bit of an adrenaline junky
(3) Goal(s). What does the protagonist want?
She wants to be normal again and to stay in the Army
(4) Conflict. What is keeping them from their goal?
Psych issues and difficult squad leader
(5) Antagonist(s). Who(what) is creating the conflict?
War trauma and an unwillingness to face it

Identify the theme or moral of the story. Brainstorm ways you could resolve your conflict within the confines of the theme.
Life is worth living and you don't know what you have until it's gone. She eventually picks up a hitchhiker that threatens her life. When faced with the possibility of imminent death, she decides she doesn't want to die and finds the will to live.

Character List AKA Dramatis Personae. Draft a list of your characters and write a brief profile on each one (name, age, occupation or relation to main character(s) and rough physical description.) NOTE: You will have opportunities to revise the list throughout October, so this revision is not expected to be fully accurate or complete.
Listed on Excel spreadsheet

Compile your character list into a format that is easy to update and expand. The point is organization, so your character information is easy to find during November. Later this month, you will write more detailed profiles on some characters. Keep your list handy for future updates throughout the Prep.
Listed on Excel spreadsheet as recommended

Complete a character profile of your protagonist. Include detailed information such as name, age, physical attributes, occupation, education, culture, religion, family, relationship status, personality, likes, dislikes, strengths, weakness, motivations and desires. The point of this exercise is for you to get to know your character inside and out before you write your novel. If you don't know your character, how can you expect it of your readers? Flesh out your pre-story character in detail. Keep in mind that your protagonist will grow in some way during your story.


Name: Jody Jordan

Birthday: January 1, 1993
Place of birth: Springfield, IL
Parents: Paul and Marjorie Jordan, separated with Paul not in the picture
What was important to the people who raised her: Honesty, bravery, being true to yourself
Siblings: None
Economic/social status growing up: Lower middle class
Ethnic background: White
Places lived: AL, SC, GA, Korea, and Iraq
Education: Associate's Degree
Favorite subject in school: English
Jobs: McDonald's and U.S. Army

Friends: Sarah Hildebrand, Jeff Scott
How do people view this character: Fun-loving, dependable before Iraq but now unstable
Lives with: Sarah Hildebrand
Fights with: Sarah and Jeff
Spends time with: Sarah and Jeff
Enemies: Squad leader
Dating, marriage: Just beginning to consider dating Jeff
Children: None
Relationship with God: Believes, but is having trouble following Him these days

Overall outlook on life: Depressing
Does this character like herself: No
What, if anything, would she like to change about her life: Be happier
What personal demons haunt her: Memories of Iraq
Is she lying to herself about something: That she's okay and doesn't need help
Optimistic/pessimistic: Pessimistic
Real/feigned: Both, depending on who she's with
Morality level: High
Confidence level: Low

Physical appearance
Body type: Normal
Posture: Average
Eyes: Brown
Nose: Normal
Mouth: Normal
Hair: Brown, slightly below the shoulders, straight
Skin: White, but tanned from the sun
Tattoos/piercings/scars: Ears single pierced, dragon tattoo over her heart
Voice: Normal
What people notice first:
Clothing: Usually in uniform
Health/disabilities/handicaps: Depression and PTSD

Personality type (choleric, sanguine, phlegmatic, melancholy): Before Iraq she was more sanguine, but now she's sort of all over the map
Strongest/weakest character traits: Honest/ability to ask for help
How can the flip side of her strong point be a weakness: Can't keep her mouth shut about opinions sometimes
How much self-control and self-discipline does she have: Not a lot these days
What makes her irrationally angry: Threatening her career
What makes her cry: Memories of Iraq
Fears: Fear of losing her career
Talents: Making people laugh
What people like best about her: Her sense of humor

Core Need: Safety and stability
Corresponding psychological maneuver (delusions, obsessions,
compulsions, addictions, denials, hysterical ailments, hypochondria, illnesses,
behaviors harming the self, behavior harming others, manias, and phobias): Denies she needs help psychologically, drinks too much, has PTSD and depression, participates in risky behaviors

Have your protagonist introduce themselves to us in first person using their own voice. Brainstorm ways to make their voice unique.
Hi! My name is Specialist Jody Jordan. I'm a Soldier and I love it--most of the time. I'm stationed at Ft. Benning, Georgia and just got back from deployment. I'm really struggling to figure out who I am and what's going on in my head. People who knew me before say I'm different. I suppose I am, but the problem is, I'm the one who now can make sense of the world and see it as it really is. They are the ones who live in a state of delusion, unaware of what the world really is.

