Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Other Half

by Cathy Cobb from the August 13, 2012 issue

Tagline: When Ellie met Bob, his friendly warmth melted her heart and made her feel that she would be happy again--and maybe very soon...

Photo by flyinfoto (cc)
In a Nutshell: Ellie has gone through a mid-life divorce and is new in town. She gets a job at Bob's restaurant and does very well her that very night. She thinks that Bob's partner is also his wife, but it turns out she's mistaken and Bob seems interested.

Observations: It's easy to identify with Ellie. She's shy, like a lot of us, but she's also willing to get out there and do what needs to be done--in this case, get a job.

This story had the misunderstanding story element, present in so many Woman's World romances. Remember the guy in the red shirt on Star Trek? The one who always got killed when they went down to the planet surface? You could always be sure of that. In WW stories, if you see a woman who appears to be the main squeeze of the hero, you can bet that she is not. We fall back on this trope because it adds tension to an otherwise tensionless story. Part of the fun of reading is going on that roller-coaster, feeling highs and lows, even if Woman's World stories are more of a kiddie ride than one of those Six Flags monsters.

One other thing I wanted to point out was how deftly Cobb put in Ellie's backstory. In a novel, you might get the character's history over the course of chapters or paragraphs. Sometimes in a Woman's World story you have to pack it into one sentence...

"I moved," I answered simply. No need to mention grown children and a mid-life divorce.

Done. Nice and tight.


Mary Jo said...

My computer has been broken (actually, it still is limping along) and I have just recently come back to your blog, Kate. I have missed you!

After reading your analysis, I went back to read this story again. I liked it, and it seems that the writer is very familiar with the ins and outs of being on a wait staff. I thought the beginning few paragraphs were a little shaky, but then it really got rolling. A good story about real people.

Once I sold to WW, I thought I was on my way; however, such is not the case. I got another rejection from Johnene a couple of weeks ago. In her note, she said she liked the story but the Editor in Chief, Stephanie, did not, saying it seemed unreal and couldn't happen. Well, actually it happens everyday. People see each other in a public place and are immediately attracted. They call it "love at first sight". On advice I found in the comments on your blog, Kate, this was a story inspired by a painting called "Girl with Pink Parasol". Even when writing it, I thought the story seemed a little other-worldly, and I suspect this is what Stephanie picked up on. They still have three more of my stories, so better luck next time.

To you, too.

Congratulations on the books. I am seriously considering self-publishing all my rejects in book form. Which is better, an E-book or a print book?

Tamara said...

Mary Jo, in such a book you can also include stories that WW has published; you need only give WW credit.

Tamara said...

Mary Jo, in such a book you can also include stories that WW has published; you need only give WW credit.

Mary Jo said...

Tamara, how to you send a message twice? I thought once it was sent, that was it???

I will keep that in mind about the published stories, but so far, there are only two of them. Well, I know the title of my book and what the cover should look like. I think I would like to have one to hold in my hand, but I suspect that readers are more likely to buy an e-book. What do you say, Kate?

Pat said...

You only asked Kate's opinion, but if you want another, I say an e-book would be better cost wise to you, Mary Jo. No printing or postage cost. If you had a print copy, you'd have to mail them. Also, if your WW story was published over 6 months ago, you have the rights back and since it is your own selfpubbed book, you do not need to say they were published unless you want to. Does that make sense?

I know one of the writers on the loop (her name excapes me) who had a few mysteries pubbed at WW did that. I'll try to find her name for you if you're interested.

Mary Jo said...

Thank you, Pat. I believe Tamara also said she had published her WW stories, but I don't recall if it was an e-book or a print copy.

Kate Willoughby said...

Mary Jo, yes, better luck next time. And, as you know from my blog, I get plenty of rejections.

I would vote e-book. If you want to go print, you'd have to pay for printing and shipping, like Pat mentioned.

You can comment twice if you hit the publish your comment button twice. I've done it by accident before.

I don't believe you have to mention that they were published in WW unless you want to. Legally, they bought only the first North American publication rights, so after it showed up in the magazine, all the rights revert back to you and you can do whatever you want with it. With the "Trues" they buy all the rights, so you can kiss those stories goodbye after you sign the contract.

Mary Jo said...

Thank you, ladies. My next question, of course, is who do you publish with? Is one company better than another? I have been getting advertising material from Bookbaby self-publishing company.

Can I design the cover of my own e-book? I know little or nothing about the process. There is no other market for these little pieces and I hate to leave them just moldering in the family vault. Good grief, think of all the thousands of rejected WW stories wafting about out there.

Pat said...

Mary Jo, Shirly McCann is the author who e-pubbed her stories. She's on Amazon.

Tamara said...

Hi Everyone: I had trouble reading the special word that proves I'm human, and I guess I was successful on my second try and didn't realize it; thus, the double message. It was Johnene who told me I could re-publish my stories but I should give them credit. Perhaps she was wrong. I did a print copy; it was before everyone was doing e-books. iUniverse published my book.

Pat said...

When I second sell a print copy, I do give credit to the first publisher.