Imminent Danger And How to Fly Straight into It, by Michelle Proulx (7:07)

IOD-ImminentDangerToday we see that if the little details don’t agree, readers will be distracted from the bigger ones.

What I gleaned about the story: Eris is a nerd girl, but a boy visiting the dorms has just seen her in nothing but a towel. Then some weirdo yanks her into the shrubbery.

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WTF #1: Redundant prose

Analysis: About the fifth sentence of the book is: Folding her speaking notes closed, Eris took a deep, calming breath and stared out at her fellow high school classmates. This tripped my radar, but at first I couldn’t figure out why. It feels wrong. Then I realized that it’s redundant. The component “mates” in the word “classmates” is synonymous with the word “fellows,” which has already been given in the sentence. “Fellow students” would have been fine, but “fellow classmates” rattles in my ear. And since I had to stop to investigate the problem, it draws a flag.

WTF #2: Time conflict

Analysis: We are told that the class is almost over, since the students were nervous that the teacher might try to squeeze one more presentation in before the bell. Then a few paragraphs down, we are told that it is 9:00 am. This immediately tripped alarms for me, because in every neck of the woods I’ve lived in, high school begins at 9. This school may of course be an exception to that, but since I’m given no reason in the text to believe there’s anything unusual about this school, it felt like a miscue.

WTF #3: Camera problems

Analysis: Our POV character, Eris, is peering into the bushes because she’s just seen a flash of movement. Then we get: Suddenly, a large, blue, scaly, clawed hand darted out from among the trees and closed around her wrist. The hand gave a single tug and, before she could even open her mouth to scream, she was yanked backward into the pines.

Forgetting about the adjectival gang-bang at the beginning, I have a problem with her being pulled backward into the pines. She was staring straight at them when the hand came out and grabbed her. How does she end up going in backward? I suppose she might have been spun by the pull, but we were told no such thing, so it just conflicts with my understanding of the scene in front of me.

 

Allies & Enemies, by Cheryl S. Mackey (2:51)
Threesome: Three Dark and Twisted Tales, by Jacky Cowper (1:47)

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.