Monday, February 05, 2007

Airport Love

Story: "When Strangers Meet" by Violet Blume

Tagline: Julie's vacation was over, but the fun was just beginning...

With my online class in mind (Hi, class!), this review will be more like an analysis of the story with a mind toward what works for me as a writer and observations I made for others who might want to submit to Woman's World.

I thought this story was cute and well-written. The first third of the story sets up the reason she's on the vacation. We get a paragraph summarizing the vacation, then we move back to the current action in the airport. When you want to write short, "telling" is more expedient than "showing," which is the opposite of what they say you should do when writing novel-length fiction. (However, "telling" does have its places in a novel.) So, if you're running long, summarize with narrative.

Note the spare description of the hero--"tall, dark-haired man." That's another way to keep it short. With only a 1000 words to tell the story, you have to move along fast.

Another place where Blume condenses is in the third column. "They both sat down and leaned against the wall. "Not exactly the Hilton," Will joked, "but I'd rather be here..." Here, she deftly smushed together some description/action AND the dialogue into one paragraph instead of two. The less indenting that needs to be done, the better, if you're having a tough time staying within the word count. Also, notice that she could have gone on describing how Will sighed as he sat, his face looking as tired as she felt, or whatever, but we don't have room for vivid description.
Best part: ""I'm only going to St. Louis for a conference. On Thursday morning, I've got to be back at work." He smiled. "At the Art Institute." What great timing. She inserts that smile so we get that short pause before hitting us, bam, with that ending you knew was coming but wanted to see anyway.
In My Humble Opinion: As someone in class pointed out it's highly coincidental that he would be in Miami, catching a flight to St. Louis, but resides in Chicago where she lives. But the romantic in me was willing to let that go. :)

Grade: B+



Blogger Robin L. Rotham said...

I finally got curious enough to buy a copy of WW today, and it was just as I suspected -- I'd never be able to write that short or that clean. Oh, well. :D I'm glad you've found your groove there, Kate.

3:16 PM  
Blogger Kate Willoughby said...

Oh, Robin, yes you can. Your blog entries are 1000 words.

6:52 PM  
Blogger Robin L. Rotham said...

LOL! Is that a hint?

Yes, they're sometimes 1000 words or more, but they're not fiction.

I'm working on a short for the Divas ebook challenge and got up to 1600 the first day. It'll kill me, but I think I might actually be able to finish it in under 10K. I think...

6:31 AM  
Blogger Kate Willoughby said...

Heh heh. I'm famous in my critique group for slashing. I am certain you could write a 1K story.

12:18 PM  

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