ELLA'S WAR - An American Woman in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)

SUSANA AIKIN susanaaikin@yahoo.com 1449452896315

ACTION HISTORICAL FICTION WAR LGBT ROMANCE POLITICAL ADVENTURE EPIC DRAMA

Earlier 20th Century,1920s & '30s

SUSANA AIKIN

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Submision Type

book

Logline

ELLA'S WAR is an epic tale relating the experiences of an American woman who joins the Lincoln Battalion's Medical Brigade during the Spanish Civil War and lives through crucial moments of the International Brigades' resistance against Franco's army backed by Hitler and Mussolini.

Genre

Action,Historical Fiction,War,LGBT,Romance,Political,Adventure,Epic,Drama

Short Summary

Ella arrives at the Lincoln Medical Brigade's trench hospital in the Teruel front, asking to be recruited as a driver. Because she carries no oficial references, she is viewed with suspicion and put to the test by being sent into conflict with an ambulance to recover injured soldiers.

Setting

Spain (Madrid, Barcelona, Teruel front) 1937

Based on a True Story

No

Plot - Premise

Internal Journey/Rebirth,Voyage and Return,Tragedy

Plot - Other Elements

Coming of Age,Philosophical Questions,Meaningful Message

Mature Audience Themes

Extreme Violence,Nudity

Main Character Details

Name: Ella Forrest

Age: 24

Gender: Female

Role: Protagonist

Key Traits: Adventurous,Badass,Desperate,Blunt,Sarcastic,Skillful,Unapologetic,Educated

Additional Character Details

Name: James Allen

Age: 27

Gender: Lgbt

Role: Protagonist

Key Traits: Visionary,Romantic,Secretive,Sophisticated,Insecure,Selfless,Aspiring,Charming,Gracious,Educated,Empathetic

Additional Character Details

Name: Noah Lenski

Age: 28

Gender: Male

Role: protagonist

Key Traits: Adventurous,Masculine,Narcisstic,Uneducated,Complex,Heartthrob,Heroic,Leader,Seductive,Strong Moral Code,Visionary,Funny,Patriotic,Charming

Additional Character Details

Name: Dr. Edward Barsky

Age: 48

Gender: Male

Role: mentor

Key Traits: Confident,Decisive,Empathetic,Faithful,Leader,Masculine,Patriotic,Blunt,Selfless,Skillful,Strong Moral Code,Educated,Honorable

About The Author

SUSANA AIKIN is a New York writer and filmmaker, who has three published books: a film memoir, Digging Up the Salt Mines, Ishtar Press 2014, and two novels, We Shall See the Sky Sparkling, Kensington Books, NY, 2019, winner of the American Fiction Award for Best Historical Fiction, 2019; The Weight of the Heart, also published by Kensington Books, NY, 2020. As a filmmaker, she has multiple awards including NYFA and ROCKEFELLER fellowships (1996) and an EMMY award (1997). Her last award was a NYFA City Artist Corps Grant in 2021.

Target Audiences

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

Target Gender: Universal

Group Specific

Information not completed

Publishing Details

Status: No

Hard Copy Available

No

ISBN

Information not completed

Genre

ACTION, ROMANCE, LGBT, DRAMA, WAR

Brief

Ella is an American who joins a Republican medical brigade during the Spanish Civil War. On the run from her father, she first finds a lot of distrust on the battle lines both for being a woman and for not having official papers. During the conflict, Ella makes great friends, falls in love a few times, and encounters terrible enemies. In the end, after the defeat of her allies and the death of almost everyone she knew, she decides to train to act as a spy against Nazi forces at the beginning of World War II.

Overall Rating

GOOD

Point of View

FIRST PERSON

Narrative Elements

Authors Writing Style: EXCELLENT

Characterization: GOOD

Commerciality: FAIR

Franchise Potential: GOOD

Pace: EXCELLENT

Premise: GOOD

Structure: GOOD

Theme: GOOD

Accuracy of Book Profile

James and Noah are no protagonists. No matter how important they are to the plot, their position is that of supporting characters. The development pitch is excellent, but the short summary could be better worked on to bring up the most emotionally relevant plot points. As it is, we know the story’s beginning and how it ends, but it seems that all sense of the protagonist's journey is lost, which should impress and attract us in this topic.

Draw of Story

What draws us into the story from the beginning is the complex situation in which the protagonist Ella finds herself, in which it isn’t easy to trust someone fully or for anyone to trust her fully. In addition, the descriptions are vibrant and inspired, and the main character herself has a profound development, things that make us delve more into the story with each new page.

Possible Drawbacks

Nothing made me want to put the book down. Although some of the more philosophical passages are a bit long, the author’s writing is so pervasive that it’s hard to lose interest.

