Reviews for Polar Shift
YoungInside chapter 6 . 6/13/2009
Chuck and Jamie's relationship intruige me. There doesn't really seem to be much basis behind it. It's like, they're together because the author told them to be. I don't see love, I don't see much understanding between them either. I hope this improves in the future chapters.

One thing I love about your story is your characters. They seem to build the whole story. Your plot seems to be weakening at this point, but it doesn't seem to be going anywhere. There are small small little plot twists which I don't think contribute to the actual story.

Still, it's really interesting and if I have time, I'll read more.
YoungInside chapter 5 . 6/13/2009
Honestly, the awkwardness of the dialogue is starting to seem distracting. But, I have to admit there has been an improvement from the first chapter, but I still can't picture real life people speaking that way.

The nerve of the characters are appaling, yet admirable. Your characters are pretty well rounded. They're fascinating enough and they help with the pace of the story.

I think the story picked up pace again in this chapter, which I liked because we can actually feel as though this is moving somewhere. I'm heading for the next chapter now.
YoungInside chapter 4 . 6/13/2009
Oh, I like Drake. :D He's an interesting character. It really gives me something to wonder about. How will he deal with the hospital? What's up with the sixth sense? Well, that at least, brings a draw to the story.

Basically, I really liked this chapter. The pace seemed to have to pick up with coma guy's sister's arrival. Also, Allison's whole gusto into undertaking the investigation is infectious and makes me want to find out more.
Eurypon chapter 1 . 6/13/2009
There was a lot to like in this chapter. To begin with, when you started describing Hyde Park and the Westin family I thought I was in for a long and boring explanation. I wasn't. In fact it was quite interesting, not only by what was told but also by how it was told.

I also liked the dialogues and how you tried to put some humor in them. However, there were a few too many characters with a sarcastic tone. I would like some more variety.

The quick change of scenes is a good ploy to keep the interest of the reader. However, I wish you had used paragraphs or lines to separate them. You tend to break of a scene in mid conversation, and start the next also in mid conversation. I like that technique because I think it is very lively, but if you don't use something to separate them it is confusing.

The story itself seems interesting and for an opening chapter the central plot is very well introduced. I don't know whether it was very wise to end the chapter with Allison's "discovery". While funny, it detracts from the main drama.

I liked your writing style because it's supple and at the same time pleasant and easy. I never was bored.

-

I had some problems, though.

“And because you corrected me in front of a group of people who I should be imposing toward, you just earned yourself a trip to the principal’s office." This is so blatantly unjust that I doubt students would tolerate such behavior without protest for long. This scene, funny though it is, somehow didn't seem realistic.

"Chuck graduated high school at 16 at 20-years-old; he is already working on his doctorate in physics." The punctuation is wrong and the tenses don't accord. "had graduated" and "was working"

"Allison was a year younger than Miles and the two have known each other for about three years. They dated for about a week, but it was immediately obvious it wasn’t working out. Allison and Miles hardly even remember." This relation is in the past, relative to the story. "the two had known", "they had dated" "it had been obvious", "hardly remembered" would work better.

There were also a lot of typos. I make them myself by the ton and no matter how much I try to weed them out, there always seem to be a few that escape. But here, there are a lot.

“Put on a put of coffee, Dennis! I have an infinite amount of tests to run now!” pot of coffee

“You been saying that for almost two hours now!” You've been

“You go ahead. I’ll catch up with later. I'll catch up with you later

“The Earth’s magnetic field is shifting at much faster rate than last time.” at a much faster rate

The school day ends, but Allison was unsuccessful in her search for her sexy body.” ended

“Chances are you sexy man has already left, too." your

"you should ask the direct of the science center" director
YoungInside chapter 3 . 6/13/2009
What's strange about this is that the Polar Shift is supposedly the end of the world, but yet, it's still so normal. Everyone's so.. relaxed.

But still, it's an interesting take on things. I like how your characters seem to take everything so ... easily. It's actually rather lovable at how they have their priorities soo wrong. A suicidal man? Okay, geez. A lesbian crush? End of the world despair.

