The Devils Child

Barabara Wallace

Book Cover

GENRE

MEMOIR

    Core Theme

    OVERCOMING MONSTER, REBIRTH

    TIME PERIOD

    Across Centuries

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    PRECIOUS, THE GLASS CASTLE, SPEAK, MYSTERIOUS SKIN, LION

    CHARACTER LIST

    NAOMI: 0-28. LEAD. INSECURE AND EMPATHETIC.

    JULIUS: UNKNOW, LIKELY 50+. NAOMI'S THERAPIST AND POSSIBLY BIOLOGICAL FATHER.

    JANE: 18+. NAOMI'S ABUSIVE MOTHER WHO PUTS A CURSE ON HER.

    FLORA: 40-50S. NAOMI’S GRANDMOTHER WHO RAISES HER WITH LOVE UNTIL SHE MOVES TO ENGLAND AT AGE 10.

    LILLY: 7. NAOMI’S DAUGHTER.

    TAMARA: TEENS. NAOMI’S YOUNGER HALF-SISTER, WHOM SHE TRIES TO PROTECT FROM JANE.

    Logline

    The story is about a blonde mixed Race girl born into an all dark skin black family with no father in sight in colonial structure Angola. Her dream was to run away from her abusive family and find her white father. The story illustrates the events that took place in her 23 year journey to him

    Genre

    Memoir

    Target Audiences

    Age: 18-34

    Target Gender: Universal

    Setting

    The story begins In Angola then goes on to various parts of the United Kingdom

    Based on a True Story

    Yes

    Starting Description

    The story begins with a brief introduction of Angolan history. It briefly explains a little about slavery, memorable political events and the belief system of the country. Following from the introduction of the country's history the story illustrates the main characters path.

    Ending Description

    In the end the mixed race girl finds her white father beating her evil mother on her quest to finding her father making the story another one of Joseph Campbells hero's journey.

    Group Specific

    The author has not yet written this

    Pitch Adaptation

    This is a story that that illustrates how a child's behavior is changed when removed from the care of a loving and supportive caretaker. Its the emotional story of a young girl in search for her father. The contents of the story make it for a much older audience starting from age 18 as the story is touching on various topics such as bullying, emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse that later led to mental health issues. Its a story that teaches and educates the audience on the damages of abuse, however it also teaches the audience on how to stay grounded and never give up on your dreams regardless of circumstances as the leading character showed with her defiance to finding her father standing up to her Villon who happened to be her witchcraft practicing mother. The story also illustrates the desperation for white genes as a means to climb up the social ladder Its a true story of struggle and the main characters path to her truth, the truth of finding her father triggered her spiritual awakening which broke the ugly spell she was under for 27 years.

    WGA Number

    The author has not yet written this

    Mature Audience Themes

    Sexual Abuse, Language/Profanity,Extreme Violence,Substance Abuse

    Plot - Other Elements

    Meaningful Message

    Plot - Premise

    Overcoming Monster/Villain,Internal Journey/Rebirth,Quest

    Main Character Details

    Name: Naomi

    Age: changes throughout

    Gender: Female

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Empathetic,Faithful,Underdog,Naive,Insecure,Lone Wolf

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Jane

    Age: from 17 till 46

    Gender: Female

    Role: Antagonist

    Key Traits: Aggressive,Narcisstic,Villainous,Power Hungry,Uneducated

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Nanny Flora

    Age: 50

    Gender: Female

    Role: emotional

    Key Traits: Aspiring,Charming,Empathetic,Engaging,Gracious,Heroic,Religious

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Nanny Flora

    Age: 50

    Gender: Female

    Role: emotional

    Key Traits: Aspiring,Modest,Charming,Empathetic,Faithful,Gracious,Leader,Religious

    Genre

    DRAMA, RELIGION

    Brief

    A young girl is abused by her Black African family her entire life due to having light skin and blonde hair, presumably thanks to a white father. She wants to find her father her entire life, knowing that he can save her, but no one will give her any information. Her mother continues to make her life a living hell thanks to curses she put on the girl so that she would be ugly and never succeed. By the time she’s an adult with her own daughter, she’s able to track down her father and tell him about her life through therapy sessions, before revealing who she truly is.

