First Drop of Rain by James Brosnahan | Script Revolution

First Drop of Rain



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Discovering Evelina (public domain)
After years training as a writer and witnessing men of lesser talent whose published books brought them fame, a seamstress executes her plan to publish and become the first woman to make writing novels respectable.

After her years training as a writer and witnessing men of lesser talent whose published books have brought them wealth and fame, Elizabeth Anne Pearce forms a secret plan to publish her novel. The year is 1778. It will be a historic challenge: to write a full novel in three volumes; to keep her mother and father from discovering her so-called manly enterprise; to punch a hole into the male-dominated literary world.

The movie starts with a window into the lonely world of Elizabeth, an aspiring author living in the Georgian era. She writes as rapidly as her quill pen can travel over the paper. A pile of finished manuscript is evidence that she has been at her forbidden craft for days on end.

Elizabeth is the oldest of two sisters in a family devoted to music and the performing arts. Her father is a famous opera tenor as well as author of the definitive history of music. Her sister trains her singing voice night and day. Her mother believes it wise to forbid girls to read novels. Elizabeth has no interest in music. Elizabeth's mother compels her to learn the craft of sewing. According to Mother, a seamstress is the only remaining womanly pursuit if one is not musically gifted.
Elizabeth's writing teacher and mentor encourages her to improve her writing technique through correspondence with him. This is the only family sanctioned outlet for writing, and she puts it to full advantage. Some days are spent writing a letter to her mentor, others are spent writing pages for her novel. Her father, believing that he is delivering to his publisher a series of Elizabeth's letters for the entertainment of her mentor, unwittingly delivers her manuscript instead. This starts in motion the publication process of her novel, Hannah. This secret enterprise is aided by Elizabeth's cousin who serves as liaison to the publisher, libraries and readers.

Elizabeth's novel, Hannah, is published anonymously in three volumes and eventually makes it into the hands of Elizabeth. She reads Hannah to her mentor and he proclaims the book is a masterpiece. Her mentor goes on to say that the man who wrote it is something of a genius.

Elizabeth's father eventually discovers her misdemeanor of writing a novel under his nose. He commends her accomplishment, for how can he condemn her for having written the finest novel since Fielding.

The obstacles are many for a female writer in her day. Elizabeth is at times on the verve of giving into societal prejudices, yet she musters inner strength to soldier on and complete her novel. Hannah, the fictional protagonist of Elizabeth's novel by the same name, brings to life her author's deepest emotions, thoughts and desires.

Elizabeth seeks the same recognition achieved by men and she is not ashamed to admit it. There are a few scenes in this movie that serve as social commentary and help make this character driven story unique to others.

A storm is brewing in the Georgian era. The clouds team with women who have a voice, yet lack the courage to share their stories with a critical world. In the end, Elizabeth is credited with authorship and her Hannah becomes the first drop of rain.

Based upon the book Discovering Evelina and inspired by the world and words of Frances Burney, a young lady who flew in the face of convention to write and publish a sensational novel Evelina.

Submitted: December 27, 2019
Last Updated: December 29, 2019
Times Downloaded: 9
Last Downloaded: March 30, 2020

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The Writer: James Brosnahan

Jim Brosnahan, originally from Pittsburgh via Chicago, is a graduate of the University of Dayton, a member of the Dramatists Guild of America and a published playwright. His plays have been produced across the US and England. His screenplays have earned nominations and awards at several film festivals. He teaches writing for change leaders in the business world. Jim lives in Ohio with his wife and a son with Down syndrome who keeps alive a sense of wonder in the family. Go to bio

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