Anchorless

Jolie P. Hoang

Book Cover

GENRE

ACTION ADVENTURE BIOGRAPHICAL DRAMA FAMILY MEMOIR MYSTERY POLITICAL RELIGIOUS SUSPENSE/THRILLER HISTORICAL FICTION WAR MELODRAMA CRIME

    Core Theme

    LOVE, SURVIVAL, LOSS

    TIME PERIOD

    19th Century,1980s & '90s,1960s & '70s

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    BOAT PEOPLE

    CHARACTER LIST

    • MR. HOANG: 60S, LEAD, SUCCESSFUL, BRAVE, RESPONSIBLE, DEVOTED

    • WIFE: 60S, LOVING, HAPPY, WIFE OF HOANG AND MOTHER OF HIS CHILDREN.

    • YOUNGEST DAUGHTER: INNOCENT, SWEET, DROWNS WITH HOANG, HOANG’S DAUGHTER

    • SECOND SON: STOIC, RESPONSIBLE, HOANG’S SON

    • NEPHEW: EMOTIONAL, DUTIFUL, HOANG’S NEPHEW

    • ADDITIONAL CHILDREN (TOTAL OF 10): LOVING, FAITHFUL, HOANG’S BELOVED CHILDREN

    Logline

    Anchorless details the three meticulously plans of a family escaping the gruelling communist-controlled Vietnam. During the third escape, Mr. Hoang and his youngest daughter, drown. As a spirit, the man narrated how he navigated his family through war-torn Vietnam and what led to the ultimate risks.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 13-17,18-34,35-54,55+,7-12

    Target Gender: Universal

    Setting

    Con Son Island, Vung Tau, Ca Mau, Quang Duc, Can Tho, Saigon, South Vietnam

    Based on a True Story

    Yes

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: with a Publisher

    Publisher: FriesenPress

    Year Published: 2019

    Starting Description

    The moment the man died, he refused to surrender his soul to God. He wanted to remain between life and death. Living in the form of a ghost, he found the spirit of his youngest daughter, who also drowned when the escape boat capsized. His wife and his sons imprisoned in notorious Con Son Island.

    Ending Description

    The dead man went through three funerals. In 2015, thirty years after his death, his last burial took place in California. His ashes buried with his wife in the presence of all his remaining children. He finally entered the gate of Heaven, realizing grief and regret had to end.

    Group Specific

    Immigrant, Refugee, Vietnamese

    Hard Copy Available

    Yes

    ISBN

    978-1525559105, 1525559109, 978-1525559112

    Mature Audience Themes

    Information not completed

    Plot - Other Elements

    Meaningful Message,Philosophical Questions

    Plot - Premise

    Tragedy,Quest,Voyage and Return

    Main Character Details

    Name: Phu Trong Hoang

    Age: sixty

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Aspiring,Decisive,Desperate,Empathetic,Engaging,Visionary,Skillful,Selfless,Patriotic,Religious,Charming,Confident,Heroic,Educated,Honorable,Strong Moral Code

    Additional Character Details

    Name: His son

    Age: 18

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Aspiring,Obedient,Empathetic,Selfless,Skillful,Flexible,Heroic,Honorable,Strong Moral Code

    Additional Character Details

    Name: His wife

    Age: 51

    Gender: Female

    Role: emotional

    Key Traits: Aspiring,Empathetic,Faithful,Gracious,Obedient

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Phuong Hoang

    Age: 50

    Gender: Female

    Role: emotional

    Key Traits: Aspiring,Modest,Obedient,Religious,Empathetic,Selfless,Faithful,Flexible,Educated,Honorable

    Development Pitch

    A man who was a husband, a father of nine children, was turning sixty years old at the time of his death. His six older children escaped Vietnam in 1983 on the boat that he built. They survived the escape, lived in a refugee camp in Indonesia and settled in Canada in 1984. In desperation to reunite with his children, he planned another escape. In 1985, with his wife and three younger children, they took a perilous trip across the Pacific Ocean. Their anchorless boat sank. The man and his youngest daughter died. At the time of his death, God wanted to take his soul. He defied death. He begged God to let him remain between life and death. God granted his wish. In death, he found out that his daughter drowned, trapped with the sinking boat. His wife and his two young sons were imprisoned at Con Son Island. His body was buried without the coffin near the coast on the same island. While his body decomposed under the shallow grave, his soul was tormented with regret, guilt and unfulfilled responsibilities. Living between life and death, the man reflected on his life, in his war-torn country, from being a millionaire to losing everything, including his life. His wife grieved for him in loneliness. His remaining children lived on, struggled to be fatherless. The dead man went through three funerals. In 2015, thirty years after his death, his last burial took place in California. His ashes buried with his wife in the presence of all his remaining children. He finally entered Heaven.

    Genre

    WAR, DRAMA

    Brief

    After a tumultuous existence, a man tries to get his large family safely out of communist Vietnam. During one such attempt, he drowns in the ocean. He refuses entry into Heaven and follows him family around as they navigate their lives without him.

    Overall Rating

    FAIR

    Point of View

    FIRST PERSON

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: FAIR

    Characterization: FAIR

    Commerciality: FAIR

    Franchise Potential: FAIR

    Pace: GOOD

    Premise: GOOD

    Structure: FAIR

    Theme: GOOD

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    The book profile is accurate.

