THE SEARCH FOR BROKEN SKY

RIANO D. MCFARLAND

Book Cover

GENRE

ACTION ADVENTURE DRAMA SUSPENSE/THRILLER

    Core Theme

    FRIENDSHIP

    TIME PERIOD

    Contemporary

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE, SPIRIT: STALLION OF THE CIMARRON

    CHARACTER LIST

    AHYOKA HAAGEN: 20. LEAD. NATIVE AMERICAN AND DANISH, HAS AUTISM, LOVES HER ANIMALS.

    APACHE: DOG. AHYOKA'S PET AND LOYAL FRIEND WHO RESCUES BROKEN SKY.

    BROKEN SKY: HORSE. AHYOKA'S HORSE AND CLOSE FRIEND WHO REMINDS HER OF HER FATHER.

    WAYA: 90S. AHYOKA'S GRANDFATHER WHO OWNS THE RANCH AND HORSES.

    SILVER BEAR: 50. POLICE CHIEF WHO IS LIKE AN UNCLE TO AHYOKA AND HELPS RESCUE BROKEN SKY.

    KENNY: 27. BETRAYS AHYOKA'S FAMILY BY STEALING HORSES BUT HAS A CHANGE OF HEART AND HELPS SAVE BROKEN SKY.

    Logline

    A young Danish/Native American Girl struggles with autism, so her grandfather Waya, gives her a dog she names Apache, and a mare she names Broken Sky. Her animals help suppress the symptoms of her autism and they are inseparable. Then someone steals the horse... and Apache goes to bring her back!

    Target Audiences

    Age: 7-12,18-34,13-17,35-54,55+

    Target Gender: Universal

    Setting

    Wind River Reservation, Wyoming and The Bighorn River Basin

    Based on a True Story

    No

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: self-published

    Publisher: AMAZON.COM Self-Publishing

    Year Published: 2021

    Starting Description

    Ahyoka lives on her grandfathers ranch. Struggling with autism, she has no friends, so her grandfather gives her a dog she names Apache, and a horse she names Broken Sky. They are inseparable until one night when rustlers steal Broken Sky.

    Ending Description

    After a 200 mile journey to bring Broken Sky home, they reach the reservation, with marauders closing in, tearing through the reservation with impudence. When they top the final rise leading down to Waya's ranch, they are met by 5000 reservation members who have come to help Ahyoka's friends.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available

    Yes

    ISBN

    979-8581635940

    Mature Audience Themes

    Information not completed

    Plot - Other Elements

    Happy Ending,Meaningful Message,Twist

    Plot - Premise

    Overcoming Monster/Villain,Voyage and Return

    Main Character Details

    Name: Ahyoka Haagen

    Age: 20

    Gender: Female

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Charming,Empathetic,Faithful,Insecure,Underdog,Modest

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Raphael Espinoza

    Age: 60

    Gender: Male

    Role: Antagonist

    Key Traits: Villainous,Power Hungry,Narcisstic,Criminal,Manipulative,Unapologetic

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Police Chief Silver Bear

    Age: 50

    Gender: Male

    Role: mentor

    Key Traits: Confident,Gracious,Honorable,Strong Moral Code

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Kenny McGee

    Age: 27

    Gender: Male

    Role: skeptic

    Key Traits: Greedy,Villainous,Complex,Heroic,Skillful

    Development Pitch

    A beautiful young Danish/Cheyenne girl with blue eyes, named Ahyoka, lives on her grandfather's horse ranch and struggles with autism. Her grandfather gives her a puppy she names Apache, and a horse she calls Broken Sky. Both animals also have blue eyes, and their relationship to Ahyoka helps to greatly suppress the symptoms of her autism. Then, one night, someone steals Broken Sky. The next day, Apache leaves to search for Broken Sky and bring her back to Ahyoka. The 200-mile journey across the pristine Wyoming landscapes leads them along the century-old smugglers route through the Bighorn River basin, where a brilliant dog and a beautiful horse work together to make it back home to their beloved Ahyoka. The story highlights the beauty of unconditional love, and the strength it gives those fighting for the ones they hold most dear. The epic journey is fraught with perils, gunfights, vicious wild animals, and unexpected epiphanies that change everything. In the over-arching narrative, love truly does conquer all.

    Genre

    ACTION, SUSPENSE, DRAMA

    Brief

    A young Native American girl with autism loves her dog and her horse. But when her horse is stolen, the dog runs off to save it and bring it home. The dog's efforts and the girl's plea to the public for help ensure that the horse is returned safely.

    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: GOOD

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    The logline says that the animals "eliminate her autism" which is not the case and which might be offensive to readers. This could be changed to reflect how the animals boost her confidence or her mood or her self-esteem. It also says that Ahyoka is 20, but she seems much younger than that, and I would never have guessed from reading the book that she is 20.

