Exodus, by Andreas Christensen (3:03)

IOD-ExodusToday we see that the phrase “and then one day,” is a sure sign your exposition is in tell mode.

What I gleaned about the story: An ancient planet lost its parent suns and wandered lonely as a cloud for many years. And then one day…

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Note: Begins with a prologue

WTF #1: Conspicuous exposition

Analysis: The prologue is nothing but dry backstory about a planet that revolved around its suns “until one day they merged in a cataclysm that ended the dance, ruined entire worlds, and scattered the planets and their moons in every direction.” Not a word about any living creatures, let alone any actual characters. So far, it’s a story about a sad and lonely planet and I am completely unengaged.

WTF #2: Pointless prologue

Analysis: My rule of thumb is that a prologue is fine if you have a scene that the reader must witness for themselves in order to understand the story. But if it can be replaced by a summary line of exposition, it should be. With this one, I suspect you could even forego the summary line.

WTF #3: Echoing headwords

Analysis: After the barren emotionlessness of the prologue, I was jonesing for some face-time with a human character, and I got it. But despite the drama of being dropped in with an Air Force pilot who is about to crash, the narration was still cold and devoid of any visceral effect. So when I got to the flurry of “She”-sentences, I groaned aloud in frustration. And that means I wasn’t immersed.

Green Zulu 51 and Other Stories from the Vyptellian War by Scott Whitmore (13:15)
Days Gone Bad, by Eric R. Asher (3:21)

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.