I think you have quite a good plot here and so far, this story would make a good first draft. The length of each chapter is satisfying without being too deary and the words flow well.

Onto the next chapter!
YoungInside chapter 2 . 6/13/2009
For some reason, it's getting pretty difficult to follow your story. There aren't like, any signposting to signify when there's a scene change which really leaves it all in a huge mess. I know how fictionpress tends to leave out those pagebreaks, but I think you should proof read the document before uploading.

Besides that, what I really like about this chapter is how you made it clear that the polar shift was something really severe. Like, how the students dropped out and stuff. Also, it made it clear how dire the situation was when it was said that the earth wouldn't last that long.

Oh, and I noted this : Allison was seriously considering to return to school.

I think it should be Allison was seriously considering returning to school. :)

On to the next chapter. :D
YoungInside chapter 1 . 6/13/2009
First off, I just want to say I liked how you started the story. You effectively pretty much gave the feel of the whole area. You didn't overload us with information, but you kept it clear. Also, you gave a good description of the Westins, which I think is essential in any story. Sometimes, stories don't start out with good descriptions, which I feel ruin it a bit, because the reader starts to build an image in their mind, and when the character is revealed in depth, it doesn't always match up to the one fabricated.

What I didn't like so much was how you put their age as numbers. It may not seem very significant, but I feel as though it makes it seem very.. abrupt.

Like, maybe you need not even put the age, because it really is unnecessary at this point of the story. Also, the dialogue in this story seems a bit stiff. It's actually pretty surreal when you think about it. The phrases are common, but it seems as though you're trying too hard to make them sound like teenagers, or angst ridden mothers, or trying teachers.

The dialogues is just in all, unrealistic.

For example: "And because you corrected me in front of a group of people who I should be imposing toward, you just earned yourself a trip to the principal’s office. Bye-Bye"

I can only imagine that being said in a a bad comic book or maybe a cartoon.

Well, I'm on to the next chapter now. Still, it's a good start. Hoping to read more. :)
TuneOut chapter 1 . 2/16/2009
Spelling/Grammar: You have some grammar mistakes.

"Chuck graduated high school at 16 at 20-years-old; he is already working on his doctorate in physics." It should be, "Chuck graduated high school at sixteen. At twenty years old, he is already working on his doctorate in physics."

"You figure out what going on." It should be "what's."

"Chances are you sexy man has already left, too" It should be "Chances are that your sexy man has already left too."

Dialogue: I think you could improve it. It seems unnatural at times. For example when Gary says, "Okay. That’s okay. I’ll remember this. Trust me, when you least expect it, you’ll get your comeuppance.” Even though he is smart and therefore would use unusual words, I can't imagine any kid saying "comeuppance" especially since he was trying to be threatening.

Opening: It didn't draw me in as much as it should. I'm not exactly sure how it added much to the story either. It made me kind of shrug. I think the opening could be improved by phrasing the sentences better and emphasizing just how dull Hyde's Park is as a town. Right now, it's sort of mundane and doesn't make you have second thoughts.

Characters: I think you did a nice job in setting up the characters. I like that Miles seems rather ordinary. I hope that the characters themselves become fleshed out more as the story goes on. Since it's only the first chapter, they're fine but I hope that they aren't one note.

Nice job!
Dot Cubed chapter 17 . 12/24/2008
I LOVE GARY! I know I've mentioned that like a million times, but it's true. He was, hands down, the best part of this chapter, what with the whole "he broke my hand with his face!" line, him trying to pour himself a glass of water and spilling it everywhere, and him not wanting to sleep on the couch! Gary is so my favorite character, haha. I was intially disappointed when I saw he wasn't going to get to Egypt, but I know you'll still include him in the next chapter, right? HE HAS TO BUST DRAKE OUT OF JAIL.

You keep teasing us with Colonel Mustard! We know what he looks like but now I want to actually hear the guy talk! Hopefully they'll find him in Egypt...hahaha, I really loved the part where Miles was all "just watch Finding Nemo, Meredith." Honestly, that is one of my favorite movies.

