Darkness Creeps Forth, by Brian Greiner (4:15)

IOD-DarknessCreepsForthToday we see that echoes do not need to be at the starts of sentences or paragraphs to cause problems.

What I gleaned about the story: A secret convoy of military equipment is sneaking its way down the highway outside Toronto. Presumably, bad stuff is going to happen to it.

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Note: I was very confused by the start. Chapter One is subtitled: Excerpt From “The Book of the First Ascendant,” and I was thinking, chapter one is an excerpt from some other book? What? Like a preview of Book 2, but at the start instead of the end? Then I realized that this was essentially an epigraph. Normally those are included as a fragemnt, then an attribution to some fictional book is made below it. But calling it a chapter completely threw me. Not an actual problem though. It just took me a moment to figure out what was going on. But maybe it’s just me, so no flag.

WTF #1: The old triple reverse.

Analysis: The word “but” or “however” imply a reversal or contradiction. There was this thing, but then the contrary. Used sparingly, it can create immersion, because it implies connections between the first thing and the contrary thing, which invite us to draw conclusions about them, thus establishing immersion. In my own writing, I often catch myself stringing two of them into the same long sentence, and then have to rewrite to make things clear. But in the very first paragraph of this story (Chapter Two being the actual start, IMO) we get two buts and a however. That’s three complete reversals, and two too many to follow.

WTF #2: Missing past perfect.

Analysis: It began at CFB Petawawa and was to end at… Unfortunately, at the time of the narration, the beginning he’s talking about has already happened, so it is in the deeper past and needs past perfect. That should read: It had begun at CFB Petawawa… Since this caused me to misunderstand that we had jumped back, and it happened on the first page, the flag has to go up.

WTF #3: Reference echoes

Analysis: [the] heavy equipment trailer rumbled heavily down Highway 401. The route was not the most direct of routes… [It] was part of the security plan. Designed by experts and approved at the highest levels, the plan for transportation… [It] was an enhanced 2A6M Leopard tank. An excellent tank A little bit of referential repetition can be a great rhetorical device. But when every noun or noun phrase seems to be repeated, the writing draws attention to itself. This is what pronouns and synonyms are for — to break up the sing-song echo chamber that comes from constantly re-using your common nouns. And since all of these examples occurred within the first 3 paragraphs (along with one or two more that were not easily excerpted) they’re simply coming too densely and too soon for me to let them slide.


Conspiracy, by Ian Welch (6:28)
The Circus Infinitus Stories Volume 1, by Ethan Sommerville (2:58)

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.