Monday, February 6, 2012

Cold Days, Warm Hearts

by Shannon Fay from the January 30, 2012 issue

Tagline: Angela met David--and suddenly winter lost its chill...

In a Nutshell: Angela is dismayed to find that the man she buys her newspaper from every morning has pneumonia. His son, David, works the newsstand in his place. In a kind gesture, she brings him some extra stew and over the next two weeks, they get to know each other better. When the dad finally gets better, Angela and David decide that their daily visits aren't quite enough and agree to go on a real date.

Observations: The thing I noticed about this story was its tight plot. A couple of places, I noticed, did double duty. For example, the section where David talks about the warmer weather in different parts of the country showed his humor and set it up for the last line in the story, Who needed Phoenix to keep warm?

There was also the paragraph where Angela reflected on her own history as a widow and how helpful her friends and neighbors had been. That showed us her backstory and  established a believable motivation for her to share the stew.

Also, note the transitional paragraph that summarized the two week "courtship," that gives the story a meatier feel to it. The passage of time, in my opinion, makes the story feel more substantial than 800 words.

Finally, there was a "black moment" when David tells Angela that his dad is coming back to work. She/we feel a bit of worry because David won't be there every morning like he had been, but of course, everything works out because David is now partners with his dad and will still be able to visit with Angela.

Well done story, nice and tight.


Pat said...

I loved this story as a reader, but now I'll go back and look at it as a writer. Great review of the story struture!

Kate Willoughby said...

Pat, sometimes it's hard, if not impossible, to take off that writer's hat. Usually, when I experience a story merely as a reader, that means to me that the story is exceptionally well-written.