Monday, July 23, 2007

Story: The Girl Next Door

What follows is an analysis of a Woman's World story with suggestions/observations for people who want to sell stories to WW, peppered with some personal opinion, too. :)

Story: "The Girl Next Door" by Tessa Ireland from the July 3, 2007 issue.

Tagline: It was a good thing Abby didn't watch where she was going...

This was a darling chance meeting story. Abby accidentally collides with a guy in the grocery store parking lot. He’s new in town. Abby, the heroine is just the right mix of confidence and self-doubt, worrying that Drew thinks she's a clutz.

Surprise: Their conversation is interrupted by a “rival” woman, which is a nice surprise. There aren’t often antagonists in WW stories.

Lesson: Don’t include backstory unless it plays a part in your story. Here, Ireland takes a short moment to explain that Abby’s ex’s parting words were, “Sorry, I’m not looking for the girl next door,” which not only ties in with the title, but, as you might expect by now, is also mentioned in the last line of the story. (It looked like being the girl-next-door-type wasn't so bad after all.)

Lesson: Slip that physical description in where you can.
She took in his blond hair and blue eyes and…
Drew took in Abby’s freckled nose…

WW Conventions: down-to-earth names (Abby, Drew, Jason, Justine), he’s a vet (WW loves animals), small town setting.

Best Part: She was about to put the key in the ignition when she noticed unfamiliar items in the passenger seat: a briefcase and a baseball cap. This cracked me up. Abby gets into the wrong car...his car, of course.

In My Humble Opinion: I thought Justine, the vamp, was a little over-the-top.

Grade: A



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