Aug 02 2009

Polaris Spark’s Review Forum

Published by at 8:48 pm under Review Forums

Please see the comments below.  Thanks!

8 responses so far

8 Responses to “Polaris Spark’s Review Forum”

  1. PolarisSparkon 10 Aug 2009 at 9:28 am

    Okay, I do have an idea. The story is called Guardian’s Tempest, and though it is the first in a series, it will be a standalone until I can get enough success for a sequel.

    The story is about a teenager named Tyson Richards in the year 2025 who lives a utopia known as Templus (I’m gonna need a better, more realistic name. Templus means Sanctuary in latin, I think). He gains powers after a mysterious accident and has to fight against a gang with supernatural forces on their side just as powerful as his while figuring out who’s behind the creation of these superhumans.

    …sucky summary, I know. Anyhow, I’m gonna post the first five chapter or so, one at a time, and get some honest feedback.

    The target audience is teenagers and young adults, but it’s a bit mature. I would say, 14 and on.

    I have a serious spine, so hit me as hard as you can. But try not to make it totally negative. I can take it, I just don’t like it.

    Please tell me how far you wanted to read through the chapter, and how long I kept you hooked. Thanks!

  2. PolarisSparkon 10 Aug 2009 at 9:32 am

    Here’s chapter 1. Tell me if you were hooked!