OCT 1, 2017

(1) Protagonist(s). Who is(are) your main character(s)?
Protagonist: Jody Jordan, a Soldier and war vet with a lot of war issues

(2) Flaw(s). What is(are) the protagonist's major flaw(s)?
She's often suicidal and has anger issues. She also drinks too much.

(3) Goal(s). What does the protagonist want?
She wants to stay in the Army. In the beginning she wants to help the hitchhiker, but then doesn't, then does.

(4) Conflict(s). What is keeping them from their goal?
War issues, anger, depression

(5) Antagonist(s). Who or what is creating the conflict?
The hitchhiker who threatens her.

(6) Premise. Write a provocative one-sentence description of your story.
War-torn Soldier, Jody, picks up a hitchhiker one night, but when he threatens her, he gets a reaction he didn't expect.


(1) Describe your protagonist's life in the beginning ("Ordinary World" or "Stasis") of the story. Brainstorm ways you could establish normality through action and dialog to avoid boring your reader.
Jody's world is a normal world on a military post and in a military city. Perhaps we can show normal through the fact that she's in her car, maybe she starts out from leaving work. Perhaps even having an exchange with her squad leader or a love interest or someone before she leaves work. Someone could remind her about an upcoming mental health appointment or bring up something about deployment to show where she's been. They might even warn her about picking up hitchhikers. In her car, perhaps she fiddles with the radio. Perhaps she goes through a drive-thru.

(2) Describe the inciting incident or trigger ("Call to Adventure") that prompts your protagonist(s) to embark on this story's journey (whether literal or metaphorical) and face the conflict. This incident could be large and obvious like a death or disaster, or it could be seemingly insignificant, such as an offhand comment by another character.
When the hitchhiker she picks up pulls a gun and tells her where to drive and threatens to kill her. Does she get angry or does she not even care? Can I make her feel both during the story?


(1) Describe any initial refusals on the part of your protagonist(s) to accept the journey and face the conflict.
She either doesn't care that the hitchhiker wants to kidnap and probably kill her or she gets mad. Either way, she doesn't see the reality of the danger she's in.

(2) Describe the moment when your protagonist(s) makes the choice to embark on this story's journey and face the conflict.
Is the hitchhiker my protagonist? He's the one that faces things and changes, I think. I don't see Jody as changing much, but maybe I'm wrong.

(3) Describe the moment when your protagonist(s) crosses the point of no return and cannot change their mind about accepting the journey and facing the conflict.
I don't know. I don't see how this works in my story since I don't see how they are making a choice about embarking on the journey. But I do need to consider if there is a way I can take them from unconcerned about being killed to angry or vice versa.


(1) Theme. What is the theme (see below) or moral of the story?
I think I have several themes, war, power, and freedom. There are a few morals: Someone can't have power if you refuse to give it to them and don't hitchhike as the person you get in the car with might be just as dangerous.

(2) Resolution. Brainstorm ways you could resolve the conflict(s) within the confines of the theme. You are not required to identify a chosen resolution from your list of possibilities yet, so really think outside the box! Anything goes.
She doesn't allow him to push her around. He doesn't understand her response, why she's not afraid of him.


(1) Create a list of characters in a format easy to edit and expand.
Jody Jordan--Main character, Soldier with PTSD/depression

(2) Write a brief profile on each character.
Name Jody Jordan
Age 23
Occupation Soldier/Behavioral Health Tech
Relation to the main character(s) Self
Rough physical description or image Slender, brunette, green eyes, average height

Name David
Age 20
Occupation Unemployed
Relation to the main character(s) Antagonist/Hitchhiker
Rough physical description or image Slender, brunette, brown eyes, Average height


