by Connie Cox from the April 27, 2009 issue.
Tagline: Jenna was happy she had decided not to eat dinner at home--and so was Patrick...
In a Nutshell: Jenna teaches at a preschool. Not particularly enthused about eating alone in her quiet apartment, she opts to stop by Pizza Town. In the parking lot she sees a car with a flat, a man in a sling, and one of her students, Dylan. She deducts from what Dylan has told her in school, that this must be Uncle Patrick. She offers to change Patrick's tire, since his arm is broken and the garage isn't answering their phone. After she plays mechanic, Patrick invites her to pizza. She, of course, accepts!
Observations: When you're writing a "first meet" WW story, it's sometimes a challenge to introduce the characters to each other without eating up too much of your word count. You don't want to waste space with names, handshakes, etc. if you don't have to. Cox worked it out so that, even though she'd never met him, Jenna already knew who this guy was from info her student had shared.
Woman's World prefers beta heroes, those proverbial nice guys, and Patrick is a good example. First, because of his broken arm, the man can't even fix his own flat! No opportunity there for him to show his manliness, poor thing. Second, he looks sheepish when he accepts Jenna's offer to change the tire. (An alpha would have scowled or growled or grunted.) Third, he channels a little alpha when he asks her to join them for pizza, but readily accepts it when she seems to reject him. Fourth, and perhaps the most telling evidence that he's not an alpha male, Patrick broke his arm at an ice skating party! Watch out Brian Boitano.
Question: "Well, thanks, then," Patrick said, looking a bit sheepish as he accepted her offer.
Jenna put the jack together. She was impressed that Patrick accepted her help and also liked that he didn't try to supervise the repair.
Test your editing skills. How could you tighten that passage?