    Chapter 1: Genesis of the Harbinger

    I never asked for the big things in life. I just wanted to live a prosperous yet normal life, get married, have kids, all that stuff. But despite all of that my future did not respect my wishes. If I could somehow have known about what was about to befall my home and change my life forever, I would have done anything to stop it. But fate had no mercy, and I was no exception to that rule. Now I am the only thing that stands between supernatural forces and the equivalent of a total apocalypse, whether I want to or not.
    I could still remember how it all started, how typical that day was. It was like every other day in my life for about the last year or so. I had simple priorities at that time: keep my job, and hold up my relationships with those around me. It was typical, well, at least at first. It was just me and my partner and best friend Lucien cruising through the streets in our patrol car, the red lights on top becoming a beacon of intense light while the sirens blared.
    “Guards Tyson Richards and Lucien Hunt, are you en route to your target?”
    “Yeah, we’re closing in,” I replied. “We should be at the scene within the next few minutes.”
    “Okay, Guard Tyson. Be sure to detail us on the situation once you arrive,” the voice from the other end of my walkie talkie instructed.
    “Sounds good to me,” I shrugged, and then our communication ceased.
    “Those people back at base are still so strict. It seems like nothing changes,” Lucien chuckled.
    We worked for the Templus Guard, named after the utopia like country we lived in. We took on many roles, from bodyguards for the rich and politically significant, to patrolling the streets and stopping everyday crime like we were doing now. We were probably the most similar to what in other countries would be considered police but we had our differences, such as how we were paid differently for every task we undertook. This could sometimes cause problems for us, since we were about average in terms of what jobs we got.
    “Well for once maybe we could have a bigger case,” I argued. “No one will promote us because we’ve only been doing low grade work, but the only reason we’re doing low grade work is because nothing ever happens around here. This robbery is probably the last big thing that happened in this city since about forever. It’s so peaceful here our work is barely needed.”
    “That’s true,” Lucien said optimistically. “But at least we aren’t doing office work. Heck, at least we have jobs. We could be one of those poor guys, forced to work for hundreds of hours in those mines out near Scalter City, in the middle of the desert. Plus, we’re only eighteen. We have a lot of life ahead of us.”
    One from outside Templus would question why I was so young and already out at work. Here in Templus, education is quite different, as everyone goes to school in an accelerated program. You’re already out of school by seventeen, and instead of college, you try out for a job and then they provide you with the extended courses you would need to do it. Despite that, I’m still one of the youngest Guards, as the job has a lot of pressure and most wouldn’t try out for it until they’re older and more ready. Not that I’m one to be easily changed by other people’s opinions.
    “I still want some more action, even if it’s just something small,” I told him. “I feel like our potential is just going down the drain of uselessness. If we were higher up and a bit older we would get paid a lot more, too.”
    Oh how I would regret saying that soon enough.
    “Well, you do have your date with Hannah after you get off work,” Lucien said. “I’m still looking through the sea of fishes while you already caught yours and have made it last.”
    I couldn’t help but smile at that. Hannah was my everything. She was a doctor at the Celestial City Hospital, and she was also my girlfriend for about a year. Over that time we have bonded greatly, and our love for each other has never wavered. On those days when I’m not doing as well as I should in my job, she was always the shining beacon at the end of the day I would be eager to return to, and I was even beginning to think of proposing to her. We both were pretty interested in each other, and I believed we could take it to the next level.
    “Yeah, maybe she can make this day worthwhile,” I said. “Sometimes I feel like I’m barely making a difference. Things didn’t turn out exactly the way I planned after I got out of college.”
    “Well, you’re only twenty four,” Lucien responded. “You have a lot of life left, and there’s plenty of time to make things work. Look, when we’re done with this we’ll go get a bite to eat before your date, okay?”
    “Actually, that sounds good to me,” I accepted. “I haven’t eaten anything since this morning.”
    “That’s very healthy,” Lucien said sarcastically. “Anyhow, we’re here.”
    Lucien curved the car into a parking spot with ease, and we both got out of the car and walked down towards the bank. To our dismay, many other Templus Guard vehicles were also sitting there, and they were all empty-we were too late.
    “Well, at least we’ll get some credit for being here,” Lucien sighed. “Sorry, I should have driven here faster.”
    “Don’t blame it on yourself. Those idiots back at base should have called faster,” I assured. “It wasn’t your fault, maybe something else will happen soon.”
    I pulled out my walkie-talkie, and connected back to the mission assigners at base. None of us field workers liked talking to them, as most of them are grumpy and rude due to the fact most are forced to work an office job. But one person from every partnership has to do it, and Lucien was definitely not going to sacrifice that, as he’s a lot more cautious and respectful than I tend to be at times.
    I held it up to my ear and looked around to see other Guards pulling the robbers out in electrified handcuffs. As always, even though it was 2040, the main thing that improves always has to do with combat, weapons, and warfare. The robbers tried to fight back as they were dragged away, but it was no use as the handcuffs shocked them.
    “Did you and Guard Lucien arrive on the scene, Guard Tyson?” the mission briefer on the line asked.
    “We did, just a little late though,” I admitted. There was no point lying to them, as they probably could use their satellite to find out that piece of information.
    “That is an unacceptable answer, Guard Tyson,” the voice of the other line disapproved. “You were close to the scene, and you have been trained well and have good experience. We expect nothing less than the best form you two, and you did not deliver.”
