Romantic Disclosures

Janie Cochran

Book Cover

GENRE

DRAMA COMEDY MEMOIR ROMANCE

    Core Theme

    INSECURITY, LONELINESS, RELATIONSHIP ADDICTION, STARTING OVER

    TIME PERIOD

    2000s

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    GRACE AND FRANKIE, SEX AND THE CITY, YOU’VE GOT MAIL, BECAUSE I SAID SO, EAT, PRAY, LOVE

    CHARACTER LIST

    JANIE. 57. LEAD. INSECURE DIVORCEE WITH A RELATIONSHIP ADDICTION PROBLEM.

    FULL PLATE: LATE 50S. EGOTISTICAL MISOGYNIST AND JANIE’S PEN PAL.

    KATIE: 40S. JANIE’S ALTER EGO.

    COLLIN: 50S. GOOD ON PAPER TYPE GUY WHO IS PSYCHOLOGICALLY ABUSIVE TO JANIE.

    RITA: 40S. CHURCH GOER AND JANIE’S PAL.

    Logline

    This is a story of a newly single middle aged woman entering the world of online dating for the first time in her life. This true story is full of unbelievable characters fit for America’s Most Wanted to America’s most buzzard, and doesn’t disappoint with poignant humor and useful takeaways.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 35-54,55+

    Target Gender: Universal

    Setting

    Information not completed

    Based on a True Story

    Yes

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: self-published

    Starting Description

    This is a story of a newly single middle aged woman entering the world of online dating for the first time in her life. This true story is full of unbelievable characters fit for America’s Most Wanted to America’s most buzzard, and doesn’t disappoint with poignant humor and useful takeaways.

    Ending Description

    The author becomes pen pals with one of the stories main characters, a male her age, and the two share their experience and perspectives from the POV of a middle aged man and woman experiencing the circus of finding love again. The author doesnt find her true love online, but she finds herself

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available

    No

    ISBN

    Information not completed

    Mature Audience Themes

    Nudity, Language/Profanity

    Plot - Other Elements

    Meaningful Message,Happy Ending

    Plot - Premise

    Internal Journey/Rebirth

    Main Character Details

    Name: Janie

    Age: 54

    Gender: Female

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Aspiring,Badass,Charming,Confident,Sarcastic,Romantic,Funny,Outspoken,Sexy

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Full Plate

    Age: 54

    Gender: Male

    Role: Sidekick

    Key Traits: Charming,Aggressive,Heartthrob,Insecure,Lone Wolf,Sarcastic,Romantic,Funny,Blunt,Narcisstic,Masculine

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this

    Development Pitch

    Meet Janie Cochran. From the outside looking in, she looks like your typical middle aged housewife and soccer mom. Dig a little deeper and you'll be a part of her journey from mania to prison and back. As if that part of the story didn't have enough twists and turns, wait until you you ride along with her into the world of online dating as a 54 year old divorcee. You'll laugh. You'll cry. You might even take notes on what NOT to do but one things for sure, you won't be able to put it down. You'll meet Full Plate, a middle aged playboy who knows it all and never lets Janie forget it. You'll also meet a whole host of other distinguished gentleman, including Horton, who isn't exactly a gentleman...or even a human at all...but rather a puppet attached to the hand of one of Janie's countless dates. You'll see yourself in Janie and her ups and downs in life and love as well as self discovery, ultimately leading her to the happily married woman she is today.

    Genre

    COMEDY, ROMANCE, DRAMA

    Brief

    A woman in her late 50s finds that she needs to start dating again after her divorce. But now she needs to navigate the world of online dating. And it’s rough. She befriends a misogynistic but comical online pen pal who she belabors every detail of her dates to and he gives her advice. After many ups and downs, deceptions, and mistakes, she finally meets someone.

    Overall Rating

    FAIR

    Point of View

    FIRST PERSON

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: FAIR

    Characterization: FAIR

    Commerciality: GOOD

    Franchise Potential: FAIR

    Pace: FAIR

    Premise: GOOD

    Structure: FAIR

    Theme: FAIR

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    The Book Profile does a good job of representing the book.

    Draw of Story

    The informal narration of the author made it easy to read. The way the book was broken out into emails and narrative helped make the story more intimate.

