Saturday, November 28, 2015

Where There's a Will

by M.H. Hickerson from the November 16, 2015 issue

Tagline: Maddie had never fallen quite so hard or so inescapably for anyone before!

Observations: So, remember last week when I talked about matchmaker stories in which we don't see much of the matchmaker? Here's a perfect example. Aunt Martha only shows up in the last paragraph. Otherwise, it's a cute man-to-the-rescue story with a situation I haven't seen before -- someone getting pinned under a box. I thought this was original and perfect from a "feminist's" point of view. Maddie needed help getting out from under that box. It wasn't that she was a woman, so she didn't know how to change a tire or flip a breaker. No, she honestly needed someone's help.

I liked that the stacked DVDs made it easy for David to compliment her on her choice of movies and it gave them something in common. And showing them working together did indeed bode well for their relationship. As Maddie herself pointed out, putting together furniture can be a source of frustration between people.

I did think David was a tiny bit presumptuous to just show up at the same time for the rest of the week, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he brought dinner at least a couple of times.

Photo Credit: HomespotHQ via Creative Commons license

The Office Matchmaker

by Shannon Fay from the November 9, 2015 issue

Tagline: Barb was a bit of a busybody, but you'd never catch Georgina or David complaining!

Observations: This was a terrific story. The characterization was wonderful. That very first paragraph tells us exactly who Barb is. I actually think we all know a "Barb."

I know some people at work think of me as a busybody, but that's simply unfair. The fact is, if I didn't pick up the slack around here, nothing would get done. Without me, there'd be no get well cards and flowers when someone is sick, no baby showers or retirement parties. Somebody has to organize these things.

I haven't seen a matchmaker's story from the matchmaker's pov in a long while, but it's a construct you might want to keep in mind. Most of the time, we see the matchmaking going on, but are not privvy to the actual plans and such, not like we are in this story with Barb.

I also admired Barb's cleverness, where she told Georgina and David an earlier time than everyone else. Genius!

Also, as is happening more and more, we're getting an epilogue paragraph that tells of an engagement.

All in all, great story, fantastic character. Shannon, if you're reading this, it'd be cool if Barb became a recurring character in more matchmaking stories, like in the mini-mysteries.
If you do this and it works, I want credit! LOL

Photo credit: Chip Griffin via Creative Commons License

Thursday, November 19, 2015


by Rosemary Hayes from the October 19, 2015 issue

Tagline: Jonah dialed the wrong number...but he made the right connection!

Observations: Well, somehow I skipped this issue, but better late than never, right?

All right. I liked the beginning, was bored in the middle, but loved the ending.

In the beginning, we see some humorous banter--always a plus in a Woman's World story. I think it tends to show the hero and heroine getting off to a good start and that their senses of humor mesh.

The middle had a moment of tension, but it didn't quite work for me. Perhaps it was supposed to show Lisa coming to the realization that she really liked Jonah. I've said before that character growth is something Woman's World likes to see and Lisa starts out not interested in dating and then growing to realize she just might be over the break-up. However, this false alarm didn't do anything for me. Personally, her thoughts about Jonah just before she went to sleep would have been enough.

The ending was fantastic. I could see Jonah standing there with that rose as clear as day.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Winning Hand

by Shelley Cooper from the November 2, 2015 issue

Tagline: Monica lost her chance to win one big prize, then ended up with a bigger prize!

Observations: This was the most original story I've seen in a long time. I loved it! The heroine was spunky and determined. The hero was kind and handsome--like all Woman's World heroes must be. I loved their banter. I was really rooting for them to have a happily-ever-after.

I have to admit, I predicted that it was going to get down to just the two of them and that she'd give up so his brother could win the minivan, but I was wrong. Doesn't matter though because the ending was still wonderful.

Well done, Shelley Cooper!

Photo credit: Nigel Chadwick via Creative Commons license

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Halloween Fun, After All

by J.M. Faddis from the October 26, 2015 issue

Tagline: As a girl, Amy had loved Halloween. Now, grown-up and focused on her career, she simply had no time for holiday frivolity--or so she thought...