    Draw of Story

    It is hard to grasp, but the anticipation of the ghost of a father watching over his family and the hope of poignancy is attractive.

    Possible Drawbacks

    It is sometimes hard to navigate since the characters are not named and the structure includes fractured timelines. More set up and specificity would be welcome when shifting to and from timelines. The chapter titles/headings try to accomplish this, but they are cumbersome and transitioning them into actual prose might be more effective.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY DOES NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    The omniscient narrator is not often an effective device when translated to film. However, albeit sparse, insight into the feelings of the father while incarnated as a ghost is the best part of the story.

    Fanbase Potential

    This is really more of an intimate look at a specific family situation and it feels more like a personal catharsis rather than a story that would translate to something appealing to a large audience.

    Awards Potential

    In the current state, this doesn't have awards potential. Adding more emotional connection when conveying the experience of the character would help elevate the prospects of the project.

    Envisioned Budget

    MEDIUM BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    BOAT PEOPLE

    What’s New About the Story

    This story is based on real people and is unique since it is a completely personal account of one man's experience. More inner feelings and spiritual connection could be added to make the originality more engaging.

    Lead Characters

    The main character is really the only character and his unique story is what makes him stand out.

    Uniqueness of Story

    This is hard to engage with and could use the addition of a lot more feeling to make it a captivating narrative. Also the framework of the different time lines could be reworked to promote clarity.

    Possible Formats

    Film - Indie

    Analyst Recommendation

    WORK IN PROGRESS

    Justification

    There isn't enough emotional connection in the story, the timelines are confusing, and scenes need to be expanded.

    Tips for Improvement

    Exploring more feelings or at least some subtext of the main character is needed. The structure is also confusing and needs to be reworked.

    Brief

    After a tumultuous existence, a man tries to get his large family safely out of communist Vietnam. During one such attempt, he drowns in the ocean. He refuses entry into Heaven and follows his family around in the form of a ghost as they navigate their lives without him.

    What We Liked

    - The long span of time that follows the main character gives great insight into the life of a singular family enduring unimaginable hardship and displacement. It brings awareness to the plight of people living under circumstances where they have to face appalling civil rights injustices.
    - Expanding this into a deep character study of what Hoang endured as a man and then when in his helpless ghost form could be a complete and engaging film.
    - The story might be a good addition to a non-scripted television documentary about those Vietnamese who suffered under communist rule in their war torn country.
    - Key points: Based on a true story; Brings awareness to the plight of the boat people; Spiritual elements; Unique premise; Positive ending

    Synopsis

    Mr. Hoang, his wife and ten children live in war torn Vietnam. After living a successful life with lots of money, he loses everything. A life in communist Vietnam is not what he wants for his family. He builds a boat for the family to escape across the sea. His older daughter, who has a family of her own will stay behind, but the others are all ready for a journey across the Pacific Ocean. He sends the older kids to the dock to ready for the trip and he plans to join them the next day with his wife and remaining children. However, when things get too dangerous to reconvene, he is forced to instruct his second son to gather his siblings and go on without them. Hoang will see to it that the family will be together again soon. Without a word, the second son obeys his father. Upon escaping Vietnam, they lived at a refugee camp in Indonesia before ultimately settling in Canada.

    Two years later, the time is right to attempt another escape. On his 6oth birthday, he, his wife, 2 youngest sons and youngest daughter, attempt to flee on another boat. Tragically, the boat sinks, drowning him and his youngest daughter. As she plummets into the depths with the boat, her body is never recovered. Her soul passes Hoang’s soul on her way to Heaven. He refuses his own entry into Heaven, opting instead to remain on Earth in ghost form. Though his family won’t see him, he plans to watch over them. His body is buried unencumbered on the island of Con Son where his wife and sons are lodged as refugees.

    During this time in limbo, Hoang reflects on the life he lived in Vietnam. He focuses on both the good and the bad, but always regrets that he can’t communicate with his family. His wife and children grieve his death as they try to live their lives without him. When his wife and sons are finally united with the other children, his wife returns to Con Son Island with her nephew. He helps her exhume Hoang’s remains. However, he is unable to retrieve Hoang’s toe bones before a torrential rainstorm forces them from the gravesite. It seems somehow appropriate that part of him remains on Con Son Island. The rest of Hoang’s cremated remains are able to travel with his wife in secret a s she relocates.

    For the next thirty years, Hoang is never far from the minds of his loved ones. After living as a widow for so many years, his wife is finally ready to move on to the next life. In the presence of all their living children, Hoang’s remains and that of his beloved wife are buried together. With his soul finally at peace, Hoang can now spend eternity in Heaven with his wife and all those who have preceded him in death.

    About The Author

    A math professor at Niagara College, located in Welland, Ontario, Jolie P. Hoang escaped Vietnam in 1983, two years before her father and youngest sister perished in their attempt to escape to freedom. Their deaths affected her deeply, and she only managed to find inner peace upon the completion of this book, which came very much from the heart. She hopes that the next generations of her family, as well as the Vietnamese Boat Peoples, will be inspired by his sacrifice, and with this volume, learn more about their roots. Jolie lives with her daughters in Fonthill, Ontario.