I wanted to love A Ballad of Love by Sam Heartland. It has a delightful theme. A young woman adores comic books, but is being pressured by her friends to give up this “manly” pastime. Just as she starts to throw away her comic books, she’s stopped by the sight of a musician.
And it turns out he’s just the man for her. He adores science fiction, they connect, and true love is in their future.
If this is the type of story I would love, then why am I having such problems with it?
First, we are in 2020. The idea of a group of women actively harassing a friend for being “gay” for having a certain hobby, using “gay” as a continual term of denigration, is fairly upsetting. Our heroine hangs out with homophobes and seems to be a homophobe herself? And this is someone who adores science fiction? I would hope that science fiction is one of the safe havens where the LGBTQ world is celebrated.
Second, the number of grammatical errors int his two-page story are fairly staggering. The very first line has “lovers tale” with no apostrophe.
Eighteen-year-old should have dashes. There are countless commas where there shouldn’t be any. There are commas where there should be semicolons. There are run-on sentences. There are lower-case letters which should be capitalized, like at the start of sentences. There are upper-case letters which should be lower case, like in a line of dialogue.
“Hi.” He said.
“Hi,” Said Mary.
Half the time the author uses the dialogue correctly and the other half it’s done incorrectly. So it’s not even consistent.
He says “I’ve got lot’s of comic books.” I don’t think lot’s is even a word.
Most of these issues would have been caught even with a simple grammatical checker, and certainly I would hope that any author would have an editor (or a friend with good command of the English language) before posting it live in the Amazon system.
But even if he had fixed the numerous problems with the writing, I still have that core serious problem with the anti-LGBTQ which is a main theme of the storyline.