    Overall Rating

    FAIR

    Point of View

    THIRD PERSON

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: FAIR

    Characterization: FAIR

    Commerciality: GOOD

    Franchise Potential: FAIR

    Pace: FAIR

    Premise: GOOD

    Structure: FAIR

    Theme: GOOD

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    The Book Profile is accurate overall, but it could do with a proofing pass to best market the work.

    Draw of Story

    The brief history of what is today Angola at the very beginning of the book is really fascinating, and it’s a great way to establish this world and set the scene for the story to unfold. The facts are important for the audience to know, and they’re echoed later in the book when Naomi educates herself about the country’s history. This necessary historical context is the perfect start to the novel.

    Possible Drawbacks

    The way the book is formatted makes it a difficult, sometimes taxing read. Double-spacing the text and indenting paragraphs, such as in traditional publishing, would help this. The way the dialogue is formatted is also odd, almost as though it’s a transcript of a recording. Adding in dialogue tags would be immensely helpful, and it would make the book a smoother read. For instance, instead of, “Naomi: ‘You know nanny…’” could be something like: “You know, nanny,” Naomi said (5). The book isn’t formatted like a traditional book, which does a disservice to its story. It could also use a proofing pass, as there are typos and grammatical errors. For instance, Mr. Julius’s name switches back and forth between that and “Edward.” The novel is divided into three parts, but the third one is introduced on page 23, which feels uneven, and there’s no Part II ever labeled. There are also no chapters introduced after page 36. The most important thing for a book is that the story can shine, but right now the literal pages aren’t as accessible as they could be. Smoothing out these issues and ensuring the draft is as professional as it can be will let the narrative speak for itself.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY DOES NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    The fact that Naomi’s story is the author’s story — that this is a memoir — is a great hook for the book. True stories are often incredibly popular, and they’re sure to draw attention and audiences alike. Naomi’s perspective (or the author’s) is extremely unique, and her life story feels fresh and is compelling. Getting to take this journey with her is a privilege for the reader. We get to see her whole life story, up until her late 20s, and we’re just as involved in her search for her father as she is.

    Fanbase Potential

    Because it’s a true story with a diverse cast, it’s easy to see an adaptation of this book gaining a lot of attention and doing well at the box office.

    Awards Potential

    The fact that it’s a true story makes it a great contender for potential awards attention, and in pretty much any categories — cast, director, writer, and more.

    Envisioned Budget

    LOW BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    PRECIOUS, THE GLASS CASTLE, SPEAK, MYSTERIOUS SKIN, LION

    What’s New About the Story

    Naomi’s story is definitely unique, though it’s unfortunate that it’s because of abuse and tragedy, of course. The fact that it’s based on the author’s own real life is a huge boon, and that makes is so singular. Restructuring the story so it’s a frame narrative that Naomi tells to Julius will help it to stand out in its originality.

    Lead Characters

    Naomi has coped with so many awful things in her life, and while it has made her strong and resilient, all of her trauma is still right under the surface. The audience sees her life play out before their eyes, along for the heartbreaking ride as she struggles to survive at every turn. The acknowledgement that she’s hurt, and that she’s trying to heal herself and be the mother her own mother never could be, makes her stand out. She’s an empathetic character at every turn, and we’re invested in her success.

    Uniqueness of Story

    The fact that Naomi’s story is true, that the author was inspired by her own life and thus intimately knows the ins and outs of it to bring it alive, makes this a rare gem. Naomi wants to take on the dangers of bullying and help others with her story, which is great, and she’s able to have this nuanced view even while she’s processing her trauma. Her journey to rediscover her faith is also nice, as it’s so important to how she is healed, and including more Christian elements throughout the years between when she moves to London and when she finds Julius might be nice. Maybe she tries to go back to church, but can’t for some reason, or doesn’t want to keep going.

