Divorcing Atlanta

Timmothy B. McCann

Book Cover

GENRE

DRAMA POLITICAL ROMANCE RELIGIOUS

    Core Theme

    RELATIONSHIP BREAKDOWN

    TIME PERIOD

    Contemporary

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    ATLANTA, LOVE, MARRIAGE STORY, KRAMER VS. KRAMER, WAITING TO EXHALE, BLUE VALENTINE.

    CHARACTER LIST

    PASTOR LORENZO: 40S. LEAD. OBSESSIVE, NARCISSISTIC, CONDESCENDING, CARING, COMPASSIONATE, GENEROUS, IRRESPONSIBLE.

    ELIZABETH: 40. BLACK. LORENZO'S WIFE/EX-WIFE.

    ANDERSON: 40S. BLACK. ELIZABETH'S SECRET LOVER.

    TABITHA: 40S. WHITE. ANDERSON'S WIFE.

    MINISTER ABIODUN: 40S. BLACK. LORENZO'S BEST FRIEND.

    KENDRA: 50S. BLACK. ELIZABETH'S BEST FRIEND.

    Logline

    As he fights for his life, after an attempted suicide a southern pastor, reeling from several deaths in his family, the loss of his ministry and his wife public affair with a US Congressman, writes a series of letters to his unborn son before his eventual death.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 35-54,55+

    Target Gender: Female Leaning

    Setting

    Atlanta

    Based on a True Story

    Yes

    Publishing Details

    Status: No

    Starting Description

    The story opens with a letter to an unborn son. Lorenzo has lost it all. His wife, church and even his reputation. We meet him homeless living out of his car. He's contemplating robbing a club, but turns the gun on himself. Fighting for his life he pens a letter to the son he may never meet.

    Ending Description

    Lorenzo survives the suicide attempt and reflect on his life and the power of words in a marriage. Through his written words to his son, he's able to fully understand how he lost everything but in doing so finds a way to live again.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available

    No

    ISBN

    Information not completed

    Mature Audience Themes

    Information not completed

    Plot - Other Elements

    Meaningful Message,Philosophical Questions,Twist

    Plot - Premise

    Rags to Riches

    Main Character Details

    Name: Pastor Lorenzo Richardson

    Age: 42

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Complex,Confident,Aspiring,Charming,Modest,Sexy,Religious,Selfless,Visionary,Romantic,Faithful,Engaging,Empathetic,Educated,Leader,Sophisticated

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Elizabeth Collins Richardson Esq.

    Age: 40

    Gender: Female

    Role: Sidekick

    Key Traits: Charming,Complex,Religious,Outspoken,Engaging,Skillful,Educated,Sophisticated,Insecure,Unapologetic,Power Hungry,Narcisstic

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Congressman Anderson Banks

    Age: 51

    Gender: Male

    Role: protagonist

    Key Traits: Masculine,Aspiring,Badass,Aggressive,Charming,Narcisstic,Confident,Complex,Criminal,Patriotic,Power Hungry,Outspoken,Skillful,Greedy,Heartthrob,Visionary,Insecure,Manipulative,Unapologetic

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Tabitha Banks

    Age: 48

    Gender: Female

    Role: sidekick

    Key Traits: Underdog,Modest,Complex,Gracious,Patriotic,Selfless,Empathetic,Secretive,Educated

    Development Pitch

    Amidst the dystopian backdrop of a global pandemic, economic meltdown, political division, and racial unrest; a Pastor puts a gun to his head and does the unthinkable. In fighting for his life-he pens a letter to his unborn son. Elizabeth Collins Richardson Esq., with a deeply held secret, has her eyes on a seat in congress, and her husband Pastor Lorenzo is an ambitious church planter with a Glock. Anderson J. Banks is a single-minded U.S. Congressman with a dream of being the second black president, and his wife Tabitha is striving to be the perfect supportive spouse in a problematic interracial marriage. In this family saga, the façade these couples have built is about to be destroyed when the Pastors vision dies and his wife has an affair with the congressman. In the story lifelong secrets and hidden truths are revealed. Until the affair is reported and they are a national embarrassment. Divorcing Atlanta is a moving and timely account that will resonate with readers who believe in the unyielding power of redemption, choose love and hope over hurt and fear, and fight for what truly matters in their lives.

    Genre

    ROMANCE, MATURE AUDIENCE, DRAMA, RELIGION, POLITICS

    Brief

    In Atlanta, Georgia, the happy recent marriage between a Black church pastor and first lady slowly disintegrates during the the COVID-19 pandemic; while, in Maryland, a Black congressman's lies and infidelity destroy his presidential dream along with his marriage.

