Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Shall We Dance?

by Mary Ann Joyce from the March 7, 2011 issue

Tagline: Tess met Ray in dance class--and by the end of the lesson, they both wondered if they might pair up for a lifetime!

In a Nutshell: Tess shows up for her dance class and sees to her dismay that it's all couples. The one other single, Ray, suggests they pair up. She agrees. All the couples seem to be preparing for their weddings, so Ray makes up a history for them off the cuff. Tess goes along with the farce, pretending that they're engaged. When the class ends, Ray suggests they go for coffee and Tess says yes.

Observations: I loved this story, loved its humor and originality. Watching Tess and Ray learn - or at least try to learn - to dance was fun and it is easy to imagine them actually getting engaged sometime in the future.

I haven't talked about hooks much on this blog. Because the stories are so short, I've never really seen the need to emphasize them, but I noticed one in this story.

This was a big mistake, Tess thought as she scanned the room.

The reader automatically wonders what the mistake was and she reads ahead to find out.

I'm going to look at some of the other stories and see if there are other hooks that I never noticed. It's funny how, even though I know about hooks for novels, I didn't think to apply the device to these short stories.

7 comments:

epalmer1 said...

Interesting! I've always thought the hook was the most important element of the WW stories. I KNOW your stories have great hooks, Kate, I'm sure you've just done it instinctively.

Betsi

Kate Willoughby said...

Betsi, you're so funny. I guess I'm THAT good. LOL. Still haven't had time to look up past stories. Have to go help at the high school.

Lynda Schab said...

Question for you...if you include an email address with your submission, do they email you to let you know they are interested (and to watch for the contract) or do they just surprise you with a contract in your sase? I had a friend who received an email for a non-fiction piece that was accepted. Not sure how fiction is handled.
Thanks for the info. Love your blog. :-)

Kate Willoughby said...

Hi, Linda! They've never emailed ME. I usually just get the surprise. :)

Lynda Schab said...

Thanks for letting me know. Will keep waiting for that envelope to show up. :-)

Debora said...

I agree, Kate, this story hooked me right off and I did love the off-the-cuff humor. By the end of 800 words, I felt I knew these characters - like they could be my friends.

Deb

Kate Willoughby said...

Mary Ann Joyce sells regularly to them. She's fantastic.