    Possible Formats

    Film: Studio, Indie, Streaming

    Analyst Recommendation

    WORK IN PROGRESS

    Justification

    The presentation of the novel isn’t professional, and it makes the read difficult and less enjoyable than it could be. Editing and polishing the pages themselves would be a huge help. The writing style doesn’t tell an engaging story so much as it simply relays events. The dialogue is long-winded and doesn’t feel realistic. All of the good, morally right characters sound similar, and the same is true for the reverse, evil characters. The structure is confusing and hard to follow due to the flashbacks, and having Naomi simply tell most of it in dialogue isn’t cinematic. The sudden skip forward in time to Naomi being 27 is awkward, and the last 17 years is covered anyway. Starting with Naomi in present day, and flashing back as she’s talking to Julius, would be easier to understand. The ending is abrupt and unsatisfying, and the audience doesn’t if Julius is really her father, nor how he feels about it.

    Tips for Improvement

    Restructuring the story would help it come across cleaner on the page. The whole thing could be structured as a frame narrative, where Naomi is actually seeing Julius in person and relaying her life to him. (Phone calls aren’t as dynamic as face-to-face meetings.) Naomi’s story could then be conveyed through flashbacks, with her in Julius’s office as a grounding anchor for the audience watching. Their relationship could also be built up more, so the audience feels that they care for one another before the reveal that Julius might be her father. Extending the narrative to see Julius’s reaction would also be great for the audience’s emotional journey. Right now, neither Naomi nor the audience is granted closure. Telling the story in a more linear fashion is a great place to start, so that once Naomi is recounting her life to Julius, she does so starting from when she was young up to when she tracks him down. In addition, the content of the novel could be streamlined. There are a few repetitive moments, such as why Naomi isn’t taking drama class (pages 41-42) and the audience learning twice that Naomi ended the phone call with Julius early and threw up (80-81). These are only small pieces, but reading the same thing back to back slows the pace. It’s also not necessary to include nearly every piece of Naomi’s day if it doesn’t have bearing on the story or characterization. We don’t need to know every time someone takes a shower (which is mentioned on over 15 of the 84 pages), or watches TV (over 20 times). If nothing is happening in these scenes to affect the narrative, they can be left out to help with the pace.

    Brief

    A mixed race blonde girl is raised by her Black African mother and is consistently bullied and abused by everyone in her family for being light-skinned thanks to her white, absent father. As an adult, after being tormented for years, she finally faces her mother’s evil and breaks the curse placed upon her by finding her way back to her faith. She tracks down her father, with no help from her family, and is able to reconnect with him as she raises her own daughter with love.

    What We Liked

    Naomi is such a strong protagonist, and her journey is both heartbreaking and empowering. The audience is taken along through every part of her life as though they are living it for themselves, real and visceral. She struggles to overcome terrible tragedies and a crucial lack of support from those who should be her loved ones. She is isolated and forgotten, but she is always able to find a reason to keep living. This is a powerful message, and it’s one that would resonate with a wide audience.

    Film: Dramatic biographical films are a popular genre for a reason, including ones with dark themes similar to Naomi’s story. It’s easy to envision this as a powerhouse feature with an impeccable cast working to bring Naomi’s story to life in an impactful two hours that would resonate with audiences long after watching. This kind of narrative is practically made to be Oscar bait, as it’s a true story with traumatic elements, but ultimately it’s a message of hope and new beginnings.

    TV: Naomi’s story covers a large swath of time, nearly 30 years in fact. A television series would allow the story to reach its full potential by teasing out her life little by little. Alternatively, it could also work very well as a limited series that jumps forward in time episode by episode, still harkening back to her past, something like THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT. Regardless of how many episodes (or seasons), the longer nature of a show would let more of Naomi’s life be portrayed to the audience.

