Book Jacket


rank 5923
word count 21079
date submitted 18.07.2010
date updated 15.10.2010
genres: Fiction, Thriller, Science Fiction,...
classification: moderate

The Dakota Principle

John S. Green

Imagine a brilliant physicist who can remove time barriers to visualize events from the past. The time and space paradigm has caused unexpected tribulations.


Dr. Gerald Thomas is a brilliant physicist has worked for over 30 years to create a method to view images from the past using current technology. However, his remarkable success proves to be a double - edged sword. The invention will allow him to solve crimes and visualize details of history, but what happens to marriages, friendships, family violence employment problems and espionage. Dr. Thomas and his partners, Jessica Johnson and Brandon Hunter, realize that such a device will be invaluable to others. Protecting the intellectual property of his creation is of extreme importance. While this technology will be revolutionary, Dr Thomas is a devout Christian, and his life's passion is to visit and observe the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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panhandle wrote 733 days ago

I jumped from Chapter 1 to Chapter 10. It looks like I missed some interesting plot. I imagine you are on to something very good in that regard.

I offer only one comment. It generally is not necessary to use "said" and comparable words to introduce dialogue. The general convention is that the person last alluded to is the speaker. If you look for that, I think you will see how other writers do it. Also, sometimes you can address persons by name so that it becomes clear who is speaking. Sometimes who is speaking can be made clear just by context.

Best wishes for much success with this.


panhandle wrote 733 days ago

I don't think I get the basic premise. She apparently wants to make the property available for her children, she does not need the money, and she does not want to sell. Why, then, did she sell an option on the property? Also, it seems to me that too many words get used. Unless there is some urgent reason to have him drive through rain, talk to his secretary, and learn somebody called, I suggest putting that off. I think you could tell a good story, from the standpoint of plot alone, by starting him off in the coffee shop with Peterson. I also suggest that, if the option contract has the flaws you identify, this is not a very tough negotiation. Brandon seems to have been dealt all the aces. You might be able to cut the scene short and move on. Alternatively, you might want to make the negotiation harder for him.

All this, of course, is just my opinion. Reasonable persons might disagree. Much better writers than I also might disagree.


ATrueCritic wrote 1241 days ago

You should cut out most of the tag lines. In the first few paragraphs you only introduced two characters, they are having a phone conversation, just by the paragraph breaks we know that "Kaitlyn said" and "Brandon answered," you don' t need to say it. Stuff like that slows the story down. And really the story is already slowed down quite a bit.
An author needs to create some kind of emotional connection with his or her audience with in the first paragraph and then keep a hold of that connection the entire way through. You kind of poke at a connection then walk away.
We know something big will happen, a moment he will always remember and we can all relate to that, but then you begin to just report what is happening and therefore lose that connection. The connection could just be, and usually is emotion. Is Brandon happy, sad, annoyed, scared, all of the above? Just try to get inside his head a little more.

Kaimaparamban wrote 1283 days ago

Perhaps, for this generation this idea may feel as foolish. Once a writer had predicted a voyage to moon then he was mercilessly ridiculed by all folks. I feel you may have such experience. However, the technology description in your novel may come real in future. Moreover, the hero in your novel is a pitiful character. I surprise how can you create such a character.

Joy J. Kaimaparamban
The Seagulls
The Wildfire

Tom Balderston wrote 1314 days ago

Doubts as to the reality of the Ressurection cause many to seek other ways of knowing the Truth. Even with witnesses and records the reality of something so difficult to imagine bedevils us all. Just believe - how difficult. Interesting premise and pitch - Ah the ole time machine. Let me know when you are further along.
The Wonder of Terra
Tom Balderston

Mollie Orange wrote 1323 days ago

Your book title hooked me in. The blurb too. I could imagine picking this up at an airport shop and the blurb hooking me in. I agree with the points raised by others - perhaps you've got someone who could look over your manuscript. I know I'd rather have a great idea than great punctuation as great punctuation isn't going to get me published. Have you thought of submitting this as an idea for a film and perhaps re-working as a script?

