What I gleaned about the story: In the Dark half of the world, townsfolk practice for the coming of the Armies of Day, and their magic, as though they’re doing duck-and-cover drills from the 50s. Everyone is on high alert, but trying to live a normal life. And then, one morning, the Day comes. And it is not what they expected at all. All wrapped up in a sort of steam-punk-with-magic, illustrated novel.
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Analysis: In particular, there is regular confusion over whether the current mode is simple past or past perfect – often within the same sentence.
Analysis: The problem with leaving out a word is not that the reader can’t figure out what the author meant. It’s that they have to back up and take another run at it. The second time it happened, in the space of two or three minutes, I made a note: A mop of brown hair fell over his face and made him look like shipwreck survivor.
It’s a simple omission. Just a missing definite article. But without it, when I hit the term “shipwreck survivor,” I’m expecting the sentence to continue, as in: “…and made him look like shipwreck survivor, Elmer Waddle.” So I’m running at steam through the phrase, and then hit a period instead of a continued sentence, which causes an emergency halt to figure out what went wrong. And that usually causes an immersion break for me.
Analysis: This wasn’t the first instance of this, but this one came fairly close on the heels of the previous issue, so my immersion hadn’t completely settled back in yet. Anyway, immersion popped and the clock stopped.
Note: I really like the opening bit, in which Dark-town propoganda is conveyed in a way that makes Day-side magic users sound like the Nazi horde, armed with a magic that is presented in the scariest of terms, as though it was nuclear weaponry. This parallel was quite enjoyable, and I suspect the rest of the story has that level of inventive playfulness. I may give it a second look, later. If I can steel myself to the minefield of editing grenades.