Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"The Gift of Love"

by Dana Stephens from the December 13, 2010 issue

In a Nutshell: A man skids into a ditch during a snow storm. Molly offers to let him call a tow truck from her house. While they wait, he helps her finish painting the room she was working on. They get to know each other over the next few weeks. Then, for Christmas he gives her an ornament to mark their first Christmas together as a sign that he is serious about her.

Observations: This first meet story had a fantastic concept in that ornament. What a darling idea. Unfortunately, when I got to the point where her eyes filled with tears, I just didn't feel the sentiment myself. That is what makes these stories so difficult to write, especially when you condense their emotional development into a sentence like this:

Molly learned that Ian was an EMT at the local hospital, and over the coming weeks, he came by on his days off until the dining room and living room were finished.

In order to pull off the Happily Ever After you need to show the hero and heroine falling for each other. It's tempting to let it happen off stage, but the fun part about reading romance is living vicariously through the characters. To me, when you "tell" (as in show vs. tell), you summarize events that are too tedious to describe in full detail. The "telling" sentence I quoted above could still work fine in a Woman's World story, BUT in order for it to work, you have to "show" the connection occuring somewhere else in the story, and I didn't see it. :(

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