Everflame, by Dylan Lee Peters (5:41)

IOD-EverflameToday I am reminded that sometimes, even simple past tense can create problems.

What I gleaned about the story: Eveneye, King of the Bears, has a tale for his son. His human son. It all began one day, while he was out fishing…

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WTF #1: Incorrect past tense

Analysis: Eveneye was King of Bears, and as he gazed down at the human boy he called son, his mind wandered back to that fateful night, before he were king. On the surface, this looks like a real head-scratcher. Who gets the past tense of “is” wrong? All I can guess is that the author thought he needed subjunctive mode here, but he didn’t. There is no “wishful thinking” or “alternate reality” contemplation going on here. This is plain, simple past. It should read “before he was king,” or perhaps, “before he became king.” And in the first half page, that one pretty much leapt out at me.

WTF #2: More problems with past tense.

Analysis: They were flawless in their execution, standing like meditating statues, attune to everything around them. I find myself wondering if these gaffes are the result of last-minute changes to the wording. In this case, the word should be “attuned to,” or “in tune with.” But not “attune to.”

WTF #3: Declarative sentences on parade.

Analysis: The situation has some promise: two intelligent bears out fishing in a stream at night. Not the usual premise for a fantasy scene and I enjoyed some of the details of their fishing. But it is presented in an almost unrelenting string of declarative sentences. There is no emotion. No sensory experience. Just fact, fact, fact. And on its own, a fact barrage just isn’t enough to hold me in the world.


Nano Contestant, by Leif Sterling (2:47)
Stirring The Grass and other stories, by David Winship (5:10)

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.