Monday, November 12, 2007

Story: Hearts Collide

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. :) To get the most out of the teaching points, it's best to have a copy of the story in front of you. (And no, I don't get a kickback for pimping the magazine here!)

Story: "Hearts Collide" by Stephen D. Rogers from the November 6, 2007 issue.

Tagline: Pamela had a feeling that Mark's minor accident would have a major impact in her life...

This is the first time ever that the tagline made me laugh. I'm not sure whether editorial or Mr. Rogers wrote it, but well done! It set the scene for more humor throughout the story.

In A Nutshell: Pamela works at the police station. A boy she loved from afar walks in, having just been in a fender-bender. As they complete the accident form together, they reconnect.

Teaching Points:

1. In these very short 1000 word stories, you never have much room for description or backstory. Every word counts. (Ha! No pun intended.) So, note about a third of the way through the story you get this bit of info:

"I felt as though high school had ended yesterday instead of 15 years ago."


And bingo, you get an idea of how old the characters are.

2. Dialogue tags are your friends. Phrases such as "he said" and "she asked," are necessary to help your reader understand who is speaking, however, they should be used judiciously. Mr. Rogers does an excellent job NOT using them. This helps keep to the 1K word count as well as step up the pacing of the story. It can be a tricky skill to develop if you're new to writing. Make sure it's clear who the speaker is just by the words coming out of his/her mouth. Rule of thumb, you should probably not go farther than three or four lines of dialogue without identifying the speaker either with a tag or an action.

Woman's World Standbys: Old Flame, Car Accident (off stage)

Best Part "I'm not sure if I'm free to fly to Paris today, but I can talk to my supervisor." That was HILARIOUS.

In My Humble Opinion: I could find absolutely nothing to pick on in this excellent story.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Stephen D. Rogers said...

Hey Kate,

Thanks for the kind words.

Woman's World came up with the title and the tagline.

Stephen

4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the news biz, we call this "writing tight". It takes a lot of discipline.
To create fiction in such a tight form is amazing!

BTW - Kate, I just finished "Man of Vision" LOVED IT!

Sara

7:43 PM  
Blogger Kate Willoughby said...

You're welcome, STephen. GREAT story.

Thanks, Sara!!!! Did you visit the epilogue blog for Cristoforo and Delphine?

9:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kate -

I sure did. Excellent way to wrap it all up!

3:23 PM  

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