N. Harold Donley

Book Cover



    Core Theme














    In the future, Climate Change is no longer a theory, or a debate. In a millennium, on what was once known as the Great Plains of North America, two communities survive, one under a dome, the other in the hollow of a mesa. One hunts the other, for sport, across the arid landscape.

    Target Audiences

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

    Target Gender: Female Leaning,Universal


    A part of the Great Plains once known as Oklahoma.

    Based on a True Story


    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: self-published

    Publisher: Lughnasa Press

    Year Published: 2011

    Starting Description

    Daniel, a Captain of Dome Security, is tasked with capturing, not killing, a Nomad, one of the subhumans who wander the OUTWORLD for vivisection by Research. In capturing one he begins a journey that uncovers the origins of both the Dome and the Nomads, who he learns are called Gnomons.

    Ending Description

    Daniel, one-among-equals of the Sky Clan, stands at the opening to Sanctuary, a cave within a mesa, looking out upon the World. He has been banished by the Gnomon for killing two Dome Security officers who themselves killed several of the People. He is to wander the world without clan or equal.

    Group Specific

    The Great Plains, specifically northern Oklahoma from the Tall Grass to the Glass Mountains.

    Hard Copy Available




    Mature Audience Themes


    Plot - Other Elements

    Philosophical Questions

    Plot - Premise


    Main Character Details

    Name: Daniel

    Age: Late 20s early 30s

    Gender: Male

    Role: Skeptic

    Key Traits: Sarcastic,Lone Wolf,Underdog,Empathetic,Honorable,Aspiring

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Lylith

    Age: Looks to be late 20s

    Gender: Female

    Role: Mentor

    Key Traits: Aspiring,Empathetic,Leader,Honorable,Unapologetic,Modest,Skillful,Visionary,Heroic,Decisive

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this

    Development Pitch

    In the future, climate change is the reality...it is the world. What are the social, the human, results of such a change. We always assume, and have an incredible level of stories and movies, that we will degenerate, we will "kill or be killed"...that "only the strong survive". But, what if, at the moment of extinction, when the changed environment has all but killed you and a handful of survivors...what if you see that moment not as a self fulfilling prophecy of violence and inhumanity, but, a chance to change, not only yourself but your very species. What if "The Meek" actually did inherited the Earth? What does it take to truly develop a nonviolent society? What if the "fear of death" is merely an option? In short, what if you chose that moment of possible extinction to create an entirely new culture, built upon the ideals of the old but ideals for which people are willing to die to preserve rather than compromise. And what if your only obstacle is the last outpost of a "Before Time" that sees itself as the inheritor of a corporate structure that still sees the world as nothing more than a commodity. Again, what if the Meek actually do inherit the Earth.




    Lylith is a Gnomon who is captured by Daniel, the head of the Dome Security. Lylith is able to escape the Dome but has to rescue Daniel in the process. They cross the desert to safety in her homeland in the Sanctuary. Daniel joins the society but break their one rule to do no harm in order to save others and thus he is cast out into the wilderness.

    Overall Rating


    Point of View


    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: FAIR

    Characterization: FAIR

    Commerciality: GOOD

    Franchise Potential: GOOD

    Pace: FAIR

    Premise: GOOD

    Structure: FAIR

    Theme: GOOD

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    The profile is centered around Daniel in the short summary and the Gnomons in the development pitch. There is no connection between which group is considered the meek that inherited the Earth in the pitch based on the summary. Lylith is also just as much a protagonist as Daniel, but unmentioned in the profile. The short summary over looks a majority of the main conflict by excluding her. Information on her connection to Daniel's entrance into the outerworld is more important to understanding the plot than the second paragraph explaining the ending in the short summary.

    Draw of Story

    Climate change is a pressing issue and seeing a not so distant future of the wealth divide and how global warming shifts survival is realistic and potentially horrifying.

    Possible Drawbacks

    The pacing of the world building and conflict is steadfast until the reappearance of the Dark Ones in the Sanctuary. The pacing then becomes too fast, especially regarding Daniel and Lylith's romance to feel earned as a resolution. As the conflict is mainly about surviving the land once they escape the dome, the appearance of the dome in the mesa seems out of place as there is little build up in tension that the pair were being pursued during their journey.

    Use of Special Effects


    Primary Hook of Story

    The hook is that the wealthy have survived a thousand years of climate change inside a Dome and they hunt those that live in the outside world still. The outside world people, the gnomons, however are the ones with morals and survival skills.

