Friday, November 22, 2013

Emily's Thanksgiving Wish

by Elizabeth Palmer from the November 25, 2013 issue

Tagline: Kelly expected to spend the holiday all alone, but little Emily had a different idea for her teacher--and her uncle…

In a Nutshell: Kelly is a teacher. When one of her students leaves a special Thanksgiving craft at school, she drops it off at her house and gets an invitation to Thanksgiving dinner with the student and her (single) legal guardian, Uncle Scott.

Observations: I don't recall seeing a story written in present tense in a while. This isn't my personal favorite, if only because I always have to get used to reading it. I'm so used to reading fiction in past tense.

The whole story was well plotted and written, I found it touching when I read that Scott became Emily's legal guardian four years earlier. I felt for both of them, and he seemed to be such a great adoptive dad too.

I did wonder why Scott's eyes were glistening after he saw Emily's paper plate art project. That suggested to me that he was on the verge of tears and I didn't understand why. I did love how he complimented his niece, but the project didn't seem particularly sentimental.


Betsi said...

Kate, the art project was definitely supposed to be sentimental. In the original version Emily writes that's she's thankful for "My DAD." Johnene changed it to Uncle Scott -- maybe she thought it was confusing?

She also changed the wording of the conversation about the turkey. Scott said he was trying to figure out how to "make a turkey," and then Emily says that her teacher "already knows how to make a turkey." I don't think the "joke" works as well in the published version, but what do I know? ;-)

As always, I'm just happy Johnene liked it and I got some extra spending money for the holidays!

Tamara said...

Good plot, and congratulations, Betsi. I believe the holiday stories have lots of competition.

Sandi said...

I enjoyed the story. Thanks for the explanations on the changes! Enjoy your holidays!

Chris said...

I left a comment first thing this morning about this story and it's disappeared! I liked this because it was so different, with its real-life problems and a world that wasn't perfect. That's what made it stand out for me. I was happy to see Scott looking emotional about seeing the artwork because I saw that as 'parental' pride, even though Emily's not his real daughter.

I didn't even mind the 'dinner date' this time(!), as Thanksgiving played such a pivotal role in the story. It also made a good set up for the closing line. Nice one, Betsi.

Betsi said...

I killed off a toddler's parents and they bought my story! After I sent it out, I wondered what I'd been thinking! My sister pointed out that I never said they died, they might have been abducted by aliens or something.

And yes, Chris, it kind of HAD to end with a dinner date.

Kate Willoughby said...

Betsi, that explains a lot! I still liked the story even though that was a bit of a mystery. :)

Betsi said...

BTW, I thought WW would use a graphic like this one. Picturing it in the "heart" is what gave me the idea for the story.

Mary Jo said...

Congratulations on another sweet story, Betsi. I am with Kate on the present tense stories and usually skip them, but sometimes you just have to write them that way, don't you?

The description of Emily doing the hand print reminds me of the story of the little girl in kindergarten bent over her drawing. The teacher asked what she was drawing and the little girl said, "A picture of God." The teacher said, "But no one knows what God looks like." And the little girl replied, "They will in a minute."

I wonder how many mothers still have the turkey hand prints in their treasure boxes.

Pat said...

I loved the story, Betsi. I just assumed Uncle Scott got emotional because he realized his sister and her hubby were missing out and as hard as it was, he realized he was lucky to have what he had, a niece who loved him. I loved you explanation even more that she called him Dad.

This story was so sentimental and loving that I completely didn't even think about the fact that you killed off a toddler's parents when I read it. Great job on that!

I also loved Mary Jo's romance and John Floyd and Tracie Griffith's mini mysteries. Nice to see four of our authors with stories back-to-back.

Mary Jo said...

Thank you, Pat, but I think you are referring to Mary Ann Joyce. It is easy to get the names mixed up. I once worked in a small office where our names were Mary Ann, Mary Paul, Mary, Mary Jo and Jo Ann. That was fun.

