Sunday, October 5, 2014

Good Knight

by Marie Savage from the September 29, 2014 issue

Tagline
When the psychic predicted her romantic future, Kelly laughed. Then Kelly met John...

In a Nutshell
Kelly reluctantly goes with her friend to a psychic reading, but exits still skeptical. Later, when her car breaks down, it turns out the psychic's prediction was spot on.

Observations
This was basically the car trouble story with a twist, which I have said before is a tried and true way to construct a Woman's World story. You take a "cliche" and put a spin on it, in this case, the addition of the psychic prediction.

One of these days I should construct a Woman's World trope list. You could probably label the sides of dice with them, roll the dice and come up with the bones of a plot.

Matchmaker and the lost pet
Carnival and the gardener
New job and the precocious niece
Quirky shop/business and old flame

See? I'll bet you're getting ideas already.

 Photo credit: Johnny_boy_A via Creative Commons

34 comments:

bettye griffin said...

I loved this story, but I was disappointed because I was drafting a car trouble story myself. I think this one was better than mine because of that cute little twist. Time to move on to plan B. Determined to get another story in the mail to them this week, while the story I sent in August is still outstanding. (I want to submit every 60 days).

Kate Willoughby said...

Bettye, don't toss that story. Really. By the time you polish it and it makes it through the slush pile, this car trouble story will be long gone.

Tamara said...

I, too, encourage you to save that story and submit at a later date, Bettye.

Betsi said...

Absolutely! They never seem to "tire" of car trouble stories. ;-)

Edeltraud said...

Why do you suppose WW plays it so safe of formulaic? Do you think most of its readership is women who pick up an occasional copy - so they wouldn't be that aware of repetition.
Or are most readers subscribers?
I recall reading where a men's health magazine ran essentially the exact, same edition it had run a few years prior.

Mary Jo said...

I think one reader tells them that she enjoyed a "car trouble" story, and the publisher thinks, the American woman wants to read car trouble stories. We will give her car trouble stories...over and over and over again.

Same with kid matchmakers...over and over. Grandmas making chocolate chip cookies...over and over. Dog walking...over and over. Lost kitten...over and over. Nephews and nieces galore...over and over.

Am I being redundant?

Sandy Smith said...

OK, maybe I need to rethink my Woman's World story plots. My way of thinking has always been that if I have an idea too similar to one they have published, I should come up with something else because they aren't going to want the same story over and over. But maybe I'm wrong.

Kate, you didn't really say if you liked this story. Did you or did you think it should have been different?

Edeltraud said...

Not at all Mary Jo, not at all ; )

Kate Willoughby said...

This story was not one of my personal favorites, but that's not really the point. The goal is to catch Johnene's eye. :)

Mary Jo said...

Chris and I had discussed coming up with a story that involved ALL of the WW favorite plot devices. How ever could the editors turn that one down?

bettye griffin said...

Thanks, guys...I'll hold onto it. I just submitted a son-of-family-friends themed story. Haven't seen any of those. Crossing my fingers.

Joyce Ackley said...

Yes, we see the same plots in many of the WW stories. However, there's often a twist or an element that makes the story fresh and unique. I think we are charmed by the characters. Seems to me there have been a lot of lost puppy - animal stories - recently, but maybe I'm just reminded of a story I've read sometime back.

My latest reject had the fall - twisted ankle - rescue by a handsome man plot!
How many times have we read that? What sweetened the rejection a little bit was a handwritten note from Johnene that said: 'Nicely written, though!'

My last 3 submissions have made it to Seattle. Maybe I'm getting closer but still...my disappointment grows with each one.

Has anyone here been published in Shades of Romance? If so, I'd like to ask some questions. I can provide my email address.

All we can do is just keep on writing and subbing. Wishing everyone good luck!

Betsi said...

Joyce, I'd never heard of Shades of Romance. I just visited their website but quickly lost interest when I saw they pay $25 for a story.

Joyce Ackley said...

Betsi, do you sell to the overseas markets or to the Trues? It seems hard to beef up a WW story to the word count the Trues require. I wish I could find some markets that pay good for my WW rejects.

Betsi said...

Joyce, I sold a WW reject to The People's Friend in the UK. It was originally a Valentine's story, but I changed the special occasion to the couple's anniversary. I only needed to add 100 words.

I used to sell stories to the Trues, but they were never the same stories I wrote for WW. I do know one writer who uses her WW rejects as jumping-off points to write Trues. The $ is decent.

Tamara said...

How many of the Trues are left in print, does anyone know? I assume they can be somewhat sexy in nature?

Betsi said...

Tamara, there are just two--True Confessions and True Story, I believe. You should be able to pick them up in your grocery store. They can be racier than WW stories, for sure, but there's nothing explicit in them, and some aren't sexy at all. They take a much wider range of stories than WW's boy meets girl. Chris sold to them recently.

