Book Cover


17th Century or Earlier

Derek Stephen McPhail

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Logline "A young man struggles to help his family to freedom through the natural law that defines him." (After a remarkable spiritual experience, arriving at the sacred Wendat mountain village of Ekarenniondi, Onditachiae develops his skills to help his loved ones survive the coming smallpox.)



Short Summary

Still grieving the loss of his parents, Onditachiae (15) spends much of his time exploring the bush near the Ojibwe village of Michigiwatinong on the shore of Lake Mindemooyasebe, While shielding his eyes from the dazzling sun off the water, he visualizes better times in his youth.


Georgian Bay (Ekarenniondi) and Manitoulin Island (Mnidoo Mnising) in Lake Huron (1649)

Based on a True Story


Plot - Premise

Overcoming Monster/Villain,Internal Journey/Rebirth

Plot - Other Elements

Coming of Age,Twist,Meaningful Message,Philosophical Questions

Mature Audience Themes

Extreme Violence,Sexual Abuse

Main Character Details

Name: Onditachiae

Age: 15

Gender: Male

Role: Protagonist

Key Traits: Empathetic,Insecure,Visionary,Modest,Lone Wolf

Additional Character Details

Name: Otsehaweh

Age: 14

Gender: Female

Role: Protagonist

Key Traits: Adventurous,Badass,Confident,Engaging,Heroic

Additional Character Details

Name: Jesuit Pere General Jean

Age: 55

Gender: Male

Role: antagonist

Key Traits: Villainous,Narcisstic,Religious,Power Hungry,Educated,Manipulative,Greedy,Crazy

Additional Character Details

Name: Deer Clan Matriarch Aataentsic

Age: ageless goddess

Gender: Female

Role: mentor

Key Traits: Confident,Decisive,Gracious,Leader,Skillful,Charming,Empathetic

About The Author

Born in Northern Ontario at Sault Ste. Marie, Derek spent much of his adult life as a performer or staging technician. Derek studied both, Theatre Tech and later, Film Studies, at Ryerson University, (now Toronto Metropolitan University), in Toronto. Derek Stephen McPhail resides in the charming village of Mindemoya on Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada. Derek's first feature film script, "Outlaw Trail", is a magic realism historical western, set primarily in Texas in 1858. His second script, "Return To Sender", based on a story idea about sex trafficking, by "Merdick Earl McFarlane", is a contemporary noir crime mystery, set primarily in Atlanta, Georgia. Derek has now completed the first of the "Dreaming Together" trilogy, another magic realism inspired historical romance, set in Manitoulin Island and Georgian Bay, Ontario area in 1649, during a small pox pandemic. Now currently working on book two, "Vultures on Blue Mountain", set in Collingwood, Ontario in 1980.

Target Audiences

Age: 13-17,18-34,35-54,55+

Target Gender: Universal

Group Specific

Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada

Publishing Details

Status: Yes: with a Publisher

Publisher: Float Street Press, Silver City, New Mexico, U.S.A.

Year Published: 2021

Hard Copy Available



ISBN: 9798524537829




It is the early days of Manitoulin Island’s Ojibwe tribe’s colonization. The native tribe and families on the island are torn apart by the effects of the smallpox, religion and the fur trade industry. Some try to protect their longstanding culture against the onslaught of the Jesuits while others fight to save their people instead of saving traditions.

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: GOOD

Accuracy of Book Profile

n/a no profile

Draw of Story

The premise and time time period are quite rare when it comes to Native representation in mainstream media. It is compelling the see the indigenous perspective within history, and it is clear extra care was taken to eliminate opticians and hindsight of history to try to be accurate to multiple experiences within the situation.

Possible Drawbacks

The dialogue can lack nuance at times where is tells instead of shows the external conflict and plot advancements. By creating more nuanced dialogue to enhance a plot that shows the timeline of events, the dialogue will sound more realistic and the characters will be able to adapt to more distinct speech patterns.

Use of Special Effects


Primary Hook of Story

The hook is that this is primarily the perspective of the native population during the beginning of the French colonization of Canada. There is very little character focus on specific Frenchman and following the native characters as the protagonists is an incentive to watch.

Fanbase Potential

This could have a medium to small fan base depending as while although indigenous people still lack enough representation in media, the current trend is to show the modern native. While the historical drama has a fresh perspective the themes are somewhat common place for a historical drama about colonialism in the postmodern cinema era.

Awards Potential

This may have potential in design for costume and makeup awards due the unique potential for the highly specific history of the island. Without further character development this may not garner any acting awards outside of honoring the representation is has the potential to provide to native minorities in acting.

Envisioned Budget


Similar Films/TV Series


What’s New About the Story

The originality of the story stems from the historical setting and time period and the viewpoints from which the story is told. By adding more dynamic elements to the characters, the emotional impact and investment of the story would increase exponentially. Whereas the strong sense of place is evident, creating a universal appeal of character transformation will help make the original characters stand out further amidst the plot. The conflict between the native characters is what is most unique about the narrative so minimizing the obvious French antagonists would help create an even more unique perspective of character headspace in the story. The spirit mythology is also very intriguing but the tone can feel unbalanced when shown in contrast to the Roman Catholic French characters. Abrahamic religions lack symbols and focus on abstractions and words versus where Ojibwe animism relies on symbolism from tangible experiences so cutting between the two such as when the native characters’ spirits disappear in the abbey can feel jarring. The tone can come across more like magical realism than representing plausible equality between the two religions.

Lead Characters

Atteinenda is strong-willed, traditional and protective. Nendusha is more calm, practical and self-sacrificing but each woman has the same motive of saving their tribe. Onditachiae is wise, curious and level-headed.

Uniqueness of Story

This has a unique setting and perspective with a lot of potential surrounding a solid conflict, but the characters would benefit from further development through clarifying their inner conflicts and showing a proactive transformation rather than reactive to the situation of the colonization.

Possible Formats

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

Analyst Recommendation



The dialogue tends to express the views of the characters and advance the plot without introducing or showing a transformation of internal conflict towards the characters. This creates certain static side characters that embody themes and the premise to make a clear external conflict but have unclear internal conflicts.

Tips for Improvement

Establishing dialogue that showcases the characters and their internal conflict transformation help create greater emotional investment in the external plot. By adding nuance and further character driven dialogue to the story, characters’ speech patterns and three-dimensional nature will also help them feel more distinct and memorable despite the large cast.