She Fell

Wendy Weiss

Book Cover



    Core Theme














    A college student was convicted of murdering her twin sister in the grand canyon. Declaring her innocence, she tells the story from her prison cell.

    Target Audiences

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

    Target Gender: Female Leaning


    Grand Canyon - Hermit Road Lookout & Federal Women's Prison in Arizona

    Based on a True Story


    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: self-published

    Starting Description

    The story begins from Emily's (Em) prison cell, describing her relationship with her twin sister as she walks us through the events that occured at the Hermit Road Lookout in the Grand Canyon. Per Emily, her sister fell to her death, but a witness stated that she saw Emily push her.

    Ending Description

    Emily remembered that when she and her sister were 13 years old, she pushed her into a mirror and her sister died. The shock split her personality and Emily lived on. The woman who Em pushed on Hermit Rd. was the witnesses sister who interfered when Em was taking a selfie with her imaginary sister

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available




    Mature Audience Themes


    Plot - Other Elements


    Plot - Premise


    Main Character Details

    Name: Emily

    Age: 20

    Gender: Female

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Badass,Aggressive,Complex,Desperate,Educated,Insecure,Masculine,Blunt,Outspoken,Unapologetic

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Jessica

    Age: 20

    Gender: Female

    Role: Sidekick

    Key Traits: Charming,Confident,Faithful

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this




    Emily is in the Grand Canyon with her sister when suddenly the girl disappears. A body is found down there in the valley, and the girl is eventually accused of murder. She is arrested but continues to claim her innocence. In the end, we found out that the girl had killed her sister when she was 13 years old, but because she didn't accept her loss, she continued to see her around.

    Overall Rating


    Point of View


    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: GOOD

    Characterization: GOOD

    Commerciality: GOOD

    Franchise Potential: FAIR

    Pace: FAIR

    Premise: GOOD

    Structure: FAIR

    Theme: GOOD

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    Yes, it's accurate, but the author could have added more characters to the profile, like her parents and Brian.

    Draw of Story

    We already start the story knowing she's in jail. This makes the plot more dramatic and eye-catching because we want to know if she killed her sister in the Grand Canyon or not. The backstory told by Emily also gives us a good idea of the relationship between the two girls, and begins to deliver clues about Emily's behavior. So this opening narration that mixes prison drama with Emily's backstory is effective in attracting us.

    Possible Drawbacks

    While the mix of subjects between backstory and life in jail makes the story more robust in terms of content, it also makes us lose some focus on the central narrative of her sister's death, or the mystery of the Grand Canyon. Daily life in prison brings drama in the present time, but it ends up making the whole narrative with a feeling that the story doesn't move, that everything is a bit static, and this ends up having a negative effect.

    Use of Special Effects


    Primary Hook of Story

    The hook is the mystery itself. Did she or did she not kill her sister in the Grand Canyon? The parents seem to believe so, and they even have a hostile attitude towards Emily, but she's pretty convincing that she didn't do anything because she loved her sister. So the mystery that is being solved in front of us is, in fact, the hook of the story.

    Fanbase Potential

    It's a thriller with a dose of crime, a bit of psychological horror, and a strong plot twist at the end. Fans of this mixture might be attracted. However, the combination of investigation and thriller can diminish some of the weirdness and psychological tone that we have with the character of Emily.

    Awards Potential

    If the adaptation focuses more on Emily's mental issues, the turmoil of emotions she finds herself in, and the imaginative way in which she tries to get over a massive loss, it could catch the attention of some critics.

    Envisioned Budget


    Similar Films/TV Series


    What’s New About the Story

    This kind of movie with a big twist at the end is not entirely original, but combining that with a police investigation brings a diverse mix to the genre.

    Lead Characters

    The backstory helps us a lot to understand the characters. We find out a lot about Emily, how she thinks, what she likes, what annoys her, what she fears. We also get to know a lot about Jessica's choices and desires and about Emily's parents. The author gives us a lot of information in these backstories, which makes the plot more complex. And to top it off, these stories are narrated by Emily, who has a distorted view of reality, so we know that maybe these people aren't exactly like that. Perhaps she's not exactly like that also, and it's this mental confusion that makes the story more intriguing.

    Uniqueness of Story

    It's not a rare gem because we've seen this final twist before and because the descriptions of the prison end up making the narrative a bit repetitive.

