Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Make Your Life a Poem

Woman's World Review: "Love Poems" by Lynn Olcott, from the October 3rd issue of Woman's World

Tagline: Sometimes, it's the everyday kind of poetry that really touches you.

This story was above average for several reasons. First, Olcott has a bit of a hook at the beginning with this sentence: “It was all because of a little red Corvette.” It makes me wonder just what that little car caused to happen. We find out later that it’s a toy car, which is a surprise. I love being surprised when I’m reading. I also found the Laundromat setting to be fresh yet plausible.

Then we see her hurt her ankle, something we've seen before, but I could forgive that. I mean, hey, I even used it in one of my own stories! Another gimmick we see over and over is the matchmaker, and yet most of the time the matchmaker appears in the very beginning of the story, usually having a conversation with the protagonist. In “Love Poems,” the matchmaker doesn’t show up until the middle. This mimics what occurs in full-length novels, in that it’s the major turning point for the story. When the daughter shows up, it is then that we discover why the man from the Laundromat is familiar to the protagonist. It’s the pivotal moment when the entire story turns around. Gotta love that!

However, as sometimes happens with Woman’s World, you see what I’m going to call a “soft HEA.” You get the promise of the promise of an Happily Ever After (HEA.) In Woman’s World fiction, the HEA usually appears in the form of a date. In the “soft HEA”, you don’t actually see the asking and acceptance of the date, but it’s implied.

I’m not overly fond of the soft HEA, but apparently Johnene Granger, the fiction editor, is, so don’t hesitate to use it in your own stories.

Best Part: I loved the line, "I've been making my life a poem..." What a wonderful goal to have.

Just My Humble Opinion: THe only thing missing from this story was a character arc. Ellen doesn't really develop during the course of the story, but hey, it's only 1100 words. You can't work miracles every time!

Grade: A+


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