Foul is Fair, by Jeffrey Cook and Katherine Perkins (4:54)

IOD-FoulisFairToday we learn that using a pronoun to refer to somebody who has not yet been introduced can be extremely confusing.

What I gleaned about the story: Megan takes medication. Her friend Lani is saddened by the apparent loss of Megan’s creative free spirit. And now more stuff will happen.

Find this book on Amazon.

Note: Before I dive in, I just gotta say, that’s an awesome cover!

Technical Note: 8 MB for a single ebook? The only time an ebook novel should be bigger than 1MB is when it is a coffee-table-type book filled with high-res photos. Bloated books at 8MB are penalizing the fans by wasting 7 or more books worth of storage on their ereader devices. But if that’s not enough to convince you to slim it down, remember that you’re also paying Amazon a download fee for every byte delivered to your customers. When your book is 8 times bigger than it needs to be, that means you’re cutting deeply into your own profits.

WTF #1: Confusing prose

Analysis: We open on two females talking about something important when one interrupts to take medication. Then we get: “You need medication, yeah. You were already on medication before. Then she kept switching doctors until one would… you were doing better!”

That “she” really threw me. “She” who? We were in the middle of two people talking to each other: you, you, you. Then suddenly I hit that “she.” There has been no previous discussion of any other people, nor even any veiled reference to the possibility of any other people. We have no sense yet of how old these two are, or where they are, or even what culture they’re in. It isn’t until we’re a bit further down the page that we learn these are teenage girls and that the medicated girl’s mother is rather controlling. So, armed with all that, I was eventually able to surmise that “she” was not in fact a typo, and was in fact a reference to the looming presence of the mother.

But that information came too late to shield me from the initial blink of startlement at the start. Replacing “she” with “your mom” would have made the entire issue go away.

WTF #2: Distracting typo

Analysis: Further down the first page, Megan is musing on her chances of getting a good grade on tomorrow’s test and we get: She might get her first A+ outside art or music classes in a long time, if she stuck to the plan and didn’t blow it. Not that she’d gotten any + in art class this semester…

Should that read “Not that she’d gotten any pluses in art class…”? Or is it maybe “Not that she’d gotten an A+ in art class…”? The error completely muddies the sentence and forces me to stop and guess.

So even though I’m pretty sure I figured out what was meant, the appearance of that confusing typo on page one immediately lowered my expectations for the quality of the editing to come. After all, the first page is usually the most carefully and completely polished of the entire book, right?

WTF #3: Echoing headwords

Analysis: Page two begins with 6 successive paragraphs that all begin with the name of the same character. Lani…, Lani…, Lani…, Lani…, Lani…, and Lani… I will usually let the first burst of echoes pass. After all, even my favorite writers echo occasionally. It happens. But when the entire page reverberates with unintended repetition, it catches my eye/ear so harshly that I just can’t ignore it.

Note: Reaching the 3rd flag this quickly was quite a disappointment. Given the awesome cover, I was really hoping I might be engaged for a long time on this one.

Cringe-Expect The Holy: A Suspense Thriller Short Story Collection, by Damian Fredericks (2:05)
A Sip of Fear, by Brian Rush (12:05)

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.