Why You Were Taken, by J.T. Lawrence (3:21)

IOD-Why_You_Were_Taken.jpgToday we see that talking directly to the reader immediately breaks the immersive spell.

What I gleaned about the story: She is doing some things. It is raining for her. The man is doing some things. It is raining for him too.

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Marketing Note: This is a very generic looking cover. It says absolutely nothing about genre, setting, or characters. With that title, it could just as easily be a self-help book about avoiding con artists. If I saw this in the science fiction section of my local bookshop, not only would I not pick it up, but I would assume it had been misfiled by an inattentive clerk.

WTF #1: Echoing headwords

Analysis: The first two sentences in each of the first two paragraphs all begin with “She”. It’s like an intentional rhyme scheme but with no discernible rhetorical purpose. But in addition to the patterned occurrences, there are also a number of other “She”-headed sentences packed into the four short paragraphs that make up the opening scene.

WTF #2: Word meaning

Analysis: Still in the top half of the first page and we get: When the thunder rolls into the room it paints the walls midnight blue.

Thunder rolling into the room was a nice metaphor, until I got to the second half of the sentence. But then that thunder altered the color of the room. Sigh. The only way I can make sense of that is to assume the author mean “lightning.” So the poetry of the moment was broken by realizing that it wasn’t even thunder at all.


WTF #3: Addressing the reader

Analysis: The first scene (comprising four short paragraphs) is all about “she”. The second starts out being about “the man”, but the narrator quickly shifts into talking about “our man.” The problem for me is that when the narrator says “our,” I immediately ask who he means. And the only answer to that can be the narrator and his audience. In other words, he has addressed me directly, and in doing so, reminds me that I am not present in the world of the story. I am his accomplice, watching the scene from without.

And that pops my immersion bubble.

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The Dark Verse, Vol 1: From the Passages of Revenants by M Amanuensis Sharkchild (1:47)
Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions, by Larry Hodges (4:13)

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.