    Possible Formats

    Film: Indie, Streaming, 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

    Despite the surprising style ending that we've seen in other films and that may generate comparisons, the author manages to create an interesting and weird atmosphere between sisters. From the beginning, we already notice some social problems of Emily's. She is easily irritated with things, and despite saying that she loves her sister a lot, she is always irritated and fighting with her. What could be seen as a natural fight between sisters turns out to be a psychological terror in which Emily imagines her sister is alive, and talks to her. It'll be an exciting twist at the end if the plot really manages to create this duplicity of narratives when, going back to review some scenes, we notice that it's actually possible that the sister isn't there. This duplicity needs to work. For this, the parents are fundamental. Because they are the ones who realize from the beginning that Emily developed this problem and that she sees and talks to a dead person. So, it would be good to review the parents' scenes to see if they are really convincing. They become hostile to Emily after the accident in the mirror, but they don't really seem to try to reprimand or explain what happened. They are judicially blamed for what happened, so they end up letting Emily go on believing her sister is alive, apparently in order to protect her. But is this choice convincing enough? It's understandable that they don't want their daughter going to jail, but would they accept her living a life of lies? This part requires some reflection. Jail scenes could be downsized. I understand that the book is a diary told from the cell, but for the adaptation, the suggestion is that this resource should be used sparingly. The story narrated is intense and exciting, but every time we go back to the cell, it seems that we lose the rhythm and emotion that was being built. Structurally it is not positive. It has a good plot twist, and it's intense, but it still needs some developments, especially in structure.


    Emily is arrested for pushing her twin sister off a cliff and is sent to prison. She’s an Anglophile who finds a friend in prison named Poppy, who is English. Her lawyers try to get her to go with an insanity defense but Emily is reluctant.
    When Emily’s mental illness comes to light, she accepts it and goes to a psychiatric hospital – her sister (whom she accidentally killed when she was 13) and Poppy are only in her own head and she finally accepts treatment.

    What We Liked

    Muder and prison are always a draw. Emily’s a character who’s mysterious and worthy of empathy. She’s up against a lot of obstacles. She has migraines and believes there’s no way she could have killed her beloved sister Jess. She’s fighting for her freedom and looks to her psychiatrist Brian for help. Her volatile personality keeps it interesting. When we sense that Emily isn’t right in the head,
    the mystery deepens. What really happened at that cliff?

    Film: The lead is smart and flawed. The structure would be great for a film. It builds nicely to a surprise ending. There is a strong “need to know” built in to the story.
    The supporting characters are all strong, many likeable, with a few enemies to keep it tense. It’s a nightmare scenario for anyone, and would keep audiences in their seats.

    TV: This would work for TV since there are minimal settings and plenty of act breaks that leave an audience wondering what will happen next which would encourage watching the next episode. The tension would build through the season. Each episode would have enough drama for five acts and a cliffhanger. The intimacy of the small screen lends itself to a TV show.

    Key points:
    1. Prison.
    2. A strong lead
    3. Muder.
    4. Realistic characters.
    5. Mental illness.