Best wishes

Jennifer - Author of The Tale of Mollie Orange

eric.swanson wrote 1334 days ago

I believe this book has great potential. I would suggest not to begin a sentence with Brandon said. It's better to include this in the middle of the dialogue.

Joel Juedes wrote 1342 days ago

I love your short, succinct sentences. Many new authors have a tendency to be too wordy, but you capture the pace beautifully. One thing you might want to look into your use of the name before the dialogue. It slows down the reading and may take the reader momentarily out of the story. One or two is fine, but repetition comes in many forms. Turn some into an action of the character to give a better image.

Just an example, the last paragraph could be: "Brandon ran his hand through his smooth dark hair. 'Well let's see what happens..." Which brings up another point: describe your characters' appearances early. It goes a long way toward making the situation real.

One last nit: look out for repetition of 'had'. "The conversation [had] gone exactly as Brandon [had] expected. Scratch the second. Chances are if you have two in a sentence, you don't need one. The reader already connects the dots that it's in the past.

I do love your descriptions when you have them. You paint marvelous backgrounds of your characters, and give some good insights into Brandon's brain. The only problem is you're inconsistent. What's he thinking all through the meeting? Spread it out, a little at a time so the reader hangs on every word to find out more. You have a real talent. Smooth the cracks and you have a gem. Good luck and keep writing!

Joel Juedes- Purple Eyes

scargirl wrote 1345 days ago

just using this opportunity to back good books again.

i.lah wrote 1364 days ago

i feel good backing this, u ve got a compelling premise and i like the way u interfer wit time.

Idris Lah
Gift of Life

CarolinaAl wrote 1372 days ago

"Good morning Mrs. Peterson" said Brandon. Comma after 'morning.' When you address someone in dialogue, offset their name or title with a comma. Also, comma after 'Peterson.' When a dialogue tag (said Brandon) follows dialogue, the last sentence of dialogue is punctuated with a comma. There are more cases of problems of these type. Other than that, this is an explosive science fiction thriller. Polished characterizations. Searing descriptions. Powerful drama. Palpable tension. Potent storytelling. Incisive writing. A wonderfully compelling read. Backed.

Eveleen wrote 1377 days ago

The dakota principle
Intriguing pitch, the writing is good, you diverse to be backed
(Turning a new leaf)

Owen Quinn wrote 1385 days ago

I can only echo what the others have said, the story has me hooked, what a wonderful pitch that grabbed me straight away but something tells me things are going to go tits up if anyone gets to go back

Daniel Manning wrote 1393 days ago

Considering that the past can now be seen, does this mean that one day the future will also be able to be seen. Then the past present and future was something already pre-ordained, by some sort of higher force. This is Brandon's sensibility on the subject, having always maintained a christian belief, but was always under the impression that man had freewill to choose his destiny. Dr Geralds Thomas new device can see back into the past, but his company is running out of funds, so he calls in Brandon Hunter to help find more investment.
Great story because the value of such a device is limitless, but can it be developed further, and end up undermining fundamental principles.
Doing more harm than good is the concept, and I like it a lot.
Backed with pleasure
Daniel Manning
No compatibility.

Sly80 wrote 1394 days ago

Brandon is helping Mrs Peterson get a reasonable deal with the rip-off merchants. I like the way he ties Burl and Jim in knots, 'I can see a court throwing you guys under a bus'. Possibly this is why Gerald has chosen him as the man who can help with 'the biggest deal you will ever contemplate', but also because it was Brandon who helped Gerald set up when he first moved to Austin. None of that previous experience helps Brandon accept what Gerald tells him...

This is an amazing concept, John, that will lead to some astounding consequences, as the pitch suggests. To be able to see into the past is almost as fearsome as being able to see the future. It is the ultimate truth machine which can disprove as well as prove, thus possibly undermining faith, belief and love, and certainly attracting the attention of the unscrupulous. Brilliant idea ... backed.

Possible nits: 'about 2 years he had passed the bar exam', seems to be something missing there. 'Burl showed anger', perhaps expand on that, e.g. Burl's face reddened or Burl's voice raised. 'He slowly sat ... McAlester sat'.

Look out for different characters saying 'Well'; though it's okay for one person as a mannerism. Also, in dialogue, don't use names quite so often, but use a few more contractions, e.g. didn't, it's, I'll, you've, that's.