    “Okay, listen to me,” I hissed angrily. “You were the one who told us so late, and there were plenty of other Guards closer, so you can’t expect us to magically move ahead of them. Now, look. There’s a reason I’m out here on the field and you’re stuck in your little office, so-”
    I suddenly stopped my rant when I looked past the bank apprehension happening before me, and gazed upon a masked figure running down the street, a suitcase almost bursting with money at the edges being held in his hands as he knocked people out of his way. None of the other Guards seemed to notice it, and I was the only one who did. It was my chance to shine.
    “Excuse me,” the voice on the walkie-talkie sneered. “Be aware of the position you are in, Guard Tyson. You have been directed to take the others given to you without complaint, and-”
    “God, you office guys don’t ever shut up, do you?” I snapped back in a snide tone before tossing my walkie talkie to Lucien and running down the street in pursuit of the fleeting robber.
    I pulled out a long yellow pistol with a yellow trigger, clips, and lock and charged down the street, swerving quickly around people as opposed to simply knocking them over. I know that Lucien would be pissed at me for not only making him answer the walkie-talkie, but especially since I left him to deal with a very pissed off office worker. But that was something I would have to worry about later as I closed the distance between me and the escaping thief.
    We ran about a few blocks before he chose to escape from public site and retreated into a narrow alley. I followed him quickly and when I had a clear sight in the narrow alley, I pulled the trigger on my Voltage pistol and sent an electric bolt racing across the path. He managed to move his body just a bit to the right, causing the mass of electrons to fly past him and only leave behind dwindling sparks.
    “Shoot,” I said, disappointed in my miss.
    However, that became the least of my problems as he drew a semiautomatic pistol loaded with drilling bullets. I quickly took evasive maneuvers and hopped onto the side of the wall before kicking off using the extremities on the right side of my body. The drilling bullets ripped through the pavement below me, sending loud booms throughout the area.
    I landed and continued my sprint after him, waiting for the gun to collect another charge. I narrowed my eyes in frustration due to the fact he got far ahead of me in the time it took me to dodge those bullets. I could’ve ran faster, but if this chase got longer it would’ve just been a waste of time. I instead waited for the next turn in the alleyways, and instead of following right behind him I took it, turning from one alleyway to the next with great swiftness. I then took one last turn and the charge for the next shot filled up.
    The thief emerged around the corner with his semiautomatic aimed at me, but I fired first. The bolt of yellow lightning hit his gun point blank and traveled through its metal structure into him, causing him to cry out in pain. His muscles spasmed as he dropped his weapon, and then he fell to the ground, effectively paralyzed.
    I used the metal handcuffs and created the electrical connection between them just by clicking them together, but I knew that even without them he wouldn’t be escaping to anywhere. But just to be safe, I also kicked his gun away, and hoisted him up by his handcuffs. As the man’s hood dropped, revealing his rough expression while he cursed me all the while, I looked down the alley to find backup arriving. Lucien tossed me the walkie-talkie from the very back of the group and smirked, knowing the officers would have to shut up now. I put it to my ear as the robber in my grasp glared venomously at all of us Guards.
    “Guard Tyson, you are expected to perform better in every way. We are not responsible for your disappointments. You need to shape up, or-”
    “Shut up! I took down a robber that almost escaped, so I suggest you back off of me and Lucien,” I said firmly.
    “Oh-uh, well, I guess you did a good job, Guard Tyson. A pay raise will be added to both of your pay checks,” the office worker said nervously. “Your shift is over as well, we will see you tomorrow.”
    “I guess you showed those office assigners some sense, huh?” Lucien said.
    “I think they’ll be leaving us alone for a while,” I predicted. “Let’s take this dude back to base and lock him up with all of his kind friends.”
    But things would not turn out the way I planned. A shining blue light overcame all of us Guard members and almost blinded us. The glow was so bright that even people on the streets were curious as to what was happening. I turned around only for someone or something to grab me. I could only see the outline of the figure, but the origin of the blinding glow came from his hand, where he held something that resembled a digital cube. Along its surface was hundreds of codes, none of which I could understand.
    I couldn’t get much more of a clear look at it however before I suddenly cried out in pain, along with the other Guards. But my pain was much different. I felt like something was burning through my body, taking it over, changing me. I fell to my knees, trying to find any salvation from the immense agony, but I was given no mercy. I screamed, but for some reason it couldn’t be heard above another noise. It almost sounded like the howling wind, but I couldn’t be sure.
    “Farewell, Tyson Richards. I’ll leave you just a little parting gift, but we’ll meet again in time,” a calm voice promised.
    Despite the amount of pain I was going through, I tried to open my mouth to say something, but the man and his mysterious cube was gone. The blue light slowly faded from my eyesight, allowing me to look around. The whole area looked as if it a tornado ripped through it. Numerous buildings were torn to pieces, and others looked on the verge of falling. The tight alleys I was once in was now reduced to a Ground Zero in instants, and the shrieks of panicked citizens were now the primary sound ringing through my ears. The other Guards were knocked far back, and I stood in the center of the huge impact, on a small circle of unharmed ground.
    I wondered what happened to me that caused such horrible pain that it reduced me to simple shrieking, but before I could do that I looked down at myself and realized that there was a hole in my stomach that I didn’t notice due to my previous pain. My vision began to waver in and out as all of the unexplainable hellish agony hit me all of at once, causing the environment around me to fade into black.

