Harbinger, by Stephen Arseneault (2:56)

IOD-HarbingerToday we see that declarative sentence parades seem to arise from a mono-focus on physicality.

What I gleaned about the story: To be honest, nothing. Some guy is getting bounced around in the back of a Jeep. No names. No idea where they are, or what they’re racing toward – or away from.

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WTF #1: Echoing headwords

Analysis: The first two paragraphs echo on “I”, and then the third and fourth echo on “The”.

WTF #2: Declarative sentence parade

Analysis: After repeated encounters with this issue, I’ve finally formed a hypothesis about what actually causes it. For me, I think the problem stems from the tedium of sentence after sentence that all focus on making declarative statements about the physicality of the scene. Who is going where, what is hitting whom, etc. In such a flow of prose, there is nothing to really think about. Did the rock hit the garbage can? Yes it did. One rock, one can. Crash. There’s not really much you can do with that. Not much to sink your brain into. It’s when we start to look at the motives, and the expressions, and the emotional reactions of the people involved in the events that our natural curiosities and analytical instincts have room to engage. Without that, they’re just valueless facts. It’s the human dimension that makes a gunshot terrifying. Without that, it’s all just expanding gases and hurtling lead.

WTF #3: More echoing headwords

Analysis: Now we get a paragraph where all three sentences begin with “The.” And since I haven’t been given so much as a name or geographic location yet, there’s nothing to hold my attention away from all this echoing. I’m done.

Wonder if my writing measures up? Download one of these free short stories, in the format of your choice, and decide for yourself.

Wyrd Calling, by Shen Hart (10:49)
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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.