Friday, October 14, 2011

Happy Endings

by Ellen DePastino from the October 10, 2011 issue

Tagline: A dog named Prince and his very charming owner turned Kate's walk in the park into something special...

In a Nutshell: When widow Kate and her daughter Jenny visit the park, they meet a man and his dog, who performs several tricks for them. Jenny has such a good time they all agree to meet again next week.

Observations: I laughed in a couple of places with this story. First, Jenny is mad about Prince Charming and in the book she and her mom just read, the dark haired prince with the chiseled profile is wearing a red tunic. When they get to the park...

Jenny suddenly stopped. "Mom, look," she said pointing. "It's Prince Charming."

The man was ahead of us on the path, his dog sitting at attention. The man stood, chiseled profile, sunlight gleaming on dark hair, red tunic. Actually, it was a windbreaker. But still.


The other spot I laughed at was here.

"I'm Kate, and I apologize for all the Prince Charming stuff. Jenny is crazy for fairy tales."

"I don't mind being mistaken for Prince Charming. Rumplestiltskin--that would be a problem," he smiled. (sic)

Besides the humor, I noticed a couple of other things. One, as often happens in a Woman's World story, we have a Big Coincidence--something we readers are expected to accept, even though it's highly unlikely. Here, we're supposed to believe that the dog's name just happens to be Prince. I want to go along with it, but I remain skeptical. My ability to suspend disbelief was stretched a little too far.

The other thing I noticed was that the backstory--what Mark and Kate do for a living, his relationship history--is inserted about two thirds in, not at the beginning as is often the case. This backstory also serves as a time transition. After this paragraph, we find ourselves squarely in the third act of the story. With only 800 words, you need to be smart like this so you can pack as much story in as possible.

Lastly, I noticed a missing period at the end of the sixth paragraph. I don't often find typos in the stories, but there's a first time for everything!

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