Monday, January 28, 2008

Story: A Clean Sweep

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 from this, 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: "A Clean Sweep" by Diane Crawford from the January 7, 2008 issue.
Tagline: Joel never imagined that a nasty bike accident could have such a pleasant outcome...

In A Nutshell: Joel broke his leg and his apartment is a mess. His friend suggests a cleaning service. The woman who comes to clean is cute and friendly. Upon finding they both like Scrabble, they make plans for her to return that evening to make dinner together and play a game.

Teaching Points: As I've mentioned before, novels will always have a "black moment, when you think all is lost and wonder if things will work out all right for the characters. WW stories tend to have gray moments, or sometimes no moment at all. In this story, the gray moment comes when Cammie has to confess she is only a so-so cook. Uh oh! What if the hero points his crutch at her and says, "Lord! You can't cook? Then why are you wasting my time, loser?" LOL. Of course, that would never happen in a WW story (or in any romance, really.) But still, you worry a little.

Also, Diane Crawford does a great job building the basis of a relationship between them, something that's tough to do in less than 1000 words. Here we see he's attracted to her: He picked up the thriller he'd been reading, but could't keep his eyes on the page. He kept looking up, watching for glimpses of Cammie. Then, via dialogue, we discover they both like Scrabble. And finally, she laughs at his joke and we see Joel liked a woman with a sense of humor. Voila! Great start for a budding romance.

Best Part: I liked the interplay between Joel and his brother. It was funny and believable.



Anonymous Pat said...

Thanks, Kate, for the teaching points. With the new word count, I am studying all my notes again to come up with a shorter story.

12:12 PM  

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