Thursday, March 2, 2017

Public Brainstorm #2

GENRE: YA Contemporary

This is Romeo and Juliet, with a twist of House of Cards, told from the POV of a gay Paris, son of a prominent politician, who has a crush on Romeo but wants to date Juliet as a cover. I am working on upping the drama beyond the usual r+j reinterpretation. At the moment, one of the biggest sources of tension is the threat of exposure by a snoopy newspaper reporter. How can I add some more teenager-y tension to this scenario? Thank you! And...sorry for poor sentence structure here. I am typing this on my phone during my daughter's piano lesson.


  1. I love the premise of this! My initial thought is that you've created a really interesting world with lots of secondary or peripheral characters who might have different belief systems that conflict with Paris'. If you zoom out and draw on that world, who might be there with different motivations? I'm envisioning an LGBTQ club at school with a vested interest in helping Paris be more open about his sexuality. Maybe there a misguided mentor in the vein of Friar Laurence who is giving bad advice? Or, keeping with religion, are there conflicts with his religious background? What about Juliet's family? Does her sister/brother have history with Paris that complicates the situation? I think you've got a lot of options for plucking a character with strong opposing motivations out of the background and pitting them against what Paris wants.

  2. The politician would have to be pretty conservative to make this a real issue these days, wouldn't they? Or is that just me hoping people are better than they really are?

    Might it might be better if Paris is bi, and there's pressure see Romeo as just a crush to get over? Kind of in the 'I support you, but are you sure?' kind of thing. And maybe the issue isn't so much that Paris wants a boy, but that Romeo is on the other side of the house and outspoken against Paris' father. And it's Romeo with Juliet, and all are being a little self destructive.

  3. What if Romeo and Juliet are in on this? Juliet goes along with it to help Paris out, but she doesn't know Paris is crushing on Romeo. She thinks he likes some other guy. She tells Romeo what she's doing so he won't get angry or jealous, but Paris doesn't know Romeo knows. And Romeo can hate what Juliet's doing, but he puts on a good face to please Juliet. Meanwhile, though, he pretends to like Paris, hoping Juliet will see them getting closer, get jealous, and call the whole thing with Paris off. All could end in triple tragedy, or you can take it in another direction and turn it into comedy/farce.

  4. I like Barbara's thoughts here. My immediate thought too was what if Romeo is bi (maybe he doesn't know he is) and is, over the course of the book, torn between Juliet (which wouldn't rock any conservative boats) and Paris (which certainly would). You'd probably need this to be in 3 POVs though. They'd need to be involved in something together at school and need to spend a lot of time together on a shared project to make the most of the tension. A fashion show. A play (haha a play within a play, that might be cool...they could be putting on a Shakespeare play!) Or they could be putting on Tom Stoppard's Rosencranz and Guildenstern Are Dead, which is a play that takes place in the wings of Hamlet. Lots of fun choices. I hope this was helpful. I love LOVE your idea! Retellings are big with agents from what I see.

  5. Can you add a social media angle? Maybe there's some bullying or blackmailing going on...

    1. Ditto this. And I just want to say, I love this concept so much. Your title is fantastic!!

  6. I think you have some great suggestions here. My only thought was what if Juliet really ends up liking Paris? And what if Romeo (is Romeo gay?), provided he's straight, really likes Juliet? Also, my biggest question to you is why does Paris have to hide at all? What are the obstacles keeping him from coming out in the first place? That alone can create a lot of tension and drama. Overall though, I love your premise. It sounds so interesting and smart and fun. Good luck!

  7. Wow, thanks everyone! I don't know how I missed that this post had gone up on the blog. Just seeing this now.
    So, I probably should have added that the MS is complete, but I *just* got feedback from an agent that she thought it needed some additional teenager conflict. I love the idea of bullying on social media, and the religion angle might work. There is already blackmail going on. :-)
    I'm not sure if it would work for Paris to be bi, the way that the story currently is constructed, but that's definitely something to ponder.
    These are great ideas, everyone! I wish you all the best of luck with your projects, too. Thank you!!!