(Just a word of advice on editing your chapters on authonomy, in case you haven't already: use UPDATE to load the edited chapters. Don't use DELETE and then reload as this can cause problems.)

Tom Balderston wrote 1404 days ago

The Past, it happened. What about the future? Creative thinking.
Tom Balderston
The Wonder of Terra

Kevin Alex Baker wrote 1414 days ago


This is a really interesting piece! I like Brandon and I think you've got a very unique scenario plotted out for him. You do have a lot of missing punctuation (specifically periods at the end of your dialogue), and unless the land deal becomes a part of the story later on, I think shortening that would serve the story well. That's a few small crits for an otherwise solid story.

Nice work! Backed! Looking forward to your thoughts on Head Games!

Kevin Alex Baker
Head Games

Silo62 wrote 1418 days ago

Wow, I really appreciate that. I like your ideas, and I have been thinking that same thing. It needs work but with people like you, I will get there. Thanks again.

soonerbred wrote 1419 days ago

John, thanks so much for backing the smoke that thunders and for you kind comments.

It was a pleasure to back your book. I love your pitch and was intrigued by your premise. Your characters are likeable and no doubt an interesting plot line is developing.

For what it is worth, i'll throw out some crits -- food for thought, to be spat out if it doesn't taste right.

Someone noted that there is too much description, not enough telling, i hope you consider that as you work on your next draft. A simple example of that is, "brandon took control of the meeting, 'i am...' -- Don't tell us he took control, show us. ie Brandon leaned back in his chair, and with his arms clasped behind his head said... Or Brandon stood, leaned forward and pointed at Burl. In a quiet voice he said...

Be careful of using was, and had -- everyone will say to stay away from passive verbs, it slows the flow of your prose and story. Using was 4 times in your first two sentences will, i am told, put off an agent or publisher quicker than anything. Always try to say what you need to with active verbs, use a 'was/had' sparingly. The fun in writing is to always look for verbs that depict action and evoke emotion.

The first chapter brings us into the story, in my mind, much too slow. Someone said you are giving us too much information about your characters --again show us who the are, don't tell us and slip in a few relevant details along the way. I may be wrong, but it seems your are trying to tell us that Brandon is a man of character with the scenes with Phyllis. Unless she is to be a major character along the line, you may think about cutting it out and letting Dr. Thomas' estimation of his character show us that.

I would try to get into the story line of your pitch sooner, even start with dr thomas and his discovery, wet our appetites more quickly. Another thought, and i promise to stop. You might try developing a bit a tension between Brandon and Dr T. Tension makes a story. Brandon could be annoyed at his insistence he have a meeting with him, perhaps he remembers him as an interesting eccentric who was getting on his nerves by the time he had finished his business with him.

Anyway, just thoughts to consider or forget. Good luck as you continue,

Cariad wrote 1434 days ago

Fabulous idea - changing time is a subject most of us, I suspect, have toyed with. I like a scientific angle and who knows what is possible. I like your writing style, its immediate and involving and your character is likeable.

Minor quibble - to many 'Brandon's' at the start. For eg. in paragraph one, there are four mentions of the name and you could have lost one in: 'HE found a parking space near.....' for eg. I mention it only as something that jarred while I was reading and you don't want that, especially at the start, but it may just be me!

Still reading (enjoying it) and watchlisting to back when shelf space is free.

Jim Darcy wrote 1440 days ago

Interesting premise that piques the reader's curiosity. Well written and engaging.
Jim Darcy
The Firelord's Crown

lionel25 wrote 1442 days ago

John, I read the premise and first chapter. Both have serious potential, and I am pleased to back you on that strength.