    Fanbase Potential

    This could have a large fanbase if the genre is made for PG-13 to fit in with the YA dystopian crowd and the protagonists are made younger. Climate change is a zeitgeist topic right now as it wealth inequality. This could have a lot of appeal if the romance is made more of a subplot earlier on and the pacing of the climax to resolution is drawn out further to lengthen Daniel's time in the new community.

    Awards Potential

    This as an action film is unlikely to have any serious award potential, but if made if a commercial success could garner popular awards such as MTV or Teen Choice awards. Action films general do not have an acting depth or specific enough social issue to gain award nomination.

    Envisioned Budget


    Similar Films/TV Series


    What’s New About the Story

    The idea that humanity splits due to a wealth divide during the global climate crisis that even 1000 years later is still divided seems like a possibility of the near future. The non-violent approach of the Gnomon resulting in avoidances of the Dome seems like a missed opportunity for tension between the two groups.

    Lead Characters

    Daniel has enough integrity to go against his training in order to do the right thing. This gets him kicked out of both worlds, but he learns that you have to do the right thing even if it is punished. Lylith has grit beyond measure and is compassionate and driven.

    Uniqueness of Story

    This has a lot of great elements, but there are subplots that feel too rushed especially towards the ending. The main theme is unclear as well.

    Possible Formats

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

    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

    Making sure Lylith is given depth outside of her survival skills is important making her fully dynamic. Adding build up earlier in first act will make Lylith and Daniel's romance will make it feel more earned.


    In a dystopic future, humans live in a Dome protected from the Outworld. But when a security Captain's life is saved by a Nomad, a humanoid subspecies he hunts, he discovers there's intelligent life outside the dome--and needs to adapt to the Nomad's rules to survive.

    What We Liked

    This is a dystopian drama about respecting life and taking care of the planet, two relevant and important subjects. Through the eyes of a man raised in a selfish society similar to our own, the reader is presented with alternative lifestyles and mindsets that are not only healthier but more sustainable. The story brings a crucial reflection about our actions and the future of our species.

    Film: Outworld has all the elements for a successful movie: appealing visuals, strong characters, a moving arc, a worthwhile message, and a mix of adventure, drama, and romance. The story structure is well designed, and this could easily be adapted to a feature film that would attract many people to the theaters.

    TV: Outworld is a rich story in a dystopic world, with interesting and appealing characters and a well-constructed arc. This new world is filled with rules to be explored, and the TV format would allow for each detail to be comprehensively portrayed. In addition, an episodic format would allow this narrative the necessary time to develop in a way to create and sustain a fanbase.

    Key points:
    Good story, well written; Dystopian future caused by climate change; Appealing visuals; Open ending; Valuable message.


    Daniel is the captain of the expedition hunting Nomads, a species resembling humans but with no form of intelligence who lived in the rough and arid Outworld. Their mission is to capture and take back to the Dome an alive Nomad, but when one of his cadets kills the male Nomad they’re trying to capture, they need to find a new one. Eventually, they capture a female Nomad, and Daniel brings her back to the Dome in his Hover. He’s intrigued by her woman-like appearance.

    Daniel, his cadets, and the Nomad return to the Dome, a carefully maintained community built under glass domes that protect the humans from the outworld. Daniel runs into fellow Captain Eric Hoffman, a bully 15 years older who enjoys killing Nomads. It’s palpable the rivalry between the two men. Then, Daniel heads to the Research and Development center, where Doctor Sloan works on the newfound Nomad. Daniel observes the Nomad, and Dr. Sloan defends a theory that Nomads are just another specimen of humans with a stronger body. The two men talk about the female Nomad and the Before Time, but they’re interrupted by the Chief Executive Officer. The Chairman asks Daniel to leave him alone with Sloan; in their private conversation, the two men talk about the real reason behind studying the Nomads: the Dome will run out of energy, and the humans inside will need another alternative to stay alive. The Chairman expects and demands science to develop means to adapt the insiders to survive outside.

    At home, Daniel meets his parents, both Associates—the lower tier within the Dome; as a Security worker, Daniel is entitled to better housing and living situation. Daniel’s parents serve dinner with items they shouldn’t have access to, but Daniel is scolded by his parents when he questions them about it. Later, Daniel plays baseball with his co-workers. At the lab, the Nomad finds a way to escape; she washes up, puts on lab clothes, and heads to the Waterworks, where there’s a seal that connects the Dome to the Outworld. Before she can escape, she’s approached by Cadet Cain, who recognizes her.