    Emily says she didn’t kill her fraternal twin sister - she fell into the Grand Canyon.
    Yet, she goes to prison. She was studying British literature at Harvard. She says she has anger issues, but loved her sister Jess, who fell into the canyon during spring break while Emily was taking a picture for some strangers. Emily tried to find help, but cops showed up quickly and detained her. She’s arrested on suspicion of murder. Jess was the pretty, bubbly one and Emily was more like a skinny boy. Emily lost her virginity to Jack, a goth/punk whom she was friends with despite her parents’ (Steve and Joanne) who worried that she was a lesbian.
    Her prison psychiatrist is a handsome guy named Brian, whom she thinks is a genius. Her father is in real estate and her mother in marketing. Both are successful. Her mother wishes she’d act more like Jess. Both sisters suffer from migraines. When Emily is in prison, she undergoes an invasive exam by an old dirty doctor who writes her a prescription. It’s four months until her arraignment, she’s granted no bail, and her attorney Michael Golden suggests she plead not guilty on the basis of insanity. Her attorney Shannon Dodge, who represented her in an assault case at Harvard, is who found Golden. There’s a witness who claims to have seen Emily push Jess off the cliff. The national media picks up the story. Harvard kicked her out. She often speaks with a British accent.
    She goes from one prison job to another and ends up in sewing. Brian and Golden push her to take the insanity route, partially because of her migraines, but she’s unconvinced. She pushes to find out what Brian has written about her in his reports. He tells her that her anger has contributed to his diagnoses that she has an underlying mental illness. She’s incredulous. He brings up that she had pushed Jess into a mirror sending her to the hospital when she was younger, and had another violent encounter with her mother. Her nemesis is a dreadlocked inmate named Darlene, who has a cell phone. Emily wants to use it, so she’s happy to find out Darlene’s cellmate is British (Poppy) and Emily uses her fake British accent, along with a fake UK address, to befriend her. She wants info on Darlene to leverage her into letting her use her cell phone. There are four deaths in the prison while she’s there, and she opts to talk to the pastor. She doesn’t believe in God and asks him questions which make him uncomfortable.
    Her parents and lawyers visit and they all try to get her to accept the insanity defense. They also tell her she won’t be testifying which she is not happy about.
    Emily has to leave when a migraine attacks. In the yard, she’s ignored by her friend Poppy and reminiscent about how she would ignore other kids while Jess made friends on the playground. Jess became friends with a neighbor’s kid named Lilly and they would play together until their parents forbade them from going over there because their father couldn’t get their father to invest in a real estate deal. Another day, and her and Poppy hang out and she has to make up a lie about why she has a British accent. Emily says she doesn’t like lying. Lies are hard to keep track of. Her lawyers are back, and they make her go over what happened when Jess fell again. This time Emily remembers someone talking to Jess while she was taking the pictures of the tourists. This must be the murderer.
    She wonders if it’s someone from her past taking revenge by framing her. Emily and Poppy spend a lot of time together which improves Emily’s mood immensely.
    Poppy works in the library and they talk about books they’ve read, including Agatha Christie and Stephen King. She meets with Brian and he is very interested when she tells him about Poppy. He says he thinks her fake accent is part of her mental illness. She tells him she’s considering joining the prison tai chi group. While waiting for Poppy in her and Darlene’s cell, Darlene comes in and confronts Emily. Emily attacks her, and Darlene’s posse jumps on her and beats her up. Being the attacker, Emily gets 30 days in solitary - but she’s given her pencil and paper so she can still write. She contemplates suicide, but can’t figure out how to get away with it because the guards are so vigilant.
    Jury selection begins and Emily is discouraged when prospectives whom she likes are dismissed. The judge admonishes her for talking. Everyone agrees that she should go back to prison during jury selection because of this. Her father says they know what really happened on that cliff. Emily is baffled. Back in solitary, Brian sends her a note and she responds. He’s concerned about her suicidal thoughts and wants to put her on medication. She thinks her depression is situational and declines. During her trial, she feels a migraine coming on and her mother gives her a pain pill and she gets stoned. She makes an outburst and angers the judge. She trades correspondence with Brian, who again offers antidepressants to help with her poor sleeping. She makes an outburst during her trial and is wrestled into submission by guards, then placed in a plexiglass cube.
    After two weeks, she’s convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 25 years. In solitary, she has a frightening vision that Jess appears and tells her she never fell. She writes Brian, telling him she knows that he and her parents are keeping secrets. After cutting herself on a piece of the bed frame, the guards jump on her. She writes Brian about a dream she had where she was with Jess and Jess almost fell down the stairs but doesn’t. For her, this validates that Jess never fell. Brian responds that they’re getting closer to the truth. Out of solitary, her hand becomes infected and she’s sent to the infirmary. She has surgery and they remove part of her hand.
    Brian tells her she’s getting a new trial. He also says that she gets a migraine whenever they try to talk about Jess. She finds Poppy who takes her to the library to show her picture of Serena and Venus Williams. Then, Poppy disappears. When she finally reappears she says she never went anywhere and she’s always there when Emily needs her. While anxiously awaiting a session with Brian, Poppy visits and tells her she needed her after Jess left. Baffled and annoyed, she tells her to leave. Then, she thinks she sees Poppy go into Brian’s office and hears a buzzer that the guard says didn’t go off. She has a bad headache. Brian says it’s time to talk about what happened in the canyon and she copies a bunch of documents he has and is taken back to her cell by a guard who sexually assaults her. When she finally gets a chance to read the documents, one of them is a death certificate for Deborah Mead, who fell off a cliff. The same day and time as Jess. Jess appears, and encourages her to read the next page which is Jess’s death certificate. It says she died from blood loss from mirror glass when she was 13. Her parents took the blame to protect Emily.
    Jess tells her she only lives in Emily’s mind. Brian tells her Jess never came to the Grand Canyon since she was dead and her parents opted out of treating Emily’s dissociative disorder. He says she can be transferred to a psychiatric hospital. Poppy is only in her imagination. Deborah was who she pushed off the cliff. Emily decides to go the psychiatric hospital and get treated for her illness.

    About The Author

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