John McHenry 5227001938074



John McHenry

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Two boys and their girl leader, all 10 years old, pledge with blood and spit an unbreakable united front against all adversity that comes their way and with the aid of the influence of the moon, sun and North Star fight their way to their own style of freedom.


Young Adult,Drama

Short Summary

Carla, Dean and Lyle cut school and run to play in a creek. They seal their undying love and support for each other with blood and spit.

Carla and Dean, 16 years old, steal a car and head to Mexico, guided by the moon. Carla is pregnant.


Columbus, Ohio and Portsmouth, Ohio

Based on a True Story


Plot - Premise

Overcoming Monster/Villain,Tragedy

Plot - Other Elements

Coming of Age,Meaningful Message

Mature Audience Themes

Extreme Violence,Incest,Sexual Abuse

Main Character Details

Name: Carla

Age: 10- 16

Gender: Female

Role: Emotional

Key Traits: Adventurous,Badass,Charming,Confident,Decisive,Faithful,Heroic,Leader,Secretive,Skillful,Outspoken

Additional Character Details

Name: Dean

Age: 10 - 16

Gender: Male

Role: Sidekick

Key Traits: Adventurous,Masculine,Badass,Aggressive,Obedient,Uneducated,Confident,Power Hungry,Heroic,Criminal

Additional Character Details

Name: Lyle

Age: 10-16

Gender: Male

Role: sidekick

Key Traits: Underdog,Modest,Obedient,Complex,Desperate,Educated,Insecure

Additional Character Details

Name: Sophie

Age: 14 - 25

Gender: Female

Role: antagonist

Key Traits: Criminal,Desperate,Unapologetic,Manipulative,Seductive,Villainous

Development Pitch

Carla, Lyle and Dean are 10 years old when they map out their future: both boys will marry Carla, have babies, and love one another forever. Each has harrowing life events: Carla born prematurely to a 14-year-old mother; Lyle watched a schoolmate get stabbed to death; Dean’s family has a history of violence. Carla, living with her repulsive aunt and uncle, shares a secret with Lyle and Dean, prompting them to take action to ensure that someone never touches Carla again. After the young people are separated—Carla goes to live with other relatives—Lyle and Dean go on to earn cash by stealing cars, the goal of someday heading to Mexico with Carla. Carla finds herself in a bad spot, as a threatening cousin is to be released from prison. The boys aim to rescue Carla. Their plans include lethal retribution against others who’ve wronged them. The three protagonists are sympathetic in their tenacity, and they remain so even as they descend into violence; their potential victims are unquestionably loathsome. There are glimmers of hope, primarily with a mystical plot turn: the teens are guided by “the Universe”; the North Star guides Dean; the Sun, Carla; and the Moon, Lyle. This point is ambiguous, keeping alive the possibility that the celestial “watchers” actually just exist in someone’s head, much like Carla’s imaginary friend, Suzie. A downbeat ending is inevitable—a fortuneteller predicts a dismal end for one character—the somber tale remains provocative all the way to the end.

About The Author

John McHenry is an attorney and formerly a clinical psychologist. His experience in both fields gave him a deep appreciation for the survivability of at-risk-children in a cold and uncaring world. His book Black Lick Creek and the City of Broken People follows the journey of three such survivors. He lives with his wife Mary in Southern Ohio.

Target Audiences

Age: 13-17,18-34

Target Gender: Universal

Group Specific

Information not completed

Publishing Details

Status: Yes: self-published

Publisher: Create Space

Year Published: 2016

Hard Copy Available







Dean, Carla and Lyle share a friendship that is stronger than family. They survive rough childhoods with each others help to form an unbreakable bond. The three escape from the society that did them wrong and live a life of freedom above the law. Their luck surviving against all odds starts to run out.GTH

Overall Rating


Point of View


Narrative Elements

Authors Writing Style: FAIR

Characterization: FAIR

Commerciality: FAIR

Franchise Potential: GOOD

Pace: FAIR

Premise: GOOD

Structure: FAIR

Theme: FAIR

Accuracy of Book Profile

The book profile does reflect the story for the most part. The character of Sophie is focused on but she is not really a part of the story in the later portion so it might be better to use a different character that is consistent throughout more of the story such as Moose. The celestial aspect in the profile is not as clear or more spread out in the book as a theme.

Draw of Story

Carla's childhood bond with Dean and Lyle is intriguing due to its supportive but destructive nature. The trouble the get into is beyond their years and yet they have a simplicity and innocence that makes them feel authentic in trying to figure out their complicated lives.

Possible Drawbacks

The amount of trauma presented can be relentless to the point of detachment due to overload. There is emotional investment in the characters but having more variation to the levels of the plot intensity and a sustained external conflict will lead to greater attachment.

Use of Special Effects


Primary Hook of Story

The hook is that Carla, Lyle and Dean fashion themselves as a family unit as teens through crime in order to escape the abuse they endured as children. They are described as capable of anything and live up to that description both in good and bad ways.

Fanbase Potential

With clearer internal transformations of the main characters this might have a decent fan base for the strong chemistry between the trio and their unusual relationship and independence.

Awards Potential

Due to the nature of the characters being teens and the unclear themes of the multiple external conflicts, this is unlikely to be nominated for prestigious adult awards but might win in popular youth circuits of awards.

Envisioned Budget


Similar Films/TV Series


What’s New About the Story

The originality stems from the fascinating dynamic between the three young friends who are each others best friends, romantic partners and family units. Their independence as teens and what they chose to do with their autonomy is alarming but thrilling at times.

Lead Characters

Carla is responsible, sweet and strong. Dean is reckless, smart and loyal. Lyle is adventurous, caring and dedicated.

Uniqueness of Story

This has a unique relationship dynamic but the structure of the external conflict could be adjusted to help clarify the themes and increase emotional investment in the plot and characters.

Possible Formats

Film: Streaming, Indie, Studio TV Series: Streaming, Cable, Network

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

Adding clearer inner conflicts and transformations will help maximize the three main character's investment. Focusing on the impact of less trauma with greater depth to the trauma that is presented will help define an apparent theme as the scope will be easier to follow.