    Overall Rating

    FAIR

    Point of View

    FIRST PERSON

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: GOOD

    Characterization: GOOD

    Commerciality: FAIR

    Franchise Potential: FAIR

    Pace: FAIR

    Premise: FAIR

    Structure: FAIR

    Theme: FAIR

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    The logline could be more effective and the developmental pitch could do more to pitch the book rather than summarize it.

    Draw of Story

    Very little. The entire story is about divorce and not much else and there is very little plot. Instead, a series of scenes in a seemingly random chronology show simultaneously, over a much-too-high number of words in an extremely repetitive manner, two marriages breaking down. The most interesting aspect of the book is its vivid and authentic portrayals of life in modern America for African Americans and relationships between African Americans both romantic and otherwise. There are also themes of race relations, racism, and politics in America that are well realized and intriguing. The writing is wordy but competent, and the dialogue, while mostly inconsequential and wandering, feels authentic to how Black people might communicate in these contexts, and bristles with life and energy.

    Possible Drawbacks

    Pretty much everything about this book made me want to put it down. There is almost no story here, just endless scenes of characters talking, 90% of which is inconsequential to what little plot there is. The chronology of events is difficult to piece together at times as the scenes are seemingly randomly structured and also contain within them backstory and flashbacks. The writing is competent but much too wordy, full of information that does not advance the story. The story borders on melodrama in its over-the-top portrayals of marriages breaking down, and these breakdowns are portrayed by wild swings in the relationships from happy to unhappy to happy again repetitively. The characters themselves are interesting and have some depth to them but this positive point is smothered by the overly dramatic and sentimental feelings they experience and actions they take. The saving grace of the story is its authentic, passionate portrayals of life in America today for African Americans and relationships between this group, plus a political subplot that is at times interesting. Overall, most aspects of this story are weak and, of the premise, themes, characters and plot, none make the book worth adaptation.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY DOES NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    The hook is the book's vivid, authentic, passionate portrayals of life in America today for African Americans and relationships between African Americans both romantic and otherwise. There are also themes of race relations, racism, and politics in America that are well realized and intriguing. The writing is competent and the dialogue feels extremely authentic to how Black people might communicate in these contexts--a perspective sorely lacking from film and TV--and bristles with life and energy.

    Fanbase Potential

    Doubtful. It would need to actually have a plot first.

    Awards Potential

    No. Not good enough, needs more story.

    Envisioned Budget

    LOW BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    ATLANTA, LOVE, MARRIAGE STORY, KRAMER VS. KRAMER, WAITING TO EXHALE, BLUE VALENTINE

    What’s New About the Story

    The protagonist being a Black pastor with his positively portrayed enthusiasm for religion and faith in God is a unique element; as is the mostly Black cast of characters and the authentic portrayals of life in America today for African Americans. The story could be more unique if it focused less on a repetitive plot about divorce and more on the hardships of life in America for Black communities as well as racism and rigged economic and political systems.

    Lead Characters

    They are all African Americans who are proud of their heritage and culture. Each are complex and vivid and unique from one another and in this way the story presents us with a complex perspective of being Black in America today. The characters experience a wide range of hardships including marriage failures, financial hardships, infidelity, deception, mental illness, crisis of faith, and crime.

    Uniqueness of Story

    No, there is too much wrong with it. The story needs much more plot and less inconsequential dialogue and information. The premise of divorce is not a fresh concept nor is it executed in a fresh manner.

    Possible Formats

    Film - Indie, TV Series - Limited Run / Mini-Series

    Analyst Recommendation

    WORK IN PROGRESS

    Justification

    Nothing about it in its current form feels worthy for adaptation. Its saving grace is its complex African American characters and authentic portrayals of life in America today for Black people but the plot, premise, theme and structure are all weak and need work if this is to be considered for adaptation.

    Tips for Improvement

    More plot, much more tightly focused dialogue, more well-realized subplots that branch out from the divorce theme, a little more focus on hardships for Black Americans and racism outside of romantic relationships, better structure with more clear character and plot arcs.

    Brief

    In Atlanta, Georgia, the happy recent marriage between a Black church pastor and first lady slowly disintegrates during the the COVID-19 pandemic; while, in Maryland, a Black congressman's lies and infidelity destroy his presidential dream along with his marriage.

