Enter The Phenomenologists, by Gil C. Schmidt (5:50)

IOD-PhenomenologistsToday I realize that my tolerance for mechanical errors is eroding quickly.

What I gleaned about the story: A young woman crosses the street and enters a shop.

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WTF #1: Punctuation issues

Analysis: A number of missing commas on the first few pages really distracted me. When I have to back up and start a sentence again, to get the phrase parsing right, immersion breaks.

WTF #2: Missing words.

Analysis: I counted two or three cases of words being accidentally left out. And in the space of about three pages, that’s too many. Especially the first three pages.

WTF #3: Her knock on the tall double doors was swift and light, muffled ever-so- slightly by her gloves. 

Analysis: This should not be hyphenated. And even if it were supposed to be, the spacing issue within the phrase creates ambiguity about what is being compacted and why. In addition to this example, there were two or three other cases of erroneous hyphenation as well. Collectively, they earned the final WTF.

Note: I have to confess that I am becoming increasingly sensitive to the mechanical editing issues I’m seeing in a large proportion of the IOD candidates. I actually breathe a sigh of relief if I can make it through the first page without tripping over a jarring editorial gaffe, and if I make it to page ten without one, that book will probably go all the way. Those who have been following the series may have noticed that my comments about these issues are getting shorter and more terse. I guess I’m just having trouble finding new ways to talk about the same half dozen issues. And for anyone interested in the nitty-gritty stats, I commented on this particular trend in this recent article on common issues I’ve noticed among the first 50 reviews.

Protégée, by James Gawley (40:00)
The Five Elements, by Scott Marlowe (40:00)

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.