Hindsight 2020 - The Great Appreciation

John Cicero

Book Cover

GENRE

ACTION ADVENTURE FANTASY FAMILY RELIGIOUS FUNNY SUSPENSE/THRILLER

    Core Theme

    GRATITUDE.

    TIME PERIOD

    Contemporary

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    CONTAGION, THE POLAR EXPRESS.

    CHARACTER LIST

    LUKE PARETE: 15. LEAD. “THE CHOSEN ONE.”.

    NICO PARETE: 16. LUKE'S OLDER BROTHER. RELUCTANT HERO.

    TOMMY PARETE: 40. LUKE
    AND NICO'S FATHER. GINA'S HUSBAND.

    GINA PARETE: 40. LUKE AND NICO'S MOTHER. TOMMY'S WIFE.

    SHI HAN: 30S-40S. ASIAN SCIENTIST, TURNED RELUCTANT HITMAN.

    LYLE MOREHOUSE: 40S-50S. BILLIONAIRE ENTREPRENEUR. EVENTUAL ANTAGONIST.

    Logline

    An epic tale of appreciation where the entire world has been quarantined due to an unexplained virus. A furloughed middle-aged father of two tries to beat a band of international governmental-led crooked chemists to a unique religious artifact which is central to their plans for world contamination

    Target Audiences

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

    Target Gender: Universal

    Setting

    United States - Southwest

    Based on a True Story

    No

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: self-published

    Publisher: Author House

    Year Published: 2021

    Starting Description

    Battling against his wife’s recent illness, a bruised ego and a raw but unknowing apprentice, Tommy Parete and his sons Luke and Nico set out on a journey to find a cure for his wife while detouring the mad men from their evil quest along the way – all during a worldwide lockdown.

    Ending Description

    After successfully making it through the surreal portal into Writers Block Tommy realizes regardless of the consequences one faces; whether battling terminal illness, international governmental-led crooked chemists or a worldwide lockdown he learns to appreciate every moment given as a gift.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available

    Yes

    ISBN

    1665516194

    Mature Audience Themes

    Information not completed

    Plot - Other Elements

    Meaningful Message,Twist

    Plot - Premise

    Quest,Overcoming Monster/Villain,Voyage and Return

    Main Character Details

    Name: Tommy Parete

    Age: 40

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Masculine,Aggressive,Desperate,Selfless,Romantic,Strong Moral Code

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Luke

    Age: 15

    Gender: Male

    Role: Antagonist

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Aggressive,Charming,Confident,Decisive,Leader,Heroic,Skillful,Funny

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Nico

    Age: 16

    Gender: Male

    Role: sidekick

    Key Traits: Confident,Decisive,Educated,Skillful,Funny,Strong Moral Code

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Gina

    Age: 40

    Gender: Female

    Role: emotional

    Key Traits: Engaging,Faithful,Gracious

    Development Pitch

    It's in the midst of a worldwide lockdown. His wife is sick. His teenage boys have led him on a fantastical journey into a virus contaminated environment on a quest to find a unique religious artifact which could be central to a cure. Hindsight 2020 - The Great Appreciation is a spiritually woke book that will leave you enlightened and full of hope. With great engaging and entertaining characters that keep you obsessed with every page while also taking you on an unexpected journey full of adventure, fantasy and intrigue. If you are looking for a book to open your mind and take you away from the harsh realities of the current world, Hindsight delivers while also leaving you the reader a message of hope for all mankind.

    Genre

    ACTION, SUSPENSE, RELIGION, FANTASY, THRILLER

    Brief

    After the entire world has been quarantined due to an unexplained virus, a furloughed middle-aged father of two works with his sons to try to beat a band of crooked scientists to a unique religious artifact that is central to their plans for world contamination.

    Overall Rating

    FAIR

    Point of View

    THIRD PERSON

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: FAIR

    Characterization: FAIR

    Commerciality: FAIR

    Franchise Potential: FAIR

    Pace: FAIR

    Premise: FAIR

    Structure: FAIR

    Theme: FAIR

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    The Book Profile does a great job of reflecting the book. The log line, short summary and development pitch sections are all concise, easy to follow and compelling. If there's anything to note here, it could be that the Book Profile focuses a bit too much on Tommy as the protagonist when, within the pages, it feels like Luke is much more of a standout lead. While something like this certainly won't make or break a buyer's interest, it is still perhaps worth considering.

