Elona, by Steve Turnbull (9:13)

IOD-ElonaToday we see that sometimes, a single word can just make your book its bitch.

What I gleaned about the story: A young girl is given into the hands of a magical Sisterhood following the death of her mother. I suspect she grows up under their care to acquire strange powers, and maybe seeks revenge on a heartless and distant father, but I’m only guessing.

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Kudos: A great opening sentence: “Is Mother dead yet?”

WTF #1: Echoing headwords

Analysis: Two pairs of consecutive sentences, all beginning with “The.” And since they come on the first page, they get charged full freight.

WTF #2: Declarative sentence parade.

Analysis: A couple of pages into it and the steady structural cadence of subject, verb, object, repeat is starting to peek through the narration. Not really conspicuously yet, but it had the ill luck to have another headword echo right in the middle of it. (And again with echoing “The.”)

WTF #3: The “The”s make a clean sweep

Analysis: And now I’m seeing both paragraphs and sentences echoing. One paragraph had three sentences, all beginning with the same headword. And once again, it’s “The.”

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.

Having a Whaley of a Time, by Donna Keeley (7:03)
Unraveling Time, by Kurt R.A. Giambastiani (2:43)

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.