Guessing at Normal

Book Cover

ROMANCE

1980s & '90s

Gail Ward Olmsted

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Logline

Motel clerk Jill joins struggling musician James and his band on tour. James' wandering eye and constant partying threaten their relationship. When Jill's poems and lyrics become the songs on his chart-topping solo album, Jill has to learn how to survive in the spotlight on her own.

Genre

Romance

Short Summary

It is the late 80's: Jill spends her days writing song lyrics and poems and her nights working at the front desk of a motel. James Sheridan and his band arrive for three days while touring to promote their debut album. A one-night stand leads to more when James invites Jill to join them on tour.


After a brilliant solo career, James is now a stay at home dad who refuses to participate in a 'Where Are They Now?' reunion tour. Meanwhile Jill's songwriting career takes off. Following a tragic accident, Jill is left to wonder if she can continue to write love songs without the love of her life.

Setting

An un-named city in the Northeast, New York, Los Angeles and Nashville

Based on a True Story

No

Plot - Premise

Internal Journey/Rebirth,Rags to Riches,Tragedy

Plot - Other Elements

Other

Mature Audience Themes

Substance Abuse, Language/Profanity

Main Character Details

Name: Jill Griffin

Age: 21 years old at the beginning of the story

Gender: Female

Role: Protagonist

Key Traits: Aspiring,Complex,Engaging,Faithful,Insecure,Modest,Romantic

Additional Character Details

Name: James Sheridan

Age: 27 at the beginning of the story

Gender: Male

Role: Antagonist

Key Traits: Aspiring,Badass,Charming,Confident,Crazy,Engaging,Heartthrob,Masculine,Skillful,Seductive

Additional Character Details

Name: Alex Sheridan

Age: 27 at the beginnning of the story

Gender: Male

Role: tempter

Key Traits: Aspiring,Complex,Faithful,Unapologetic,Secretive,Underdog

Additional Character Details

The author has not yet written this

Development Pitch

Jill Griffin is a main character everyone will root for, and a woman that many will relate to. Stuck in a dead-end job, she passes the time writing poems and song lyrics. Her life changes forever when she falls in love with James, the sexy lead singer of a grunge band. She joins the band on tour and quickly realizes that James' wandering eye and hard-partying lifestyle are in conflict with her desire for a committed relationship. His excesses catch up with him and James is fired from the band. Jill feels that she can't leave him now that he's hit rock bottom. The two grow closer as they learn to depend on each other. James goes into the studio, intent on rebuilding himself as a solo artist. A bit naive and perhaps too trusting, Jill learns how to survive in the music business and advocate for herself when her poems and journal ramblings end up on her husband's mega-hit solo album. In the aftermath of a tragic accident, Jill has to decide if she's able to write love songs without the love of her life.

About The Author

Gail Ward Olmsted was a marketing executive and a college professor before she began writing fiction on a full time basis. A trip to Sedona, AZ inspired her first novel Jeep Tour. Her job at the front desk of a motel during college gave her the idea to write Guessing at Normal, the story of a young woman whose life changes forever when up and coming rocker James Sheridan and his band check in. For more information, please visit her on Facebook and at GailOlmsted.com.

Target Audiences

Age: 35-54,18-34

Target Gender: Female Leaning

Group Specific

Information not completed

Publishing Details

Status: Yes: self-published

Publisher: Original publisher was Booktrope until they went out of business. Now self-published.

Year Published: 2015

Hard Copy Available

Yes

ISBN

978-0692706732

Genre

ROMANCE, DRAMA

Brief

A young woman working in a hotel meets a singer from a band she is a fan of. After she starts a romance with him and accompanies him on a tour, they enter into a turbulent relationship. The rocker's vices and career, which threaten to leave both their love and the protagonist's talent behind, put the relationship at risk. In the end, the two overcome adversity, marry and have a daughter together.

Overall Rating

FAIR

Point of View

FIRST PERSON

Narrative Elements

Authors Writing Style: GOOD

Characterization: GOOD

Commerciality: GOOD

Franchise Potential: FAIR

Pace: GOOD

Premise: FAIR

Structure: GOOD

Theme: FAIR

Accuracy of Book Profile

Yes, it does.

Draw of Story

The romance between the protagonist and a young rock star is what keeps the reader's interest right at the beginning of the book.

Possible Drawbacks

The narrative itself is somewhat beaten and predictable, although well written, which somewhat inhibits the interest in continuing to read.

Use of Special Effects

THE STORY DOES NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

Primary Hook of Story

The main hook is the relationship between an ordinary young woman and a rising rock star, the problems with drugs and copyright they face, and the narrative turn that signifies the rise of the protagonist in the musical universe. A somewhat clichéd but still very popular fictional journey.

Fanbase Potential

There is the potential to raise a fanbase, especially made up of people interested in romances, stories about dysfunctional relationships, and the complex world of fame.

Awards Potential

It depends on the technical and artistic qualities of the adaptation, but the narrative itself will also need to undergo changes and avoid so many common places if it wants to stand out to the point of reaching the Awards level.

Envisioned Budget

MEDIUM BUGDET

Similar Films/TV Series

CRAZY HEART - A DECADENT COUNTRY SINGER FINDS LOVE WITH A YOUNG JOURNALIST, BUT HIS ALCOHOL ADDICTION PUTS THEIR RELATIONSHIP AT RISK. A STAR IS BORN - A HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL SINGER FALLS IN LOVE WITH A YOUNG ARTIST AND HELPS TO BOOST HER CAREER. AS HER CAREER BEGINS TO TAKE OFF, HIS IS ON THE DECLINE, CAUSING SERIOUS PROBLEMS IN THE RELATIONSHIP.

What’s New About the Story

The story is already well known, so there isn't much that is really original. There needs to be more unique elements, more complex characters, and unexpected events for the narrative to actually catch the audience's eyes and surprise.

Lead Characters

Both are ordinary people, with their defects and virtues, but who, despite all the problems between them, find a way to reconnect and rekindle their love every time.

Uniqueness of Story

It is far from being a rare gem, mainly because it lacks originality and any striking characteristics to make the narrative stand out.

Possible Formats

Film - Indie, Film - Streaming

Analyst Recommendation

WORK IN PROGRESS

Justification

While the story has many positive points, it has room for improvement (see possible paths below). If you can't change the story at this point, my suggestion is using your notes as a guide to highlight the best aspects of it when taking the next steps, either putting a pitch page together, a treatment, or a presentation.

Tips for Improvement

Firstly, as already mentioned, it is necessary to add specific characteristics that make this narrative more unique in comparison with similar ones that already exist out there. It is interesting that the story highlights the protagonist's work as a lyricist — and the unfair treatment she earns for it —, but perhaps the book could emphasize this side of her even further, her poetic roots, her inspirations, how she develops this work, etc. Maybe lend a bit of poetry to her moments of creation. Another aspect that is needed, and could draw attention, is a greater exploration of the world of show business and the complexities of this universe. The characters also lack certain nuances, a little deeper or well-developed dialogues that take the story beyond the superficial. With all this and other necessary changes, an adaptation carried out with care and quality could be successful, especially if it added something different to the already somewhat beaten genre formula.