Pinctada

Jeff Lee (Byrem)

Book Cover

GENRE

ADVENTURE DRAMA EPIC EROTICA LGBT HISTORICAL FICTION

    Core Theme

    LOVE

    TIME PERIOD

    1940s & '50s,1960s & '70s

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    HEART OF DARKNESS

    CHARACTER LIST

    WILLIAM BENTON: 18. LEAD. LOYAL AND NAIVE.

    BAMBI: 19. BILLY'S GIRLFRIEND WHO ESCAPES WITH HIM.

    MAHANA: 19. BILLY AND BAMBI'S COMPANION.

    CAPTAIN STUMP: 50S. HIRES BILLY AND BAMBI.

    FATHER JOHN: 40S. STARTS AN AFFAIR WITH BAMBI.

    OLIANA: 60S. SERVES AS A MOTHER FIGURE TO BAMBI AND BILLY ON THE ISLAND.

    Logline

    Set in 1956-63, “Pinctada” is a coming-of-age story about American teenagers, Bill Benton and Brittany "Bambi" Macey, who sail a stolen yawl to French Polynesia where they encounter challenges that erase their adolescent naivete in a world that far exceeds their wildest imaginings.

    Target Audiences

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

    Target Gender: Universal

    Setting

    Tahiti, the Marquesas, the Tuamatos, Honolulu, the open Pacific, and the Great Northwest

    Based on a True Story

    No

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: self-published

    Publisher: self-published

    Year Published: 2020

    Starting Description

    Matthew Stump, American captain and owner of a tramp freighter, strolls the late-night streets of 1956 Pape’ete to meet with an Englishman, Teddy Carlyle, who wants to sell illicit Tahitian pearls on the world market; the next day, Bill and Bambi sail into Pape’ete Harbor and meet Mahana Tetuanui.

    Ending Description

    Bill Benton and Mahana’s uncle, Huamanava, go to the spot in the Tikehau Lagoon where Mahana (who has drowned) found a huge black pearl (le monstre); instead of returning le monstre to the lagoon in memory of Mahana, Bill hands the pearl to a shocked but deserving Huamanava.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available

    No

    ISBN

    ISBN: 9798655871724

    Mature Audience Themes

    Nudity, Language/Profanity,Extreme Violence

    Plot - Other Elements

    Coming of Age,Philosophical Questions

    Plot - Premise

    Voyage and Return,Overcoming Monster/Villain,Quest

    Main Character Details

    Name: William Benton

    Age: 18

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Complex,Engaging,Faithful,Heroic,Honorable,Leader,Masculine,Modest,Selfless,Skillful,Heartthrob,Secretive,Naive

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Brittany Alistair "Bambi" Macey

    Age: 19

    Gender: Female

    Role: Tempter

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Aspiring,Aggressive,Charming,Complex,Confident,Decisive,Educated,Leader,Sexy,Outspoken,Visionary,Secretive,Seductive,Sophisticated

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Mahana Tetuanui

    Age: 19

    Gender: Lgbt

    Role: sidekick

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Charming,Complex,Empathetic,Engaging,Faithful,Heartthrob,Heroic,Honorable,Masculine,Sexy,Selfless,Romantic

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Matthew Stump

    Age: 50

    Gender: Male

    Role: antagonist

    Key Traits: Aggressive,Confident,Criminal,Decisive,Greedy,Masculine,Villainous,Blunt,Power Hungry,Secretive,Unapologetic

    Development Pitch

    An upmarket, historical noir, coming-of-age story set in 1956-63, "Pinctada" explores the lives of American teenagers, Bill Benton and Brittany "Bambi" Macey, as they encounter tumultuous months in French Polynesia, where they must endure and overcome unforeseen demands of adulthood in an extraordinary world that is beyond their imaginings when they embark on their journey. Benton and Macey sail to the South Pacific in 1956 on a stolen yawl and confront demanding characters and turbulent events that erase what remains of their adolescent innocence. Under the benevolent mentorship of Oliana Teriierooiterai, a prominent Marquesan chieftess on the island of Hiva Oa, they learn to meet the challenges of earning a living and parenthood while being exposed to myriad manifestations of adult sexuality. Bill and Bambi move beyond a taboo-rejecting, adolescent rebellion to an existence where the only restraints to satisfying one’s sexual appetites are consent and imagination. The inclusion of significant doses of greed, betrayal, cannibalism, and a beautiful and faithful mahu — a third gender person named Mahana who becomes both friend and lover — creates a story set in a world that is far different from the America that Bill and Bambi have left behind. The new world in which they find themselves is one in which conflicts are resolved by fate, courage, perseverance, a child, and a strategic return.

