Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A Purr-fect Romance by Mary Davis

From the September 5, 2016 issue

Tagline: Lucy was tired of losing roommates then Milo came into her life!

Observations: Cute story. Like last week, this story is also tightly plotted. The whole bridesmaid stuff at the beginning is not only backstory to explain why she's moving to a smaller apartment, it sets up the occasion for which she has to dress up, so she can knock Mark's socks off later. I loved that. There was also the breakaway collar plot device, which forced her to see him again.

On a side note, I loved how the cat "talked." That was so cute and clever.

Photo credit: Helen Haden via Flickr Creative Commons License

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Second Chance at Love by Diane Crawford

From the August 22, 2016 issue

Tagline: After years of being on her own, Carol was certain she'd never find romance again--then she met Nick!

Observations: I couldn't find much to talk about with this story. It was a solid story, well-plotted. I felt certain the hero and heroine would be going on many more dates. I liked how the last line tied in with the garden theme...

Carol wasn't a gardening expert, but her intuition told her that growing conditions were perfect for this new relationship!

Photo Credit: Robert Ashworth via Flickr Creative Commons License

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Missing Issue

I seem to be missing the August 22 issue. If anyone can send me a photo of the story for that week, I'd appreciate it.

Meant to Be by Mary Jo Young

From the August 29, 2016 issue

Tagline: Kate thought she was too busy to find romance...until she met Darcy!

Observations: I'm so excited because this story was full of teaching moments.

I liked this story. It was cute. I especially admired the part where Kate was lost in her own thoughts and then came back to the conversation...

Robin's chirpy voice continued as Kate's thoughts turned elsewhere. After work, she'd promised to take her niece to ballet class, then pick up groceries for her sick neighbor. Somewhere along the way, she would grab a sandwich and eat on the run. It would be a full evening.

"So would you be his date?" Robin's voice broke into her reverie.

"What?" Kate surfaced with a start. "Sorry, what did you say?"

See what I mean? I felt as if I had joined Kate on her reverie.

I also wanted to point out this one sentence, because this is a lesson I need to take to heart.

Kate's heart did a little rhumba.

Young could have used a cliche phrase, like "Kate's heart skipped a beat." I, myself, am guilty of using that one! Or "her pulse quickened" or something like it. But doing a rhumba? Very original. This is the type of thing that, if you don't think of it while you're writing, you can fix in the revision stage. Make it a point to read your story and to look for trite phrases like hearts skipping beats. The stories are so short, that you can designate one reading just for this purpose. It might seem like a little thing--this is only six words, after all--but I believe the little things add up, especially in an 800 word story.

Lastly, this story is a great example of a mash-up of Woman's World tropes. Tropes are great because they're ideas that have a proven track record. Yes, they can become cliche, but only if you write them as such. One way to avoid the cliche and embrace the familiarity of the trope that readers respond to is to take two or more tropes and combine them, like take a woman to the rescue and add a garage sale, or make the setting a high school reunion and throw in a lost pet.  This week's story took three--a wedding, a matchmaker, and a blind date. You can also take one trope and really do something crazy with it, like maybe two lost pets. Maybe the heroine, while out looking for her missing dog, finds the hero's missing dog. Wait a second...I think I'll write that story! But see what I mean? It can get your brain thinking.

Photo Credit: John Lodder via the Flickr Creative Commons License


Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Yard Sale to Remember by Rochelle Banks

From the August 15, 2016 issue

Tagline: Olivia believed there was someone out there for her...but she never dreamed of meeting him at a yard sale!

Observations: I scribbled "a dance of conversation" in the margins, because what I really loved about this story was what was happening beneath the conversation. I think Banks did a terrific job of showing all the little things that had happened between these two, even though they'd never officially met until the day of her yard sale.

Her: She'd seen him riding his bike by her house and found him attractive.
Him: He'd noticed her (sans makeup) just after she'd moved in. (This part made me laugh. I loved the use of the word scampered.)
Him: He knew exactly how long it had been since she'd moved in.
Her: She'd been timing her breakfasts on the weekends so she could observe him going by, and she knew he was fibbing when he said he varied his route sometimes.

Banks gave us all this history while she was moving the story forward. (Did you also notice how she dropped in the bit about Olivia having broken up with her boyfriend as she talked about the bike?) Woman's World stories are so short that you really have to keep things moving.

Photo credit: r. nial bradshaw via Flickr Creative Commons License

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Her Own Blind Date by Mary Davis

From the August 8, 2016 issue

Tagline: Tired of blind dates, Carrie decided to take matters into her own hands!

Observations: I loved this story. It was totally a matchmaker story but with a twist I hadn't seen before. I literally have no criticisms. The sister relationship was spot on. I was a little suspicious when she found Jack at her sister's keyboard. I thought he was up to something nefarious. LOL. The office details such as doing system upgrades on the weekends were authentic. And the big reveal, when Carrie finds out that it was not a set-up is priceless.

Photo credit: sureV ainmO via Flickr Creative Commons License

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Neighborly Love by Shelley Cooper

from the August 1, 2016 issue

Tagline: Simon desperately wanted to impress Julie...but he never thought it would be child's play!

Observations: I adored this story, mainly because I was scared to death when that kid was about to jump. I sure didn't see that coming and it made my heart race.

I loved his inner thoughts as he hopes Julie is watching him do push ups.

I thought the kid was believable and well depicted and the supportive sister was great too.

My only beef--and it's not huge--is that they called 911. He's got a hurt ankle. She could have driven him. Ambulances are expensive and it wasn't an emergency. But other than that, it was a fantastic story!

Photo credit: Martin Lindstrom via Flickr Creative Commons License

Thursday, July 28, 2016

A Meeting of Hearts by Tina Radcliffe

From the July 18, 2016 issue

Tagline: Casey thought she didn't have time for a life...until she met Ben!

Observations: I haven't seen the woman in a "man's job" trope in a while, but it may just be because I haven't been paying attention. Woman's World likes to promote women doing whatever job floats their boat. I loved the little detail that she kept moist towelettes in her toolbox!

Using this trope does two things. It shows the heroine is a modern woman, one who isn't afraid to take on a profession dominated by men, which we admire. I sure wish I knew about cars. That could come in handy. It also shows the hero to be open-minded. While Ben does assume she doesn't know anything about cars, who can blame him? I don't think it's chauvinistic to make that assumption. I'd jump to the same conclusion.

The only thing that gave me pause was that the auto shop was adjacent to an accountancy office. In my experience auto body shops are not near nice office buildings. Otherwise, solid story.

Photo credit: Yasser Alghofily via Flickr Creative Commons License