  3. Lighting Manon 10 Aug 2009 at 1:57 pm

    The formatting and perhaps some of the grammar and punctuation seem a bit off to me, but I’ll leave that to the more grammar-minded among us.

    It seems like a neat idea but a few problems stick out to me.

    ““Guards Tyson Richards and Lucien Hunt, are you en route to your target?” — This is one of a few areas where the dialogue seems clunky and more aimed at exposition then necessary, given the similarity to modern Police officers, the dispatcher would be more likely to refer them by the car number, or some other static but concise identifier.

    ““Okay, Guard Tyson. ” — It seems a bit unlikely that in a formal work situation, they would be addressed by rank then first name. There is a good chance that in any job, there would be more then one Tyson, but unless cloning or a strange form of dictatorship is involved, the surname would most likely not repeat, at least at the same rank.

    ” Plus, we’re only eighteen. We have a lot of life ahead of us.”” — This relates to the first issue mentioned, but it also suggests a perspective that doesn’t really fit with the rest of his established relationship, he seems to be aware of how lucky he is to be the age he is, as opposed to begrudging it as he does just a sentence or two later.

    “Well, you’re only twenty four,” Lucien responded. “You have a lot of life left, and there’s plenty of time to make things work. Look, when we’re done with this we’ll go get a bite to eat before your date, okay?” — Perhaps this is my mistake, but I believe he was eighteen just a few minutes ago in the story, and that phrase really shouldn’t recur so quickly, I’d say.

    Conceptually, I’d also say that the existence, or at least, usage of walkie-talkies is a bit peculiar, some police forces in this modern age have already experimented with or completely switched over to cellular phones, so the idea that radios would still be the primary communication device for law enforcement in the future is a bit questionable.

    The work could also do with a bit more description of the scenery, and I’d suggest you read B. Mac’s excellent articles on the problems with Third Person and First Person narration, because I think that switching to a third person narration may help your work. Your lead is accustomed to his time, lifestyle and culture, so him describing the scenery would seem slightly off, but a third person narrator could easily do so. It would also allow you, although you’d have to be careful to avoid tangents, to describe the more alien concepts and creations of your culture without damaging immersion, which I regretfully say occurred in the paragraph in which your lead explained the school system.

    Beyond what I’ve mentioned, I think you did a fairly good job and it was mostly enjoyable.

  4. PolarisSparkon 10 Aug 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Well, wow, I thought there would be a lot more wrong with it.

    You’re right, on about everything. I’m not going to sit here and defend my ideas, because you’re right. I’ll edit these things into my work. And also, try not to mind the grammar errors so much, along with the spelling errors. That’s jsut me being careless, and it’ll be edited soon.

    Though, when I don’t use first person narration, I can be more personal, and I really want to create a distinct character voice. I may have to spend a bit of time working with more description while being personal, but I really don’t want to use third person.

    Thanks for the feedback!

  5. PolarisSparkon 10 Aug 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Here’s an edited version of chapter 1. Hope it’s a little better. I still fail at spelling and grammar, but I’ll probably edit it one more time.