    Genre

    DRAMA, ROMANCE

    Brief

    When Bambi finds out she may be pregnant, she asks her friend Billy to use her dead father's boat to sail together to a distant place, so she will not be judge by the village. On the way, they notice they like each other, but a villain and external circumstances will make their lives harder and change them forever.

    Overall Rating

    FAIR

    Point of View

    THIRD PERSON

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: GOOD

    Characterization: FAIR

    Commerciality: FAIR

    Franchise Potential: GOOD

    Pace: FAIR

    Premise: FAIR

    Structure: FAIR

    Theme: FAIR

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    It is accurate.

    Draw of Story

    It has enough elements to draw the reader's attention. The characters (especially the young ones) are engaging. The whole marine background is also an attractive point.

    Possible Drawbacks

    It is quite long and sometimes looks that it could be much more straight to the point. Specific passages are too long and end up taking away the expected enthusiasm. Some plots don't work very well.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY DOES NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    Billy's story is interesting in itself. A young man who lost his father and decided to navigate with his best friend. It has good elements to hold our attention.

    Fanbase Potential

    This book is part of a series (although they are individual stories). I think Bill and Bambi's characters would have a chance to attract a specific audience, but as the previous books tell Bill's father's story, I think the audience's interest could decrease.

    Awards Potential

    The beautiful maritime background and the romance at sea could grant Awards, depending on how the narrative would be adapted. If more subtle, complex, and poetic, it might have a better chance of standing out.

    Envisioned Budget

    MEDIUM BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    ADRIFT: IN LOVE, A COUPLE SAILS ON THE HIGH SEAS WHEN THEY FACE CHALLENGES ALONG THE WAY. OPEN WATER: A COUPLE TRAVELS ON A BOAT, AND WHEN THEY DECIDE TO DIVE, THEY ARE LEFT BEHIND.

    What’s New About the Story

    The narrative mixes different elements that give it a more unique aspect: a sailors' story that combine romance between young people, costly pearls, a heritage that will change the protagonist's life, and a Machiavellian antagonist. The tone could follow some narrative choices and become more "indie," more "poetic" in order to look more original.

    Lead Characters

    The main couple's conversations reveal their "chemistry," and their relationship is somewhat entertaining to follow. The villain seems too Machiavellian for the tone of the story. He could be a little more subtle.

    Uniqueness of Story

    It is not a gem, but it has some elements that, if improved, can help the writer to build a more pleasant narrative.

    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

    The narrative has chronological leaps that disrupts the book's understanding (and the reader's engagement) a bit, and certain subplots could be dropped to give more focus to the couple's story. The villain could be a little more humanized/refined to match the rest of the story's tone, and thus he could sound less cartoonish. By the way, the overall tone could be more subtle, bringing lightness and a more elevated complexity, especially for dialogues. The point at which the main character makes a fortune and becomes a businessman who leaves his family behind seemed hardly credible. This part could be slightly adjusted to make it sound more realistic. Bill is a good man, he loved Bambi, and it's not believable that he would change so much for the money. The author knows how to write well. He knows how to keep the tension, and he added attractive elements to the story, but it needs to improve some aspects in order to stand out in the middle of other stories.

    Brief

    When 18-year olds Bill and Bambi sail a stolen yawl to French Polynesia in 1956, neither knows what they're in for. Soon, they're offered a lucrative position in an illegal pearl trade by a nefarious captain. The two make friends and come of age in this adventurous, romantic novel.

