Thursday, July 30, 2015

Fourth of July Fireworks

by Lisa Weaver from the July 6, 2015 issue

Tagline: When Amy's van broke down on the way to the parade, help arrived in the handsome form of Fireman Dave...

Observations: I'm so short on time. I have a deadline looming and I'm a little scared I won't make it. So I'm going to do a stream of consciousness critique.

The first thing I notice is that this is first person, present tense. Not my favorite, but only because I have to get my brain into that groove.

The first few paragraphs are chock-full of information and action. Every single word is necessary and this is something you're forced to learn how to do in a Woman's World story. Eight hundred words isn't much.

The car breaks down. This is a common enough trope in Woman's World stories.

Ah, one of her charges, Lila, knows Fireman Dave. I wonder why.

Oh, he takes his shirt off? Woot! That usually doesn't happen. I love Amy's reaction of trying not to stare, but failing.

Okay, Lila's kitten must have been up a tree and Dave rescued her.

Fast forward to the parade...the moment you see Amy jump to the conclusion that Dave is married, you know that she's wrong. However, it's always fun to see the explanations and in this story it was a little out of the box. I've never seen a dog be mistaken for the wife. Weaver also explains why he's driving a total soccer mom car.

The ending fell a little bit flat for me.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Like a Rainbow

by Nell Musolf from the June 29, 2015 issue

Tagline: Megan was drawn to the man she'd just met in the paint store. It was something about the color of his eyes...

Observations:  Nell Musolf is an "old hand" at Woman's World stories and she employs a couple of devices that we see all the time.

1.  The eccentric, lovable relative appears often in Woman's World stories. Here it's Aunt Zelda. The relative can have an active part in the story, or as in this one, she's just someone the protagonist thinks about.

2. The eccentric, lovable relative usually has some bit of wisdom that he/she loves to say like "Keep your eyes--and your options--open." This bit of advice always proves to be true.

I liked how the colors ran all through the story. It was a nice motif.

Photo credit: By Visitor7 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Monday, July 6, 2015


by Rosemary Hayes from the June 22, 2015 issue

Tagline: Callie would never forget the day she lost her cellphone...and found love

Observations: Okay, this story gave me a little ripple of happiness at the base of my neck. Sometimes it's the goosebumps on the arm, but this time it was the neck.

I wanted to point out a story device I'm going to call bookending. We've talked about it before. I've also called it coming full circle. It's where you mention something at the beginning of the story and then mention it again at the end. What's cool about this example is how Hayes bookended using POV as well.

At the beginning of the story, the narrator Callie talks about special dates that stick in our minds. It's something everyone experiences and it helps us feel a connection with the storyteller. In this little section, we're a bit removed, as is the narrator.

Then Hayes eases into the real story, introducing it with that ellipsis and then going into a deeper POV so that we are Callie on the day she lost her cell phone and fell in love with the man who found it. We happily live the story of how they met, smiling and hoping that romance will win the day.

And then, boom, Hayes states a date: June 24. And just like that, we're zipped back out of the story and looking at the events from a distance again because Callie has resumed her role as narrator. She summarizes what happened with Ethan after that first meeting in the cafe, and it works. We don't need to be Callie any more because now we're like friends and she just finished telling the story of how she met the love of her life.

It's a nice little device to have in your writer's toolbox.

Clever/funny lines:

1. My stomach fluttered. I wasn't sure if it was because of his friendly laugh or because I had found a kindred "loser."

2. "I'm in the cafe across the street, actually. I'll be the person with two phones on the table."

Photo credit: SGT Christopher M. Gaylord, via Wikimedia Commons