Monday, April 16, 2007

Story: "A New Season" by Suzanne DuBois from the April 24, 2007 issue.

Tagline: Joni would never forget Ron. But her heart told her it was time to live again...

What follows is an analysis of a Woman's World story with a mind toward what works and doesn't work for me as a writer, peppered with some personal opinion, too. :)

Notice how DuBois jumps right into the backstory after that initial short conversation. Unfortunately, it's a pretty unwieldly dump of information. I'm not sure whether to be thankful that she got it all in at once so I didn't have to deal with anymore after that, or think that she should have worked a little harder to break it up.

If you're an astute reader, you probably got the picture that the guy wasn't the gardener and were just waiting for the heroine to figure it out herself. This is a good way to get your reader involved with the characters. The intention is for the reader to experience the realization along with the character while at the same time feel somewhat superior that they were smarter than she was--a win/win situation.

There was no "black moment" in this story, where you or the heroine thought things might not work out because this was a case of mistaken identity. This was because she wasn't thinking about him romantically because she thought he was married.

Also, it took place pretty much all at once, with only a very brief introduction at Joni's workplace. So there was no three act structure. However, there was a major plot turning point, when the real gardener makes his appearance. That's when the story takes a complete turnaround, something you'll often see at the midpoint of novels.

I thought the fact that Jared saw Joni jogging (oy vey, the alliteration!) was a nice surprise. I hadn't seen that coming. It was a nice touch.

Best Part: "The big bush that's threatening to take over your house?" That was funny! I love a hero with a teasing sense of humor.

In My Humble Opinion This is very picky, but I think she should have picked surnames that weren't as similar as Smithson and Harrison. And the name Joni (even if it's spelled differently) will always bring Chachi to my mind.

Grade: B

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