In my on-going effort to accomplish little by starting too many projects, I’ve started work on an action adventure book. Over the last few weeks I think I’ve come up with a reasonable premise for the story.
I’ve wanted to write a novella or a short novel for quite a while, but haven’t gotten far with my attempts. A while back I read an article on Cracked.com, “6 Ways to Keep Terrorists From Ruining the World”, that gave me an idea I could build on. (see: http://www.cracked.com/blog/6-ways-to-keep-terrorists-from-ruining-world/)
The author calls terrorists “Team Violence” because they try to reach their objectives with violence. If we react to terrorists with violence, all we’ve done is join Team Violence. The terrorists have won.
As I mulled over this Team Violence concept, an idea for a story, or maybe a series of stories started to form. The story would be about Team Non-violence, who used non-violent methods to divert terrorists from the use of violence. Their goal would not be to prevent the terrorist from achieving their objective, but to convert them to Team Non-violence and pursue their objective in a more constructive manner.
My working title is “The Disruptors”, but that could change.
I see Team Non-violence as a secret international organization that infiltrates and disrupts Team Violence.
The agents would not be naive enough to think that if they are just nice to the terrorists, that they’ll turn into peaceniks. At the same time, they would want to avoid the use of violence because to do so would undermine their long term goal. I can see that as the core of the internal conflicts that the agents must deal with.
The agents would be in constant danger, since the terrorists would kill them if they are exposed. In fact the terrorists might be kill them even if the don’t learn who they really are.
Team Non-violence would be made up of two types of agents. The first type would be permanent agents, who run and support the operations. The second type would not be permanent and would infiltrate the terrorist groups. The infiltrators would only be involved in a single operation because it would be too dangerous for them, and the organization, to risk multiple operations.
The basic method they’d use would be to “trick” the terrorists into reconsidering their use of violence. The agents couldn’t just come out and try to talk them into a change of heart. That wouldn’t work. The terrorists would need to feel that they’d come to their realization on their own.
Now, I think the biggest challenge I would have is to come up with plausible techniques they could use. Maybe some of the agents are former advertising people, who know how to manipulate people subtly.
I’m reluctant to base my Team Violence groups on any particular terrorists group, but they would need to seem like a real group. The ideals of Team Violence should come across as not necessarily that bad. The malevolence would come from their desire to use violence to impose those ideals on other people.
It might make it easier to come up with a plausible story if the ideals of Team Violence are really in conflict with the methods they espouse. In the story Team Non-violence would work to force Team Violence to become aware of the contradiction.
One possibility is for there to be two Team Violence groups who are in conflict with each other. Team Non-violence would try to disrupt them both. I’d like to portray the groups in conflict as really having the same ideals. The only difference is over who gets to impose them on the rest.
Maybe in the background of my story, there would be a secret Team Violence who support or encourage terrorist groups of all stripes. I doubt this would happen in the real world, but it would be a useful element of a fictional story. I would need to give them a motive to do so that made sense. It is also a bit too much like some of the secret world government conspiracy theories. That isn’t an idea I would like to promote.
Parallels and Other Inspirations
I see parallels between this idea and some books and TV shows I used to enjoy.
The Doc Savage books are the type of adventure stories I had in mind. In this series, a group of adventurers with high ideals travel the world to help people who need it. While they often resort to violence, they try not to kill their enemies. Instead Doc Savage sends criminals to an institution that uses medical procedures and training to turn them into law abiding citizens.
I haven’t seen the later “Mission: Impossible”. movies, but in the original TV series, the team rarely relied on violence. Like my idea, they used various kinds of deception and trickery to manipulate their adversaries.
In the “Man from U.N.C.L.E.”, the back story is that U.N.C.L.E. is a secret international police organization that tries to stop an international criminal organization called THRUSH. U.N.C.L.E., unlike my Team Non-violence organization, was not a non-violent group, but there is a parallel between THRUSH and Team Violence.
Where to Next?
This idea needs a fair bit of work before I can start to write. As I noted above, I need to have some plausible techniques that Team Non-violence. I need to develop some background for Team Non-violence: history, tools, organization and so on. I need to develop characters, their personalities, and skills. I could have several Team Violence groups and I need to do the same for them. Then I can move on to sketch out some plot ideas.
I’m enthusiastic about this project right now, but I have so many other half done projects that maybe I should get some of them out of the way first.