The Birth of Chaos, by Ethan James Clarke (6:18)

IOD-BirthChaosToday we see that conflicting narration styles can undermine each other.

What I gleaned about the story: If I am to guess, it’s about a powerful antagonist from the depths of time, who is reborn into this world and will be challenged by a lowly figure from the current age, who shall be victorious.

Find this book on Amazon.

Technical Note: At 8.5 MB, this is a seriously big file. Even with the story at 215K words, that file doesn’t need to be any larger than 1 MB. [Update: The author tells me that this issue has now been addressed.]

Note: The cover is excellent. Striking visuals, good layout, and a great tag line: Every end has a beginning. I’m not really sure what it means, but it does its job of inspiring curiosity.

WTF #1: Headword echoing

Analysis: The first two paragraphs echo on the opening words “At the …”, but not in a way that feels as though a rhythmic device is being built up. And then down near the bottom of the page, two more paragraphs echo with the word “It.” And that might be the root of the problem I have with such echoes. When used purposefully, they can create a powerful poetic cadence to the prose, but when it’s done accidentally, I don’t know that until I’ve started looking for the accompanying poetic rhythm and been unable to find it. And I think that’s a big part of why I find it distracting.

WTF #2: I’m bored.

Analysis: Did I mention that this opens with a prologue set in full tell mode? It opens with a grandiose exposition of geography, beginning with a big tree, age-old cliffs, and vast oceans. But the style seems stretched between bombastic, big and powerful vs. chatty and digressive. And in my ear at least, it came across as neither, and I began to skim, looking for something my attention could focus on. (Skimming is a clear sign that I’m not immersed.)

Now, the frustrating part is, after all that world zooming, we actually pull up on a shrivelled up near-corpse that twitches and begins to breathe anew. If we had simply started there, I might have been much more engrossed.

WTF #3: Pointless prologue

Analysis: Once again, we have a prologue that does not seem to offer anything of substance. There is a world, and in it a sleeping man awakes. He used to be powerful, and he brought some friends, but he can’t remember anything else. End prologue.

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.

Sector 64: Ambush, by Dean M. Cole (31:36)
To Carry the Horn, by Karen Myers (8:37)

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.