Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Wonderful Mistake

by Rosalind Villers from the August 31, 2015 issue

Tagline: Florist Samantha worried she might be late delivering the wedding-party boutonnieres...but, in fact, her timing was perfect!

Observations: I was talking just last night with my son about adding tiny details to a story can really establish yourself as an "expert" to the reader, even if you're really not. When you get the details right, you earn the trust of the reader. I don't know if Villers has worked in a flower shop or knows someone who does, but either way, here are some of the things that made me feel the authenticity of this story.

1. I work at Starbucks and there are several refrigerators - the freezer, the milk fridge, the back room fridge, the bar fridge, the cold bar fridge. If someone set a story at Starbucks and referred to a fridge, no one would probably blink an eye. Of course Starbucks has a fridge. But if you referred to it as the cold bar fridge, wouldn't that sound more real? This is what I'm talking about and in "A Wonderful Mistake," "the cooler" sounded like real florist lingo to me.

2. Villers also talked about the workings and problems of running the small business. Saturdays were busy. Samantha had a driver, but he called in sick. Having to deal with employees who made possible disastrous mistakes. (Weddings are so important and I could easily envision a Bridezilla moment if the boutonnieres never got delivered.) Having to fill in at the last minute to correct that mistake.

3. When Jacob knocks over the arrangement, Sam is quick to tell them that the flowers were sturdy. That's a detail I wouldn't think of as a mere admirer and sometimes grower of flowers. Of course, a florist would know which stems would hold up and which wouldn't.

So, in summary, I'd like to encourage you to research for these types of details. Yes, it's only an 800 word story, but when you see how much authenticity a few words and phrases add, I think you'll see it's worth the time.

Photo credit: gadgetdude via Creative Commons license


Sandy Smith said...

I loved this story. The cute kid angle just added to it as well.

Chris said...

Good observations, Kate, and I agree, the tiny details do lend authenticity. What drove me quietly mad about this story was the repetition of that word boutonniere, especially as it isn't that easy to get your head around. We call them buttonholes here and that's a little easier to say, although seeing it that many times would still have grated. A small thing but, for me, it marred an otherwise good story.

Mary Jo said...

Which reminds me, Kate, have you written a barista story for WW yet. I am sure you can get a nice little romance out of a table for two.

Tamara said...

I agree, Mary Jo. I wrote one about a guy who worked in a coffee shop patterned on Starbuck's. The woman first ran in to him in their mutual apartment building and later was surprised to be ordering coffee from him. Story made it only as far as Johnene.

Tamara said...

Kate, that's interesting that you work at Starbuck's. The surprising things we learn about each other.

Chris said...

Yes, it's nice to know a bit more about one another.

Kate Willoughby said...

Sandy, it's funny, I thought the kid was a little too precious. He bursts out crying? In my head I was like, "Man up, buddy." LOL

Chris, we call them boutonnieres in my neck of the woods so that didn't bother me.

Mary Jo, I have not sent a barista story in. Maybe some day. :)

Yes, I've been a barista for 9.5 years! Time flies! It's a great company to work for. EXCELLENT employee benefits.

Lisa said...

Hi there - I'm a follower on the WW loop as well as on Kate's review site (and a writer as well :) ) Kate's review of Villers' story was bang on - it's the little things that make it authentic indeed. This story was a great reminder to me as a writer, and a lovely treat as a reader! Thank you to both Kate for her review and Rosalind for a great story!

Kate Willoughby said...

Thanks, Lisa! I appreciate that.