A Con Artist's Fairytale

Hend Salah

Book Cover

GENRE

DRAMA YOUNG ADULT CRIME ACTION

    Core Theme

    PERSEVERANCE

    TIME PERIOD

    Contemporary

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    PRECIOUS

    CHARACTER LIST

    JANE DIGGS(F/17) -- UNDERPRIVILEGED TEEN AND VASTLY TALENTED ARTIST.

    ADAM SULLIVAN (M/17) --FRIENDLY, LOYAL CLASSMATE OF JANE'S WHO TAKES A ROMANTIC INTEREST IN HER.

    ANDREW WILCOX (M/40S) -- FAMOUS ARTIST WHO TAKES JANE UNDER HIS WING AND LATER ASSAULTS HER.

    AMELIA (F/18) -- FORMER UNDERLING OF WILCOX WHO WAS ALSO VIOLATED BY HIM.

    CHARLIE (F/50+) -- FIERCELY SUPPORTIVE CO-WORKER OF JANE'S AT A LOCAL DINER.

    ROBIN DIGGS (M/40S) -- JANE'S UNCLE AND LEGAL GUARDIAN.

    Logline

    The story explores the implications and effects these crimes have on the victim’s mental health and overall quality of life thereafter. The attitudes and stigma regarding both ASD and sexual assault, from my perspective, are appallingly skewed.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 18-34

    Target Gender: Universal

    Setting

    Pennsylvania/New York

    Based on a True Story

    No

    Publishing Details

    Status: No

    Starting Description

    Jane is a timid girl with undiagnosed ASD. She is extremely intelligent, vastly talented, and unconsciously lonely. Her father is gone, her mother only physically present, and her vagabond uncle always anywhere else. Her outlet is her art, and when she meets famous artist ANDREW WILCOX, she misses e

    Ending Description

    Jane and Amelia (another girl Wilcox has gone after) take him to court, but ultimately lose the case. It ends with Jane and Amelia being presented with opportunities to further their craft and careers in the art world. There are two purposes for this ending: firstly, reality, and the second, hope.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available

    No

    ISBN

    Information not completed

    Mature Audience Themes

    Sexual Abuse

    Plot - Other Elements

    Philosophical Questions,Meaningful Message

    Plot - Premise

    Overcoming Monster/Villain,Internal Journey/Rebirth,Tragedy

    Main Character Details

    Name: Jane

    Age: 17

    Gender: Other

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Naive,Underdog,Modest

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Andrew

    Age: 40

    Gender: Male

    Role: Antagonist

    Key Traits: Narcisstic,Aggressive,Charming,Manipulative

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Adam

    Age: 17

    Gender: Male

    Role: protagonist

    Key Traits: Confident,Faithful,Selfless,Clumsy

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Amelia

    Age: 20

    Gender: Male

    Role: protagonist

    Key Traits: Underdog,Aspiring,Badass,Adventurous,Empathetic,Outspoken

    Development Pitch

    This story centers around two themes that are aggressively part of the conversations we are having as a society today: sexual assault and neurological disorders. We are divided in our attitudes and perspectives on both. My overall purpose is to shed light on the ugly realities that we tend to want to skate over because talking about them forces us to face truths that we aren't ready for. I believe it has the potential to be successful primarily because of its relevance and the controversial nature of the premise. Though ultimately the victims losing their case, I think the story manages to be is a happy ending without trying to tint the world with rose-colored glasses. It culminates in an overarching truth that, as long we manage to support each other, even bad things that happen become manageable as time goes by.

    Genre

    DRAMA

    Brief

    An underprivileged, teenage, gifted artist, JANE, gets a prestigious art internship under a famous painter. However, the painter soon sexually assaults her, sending her on a downward spiral of depression. Later, Jane finds solidarity with another victim, and together they take him to court. Although the painter is acquitted, he is released from a prestigious gallery, where Jane and the other victim are then invited.

    Overall Rating

    FAIR

    Point of View

    FIRST PERSON

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: FAIR

    Characterization: FAIR

    Commerciality: FAIR

    Franchise Potential: FAIR

    Pace: FAIR

    Premise: FAIR

    Structure: FAIR

    Theme: FAIR

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    Yes, although the logline could be better-- Should focus on specifics of the characters and story.