Joffrey (The Silver Spoon Effect)

Dorothea wrote 1454 days ago

I think the concept of your book is really good. I like how the main character is using his scientific skills to witness a biblically stated occurance ie the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Tracy Buchanan
The Candyfloss Room

Owen Quinn wrote 1455 days ago

screw the mistakes, the story is there and a powerful one at that that is totally engaging, this should be a movie, never mind a book, completely and utterly backing this

Lara wrote 1455 days ago

It may not be perfect yet, but there are some novel ideas and at least it isn't samey. Backed
Good for Him

carlashmore wrote 1458 days ago

I love the premise of this. The pitch could do with some work as could the prose. There are just a few too many grammatical/punctuation errors that prevent the reader from getting lost in your wonderful story. For instance, if we look at the pitch: 'Dr Gerald Thomas is a brilliant scientist has worked...' It should be 'who has worked...' If you do an edit and elimate these issues you could have something very good.
The Time Hunters

michaelgd wrote 1459 days ago

Okay, Authonomy will not let me edit my comment below.

What I wanted to add is that the dialogue is too formal.

michaelgd wrote 1459 days ago

The bold portion of your pitch is great. It promises a great storyline. The rest of the pitch is filled with grammatical errors, misplaced modifiers, and quite frankly, it is very difficult to follow.


You said, "two edged sword." The expression is actually "double-edged sword." You need the hyphenation as it is modifying the subject.

One doesn't "eliminate unsolved crimes." One solves them or brings them to closure.

The first sentence of your pitch is grammatically incorrect. You need to fix that.

Regarding chapter one:

I found your narrative lacking descriptive qualities. You need to "show," rather than "tell." The narrative also seems disjointed. You could have combined several paragraphs into one to keep the reader's attention.

The dialogue is not conversational. You don't use enough contractions. Why say, "we are," when you can say "we're?" That is how people talk. It helps if you read your work aloud. That often helps me to find mistakes and inconsistencies.

I think you have a great idea here and with a lot of work, you can bring out the best in the storyline.


Caroline Hartman wrote 1459 days ago

Dear John,
You appear to have a great story, fresh characters, and good tension. You need contractions--without them your writing sounds too stilted. You need you've, haven't, didn't, it's, we'll, etc. etc. etc. I did see you use a number 2 instead of the word, 2, which I don't think is acceptable. It's okay for big numbers, but not small ones. These things, John, are just nits. Other than that, you have a great story. I like the real estate angle. Best of luck with this endeavor.
Summer Rose

Silo62 wrote 1459 days ago

Katherine, thanks for the backing. I will check on The Swan Bonnet today.

klouholmes wrote 1460 days ago

Hi John, Even though the premise tells of events that seem almost supernatural, the characters here and the narrative is presented with the scientific tenor. Gerald’s background is done in a matter-of-fact way and his conversation with Jessica is very business-like. This backdrop to the Dakota Principle intrigues. Although the writing feels a little stiff at times, it’s very clear and accentuates the seriousness of the project. Shelved – Katherine (The Swan Bonnet)

The Ark And The Aroma Of Peril wrote 1461 days ago

The plot is very new. And very well written.

All the best.
S. Vinay kumar
the ark and the aroma of peril.

lynn clayton wrote 1464 days ago

John, it's at the same time a soothing and interesting read, if that's not an impossibility, because of the characters which are appealing and the dialogue which is good.
I felt that the introduction was slowed by the description of Brandon's academic career and made it read like a c/v.
'Austin had been his home for the past 12 years about 2 years he had passed the bar exam.' I think there's a word missing. Also the numbers should be words, not numerals.
Having got these carps out of the way, I think it's going to be an excellent thriller. Backed. Lynn

Azam Gill wrote 1464 days ago

The Dakota Principle.

Begins like a tale, with a simple sentence promising something of magnitude, which it delivers in economical, explanatory narration that doesn’t waffle around. Works the mind-boggling premise through the lives of ordinary folk, and rightly so. Jesus spoke in simple parables to the illiterate working class.

The scientific premise is pretty close to Charpak’s for which he got the Nobel.

Skilful introduction of Dr Thomas.

So far, anticipation and echo run in balance throughout the story.

Could do with some editing to reduce the occasional omnipotence of the narration


Azam Gill

missyfleming_22 wrote 1465 days ago

What an interesting premise. I imagine there are many people in the world who would want to see and experience the same thing. You've made it feel possible, and you've made Dr. Thomas not seem particularly crazy for his desire to see this. The book was enjoyable to read and I wish you luck with it.


