Review of: A Constant Variable 

reviewed by **DELETED ACCOUNT** on 04/29/2009
Nicholls Free Will
Overall: My hat’s off to you for tackling such a challenging and ambitious task such as space-time continuum paradoxes as a result of time travel as well as writing about characters with disabilities (wheelchair and Tourette syndrome) and doing it so entertainingly well. The story had me engrossed from the beginning, because I was curious to see if you would have any slip ups. There were none that I could see, so well done. Very smartly written. In a way, it was a lot more light-hearted than Butterfly Effect and of course was reminiscent of Zemeckis’s brilliant Back to the Future screenplays.

Opening: While I was reading the opening scene, I had wondered why pages 1-2 were so quiet but in retrospect, I think because of the complexity of the storyline that was to come, it made sense to begin the story as straightforward and as cleanly as possible.

Characters: Great job with creating likeable characters – all of them.

Dialog: Great job, very natural, and of course who can forget the less composed version of Tayah.

Plot: I enjoyed how plot-holes were opened up, but then filled in within the space of 5-10 pages or so. It kept the pace of the story moving forward, created some short-term tension/drama in the story, etc.

Description: Great job.

Ending: While life snapped back to normal, or even better to normal in the end, the final scene has Jacob once again being sucked away. Was this to set up a possible sequel?

Since this was very cleanly written, this next section serves mostly as running commentary as I was reading along.

Pg / Comment
5 / Crickets. – Crickets chirp.
6 / larger than life yoga – haha
7 / Why does Sweetie wear a diaper? Just curious. Is the dog a metaphor for a child they don’t have?
9 / those are sizes – haha
11 / Jacob has a low sex drive? He must really be focused on his research.
13 / Just wondering where we’re going at this point. Perhaps the set-up and pacing is a bit too long for me. Although introducing Tayah with Tourette syndrome was pretty hysterical.
15 / To be content. That’s what I want. – Is this the theme? Why is his life lacking happiness? He’s got a hot wife. He’s got a boring job sure, but he’s got his research.
16 – 17 / The rules of time travel are spelled out through classroom discussion. This was a good natural device to inform the audience of the parameters of time travel in your story.
19 – 23 / During this party scene, I felt the pacing really slowed down. Is this much attention to character introductions necessary?
23 / Nothing will ever be better than you’re willing to let it be. Is this the theme?
29 / Time travel occurs. Great this is where it’s starting to get interesting.
34 / the intercuts of bar to kitchen to bar to kitchen to bar is really confusing!
36 / Tayah drops a hint, but Jacob doesn’t pick it up.
39 / Two Tayahs are introduced, and the explanation occurs pg 45-48
41 / The attendant… points the gun at the car of teenagers – haha
42 / Int. Hallway – Night – could you specify that this is Sarah and Jacob’s house in the slugline?
46 / apparently Tayah doesn’t have all the answers, which is probably realistic at this point. He’s still figuring it out, even though he’s ahead on the learning curve compared to Jacob.
47 / I’m not like that with her. – It’s funny how seeing yourself being someone different can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
48 / equations are wiped and we find out eventually who does it. Other Jacob as revealed on pg 57.
63, 64 / You’re never content with what you have. The theme introduced I guess on pg 15 is now being echoed throughout the story.
Okay, let’s talk about Jacob’s motivation. He claims in Act 1 that he is searching for contentment, which therefore means, what he has is not making him satisfied. The lesson being taught is by Olive as opposed to Jacob discovering this, which therefore makes Jacob someone passive in “growing” and therefore seems a less satisfying result than if he were to be active and as a result draws his own conclusions.
65 / How is “other Jacob” able to appear and disappear, as if on cue?
67 / So at the mid-point of Act 2, we now flop back to real time instead of future time. Now we’re following what was previously “Other Jacob’s” storyline, who in real time turns out to be “Jacob.”
69 – 71 / does the doctor scene need to be this lengthy? Some nice background information about a history between the doctor and Sarah, but I wonder if it is really moving the plot forward as much as other scenes and therefore you may want to consider editing this scene down.
78 / Not just emotionally (insert period at the end)
79 / Now that Jacob is on real time and not future time, his glimpse of his behavior or perhaps his longing for his wife, causes him to change his behavior. Perhaps this is a metaphor for how we might want to live our life, through someone else’s eyes.
80 / … and undoes his belt (insert period at the end)
81 / by this point, I think you’ve done a terrific job telling two sides of the same story and still keep me interested as opposed to confused. You were internally consistent in developing the rules about time-travel.
82 / … standing in the entryway (insert period at the end)
82 / He kneels down in front of her (insert period at the end)
85 – 86 / mystery solved about how to return to normal time period.
105 / … opens a another (delete “a”)
106 / Why did you have him disappear? Is this to set up for a possible sequel?

NOTE: This review does not factor into the site rankings.

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