Beyond the Song

Book Cover


1960s & '70s

Carol Selick

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Submision Type



Beyond the Song is a coming-of-age story taking place in the tumultuous "Sixties and early 'Seventies. Singer-songwriter Carol Marks lands in a series of dangerous situations and narrow escapes. She meets two important mentors - Hall of Famer songwriter Rose McCoy and a fictionalized psychoanalyst.


Biographical,Historical Fiction

Short Summary

It's the summer of 1971, and singer-songwriter Carol Marks and her best friend Nina are looking for an apartment in New York. Carol is standing on a street corner when Marvin, a complete stranger lets her use the phone in his apartment. They get involved and she ends up subletting his apartment.


New Jersey, Washington DC, California, New York City

Based on a True Story


Plot - Premise

Internal Journey/Rebirth

Plot - Other Elements

Coming of Age

Mature Audience Themes

Nudity, Language/Profanity,Substance Abuse

Main Character Details

Name: Carol Marks

Age: 21

Gender: Female

Role: Protagonist

Key Traits: Aspiring,Charming,Complex,Sexy,Funny,Romantic,Educated,Naive

Additional Character Details

Name: Bruce Pasternak

Age: 30

Gender: Male

Role: Emotional

Key Traits: Charming,Complex,Confident,Empathetic,Secretive,Funny,Educated,Honorable

Additional Character Details

Name: Nina

Age: 20

Gender: Female

Role: sidekick

Key Traits: Adventurous,Aspiring,Confident,Empathetic,Engaging,Faithful,Flexible,Funny,Visionary,Educated

Additional Character Details

Name: Melanie Bloom

Age: 21

Gender: Female

Role: sidekick

Key Traits: Adventurous,Badass,Charming,Complex,Empathetic,Engaging,Romantic

About The Author

Carol Selick is a singer and songwriter who lives in New Jersey and has recorded two CDs. She performs in clubs and outdoor concerts in the tri-state area. In her debut novel Beyond the Song, she transforms her songs into chapters based loosely on her experiences in the music business, during the 1960’s and 70’s. Her chapters and songs reflect the challenges of a young woman coming of age during this tumultuous time of sex, drugs and rock & roll.

Target Audiences

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

Target Gender: Female Leaning

Group Specific

Information not completed

Publishing Details

Status: Yes: self-published

Publisher: BookBaby

Year Published: 2021

Hard Copy Available







Carol takes chances and lands on her feet in NYC to pursue songwriting. She is swayed by the influences of rebelling and the siren calls of men, but Carol remains dedicated to her dream. With the help of therapist Bruce, Carol decides what she really wants out of life and how to get it. Carol and her friend Rose go on to create memorable songs about their glory days as young women in the 1960s and 1970s New York.

Overall Rating


Point of View


Narrative Elements

Authors Writing Style: FAIR

Characterization: FAIR

Commerciality: FAIR

Franchise Potential: FAIR

Pace: FAIR

Premise: GOOD

Structure: FAIR

Theme: FAIR

Accuracy of Book Profile

The book profile generally mirrors the book. Although more boyfriends such as Robbie generally tend to be more influential than other characters listed such as Melanie and Nina despite the themes of women empowerment throughout the story. Carol is also listed as Linda in the development pitch. The pitch could also shift focus to the more marketable elements of the themes in the story rather than expand on just the plot and genre.

Draw of Story

Carol's nonchalance about her whirlwind relationships and the work she puts in to heal in therapy is something to behold. It is definitely interesting to watch her mature and take hold of her life in every aspect.

Possible Drawbacks

The protagonist tends to tell their feelings instead of show their feelings which can create distance rather than intimacy with the character despite being in first person due to the hindsight required to analyze the emotions rather than observe the feelings physically as they react. The structure of following the men to different adventures can also feel like it delays the songwriting main conflict or demotes it to a subplot at times.

Use of Special Effects


Primary Hook of Story

The hook is that Carol is an aspiring songwriting at 22 but moves to NYC before she is fully ready and healed from past traumas.

Fanbase Potential

This could potentially have a medium sized fanbase with some restructuring and more focus on refining the motivation. The free love and drug themes maybe minimize some of the more conservative crowd.

Awards Potential

This is unlikely to have awards potential without clarification the the messages about Carol's relationships and or a more central theme being apparent about her songwriting.

Envisioned Budget


Similar Films/TV Series


What’s New About the Story

The originality stems from Carol's dream to be a singer-songwriter writing from her life experiences coming of age during a large cultural shift in America. Focusing more on Carol and less on her romances could help make the struggle to become a songwriter and write songs more central.

Lead Characters

Carol is talented, confident and determined. Rose is kindhearted and sociable. Bruce is magnanimous and professionally aloof but warm.

Uniqueness of Story

This has a lot of different neat themes to explore as an independent feature of 1960s/1970s NYC but without the tone of a 1960s film. It is an accessible coming of age drama but focusing more on the main conflict and inner conflict transformation at least through thematic matching could help make the pacing and structure feel more cohesive.

Possible Formats

Film: Streaming, Indie, Studio

Analyst Recommendation



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

Refining Carol's motivation about songwriting to be present in all aspects of her story rather than just sometimes she writes about her experiences after the fact (not all cases but some relationships) will help make the pacing feel more tied structurally to the rising actions towards a unified climax. Making the side characters also have transformations and more apparent inner conflicts will help make them feel more dynamic.