Tamara Shaffer from the June 23, 2014 issue
Tagline: Jessica had never realized just how romantic Romeo and Juliet really was!
In a Nutshell: Jessica and her little boy meet a man and a little girl at a statue of Shakespeare that they visit often. One day it rains and the four of them have cocoa together. Oh, and the little girl is his niece and he's single. Score!
Observations: There was a lot about this story that made me think, "This was written by a pro," and it was. Shaffer has several stories published by Woman's World.
Realism--young children do crave repetition, so I thought the fact that Billy wanted to keep visiting the statue was perfect. And if you've had kids, you know they like to do things "all by myself." So, another realistic touch there that will ring true for a good portion of Woman's World readers.
Misdirection--when magicians direct your attention one way while they're doing something sneaky somewhere else, it's called misdirection. Shaffer did this when she had the hero say, "...your mom'll have dinner on the table." Of course, as seasoned Woman's World story readers, we know he's available. Personally, I suspected he was divorced, like she was.
Transition: Even the three rainy days that kept us inside didn't completely erase him from my mind. That part was terrific. With 800 words, you don't have a lot of wiggle room and this sentence both establishes a passage of time and shows us her frame of mind.
Foreshadowing: I hope you noticed the author foreshadowing the rainstorm. This ups the tension a tiny bit for the reader. We feel a light sense of impending doom or romance, depending upon your outlook. LOL
Humor: 'But soft!'" He struck a dramatic pose. "'What light through yonder window breaks?'" He winked at me. "I hope it's the sun coming out." Loved that. I also loved this line: "See you tomorrow at the park--same time, same statue?"
Characterization: We want to read about heroines with whom we could be friends and I appreciate humility and the ability to make fun of yourself as Jessica did at the very end of the story where she pokes fun at her unfamiliarity with Shakespeare's work.
"As Romeo--or no, I think it was Juliet--said, 'Parting is such sweet sorrow.'"
I giggled. "Hey even I remember that line!" I said, thinking, I couldn't agree more.