Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Escape Artist

by Shelley Cooper from the March 10, 2014 issue

Tagline: Laura couldn't keep her dog from running away. Fortunately, he never ran far...just to Matt's house!

In a Nutshell: A dog plays matchmaker when he keeps running away to the house that a cute single guy is restoring.

Observations: Since this is the second story I'm analyzing today and I have limited time, I'm going to do a Stream-of-Consciousness Review ™. LOL.

The first couple of paragraphs are good. I, too, rescued a dog, so I'm immediately drawn in and feel a connection with the narrator. I also feel sympathy for her having just been dumped by her fiancé. Poor thing.

Oh. Teeny is a Great Dane. Holy moly. I have a Chihuahua. Polar opposites! 

Hm. I wonder what kind of neighborhood she lives in if there are Victorian houses sitting around abandoned. But I go with it.

OMG. LMAO. "I'm not sure, but after that kiss, I think Teeny and I are going steady."

I like seeing the progression of their relationship, via Teeny's messing up the porch and shirt.

I really liked the invitation, but I kind of wonder if he could have restored the house in two weeks. Glory is a strong word.

LMAO again at Matt's outfit for the BBQ.

Hm. I am disappointed with the ending. It felt very abrupt. I think it might have helped if right after he said, "And I do want to get to know you better, Laura," she had said something and they'd shared a moment. Instead there was "telling," of the "show don't tell" fame. "That was the day I fell in love with Matt. Thanks for telling us, but I'd rather see it happen real time. 

Oh, a wedding. That' makes sense, but it falls flat for me because I don't feel the couple has a strong enough connection built.

The last sentence was terrific, but I'm afraid it didn't make up for the lack of of happy sigh at the critical place in the story.


Jody E. Lebel said...

I like the new stream of consciousness review style. It gets right to the points we want to hear. Maybe you stumbled onto something here, a way to freshen up your blog and make it less time consuming for you.

Kate Willoughby said...

I've done this before, and It IS a lot faster. I may adopt this as the norm. Glad you like it, Jody. With your own WW blog, you, of all people, know how time consuming it is.

Chris said...

I take my hat off to both you ladies for the time you devote to this - it's much appreciated, honestly. This new format works fine, Kate, so if it's quicker, stick with it.

For me this story was bliss from beginning to... almost the end. I am not a fan of those 'lets tie up all the loose ends by moving things on a year' finishes but in this case it's a minor moan. I loved the rescue dog forever escaping (my gorgeous girl's a Battersea babe and we had a few scary moments, too, when we first brought her home) and I enjoyed Matt's sense of humour - especially putting on the football gear ready for Teeny's arrival. That had me grinning from ear to ear. Terrific writing, really loved it.

Melanie D said...

Cute story. I don't see too many "oh, and then they got married" endings, so although I thought it was a bit abrupt it sort of worked with this story. Not sure how believable it would be for the guy to be so nice and understanding about a ruined paint job, but I guess it wouldn't be a fun romance if he starting swearing "get your f-ing dog out of here, lady!" I'm thinking of my own neighborhood.

Love stories with dogs and I really like this one.Sweet and funny.

New format works for me and, as always, these critiques are very helpful. Thank you, Kate!

Sandi said...

I think the story would have been better if Teeny had been a girl dog, especially with the dog kisses and going steady. LOL One thought I had is why would someone adopt such a huge dog and not have room for the dog to run. Also, the story doesn't say that the house had been restored to glory (that I could find). It just said there was an invitation to a BBG in the backyard. Perhaps she should have used the word vacant instead of abandoned. Gives a different impression. Since I adopted a dog that was supposed to be "medium" sized and now weighs 80 pounds, Teeny's antics made me chuckle. I too liked the last sentence a whole lot.

Kate Willoughby said...

Chris, oh yeah! I remember when we first got our rescue dog. He would run out the door the first chance he got.

You're welcome, Melanie!

Sandi, interesting point about the sex of the dog, but it didn't bother me. Vacant would have been a better word, I agree. Here's the word "glory" from the story:

While we worked, Matt told me that he was determined to restore the old house to its former glory...

So, upon re-reading, I can see that although only two weeks passed, there was no actual mention that Matt's goal had been achieved or that the BBQ was to celebrate the complete restoration. However, that's sort of what was implied... Minor quibble. Still a fun story.

Chris said...

Did you realise there's another story to comment on below, ladies? Kate has uploaded two this week to catch up. If I'd had a story accepted (some hopes) I'd be checking every day, wanting to see what others thought, so I feel for Rosemary, not getting any feedback. Just saying!

Sandi said...

I hadn't had a chance to read it. I definitely loved the story, though.

Mary Jo said...

When I look at the ratings boxes to the right, the scope of opinion on each story seems to span the whole spectrum. I have never seen a consensus judging any of these little stories as terrible or even wonderful. Maybe this says more about the reader than the author. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder?

Kate Willoughby said...

Absolutely, Mary Jo. Fiction writing and reading are very subjective.