Stories with Twists, by Larry Klos (3:46)

IOD-StoriesWTwistsToday we discover that while giving the reader a detailed enough picture of the scene is necessary, it needs emotional resonance.

What I gleaned about the stories: Knowing your enemy down to the last micron is useless at fending off their weapons.

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WTF #1: Poorly structured comparisons.

Analysis: A paragraph into the first page I encountered a comparison between ‘introverted loners’ and ‘socially adept, effortlessly communicating extroverts’. Having the division between introversion and extroversion split over different parts of speech looks horribly wrong to me because it renders much of the comparison meaningless.

Introverted loners are by definition different from extroverts, so the adjectives in front of the word extrovert do not add anything to the comparison.

While I could see what the author meant to say, mangled rhetoric makes my brain itch. As it was on page one, I had no evidence to counter my immediate assumption that all the metaphors, similes, and comparisons in the piece would sound similarly blackboard-on-fingernails to me, so I moved on.

WTF #2: Declarative parade

Analysis: Readers have commented that Jefferson frequently loses immersion to strings of declarative sentences, whereas – up until now – I hadn’t even once.

So I was slightly disappointed when I hit a paragraph filled with ‘It was…’ or ‘The disk was…’ Reading to the end of the paragraph I formed a objectively accurate image of a thing I had no interest in finding out any more about. Having no interest in forthcoming events, I moved on.

Even had I pressed on, the description had taken up a significant minority of the text so I am not sure if there was space to tell a story about it as well; certainly not one that justified the level of facts.

WTF #3: Lack of Emotion

Analysis: The story opens with a description of an unnamed enemy attacking the protagonist’s country. A few paragraphs later, this enemy is described as dropping bombs on the protagonist’s location. The reader is told the protagonist calls out a warning to his family, but only his son is close enough to hear. His son cannot react in time so the reader is told the boy¬†is hit by shrapnel. Then the protagonist is described as being knocked over by an explosion. This entire scene from protagonist realising his family are under the bombs, to being blown up himself occurs without the reader being shown any evidence he is experiencing strong emotions.

Where the declarative parade at the start of the previous story pushed me out through tedium, a scene is which the protagonist tries to warn his family about a risk only to fail and see his son killed that lacked any real sign he was distressed destroyed my belief in the protagonist’s voice.

The Star Thief, by Jamie Grey (7:44)
Adversaries Together, by Daniel Casey (2:24)

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.