    Draw of Story

    The character of Jane was quite inviting-- She has endless obstacles in her life, and her schedule moves quite fast. It gives this work an in media res quality to it that is productive.

    Possible Drawbacks

    In some ways, it feels like the entirety of the first half of this text is laying the foundation. The payoffs certainly do come, but it feels like we can be engaged more in the first half of this text-- More surprises, conflicts, and action could be helpful. The stakes feel somewhat steady in the first half as is.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY DOES NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    The hook is that this book presents a leading character with endless life challenges-- Her existence is a punishing one, with her social and financial challenges and as well as her parasitic mother. It earns instant sympathy for Jane and makes her journey wrenching and impactful.

    Fanbase Potential

    No, this does not seem like it would have a large fanbase. It seems to cater toward a niche, mature audience that excludes at least two quadrants.

    Awards Potential

    This could perhaps have awards potential-- It seems to follow in the footsteps of the likes of PRECIOUS, for how grounded and harrowing it is.

    Envisioned Budget

    LOW BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    PRECIOUS

    What’s New About the Story

    What is unique about this story is how well-built-out the world around Jane is. She is endowed with relentless burdens that makes her journey feel individual. This work does seem to lean into some familiarity, though, with the death of the drug-addicted parent and with the brutality of the sexual assault. More could be done to make these two notions more deviant from the precedent and to lend more complexity to them.

    Lead Characters

    Jane stands out for her individual way of speaking and carrying herself-- She is unknowingly on the Autism spectrum, we come to find out. Her many toils and burdens on top of this condition add further weight to her life.

    Uniqueness of Story

    Although not without value, this doesn't seem to quite be a rare gem. It seems to lack the X factor or lasting impact that rare gems seem to have. It seems to be encumbered by some familiar elements, like the fate of the drug-addicted mother and like the bordering-on-cliche villain in Wilcox.

    Possible Formats

    Film: Indie

    Analyst Recommendation

    WORK IN PROGRESS

    Justification

    Again, it feels like this work is held back by its villain-- Wilcox strikes as overly familiar and lacking in terms of complexity with how single-dimensionally diabolical he is. Also, this work has room to better delineate rising stakes and action in its first half.

    Tips for Improvement

    Another pass to better ground the villain and to endow the first half with a better sense of rising action/intensity would only help.

    Brief

    Jane, an underprivileged and gifted artist, is mentored by a famous painter. But when she is sexually assaulted by him, she must unite with another victim and former underling to hold him accountable.

    What We Liked

    This work stood out for its unique first-person perspective-- Jane is on the ASD spectrum, but she doesn't know it. It makes it quite interesting to watch the story through her eyes and senses, especially given her endless life challenges.

    Film: This would be a solid adaptation for film, given the unique perspective afforded by the protagonist on the Autism spectrum. Importantly, this work has many bombshell moments of impact in the second half, which would bode well for its return on the audience's time.

    TV: This would be a solid adaptation for TV in that it feels robust with its many well-developed supporting players. Uncle Robin, Adam, and Charlie all stand out for their distinct personalities and roles and would serve a TV season well. The longer format would also allow time for the space for and build-up to this work's massive tragedies.

    Key points:
    1. Jane's perspective as someone on the Autism spectrum.
    2. This work's profound social conscious.
    3. The well-developed supporting players in Robin, Charlie, and Adam.
    4. The impacts in the form of many personal tragedies suffered by Jane.
    5. The ever-hateable villain in Wilcox.

    Synopsis

    Underprivileged urban teen JANE DIGGS, 17, is a gifted artist and fairy tale aficionado. She lives in a decrepit home with her drug-addicted mother, and her meager paychecks from working at a local diner are promptly taken by her mother to buy drugs. She often has to sleep in a park to avoid her mother's erratic, violent boyfriends. Jane has a conflict with a guidance counselor, MISS LYNN, over not wanting to go to college. At the diner, Jane gets to work with her much-older associate and mother figure, CHARLIE, 50s. Soon, a peer, ADAM SULLIVAN, flirts with Jane, but it goes entirely over her head, as she constantly struggles with reading social cues. Soon, with the encouragement of her guardian and uncle ROBIN, Jane agrees to tour a college to appease Miss Lynn. While visiting a college, Jane catches the attention of ANDREW WILCOX, 40s, a famous painter and film director. He invites her to interview for a prestigious internship at the art gallery where he is tenured.

