This is a sample project to show you the different pieces I worked on when I was writing Designs of Destiny for a client. Below, you'll see the creative brief, the story blurb/description and the overview.
If you want to see how the overview was translated into actual chapters, check out the full story posted in Wattpad here. You will notice that some of the scenes in the overview translated a little bit differently in the actual chapters. That's completely normal. Sometimes, doing a general outline doesn't fully capture what would feel natural in a scene when you're actually writing it so adjust if necessary. The overview is just there to give you an idea of what scene elements to include so nothing gets missed out.
Hope you find it helpful!
Thank you and enjoy!
(This has been slightly modified but still mostly reflects the wishlist of the client who commissioned me for this project. You can personalize this if you're building one just for yourself.)
Abbreviated Creative Brief Example: Designs of Destiny
Author must create a serialized story for the advertising campaign of the movie The Age of Adaline. The story must follow the parameters set below. All deliverables will be submitted to the client for review and approval.
1. Story Theme – Love in a different decade or period in history with the magic realism element of the main character being unable to die.
2. Story Categories – Romance, Magic Realism
3. Word Count/Story Parts – 10,000 to 15,000 words, 4 parts
4. Story Rating – PG13 (Fade to black love scenes)
5. Timeline and Deliverables – One 3,000 to 4,000-word chapter a week
(Make this as catchy as you can as this is your hook for any curious reader.)
A woman in an oil painting—a proof of her secrets and a catalyst to his daring mission.
In the shadows of a speakeasy, in a time of prohibition and cultural transformation, Charlotte’s world is tilted off its axis at the arrival of an enigmatic stranger who has come to destroy it for justice.
She can’t lose her heart to a man who’s come to lose his life to the monsters that lurk in the shadows of her world but she will have no choice when fate comes meddling.
Her life on the run will have to come to a standstill and the very thing she is afraid of will be the biggest risk she’ll have to take.
Will she let time carry her away once again or will she finally stop, fight and live in the moment?
Story Overview in Parts
(Include the main plot elements that will paint you the whole picture. This can be as general or as detailed as you like.)
Born in wedlock in 1843 to a servant mother, Charlotte grew up in a sprawling Louisiana plantation almost two decades before the American Civil War. She escaped the ill treatment of the family who owned Belle Terre only to find herself and her mother at an even more dangerous situation—at the hands of highway thieves. She took a bullet for her mother, altering fate and finding herself trapped in time, never aging a day since that incident. Always on the run, always laying low, Charlotte lived her days with just one goal in mind—survival.
Many decades later, she finds herself working as a waitress in a speakeasy called The Magnolia and nearing the two-year time-limit she gave herself before moving on to a new life. Brandon Maxfield, a wealthy young man whose once easy-going lifestyle had been reduced to a mission of vengeance after his father’s death, walks into the speakeasy, his next target, to take its measure. The reclusive businessman buys out illegal establishments and shuts them down to sabotage the underground industry that sustains criminals. The Magnolia is his biggest target yet since it’s essentially run and operated by the East end mob in Detroit. Charlotte takes his order, suspects his true agenda and quietly warns him to stay away. When Brandon gets a good look at her, he is stunned because her face is the same as the woman in an oil painting hanging on a wall in his study.
When Charlotte walks home later that night, Brandon comes out of the shadows. They are attracted to each other, a danger Charlotte recognizes well enough when they kiss but it’s not until he confronts her about the painting that she realizes he’s on to something. Charlotte takes a risk by asking him how old the painting is. The portrait was painted in 1875 by a reclusive painter in Paris, just over fifty years ago. Brandon can’t shake off the similarities between Charlotte and the woman in the portrait but acknowledges the impossibility of his thoughts. He tells her that whether she is the woman or not, this was not a safe place for her and that he fears she will suffer the same fate as the woman. Charlotte assures him that she can take care of herself and that she will not become the woman in the painting (because she already is her). He walks her home and she has a sneaking suspicion that the destiny she’s been running from for a long time has finally caught up.
The next day, Charlotte wakes up to a newspaper article about a reclusive businessman shutting down another illegal establishment. A grainy profile photo tells her right away it’s Brandon and she realizes what his visit to The Magnolia is all about. He shows up later in the saloon and she tells him to wait for her at her apartment because she wants to convince him to drop this suicide mission and stay far away. She runs into East End Eddie, a mob leader from this side of town who had always been very interested in her. She tells him off and he warns her that he will have her soon, whether she wants it or not. After she gets home, she lets Brandon in and she tries to convince him that his mission will get him killed. She’s worried about that and even more worried about another thing—that she might not be able to walk away from this as planned, not with his life in danger. She promises herself that she will keep her distance, no matter how hard it would seem but each night, Brandon shows up, not at the speakeasy (although he did appear a few times), to just sit with her and talk to her. He tells her that he used to sit at home, alone in his study, gazing at the painting of this lady—a picture of innocence and beauty except for the lash scars that run down her back, ineptly covered by the loose silk robe she wore. She’s smiling and looking over her shoulder, making you want to protect her even knowing that no matter what you do, it’s too late. It reminded him, especially after his father’s death, that so much goodness is corrupted by the evils of men and that he has to do something about it. Charlotte dodges the topic of the painting but talks to him and helps him understand that the world will never be perfect or unmarred by evil.