    Chapter 1: Genesis of the Harbinger

    I never asked for the big things in life. I just wanted to live a prosperous yet normal life, get married, have kids, all that stuff. But despite all of that my future did not respect my wishes. If I could somehow have known about what was about to befall my home and change my life forever, I would have done anything to stop it. But fate had no mercy, and I was no exception to that rule. Now I am the only thing that stands between supernatural forces and the equivalent of a total apocalypse, whether I want to or not.
    I could still remember how it all started, how typical that day was. It was like every other day in my life for about the last year or so. I had simple priorities at that time: keep my job, and hold up my relationships with those around me. It was typical, well, at least at first. It was just me and my partner and best friend Lucien cruising through the streets in our patrol car, the red lights on top becoming a beacon of intense light while the sirens blared.
    The late afternoon was quite peaceful. Citizens walked through the streets of Celestial City, known for how starry its sky was at night. Large gray orbs floated above the city, which would be illuminated by a bright electrical charge at night in order to prevent the shadows of the large skyscrapers from casting out the moon’s light. Arching walkways carried pedestrians over busy streets, and electrical pathways directed the lightning fast trains over the area below. Commercial video boards hovered over the area as well, advertising dozens of businesses while neon signs light up much of the city, even during the day. And despite all of this, it was quite calm in it’s own, ironic way. It was the city I loved so much, and a mere representation of the nation I have always wanted to protect, Templus.
    “Is patrol car 29 en route to the target?” the voice asked over the speakers in the car.
    “Don’t you have tracking systems on your fancy little maps to check that?” I replied smugly. “We should be at the scene within the next few minutes.”
    “Be sure to detail us on the situation once you arrive,” the voice from the other end of my walkie talkie instructed.
    “Sounds good to me,” I shrugged, and then our communication ceased.
    “Those people back at base are still so strict. It seems like nothing changes,” Lucien chuckled. “Especially when they hear the witty Tyson Richards on the other side of the communication.”
    “I know, I just strike fear into their hearts,” I joked.
    We worked for the Templus Guard, the security service that was spread out through the whole country. We took on many roles, from bodyguards for the rich and politically significant, to patrolling the streets and stopping everyday crime like we were doing now. We were probably the most similar to what in other countries would be considered police but we had our differences, such as how we were paid differently for every task we undertook. This could sometimes cause problems for us, since we were about average in terms of what jobs we got.
    “Well for once maybe we could have a bigger case,” I argued. “No one will promote us because we’ve only been doing minor work, but the only reason we’re doing just that is because nothing ever happens around here. This robbery is probably the last big thing that happened in this city since about forever. It’s so peaceful here our work is barely needed.”
    “That’s true,” Lucien said optimistically. “But at least we aren’t doing office work. Heck, at least we have jobs. We could be one of those poor guys, forced to work for hundreds of hours in those mines out near Scalter City, in the middle of the desert. Plus, we’re only eighteen. We have a lot of life ahead of us.”
    One from outside Templus would question why I was so young and already out at work. Here in Templus, education is quite different. You’re already out of school by seventeen, and instead of going into extra education such as college, you try out for a job and then they provide you with the extra knowledge you would need to do it. Despite that, I’m still one of the youngest agents, as the job has a lot of pressure and most wouldn’t try out for it until they’re older and more ready. Not that I’m one to be easily changed by other people’s opinions.
    “I still want some more action, even if it’s just something small,” I told him. “I feel like our potential is just going down the drain of uselessness. If something happened, even just something simple we would get paid a lot more, too.”
    Oh how I would regret saying that soon enough.
    “Well, you do have your date with Hannah after you get off work,” Lucien said. “I’m still looking through the sea of fishes while you already caught yours and have made it last.”
    I couldn’t help but smile at that. Hannah was my everything. She was a doctor at the Celestial City Hospital, and she was also my girlfriend for about a year. Over that time we have bonded greatly, and our love for each other has never wavered. On those days when I’m not doing as well as I should in my job, she was always the shining beacon at the end of the day I would be eager to return to, and I was even beginning to think of proposing to her. We both were pretty interested in each other, and I believed we could take it to the next level.
    “Yeah, maybe she can make this day worthwhile,” I said. “Sometimes I feel like I’m barely making a difference. Things didn’t turn out exactly the way I planned after I got out of college.”
    “Well, you’re only eighteen,” Lucien responded. “You have a lot of life left, and there’s plenty of time to make things work. Look, when we’re done with this we’ll go get a bite to eat before your date, okay?”
    “Actually, that sounds good to me,” I accepted. “I haven’t eaten anything since this morning.”
    “That’s very healthy,” Lucien said sarcastically. “Anyhow, we’re here.”
    Lucien curved the car into a parking spot with ease as the hovering mechanism under it deactivated and allowed the car to touch the ground. We both got out of the car and walked down towards the bank. To our dismay, many other Templus Guard vehicles were also sitting there, and they were all empty-we were too late.
    “Well, at least we’ll get some credit for being here,” Lucien sighed. “Sorry, I should have driven here faster.”
    “Don’t blame it on yourself. Those idiots back at base should have called faster,” I assured. “It wasn’t your fault, maybe something else will happen soon.”
    I pressed a button on my blue tooth, and connected back to the mission assigners at base with a mere thought. None of us field workers liked talking to them, as most of them are grumpy and rude due to the fact most are forced to work an office job. But one person from every partnership has to do it during any job, and Lucien was definitely not going to sacrifice that, as he’s a lot more cautious and respectful than I tend to be at times.
    I listened to the dialing tone and looked around to see other agents pulling the robbers out in electrified handcuffs. As always, even though it was 2025, the main thing that improves always has to do with combat and weapons. The robbers tried to fight back as they were dragged away, but it was no use as the handcuffs shocked them.
