Thursday, September 21, 2017

As Sweet as Peach Pie by Mary Davis

from the September 11, 2017 issue

Tagline: Sandy thought that she had no time for love...then she met Brian!

Observations: I just literally laughed out loud while reading this story. Here's the part that made me crack up:

"Why would I hang up on Ginger Ford's grandson?"

"Because the peaches are a bumper crop this year, and my grandmother refuses to make me a pie unless I ask you out."

So funny! I also loved this line:

"...I am very familiar with dating under duress."

OMG, I just cracked up AGAIN. (That Brian is a very funny guy.) He sold 50 of her shirts and she asks him what his secret was...

"No secret. Just a basic marketing principle: product positioning. You have to convince the customer your product is the one that they should spend their money on."

"How did you do that?"

"I wore the shirt, then I gave them an incentive to buy."

"What was that?"

"I told them if I could sell enough shirts, you might go to dinner with me. Not a single person turned me down."

Bottom line, this story had so much humor in it, I dare anyone not to have loved it.

Photo credit: Jeffrey W. (Flickr cc)

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Cookie-Cutter Romance by Mary Jo Young

from the September 4, 2017 issue

Tagline: Mark thought he had no time for love...then he met Kenzie!

Observations: At first, I thought this was another story about cookies and I wondered if Ms. Gaddis was going on a cookie story binge, but I soon found out I was wrong. LOL

I thought this particular meet cute was funny and novel--not something I'd seen before. There was also a quasi-matchmaker, his office manager, Mrs. Hendrix. I thought it was oddly formal that they referred to each other as Mrs. Hendrix and Mr. Osborne, but I went with it.

This story was unusual in another way. We saw more going on between Mrs. Hendrix and Mr. Osborne than we did between Mark and Kenzie. It didn't bother me. I still thought it was a cute story, but it went against my suggestion that you always spend a good deal of time showing the hero and heroine interacting. So, that just goes to show you, I don't know everything!

Photo Credit: Steve Moses (Flickr cc)

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Always Bake Cookies by Kacey Laine

from the August 14, 2017 issue

Tagline: Abby loved her new house...and her handsome neighbor made it feel like home!

Observations: This was a sweet story. What stands out to me is the heroine. It has always been my assertion that Woman's World likes the traditional woman who waits for the hero to make the first move. She is still very present in stories. However, just as popular is the confident woman who sees an opportunity and takes it.

Here, Abby acts, and sort of as a throwback to that traditional woman, she feels like she was too "forward." So, maybe she's a hybrid, after all.

I also wanted to point out the misunderstanding, a common plot device in WW stories. Very often, one of the characters makes an assumption that the other is married or otherwise spoken for and it turns out that this isn't the case. Here was a fresh take on that plot device: the heroine assumed the man was moving away when he wasn't. Well done, Kacey!

Photo credit: Wen Tong Neo (Flickr cc)

Thursday, August 31, 2017

The French Connection by Rochelle Banks

from the August 28, 2017 issue

Tagline: Ty never dreamed of going to Paris until he met Angie...then she gave him the surprise of his life!

Observations: This was such a great story! I was genuinely surprised at the plot twist and it's hard to surprise me. I think this week is a good week to talk about showing not telling. This is a phrase writers hear often, and it is true most of the time. But if you look at this story, you'll see it's probably half showing and half telling. This is because of the word count. You only have 800 words to use. You have to forward the plot along using transitions. Let's see how this panned out with this story.

Scene 1 - Ty and Angie meet in the library.
Scene 2 - We transition to Tuesday at the French for Travelers class.
Scene 3 - We transition again to that weekend when they see a French film and kiss.
Scene 4 - After yet another transition to the next day at work when he asks his travel agent about flights to Paris in the spring, we skip forward to their second date. Then, we fast-forward a year to their honeymoon in Paris.

So, six time transitions! That's a lot, but a lot happens in this story. We go from boy meets girl to boy marries girl in 800 words. That's how it's done, ladies and gentlemen. Make transitions your friend, and you'll move your plot along.

Photo credit: Chris Drumm (Flickr cc)

Friday, August 25, 2017

You won't believe it...

I'm actually working on two stories. I think it's been 2+ years since I wrote a Woman's World story. Wish me luck! LOL

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Mellie's Tiny House by Mary Jo Young

from August 7, 2017 issue

Tagline: Mellie loved her tiny house...and Sam made it feel like a home!

Observations: I love tiny houses! I love those TV shows about tiny houses.  If I lived alone, I might very well try out a tiny house to see what it was like. I'd certainly have to cut down on the amount of stuff I own, that's for sure.

While I'm a fan of Young's stories, this one didn't hit any particularly high notes for me. I would like to have seen some more witty conversation that centered around something relevant, like how she was liking her house or maybe a bit about dogs--whether he has one or had one as a boy or whatever. The chicken thing seemed to come out of left field and was
touched on for too short a time for the bring-it-full-circle device of Sam offering to build a coop for her to really work. If it had been my story, I might have cut out the hike date stuff so I had more room to develop the chicken coop stuff, or vice versa. Their topics of conversation were never meaty enough for me.

Photo credit: Nicolas Boullosa (Flickr cc)

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Mustang Sally by Elizabeth Palmer

from the July 31, 2017 issue

Tagline: Miranda wasn't looking for romance...but her Mustang, Sally, changed all that!

Observations: I loved this story. I loved the heroine being so familiar with her car that she could change the oil -- not something I would ever attempt to do myself since it's not that expensive to have it done. I loved that Palmer showed Miranda knew herself well enough to not settle for a man who didn't share her interests.

Those of you who are fairly new to analyzing Woman's World stories with me should take note of the big coincidence that Sally happens to break down in front of "Bud's." Woman's World stories often contain a coincidence that the reader needs to accept for the story to work. This is fairly common.

There really are too many details to list that make this story nice and tight. It was so smartly written. I especially loved the ending in which they talk about Sally having HPS.

Photo credit: Ann Baekken (Flickr cc)