He is still determined to draw her away from this life but Charlotte continues to resist, knowing in less than a week, she will be well on her way to a new life no matter how much she is fighting it inside.
Charlotte is performing a number on stage in The Magnolia when she spots Brandon in the back, watching her. She is distracted and worried for his safety, something that East End Eddie notices when he helps her down the stage. Trying not to give herself away, she tells him off but she now truly feels that Eddie is on her case, having noticed that something is up with her.
She knows Brandon is waiting for her at her apartment but as she walks home, she detects someone following her. Her attacker jumps out at her but she’s able to dodge him, groping for her gun. Brandon appears and lunges at her attacker, gaining the upper hand. When Charlotte sees the man pull a knife and swipe it toward Brandon, slicing him lightly on the arm, she shoots the attacker, hitting him on the shoulder. Scrambling, she grabs Brandon’s hand and runs, only to have a black town car show up out of nowhere to rescue them. It’s Brandon’s driver, Weiss, who takes them to the Maxfield Mansion—a fortress just outside of town.
Charlotte is rattled by the night’s events and the realization that she is now confronted by the very thing she’s afraid of—someone to love and lose, given her frozen state of life.
While she knows she can’t be with him, she makes one last attempt to at least save his life.
She asks him to show her the painting and he does. While standing in front of it, Charlotte mimics the pose, dropping one side of her robe, exposing her scars and looking over her shoulder at Brandon. It’s similar to her pose the first night he met her that prompted him to see the similarities but now, there’s truly no question that the woman in the picture is Charlotte.
He asks how that is possible when the painting is at least fifty years old.
She tells him the truth—of the strange change (or lack thereof) after she stood in the way of a bullet for her mother. She tells him of her mother’s death from an illness only months after they reached the free states and how the realization that she would forever outlive anyone she loved devastated her and caused her to keep everyone at arm’s length, never allowing herself to care—until him.
She tells him that she’s lived a long life and that in all those years, the world hasn’t changed and the sacrifice of his life will not make a difference.
He comes to her and kisses her. Then he pulls her into his arms and she asks how he could still feel this way knowing all that he now did about her. He tells her that while he grieved her many lonely years, he does not resent them, nor will he allow them to stop him from being with her. That maybe, she’d just been waiting for him all this time.
They make love that night but as the sun rises, she tells him that if he gives up his mission, she will stay. He is torn because now, more than ever, he feels he needs to right so many wrongs.
She tells him ‘Good luck but goodbye.’
A few nights later, on Charlotte’s last night at The Magnolia, Brandon shows up, willing to take her bargain—he gives up his mission, she gives up running.
But it’s too late. Eddie recognizes Brandon after having him followed and gets him dragged out to the back alley to teach him a lesson. Brandon tells her to leave and get as far away as possible.
Charlotte begs Eddie to leave Brandon alone—she even tries to lure him into bed—but Eddie knows her game and that once he’s done with Brandon, he would get from her exactly what he wanted.
She tries to run to him but she’s held back by one of his men. She watches as they beat Brandon up until he’s face down on the ground. When Eddie points the gun at him, she bolts to cover Brandon, taking the bullet for him just as she moves his hand to her leg where her gun is concealed under her dress.
She wakes up in a distorted haze, hearing her mother’s voice and sobbing that she wants to come with her. Her mother praises how good and heroic she’s been and Charlotte snidely says that she’s nothing but a coward, always running. Her mother, a smile in her voice, tells her she’s brave enough to at least fight for and protect those she loves. She tells her mother that she can’t live a hero’s life, saving those she cares about only to lose them eventually, and that she’s so very tired.
Her mother asks her how can she be tired of life when she’s only been living day to day but never quite alive.
In the echoes, she could hear Brandon’s voice calling her name, and her mother tells her that her life may not be the same endless run anymore—now that she has something, or someone, to finally live for.
In a brief fast forward to the future, Brandon is showing the portrait of the lady to his five-year-old grandson, Ethan. The boy came to visit with his parents, Brandon’s son, Henry, and his wife. The young family have been living in England after the Second World War for Henry’s humanitarian work.
Brandon tells the boy that the woman in the picture is his grandmother, Charlotte, and that she is very beautiful. Henry asks where she is and Charlotte’s voice arrives in the room before she does.
The boy looks up at her and finds that she looks exactly as she did in the portrait.