Tamara said...

I never see those mags in grocery stores, but there is a large magazone vendor in downtown Chicago that might have copies. I'll check.

Kate Willoughby said...

The Trues aren't in my area either.

Chris said...

I sold to Shades of Romance maybe ten years ago and the money is still at the same rate today, $25, as it was then. LaShaunda Hoffman is a friendly and helpful editor but I don't tend to submit there any more, simply because it is such a low payer.

The story I sold to the Trues netted me $87 - I think the fee is based on word count. I still find the 'true' element hard to get my head around though. On the one hand they call themselves a market for true personal experiences, yet on the other, in an interview I saw with the editor in a UK mag, she said the stories were fictionalised accounts of things that could have happened to either the author or someone they knew. No attempt is made to verify the account and the names of the two main characters in my story were both changed anyway, which hardly makes it a true account. There was a contract to be signed and Betsi knows how I agonised over that but in the end I did. The whole True market seems to be a very grey area to my mind.

Joyce, the markets I sent you may not be in the WW category pay-wise but surely some money and publication is better than no money and a story that spends its days gathering dust in your computer file!

Susan said...

Chris,
I looked at the guidelines for the trues and got a little confused. I thought I read somewhere on here that someone added about 100 words to their WW rejection and sold to one of the trues, but the minimum length on the guidelines is 3000. There is a My Man section in Confessions that requires one page. Is that what you submit for?

I haven't been able to find Confessions in stores at home, but I found True Story. I have one more grocery to check.

Betsi said...

Susan, if you scroll up, you'll see that I said I added 100 words to a WW rejection and sold it to the UK magazine The People's Friend. No, you need to write MUCH longer for the Trues. I always thought that getting paid by the word encouraged bad writing, unfortunately--the wordier it is, the better for the bottom line! I remember reading one story that detailed the heroine's whole evening routine from her return from work until bedtime, although nothing interesting or out-of-the-ordinary happened at all. I usually wrote 5,000 words and made about $150 dollars. "Back in the day" there were a couple that paid 5 cents a word, but now it's three.

Susan said...

Betsi,
lol! That's what I get for reading in between loads of laundry and dog duty. We have our three dogs and my mom's. I spend my day being a dog referee for a dachshund, chihauau, bassett, and great pyrenees. The two bigs are 13+ years old and the much younger littles drive them crazy. I would like to get a copy of the People's Friend. I skimmed their website and the magazine looks like something I would like to read. Thanks for replying!

Betsi said...

Susan, you can get single copies of any of the UK magazines at newsstand.com
The price with shipping is very reasonable.

Semen Rendi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Chris,

I would be willing to send you some WW copies and postage, if you wouldn't mind returning the favor with "The People's Friend" and UK postage.

It would be so wonderful if they would consider allowing email submissions from those overseas! I do still worry about writing Queen's English, since I'm not used to doing so. Is that something they are a stickler about?

Thanks,

Tressa

Anonymous said...

P.S. Does anyone know how much People's Friend pays for their stories?

Betsi said...

Tressa, The People's Friend will reply via e-mail, no UK postage required. They paid me approximately $130 for my 900 word story.

Chris said...

I'd be happy to send you some mags, Tressa. Email me your address on csutton45athotmaildotcome (swap out the at and dot) and we'll sort something out. There are other mags in the UK and elsewhere that do take email subs, so I'll email you their guidelines while I'm at it.

Chris said...

Sorry, that should be hotmaildotcom of course - don't know where that final e came from!

Melanie D said...

Kate, you are so right about the list of common tropes. Hey, having that plot die might be fun as a writing exercise. My first sale was a car trouble story. Then I threw in a Golden Retriever and some baked goods to seal the deal. LOL.

Mary Jo said...

Now, that's what I call classic WW Romance, Melanie. Did you throw in a best friend to bounce thoughts off of, too? I am assuming that the guy was HANDSOME.

Anonymous said...

Love reading everyone's comments. Also, thanks to Betsi and Chris for your postings.

Betsi: Regarding The People's Friend, I found their website, but it looks like perhaps their word count has gone up? Did you write a short romance or serial? Their pay seems rather low, but it's definitely better than stories collecting dust in our desk drawers. So, I'm still interested in possibly submitting to them.

Chris: Thank you so much for your offer. I'll be happy to help you out, too. I just started my WW subscription again, so I'm excited to be getting the magazine on a regular basis. So I should be receiving them again within the next few weeks.

Best wishes,
Tressa

Betsi said...

Tressa, you're right about The Friend's word count -- I sent some 900 word stories out to other UK markets, but the one I sold to them was 1200.

The pay IS low, and I haven't sent anything else despite being encouraged by the editor to do so. By the time I factored in the postage--particularly the cost of returning a rather long contract to them--it hardly seemed worthwhile. It was fun though, and I can say that I've been published internationally!