by Kate Karyus Quinn from the February 8, 2010 issue
Tagline: Amanda knew that David was happy being "just friends"--but that wasn't enough for Amanda anymore...
In A Nutshell: Amanda is having dinner with her best friend, David. David cuts the evening short and Amanda is worries it's because of an offhand comment about the two of them knowing each other by heart. The next day is her birthday and she doesn't hear from him until late. A text message directs her to go to a certain restaurant. When David shows up with an engagement ring, Amanda realizes he loves her.
Observations: This was an amazing story. I loved it for so many reasons.
1. The title is probably the best WW story title I've ever seen.
2. She hooks you right off the bat with this paragraph:
"Happy Birthday, Miss Amanda May." These were the words Amanda's best friend, David, had greeted her with each birthday for the last 10 years. She was pretty sure she wouldn't hear them this year. Not after she had ruined everything.
3. Her third and fourth paragraphs pack a double whammy. They forward the plot AND give you their history.
4. The story is firmly set in the present. Sometimes these sweet stories seem like they take place in yesteryear, but David texts Amanda--very modern.
5. There was a black moment, something I always like in a WW story:
This is the part where he lets me down gently, she thought.
6. Throughout this story you find out so much about the couple. It's peppered in very skillfully--so skillfully I didn't notice one of the instances until after several reads.
There, on the lifeline she had traced during her palm-reading stage, was a ring with a sparkling emerald at its center.
7. The use of the title phrase, "I know you by heart" came up twice in the story. First, it was the phrase Amanda blamed for ruining their friendship, and later, after he'd proposed, she realizes that David knew her by heart, too. This is tight writing, building in a nice sense of closure.
In My Humble Opinion: It's only after reading this several times that I notice the text is pretty wordy.
Meet me at the bistro across the street from the Mexican restaurant with the awesome salsa, and next door to the bad dry cleaners.
If it were a real text, he probably would have named the restaurant and been done with it. However, I forgive the author this. We needed to be let in on their inside "joke." :)