    Draw of Story

    The close relationship between man and nature is compelling in this story and drew me in. I liked seeing the friendship between Apache, Broken Sky, and Ahyoka. Ahyoka's relationship with her family also drew me in, as did the action scenes. Apache is a determined and loyal dog, and he hooks readers as well.

    Possible Drawbacks

    The book itself was poorly structured and should be much longer. There are several parts that read more like a summary than prose in a novel. I also was surprised that Apache ended up being the real hero and protagonist of the whole story, since I expected it to be Ahyoka. I also don't think that Ahyoka's autism is dealt with in a sensitive enough way by the writer; her characterization is very inconsistent, and she is a very inactive character that does not change from the beginning to the end of the story.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY RELIES A LITTLE BIT ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    The relationship between Ahyoka and her animals, Apache and Broken Sky, is the hook of this movie. People love animals, and it is wonderful to see how strong their friendship is. I think seeing Ahyoka make more of an initial effort to get her horse and her dog back would make this hook even stronger. This story also represents a girl with autism who is Native American – not a demographic that gets much representation in the media, which is another hook.

    Fanbase Potential

    As the story stands now, I don't see it generating a large fanbase. If the story were longer and the characters were developed more, then people might be drawn to this story. I think autistic people and their friends/family would be offended by the depiction of a girl whose autism is "eliminated" by befriending animals, and I think Native Americans would be offended by the writer's choice not to specify which tribe or culture Ahyoka comes from; each tribe is unique and should be treated as such.

    Awards Potential

    No, I think that this would be too controversial to receive an award for the aforementioned reasons.

    Envisioned Budget

    MEDIUM BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE, SPIRIT: STALLION OF THE CIMARRON

    What’s New About the Story

    The depiction of a mixed race Native American girl with autism is very unique and is something I've never seen before in the media. The autonomy of the animals also makes this story unique; normally dogs and horses are not depicted as intelligent decision makers in the way they are depicted in this book. To make the story more unique, maybe some of the horse thieves could be women, or maybe the writer could provide more specifics about the thieves to make them more unique and less stereotypical.

    Lead Characters

    Apache is the character who really saves the day and makes the important decisions, and he is a dog. He isn't afraid to be violent to save his friend Broken Sky, and he is simultaneously very loving and loyal. Ahyoka is unique in that she represents an underrepresented demographic. She also has a special relationship with animals and has a profound way of connecting with those around her and moving them to tears with her words.

    Uniqueness of Story

    No, this is not a rare gem. To improve this story, the writer would need to dig deeper into his world and characters and expand the story. The only character who seems to make hard choices is Apache, and he is a dog. I think that Ahyoka has the potential to be a truly standout character who resonates with people, but she needs to be more complex, dynamic, and active. Broken Sky is also the center of all the drama, yet she is much less active than Apache. The Native American culture should also shine through in a more authentic way. For example, writing that Ahyoka speaks "Native American" (9) strips the story of authenticity, since that is not a language.

    Possible Formats

    Film - Indie

    Analyst Recommendation

    WORK IN PROGRESS

    Justification

    As mentioned previously, this story could deal more tactfully with its autistic character. Ahyoka's relationship with the animals is beautiful, but the implication that she eliminates her autism when she is with them is offensive and inauthentic. The depiction of the Native Americans also feels inauthentic because it is vague and stereotypical. She should be a member of a specific tribe that has a specific set of cultural values and practices. Also, if the main decision maker in the story is a dog, this might be better classified as fantasy; to make it seem more like realistic fiction, the writer should give the humans the same sharp intellect that he gives Apache.

    Tips for Improvement

    The story would need to be much longer and more complex. It is pretty easy for Apache to get Broken Sky back, and the villains are all killed rather quickly. There should be more obstacles for the good guys (and more action from others who are not Apache), and Ahyoka's characterization (along with the characterization of the other humans) needs to be much stronger. Situations and characters feel a bit too stereotypical at times, and the structure could be less compact.

    Brief

    When her horse is stolen, a young, autistic Native American girl is devastated. Her loyal dog sets off to rescue the horse while the girl makes a plea online for the community to help her reunite with her beloved animal friends. The support she garners is overwhelming, and through her animals and her community, she finally finds her voice.

    What We Liked

    The Search For Broken Sky is a riveting story about the pure friendship between a girl, her dog, and her horse. This trio shows that love is not limited to humans and that animals can encourage those of us who are lonely to find our voices with their unwavering loyalty. This is also a story that showcases a main character who represents a unique, underrepresented demographic; Ahyoka is half Native American and half Danish, and she is autistic. Her story is one that will move readers and have an emotional impact on them in the same way that her words move the characters around her in the book to tears. Because its exceptional dramatic moments between characters, this story is also filled with action, suspense, and adventure. Broken Sky and Apache travel hundreds of miles together trying to get back home to Ahyoka, and they deal with a plethora of external conflict throughout their journey.

