Saturday, January 30, 2010

Hope and Happiness

by Nell Musoff from the January 18, 2010 issue

Tagline: Zach was focused only on the challenges that lay ahead--until Betsy changed his point of view...

In A Nutshell: Zach gets laid off. This means no new car, no vacation, no starting a family yet. He agonizes over telling his wife, but finds out she already knows. She has news of her own: she's pregnant. Zach realizes they'll make it through this fine because they love each other.

Observations: This story does not have three acts. It only has two. The first act, as is often the case with WW stories, establishes the situation. Once we know what Zach's situation is, we move on to the action--when he gets home and has to break the news to his wife that he got laid off.

There was a black moment, which I always like to see in these short stories. Did you see it? I'll mention it in the comments, in case you don't have a copy of the story in front of you.

The story also had a one sentence epilogue:

And so we did.

Awww. That referred to naming their baby Hope.

Nell Musolf surprised me two times in this story, another thing I adore. I really didn't expect the wife to already know he'd been laid off. And, believe it or not, I actually didn't anticipate her being pregnant either. LMAO. When I read that, I felt like a dummy, but I still was happy for the couple.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Driven by Love

by Christine Pedersen from the January 11, 2010 issue

Tagline: If Amy's car could talk, it would have quite a love story to tell!

In a Nutshell: A car notices its owner, Amy, is interested in a young man who works in the same building. When Amy is transfered to another building, the car refuses to start at an opportune moment. The man "comes to the rescue," and the rest is history.

Observations: This is the strangest story to come out of Woman's World in a very long time because it's written in the car's point of view. However, I thought it was fun. Take the first line, for instance:

Men love me.

Cute, huh!

Still, even though it's the car telling the story, the story has the classic three act structure, and even a very unusual "epilogue" paragraph.

1. Set-up or backstory: You find out about the relationship of the car and its owner, Amy. You also find out the car's goal: find Amy a man.

2. Introduce the hero, the attraction between them: Matt works in her building. They chat. Amy calls a friend to tell her about him. They lunch.

3. Introduce the conflict,: Amy gets transferred. Car refuses to start. Matt "fixes" the car. They go to dinner. They kiss.

4. HEA: Literally this time, they live happily ever after, because the car boasts about having to wear the "Just Married" sign.

My Favorite Part: One day, she pulled into a parking spot next to a nice sedan, sparkling clean and with properly inflated tires. LMAO My only complaint is that I would have made it read like this:

One day, she pulled into a parking spot next to a nice sedan, sparkling clean.

And with properly inflated tires.

That little pause, I think, makes it a teensy bit funnier. Otherwise, I really liked this story.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Julie's Knight

by Mary Ann Joyce from the January 4, 2010 issue

Tagline: When he appeared in her life, Julie realized she'd been waiting for someone like Sam

In a Nutshell: Julie owns a clothing shop and is putting the finishing touches on her display window. There's a contest in her small town. A man compliments her window. He owns a new store and invites her to come see his window. When she finally does, she sees a message there asking her out to dinner.

Observations: This is an average story. Nothing really stood out for me to mention, except the ending was very cute. I'd sure go out with Sam.

WW Standbys: First meet, Matchmaker (sister sent Sam over)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Peach-Flavored Kisses

by Jill Lynn Anderson from the December 28th issue

Tagline: Would Kay's husband be as happy as she was about the unexpected turn of events?

In a Nutshell: Kay is waiting for the results of her home pregnancy test. She and her husband have college-aged kids and she's worried about his reaction. Turns out, he already suspected and is "more than okay" with it.

Observations: This is a change of pace for WW in that it's about an already married couple. Also, it obviously acknowledges that sex happens! I found it to be a welcome change. Note the difference in story structure.

A good half of the story is spend in Kay's head as the reader gets the backstory that she and her husband Gabe have twin girls that they just sent to college and that they planned to retire in eight years. We also find out when the baby might have been conceived.

The second half of the story deals with Gabe's arrival home. There is a brief black moment when Gabe announces that he bought a sailboat and Kay assumes it's the full sized boat they planned to retire on, but it turns out it's a bath toy. The author then shows that Gabe is happy about the news and that the couple's future looks rosy.

As much as I enjoyed the freshness of plot that didn't hinge on two people meeting, this story didn't tug my heartstrings very much.