    What We Liked

    This is an adventure novel set in 1956, but with the hindsight and openness of 2020--the two main characters are able to fully explore their sexuality in a unique, fresh, nonjudgmental way. The islands they visit are freeing and juxtaposed with 1956 American puritan culture provide a refreshing story with fantastic twists and turns.

    Film: As a film, this would be a huge blockbuster with audiences at the edge of their seats as they watch thrilling boating scenes and steamy sex scenes.

    TV: As a television show, this would work best as a miniseries encapsulating the events of the novel.

    Key points: -Sexy
    -Period Piece
    -Plot Twists
    -Exciting
    -Romantic

    Synopsis

    18-year old Bill and 19-year old Bambi are sailing in French Polynesia aboard Bill's father's yawl in 1956, which they stole when they ran away together. Bambi wanted to run away because she had been raped and impregnated by a classmate and didn't want to deal with the aftermath, and Bill had happily agreed to go anywhere with Bambi, beautiful and alluring as she was. While on the trip, Bambi has lost her baby, but started a new romance with Bill. They tell the others they meet that they are married, including another married couple, on their way to New Zealand. While hanging out with the married couple, Bambi and Bill partner switched with them, an experience Bambi was much more open to than Bill was, but as the days go on, Bill starts to loosen up and let go of some of his American inhibitions.

    The two land, out of money, on an island where they're greeted by Carlyle, who has an interesting business proposition for them--they could use the ship to sell coconut products. Bill and Bambi are suspicious of Carlyle, and even more suspicious of his business associate, Captain Stump, but they're reassured by Carlyle's associate, the young Mahana, a Mahu--a woman born in the body of a man. Bambi and Mahana get close, concerning Bill, until Bambi reveals that Mahana is actually in love with Bill, not her. They decide that they can trust Mahana because of this and agree to join the enterprise. Soon, however, they discover that they're not smuggling coconut products, but Tahitian black pearls, an expensive and illegal commodity. Bambi is reluctant, as it will mean Bill and Mahana will be away from her for months, but at least she has Oliana, an older woman who treats Bambi and Bill like her children. Bambi's mother died when she was young, so she never had a mother figure before. Bill learns in a letter that Bambi's father, Growler, is in prison for life after murdering the man who raped Bambi, and decides not to tell her. Mahana loses a briefcase full of pearls, much to the dismay of Carlyle and Stump, but they forgive him with the idea that he'll bring much more back. Carlyle disappears, and everyone suspects Stump of murdering him, but no one has any proof.

    While away, Bill and Mahana fall in love and begin an affair. Mahana reveals that he has had the briefcase of pearls the whole time. Mahana finds a large pearl, worth more than all the pearls, which they call the monster and decide to keep a secret. Bill writes letters to Bambi every day to give to her when they reunite, but Bambi has begun an affair of her own--with Father John, a priest on the island who sleeps with all the young native girls.

    Bambi gives birth to Bill's baby and names her Rebecca, or Becca for short. Bill returns and is dismayed to hear sounds of lovemaking coming from the room shared by Bambi and Father John, and realizes that Bambi's sexual appetite is stronger than his but he will never call her out for fear of losing her. As Bill is about to confront them, some natives come and set the entire monastery on fire. Some kidnap Father John in front of Bambi, presumably to eat him, as Oliana discovers later some ceremonial decor that suggests a human was eaten. Bambi and Bill decide they must go home.

    Captain Stump offers Bambi passage home, and while they're reluctant to take his offer, they are reassured that Bill will be there too, but Stump tricks Bill so that the ship leaves without him. Stump rapes Bambi brutally, but she makes it home to Port Townsend with Becca. Bill and Mahana try to sail to Bambi, but a hurricane overtakes the boat, killing Mahana. Bill makes it home in the end, but his relationship with Bambi and Becca is strained--he stays a distance from them, but provides for them financially. Bill gives the monster pearl to Humanava, Mahana's uncle.

    About The Author

    Jeff Lee has 8 self-published novels available, including 6 that comprise the Myers/Benton Chronicles, to which Pinctada belongs. Lee’s novels fall within the upmarket, historical noir genres.