    Draw of Story

    In the first few pages, the fantasy elements are already set up. We know there's an ancient manuscript and a box, and we know that some sort of trouble is on the horizon. Once we flash forward to present day, we can easily identify Luke as our hero and he does a great job of keeping our focus throughout the story. There's also a typical, suburban family dynamic that's relatable and approachable, and we get a great sense of that early on. Juxtaposed with the nods to fantasy, it engages us right away, as wait for the elements to unify.

    Possible Drawbacks

    The pacing feels rushed at certain points, especially at the beginning. It's also difficult to keep track of the time stamps sometimes. It may be helpful to indicate a year in the chapter header, where applicable. This way, we know where we are in the characters' journeys, and are more easily able to track both the pandemic and the overarching quest. For instance, how long ago did the man and boy sit beside the stream, pondering the upcoming pandemic? Additionally, sometimes it feels like the dialogue is slightly wooden, especially between Tommy and his sons. There is a potential overuse of character name tags or signifiers ('dad,' 'son', etc.). A good trick for this is to read each line aloud. If it feels strange to use a name tag in speaking, it's a good indicator that it could be eliminated on the page. The tone of the dialogue sometimes doesn't match the tone of the scene either. At a few points, like while on his way to rescue his sons, Tommy speaks slightly too casually about the situation (i.e. - lines to the effect of, 'what am I going to do with those boys?'). It runs the risk of impacting the tension levels, and should likely be tweaked just a bit.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY RELIES A LITTLE BIT ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    Clearly, the story is socially relevant. It twists the COVID-19 pandemic on its head a bit, and peppers in a few fantasy elements to make it feel more fresh, and on-trend. But aside from that, subplot is utilized nicely (albeit likely not to its fullest potential). Gina's illness and her family's desire to give her more time makes things feel extra personal, and gives the reader a narrower lens through which to experience the larger story.

    Fanbase Potential

    A story like this would certainly appeal to fantasy fans, a group which as of late has dramatically increased in number. But it also has crossover appeal, which is great. We have the 'adults' and the 'kids,' each with their own goals, motivations and perceptions. In that way, it feels like there's something for both adult and young adult markets. Additionally, COVID-19 has enveloped the entire world, so there is potential for international appeal as well. That said, it feels important to minimize stereotypes wherever possible, so as not to alienate any potential international markets.

    Awards Potential

    Anything in the Fantasy genre often goes unnoticed for major above-the-line awards, but that's not to say there's no potential below the line. If adapted, a story like this would require very careful cinematography and clever, well-executed special effects in order to be successful. Perhaps there's some potential within those categories. And, of course, score, costuming and screenplay categories could be applicable as well.

    Envisioned Budget

    MEDIUM BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    CONTAGION, THE POLAR EXPRESS.

    What’s New About the Story

    There is more to this story than the pandemic, which helps to elevate it and gives it a great chance of standing out in what's likely to be an oversaturated COVID-19 market. That said, to make it even more unique could mean deeper character development and a more forward subplot. Gina's illness personalizes the characters' quest a bit. They're not trying to solve the world's problem, which could end up feeling overwhelming for audiences. They're simply trying to save their matriarch, which works to humanize things. Perhaps putting Gina in more danger could be something to consider, making time feel even more tangible and valuable and elevating the tension levels. Maybe her illness progresses throughout the story, instead of remaining stagnant. In terms of character development, perhaps introducing some conflict between Tommy, Luke and Nico could be helpful. It might make their relationship feel more natural and authentic, thus giving the audience another humanistic aspect to latch onto.

    Lead Characters

    Luke stands out as the true lead, because we discover pretty early on that he is the chosen one. Because of that, he has our attention right away. With Tommy and Nico, it takes a little bit longer. As discussed previously, it could help to give their relationship a bit of conflict that they have to overcome in order to be successful. Maybe there's been a months-long family argument about something trivial. Maybe Tommy has been stewing in his furlough and hasn't been there as the boys' father. Tommy is at his most compelling when he worries about Gina, so perhaps we need to see even more of that earlier on. Nico, as a bit of a reluctant hero, is at his best when he's in opposition to Luke. So perhaps Luke needs to work a little bit harder to gain Nico's support assistance. That said, there is certainly potential for these characters to be compelling, it just feels like they require a bit more of a deep dive than Luke does.

