Pushing up the Digits, by Pascal Inard (8:12)

IOD-PushingUpDigitsToday we see that with an unknown publisher/author, variations in formatting come across as inexperience rather than intent.

What I gleaned about the stories: On the internet, no-one can tell you’re a ghost.

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: Odd word choice

Analysis: A little way into the first story, the protagonist’s sister apologises for a social media comment about his girlfriend. The protagonist replies “No, I’m not mad. I can’t say I’m rapt…” While rapt does express delight, it is an all-encompassing delight that holds the attention—think “rapture”—which didn’t match the topic: a person could be happy about an opinion, but being so delighted by it that they lost track of time and surroundings seemed hyperbolic.

After wondering for a moment whether it was a joke about Facebook obsession that fell flat, I moved on.

WTF #2: Distracting formatting

Analysis: A few pages into the second story the protagonist discovers a Facebook post about the previous owner of his laptop. This post is set with an increased left margin but an unchanged right margin and no other styling. Without any white space above, italics, or wider right margin to warn me, I instinctively parsed it as a normal paragraph. So, when the second line didn’t start where I expected, my immediate thought was an error in the formatting.

A moment later, I realised the paragraph was intended to be formatted differently, but by then I had started thinking about ebook formatting; so I moved on.

WTF #3: Capitalisation issues

Analysis: Several pages into the third story I encountered the Green party. Party is part of the name, so it should be capitalised. I’d spotted a couple of issues with capitalisation previously that I’d let pass, but this one pushed me over the edge into wondering whether the book had been proofed at all, so I pulled the plug.

Kudo #1: Interesting premise

Analysis: Each of the stories mixes the persistence of social media after death with the similar persistence of a haunting, which raised several intriguing possibilities for where the stories could go. I’ll definitely be coming back to this one.

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.

Endgame, by Susan Kelly (4:40)
A Facet for the Gem, by C.L. Murray (11:00)

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.