    Possible Drawbacks

    There were a lot of really problematic things about this book. The first is the author's regressive view of women and the intense body shaming that occurs throughout the book, both in judging and affirming the belief that a woman’s value and desirability is based on weight and breast size. The author leans on a lot of old and problematic stereotypes – some of them about men and what they want or like; and many about women and women’s role in society. The narrator feels out of date and never has the realization in the book that she is out of date, that could help the story be more palatable. While I appreciate that the perspective of older people is important and her experiences and feelings about herself and society are valid in that they are her opinions, the way she tells this story needs to be dramatically altered in order to make this a story worth telling. If she wants to grapple with weight or women in society, then the character will need to go on a journey where she is self-reflective and realizes the problematic ways of her thinking or at least engage in conversations with others who think differently to make sure to include other, more modern points of view that women no longer should be stick-thin housewives. The entire male counterpart who is her pen pal also should be scrutinized closely. He is an incredibly crass, misogynistic, jerk. Maybe because we only get to know him through his emails to her and never get a well-rounded picture of who he is as a person and character, but there needs to be more clarity on what the message of his character is trying to make. Is she trying to make a point about how terrible men are? If so, that doesn't come across. If not, then he is just a despicable character for no clear reason. The only other way I could think to improve this would be to make it a satire, where it’s clear that this is all a comical social commentary, rather than having it be the memoir of the writer.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY DOES NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    The struggles of dating in the modern age are real and relatable, regardless of if you’re 20 or 50. Being single and looking is tough. Watching those stories are cathartic.

    Fanbase Potential

    It would probably be a cute romcom that maybe had a weekend trending on Netflix, but isn’t anything unique or special that would garner a large fanbase. Potentially, if it tried to go the way of Grace and Frankie but that show is much more empowering than this story and part of the reason for that fanbase is the incredible cast.

    Awards Potential

    This is a pretty simple romcom, which historically haven’t been considered for Awards.

    Envisioned Budget

    LOW BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    GRACE AND FRANKIE; SEX AND THE CITY; YOU’VE GOT MAIL; BECAUSE I SAID SO; EAT, PREY, LOVE

    What’s New About the Story

    She’s a pretty simple older woman figuring things out. That can be endearing if we see more growth and epiphanies in the character. There is a very small amount of growth that we see, but there is no payoff in the end about what she learned about herself. However, there aren’t a lot of stories told about older women who aren’t super educated and affluent trying to figure things out later in life, and there should be more of those on screen.

    Lead Characters

    The lead female character stands out because of her simplicity and naiveté, at times that makes her endearing and an empathetic character, but at times it also makes her feel disconnected and living in another era that she doesn’t grow much out of.

    Uniqueness of Story

    No, this isn’t a rare gem. Many people have written books and scripts about their crazy escapades in online dating. While it’s a relatable story, it’s also a dime a dozen, and there are definitely more compelling ones out there. That said, if the two main characters are improved in terms of their outlook on women and their overall character arc, this could be a marketable film.

    Possible Formats

    Film - Streaming

    Analyst Recommendation

    WORK IN PROGRESS

    Justification

    The characters need a lot of development, as does the story. Right now it’s just a bunch of vignettes of bad dates strung together with a little context here and there. The messages of the story are regressive and at times offensive.

    Tips for Improvement

    Develop the characters more, give them more of an arc that requires self-reflection or someone to challenge the ways they see the world. Also, build out the architecture of the story so that it’s more than just a bunch of emails/bad dates strung together.

    Brief

    A woman in her late 50s finds that she needs to start dating again after the end of her 25-year marriage. But now she needs to navigate the often terrible and confusing world of online dating. Online, she ends up befriending a misogynistic but comical pen pal who she belabors every one of her crazy dates to and he gives her advice. After many ups and downs, including deceptions, and mistakes, she finally meets someone and finds happiness.

    What We Liked

    The story is a very relatable story. Whether you are 20 or 60, being single and looking is really tough, especially in the age of online dating. Seeing others go through the trials and tribulations, weeding through profiles, getting rejections, going on insane, you-couldn’t-make-it-up-if-you-tried dates, is something so many people have gone through that it’s cathartic and enjoyable to live through the eyes of someone else.

    Film: The book would make a good adaptation into a film because there is a clear beginning, middle, and end, and, because it has elements from other successful films that could be woven together in a tight narrative arc. Similar to Eat, Pray, Love, the lead starts out with a deadbeat, younger boyfriend after a divorce and having that end and needing to find her way. There is the anonymous and mysterious penpal component like in the You’ve Got Mail that can create a fun and intriguing will-they or won’t-they scenario that runs as a through-line throughout the short vignettes of bad date after bad date (which is the premise of so many TV shows and movies that it’s not worth trying to list them here). And in the end she meets someone, so the story has a satisfying and earned ending.

    TV: Since the book is ultimately a vignette of bad and often dramatic dates, this could work well as an adaptation for TV where each episode is a date that is narrated by the lead through the context of an email to her penpal, following her through the trials and tribulations of the insanity of online dating.