Observations: I liked this story, but I find myself puzzled. I feel like it easily could have been a matchmaker story and am wondering if it is. Was Amy's mom trying to set her up? It seems like it. But then she does actually sprain her ankle, so I think, maybe it's not a matchmaker story. But then Amy narrows her eyes at her mom, and once again, I think it is a matchmaker story.

Either way, it really doesn't matter what I label it. The story is what it is. But was anyone else feeling confused? Maybe because I automatically read these stories with a critical eye, my brain wasn't allowing me to just enjoy the story as a story... All I could think about was figuring out what the intent was.

Photo credit: Dru Bloomfield via Creative Commons license

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Heart and Violets

by Karen Mandell from the October 12, 2015 issue

Tagline: Lara was a good neighbor--and now it looked as though her random acts of neighborly kindness would be most handsomely rewarded!

Observations: I don't have much to say about this story except that it very much reminded me of the "old style" Woman's World story, the kind of story I saw when I first started reading the magazine in 2004. I'll try to describe what I mean.

It's mostly the ending. Of late, Woman's World style has developed into really tight stories, perhaps a result of the newish 800 word limit. There's a condensed feeling about them, like they're completely self-contained. I don't know how to describe it better.

The ending of this story felt more open--like there wasn't an end, so much as a beginning. Even though most of the stories these days actually depict the beginning of a relationship just like this one, the stories themselves end concretely.

I'm sorry if I'm not explaining it well. maybe some of you "old timers" can help me out in the comments.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Good Dog!

by Wendy Hobday Haugh from the September 29, 2015 issue

Tagline: Cassie loved her dog and Matt loved his dog. It wouldn't be long before the two dog-lovers fell in love with each other!

Observations: I saw something in this story that I hadn't seen before. At first, it's a regular
Woman's World story. A new guy moves in next door. His dog digs into her yard and her dog digs a hole to his yard and they meet and hit it off. Nothing really new or noteworthy. What was different was this:

And that's how our story began. The rest, in a nutshell, went like this:

What follows that line is a summarization ("telling", if you will) of the rest of their courtship and wedding.

I've seen weddings at the end of stories before. They're not common, but they do occur, but this is the first time I've seen the author just flat out state they were going to summarize. It was a little narrator-ish and pulled us back from the deeper POV we'd been in, but that was fine. Think of that distancing like when at the end of a movie, they pull back for that driving off into the sunset shot.

Monday, October 12, 2015

According to the Queen Bees

by Shannon Fay from the October 5, 2015 issue

Tagline: Her 8th-grade student-matchmakers had been a little out of line, but Janet had to admit she liked the way they thought!

Observations: What stood out to me the most with this story was the quite long dark moment. We are used to seeing an actual moment where you worry for the romance.

Here's where it happens in the story "On Blueberry Hill."

Her breath caught as they neared the young man handing out buckets. Ryan? Of course not. Much too young.

Here's an example from "When Tracy Met Rick."

"What I'm wondering is, since you had such a bad day, would you like to talk about it over coffee? There's a place in the mall."

"Oh, but I'm afraid I can't do that," said Tracy.

Disappointment crossed his face and he pointed to her hand. "I'm sorry. When I didn't see a wedding ring, I thought you were single."

"I am single. I just meant I can't have coffee with a complete stranger." She held out her hand. "I'm Tracy."

So it's often short, for obvious reasons. You only have 800 words to work with.

However, in this story, things look dim for about one quarter of the story. Poor Janet is upset for a long time. But in the end, Charlie redeems himself by explaining that he totally respects how much work she does and that he likes spending time with her. This bodes well for the relationship. Who doesn't love a man who can admit when he's wrong? And with flowers!

So, to review, dark moments don't occur in every Woman's World story, but they don't have to be fleeting. You can draw it out for more drama.

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