Monday, September 24, 2007

Story: Lovely Coiffures

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: "Lovely Coiffures" by Lynn Olcott from the September 11, 2007 issue.

Tagline: The salon was filled with romantic memories--and memories yet to be made...

In a nutshell: Before a wedding party comes in to get their hair styled, a stylist reminisces about how her best friend, Joanne, hemmed and hawed when her boyfriend proposed. He tried to convince her by sending her a rose everyday, but she never said yes. Flash forward back to the present and we find out Joanne is the mother of today's bride. AND she ended up marrying the shy guy who delivered the single roses way back when.

Lynn Olcott is a regular contributor to WW. I have to admire her courage in submitting such a different story. Almost the entire thing is narrated by a third party, but it works. I found it refreshing. Also, because it was so different, I wasn't really sure where it was going. I actually expected Joanne to finally say yes, but when the guy married someone else, I was thrown for a loop.

Before I could analyze what had happened, Olcott brought me back to the present, which distracted me from figuring out the Happily Ever After, which I definitely would have done, given a little time. There was only one other guy mentioned in the story, so it had to be him, yet Olcott skillfully manuvered me away from that line of thinking. Clever woman! As a result, the "surprise' ending hits me just right.

Teaching Point: Olcott starts out in present tense. I'm not a big fan of present tense, but it appears regularly in WW stories. When the narrator starts telling the story from the past, of course, she changes to past tense. Then here--"How time flies, I think to myself, as I wipe the counters..."--she snaps back to present tense. For this story, it makes sense to change tenses, but normally you should stick to one tense throughout.

Best Part: He's still shy. Oh, this is where my heart beat extra hard.

In My Humble Opinion: The paragraph describing the bride as a modern young woman wasn't necessary, if you ask me. It didn't really add much.

Grade: A



Anonymous Pat said...

I loved this storry. I guess because it was so different and very romanctic with the twist.

I, too, am not a fan of present tense, but I found myself writing a story for WW recently and it was in present tense. When I realized what I was doing, it stopped me cold. Now I have to take another look before I surprise my critique partners with it.

Still working on WW stories,


6:46 AM  

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