Use of Special Effects

THE STORY RELIES A LITTLE BIT ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

Primary Hook of Story

The leading hook is that we have a strong female protagonist, but at the same time with a complex character and with convictions that develop throughout the narrative. Another issue that can also generate a lot of interest is the fact that the film focuses on the Spanish Civil War, a relatively little explored conflict in cinema, which ends up, in a way, in the Second World War.

Fanbase Potential

It’s hard to think of a giant fan base for a story like this, but certainly, viewers interested in historical narratives, war movies, or tragic romances will have a lot to see here. The various intersections of genres that the film brings are also an element that can help a lot.

Awards Potential

Certainly, an adaptation that bets on a good cast, technical precision, and a restrained dramatic direction could think of Awards, especially since it is a type of story that attracts that kind of look. On the other hand, because it is a conflict that seems so far away for us, the production may also find some difficulty in this area.

Envisioned Budget

LARGE BUDGET

Similar Films/TV Series

PEARL HARBOR - A DRAMATIC WAR FILM THAT HAS PART OF ITS NARRATIVE FOCUSED ON A LOVE TRIANGLE BETWEEN OTHERWISE GOOD FRIENDS. BLACK BOOK - THE STORY OF A FEMALE SPY IN WWII GERMANY. IT HAS SIMILARITIES FOR PUTTING A WOMAN AT THE CENTER OF A WAR NARRATIVE IN WHICH MORALITY IS COMPLEX TO UNDERSTAND IN MOST CHARACTERS.

What’s New About the Story

The most original element in narrative terms is that the author centers her story on a foreign conflict still little explored in American cinema. On the other hand, her writing and how she makes descriptions also bring very original elements to this story. Perhaps the biggest problem is that the book seeks to center its story too much on American characters when in a foreign conflict, and there doesn’t seem to be much point in that. In addition, narratives starring women in conflict scenarios would not need to involve novels, which has become a cliché in this type of story. However, it fits well in this case because it happens organically.

Lead Characters

The protagonist stands out primarily due to the very rich journey that she lives throughout this narrative. She goes from a spoiled and rebellious young woman to an idealistic defender of the cause of freedom, and finally to a woman with no illusions about the world but still determined to do what she thinks is right. Therefore, the protagonist is a complex woman who goes through many transformative experiences but is also courageous and capable of immoral actions to achieve her goals and save herself and those she loves. She is a character who, despite several inconsistencies and not being perfect, is easy to root for and like.

Uniqueness of Story

It is not yet a rare gem, but it is an exceptional narrative with interesting characters, a compelling background, a creative writing style, and a lot of action, holding the reader’s attention from beginning to end. The elimination or adaptation of a few conveniences and clichés can make it become a rare gem.

Possible Formats

Film: Studio, Streaming TV Series: Limited Run / Mini-Series

Analyst Recommendation

CONSIDER

Justification

The best narratives usually start with good characters, exciting situations to follow, and compelling scenarios. ‘Ella’s War’ stands out for bringing all three things together in one package. One of the book’s most interesting aspects is how the trajectory of the protagonist Ella reflects that of the Spanish Civil War itself, from the initial revolutionary euphoria, through the violent and bloody unfolding, ending in the bitter disappointment of defeat. The protagonist begins the narrative as a young woman still very raw for life, ends up agreeing with the ideals of her companions in arms, but ends the story without grand illusions, with almost all her friends dead. But that doesn’t discourage Ella, allowing her to continue her struggle, now as a spy, which can even generate a sequel. As said before, the setting here is essential because it is still little known to the average viewer. In this case, there appears to have been in-depth historical research. The author brings several vital details of the conflict very intertwined with the story, such as actual characters, the fifth column, and the paranoia aroused in the population by the fascist leaders, which elevates both the narrative and our knowledge regarding this war, how it happened, and its consequences. The story is also full of twists, with many characters and events that are difficult to follow but seem adequate to the chaos of a conflict of this magnitude, especially civil war. This gives a welcome tone of constant urgency to the plot and keeps us stuck on the edge of our seats at all times. After all, the danger is real and very close. The problems are just a few inconsistencies and occasional clichés. For example, it might not be a good idea to say so generally that the Spaniards are disorganized and unsystematic. Also, why, amid a foreign conflict, make the protagonist’s passions all American? Wouldn’t some involvement with people of local origin make sense too? And this involvement itself is a bit of an overused trope in this kind of narrative, although it fits organically into the story. Other than that, there aren’t many issues to report. The narrative is well written and developed, with the potential for a compelling adaptation from an emotional and historical point of view.