Wednesday, September 26, 2012


by Cora Allen from the September 24, 2012 issue

Tagline: Julia hadn't laid eyes on Cameron Briggs since high school. Ten years later, the sight of him still made her heart beat faster...

In a Nutshell: Julia's grocery cart rolls into another car. When the owner returns, she gives him her insurance information, but is surprised to find out she knows him and had a crush on him in high school. He is the new football coach at Hillbrook High, and he wants to take her to the Homecoming Dance on Friday.

Observations: I'm going to do a stream of consciousness analysis. I haven't done that in a long time.

Oh, the rolling grocery cart. That's happened to me before. Immediately, I feel a sense of camaraderie with this heroine, and then I feel bad for her because her cart damaged someone's car.

I like the hero when he shows up and deals with the situation calmly and rationally. I can see why the heroine would like him.

Ah, I come up against the first "negative" in the story. If this was "the face that had made her swoon from across the room during Chemistry and English Lit. The running back she'd cheered for when he scored a touchdown. The boy she'd dreamed of going to the Homecoming Dance with," then why did she not recognize him? Oh well, I read on.

Cameron, the hero, continues being understanding and says he won't need to call her insurance company because he has a friend who can fix his car. What a nice guy.

Oh, he's getting all flustered asking her out. That is adorable. Love him. And it's the Homecoming Dance? Wow. Great, what I call, circularity--when you introduce something in the beginning of the story and plant the seed, and then sometime later, that seed sprouts.

It's sweet that he wanted to ask her way back when, too, but that little tidbit didn't do much for me emotionally. I didn't quite buy it and I'm not quite sure why.

Ah, nice last line.

Photo by thisreidwrites (cc)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Out of the Blue

by Janet Hayward Burnham from the September 17, 2012 issue

Tagline: Lucy was certain she would never love again. Then Paul dropped into her life...

In a Nutshell: Lucy is getting over a break-up that came from out of the blue when "a man in a hardhat landed in a sprawl on the sidewalk in front of her." They end up going to coffee and sharing stories about their similar break-ups. Afterward, they make plans to have lunch together the next day.

Observations: There were a lot of things I wanted to point out with this story.

I thought the title and the premise were clever and cute. It makes me think of one of the ways you can get ideas for stories--think of a catchy title and then brainstorm a story from that title. I have no idea whether Burnham did that, but it's a possibility.

I liked Paul's line, "I was too close to the edge, and I slipped. Luckily, I'm half-mountain goat." Humor in a WW story, for me, is always a plus.

We see "heroic" qualities in Paul here:

She nodded, noticing the concern in his blue eyes. He'd just fallen from a ledge, but he looked concerned about her.

And when she's telling him her story, we are told he's a good listener. It's a good idea to portray your hero as someone any woman would want to fall in love with.

Lastly, when Paul tells the story of how his girlfriend dumped him, there is no angst.

He had a similar story to tell about his longtime girlfriend meeting a man on a business trip. "They were seat mates on a flight to Chicago." He shook his head. "An hour and a half flight to the Windy City, and just like that, she was out of my life!"

Remember Woman's World likes their entire magazine to be upbeat, so even though this had to have been tough for him, we see he's bounced back. I think this might be to balance the sort of "downer" feeling the story starts out with where it describes Lucy's break-up.

The only criticism I had was the repeated use of the word "dropped." The author might have only used it three times, but it's in the tagline as well, so by the time I got to the ending, it felt over-used.

Photo by Monkeyatlarge (cc)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Real Men Bake

by K.C. Laine from the September 10, 2012 issue

Tagline: Mark's good looks had caught Kristen's eye; but it was his fresh-baked brownies that captured her heart!

Photo by F_Trudeau (cc)
In A Nutshell: Kristen thinks her new neighbor is a hunk, but when she sees him at the grocery store, she's self-conscious about her not-prepared-to-meet-a-cute-guy appearance. He sees her baseball cap and realizes she's a fan. They keep running into each other. He gets her cooking magazine by accident, but he has his own subscription and has made the brownies. They have such a good time, they make a date to catch the game on TV on Saturday.

Observations: In fairy tales, things often happen in threes. There's probably a reason for this--some psychological basis for why stories do this, but I don't know what it is. LOL Here in this Woman's World story, they did too. She sees him at the grocery store. She runs into him at the recycling bins. The third time, he knocks on her door with the mis-delivered magazine. (The hero also has three older brothers. Heh heh.)

I thought this story was really cute. I liked the psychic running joke. I thought grandma's "cookie rookie" label was clever. I thought the ending was perfect.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hidden Treasures

by Marie Savage from the September 5, 2010 issue

Tagline: Lauren and Jason had a lot in common--including a mutual attraction to antiques and to each other

Photo by Joeflintham (cc)
In a Nutshell: Lauren is an interior designer and her aunt owns an antique shop, so she's always on the lookout for antiques. At an estate sale, she's attracted to the man running it. When he delivers the desk she buys from him, they make a date.

Observations: I haven't seen a story that revolves around a loved one's advice or saying in a while. In this case, it's Lauren's aunt who is always telling her, "You never know when you're going to find a treasure."

Often, the saying has to do with finding love, like "Love can be right around the corner," and the heroine bumps into a guy while rounding the corner at the grocery store.

Other times, like in this story, the saying, at first glance, doesn't seem to have anything to do with romance, but when you put in context, you see that it can. When we first hear the saying, "You never know when you'll find a treasure," we assume Aunt Susan was talking about antiques and garage sales. Later, after Lauren has met Jason, you realize that this man could be a treasure.

I like this kind of twist in a story, and it provides a nice way to bring the tale full circle. Using sayings, especially when imparted by loved ones, is a nice jumping off point for stories, if you're ever looking for ideas.