    What We Liked

    DIVORCING ATLANTA's vivid, authentic, passionate portrayals of life in America today for African Americans and relationships between African Americans, both romantic and otherwise, offer a representation of Black people and Black experience sorely lacking in film and TV today. Its themes of race relations, racism, and politics in America are well realized and intriguing, and the dialogue of the various Black characters feels extremely authentic, bristling with life and energy. The main characters are all African Americans who are proud of their heritage and culture; each are complex, vivid and unique from one another, and in this way the story presents us with a complex, one-size-does-not-fit-all perspective of being Black in America today. These characters experience a wide range of hardships including relationship failures, financial difficulties, infidelity, deception, mental illness, crisis of faith, and crime through desperation and greed, and through all these elements the story presents us with a complex portrait of Black America set to the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lead-up to what many believed was the most consequential presidential election of their lifetimes. Viewers Black and otherwise will identify with the immense struggle of 2020 as depicted in DIVORCING ATLANTA. Its theme of the breakdown of relationships is a universal one that every young adult and older of all cultures and creeds can identify with. As well as this, the main protagonist is a church pastor whose devotion to God and helping the community is positively portrayed, and this may speak to the millions of religious Americans who are seeing less and less portrayals of religious Americans in film and TV today. However, this religious theme is in the background of this story while the relationships and political subplot come to the fore, offering a perfect balance to attract a wide audience.

    Film: Similar to MARRIAGE STORY and KRAMER VS. KRAMER, this story about the breakdown of marriage is universally appealing to everyone young adult and older and offers the perfect story arc in its lead couples who go from happily married to unhappily divorced and on to find some sense of happiness again along with newfound independence and clarity. This makes DIVORCING ATLANTA excellent for film adaptation as this story arc can be explored perfectly over the course of a feature-length film. The story also offers ample subplots in its presidential campaign political subplot and in the subplot concerning the pastor's finances and attempts to keep his church afloat financially, which round out the story and make it feel complete. A film set to the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and featuring the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election will be appealing to audiences eager to see this trying period portrayed on screen, and the story's focus on largely African American characters and culture is an extremely welcome one today and would be well received by critics and entertainment-focused publications.

    TV: Similar to FX's ATLANTA, an adaptation of DIVORCING ATLANTA offers massive potential to explore in subtle detail the breakdowns of relationships within the Black community of Atlanta as well as the blossoming of new relationships, all set to a gritty backdrop of modern America including elements of economic and political struggles, racism and racial injustice, crime and imprisonment. There are an infinite number of potential subplots and characters to introduce over the various seasons, all revolving around relationships between characters in this highly specific community which acts as a microcosm of America. Some more white characters could be introduced, as well as Asian, Muslim, and others, to allow for over the show's run a deep exploration into race relations in America today, while the focus on political and religious themes provides opportunity for even more characters and plots. With the right team of writers, a TV series adaptation of DIVORCING ATLANTA could have many successful seasons and a wide viewership.

    Key points: Mostly African American cast; Vivid, authentic, passionate portrayals of Black culture and experience, including naturalistic dialogue; Religious characters portrayed in a positive light while also allowing them to be likable regular people; The portrayals of marriage breakdown are moving and powerful; The story's setting of America in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic and presidential campaign will be well received by audiences eager to see this period portrayed onscreen

    Synopsis

    ATLANTA, GEORGIA, JUNE 2020: REV. DR. LORENZO HOSEA RICHARDSON (42, Black), divorced and living in his car, swigs from a bottle of alcohol and goes to rob a nightclub with his gun. Inside, he gets cold feet, exits the club, and shoots himself in the head. ONE YEAR EARLIER: Lorenzo and ELIZABETH (40, Black) are a happily (recently) married couple as Pastor and First Lady of their new congregation, but cracks are beginning to show in the relationship as the financial strain of buying a huge new church and lavish home increases, and Lorenzo’s sometimes narcissistic and condescending personality clashes with Elizabeth’s free spirit. MINISTER ABIODUN from Nigeria, a good friend of Anderson, helps keeps the church afloat financially.

    Meanwhile, CONGRESSMAN ANDERSON BANKS (40s, Black) and his wife TABITHA (40s, white) strive to launch Anderson’s presidential campaign, but their relationship comes under strain when Anderson has an affair with his new employee, Elizabeth, which culminates in all of Anderson’s infidelity, illegal business dealings, and myriad lies—including a plagiarized bestselling book—becoming exposed, ending his presidential hopes forever, ending his marriage, and sending Anderson to prison. Elizabeth’s affair proves to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back in her and Lorenzo’s marriage, resulting in divorce. After the divorce, the couple try to rekindle the flame one final time unsuccessfully, leading to Lorenzo’s suicide attempt.

    Years later, Elizabeth and Tabitha live in Alabama and are happy, while Lorenzo’s church and all the good he accomplished through it lives on under the leadership of Pastor Abiodun. It turns out that Anderson survived the suicide attempt after all, and wrote a series of letters about love, marriage, and faith to his son.

    About The Author

    Timmothy B. McCann is the author of national bestseller UNTIL. A former collegiate football player, educator, and owner of a financial planning firm, Timmothy is now a commercial real estate broker. In 2018 he founded First Day Christian Center, a ministry dedicated to helping those in need in Atlanta, Georgia.