Comments for Page 1 – Creativity Hacker A novelist and creativity scientist explores the intersection between software, writing, and creativity theory. Mon, 21 Aug 2023 17:01:00 +0000 hourly 1 Comment on 51 things that break reader immersion, with examples by Darker Mon, 21 Aug 2023 17:01:00 +0000 I have two PoV issues to add to this list.

1) First person omniscient narrators
With the singular exception of stories entirely built around it—e.g. doomed prophets, gods pretending to be mortals—this is always wrong. Hearing a narrator say “What I didn’t see was the malicious glint in her eyes.” is just plain wrong. Sure, with past tense you might be able to justify this as hindsight narration, but it usually isn’t, and it definitely isn’t with present tense (unless it’s sarcasm, but I digress).

2) Lacking distinct character voices with multiple PoV characters (or an abstract narrator)
When a story has multiple viewpoint characters, they need to have strongly distinct voices otherwise the readers (and the author, too) will be confused by what’s going on. You can’t just expect readers to always page back / scroll back to when the viewpoint character was announced.
Technically, this is also an issue when you have only a single viewpoint character, but it’s easy to ignore there.
However, it is not okay with a single viewpoint character, if that character is an abstract narrator—i.e. one not part of the universe—because *it* has no reason to care about anything in the story. This is basically a special case of Distant Language.
Many writers (particularly in the past) seem to think that using an abstract narrator means they don’t need to filter the descriptions of what is happening through a character’s eyes constantly, but all they’ve done is add another character to the roster—one that doesn’t give a fuck about the story being told.

3) This one’s more of a pet peeve of mine, but I *hate* the entire genre of comedy that is based on the characters being less competent at communication than an autistic child.
Since I was a little child, I’ve always found these painfully cringe. Absolute torture. I have no idea how anyone can enjoy that kind of crap :Ü™

Comment on 51 things that break reader immersion, with examples by soraya richards Mon, 29 Nov 2021 23:27:18 +0000 I agree with your last example of “which.” In your example, I’d make that one sentence. I see that kind of splitting of of things that should be more complex sentences all the time, and it bugs me. Of course, while I don’t work in publishing, I did go to a school that taught sentence diagraming. The teachers also made us chant the lists of state of being, helping, and linking verbs. I’d like to think that the readers who devour more than 100 books a year care about grammar.

Comment on Paragraph lengths in fantasy fiction – an analysis by Steve Hakes Mon, 24 May 2021 11:17:03 +0000 Besides theology books, I also write fantasy (some would ask what’s the difference). I am on my fourth vampire book (in order Vampire Redemption / Extraction / Count / Grail). V-Grail weighs in just over 90,000 (my longest V-book), and I am doing my own copy-editing, as usual. One of my longer paragraphs in March, 542 words, has become three paragraphs (190/204/191). My first 7 paras average as 243 words. My rule of thumb is visual perception. Basically, I don’t wish to see any para dominate a 450 words page, and at least 2 pp looks about right to me, so as not to daunt without dumbing down. I was looking online to see what ‘rules’ have formed within this genre, and appreciate your analysis. My narrative tends to longer paragraphs than my dialogue.

Comment on Why Present Tense Bugs Me In Fiction by Tina Thu, 29 Apr 2021 04:40:05 +0000 In reply to Jefferson Smith.

This article helped shed light on why I am so irked by the use of this style. I am currently reading Black House by Stephen King and Peter Straub. It’s an engaging story, but I often find myself immediately forgetting what I just read. It’s like a whirlwind of heavy description in my head, all buzzing past, but very little of it actually sticks. It’s overwhelming to my senses.

Comment on 51 things that break reader immersion, with examples by Jo Jaxon Wed, 07 Apr 2021 13:54:04 +0000 In reply to Chiwah Slater.

“I find the use of “Which” as a relative pronoun to start a sentence jarring” … everyone has personal preferences, but I assure you this one is rare, and wouldn’t preclude a novel from becoming a best seller. How many of Harry Potter’s readers do you think even know ‘which’ starting a sentence is uncouth? The best selling novels are NOT the best writing. You may be an amazing teacher of ‘how to write grammatically correct English’, but that’s not what the best selling novels contain. I would also bet a lot that you’re focusing much too of your students’ time on the wrong aspects of writing stories.

Comment on Why Present Tense Bugs Me In Fiction by F. Toth Wed, 17 Mar 2021 15:28:24 +0000 First person present tense never feels immediate to me. It feels false and pretentious.

In addition, it is a waste of a perfectly good language that happens to have a past tense.

I speak four languages with varying degrees of fluency: English, German, French, and Italian. Each of these languages contains a past tense. The first way a person learns to speak in these languages is in the the present tense, but as mastery is achieved, past tense and then future will be taught. Why is this? Because, quite simply, tenses make for clearer writing.

There are languages that do not even contain this wonderful thing, the ability to say when something happened. I can’t fathom why this wonderful aspect of language would not be embraced and used for the clarity it creates.

Comment on A true calling by Jefferson Smith Fri, 22 Jan 2021 19:58:25 +0000 In reply to Ellen Vermilyea.

I’m glad you’re finding the reviews helpful. Enjoy your stay, and good luck with your own writing projects.

Comment on Ghost Moon Night, by Jewel Allen (17:06) by Jefferson Smith Fri, 22 Jan 2021 19:55:52 +0000 In reply to Ellen Vermilyea.

Punctuation rules are a weird blend of personal writing style and formal edicts, where no choice is ever 100% right or 100% wrong. The best advice I can offer is to find an author you like, study how they use punctuation, and then try to emulate them in your own writing. As a general rule, the current trend appears to be “less is more.” Use whatever punctuation is required to make the meaning of your sentences clear and easy to parse, but resist the temptation to force a particular rhythm on your readers. And then, whatever system you pick, be consistent with it.

Comment on Ghost Moon Night, by Jewel Allen (17:06) by Ellen Vermilyea Fri, 22 Jan 2021 01:15:53 +0000 I find the forgotten soup issue a constant issue in so many movies…which I sometimes assume have come from a book. Maybe I like you notice everything and get annoyed where others blissfully just read/watch and enjoy. Wish I could do that! I know where from it comes…:)

A comment from me the new writer: I find it difficult to follow the ever changing comma rules, hyphen, dash, and semi colon etc rules. Is it such a big deal to use commas too much or too little? I used them where I would want them when I read to make the sentence real and readable.

Thanks again, it has been about three hours and I am still engrossed with how you teach and explain how to write better.


Comment on A true calling by Ellen Vermilyea Thu, 21 Jan 2021 23:34:17 +0000 Good evening Jefferson,
I am so happy to have found you today!!! This is great, I am learning and at the same time saying, “Great, my book is passing the tests (well, at least so far!) I have not finished reading your “ImmerseODie”.
I am not published and am trying to learn the self publishing process which seems to be more involved that I expected! I didn’t follow the normal route of most writers but that’s a topic for another day, over a cuppa.

I love to write, I am am getting older by the day and want to get published soon. It is difficult to learn how to do everything that is needed when all I want to do is write and have someone else do the hard stuff!

Thank you for your fun knowledge, I look forward to more learning on my path to being a new romance novel author….and children’s books and erotic. One must have variety!