Baby Snakes

Demarest Campbell

Book Cover

GENRE

EPIC MELODRAMA HISTORICAL FICTION COMEDY

    Core Theme

    MADNESS

    TIME PERIOD

    19th Century

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    EAST OF THE SUN; THE MIDNIGHT PALACE

    CHARACTER LIST

    • DELIA MORAN: 30S. LEAD. ECCENTRIC AND CALCULATED.

    • DR. CHARRON: 50S, DELIA'S FRIEND AND DOCTOR.

    • RICHARD "MONGOOSE" : 20S, DELIA'S CLOSE YOUNGER FRIEND

    • ALLISTAIR: TEENS. DELIA'S STEPSON FROM HER FIRST MARRIAGE

    • OLEKSANDER SHEVCHENKO: 30S. DELIA'S ENEMY AND OCCASIONAL LOVER.

    • DEVI: 30S. DELIA'S MAID AND CLOSEST CONFIDANTE.

    Logline

    19th Century Calcutta,makes strange bedfellows of the glamorous and dangerous, as represented by the elite, unconventional Moran family and their colourful acquaintances. An enigma wrapped in decay and a good place to go insane unnoticed, Delia Moran liked Cal very much.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 18-34,35-54,55+

    Target Gender: Universal

    Setting

    1880 Marseilles, Calcutta, 1885 Paris and Provence, 1890 London, turn-of-the-Century Calcutta.

    Based on a True Story

    No

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: self-published

    Publisher: Lulu

    Year Published: 2015

    Starting Description

    Police Medical Examiner, Charron, feels protective of Delia, the Bohemian, meddlesome, only legitimate child of the aristocratic Moran family who might be more than merely harmlessly eccentric.

    Ending Description

    Everyone dies differently.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available

    Yes

    ISBN

    978-1070720128

    Mature Audience Themes

    Incest,Substance Abuse

    Plot - Other Elements

    Coming of Age,Meaningful Message,Philosophical Questions,Twist

    Plot - Premise

    Overcoming Monster/Villain

    Main Character Details

    Name: Delia Moran

    Age: 35

    Gender: Female

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Complex,Adventurous,Aspiring,Secretive,Funny,Skillful,Sophisticated,Manipulative

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Dr Charron

    Age: 55

    Gender: Male

    Role: Mentor

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Underdog,Modest,Charming,Complex,Empathetic,Selfless,Outspoken,Faithful,Funny,Romantic,Heroic,Honorable,Sophisticated,Strong Moral Code,Educated

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Richard

    Age: 20

    Gender: Male

    Role: emotional

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Aspiring,Masculine,Modest,Charming,Complex,Empathetic,Engaging,Faithful,Romantic,Heartthrob

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Shevchenko

    Age: 30

    Gender: Male

    Role: antagonist

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Aspiring,Masculine,Villainous,Charming,Complex,Confident,Sexy,Power Hungry,Decisive,Skillful,Heartthrob,Seductive,Sophisticated,Lone Wolf,Leader,Manipulative

    Development Pitch

    This half-satirical novel is intended to be made into a five or six episode epic BBC-style mini-series which might appeal to fans of multi-layered fiction and colourful, complex characters living in dangerous times in exotic locales.

    Genre

    DRAMA, MATURE AUDIENCE, ROMANCE, WAR, POLITICS, COMEDY

    Brief

    Eccentric heiress goes to Calcutta. She gets married, husband dies, she adopts his kid. She gets married again but cheats on her new spouse with a Russian who claims to be her father's son. She dies and everyone else dies too in brutal ways.

    Overall Rating

    EXCELLENT

    Point of View

    THIRD PERSON

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: EXCELLENT

    Characterization: EXCELLENT

    Commerciality: GOOD

    Franchise Potential: FAIR

    Pace: FAIR

    Premise: GOOD

    Structure: FAIR

    Theme: FAIR

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    The profile works but spoils the story a bit.

    Draw of Story

    The beautiful language. Reading this was such a privilege; the sentences were all perfectly constructed even if they were at times a little dense.

    Possible Drawbacks

    This story was so dense and in order to fit a commercial market will need to be pared down to its essentials. There were so many plot lines and side characters that it could get a little distracting and confusing, and certain threads seemed to get dropped in favor of more important plot points whereas others seemed to vanish without a sense of completion. The best way to fix this would be to highlight the main plot of the story and focus on that for a script without many of the side characters.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY DOES NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    The story of an eccentric heiress living in Calcutta during the British Raj--a sexy period piece with murder, espionage, betrayal, opium, and mystery.

    Fanbase Potential

    I don't know whether to steer towards the fanbase of huge literary enthusiasts who will love to read the illustrative paragraphs with deceptive dialogue and dense descriptions or the cinematic fanbase of over the top period pieces with great scenery and scandalous affairs. Either would be a large fanbase that would clamor to this story.

    Awards Potential

    Oh yeah, it's a period piece. Definitely Awards potential--Delia's actress would have a shot at the award, maybe even Richard's actor could shoot for a supporting award. The biggest guaranteed awards would be in costuming and scenery of course.

    Envisioned Budget

    LARGE BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    DOWNTON ABBEY, WITH THE PERIOD PIECE SETTING AND THE ARISTOCRATIC MELODRAMA.

    What’s New About the Story

    The setting and premise is definitely unique--the British Raj is definitely under-explored in contemporary film and literature. I don't think it should try to be more unique as it is already a very unique setting with incredibly unique characters. Maybe focus more on the downsides of the opium addictions.

    Lead Characters

    Delia is a strong, bold young woman who somehow is always sopping wet. She's sexy and defiant and very funny. She's even more clever than she lets on.