I have not had a story in WW for over a year and a half and I am beginning to take it personally. I really appreciate the foreign markets Chris has shared with us. That may be a whole new world.

Betsi said...

Mary Jo, after making 8 sales to WW I went almost 2 years without a sale -- even though I submitted MANY stories. I almost gave up. Then I sold 4 stories in a row. Keep sending them unless they tell you to stop! ;-)

My first sale to WW was written in first person, present tense POV. I'm surprised to hear that past tense is such a strong preference for some of you. I get bored always doing it the same way!

Tamara said...

Mary Jo, that is hilarious -- the names in that office.

308 Dhciam said...

Mary Jo, I am truly confused. Wasn't that you (Mary Jo Young) who had a mystery published recently that I commented on?

Tamara said...

I am laughing at myself. That 308 Dhciam was the code I put in to prove I'm not a robot. I couldn't read the first one, and this was the second one. Not sure how that happened. Maybe I should have left the name there with no explanation and had all of you thinking what a strange name our latest blogger has.

Pat said...

Sorry about that Mary Jo. I should have gotten up to get the magazine before I posted. Hope you keep submitting.

Mary Ann, loved you story.

Mary Jo said...

Tamara, I thought maybe Kate had taken on a secret agent. No, my story that Jody put up on her blog was one that Johnene refused. I am not much of a mystery writer, but I had fun with that story, THE WAFFLE CLUB, and hoped to make it a series. Oh, well.

Betsi, I know you have had an amazing journey through the pages of Woman's World. I do have one more story, a Valentine romance, in the WW shop. I wonder how soon Johnene will choose one for that issue. Last year, Tamara made the sale and I never heard word one about the story (this same one) I submitted then.

As far as present/past tense goes, I think the story itself dictates what should be used. It just comes out that way.

Tamara said...

That's right, Mary Jo. Now I do remember that it was a rejected story, and that was you. It was funny. I wonder what happened to your Valentine romance she never responded to. I didn't think she kept stories for later, but maybe that will be the case. Secret agent, that's pretty funny, too.

Mary Jo said...

Tamara, I resubmitted my Valentine story in July of this year. I made a few small changes to it, but it is basically the same story. I suppose last year it got lost somewhere along the line. Of course, I would love to see it published this coming February.

Betsi said...

Mary Jo, the year I sold a Valentine's story I got the contract a few days before Christmas. I didn't submit one this year.

majbooks said...

Hi All,
First, congrats to Betsi! I actually loved this story and it's super-cute kid, sweet hero and lovely teacher. I think it's perfect for WW and it made me smile. Good job, Betsi,

Second, I too have had many friends named Mary Ann, Mary Ellen, Mary Joy, etc. So, don't worry about the mix-up, Pat! My story is up next, and it's called "Wooed and Won."

Mary Jo, don't give up on WW. I took a break for awhile though, and since there is a formula, maybe that's just what you need, too. I think that's another reason to write the stories in other points of view, etc. I've had success with writing from first person, and also from the male point of view. Sometimes the stories just come out that way! And like you said, there are some other markets to try to tap into, like the foreign ones Chris told us all about.

I also try to only submit one a month, or less. Otherwise, the stories seem to get stale to write. That leaves time to do other writing, or just reading to refresh.

Good luck everyone. It's tough out there.
--Mary Ann Joyce

Mary Hicks said...

I've been away for a while, it was fun catching up on the comments.
Over the past five months I submitted five stories to WW. I've gotten three rejections and still have two to go... :-)

My plan is to selfpub these short romances in a collection, to introduce myself before I launch a full length novel.

I enjoy writing short, fun stories and if WW should want one or two... that would be nice and help pay for other writing expenses.
No writing effort is wasted. :-)

Kate Willoughby said...

No writing effort is wasted. :-)

I thought that part was worth repeating. Every story you write is practice. Master craftsmen don't get to be masters without practice.