    Jane soon gets the internship, and she is tasked with producing a masterpiece. Later, as Jane and Adam spend more time together in the diner, he works up the courage to ask her to prom. However, she declines, as loud noises cause panic attacks in her. Wilcox comes to visit them in the diner, but he immediately off-puts Adam and Charlie for his highbrow, condescending ways. One night, Adam invites Jane to sleep at his house to avoid sleeping outside in the cold. Pretenses aside, Jane is thrust into the hyper-competitive art world in her internship. Adam plays hookie with Jane one day, and he insists on teaching her how to drive. Jane continues to impress Wilcox in her internship, and he starts to encourage her to consider college. She reluctantly agrees to attend a lecture of his, and he shows some of her art to the class, challenging them to discuss it in front of Jane. He invites her to do an internship in New York City with him. Before she leaves, he seemingly flirtatiously asks if she wants to spend the night in the city.

    The New York opportunity weighs heavily on Jane. Adam walks her home from work one day. Inside, Jane is attacked by an inebriated boyfriend of her mother's, and Adam comes to her rescue just in time. He drives her to take an SAT test the next day. As Jane prepares to leave for New York, Adam and Charlie express their concerns about Jane coping with her anxiety in the loud city. Weeks of hard work pass in New York, and the opening of a gallery is soon upon Jane and Wilcox. Adam makes plans to come visit her. During the opening, Jane is approached by a young man, and it sends Wilcox into a fury. When the event ends and they are alone, Wilcox assaults Jane, knocking her unconscious and then sexually assaulting her. Adam arrives, while Jane is still unconscious, and he attacks Wilcox. Later, Adam and a disoriented and overwhelmed Jane discover that Charlie is in jail for having assaulted Wilcox. Jane has a chance to file a police report, but she doesn't take it. Later, she returns home and discovers that her mother is dead from an overdose.

    Jane sinks into a deep depression. She becomes a recluse in her house, dropping out of school and drinking in excess daily. She also shuts out Adam, who comes to her door twice a day. One day, Miss Lynn and a social worker come to visit, deeply concerned about Jane's well-being. However, Jane will soon turn 18, so there is little they can do to force her to get help. One day, a man named CARL comes to visit-- Apparently, he was a friend of Jane's mother, and he is intent on repaying a debt to her. He moves in with Jane, feeding her and giving her money. One day, though, Carl brings friends over, and they make disparaging comments about Jane's mother and suggestive remarks toward Jane. Jane forcefully kicks them all out, Carl included. Not long after, she gets a call from a hospital-- Uncle Robin suffered an attack over a money dispute in trying to give money to Jane. Later, Jane gets her job back, quits drinking, and goes to a grief support group. Jane soon discovers that another woman, AMELIA, 18, is accusing Wilcox of sexual assault. She was also formerly an underling of his. Uncle Robin soon passes, and Jane reconnects with a patient, accepting Adam at his funeral.

    Soon, with Adam and Charlie's support, Jane convenes with Amelia's lawyers in the suit against Wilcox. She soon meets the other victim, Amelia, and they find solidarity together. A grueling cross-examination ensues, putting the women through the ringer. Meanwhile, Wilcox makes all sorts of counter-accusations of extortion against the women. He also claims to be the artist of one of Jane's works that has amassed a huge value. In the trial, it comes out that Jane has been diagnosed with being on the autism spectrum-- a bombshell that explains her anxiety and social shortcomings. As the trial slowly comes to an end, Wilcox himself pays a visit to Amelia, Jane, and co, in Amelia's home. The vengeful Wilcox assaults Jane, but the others come to her defense, severely beating Wilcox unconscious. The group ponders killing him, but they resort to driving him away and dumping him. The next day, the court finds Wilcox not guilty on all counts. However, Wilcox is let go from the gallery, and Jane and Amelia are invited to join the gallery. Jane, also, is given a check for half a million dollars for her work that Wilcox claimed and stole, but she immediately gives it away to charity for sexual assault victims.

    About The Author

    Hend Salah is a Licensed Professional Counselor of Mental Health, holding a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Temple University and a Master’s in Applied Psychology from NYU. Salah previously published the novel 'Dig Two Graves' and has written multiple articles in 'The Good Men Project.'