Monday, May 15, 2006

Put Love into the Equation

From the May 23rd issue of Woman's World: "Simple Math" by Kathleen O'Connor.

Tagline: To Miriam, it all added up: 1+1= the perfect couple!

If we analyze this story it's easy to see why Johnene (the fiction edtior) bought it.

1. O'Connor used three story elements that are popular with Woman's World: the matchmaker, a family member, and an altruistic pastime.

2. The author did a fantastic job showing how Lauren's feelings were developing, even though she hadn't met Matt yet. I saw three places in which this happened. (Feel free to comment on where you saw it occuring in the story.)

3. She also managed to include a lengthy description of Matt, something that always challenges me.

4. She skillfully slips in the bit about the disastrous date and how difficult it's been for them to socialize, establishing availability right inside the story, instead of as an explanatory sentence. Up until now we still had some doubt as to whether Matt had a girlfriend.

You will notice that O'Connor opens with backstory, but that is sometimes necessary in a Woman's World story. Backstory is the history of what has happened to a character(s) before the story begins. Aspiring writers are often instructed to never dump it on the reader at the beginning because it slows or even stops the story. However, when you are restricted to 1100 words, you sometimes cannot dribble backstory in bit by bit, like you can in a novel.

Best Part: "Lauren sipped her coffee and realized that her hand was shaking a bit." This made my heart do a little hopeful jig as I thought, "Oh, she's got it bad!"
Worst Part: It was difficult to find a part that I didn't care for, but I did find the choice of a wallet for someone's graduation from medical school to be odd.
Sweetness: 4
Originality: 3.5

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4 Comments:

Blogger Amanda Brice said...

In February I got an R for a story I subbed about a dance teacher named Kelly who teaches ballroom at a senior citizen center. Her favorite student always kept trying to set her up with her grandson Francis, but Kelly was convinced that anyone who needed their grandmother to play matchmaker for them was a dork (it didn't help that his name was Francis). Then a young stranger came to the dance class one day and she was instantly attracted to him. Turned out it was her favorite student's grandson, only he introduced himself to Kelly as Daniel.

Jimmy told me that she liked the story but she'd gotten a lot of stories with grandparents' eligible grandchildren. When I saw this story in the store the other day while I was waiting in line, I figured this might have been one of the stories she was talking about.

It was a cute one, that's for sure. :)

10:55 AM  
Blogger Kate Willoughby said...

I remember one of the Romance Divas saying something about getting an R based on a mistaken identity - a name mix-up. I had a story like that once and it got rejected too. I can only surmise that it's a tired ploy for getting people together, but as always, it's only speculation.

6:56 PM  
Blogger aries75 said...

That "wallet" thing really threw me as well. I kept thinking that he'd left his wallet there on a previous visit and she was sending it back to him (or did she choose that as a gift because she thinks he'll eventually become a plastic surgeon? "Hey, it may be empty now, but just wait till you start doing botox and boob jobs!" :P )

7:29 PM  
Blogger Kate Willoughby said...

LOL! I told myself it was because Granny was on a restricted budget.

8:04 PM  

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