My Life as a Mule: a fictionalized memoir or a memoir with a twist
FAMILY FANTASY FABLE YOUNG ADULT FOLKTALE MEMOIR ADVENTURE COMEDY ADVENTURE OTHER
20th Century (multiple decades)
Sj Hylton LeHoven
“My Life as a Mule” is the story of Molly, the black sheep of her equine family. Her traditional Southern upbringing demands blind conformity. She tries her best to be a “good girl” but brief sojourns into mystic realms show her an alternate way of being and living, a place where she can be herself.
Family, Fantasy, Fable, Young Adult, Folktale, Memoir, Adventure, Comedy,Adventure,Other
Molly’s story opens with her Horse mother on the phone, begging a school principal to not expel her youngest Mule from Kindergarten. Her journey continues to adulthood as she experiences a wide range of life lessons—at school, home, church, and work—until a lifelong friend asks her a random question
Molly is instantly triggered and realizes she has been living a lie. The epiphany brings an awareness that everything in her life has happened for her, not to her. As the floodgates open, she recalls mystical experiences and feels once again the innocent joy of her childhood and love for all beings.
Southern United States
Based on a True Story
Plot - Premise
Plot - Other Elements
Happy Ending, Meaningful Message, Philosophical Questions, Twist, Coming of Age,Philosophical Questions,Coming of Age
Mature Audience Themes
Information not completed
Main Character Details
Key Traits: Engaging, Adventurous, Badass, Confident, Flexible, Lone Wolf, Modest, Clumsy, Funny, Gracious, Honorable, Leader, Beautiful, Decisive, Educated, Faithful, Heroic, Visionary, Aspiring, Charming, Empathetic, Outspoken, Perseverance, Skillful, Complex, Unapologetic,Adventurous,Empathetic,Educated,Obedient,Visionary
Additional Character Details
Key Traits: Decisive, Empathetic, Gracious, Honorable, Engaging, Heroic, Unapologetic, Adventurous, Beautiful, Blunt, Funny, Confident, Faithful, Outspoken, Aspiring, Badass, Charming, Complex,Funny,Faithful
Additional Character Details
Key Traits: Aggressive, Greedy, Manipulative, Masculine, Sarcastic, Villainous,Blunt,Power Hungry
Additional Character Details
Key Traits: Empathetic, Faithful, Gracious, Honorable, Beautiful, Charming
One of the main appeals of my book is how it deals with tough issues (racism, sexism, bullying, classism, etc.) in a non-threatening manner. By making all of the characters animals, I feel that I have created an amiable platform for exploring the challenging issues we humans face. I did not write this story with TV or film in mind, but readers have told me repeatedly how they saw the animated story in their mind’s eye. My book could either be made into a film, including the key elements of Molly’s story, or broken into segments for TV. Many more stories could be written to elaborate on the different phases of Molly’s life and journey. During a radio show interview about my book the host kept asking me how I made this story light and deep at the same time. I think the broad range of emotions elicited by Molly’s story is part of the answer. As a young Mule, she wants to please her parents. She soon encounters stereotypes and societal conditioning, however, and is taught that she is supposed to behave in a certain way. In her heart of hearts, Molly knows that these norms are ridiculous and that she has to simply be herself. Molly’s story appeals to a wide age-range. Grandmothers have told me that their eight-year grandchildren loved the book, that they were intrigued by how animals feel and live. Another reader in her 70’s told me that she goes back to my book time and again, learning something new each time. Thank you for considering my book for your next project.
Molly grew up as a young mule learning traditional values from her parents. She is a bit boy crazy in searching for love until she realizes she needs to follow her heart in loving herself. Molly the mule enjoys a successful career as a talented math professor until she quits to spend time with her friends and learn true self-acceptance.
Authors Writing Style: FAIR
Franchise Potential: FAIR
Accuracy of Book Profile
The book profile logline focuses on a small portion of Molly's experiences in discussing about her mystic realm realizations while camping. This doesn't seem like a main plot point of the storyline as the theme of her self-acceptance seems to stem more from her friendship with Betsy. The development pitch also discusses franchise potential rather than the singular book which doesn't make as much sense as the audience is not yet attached to any of the characters. Explaining more why the themes and characters are worth attention may help focus the development pitch on the current story and increase emotional investment.
Draw of Story
The concept of learning what life lessons a mule has to teach is intriguing. The frame story sets up characters quickly and creates expectations for the character journey of the protagonist to achieve self-actualization.
The logic of the world building can be very confusing at times in terms of social rules and anthropomorphic capabilities. The protagonist's inner conflict is not always apparent or consistent. By setting clear rules for the storyverse, events may be more logical in terms of blocking and such. For example the frame story discusses how the mom horse eats meat on pizza but the narrative also discusses how the mom doesn't eat meat but makes fake meat, but both are told with the same hindsight of the mule narrator.
Use of Special Effects
THE STORY RELIES HEAVILY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS
Primary Hook of Story
The hook is that the mule has many relatable problems to other mammals like human emotions but also specifically mule related problems such as hearing and romance possibilities.
Depending on the type of drame or if there is animation will affect the size of the audience. The adult coming of age themes might be too mature for children as the primary target of animated films so would have a smaller audience. The experimental nature of a live action version might also create a smaller adult audience. This could be a niche cult classic though if it is able to fulfill its potential.
Based on the audience versus the genre possibilities this is unlikely to have awards potential. Its creativity is a big driving factor, but the style of adaptation and choice in genre would be a deciding factor for any nominations.
Similar Films/TV Series
ZOOTOPIA, FATHER OF THE PRIDE, SORRY TO BOTHER YOU, WILD, HIDDEN FIGURES, ROBIN HOOD (DISNEY ANIMATED FILM), BOJACK HORSEMAN
What’s New About the Story
The originality of the mule story comes from different elements about being a mule specifically that are relatable to other outliers searching for find self-acceptance. For example, Molly's sterility challenge as well as her biting other students and feeling different from her parents. By focusing more on her condition as a mule and less on her humanity, there may be more uniqueness to her story and romances.
Molly is a stubborn mule who cares for her family so much so that she sometimes goes against her own wishes to uphold their values. Eventually she learns independence and uses her smart to be successful both in her career and finding a true purpose in her social life.
Uniqueness of Story
This is a very memorable premise, but the logic in the world building is confusing at times and the establishment of the internal conflict for the protagonist is delayed.
Film - Indie, Film - Streaming, Film - Studio, TV Series - Network, TV Series - Cable, TV Series - Limited Run / Mini-Series, TV Series - Streaming
WORK IN PROGRESS
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
There is a lot of great life lessons in this piece but focusing on just a few with a clear path of the progress in the protagonist's internal conflict from the beginning would help clarify the message of the narrative to be more cohesive. Setting a firm foundation for the rules of the animal world both socially and physically would also help create more plausibility and logic in the narrative.