    Key points:
    1. True story
    2. Fresh perspective
    3. Unique setting in Angola
    4. Christian themes
    5. Female protagonist of color and diverse cast overall

    Synopsis

    NAOMI is born to JANE in Angola, though Jane has no interest in having a baby as she’s only 18. Instead, NANNY FLORA sees to raising and caring for Naomi, which is especially necessary since Jane and the rest of their FAMILY ruthlessly bullies Naomi. She has bald patches due to alopecia, she’s a light-skinned mixed race girl, and the hair she has is blonde. Her family members are all dark-skinned Black Africans, who aren’t valued as highly thanks to centuries of Portuguese colonization of the country. As a result, they resent Naomi and tease her mercilessly. She wants her presumably white FATHER to come and save her, but she has no idea who he is, and Jane refuses to tell her anything to help her find him.When she’s 10, Jane moves them both to the UK so they can have better opportunities, as Naomi is a bright child. This means she has to leave Flora behind, the only person who has ever truly cared for her. Fast forward until Naomi is 27, with a daughter, LILLY, of her own. When she’s not busy with work or taking care of Lilly, she endlessly scours Facebook in an attempt to find her father. She finds a MAN in MR. JOHN’s photos who looks a lot like her, and she becomes obsessed with figuring out who he is.

    Jane claims Mr. John is Naomi’s father, but Naomi thinks she’s lying. Jane shares that she didn’t want to have Naomi at all, and only didn’t have an abortion because Flora stopped her. Naomi goes to church for the first time in 17 years, and she prays for God so she can cut ties with Jane. She has a good job until the COVID-19 pandemic leads to her being furloughed, and Naomi quickly grows depressed and focuses her energy on finding her father. She still feels traumatized from her abusive childhood and young adulthood, and she wants to be the best mother to Lilly possible. She begins writing about her life, hoping to help others by educating about bullying.

    She finds a therapist, DR. JULIUS, on Facebook, and begins doing sessions with him over the phone. In these daily sessions, she shares what occurred between her move to England and now. She was forced to raise her younger sister, TAMARA, when she was a child herself. Jane treated Naomi like a servant, still berating her and embarrassing her in front of friends and family all these years. In the present day, Flora dies, and Naomi is gutted by the news. She tells Julius about how she struggled in school due to her home life, a BOYFRIEND who she was with for three years who talked behind her back about how ugly she was, and about later living in hostels and government housing with baby Lilly. Once Jane was watching Lilly for her, and nearly let the baby die. Naomi was dismayed, and Jane attempted to kill her next, trying to choke her out because of Naomi’s truthful accusations against her. She got Jane arrested, but she didn’t press charges.

    As she finds her way back to God in the present day, Naomi realizes that her bald patches are filling in with new hair growth, and even her nose is getting smaller. God comes to her in a dream and encourages her to sever ties with her hateful family, giving Naomi the strength she needs to do so now that Flora is gone. She tells Julius that she was finally able to get a lead on her father from a COUSIN in Angola. When she was young, Jane was a call girl, so it’s possible she didn’t know who Jane’s father was or any identifying information about him. It makes sense why no one in the family ever wanted to bring it up, too. Naomi continues her social media research. She finally tracked down the man she’s convinced is her father a year ago, she confesses, but she hasn’t told him yet. Instead, she continued to keep tabs on him and, when she knew she needed counseling, she booked a call with him. She believes Julius is her father.

    About The Author

    “Barbara Wallace is my pen name, and I am a young woman was born in Angola, in southwest Africa. I was born without a father, and when I was 10-years-old I moved to the United Kingdom with my mother who abused and attempted to kill me. I lived my life every day as an average person does: a single mum struggling with depression, anxiety, and financial hardship till I found my father. Finding my father triggered my spiritual awakening and broke the curse I was under my entire life.”