    “Did you and Lucien arrive on the scene, Tyson?” the mission briefer on the line asked.
    “We did, but we were just a little late,” I admitted. There was no point lying to them, as they probably could use their satellite to find out that piece of information.
    “That is an unacceptable answer, Tyson,” the voice of the other line disapproved. “You were close to the scene, and you have been trained well and have good experience. We expect nothing less than the best from you two, and you did not deliver.”
    “Okay, listen to me,” I hissed angrily. “You were the one who told us so late, and there were plenty of other agents who were closer, so you can’t expect us to magically move ahead of them. Now, look. There’s a reason I’m out here on the field and you’re stuck in your little office, so-”
    I suddenly stopped my rant when I looked past the bank apprehension happening before me, and gazed upon a hooded figure running down the street, a suitcase almost bursting with money at the edges being held in his hands as he knocked people out of his way. None of the other agents seemed to notice it, and I was the only one who did. It was my chance to shine.
    “Excuse me,” the voice sneered. “Be aware of the position you are in, Tyson. You have been directed to take the others given to you without complaint, and-”
    “God, you office guys don’t ever shut up, do you?” I snapped back in a snide tone before looking back at Lucien and then running down the street in pursuit of the fleeting robber. “I’m busy, so talk to Lucien or something.”
    After disconnecting, and realizing that Lucien was going to kill me later, I pulled out a long yellow pistol with a yellow trigger, clips, and lock and charged down the street, swerving quickly around people as opposed to simply knocking them over like the robber was doing. I began to close the distance in between them and him as we moved farther down, the skyscrapers that were more then two hundred stories coming closer and closer with solar panels covering where the sides met.
    We ran about a few blocks before he chose to escape from public site and retreated into a narrow alley. I followed him quickly and when I had a clear sight in the narrow alley, I pulled the trigger on my Voltage pistol and sent an electric bolt racing across the path. He managed to move his body just a bit to the right, causing the mass of electrons to fly past him and only leave behind dwindling sparks.
    “Shoot,” I said, disappointed in my miss.
    However, that became the least of my problems as he drew a semiautomatic pistol loaded with drilling bullets. I quickly took evasive maneuvers and hopped onto the side of the wall before kicking off using the extremities on the right side of my body. The drilling bullets ripped through the pavement below me, sending loud booms throughout the area.
    I landed and continued my sprint after him, waiting for the gun to collect another charge. I narrowed my eyes in frustration due to the fact he got far ahead of me in the time it took me to dodge those bullets. I could have ran faster, but if this chase got longer it would’ve just been a waste of time. I instead waited for the next turn in the alleyways, and instead of following right behind him I took it, turning from one alleyway to the next with great swiftness. I then took one last turn and the charge for the next shot filled up.
    The thief emerged around the corner with his semiautomatic aimed at me, but I fired first. The bolt of yellow lightning hit his gun point blank and traveled through its metal structure into him, causing him to cry out in pain. His muscles spasmed as he dropped his weapon, and then he fell to the ground, effectively paralyzed.
    I used the metal handcuffs and created the electrical connection between them just by clicking them together, but I knew that even without them he wouldn’t be escaping to anywhere. But just to be safe, I also kicked his gun away, and hoisted him up by his handcuffs. As the man’s hood dropped, revealing his rough expression while he cursed me all the while, I looked down the alley to find backup arriving. Lucien tossed and smirked despite the fact I put him in a situation he hated. I guess he knew the officers would have to shut up now. I put it to my ear as the robber in my grasp glared venomously at all of us agents.
    “Tyson, you are expected to perform better in every way. We are not responsible for your disappointments. You need to shape up, or-”
    “Shut up! I took down a robber that almost escaped, so I suggest you back off of me and Lucien,” I said firmly.
    “Oh-uh, well, I guess you did a good job, Tyson. A pay raise will be added to both of your pay checks,” the office worker said nervously. “Your shift is over as well. We will see you tomorrow.”
    “I guess you showed those office assigners some sense, huh?” Lucien said.
    “I think they’ll be leaving us alone for a while,” I predicted. “Let’s take this scum back to base and lock him up with all of his kind friends.”
    But things would not turn out the way I planned. A shining blue light overcame all of us agents and almost blinded us. The glow was so bright that even people on the streets were curious as to what was happening. I turned around only for someone or something to grab me. I could only see the outline of the figure, but the origin of the blinding glow came from his hand, where he held something that resembled a digital cube. Along its surface was hundreds of codes, none of which I could understand.
    I couldn’t get much more of a clear look at it however before I suddenly cried out in pain, along with the other agents. But my pain was much different. I felt like something was burning through my body, taking it over, changing me. I fell to my knees, trying to find any salvation from the immense agony, but I was given no mercy. I screamed, but for some reason it couldn’t be heard above another noise. It almost sounded like the howling wind, but I couldn’t be sure.
    “Farewell, Tyson Richards. I’ll leave you just a little parting gift, but we’ll meet again in time,” a calm voice promised.
    Despite the amount of pain I was going through, I tried to open my mouth to say something, but the man and his mysterious cube was gone. The blue light slowly faded from my eyesight, allowing me to look around. The whole area looked as if it a tornado ripped through it. Numerous buildings were torn to pieces, and others looked on the verge of falling. The tight alleys I was once in was now reduced to a Ground Zero in instants, and the shrieks of panicked citizens were now the primary sound ringing through my ears. The other Guards were knocked far back, and I stood in the center of the huge impact, on a small circle of unharmed ground.
    I wondered what happened to me that caused such horrible pain that it reduced me to simple shrieking, but before I could do that I looked down at myself and realized that there was a hole in my stomach that I didn’t notice due to my previous pain. My vision began to waver in and out as all of the unexplainable hellish agony hit me all of at once, causing the environment around me to fade into black.