Craig Ellis wrote 1465 days ago

Great build up of the relationship between Brandon and Dr. Thomas, your main characters. The dialogue is smooth, and you offer hints throughout that Dr. Thomas has discovered something monumental. I'm enjoying this book, and with a bit of editing I think it would be spactacular. Backed with pleasure!

Craig Ellis
The Sun and the Saber

soutexmex wrote 1466 days ago

John: wishing you the best on this website. But remember the caveat: you can only get out of it what you put into it. My thoughts are this: that long pitch? Doesn't work for me but I think it will work for your intended audience. Think it could work better with an ending question. The short pitch works. BACKED!

I can use your comments on my novel when you get a chance. Cheers!

The Obergemau Key

Burgio wrote 1467 days ago

This is a story with an interesting premise: what would it be like to be able to look at past eventsl? Doctor Thomas is a good main character; he’s sincere and likable. Makes a reader want to follow him to see how all of this plays out for him. I’m adding it to my shelf. If you have a moment, would you look at mine (Grain of Salt)? I’m in 8th place but only holding on by my teeth. Burgio

yasmin esack wrote 1467 days ago

Immediately grasping and intriguing to the max.


Some commments:

Immensely thrilling theme that can be shaped (a little proactive writing) into a massive hit)
Example. It was raining that morning in Austin Texas. (I would omit that morning) and place the time indicator elsewhere. Drastic, colorful, bold writing works better, i think, in this genre.

SusieGulick wrote 1468 days ago

Dear John, I got so excited when I saw that you had backed, "Tell Me True Love Stories." :) Thanks so very much. :) Since I have already backed your book, I will put your book on my watchlist. Could you please take a moment to back my completed edited memoir version, "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not?" I'd be ever so grateful. :) Thank you. :) Love, Susie :)
authonomy quote: "Every time you place a book on your bookshelf, your recommendation pushes the book up the rankings. And while that book sits on your bookshelf, your reputation as a talent spotter increases depending on how well that book performs."
Here is the response I received from authonomy concerning backing:
When you back a book, it only improves the ranking of that book, not yours. However, the author whose book you are backing may decide to back your book also, in which case yes, your ranking would be improved."

name falied moderation wrote 1468 days ago

and again , where does one get ideas like this, where does one get the talent to put it all on paper and color their words so well. congrats ( had to put this in also)
The Letter

name falied moderation wrote 1468 days ago

Dear John
Well you certainly know how to write a thriller, I am on the edge here. your characters grabbed me by the throat, so real are they, and they have me engrossed in your writing. and this is not my genre. am i glad i crossed over to find talent? well yes but my hair is white and I wont sleep tonight so you SUCCEEDED. great work great talent great .
I do hope you will review my book, comment and most of all BACK it. but either way the BEST of luck with yours
The Letter

SusieGulick wrote 1468 days ago

Dear John, I love your story & your premise for the desire to see Jesus' slain - I'd sure not like to have been there - His mom - oh, my - pierced her heart - His beard ripped out, back like mincemeat from cat-o-nine tail - I weep even to think about it & read about it in Isaiah & Psalms & the gospels - all for us - God so loved the world (John 3:10). He know everything, so I like the way it kids explained it - He knows our choices before we make them, they are not pre-ordained. Eve chose to eat the fruit & Adam chose to disobey God - choosing between good & bad. God wants us to choose good that He writes on our hearts - to agape love Him & others which is all the law in one word, Jesus said. :) Thank you so much for bringing this to the public. :) May you write many more books for God. :) Your pitch is excellent, so set the hook for me to read your book. :) When you use short paragraphs & lots of dialogue, it makes me want to keep reading to find out what's going to happen next. I'm backing your book. :) Could you please take a moment to back my TWO memoir books? Thanks. :) Love, Susie :)

This is information from authonomy (so beware of any other untrue information you may receive that is spam & not quotes of authonomy):
"When you back a book, it only improves the ranking of that book, not yours. However, the author whose book you are backing may decide to back your book also, in which case yes, your ranking would be improved"
"Every time you place a book on your bookshelf, your recommendation pushes the book up the rankings. And while that book sits on your bookshelf, your reputation as a talent spotter increases depending on how well that book performs."