Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Welcome to the Neighborhood

by Martha Freeman from the September 8, 2014 issue

Elsa was unsettled by her recent move to a new home...until she met her kind (and handsome) new neighbor

In a Nutshell
Elsa is new to the neighborhood. On her walks to and from work she notices some free tomatoes on a neighbor's stoop. After taking a few, she leaves a tin of cookies in thanks. One day, the tomato grower makes contact and a date.

This story reminded me a lot of my very first Woman's World sale back in 2005. I think I include it in my basics class packet. It was called "Her Lucky Stars." In that story there were also notes between strangers. So it was fun to be taken back.

Today I'm going to go through the story paragraph by paragraph and point out the function of the paragraph. I hope this will be helpful.

1, 2: Freeman starts out with Elsa's backstory--something in longer fiction we tend to frown upon--and we immediately get a feel for what type of woman she is. It's a great two paragraph look at Elsa.

3: We see her current situation--why she moved, that she will now be walking to work, what her job is.

4: Here's where we see "the problem." She doesn't quite feel at home yet.

5, 6: The story finally starts. Elsa comes upon a situation. We "meet" the hero via his note and his harvest.

7: Elsa makes a decision.

8: This is a transitional paragraph that "tells" us some time has passed and what went on. I often talk about how telling--as opposed to showing--is often necessary in a Woman's World story.

9-15: New scene. We've entered the second act of the story. With the help and prodding of her friend, Elsa makes another decision. She's going to make contact with the tomato man.

16: Transition in which we watch Elsa put her plan in action. She's being assertive and taking control of her own life, not waiting for things to happen to her.

17: New scene and the beginning of act three. It opens with the "black moment" when the reader thinks all is lost.

18-27: Contact! They officially meet. They talk.

28: Elsa makes a move. We're moving the plot forward.

29-33: More of a connection is made between them as they talk and make a date to cook together.

34: We end with the optimistic "Happily Ever After, Eventually Maybe" ending that is so prevalent in Woman's World stories. We also see that the problem we saw in paragraph 4 is solved.

I hope this look at the skeleton of this story helps you construct your own.

Photo credit: Ramashng via Wikimedia Commons


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting Kate. Great information!

I would have loved to have read this cute-sounding story. Unfortunately, I must have missed this issue. At the store last night the issue on the stands included the story, "Ramblin' Rose."

Oh, well. If you post I would love to read it.

Best wishes,


Mary Jo said...

A very good analysis of WW speak, Kate. I will print it out and keep it for future reference. It has been a very long time since WW bought two stories from me. A very long time.

Any guy who will give me fresh home grown tomatoes is all right with me. My own tomatoes didn't do diddly this year.

Pat said...

Kudos Kate. I'm with Mary Jo, I will print and save this to study also. I had completely stopped writing and submitting because of all the rejections.

Mary Jo, Hubby gave tomatoes away to the neighbors even though ours weren't a great as usual this year, we still go a little more than we could handle. Guess that makes him a hero. LOL

Chris said...

Nice analysis, Kate. It was a good story and made a nice change to see a different take on things.

Kate Willoughby said...

Nicole, I'm not sure if I would be violating copyright to post it here. Give me your email and I'll send you a copy of it.

Kate Willoughby said...

I haven't even gotten rejections because it's been so long since I even submitted a story!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kate,

I'll try sending you an email tonight. Thank you for offering to send the story.

Oh, and in reference to your comments about it being so long since you've submitted a should! Your stories are awesome :)

I took one of your classes awhile back, and would highly recommend to anyone!

Nicole "Tressa"