    The baseball game is interrupted by a siren accusing a breach at the Waterworks. The entire Security team, including Daniel, head to the Waterworks, where they find Cain passed out. When he wakes up, he tells the men that the Nomad had escaped. The men act to go after her, and to Daniel alone, Cain admits the Nomad acted with intelligence. A security team leaves to search for and capture the Nomad; Daniel realizes she tricked them and went in a different direction, towards the Glass Mountains. Daniel gets so caught up in capturing her he doesn’t realize the night has come, and the night wind leads his hover to crash.

    Daniel wakes up to find the Nomad saved his life. He realizes she can talk, and she informs him she needs to return home with the newly acquired information. Her name is Lylith, and they both know he can’t survive in the Outworld for too long. Daniel and Lylith go on their journey, sharing water and information about their separate worlds. A spider bites Lylith and, to survive, she goes on a meditative trance, leaving Daniel alone. Too weak to survive, Daniel passes out; Lylith finds him and decides to carry him on her back.

    Lylith arrives home at the sanctuary and meets her father and mother. She tells them about what happened to her. Still weak, Daniel is woken up by Miriam, a woman chosen by Lylith to heal Daniel. Lylith joins her community at the Council meeting, where she shares the information about the Dome running out of fuel. They decide not to interfere, as they believe the people of the Dome, and particularly the Dark Ones, Dome Security, are not capable of living without what the Gnomons call "The Madness", violence. When questioned, Lylith admits to having saved Daniel out of guilt, as he is also a human being. Meanwhile, Miriam helps Daniel recover.

    The Nomads, known amongst themselves as Gnomons, assemble to deliberate over Daniel’s fate. They are divided into three clans, Earth, Sky, and Wind. Although the Earth Clan leader demanded Daniel be banish from Sanctuary, the majority agree that he should be given a chance if he agrees to live by their rules. Daniel wakes up alone and realizes he’s in a house with a different type of technology. His thoughts are interrupted by Miriam, who tells him about the healing process of using the mind to cure the body. He meets Miriam’s daughter, Leah, the result of a rape by Daniel’s people.

    The next morning, Daniel is shown around the Sanctuary by Abram, Lylith’s father. He learns about their rules and habits and is impressed by their gardens. Deborah, Lylith’s mother, tells Daniel he can stay with the condition he lives by their laws. She reveals to Daniel about the Dome’s imminent end, which leaves Daniel unrested. The following days, Daniel learns about the Gnomons’ way of life, even testing their commitment to a non-violent lifestyle.

    Back at the Dome, the Chairman sends Captain Hoffman and Cadet Cain to retrieve more Nomads, preferably alive and preferably children or older. They are offered extra compensation for that work. Daniel watches the sunrise and learns about the Gnomons’ relationship with spirituality and the One. As part of their tradition, young man Nathan needs to find himself by spending 40 days and 40 nights alone in the world; he is like a younger brother to Lylith, and she sends him off. Later, she’s informed of a wind storm, and she goes after Nathan, only to learn he must have been captured by soldiers from the Dome, who have never been this close to the sanctuary before.

    In a conversation with Abram, Daniel tells him about a traumatic event in his past, when he killed a friend by the orders of his superiors, which led him to lose faith in the Dome’s organizational system. Suddenly, the Sanctuary is attacked by Hoffman. He manages to kill Miriam and Abram before Daniel can stop him. Lylith tries to stop Daniel, urging him to stop the madness, but he kills Hoffman and Cain. After the threat is gone, the community reunites; Lylith sees her father dead, and Leah sees her mother. In a customary ceremony, the Gnomons honor their dead.

    Lylith informs Daniel that the community will judge him since he had agreed to live on their terms, but instead, he had killed; the punishment is being banished to fend for himself in the Outworld. Lylith takes Daniel to see something before he is sent away. They enter a library where Daniel sees books, pieces of art and learns about the history of how climate change made the world become what it is. In the emergency council meeting, the People decide to banish Daniel from the community. On his last night, he sleeps with Lylith. The next morning, watched and supported by the entire community, Daniel leaves the Sanctuary to the Outworld.

    About The Author

    N. Harold Donley is an experienced writer of books, short stories, op-ed columns, and grant proposals. He loves to spend his time in coffee houses and tending to his organic garden. He lives in Norman, Oklahoma, with his wife, the playwright and actor Sheryl.