Exile’s Redemption, by Lee Dunning (9:11)

IOD-ExilesRedemptionToday we see that the show must sell what the exposition tells.

What I gleaned about the story: Something about a Shadow Elf girl, and I’m guessing she’ll take down the Big Evil that awoke in the prologue.

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Technical Note: At 3.5 MB, this ebook file is way too big. No e-novel should ever be more than about 500 KB – maximum 1 MB – unless it is filled with full-page pictures. Cover images, maps, and illustrations (if any) should be in JPG format, not PNG, and there should only be one copy of each packed into the file. If you want to look inside your EPUB file to find out what’s there, the Sigil editor is a great place to start.

WTF #1: Completely pointless prologue

Analysis: Evil awakes. His time for escape has arrived. End prologue. Entirely cliché and devoid of information.

Note: Prologues can serve many constructive purposes, but if you’re only using them to strike a general mood, you’re doing it wrong. And in this case, it appears to have been put there to distract the reader from the fact that the actual story begins with a long discussion for exposition purposes.

WTF #2: Missing past perfect

Analysis: The story seems to have dropped into a reminiscence, but it was not signalled clearly and I got lost. I thought it was still happening in the present, and couldn’t reconcile it with what had just happened a moment earlier.

WTF #3: Show vs. tell mismatch

Analysis: First I read: “We’re not born with the ability to use magic…”

Which was followed by: “A few gain the ability [but] I didn’t want that for myself, so I ran away…”

But then: She carefully reached out with her senses and found what little fear he still possessed had shifted elsewhere.

So after telling us her backstory, about how she ran away rather than risk gaining the ability to use magic, she then proceeds to demonstrate a supernatural power? There had been no setup to clarify that telepathy was not a form of magic, or even that she had it, so when I encountered this, it came across as a violation of what I’d just been told.

Take the Pepsi Challenge: Want to know if my own writing measures up? Download one of these free short stories, in the format of your choice, and decide for yourself.

The String Quartet, by Dan Hupalo (5:42)
Having a Whaley of a Time, by Donna Keeley (7:03)

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.