Thursday, August 12, 2010

Jessie's Cowboy

by Mary Ann Joyce from the August 9, 2010 issue

Tagline: Jessie's broken heart needed time to heal--and a trip to a dude ranch appeared to be just what the doctor ordered...

In a Nutshell: Jessie broke up with her fiance and goes to the dude ranch to forget about her troubled love life. She meets a cowboy there, Sam. They connect, but she's reluctant to share much about herself because she's only there for a week. At the airport she is feeling blue, but lo and behold, there's Sam. He'd told Jessie he volunteered at his cousin's dude ranch before, but what he hadn't told her was that he lived in Philly, same as her.

Observations: I loved this story, even better than the one I wrote! Sam is funny...referring to the horse Jessie just mounted...

"His name is Simon," said a cowboy in a plaid shirt as he rode up alongside her. "But I like to call him by his nickname--" he leaned toward Jessie and spoke low, "Demon." Seeing her mouth drop open, he grinned. "Just kidding."

I also liked when he called her "City Girl."

You might notice that often in Woman's World magazine stories, the author will explain the backstory of the main character right at the beginning, but not in this story. Instead, we see Jessie at the dude ranch, meeting the hero right off the bat. It's not until about the midpoint of the story that we find out about her fiance troubles.

Also, I've mentioned before that you can tell one big lie in fiction, but then the rest has to be "the truth," meaning realistic and plausible. In this story, the big lie the author asks us to swallow is that they both happened to live in the same city. The rest of the story was so cute and honest that I was willing to believe it.  Just be careful not to push the reader's ability to suspend their disbelief. For instance, it would be difficult to accept it if, when she returned home to Philadelphia, that Sam not only lived there, but was starting employment at the same company where she worked, or perhaps just bought the house next door to her.

My Favorite Part: When Jessie helps her off the horse. I'm a sucker for romantic gestures like this.

When they returned to the ranch, Sam dismounted first, then put his strong hands on either side of Jessie's waist and helped her to the ground.

Artwork: "Cow Boss" by Lorna Dillon


Susan Anne Mason said...

I loved this story, too, Kate!

Just got my first two rejections from WW. But I'm learning and still submitting.

Nice to know that you still get rejected, too!


Kate Willoughby said...

Sue, rejection is part of the business. And every story we write, even if it's eventually rejected, helps us learn. :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Kate,

I'm curious to see who will review your sweet story of August 16! I was so happy to read it.