    Uniqueness of Story

    Although it has potential, this story doesn't feel like a rare gem quite yet. It feels like both subplot and character development needs to go a bit further in order to make the story really stand out, and to make it a good candidate for adaptation. Adding a conflicting family dynamic to help make the characters feel more authentic could be a great place to start. And honing in on Gina's subplot and bringing it forward more could help take some of the pressure off of the pandemic and narrow the lens a bit. Additionally, giving the dialogue another look could be beneficial. Making sure that the tone accurately represents the emotion and tension levels of each scene could help make it feel more natural, polished and thus, complete.

    Possible Formats

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

    Analyst Recommendation

    WORK IN PROGRESS

    Justification

    Generally, it feels like the story has great bones. It tackles something that hits close to home for the entire world, but with the added benefit of some nice fantasy elements. But overall, it feels like the story needs to go deeper in order to translate well to the screen. Character development is likely the key in a story like this one, and between some of the dialogue, the tone and the general dynamic between the family members, it feels like it doesn't quite deliver. And capitalizing on subplot would help the world, and the characters' primary motivation, feel more well-rounded and focused.

    Tips for Improvement

    A deeper dive overall could help take a story with potential and bring it over the top. Making the characters feel more well-rounded and less wooden could help. Preserving the tension by capitalizing on subplot could be beneficial as well. Letting high-tension, high-stakes scenes breathe a bit more (by slowing down the pacing) might help better achieve the intended levels of suspense and keep the story consistently engaging/compelling from start to finish.

    Brief

    After the entire world has been quarantined due to an unexplained virus, a furloughed middle-aged father of two works with his sons to try to beat a band of crooked scientists to a unique religious artifact that is central to their plans for world contamination.

    What We Liked

    This is more than just a pandemic story. In what's likely to be an oversaturated COVID-19 market, HINDSIGHT 2020 has the added benefit of fantasy elements to sustain it and keep it feeling fresh. It also has a nice, albeit slightly forceful, core message: enjoy the time you have by living in the moment. With a cast and a storyline ripe for crossover appeal, the story has a wide potential reach and source material with decent potential for development.

    Film: Although it feels like firmer resolution is necessary in order to make a solid film from the source material, the potential exists. Equal parts pandemic film and fantasy film, the source material is elevated by its crossover appeal and approachability. With clever development, deeper character development and more proficient use of subplot, it could stand apart from other stories of its kind, as a high-stakes, high-tension action/adventure film.

    TV: Although the story starts and ends with some degree of finality and would work well as a standalone piece, it feels like the subject matter could translate nicely into the television format. The pandemic, as described, doesn't end with this story. And the lead characters' goal, saving the matriarch, doesn't have firm resolution either. There's room for continuity here, both internally and externally. The villains could resurface, the characters could return to explore the fantasy world, or they could work to achieve some larger goal or global change. As is, the story is a great jumping off point. And one that could go in several different directions with some degree of success.

    Key points:
    Socially relevant.
    Fantasy elements.
    Religious undertones.
    Endearing core message.
    Crossover appeal.

    Synopsis

    An OLD MAN works on a wooden box and a scroll beside a stream, as a young boy listens to him speak about a coming outbreak. He says that a guide will be necessary to keep them from succumbing to it. Years later, the wind-torn manuscript sits on a stump, with the half-finished wooden box buried in the soil.

    LUKE PARETE (15) dreams of the medieval age, where MOTHER CLARE carries a monstrance through the streets to deter violent invaders. He awakens in a cold sweat for the third time in a week. He tells his brother, NICO (16), of his recurring dream.

    LI WU, an executive for the Xiron Corporation, plans vaccines and mask development. His boss, SHI HAN, tells Li that he has seventy-two hours to track down the one living ancestor with the critical antibody necessary for vaccine production.

    Li Wu and his team work around the clock to create a vaccine. When one of them appears to be successful, the team gathers around to inspect. Unbeknownst to them, several drops of the substance leak onto the table and then onto the palm of one of scientists, XIU MING. Xiu Ming begins coughing on this way to the grocery store, and the illness begins its spread. One month later, the world is in a lockdown. Luke and Nico’s parents, GINA and TOMMY, work to protect Gina after chemotherapy for a tumor in her large intestine. Luke begins receiving emails in Chinese and continually deletes them.

    Tommy and Luke arrive at a church to pray. They notice a man highlighting two bibles in the back pew. The man approaches and Luke recognizes him from his dreams. He provides two coins and tells Luke to find the monstrance to heal. When the church empties, Luke and Tommy approach the alter. They drop the coins into holy water and the water begins to spin. It explodes and they find an ancient scroll that describes a sanctuary for healing.

