Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"Wish Upon a Star"

by Susan Flett Swiderski from the January 17, 2011 issue

Tagline: Kelly put her whole heart into it, so she wasn't surprised when her biggest wish came true...

In a Nutshell: After wishing on a star, young Kelly sets up a meeting between her father and her teacher. The two adults realize they've been duped, but hit it off anyway. They keep their burgeoning relatonship a secret from the little girl, but when the school year ends, they tell her they want to get married.

Observations: Matchmaker stories are common within the pages of Woman's World magazine. This time, the matchmaker is only six years old! I've tried subterfuge stories before, but never with much success. (In fact, one story I sent that was rejected, involved a daughter setting up her father and her teacher.) However, once in a while you do see a story in which someone tricks a character into something. I had thought that Woman's World frowned on children doing so, but here's proof that they don't.

Notice that this story changes points of view. We start out in Kelly's pov. Then when the adults meet, we switch to the dad's. Later when the secret is about to be revealed, we go back to Kelly's. This is unusual, but well done. Each of these changes had to happen, because Kelly had no way of knowing what went on in the classroom during that after school meeting. And later, the author wanted to bring us full circle to the wishing on a star idea, which meant returning to Kelly. This was a tricky thing to do and Swiderski nailed it.

On a side note, I loved the idea that little Kelly didn't blindly trust to the whims of the wish, but knew that she needed to take action herself in order to get the ball rolling. What a wise little girl!


Never2Late said...

Hi, Kate.

I've enjoyed reading your blog for some time now, and got a warm fuzzy feeling to actually see a story with my byline (hip hip hooray!) come up for critique. After numerous failures at securing an agent to represent my novel, YOUR blog made me consider writing a short story, so thank you, thank you, thank you.

Although it sent me over the moon to meet with success on my first attempt, the experience has benefited me in a couple of ways. The necessity of eliminating the superfluous to fit a story into 800measly words made it a tad easier to whack out parts of my novel. And after meeting with failure on the agent search, finding success with the magazine ... and PAID success, at that ... provided a much-needed boost. (and a new laptop!)

One teeny tiny disappointment. The delightful Ms. Granger wrote me a personal note saying she loved (underscored) my "sweet story", but the published version was edited quite a bit. Ya know, hearing she "loved" it was what I needed to hear, but I reckon the editing was intended to keep me humble, eh?

Anyway, thank you, ma'am. If not for your blog, I'm not sure I would've ever considered writing short fiction. And ... I may just have to consider it again!

Thanks a lot. Take care.


epalmer1 said...


Congrats on the story, great job! My 6th WW romance is in the current issue, and I can tell you that Ms. Granger comments on every acceptance letter, with some variation of the words "sweet romance," "loved," and "amusing!" Then she edits the heck out of them, usually cutting about 150 words in the process. I thought she did a great job editing my current story, and my feelings aren't even hurt anymore!

Betsi Palmer

Kate Willoughby said...

Susan, you're so so welcome and congratulations! I'm jealous because I had to send Woman's World three stories before getting an acceptance! Yes, Johnene has really upped her editing lately, at least with my stories. When I first started submitting, she had a light hand, but my last story had probably a dozen things changed. Still, I console myself with that nice fat check. :) Keep up the good work. This was a terrific story.

Kate Willoughby said...

Hi, Betsi! You are a true professional. I never feel particularly hurt when someone edits's more indignation. LMAO. "How DARE they???" LOL

Yeah, I'm a little too full of myself, sometimes.

Never2Late said...

Congratulations, Betsi, on getting number six accepted. And thanks on the insight into the "obligatory" superlative comments from Ms. Granger. Deep down inside, all of us writers believe in our own talents, so we're only too happy to take those kind remarks to heart, especially when the one making them isn't a friend or relative. So the scope of editing reeeeeally caught me by surprise, but ya know? I don't really mind selling my artisitc integrity in eight humdred dollar increments... HA!

And Kate, no need for jealousy. Just beginner's luck on my part, like a first-time golfer whacking a once-in-a-lifetime hole-in-one. YOU, on the other hand, have aced, how many? Eight times?

Thanks, Ladies. Take care.


Kate Willoughby said...

There's little luck involved with Woman's World. The only time I can see it affecting outcomes is if two good stories that are similar are submitted one after the other. In that case it would be luck that the first one is accepted before the second one arrives. Otherwise, a good story is a good story. And that's skill. :D

Anonymous said...

Congrats Susan on your story in WW! It was very nice!

I do have a quick question for you, Kate and anyone else who's sold a story to Woman's World. How long does it take to get paid after you mail your contract back? It's been about a month and a half since I mailed my contract back for a story I sold to them. This is my first one, so I'm not sure of the timing. What has been your experience with getting paid?


Kate Willoughby said...

Hmm. That's odd that they haven't sent payment yet. Five weeks seems a little long. I'd perhaps call them.

And congrats on the sale!

Never2Late said...

Hi, Vanna.

Congratulations! I know exactly how excited you are. Took just over a month for me to receive my check, so hopefully, you've already received yours by now. I'll be looking forward to reading your story.


ann cogswell said...

Thanks for the informative post. I want to submit a story, however, I am curious about Woman's World fees....what amount -ball park figure- do they pay for a short story?


Kate Willoughby said...

Sarah, they pay a flat fee of $800 for an 800 word story of romantic fiction. :)