Why Grandma Bought That Car by Anne R. Allen (8:32)

IOD-GrandmaCarToday we see that consistency is just as important as correctness. Maybe moreso.

What I gleaned about the stories: Ordinary people face the same level of horror as classic heroes, but lack the experience to deal with it.

Find this book on Amazon.

Note: This is a short story collection, so the rules are slightly different from standard Immerse or Die: instead of reading on every time I lose immersion, I stop reading that story and move on to the next one. As usual, I stop reading after the third WTF.

WTF #1: Inconsistent hyphenation

Analysis: The scene starts with the protagonist’s children toasting pop-tarts (with a hyphen), then one of them grabs a pop tart (without a hyphen). While Pop-Tart is the name of a trademarked product, so should be capitalised, enough people commonly use brand names for the wider class of things that the error didn’t flag. I potentially wouldn’t have bounced on the lack of a hyphen either. However, the use of one then the other in quick succession highlighted the words, so I glanced back a line to see if I had imagined a difference, then started actively considering which was correct.

Once I became aware I was considering the abstruse issues of diminution of trademark rather than the book in front of me, I moved on.

WTF #2: More odd hyphenation

Analysis: Later in the collection, I encountered scary-looking. Previously Allen had followed the rule that adjectives ending in y don’t take a hyphen in a compound phrase, so this reignited my previous issue with hyphenation, turning a potentially obscure issue of trademark into a more general distrust of punctuation.

WTF #3: Dodgy em-dash

Analysis: Further in, I encountered the line “Better than eating dead cow. Orold pussy.” An em-dash sets off a subsidiary clause or represents an interruption, neither of which applies here, so I stumbled to a halt trying to work out what stage business the dash was intended to indicate. I realised almost immediately it should be a pause, but had already lost my rhythm.

With three punctuation niggles, I pulled the plug.

Kudo #1: Solid character reveals

Analysis: Each of the stories opened with a strong, realistic portrayal of a real person; and each of them was both different from the others and facing a plausible conflict.

Based on this, while I anticipate more issues with horizontal punctuation, I will be returning to this collection to finish the stories.

[Note from Jeff: I’m just popping in to give vigorous thumbs up to the cover design.]

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.

Supernatural Fairytales by Dorlana Vann (2:57)
Wings of the Sathakos, by Scott Beckman (8:34)

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.