Senlin Ascends, by Josiah Bancroft (10:00)

IOD-SenlinAscendsToday we see another example of tell mode forming an immersion-proof coating that kept me out of the story world.

What I gleaned about the story: A dull man and his more excitable wife go on a vacation to a very tall building. Presumably more happens from there.

Find this book on Amazon.

Kudos: I love the cover art. Very Kafka-esque.

WTF #1: March of the declarative sentences. 

Analysis: The lengths of the sentences varied nicely, but it just picked up this trudging sameness after about the second paragraph. This subject verbed. That subject verbed. Then these subjects here, parenthetically described, proceeded to verb. etc. It is possible that this was done intentionally, to create a sense of absolute plodding tediousness to the protagonist, but for me, it backfired. I assigned those qualities to the narrator, and by extension, to the book itself. But whether intentional or not, the trudging pattern kept pulling me out of the story.

WTF #2: Exposition on parade

Analysis: The majority of what I read was in tell mode, providing a melange of details about this man, his new wife, where they were from, the history of the building they were visiting, etc. The only bits of interest I found were the few and far-between cries of delight from his wife as stuff happens outside the window while he drones on about history and geography.

WTF #3: Invoking the 10-minute rule

Analysis: I don’t need excitement in the first 10 minutes, but I do need something to intrigue me – something for my brain to latch onto that will fuel the immersion. And opening with extended tell-mode is like putting an immersion-proof coating on your story. I never did penetrate that outer layer.

Warrior's Embrace, by Jodi Zeitler (3:08)
Farsprocket, by Dustin McGee (10:00)

About the author

Jefferson Smith is a Canadian fantasy author, as well as the founder, chief editor and resident proctologist of ImmerseOrDie. With a PhD in Computer Science and Creativity Systems compounded by a life spent exploring most art forms for fun and profit, he is uniquely unqualified in just about everything. That's why he writes.