After The Ending, by Fairleigh and Pogue (10:19)

IOD-AfterEndingToday we see that some audiences crave the kinds of details that completely repel other readers.

What I gleaned about the story: A fashion-obsessed young woman bitches at the people around her who are all dying of a flu epidemic.

Find this book on Amazon.

Note: This one starts with a prologue that boils down to a single paragraph from the protagonist’s diary, essentially saying: if I only knew then what I know now. As an epigraph, this would have been fine. But why call it a prologue and claim all the baggage that comes from prologue-shaming? ::Shrug:: There isn’t a single shred of information in it that adds value to the story, as far as I can see. I’m not charging a WTF for it, but my guard is now up.

Note: The first scene seems rather adjective-heavy. Not enough to call it purple, but it’s a constant barrage of details that don’t seem important. And it’s becoming a bit of a distraction. Like a paramedic who’s constantly reading the patent numbers aloud from the tools he’s using while reviving your father on the living room floor.

WTF #1: Clumsy expostion.

Analysis: As I entered my turn-of-the-century brick apartment building, I distracted myself with thoughts of how incongruous the classy exterior was with the 1980s-remodeled interior. That strikes me as totally forced. How many times have you been in the midst of a municipal disaster and thought, I know, I’ll take my mind off this burgeoning threat to my safety by reciting the things that seem out of place with the local architecture? Clearly the authors are trying to mask the exposition, but IMO, that has to be done in a fashion consistent with natural human behavior and well integrated into the story. This was neither and the odd behavior pulled me out of the story.

WTF #2: Minutiae storm

Analysis: The flurry of adjectives is getting thicker. Rushing into the small, outdated bungalow, I threw my messenger bag on the russet suede couch with excessive force. Neither the style of the house nor the fabric of the couch are relevant to the story, but these details are thrown at me with such frequency that they’re actually slowing me down. I have to constantly think, “Why did they tell me about the fabric? Is suede a known host medium for flu virus?” A few details to help paint an important scene, perhaps, but the constant barrage of irreleventiae is making me twitchy.

WTF #3: God save me from the fashion details

Analysis: Not half a page later, I have learned that she’s wearing her “black cashmere scarf and charcoal knee-length pea coat” and her “knee-high, black calfskin boots” and her “brown pencil skirt,” as these details are all dribbled into a discussion on which they have absolutely no bearing.

I have to conclude that the book is aimed at an audience of fashion or design fans. I realize there is such an audience out there, but it is entirely not me, and I suspect I would not be able to get through this without some kind of troglodytic male rage episode. Fortunately, that won’t become necessary. My work here is done.

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.

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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.