Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Story: 'Round Midnight

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. :) If you truly want to learn, 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: "'Round Midnight" by Lauren King from the December 31, 2007 issue.

Tagline: There's no better time for a new beginning, thought Cassie, than New Year's Eve.

In A Nutshell: Cassie works as an activities director at a retirement home. Mrs. Mackey and Mr.Randall, two of the residents, chide her for spending New Year's Eve with "a bunch of old folks" instead of with a guy, but Randall's grandson shows up and they hit it off.

Teaching Points:
1. If you're looking for a formula for a WW story, this is one option. Start with a single woman, a bit lacking in self-confidence. Put her in a situation in which meets someone. At the end of the story, show her taking the initiative and making the first move.

2. Another WW tried and true technique is to repeat an idea or line of dialogue at the end of the story. In this case, Mrs. Mackey demands a kiss from her fiance, and he says, "Well, aren't we forward?" Her reply is, "Sometimes you must seize the moment!" Then, at the end of the story, Cassie, "seizing the moment," asks her new love interest out on a date. He repeats the line about being forward.

Woman's World Standbys: Quasi-matchmakers, older characters with advice, a retirement home

Best Part: I was pleasantly surprised, as were the characters in the story, by the engagement announcement.

In My Humble Opinion: I thought the dialogue sounded a little stilted, even if the characters were elderly. I don't think even my 93 year old grandmother would use the word "beau" in conversation.

Discussion Question: A good story will often have one or more turning points, events that greatly alter the plot. after which the entire story changes course. What turning points do you see in 'Round Midnight?

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kate,

First thank you for doing this.

I agree with the ‘beau’ thing only because it was the Prairie Vista Retirement Home. Had it been a Southern named home, I could see these characters using ‘beau’ instead of boyfriend. It’s a Southern thing.

As far as the turning points, this is a place where I need help. I think I found three, but maybe I’m not sure what a turning point is exactly.

1) Cassie wasn’t planning on a fun New Year’s Eve but got one anyway dancing with Mr. Randall.

2) Rick broke up with his girlfriend.

3) Cassie didn’t have a date but Rick showed up.

Pat

8:34 AM  
Blogger Kate Willoughby said...

Pat, you found it with number three. :) This story had one major turning point, when Rick, the grandson, walked into the senior center. At that moment, the plot turns a corner.

Interestingly, though, the story doesn't have a climax (a moment when you fear all is lost), but this happens a lot in WW stories.

2:05 PM  

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