Thursday, March 14, 2013

Hearts and Crafts

by Elizabeth Palmer from the March 18, 2013 issue

Tagline: Ellen didn't know the man in the supermarket, but she recognized a good thing when she saw it!

In a Nutshell: Ellen, owner of a knitting shop, shows a man in the market how to tell if a cantaloupe is ripe. He's wearing a scarf she knitted, but he claims his girlfriend made it. A few days later, he comes to the shop and finds out his ex-girlfriend did take the class, but dropped it, so his scarf really was made by Ellen. They make a date to have coffee together.

Observations: So, remember how I'm always harping about how Woman's World dislikes negativity? Well, here is a story that kind of features it in the guise of the dishonest ex-girlfriend. She lies about having made the scarf. Plus she's a bad knitter. LOL I wonder if the fact that she's the ex made it all right.

I loved how the knitting ladies at her store usually went quiet when the UPS man arrived. Those UPS guys enjoy quite a reputation! My UPS delivery men aren't usually hunky.

There was humor in the banter between them, something I always like, and the story was jam packed with the ripe fruit detection storyline and the knitting mystery, but the ending was only so-so for me.

Photo by matryosha (cc)

24 comments:

Jody E. Lebel said...

Betsi, your story was as cute as a blueberry(in keeping with the fruit detail -- lol) but I was suprised that WW let in the part about him wondering if she lied. WW talking about liars? <> And Ellen talking about the woman not being perfect...she had ragged cuticles and unpolished nails...and she knitted terribly. And Ellen said she was jealous! I was floored. I have to wonder if Johnene had a little wine with lunch...hmmm? :)

I liked the part where he asks her to go to the grocery story so she can show him how to tell if a pineapple was ripe...made me smile.

Mary Jo said...

Betsi, no matter what you write, I always think there is an authority in your voice. You write like a grown up. Kate and Jody have already pointed out some of the negatives in this particular WW story. I happen to be in awe of someone who actually knows how to knit beautiful items, even more when this woman can teach the skill. Her husband will always be cozy.

Jody E. Lebel said...

Mary Jo,

I just pointed out the negatives in the story because they're rare. We're all hoping Johnene loosens up and starts accepting more real-life stuff like this. The story was good. I'm not being critical of the author. It just surprised us all that it passed Johnene's "sweet" eye.

PS re: her husband will always be cozy...um..it's just story--lol.

Mary Jo said...

Jody, I meant there was no reason for me to point out those things that Johnene permitted this time around. I do agree that these little stories would be more interesting if they could be more true to life. Still, 800 (or 700) words doesn't leave much room for depth.

Pat said...

Betsi,
I loved this story. I love the banter between the two characters. I loved the ladies' reaction when a man enters the shop. You packed a lot into those 800 words. Great job! I totally see why Johnene and Stephanie bought your story.

Betsi said...

Thank you for the comments, ladies! This sale surprised me -- I've had rejections on stories I considered much better. Johnene said it was "amusing," but, as my CP said, she took out the funniest lines (including one in the ending, Kate). As for the negativity, JOHNENE added that the ex had "ragged cuticles" - I had to check my copy, I didn't think I'd gone quite that far, LOL!

At least 3 people thought this story was boring, which is too bad, but as long as the editors liked it enough to publish it, I met my goal!

Tamara said...

Yes, Betsi, I just received a rejection from Gaddis that I thought she would love and pass on, and I know she's passed on another one that I thought wouldn't make it past her desk. I really like the title of this one. Was it yours or did Johnene rename it?

Betsi said...

This was my title, Tamara. I usually have good luck with the titles. I sent her one called "Wherefore Art Thou, Roger?" and she said she WANTED to like it, because she loved the title. I wanted to tell her I could come up with another story to go with the title! I actually keep a list of titles, and sometimes come up with a story idea by looking through them.

Chris said...

I hope you're considering other markets for those rejected stories, Betsi. There are plenty of overseas mags that are worth a try too.

Chris said...

I'm with you on that, Betsi, I'm also a title nut. I recently got two sales out of a story based on Dickens' Tale of Two Cities, which I changed to Tale of Two Kitties. Often the title is what gives me the idea to start with.

Mary Jo said...

Does it seem sometimes that Johnene likes to try her hand at the stories you think are not so well written? Or do you find that she does not do so much "editing" on them after all?

