Skeletal, by Katherine Hayton (27:41)

IOD-SkeletalToday we see that when repeated word patterns are persistent, immersion is impossible once you’ve noticed them.

What I gleaned about the story: Daina Harrow is dead, but until today, nobody had ever found her body. Now they have, and the intrusion is forcing her to relive the circumstances of her death.

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Kudos #1: Very compelling start.

Details: Right from the very beginning, we get a sense of how this tale is going to be told. A disembodied narrator describing the scene in which their long-hidden body is finally discovered.

WTF #1: Echoing headwords

Analysis: The first couple of scenes were pretty clean – or at least, I didn’t notice anything. But now I’ve hit a patch where 11 of the 17 paragraphs on the page all begin with “I,” complete with what I believe to be a new record: 6 in a row.

Note: This could just as easily have been flagged for Galloping “I” Disease, as there are liberal references to the self elsewhere in those paragraphs.

WTF #2: Galloping “I” disease

Analysis: Having been sensitized to it a couple of pages back, this time it leapt up and tackled me on a new page. I did this. I did that. I went here. I went there. Patterns like this are easy to miss, but once you see them, they’re impossible to ignore.

WTF #3: Galliping “I” disease

Analysis: That’s the problem with distracting patterns. Once you notice them, it’s impossible to un-notice them. And even though I tried to press on, my eye kept dancing ahead, picking out all the “I” columns standing head and shoulders above all their lower-case neighbors. The story seems good so far, but now the “I”s have it. And in this context they mean “Nay.”

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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 underqualified in just about everything. That’s why he writes.