Drake saw Talsteed's death! :O DUDE! I read that and literally gasped; not because I like Talsteed, because yeah, I really don't, but because deaths are serious business. Oh man, I kinda can't wait for that to happen.

Anyway, this was an awesome chapter, and I really missed the guys in Hyde's Park! I noticed you haven't updated in awhile, which makes me sad, because I can't go this long without my Gary fix! hahaha
SuzannaR chapter 1 . 12/23/2008
Review Game

Interesting story. I picked this to review because of the subject matter.

I noticed a few grammar things:

Stupider; the superlative of stupid is more/most stupid.

Podunk: ? wow this is obscure no? I had to look up its meaning in several dictionaries. I think you could have used another word.

I don't see a lot of believable emotion in the characters. For example the mother seems to be nasty but you can only tell that from the dialogue. It felt like it came out of the blue. I don't know why she's upset and he doesn't seem upset either.

The teacher Mr James is strange. Why would he say " people who I should be imposing toward". This sounds like internal dialogue, not something he would say out loud.

Also I think Chuck should have been more emotional when he found out about the shift and the impending end of the world. He was explaining it almost in a bored way to Denis when he should have been screaming and crying and pulling his hair out (or maybe that's just me!).

Same goes for the director and the kids listening to it on the news. There was a non reaction it seems.

I find that you're switching rather abruptly between the settings of the school and the weather place. That's a bit dizzying. (is that a word?). Perhaps you can use a chapter break.

Re: the magnetic shift. A much used idea in fiction btw (but the first I ve seen on fp so cool). There is magnetic shift of course but its absolutely not occuring as fast as you say in this story. Of course this is fiction so you're within your rights...I'm just saying :) Btw there is a novel called Polar Shift by Clive Cussler...same subject. That's why I chose this story to read.

I like how you insert humour in the story. Dennis is funny (I like him) and it's funny how Allison's dream man turns out to be a woman!

s
Decoris Verbum chapter 1 . 11/30/2008
M...Interesting theory, here. I liked the everyday quirks you gave your characters because it made them so much more realistic than most stories. I guess you could think over the reactions of the characters to the apacolypse, because it was just kind of blurted out there without genuine urgency. And Dennis wasn't worried at all when he was explaining it to Chuck, so that part wasn't genuine. Otherwise, amazing idea! Can't wait to see how it all unfolds!

Happy writing,

-DV-
Sophronia Lee chapter 1 . 11/29/2008
I love the plot so far. Apoccalypse stories make me happy! I like the little part at the end when Allison finds her mystery guy. XD

A few critiques: the changes between POVs are a bit abrupt. It's be a lot easier to understand if you put some kind of indication, like a page break a something. Also, there are a few grammatical errors, but nothing earthshattering.
B. J. Winters chapter 15 . 11/24/2008
Clunky first sentence: Drake Sarkassian had been spending a little too much time at the Westin house since his newfound free time. How about: Drake Sarkanssian was spending too much time at Westin House. – you remind the reader of the layoff in the next sentence (which is good) so the new found free time just feels repetitive.

Grammar: For the last few days, Chuck and Drake were becoming better friends. {there is a verb issue here – suggest: Chuck and Drake had become friends in the last few days}

Overall – I think you can collapse the first three paragraphs. The text just sort of hangs there – or build an interesting scene instead, rather than dumping facts on the reader – maybe some dialogue with them all sitting around wasting time. Show me how the characters interact rather than telling me. I see them sitting in overstuffed leather chairs – smoking cigars while you show some of their personality. My suggestion would be to expand this scene so that you incorporate the facts more fully in dialogue.

Grammar/Flow: “Miles Westin spent the day in school as he usually did, but he wasn't paying any attention to the assignment Aaron James gave to his class. He only gave it so he could escape for a few minutes. More students had entered the class, and he..” {the topic sentence here doesn’t hold. I’m assuming the subsequent sentences – the he- is Aaron. If that’s so you should clarify. And ask yourself about relevancy – do I need these details, or do I just need to know where Miles is}

Dialogue: “She's hardly doing that,” Miles quipped. “She was brought into the loop when we needed help finding Carmen Cortez. {two things. Again, use “said” more often. Second – be careful of slang. Rather than ‘in the loop’ just say ‘hired’. You have readers from other countries that are going to think that she’s driving, or something else with that phrase}

Overall comment: You flip between referring to the characters by first and last name. Pick one. For a second I wondered who “Ross” was. I thought it was another character. Granted, I’m not reading this in order, but consistency will help the reader. They don’t need the variety – its ok to see the first name repeated.

