Tuesday, October 21, 2014


I was surprised to find an envelope from Woman's World today. I have not submitted a story for a very long time. Since June of 2012! Even more surprising was that it was a contract, not a rejection.

It's a holiday story. My very first holiday story sale to them.

I am walking on air!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Sweet Lola

by Marie Anderson from the October 6, 2014 issue

Phil had been keeping a big secret--and so had his wife. Only, her secret was even bigger than his!

In a Nutshell
Only days away from her wedding anniversary, Brie suspects her husband of having an affair. She's wrong. He was preparing a surprise present - a puppy! Well, that explains the blond hairs on his sweater and his mysterious meeting with the "other woman"/puppy owner.

Any of you long time Woman's World readers will probably be as shocked as I am. This story had a lot of drama! In my classes, I always caution people to beware of including too much angsty drama because Woman's World tends to shy away from it.

However, Brie's worrying time went on for most of the story. I'm not sure what to think. Does this mean we can start introducing drama into our submissions? Possibly. Or was this just a one-time anomaly? Hard to tell.

I loved the ending, though.

Photo credit: By Stefan Bauer, http://www.ferras.at (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Good Knight

by Marie Savage from the September 29, 2014 issue

When the psychic predicted her romantic future, Kelly laughed. Then Kelly met John...

In a Nutshell
Kelly reluctantly goes with her friend to a psychic reading, but exits still skeptical. Later, when her car breaks down, it turns out the psychic's prediction was spot on.

This was basically the car trouble story with a twist, which I have said before is a tried and true way to construct a Woman's World story. You take a "cliche" and put a spin on it, in this case, the addition of the psychic prediction.

One of these days I should construct a Woman's World trope list. You could probably label the sides of dice with them, roll the dice and come up with the bones of a plot.

Matchmaker and the lost pet
Carnival and the gardener
New job and the precocious niece
Quirky shop/business and old flame

See? I'll bet you're getting ideas already.

 Photo credit: Johnny_boy_A via Creative Commons

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Welcome to the Neighborhood!

by Peggy L. Ellis from the September 22, 2014 issue

According to the grapevine, Sue's new neighbor was a real catch. She decided to find out for herself...

In a Nutshell
Sue meets the handsome guy moving in next door when his puppy wanders over. She boldly asks him to share her pizza later that evening.

No offense to Ms. Ellis, but this story sits in the average category for me. I thought the heroine was spunky. I liked how she matter-of-factly ordered the pizza and invited Ed over to share it with her. But other than that...I neither loved nor hated it.

The only thing that pulled me out of the story was the invitation to attend the Chamber of Commerce meeting. I was wondering if a bank employee at Sue's level (accountant) would have any need or desire to attend those meetings.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ramblin' Rose

by Shelley Cooper from the September 15, 2014 issue

Little Rose was as cute as could be...and so was her Uncle James!

In a Nutshell
Natalie lives next door to a hottie who's babysitting his niece while her parents are on a cruise. His niece unwittingly acts as matchmaker.

Everything old is new again. This is another story that had elements from a story I'd written for Woman's World years ago. My story also had a niece with parents on a cruise. The grandparents were supposed to babysit, but I think there was a medical emergency and the uncle had to take over.

I thought this story was adorable. The ending was super sweet and heartwarming.

One thing I wanted to point out was the structure of this story was a little different in that the backstory was in the middle of the story and brought out via conversation between James and Natalie.   Also, it was the niece's backstory, not that of the heroine or hero. As for them, we are just to assume they've been friendly as neighbors but never gone further than that.

Another thing...the dream. What a useful device. When a character dreams, it's a handy way to foreshadow and expose more of the character to the reader--his/her fears, wishes, or backstory. In "Ramblin' Rose" it's used to beef up the ending and help the reader dream too.

In an aside, I have a hydrangea bush with flowers like the one in the picture! I actually also have a next door neighbor named James, but he's married with kids. LOL

Also, reminder that when the author's name is in bold, it's also a hyperlink to all their story analyses on this blog.

Photo credit: Derek Ramsey via Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Fifth Wheel

by Tamara Shaffer from the September 1, 2014 issue

It looked like Julie's summer was going to end on a romantic note!

In a Nutshell
Sandra goes to the carnival with two couples. A handsome dude rear-ends her on the bumper cars. Later they ride a roller coaster together. The ferris wheel is their last ride...or is it?

The carnival is the type of setting that Woman's World loves. It can be romantic and it has that old-timey Americana feel to it.

Sandra skated the line for me because she started out so negative. Five paragraphs of a bummer attitude. But then, in the sixth paragraph, Sandra turned herself around. If I were a beginning writer, I'd be wary of doing this type of thing in a Woman's World story. They aren't keen on negativity.

This was an average story for me, nothing particularly special made it stand out.

Photo credit: Solipsist via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Welcome to the Neighborhood

by Martha Freeman from the September 8, 2014 issue

Elsa was unsettled by her recent move to a new home...until she met her kind (and handsome) new neighbor

In a Nutshell
Elsa is new to the neighborhood. On her walks to and from work she notices some free tomatoes on a neighbor's stoop. After taking a few, she leaves a tin of cookies in thanks. One day, the tomato grower makes contact and a date.

This story reminded me a lot of my very first Woman's World sale back in 2005. I think I include it in my basics class packet. It was called "Her Lucky Stars." In that story there were also notes between strangers. So it was fun to be taken back.

Today I'm going to go through the story paragraph by paragraph and point out the function of the paragraph. I hope this will be helpful.

1, 2: Freeman starts out with Elsa's backstory--something in longer fiction we tend to frown upon--and we immediately get a feel for what type of woman she is. It's a great two paragraph look at Elsa.

3: We see her current situation--why she moved, that she will now be walking to work, what her job is.

4: Here's where we see "the problem." She doesn't quite feel at home yet.

5, 6: The story finally starts. Elsa comes upon a situation. We "meet" the hero via his note and his harvest.

7: Elsa makes a decision.

8: This is a transitional paragraph that "tells" us some time has passed and what went on. I often talk about how telling--as opposed to showing--is often necessary in a Woman's World story.

9-15: New scene. We've entered the second act of the story. With the help and prodding of her friend, Elsa makes another decision. She's going to make contact with the tomato man.

16: Transition in which we watch Elsa put her plan in action. She's being assertive and taking control of her own life, not waiting for things to happen to her.

17: New scene and the beginning of act three. It opens with the "black moment" when the reader thinks all is lost.

18-27: Contact! They officially meet. They talk.

28: Elsa makes a move. We're moving the plot forward.

29-33: More of a connection is made between them as they talk and make a date to cook together.

34: We end with the optimistic "Happily Ever After, Eventually Maybe" ending that is so prevalent in Woman's World stories. We also see that the problem we saw in paragraph 4 is solved.

I hope this look at the skeleton of this story helps you construct your own.

Photo credit: Ramashng via Wikimedia Commons