Graveyard Shift, by Angela Roquet (1:37)

IOD-GraveyardShiftToday we see that address modes matter.

What I gleaned about the story: Lial Gordon is dead. And he seems to be a prick. That’s all I got.

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WTF #1: Echoing headwords

Analysis: There are only four sentences in the first paragraph and all but the first begin with “A.” At least it isn’t a pronoun echo, which is by far the most common. This triple could have been turned into an effective rhetorical echo, but echos like that only work if the sentence structures themselves are also similar. Sadly, that isn’t the case, so it’s either accidental, or intentional but not effectively done. Either way, I’m focused on the words rather than the story, so the flag goes up.

WTF #2: Who’s he talking to?

Analysis: We open on the funeral of one Lial Gordon, who happens to be in attendance—not just as the corpse, but also as the disembodied spirit. In paragraph three, he sneers at his guests, who cannot hear him: “Pigs!” he snorted. “I don’t know half of them, but there’s no doubt why they’re here. Everyone wants a piece of my money. Ha! Wait until they find out they’ve wasted a perfectly good Saturday for nothing.”

But Lial is alone, so who is he addressing? I then spent an entire page waiting to find out who he’d been talking to, but there appears to be nobody else around. To feel natural, he should have shouted at them in the second person, not third.

WTF #3: Verb tense hop-scotch

Analysis: In paragraph four, Lial drops into a brief reminiscence but ping-pongs wildly between simple past and past perfect. It’s choppy and extremely distracting. And since we’re still on the first page, the flag goes up and the horn sounds to end the session.

Meadowcity, by Liz Delton (8:39)
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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.