  6. B. Macon 10 Aug 2009 at 9:03 pm

    Here are a few thoughts on the initial version of chapter 1. (I only realized there was an update later).

    –I don’t feel that the chapter title (Genesis of the Harbinger) is very gripping. It feels like a kind of generic way to set up an origin story. You might have more success with something like [Adjective] Genesis. That would probably help you get more specific and foreshadow the mood. What kind of genesis story is this? A cold and sterile one? A sinister one? A glorious one? Etc.

    The first paragraph does a lot of exposition. He’s telling us that he wants to live normally. I think it would be more powerful and believable if he showed us how much he values the normal things in life.

    So far, I get the feeling that it might help to move into third-person. The narrator’s voice isn’t very distinct and he has a tendency to tell rather than show what he’s thinking. Moving into third-person might help you think about how to show what he’s thinking when he CAN’T address the audience.

    “I could still remember how it all started, how typical that day was.” I’d recommend showing this.

    “Guards Tyson Richards and Lucien Hunt” feels like a sort of awkward way to introduce the characters’ first names and last names. I’d recommend one or the other so far. I think that “guards” could also be taken out.

    “the equivalent of a total apocalypse.” Could this be replaced with just “total apocalypse?” Is the equivocation necessary?

    “I had simple priorities at that time”– I think that “at that time” is unnecessary. I think it’s obvious he’s talking about that time.

    –“Sounds good to me.” I feel like this could be more stylish if it developed a personality trait. For example, “Roger” or something might make him feel more enthusiastic.

    “We worked for the Templus Guard, named after the utopia like country we lived in.” This exposition is a bit heavy-handed. Please show us that this country is a utopia. It feels self-conscious and a bit awkward for him to call it one.

    “It seems like nothing changes.” Is the equivocation (“it seems”) necessary? What would you think about “Nothing ever changes.”?

    “Sounds good to me,” I shrugged… “…nothing changes,” Lucien chuckled. Your characters have a tendency to speak in nonverbal ways. I think that’s a bit distracting to readers. I’d recommend reading this article.

    I think that the main character needs more personality early on.

    “…we were paid differently for every task we undertook. This could sometimes cause problems for us, since we were about average in terms of what jobs we got.” I think this could be clearer. He seems to be implying that the guards aren’t paid enough. If that’s correct, I’d recommend making it more explicit.

    Nothing these characters have done so far seems to reinforce that they are hurting for money. For example, you might be able to show that the police are paid by the case by having them arrest someone for some petty crime like jaywalking.

    I don’t understand why he calls his society a utopia. Does he think it was one? For one thing, the police don’t seem to be very egalitarian. (The first role he describes for the Guard is serving as bodyguards for the rich and significant). Then there’s the slave mines near Scalter City…

    “It’s so peaceful here our work is barely needed.” I’d recommend rephrasing the end of this sentence for voice reasons. “It’s so peaceful here there’s nothing for us to do.”

    “Here in Templus, education is quite different.” I think the story would be more effective if he weren’t so aware that he was talking to someone that wasn’t from Templus. He tends to info-dump quite a lot.

  7. Polaris Sparkon 11 Aug 2009 at 6:37 am

    So, you think I should switch to third person? I don’t know. The other reviewer mentioned that, but not only would it be difficult, but it would cause a lot of editing. There’s a lot of conflict with me between being too impersonal and info dumping, which is why I’m not sure which to use. I read your article, but it doesn’t seem to help me.

    Everything else you said is right, though. I could use a lot more showing instead of telling, which is will work on.

    Some of what you said doesn’t pertain to the second draft, but that’s okay. Boy, do I have a lot of work to do. I wrote five chapters already just like this, and I really, really, really don’t want to start over, but I think it’s necessary.

  8. PolarisSparkon 11 Aug 2009 at 7:23 am

    Actually, I might not be back for a while, because I’m starting over. I don’t have my facts straight, and I need to switch perspectives. I will be back when my idea gets better.

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