Thursday, June 07, 2007
Guess the Plot
1. "The Warmonger" sounds so, well, unfriendly, so the president has a new, more genial button made up for himself.
2. Ancient legends tell of a man who can seed murderous madness in people's minds by merely walking amongst them. When a peaceful rally in Washington disintegrates into a riot that leaves hundreds dead, federal agent Tim Carter begins to suspect the "Peacetaker" is more than a legend.
3. "Imagine," said Alex, a device that will sound a bell whenever you're in deep concentration on a task. It will pull you away from whatever you're doing and demand you devote your attention to something totally trivial." "Outstanding," replied Tom. "We'll call it the 'peacetaker' because it takes away your peace and quiet!" "No," corrected Alex. "We'll call it the 'telephone.'"
4. Sardacious calls himself the Peacetaker--when he shows up, negotiations collapse. Now a fragile truce between the Torinthian Empire and the Siverean Elves has caught his attention--and he's determined to apply his talents.
5. When peace has spread it's bounty across the land, an evil unlike any other arises: The Peacetaker. War, Death and Pestilence follow him like trusty hounds as he destroys the Realm of Barrok. Can the druids of Hashenhak stop him before it's too late?
6. Years ago Jack Jackson was a Navy Seal sniper. Now he’s been placed on a special task force to bring peace to the Middle East. Using the latest in military technology and a crack team of special forces operatives from around the globe, Jack vows to bring peace – no matter how many bodies he has to step over.
Ancients believed that once in a Blue Moon a child with peace-taker powers is born. Such child, when grown to maturity, can seed murderous madness in people's minds by merely walking amongst them. [Imagine George Bush walking through Baghdad--or through the Democratic Convention--and you'll see the Peacetaker is no mere myth.] A simple amulet activates the Peacetaker’s powers.
When a federal agent, Tim Carter, undercover as a business executive [comma] sets out to visit Dr. Stella Hunter, he wants to gain insight on possible causes of an outbreak of madness at a peaceful women's rally in Cairo. He means to use a short footage of the riot – and his scarred face – to persuade her to help him without probing his reasons. [What are his reasons?]
[Tim: I want your insight on why a women's rally in Egypt became a riot.
Tim: I have here some footage of the riot.
Stella: But why do you want my help?
Tim (removing his mask): I also have scars on my face.
Stella: No more! I'll talk! I'll tell you anything! Just put the mask back on.]
Stella Hunter's a closet mythology expert, much ridiculed for her lifelong passion expressed by means of a controversial book: "Myths and Legends: The Ribbons of Truth." [Stella's title is almost as bad as yours.] Carter has a copy he took [stole] from a dying man’s bedside.
In her book, she traced the Peacetaker legend through almost every ancient civilization. [The Greeks, the Romans, the Ferengi, the Borg . . . ] Each culture sought to document the Peacetaker's arrival in their own way, whether through a cartouche, scroll or stone tablets. [For instance, there was a third stone tablet that Moses couldn't carry down the mountain on his first trip, and that he didn't feel like going back for because it had only one commandment on it. It read: Thou shalt steer clear of false idols, mimes, thy neighbor's sheep, and especially the Peacetaker.] Stella concluded that when it comes to dreams from which legends are spun, people, regardless of time, creed and color, tend to dream alike. [That's the controversial theory that's brought her ridicule in her field? That's nothing.] [So far there's more here about Stella's book than yours.] However an Egyptian colleague who sought her out at a Los Angeles conference insisted that legends were spun from reality, not dreams. He'd spent nearly ten years tracking down the whereabouts of the child he believed is the modern-day Peacetaker, and maintained that he was very close to finding him - very close. Stella thought he was a crackpot. [Look who's talking. Everybody who's anybody thinks she's a crackpot.]
The next day, [The next day after what? Nothing's happened yet.] a peaceful rally at the Mall in Washington disintegrates into a murderous riot that leaves hundreds dead and thousands injured. And suddenly, Stella and Carter are forced to consider the unthinkable: What if the Egyptian crackpot’s quest for the modern-day Peacetaker was fruitful . . . ?
It's not so much a matter of whether the crackpot's quest was fruitful. It's a matter of whether the Peacetaker exists. Even if the crackpot never found him, the Peacetaker can still cause peacelessness, right? Or does the crackpot have the amulet? No, because there was an earlier riot in Cairo.
I think this Peacetaker story was dreamed up by some guy trying to avoid being punished for starting a riot. Back when any crime would get you crucified or burned at the stake, some guy probably said, "I started the riot, but I was helpless, under the control of . . . that man! He's . . . the Peacetaker! Get him!" Once it worked once, everybody was doing it.
Does Carter go to Stella because he suspects the Peacetaker exists? Just because there was a riot in Egypt? Is this guy a federal agent, or a superstitious nutcase?
Instead of Peacetaker, call him Varlogg, Scourge of Serenity.
Okay, the writing's clear enough, and the situation's interesting, but less background and more action would be better, I think. Doesn't your main plot thread start with the Washington riot? Is the Peacetaker motivated to move on and start more trouble? Are they chasing him? Is the crackpot helping? That seems more interesting than the history of Peacetakers.