Expand the profile on your protagonist. Include detailed information such as name, age, physical attributes, occupation, education, culture, religion, family, relationship status, personality, likes, dislikes, strengths, weakness, motivations and desires. Use Google Images to find an image of your character. The point of this exercise is for you to get to know your character inside and out before you write your novel. If you don't know your character, how can you expect it of your readers? Flesh out your pre-story character in detail. Keep in mind that your protagonist will grow in some way during your story.
Name Jody Jordan
Age 23
Physical Attributes Slender with brown hair and green eyes
Occupation Soldier/Behavioral Health Tech
Education Associates degree in general studies
Culture White, Southern, middle class
Religion Raised Baptist, currently not practicing
Family Parents divorced, father not in the picture, not close to mother, somewhat close to bro
Relationship Status Single but occasionally sleeps with Jackson
Personality Used to be fun, spontaneous and happy, now angry, brooding, and depressed
Likes Used to like travelling and hanging out with friends, now watches TV, reads, and drinks
Dislikes Used to dislike messes, angry people, and complainers, now PT, crowds, and work
Strengths Knows about mental illness and people
Weaknesses Has PTSD, drinks too much, is battling depression, hates herself
Motivation and Desires Wants to make herself feel better through helping others


Write a story about your protagonist that takes place outside of your novel. Make your readers relate to him or her in such a way that we would be devastated if he or she were to experience conflict (which, ultimately, sometime in November, he/she will.) The object of the contest is to make your judges root for your protagonist!


(1) Create a list of definitions in a format easy to edit and expand.
PTSD: To be diagnosed with PTSD, an adult must have all of the following for at least 1 month:
At least one re-experiencing symptom
At least one avoidance symptom
At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms
At least two cognition and mood symptoms
Re-experiencing symptoms include:
Flashbacks—reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
Bad dreams
Frightening thoughts
Re-experiencing symptoms may cause problems in a person’s everyday routine. The symptoms can start from the person’s own thoughts and feelings. Words, objects, or situations that are reminders of the event can also trigger re-experiencing symptoms.
Avoidance symptoms include:
Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the traumatic experience
Avoiding thoughts or feelings related to the traumatic event
Things that remind a person of the traumatic event can trigger avoidance symptoms. These symptoms may cause a person to change his or her personal routine. For example, after a bad car accident, a person who usually drives may avoid driving or riding in a car.
Arousal and reactivity symptoms include:
Being easily startled
Feeling tense or “on edge”
Having difficulty sleeping
Having angry outbursts
Arousal symptoms are usually constant, instead of being triggered by things that remind one of the traumatic events. These symptoms can make the person feel stressed and angry. They may make it hard to do daily tasks, such as sleeping, eating, or concentrating.
Cognition and mood symptoms include:
Trouble remembering key features of the traumatic event
Negative thoughts about oneself or the world
Distorted feelings like guilt or blame
Loss of interest in enjoyable activities
Cognition and mood symptoms can begin or worsen after the traumatic event, but are not due to injury or substance use. These symptoms can make the person feel alienated or detached from friends or family members.

(2) Optional: Brainstorm and describe an object critical to the plot. Add to definitions list.
Vehicle: 2017 Ford Escape--Shadow Black, $24,000, 21 city/29 highway, auto start, Charcoal Black interior

OCT 10

(1) Complications. Brainstorm additional things that could go wrong for your protagonist. You are not required to resolve any problems yet, just create them. Remember: The more hardships your main character faces, the more readers will cheer them on!
Hitchhiker threatens her and ties to get her to go down a deserted road. He hits her when she refuses.

(2) Identify allies and enemies encountered along the journey and describe how they help or hinder your protagonist(s). Add any new characters to your character list.
The hitchhiker is the only other character.

OCT 11

1) Select a desired outlining strategy from the list below.
Normal outline

(2) Review your plot elements thus far and organize them into your outline.

(3) Flesh out your outline by adding more details.
I. Jody is released from formation, but SFC Fujiwara wants to talk to her.
A. SFC Fujiwara is worried about Jody.
B. Jody says she's fine to get released.
II. Jody leaves work.
III. Jody goes for a drive.
IV. Jody sees a hitchhiker and picks them up.
V. They talk a while.
VI. The hitchhiker tries to kidnap Jody.
A. She doesn't care, but refuses to drive down a deserted road.
B. He gets angry and hits her.
C. She gets angry and gives him what for.
VII. They begin talking.
VIII. She talks him into turning himself in.