Chris, could you give me a mailing address for a "foreign" magazine that buys the WW type stories? Those, of course, do not appear in the market here in the U.S.

Kate Willoughby said...

Betsi, absolutely. The editors loved it and that's all that matters!

It sounds like we should all be brainstorming clever titles!

Kate Willoughby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kate Willoughby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kate Willoughby said...

When you have a fast computer, you get impatient when stuff doesn't happen the moment you click. Hence the triple posting. :/ LOL

Chris said...

Mary Jo, in recent posts I've listed a number of titles that you could try (apologies to everyone who's seen this before).

Fast Fiction and That's Life are Australian mags from Pacific Magazines with quite a broad range of needs. Stories for TL have to be coffee break length and style, so around 700 words. Fast Fiction is broader in its needs, with stories of 900, 1,200, 1,400, 2,100 and 2,800 words, in a variety of types. The pay scale is generous and rises with story length, so you could rework your WW story to fit. We all gripe about the 800-word count being too short to develop characters and storyline sufficiently, so here's the chance to do that. You can find their detailed guidelines on http://www.thatslife.com.au/FastFictionGuidelines

Here in the UK we have Woman's Weekly (g/l on http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/family/471247/woman-s-weekly-fiction-guidelines),
People's Friend (http://www.thepeoplesfriend.co.uk/Peoples-Friend-Submissions), Yours (http://www.yours.co.uk/Yours-Magazine-News/Search-Results/Yours-Guides/Yours-Submission-Guidelines/),
Weekly News (http://womagwriter.blogspot.co.uk/2011/02/weekly-news-new-guidelines.html),
Best (I couldn't find guidelines anywhere but Best is similar to Woman's World. I submit stories between 800-900 words on best@natmags.co.uk).
Lastly, there's Fiction Feast. They only take postal submissions and don't seem to provide any guidelines online but there is a resume on the womag website (http://womagwriter.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/take-break-latest-guidelines.html)
The womag site's very useful, with info and guidelines for several other mags, too.

If anyone wants feedback on a story before it goes off, I'd be happy to see it on csutton45@hotmail.com Just put 'from Kate's site' in the subject box, so I know what it's about.

Betsi said...

Best magazine REALLY looks like WW! I found the guidelines here:
http://womagwriter.blogspot.com/2007/11/fiction-guidelines-best-magazine.html

majbooks said...

First, Betsi I loved your story. I read the original, so I can tell everyone, there were some very humorous lines that got scrapped. However, that being said, I still think Betsi packed a lot into this story. You get a real feel for the main character, and I love the fact that she's not perfect. And the knitting backdrop really impressed me. It added detail to what was basically a simple Boy Meets Girl story. I loved it.

Chris,
I have a question about submitting to the foreign markets. When you submit by email, do you send the story in the body of the email message, or as an attachment? And thanks for the good tips!
--Mary Ann

Tamara said...

Chris, when you submit to Best, do youo send the same sort of stories that you submit to WW, or do they have to be more sophisticated?

Tamara said...

Make that "you", not "youo".

Chris said...

Betsi, those guidelines on the womag website are from six years ago, so unfortunately not current. Best had a break from fiction for several years, then reintroduced it around eighteen months ago following the success of a short story comp. The previous fiction ed was Pat Richardson, who was brilliant, really helpful and always happy to give feedback. Since her retirement things seem to have changed. Now you don't get any acknowledgement that the story's been received, and will only hear from them if they want to buy. So you're left in limbo for months, wondering if you should submit elsewhere. Not ideal, but that's how it is. I might give them a ring this week and see if I can get some more up to date guidelines.

Mary Ann, I usually attach my stories, rather than dropping them in the email, as that can affect the spacing and layout. The only exception is when they specifically say they won't open attachments, and then you have no choice.
Glad you're finding the tips useful! Just hope someone gets a sale out of them.

Chris said...

Tamara, probably the biggest difference is that Best stories seem to be a bit more 'realistic' than WW ones. They don't always have to be romances either. They also like humour, and are quite happy to have a hint of sex, although no graphic details. If you'd like to email me your postal address (see above) I can send you a few from recent issues.

Mary Jo said...

Chris, thank you for the great information. I will certainly look into the foreign market. In the USA, editors decided half a century ago that American women don't like to read short stories. Now they can hardly give their magazine subscriptions away.

Tamara said...

thanks, Chris. That's pretty generous of you. If I can ever return the favor, let me know.