Wednesday, February 15, 2012

We Love Chocolate

by Linda Hersey from the February 13, 2012 issue

Tagline: The story of how Mandy and Luke fell in love was a really sweet one.

In a Nutshell: Mandy is an event planner and a chocoholic. At a chocolate fest, she runs into a guy whose office party she just planned. They spend the day together and exchange phone numbers in a cute way at the end.

Observations: My feelings ran hot and cold with this story. There were times when I was frowning and shaking my head and times when I grinned and nodded in appreciation.

Let me first insert my usual disclaimer. This is only my opinion, which in the long run doesn't count for anything when you consider the fact that Woman's World published this story.

Here, Hersey tells me info twice. The ending sentence of the paragraph tried to be cute, but fell short for me because I was like, "I already know you're an event planner." Here are the paragraphs I'm talking about.

    I'm also an event organizer. Sadly, I didn't organize this event, although I sure wish I'd been asked to.
    On opening day, my first stop was the truffles booth. Double-dipped heaven, but the icing on the cake, so to speak, was Luke Munroe, the architect, standing at the nearby eclair display. I'd seen him the other day at the launch of Beddow, Schlare and Thompson's new offices. I'd organized the event. Mandy Anderson: event organizer by profession; chocoholic by inclination.

See what I mean? The first paragraph is, in my opinion, redundant because the subsequent paragraph explains her profession perfectly. If you have a copy of the story, check it out and see if you agree with me. When you're editing your own stories, be wary of repeating info. In a novel, sometimes it's necessary, because if you mention something important in the beginning of the book, by the middle, the reader may have forgotten it, so you give them subtle reminder. But these stories are only 800 words long, so there's no need.

However, this paragraph made me smile.

He looked up and caught me ogling him--or maybe it was the chocolate eclair in his hand that I was ogling.

Cute! But further along, we get:

"Hey--hi!" I managed, giving him a big smile and hoping I didn't have chocolate on my front teeth.

I liked this bit of cute self-doubt, but wondered about chocolate staying solid enough to remain on her teeth, but if she'd just swallowed and then smiled, it was possible. But then later...

Luke laughed, and I noticed a fleck of chocolate on his left incisor. I relaxed. Clearly, I was in the company of a chocolate lover.

Alas, because I my repetition radar was already on, I noticed this chocolate-on-the-teeth idea repeating when I might not have otherwise. Also, I found it very unlikely that after all the talking he does before she notices the fleck, that the fleck would have been there at all. If that bit of chocolate was merely to indicate to Mandy that he was a chocolate lover, she already had evidence. One, he's at the festival. Two, he is holding an eclair, and if he's already taken a bite...there ya go. If it had been my story, I'd have put the chocolate on his upper lip.

After that, I enjoyed everything. I really liked the paragraph summarizing their day.

Brunch was a blast. We talked, we laughed, we ate chocolate. In the course of our conversation, it became clear that Luke was unattached. So naturally, I let slip that I wasn't seeing anyone either.

Cute! I like that Mandy. She's a clever, proactive girl.

Hersey had a terrific black moment...

I was disappointed at the way the day ended, but at least I had my cookie.

And then Hersey ends it with a double surprise ending which I thought was masterful. Luke gives her a cookie before they part...

When I got home, I opened the box, then almost dropped it. There, drizzled on top, in rich Belgian chocolate, was Luke's name and phone number. My heart skipped a beat and a smile spread across my face. Now I didn't feel like I'd made a mistake giving him that fortune cookie with my cellphone number in it!

So, I had some style issues with this story, however I did enjoy it and think that Hersey really did a bang-up job on the second half.


Kate Willoughby said...

Interesting to see the range of votes on this story!

Pat said...

I loved it and honestly did not see the repitions until you pointed them out. I guess the reader in me took over. lol

Pat said...

And, yes, the votes are very interesting.