OCT 12

(1) Expand or add profiles for one or more minor characters.
SFC Fujiwara is the MC's platoon sergeant. She's kind and understanding, but expects a lot from her Soldiers. She's aware the MC isn't doing well, but hasn't been able to get her to open up. She's not sure if the problem is deployment related and is unaware of the extent of the problem. She's 30, athletic, and has long brown hair and brown eyes.

(2) Spend some time updating your character list with new information, images, etc.

OCT 13

Expand the profile of your antagonist(s) using a more detailed character profile template.
The antagonist is currently unemployed, but was last employed at a fast food chain. However, he was fired for arguing with staff and customers and for being late to work repeatedly. He's naturally slender with brown hair and eyes. He's 20, but drinks regularly and often heavily. His parents were never married. He has a chip on his shoulder and feel like the world owns him something, though he doesn't recognize this.

OCT 14
Write a story about your antagonist that takes place outside of your novel. The object of the contest is to make your judges understand and empathize with the antagonist's motivations.

OCT 16
(1) Spend at least fifteen minutes clarifying things.
(2) Update your characters and definitions lists as needed.

Research: For reality-based fiction, research aspects of your novel that will lend credibility to your writing.

OCT 17
(1) Brainstorm possible solutions to your conflict and complications using the list of literary devices below or your own ideas.
Repetitive Designation: An object or fact appears over and over. Title may be "Escape," she drives and Escape

(2) Identify a mentor or helper who aids the protagonist(s) in achieving their goals.
No one helps her.

(3) Identify any other literary devices from the list you could use to enhance your writing.
Alliteration is a literary device where words are used in quick succession and begin with letters belonging to the same sound group.
Amplification refers to a literary practice wherein the writer embellishes the sentence by adding more information to it in order to increase its worth and understandability.
The word anecdote, phonetically pronounced an.ik.doht, means a short verbal accounting of a funny, amusing, interesting event or incident.

OCT 18

OCT 19

OCT 20
Describe the cultural, political and/or religious setting in your novel, regardless of whether the cultural setting is fictional, historical, or modern.
(1) What do your societies believe?
It is a military society. They believe they are often superior to, but also serve the civilian population.

(2) In what practices do they engage?
They do PT 5 days a week. They make fun of those injured from PT, but not those injured in war. They hold formations and greet with salutes, as appropriate.

(3) What laws or rules of society are in place?
Do what those above you say, as long as it's legal, moral, and ethically correct. Do not be overweight. Do not be out of shape.

(4) Who/what enforces the laws and rules and how successful are they?
NCOs and officers enforce the laws and they are pretty successful.

(5) What technologies are in use?
The protagonist is in a medical unit, so she doesn't have access to the most high-speed technology used in the military, mostly just computers and vehicles.

(6) How does the setting impact your protagonist(s) in their pre-story lives?
Because she's a Soldier, she went to war and is now has PTSD and depression.

(7) How does the setting impact the plot of your story?
She is out for a drive after a difficult day and sees the hitchhiker.

OCT 21

OCT 22

OCT 23

OCT 24

OCT 25

OCT 26
You are a journalist. The story of your novel is complete. Interview your protagonist and ask the following questions:
(1) How is life for you now, compared to life prior to these events?
You know, it's interesting. I've had a number of revelations about things. I came back from Iraq feeling both defeated and invincible at the same time. In some ways, this experience only strengthened those feelings of the world being a dangerous place and that people can't be trusted. I went out of my way to help someone and it nearly cost me my life. On the other hand, how many times will I escape death? There are times in the darkest night that I sometimes wonder if I can even die. Other times I know it's just that God hasn't decided it's my time yet, but still, there's an amazing sense of invincibility that goes along with escaping death. It's almost dangerous. On the other hand, I've also seen that people can change. That's an important life lesson. We all need to remember that. Will I pick up any more hitchhikers? I honestly don't know. I realize that for most people this would swear them off it forever. But for me, it was a rush that nothing but a brush with death can deliver! Hopefully I won't pick up any more dangerous habits looking for that rush. That's a large part of what started the picking up hitchhikers thing. I guess only time will tell.

(2) How did the events of your story change you?
I feel like I got off topic in the last answer and pretty well answered this question as well. Hahaha
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