    Uniqueness of Story

    Rare gem, but we need to narrow down the plot.

    Possible Formats

    Film - Studio

    Analyst Recommendation

    CONSIDER

    Justification

    This is a beautiful story with extravagantly beautiful language--but we need to figure out which part is the story here. The sample script for this is 237 pages, which means the film would be around four hours. Narrow the focus onto the main story and get rid of side characters and side stories--don't get rid of the Mongoose or Ambrose, but Phillips and Malcom aren't necessary to the main plot and there are many others who could be sacrificed in order to keep the focus on Delia.

    Brief

    19th Century Calcutta, the decadent, bleached capital built to house the bureaucracy of one of the most powerful and complex Empires in world history, makes strange bedfellows of the glamorous and dangerous, as represented by the elite, unconventional Moran family, their colourful acquaintances, and their by-blows. One must be mad to like Calcutta. Delia Moran liked Calcutta very much.

    What We Liked

    - This was written with the style and grace of a classic novel--reading it feels like unearthing an ancient treasure. The world is complicated and far different from our own, but there is a familiarity in the wildness of the characters and their actions.
    - As a film, this would be an epic period piece, a comedy with no shortage of high stakes and gruesome ends.
    - As a television show, this could be an interesting mini series set in the time of the British Raj.
    - Key points: Period piece; Female protagonist; Sexy; Unique setting; Funny.

    Synopsis

    Delia goes to Calcutta. Almost dies, collapsed lung. Marries James. James dies. Adopts Ally, raises him and Mongoose. Sends mongoose off to Eton. Her mother has an opium addiction, she has to go to the russian for it. the russian nearly rapes Delia. she pretends her mother dies, sends her to sea, where she does die. gets "kidnapped" by the russian, marries ambrose, cheats on him a bunch with the russian. her father is found dead and headless. mongoose returns. she dies. everyone dies.

    Mary Cordelia Moran, or "Delia" as she insists exclusively on being called, is the only legitimate heir to the Moran family, one of the richest British families during the time of the Raj in India at the turn of the 19th century. Delia is eccentric to an extreme and often causes disagreements with those around her. Her closest friend is her maid, Beryl, who goes by "Devi" as a nod to her deviousness--Devi hates everyone except Delia and rarely leaves her side. Delia is sent to Calcutta as a sixteen year old girl and is chaperoned by Dr. Charron, a police medical examiner, who she quickly forms a close bond with. Calcutta during this time is a mad place with brutal heatwaves and grotesque wealth disparity. Most hate it, but Delia loves Calcutta. As she grows up, she read medicine and initially begins studies in it, but soon gives up. In her twenties, she falls ill and goes to stay at a sick house to recover. While there, the doctors collapse one of her lungs and she accepts an imminent death, but instead, she survives. Her roommate at the recovery ward is a Mrs. James; a rich old woman whose husband, Mr. James, visits her constantly. After Mrs. James' death, Mr. James invites Delia and her maid to move in with him. The two are friends only for a while, but soon, Mr. James and Delia get married.

    Delia finds herself constantly at odds with the son of Mr. James and the late Mrs. James, Allistair, or "Ally" as he likes to be called. Ally is a brat and resents Delia, even moreso after Mr. James dies and Delia adopts him. Delia raises Ally alongside Richard, "the Mongoose." Richard is around a decade younger than Delia and has been accepted into the Moran clan as a family member, the son of Devi's deceased older sister, Ruby, and an unknown father. However, the Mongoose looks too similar to Delia's father to go unnoticed, especially as he matures. Delia and the Mongoose form a tight bond that verges on a problematic level of flirtation, so against his wishes, Delia sends him off to Eton and pays for his tuition. Delia is exceedingly generous with her wealth and constantly helps out those who she sees need it.

    Delia's mother moves in with the family and has a severe opium addiction. The only person in the area who is able to provide the opium is a Russian man named Oleksander Shevchenko. Shevchenko is someone who became obsessed with Delia's father, Colonel Moran, and became convinced that he was an illegitimate heir to the Moran fortune, and was easily able to convince the Colonel of that as well, to the extent that they were happy to provide him with money for silence. Shevchenko sees Delia as his main rival for the fortune and plays cruel games with her, leaving her waiting alone in the alleys of Calcutta or on wild goose chases looking for him in order to get her mother's opium. Delia begins to carry a gun with her to their meetings, but never uses it, even when Shevchenko forces himself upon her. Delia tells everyone her mother has died but secretly sends her on a ship to California. Her mother dies during the voyage.

    Delia goes to a party with Charron, has a huge drunken blowout, and afterwards "is kidnapped." It turns out she had staged the whole thing and it was all an act. She meets up with Shevchenko during this time and has a love affair with him for a few days and asks him to marry her to which he accepts. A few days later, Charron confronts his friend, Ambrose, who reveals that he married Delia before she met up with Shevchenko. Ambrose reveals that the whole plot was a farce by Delia to get her deemed mentally unfit and confined to Ambrose's care. Ambrose and she are married for around four years, during which she continually cheats on him with the Russian. She develops a severe opium addiction. The Mongoose comes back from school to visit her and be with her, but she tries to send him away again. Her father is found headless. Delia dies, and everyone else dies soon after, but the Mongoose and Ally both live into their old age and become well known around the world for their exploits.

    About The Author

    Born in New York City, raised in London and Calcutta, Demarest Campbell spent her youth devouring books on history, absorbing the Classics, and listening to first-hand tales of the Raj from antique relatives. Each side of her family had a four century history in East India as tea planters, in shipping, and in the military. Campbell served for thirty-five years as the Charge Scenic Artist of the Tony Award-winning American Conservatory Theater and an additional six years as a scenic artist of the San Francisco Opera.