    Key points: Relatable story; Built-in audience ; Lots of comic relief; Shocking stories; Nutty characters

    Synopsis

    We meet JANIE as her relationship is ending with her crack addicted boyfriend, who has been using her and stealing from her, and ultimately leaves her for his crack dealer. This was the end of a yearlong relationship that she got herself into after the dissolution of her 25-year marriage. In her late 50s and single, Janie is looking to get into another relationship, and trying to figure out how to do that. After a few false starts through the church, she decides to bite the bullet and try online dating. She sends a message to a guy around her age that she finds attractive. Janie becomes extremely offended when he doesn’t respond and starts to obsessively berate him for not answering. When the man finally does answer, he tells her that he is looking for someone younger and that he has a “full plate,” which is the name he is called the rest of the story. Janie decides to make FULL PLATE her penpal, friend, and confidant, sending him messages about all the terrible online dates she’s enduring. FULL PLATE is also in his late 50s and divorced. He’s in a relationship now with SALT but is online looking for opportunities to cheat on her. The friendship begins to take hold, as he’ll respond in kind, sometimes with advice, sometimes with judgement, sometimes with apathy, and sometimes he’ll share something personal back.

    Next come the barrage of terrible first dates both found online and sometimes at her local bar. There’s the younger guy with a Barbie fetish. The unemployed loser. The creepy guy who takes her onto his houseboat and says he doesn’t kiss on first dates but then tries to sleep with her. There was the man who sent her dick pics who she blocked and then randomly runs into at a bar a few days later. There was the blind date that ended up being a sob-fest where the man only talked about his ex. There was the guy that made her drive out to his house in the pouring rain and greeted her at his front door with a Horton-the-elephant stuffed animal that he demanded she speak to. The list goes on, and on, and on.

    Throughout the bad dates Janie has heart-to-heart conversations with a group of her girlfriends, where they talk about everything from if size matters to how they end up with the men they end up with, lamenting about past relationships. And then Janie finally meets COLLIN, who, on paper, seems like a catch, with a PhD and a good job. We learn throughout this whole time, from her correspondence with Full Plate, that she had a nice childhood, and that she thought her dad was a really standup father and husband. She had a nice marriage and amicable separation from her husband of 25 years after he became more religious and she less-so. That she has three grown children. And that she’s trying to work through her insecurities and bad self-image. Also throughout, Full Plate often retorts with arrogant remarks. One that really gets to Janie is that he doesn’t need her advice because he has two beautiful blondes who are his confidants and help him evaluate the women he’s chatting with online.

    Janie is so incensed by Full Plate’s comment that she decides to play a trick on him. She sends him the picture of a good friend of hers who is younger and lives far away, KATIE. Katie is beautiful and has large breasts, which is something Full Plate likes. He looks at the picture and says he’d be interested in talking to her. Janie gives him a phone number, but the phone number is actually Janie’s. They end up talking for hours every other day for a few months and it’s clear he’s really falling for “Katie.” Janie is worried she’s taken it too far and is afraid she’ll ruin the friendship if she comes clean. This comes to a head when he tells her that he’s falling in love with Katie. Janie’s relationship with Collin starts out intriguing. He takes her to a swingers sex club, where he used to swing with his ex. Janie is shocked by the whole scene of people having sex all around her and says that’s not something she’s into. They settle into a routine and she gets to know Collin’s son JEFFERY, who she becomes very fond of. However, over time, Collin becomes verbally abusive. Janie seeks out therapy to help her figure out how to get out of the relationship with Collin. When she tells Full Plate about what is going on, this is the first time Full Plate is sincerely caring towards Janie.

    Janie feels more and more guilty about lying to Full Plate about Katie, but every time she gets ready to confess, he does something that annoys her and so she never does. She decides to have “Katie” ghost Full Plate and no longer answers his emails or calls as Katie, though still talks to him regularly as Janie. Full Plate obsessively asks Janie about what happened to Katie and why she disappeared. She thinks that maybe she can get him to be less interested if she tells him that Katie took out her breast implants, but he doesn’t buy that. Later, she tells him that Katie realized she was a lesbian and is actually in love with Janie. He doesn’t know what to make of this new information. Janie then gets devastating news that Collin’s son Jeremy has commit suicide not long after she had visited with him. His funeral is the last time she really talks to Collin. But this loss has made her think more deeply about the value of life and the time we have on Earth and thinks about other things she could do with her life.

    Lamenting his loss and confusion about Katie, in their correspondence, Full Plate tells Janie exactly where he is going to be and when, though doesn’t explicitly invite her. She shows up at the bar where he is, ready to confront him and tell him the truth. But she decides that that’s not what she wants to do and leaves. At that point, she cuts off all communication with Full Plate. He writes and writes, but she never responds and never came clean about Katie. Later, she meets a couple from the original church group through her girl friend RITA, who she becomes very good friends with. After a few years, the man’s wife dies and Janie ends up marrying the widowed husband. And has been in a happy marriage with him since.

    About The Author

    Janie Cochran has written two novels, Romantic Disclosures and Mania. Romantic Disclosures is a memoir of her experiences with divorce, raising her three children, and trying to find love in the D.C. Metro area.