    Xiu Ming dies from his illness and Li Wu’s area of the lab is shut down. He is hunkered down in his office when the electricity goes out. Three men appear and shoot Li Wu in the head. Meanwhile, Tommy worries about how to protect Gina. Late one evening, he discovers Luke in his office making notes about the scroll. Luke has deduced that the scroll is leading them to their church, and a stream in the nearby woods. Near the stream, the old man from church lies dead from a bullet wound to his head.

    Tommy and Luke discover the story of Mother Clare. Luke is anxious to follow the old man’s trail, but Tommy reminds him that they’re under strict quarantine. Luke wakes up his brother and after some heavy convincing, Nico agrees to sneak out of the house with Luke.

    Nico discovers that the scroll is Latin for ‘writer’s block’ which is a place lined with books for every soul of humankind. The legend says that there is a line of gatekeepers who are the only ones who have access to writer’s block. Mother Clare was a gatekeeper and judging from ancient images that look exactly like Luke, Nico suspects that Luke is next in line.

    Nico and Luke distract their parents with a leaky toilet and sneak out of the house. A black sedan follows closely behind. The sedan approaches and an Asian man rolls down the window to ask for the scroll. Nico and Luke rush off to a nearby backyard.

    Tommy and Gina realize the boys are missing and Tommy sets off after them, determined to add more time to all of their lives. Gina, with her immune system, stays behind. The boys arrive at the church and see several more sedans pull in. They decide to call Tommy, who tries to get them to return home.

    Luke and Nico try to text Tommy and soon realize that something is awry. Luke decides that they have set up booby traps to catch the bad guys and get them to writer’s block without trouble. Meanwhile, Tommy has is captured and led into the church. Before long, Shi Han appears.

    The boys begin setting up traps along the passageway and take a moment to slide into its natural pools. Shi Han tells Tommy that they need Luke’s antibodies and his access to writer’s block. He uses Tommy’s phone to secure the boys’ location and the scientists set off after them. One of the men gets caught in the boys’ traps and is tossed fifteen feet over a ridge. The men continue to pursue the boys’ location and finds Luke’s phone in a backpack full of scorpions. Tommy overtakes the third man leaving just him and Shi Han. Shi Han holds his gun to Tommy’s head, as the boys watch from a distance. They begin throwing rocks at Shi Han, until Tommy is able to overpower him.

    The boys free Tommy from his bindings, grab Shi Han’s gun and leave him out cold. They spot the entrance to a cavern atop a mountain. They make a joint decision to climb it, but there’s no grip. Nico finds a trail carved into the stone.

    They get to the top of the trail and find nothing. Luke begins to cry, and Tommy tries to console him. Soon enough, Luke realizes that to find writer’s block, they must go home. They find an abandoned train track and stop to try to call the police. Luke checks his email and finds dozens of emails from Lin Wu. Nico looks up and sees an 1800s train approaching. They discover that the scroll is their ticket to board and do so together.

    On the train, they are surprised to find the old man waiting for them. He motions for them to join him, and they sit down to an expansive buffet. Other diners appear out of nowhere and occupy the train. The old man tells the group that all of the diners have been fighting unique battles. Tommy and his family’s battle is for love. The old man cautions them to remain present in the moments they have with Gina, without worrying too much about adding pages to her book.

    Shi Han receives a call from billionaire LYLE MOREHOUSE, who informs him that he and his men will take matters into their own hands. Meanwhile, the old man identifies some of the famous diners. But Luke doesn’t care about any of them, except for Mother Clare sitting in the back. He approaches her, to see that she’s holding a monstrance.
    Luke returns suddenly to warn them that Gina is in danger. The train appears in front of their house, and they depart. They try to warn Gina about the impending danger, but she is blinded by her anger. She demands that the trio all showers and disinfects immediately.

    At least thirty goons show up to the house, and Tommy hurries his family upstairs. As the men try to gain access to the house, Luke rushes to find the monstrance. The men disperse and a portal opens in the backyard. Only one is allowed to enter, and Luke tells Tommy that this is his purpose. Tommy enters the portal and works to find Gina’s book. But try as he might, he is unable to make changes to it. He weeps, and then takes another look at the cover. In Latin, it tells him to appreciate every day. Tommy vows to do just that, as he exits the portal and reconnects with his family. Luke’s emails from Lin Wu go viral, and expose the lab, and all appears well.

    About The Author

    John Cicero is the author of Hindsight 2020, Sway and the Rainbows Shadow Series. He writes fictional, spiritually themed adventure novels sprinkled with symbolism, suspense and inspiration.