I think I may have figured out what was happening with WordPoop (think “automatic update” and you won’t be far from the truth).  To test this, please respond in comments if the entire passage below gets posted (it ends, “So Jules licks the symbol at the end of the first chapter…” )

Julia (“Jules”) Wakefield is a twenty-five year old secretary who works at a British government agency, in a department so boring and inconsequential that everybody who’s ever worked there leaves it off their resume.

That’s during the day. At night, however, she is a fantasy maven: a mistress of a popular Internet website which explores and plays in the world of fantasy, and she is constantly looking out for The Next Big Fantasy Thing for her many hundreds of online fans and followers.

So when she discovers that her little neighborhood bookstore has found an obscure fantasy series from the 1930s, she buys the books; but when she reads them, she’s puzzled. The writing isn’t much good, the characters nothing unusual for the fantasy world, and the scenarios, while filled with erotic adventure, are quite bland, even though they do feature the standard fare of goblins, trolls, fairies and elves.

She posts her opinion online, and is mortified at the response from her readers in the comments section: “Missed the point,” “How could you be unmoved by the experience?” and the most cutting, “I thought you were smarter than this” are but a few of the remarks. She’s about to close the comments, when the very last one appears: “Did you not lick the symbol?

Jules has no idea what this means, so she emails the commenter for an explanation, and in the response, she discovers the secret of the books’ popularity.

At the end of each chapter there appears a large, strange symbol (a different one for each book). Her reader tells her that if Julie licks the symbol, she will instantly be transported into the book and story itself, and will appear as a participant in the story at the beginning of the chapter, as the storyteller. (All the books are written in the first person.) When the chapter ends, the reader explains, she will be returned to reality, none the worse for wear, with absolutely no time having elapsed since she licked the symbol, and the chapter will have been magically rewritten with herself as the new storyteller, and the symbol will have disappeared.

The only problem is that while in the story, if she changes any part of the storyline in any way, even by misquoting the dialogue, the entire story will change from that point on, and she will not be able to control what happens. Only the occurrence of the last sentence in the original chapter can bring her back to reality—e.g. “At that moment, the door to the room opened, and a strange figure entered the room.

The kicker is that if the last sentence cannot occur—say, if the door has already been destroyed by a phantom attacker—then she will no longer be able to return to reality, and will be trapped inside the story until the end of the next chapter. Worse still, if she happens to be killed in the story, she will instantly be transported back to reality, and could suffer a fatal heart attack, or not.

So Jules licks the symbol at the end of the first chapter…

And yes, it’s the premise for a series of novels I had planned to write several years ago, but lost interest therein because “fantasy”.

Update:  Okay, I think I’ve figured it out.  Normal service will resume tomorrow.


  1. It came through fine. I think I saw your previous post the other day, but it disappeared. If that is any help in solving the mystery.

  2. Captain Pedantic Sez:

    It actually ends with

    “And yes, it’s the premise for a series of novels I had planned to write several years ago, but lost interest therein because “fantasy”.”


    1. When people like you are murdered, the police give up investigating because of the plethora of likely suspects.

  3. Test successful. It’s all there, GeekWithA.45, I’m not so sure.
    If he was in the Boy Scouts, that would explain a lot.

  4. Rather reminds me of the days when licking a tab of blotter paper would result in missing about three days.

  5. The chair is against the wall.

    Jean a une longue moustache

    Molasses tomorrow will bring forth cognac.

    The blue pencil is in the red box.

    1. YES!

      And make it a link straight to the comments for that post, that way I don’t have to scroll all the way back up to the top to click on the title and then all the way back to the bottom, just to read the comments.

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