Flow: She, along with Larry Burke, was in Harrington's office at the courthouse. It was getting late in the day and they were among the only people left in the building. {I get sentence #1. I don’t get sentence #2 – this was important, because….? Keep it relevant. Extra stuff like this just kills the pacing.}

Spelling: “Leverage,” Miles told everyone lese in the room with him the following day {else?}

I wondered why you didn’t combine the Miles/Michael stuff all together. Time passing is obviously one thing, but these scenes are very short, and I felt a bit like I was watching a tennis match. Carry the plot through in meaningful chunks.

“Come on!” he ordered. “She told me to leave her alone. I didn't, so she's getting security right now. We might want to go before we're arrested as enemy combatants.” {arrested as enemy combatants – uh..,.maybe arrested for harassment?”}

I hope my comments have been helpful - I tend to focus on what can be improved rather than gushing on the good stuff. I did enjoy the read and the premise. I'll be back another time for more.
B. J. Winters chapter 16 . 11/24/2008
Overall I liked this chapter better than 17. It hung on the trial which I found it had action and depth and focus.

I’ll repeat a bit of my commentary from before – you don’t need to provide every detail. For example – you have everyone filing into the room (and tell me the order over a series of sentences) –then you have everyone sitting;

Example: The prosecuting team made their way into the room. Chuck Westin took the seat reserved for the prosecutor. Miles sat next to him and Ashley sat next to Miles. Jamie, Drake and Gary took the seats right behind the prosecuting table. The Devil chose to sit by himself further to the back. No one noticed immediately.

Why not just say: “The prosecuting team made their way into the room. Chuck Westin, Miles and Ashley sat together, side by side. Behind them Jamie, Drake and Gary took their posts while the Devil remained behind, taking a spot in the back of the room.”

But again – think about why the reader needs this detail. Proximity of position will be revealed in dialogue. If you want to note the Devil in the back of the room then show me in some sort of scene rather than a list – have someone notice – the reader shouldn’t be told this type of detail if it’s important.

You go on to say: “Harrington looked over everyone at the courtroom. Chuck Westin was sitting where the prosecutor should be. Was there no prosecutor willing to take the case?” {Here we get why you said the order/position – I may not need the “list” you gave me earlier because you incorporated it in to action. You don’t need to do both – it slows down the pacing}

Dialogue: “Objection!” Ashley stood up and yelled. “She's leading the jury. She shouldn't even be allowed to talk to the jury.” – why is Ashley objecting – why isn’t Chuck saying this line. And it’s clunky – “Objection.” Is probably enough. Have the judge admonish the attorney.

And then you have: “Coretta defended her point. “It's a rhetorical question and Ashley Brock does not even have the authority to object since she's not in the prosecutor’s chair.” Ashley stood up and forcibly pulled Chuck Westin from the chair and placed herself in it. Still, Joe Harrington sided with Coretta. “The objection is overruled. You may continue Mrs. Smith.”

What? The judge would not have acknowledged someone without a formal role. If you want the dialogue have Chuck do it. The judge won’t allow random commentary regardless of if there is an objection or not. He won’t then overrule himself. Keep the focus; keep the dialogue tight and purposeful.

Example: “You were not asked your opinion, son,” Harrington reminded him. “Stick to the facts.” {Keep things formal – no “son”, use “Mr.”}

Grammar: Harrington though longer on his ruling for this one. {thought?}

Flow: School,” he replied. Miles swiveled his head behind Coretta to see that Michael Ross was no longer in the courtroom. He paid it no mind. {if it was meaningless – then why did you mention it? If Michael left the courtroom – show him leaving – put it in a scene}

This may be based on your setting – but courts don’t typically bop between prosecution and defense. It shocked me that the defense was allowed to call a witness so fast. Is the prosecution done?

