The Secret of Stonehenge, by Yury Nikitin (6:24)
Today’s candidate teaches me that even grammatically correct and properly punctuated books with (presumably) a passable story can fail to engage a reader. Your sentence construction, word choices, and camera work matter.
What I gleaned about the story: Something about a knight in a foreign land. And maybe medieval Russians.
Find the book on Amazon.
WTF #1: A guy who travels around the countryside is not a “wonderer.” He’s a “wanderer.” I could look past this as a simple typo if it had been a passing reference. But when you choose to refer to your as-yet unnamed POV character as “the wonderer,” and I have to trip over that gaffe five or six times in as many minutes, my patience drops quickly.
WTF #2: Jerky and/or non-existent camera work. In order for me to immerse into the scene, I need an ongoing sense of who is standing where. Just a few words to help me flesh out the setting. But if you don’t provide it, or if you keep moving things around without telling me, I get visually confused.
WTF #3: Save me from stilted, awkward language. It’s great when an author presents an authentic feeling foreign milieu, but when everybody (narrator included) constructs their sentences like he’s in an 18th century Peruvian translation of an Elizabethan heroic drama, it goes beyond immersion and becomes obstructive. Other readers may not be bothered by this, but I was, and it’s my opinion that’s being reported here.
Final Treadmill Time: 06:24