She Dreams of Lonely Stars, by LW Patricks (1:37)

IOD score cardToday we learn that some readers actually read your legal page, and they find mistakes there to be just as disturbing as anywhere else in your book.

What I gleaned about the stories: Freed of the bonds of the earthly sphere, punctuation has a nasty habit of drifting around.

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Note: This is a short story collection, so the rules are slightly different from standard Immerse or Die: instead of reading on every time I lose immersion, I stop reading that story and move on to the next one. As usual, I stop reading after the third WTF.

Kudo #1: Good title

Analysis: The title conjured images of science-fiction, poetry, and sadness, which was exactly what the author sought to deliver. So, a great indicator of content. I also like the phrase on an aesthetic level.

WTF #1: Wonky legalese

Analysis: The copyright declaration included: The scanning, uploading and distribution of this book via Internet or any other means without permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. I incline toward not capitalising internet, but don’t find the older style distracting. However, the missing article niggled at me: if the only part of the book where inaccuracy can have serious consequences contains a grammatical error, then it seemed unlikely the book had been thoroughly edited and proofed.

Concerned there would be further missing words, I moved on.

WTF #2: Repeating the obvious

Analysis: The first story opens with a woman walking toward a man whose face keeps changing. The first time he was described as mysterious, I parsed it as an indication that he was a stranger. However, when he was described as mysterious again less than half a page later, I felt a little irritated: an unnamed man with a shifting face was mysterious enough on its own, so why did the author think I wouldn’t feel mystery without being told?

Had there been several men in the scene, I might have accepted it as a way of distinguishing them; however, this just left me with the worry that the author would try explain everything rather than let me draw my own conclusions. So I moved on.

WTF #3: Double error

Analysis: Toward the end of the second story I hit: …human’s cant breath in space

The grocer’s apostrophe tripped me first, and then the missing apostrophe in “can’t” sent me metaphorically sprawling. To make matters worse, “cant” means either sanctimonious statements or a secret language, so a whimsical part of my mind parsed the sentence as the religious secrets of the human race drifting away from Earth into the void.

Finally, the coup de grâce was delivered by a prematurely terminated “breathe.” And at this point, one has to wonder if the author even read the story through again after the first draft.

Concerns about proofing issues realised, I pulled the plug.

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.

Made in the Image of the Goddess, by Chantelle Griffin (2:41)
Dark Matter: Short Stories and Poems, by Rose Perez (1:46)

About the author

Dave Higgins has worked in law and IT for both public and private sector organisations. When not pursuing these hobbies, he writes poetry and speculative fiction.He was born in Wiltshire, England. Raised by a librarian, he started reading shortly after birth and has not stopped since. He currently lives in Bristol with his wife, Nicola, his cats, Jasper and Una, and many shelves of books.