    Film: This action-packed, suspenseful story would make for an exciting film. Apache and Broken Sky race through the wilderness in a thrilling adventure, and their friendship with Ahyoka adds emotional depth to the story. The inciting incident would translate perfectly to film – the horses are stolen, and then we are thrown into the story. The themes of friendship and finding your own voice would resonate well with film audiences, and the exceptional loyalty of Broken Sky and Apache would appeal to viewers. The structure of the book would lend itself well to a film adaptation, since it has a clear beginning, middle, and end.

    TV: The Search For Broken Sky would easily adapt to TV. This is a story that centers on an animal-human friendship: the friendship between Ahyoka, Apache, and Broken Sky. This friendship is powerful and beautiful, and watching their friendship grow and flourish over the course of many episodes would be very enjoyable for viewers. Adapting this as a TV show would allow for deeper dives into the interesting lives of these characters, and it would allow us to see more of their adventures. It is exciting reading about Apache and Broken Sky running through the wilderness trying to get home to their friend, and it would surely be exciting to watch it play out.

    Key points: 1. good overcomes evil
    2. underrepresented protagonist
    3. friendship
    4. animal-human bond
    5. exciting action sequences

    Synopsis

    AHYOKA is a mixed race girl. Her mother is AWINITA, a Native American woman who lives with her tribe in Wyoming, and her father is LUKAS, a Danish man who met Awinita when he was creating a documentary. They are very happy together until Lukas dies in an accident. As Ahyoka grows older, it becomes apparent that she is autistic. WAYA, Awinita’s father, gives Ahyoka a puppy, and she names it APACHE. Later, one of the horses gives birth to a foal with light blue eyes, just like Ahyoka’s, and she names it BROKEN SKY. Time passes, and Ahyoka is the only one that can ride Broken Sky. She claims that Broken Sky was sent by her father, who passed away. One night, thieves steal all of Waya’s horses and burn the stables. Apache runs away to find Broken Sky. He is an excellent tracker and is able to find her, the other horses, and the horse thieves. MR. GRIMM joins the group of thieves, and he is an intimidating man. Apache trails them and when SHAWN goes to take a leak, he kills him. The men don’t notice that Shawn isn’t on his horse until a while later. Mr. Grimm rides off to find him and brings back his body; they all believe he was killed by a wolf.

    Waya realizes that KENNY and BILLY REDWING, two people who had been around the horses before, must have been in on it. Waya had refused to sell Broken Sky to a buyer offering 5 million dollars, but Kenny and Billy wanted that money, which is why they helped steal her and the others. He tells this to POLICE CHIEF RAYMOND SILVER BEAR, who is like family to him, and Silver Bear rides off to find them. The thieves face another issue – Apache sneakily breaks their ATVs. A mountain lion starts stalking them and kills Billy. After the three remaining thieves survive the treacherous night, they decide to leave the horses in a cave and scout for traps. However, they realize that Broken Sky is gone – Apache freed her, and they hurry away. They run into Silver Bear, and he recognizes them and is thrilled to see them. Mr. Grimm appears and tries to get Broken Sky back, and Silver Bear shoots him dead. He tells Apache and Broken Sky to return home, and they run off in the direction of home.

    Meanwhile, Kenny is feeling guilty, and he tells the only remaining thief, LITTLE HUNTER, that he is out. Little Hunter calls up RAPHAEL ESPINOZA, the buyer, who tells him that if he has not brought Broken Sky to him in forty hours, the deal is off. While Little Hunter is looking for Broken Sky, Silver Bear finds the horses, left unguarded. He calls in reinforcements, and when Little Hunter returns, they arrest him. Little Hunter calls Mr. Espinoza, who posts his bail when Little Hunter tells him how to find Broken Sky. He and Espinoza’s men search for Broken Sky, who has been traveling with Apache. Broken Sky and Apache brilliantly avoid detection, and Kenny decides to help them get away, since he has had a change of heart and regrets his previous actions. Little Hunter and some men find the animal duo, and Kenny saves them by knocking out Little Hunter, giving the animals time to run home. Kenny teams up with Silver Bear, and they rush to stop Espinoza’s men. Meanwhile, Ahyoka makes a public plea for people to help get her pets back, and people are moved by her words. They show up in thousands to stop the men from stealing Broken Sky and Apache. The animals make it home, and the people protect them from the criminals. Ahyoka is happily reunited with her two best friends. KRISTINA MORNING STAR, a reporter with a local reputation, comes to interview Ahyoka and is very moved by what she has to say about Apache and Broken Sky.

    About The Author

    Riano McFarland is an American author and professional entertainer from Las Vegas, Nevada whose worldly experiences inform his writing.