Sunday, January 19, 2014

Picture Perfect

by Susan Holloway from the January 6, 2014 issue

Tagline: Kasi and the handsome stranger had more in common than she realized when she first ran in to [sic] him...

In a Nutshell: Kasi finds an antique camera that a friend of hers has been searching for. Just as she reaches for it, a man beats her to it. He's good looking, charming, and gallant, since he lets her take the camera even though he wanted it for his collection. Kasi brings the camera to her friend who in turn gives it to her brother, none other than the man who gave it up in the first place.

Observations: I haven't mentioned story structure for a while and something in this story reminded me of that fact. In a typical story, the first act introduces the protagonists and their problems. Often in a Woman's World story, they're looking for love, but sometimes they have some other challenge like getting used to being back in their hometown, or finding a new job. In the second act, things progress, problems arise, and right at the end of the act, things come to a head. Third act, we see the resolution of the problems and all loose ends are tied up. Usually the third act is relatively short. The pacing increases in the second act and by the time we get to the third, we're moving quickly, so the end comes before we know it.

In this story, the "things come to a head" moment, which I also call the big black moment, comes right about the mid point when the man leaves the store and Kasi thinks she'll never see him again. Practically half the story is dedicated to working things out for Kasi and Nathan.

I'm not sure why this works in Woman's World stories. Any ideas?

Photo by Hakan Svensson (cc)


Chris said...

This was pleasant but not that memorable for me. I found the repetition of the word 'table' at the start of the story, (she saw the table, she walked towards the table, she reached the table) irritating and a waste of words. A nice enough storyline but just a bit lacking in its execution, to my mind.

Betsi said...

Yes, this story had a few bumps, like the word repetition, but overall it was a sweet, typical WW "first meet" story. I'd have liked it better if the characters had shown more interest in each other in the antique store. I just re-read it, and noticed that Nathan ran out like the building was on fire! And they only got together again because of a huge coincidence.

As for your question about structure, Kate, I use a very simple one for these short-shorts. Introduction, Black Moment, and Resolution. Sometimes they publish stories that don't have a black moment. I don't think it has to be huge or dramatic, but I like these stories better when they have one.

Anonymous said...

This sounds like an interesting read. I'm afraid I missed this one. Would it be possible to see a copy of it? Thanks!