Example: “Objection!” Allison called. “She's bullying the witness. This is completely pointless.” {badgering is the better word than bullying – and no commentary. Allison? Did you mean Ashley? And if it’s Ashley she’s already been told to stay quiet. The person speaking and what they say here needs to be reworked}

Example: “About three months ago, Allison Dreary hit a man with her car. If the court allows it, I will not mention his name for personal reasons.” Harrington nodded. {you’re not going to be able to get away without specifics – date/place/ and person for corroboration. Think about why you can’t say the detail – if that’s key then use this as a big point in the trial – don’t just hand wave over it. If its not important than just say the name}

Example: Coretta was giving him a fiery glare and the rest of the court was ogling him in anticipation. “I was curious because I had manifested precognitive abilities to sense danger after the Polar Shift went into effect.” {This dialogue is awkward – I don’t believe the phrasing – use more common words}

Spelling: I worked in a museum for about ten years before the Polar Shift. Then I moved down her to Hyde's Park an became a teacher.” {and}

Example: “Objection,” Miles called. “He is lying.” – ok – they don’t get to say that. If nothing else the judge would be all over it. And after this line – Coretta should not say “sugar”, unless that’s a known nickname. More formality. Or, if you are using this for humor and to point out that this is a kangaroo court - then you need to remove the elements of formality through out. Sometimes you use "MR" sometimes you don't pick one tone and be consistent.

Grammar: Miles dug into his left pocket and retrieved the photo of the man taken in Vienna. He held it directly at Larry Burke and asked. “Do you recognize this man?” {comma after asked, not period}

Again - I’m reading this backwards – I think you can expand this chapter. The next chapter (17) would be a bit of a let down…this closing feels like there is more to say.
B. J. Winters chapter 17 . 11/24/2008
I have heard good things about your story, but never made it over here. So, I’m going to read your mystery backwards (meaning I will review (Chapter 17, 16, and 15) with the intent of looking for consistency and foreshadowing. Good mysteries tend to plant clues on the way so the reader can go back and say “damn, should have seen that coming”.

First though – I have to comment on your opening sentence. [Two hours had passed since the first chapter in the trial against Larry Burke had subsided]. This just seems too wordy – like you’re trying too hard. It just sort of hangs there. I would suggest that you think about using more precise words. Rather than “had subsided” – why not just say “concluded” or “ended”. Or better, still, why not combine this random fact with the character you open the chapter with – so that it reads something like: {Two hours after the Larry Burke trial ended, Corretta sat on her bed gloating. She flipped through the channels in hopes that her victory had managed to come through the airways.}

Here is another example: [Two consecutive light knocks came at the door. Both of them knew who it would be.] “consecutive light knocks” – do I need that detail? Both of them – who? The knocks? :0. Why not just say, “Two taps at the door signaled Meredith’s arrival.”

Another example: As soon as the door was fully open, Michael dove in to grab her in a chokehold. Meredith stood about an inch taller than Ross, so the grab was not seamless. {this totally loses the flow – he’s grabbed her, don’t get wordy and technical –show me the action, just say “Michael grabbed her and held her in a chokehold.” One inch in size should not be a hindrance}

It’s a style issue – but I don’t need all the extra words. For a mystery I expect it to move, have more action verbs and be precise.

Next topic – Characters. Coretta is interesting. I wanted to see more of her and was sorry when she left. There are quite a few characters and you offer brief snippets of each in this chapter. My first desire is for more focus and depth…I’ll think on this more as I read other chapters.

Dialogue. Use “said” more. It’s invisible to the reader. In this chapter we ‘chide’, ‘reveal’, ‘repeat’ ‘applaud’ and a host of other interesting verbs. While it does, again, add interest – you don’t need to work that hard.

Plot: I almost wish now that I’d started at the beginning the game references (clue, family feud) are intriguing, and add a bit of ‘in’ humor.

On to 16…
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