Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Heart and Violets

by Karen Mandell from the October 12, 2015 issue

Tagline: Lara was a good neighbor--and now it looked as though her random acts of neighborly kindness would be most handsomely rewarded!

Observations: I don't have much to say about this story except that it very much reminded me of the "old style" Woman's World story, the kind of story I saw when I first started reading the magazine in 2004. I'll try to describe what I mean.

It's mostly the ending. Of late, Woman's World style has developed into really tight stories, perhaps a result of the newish 800 word limit. There's a condensed feeling about them, like they're completely self-contained. I don't know how to describe it better.

The ending of this story felt more open--like there wasn't an end, so much as a beginning. Even though most of the stories these days actually depict the beginning of a relationship just like this one, the stories themselves end concretely.

I'm sorry if I'm not explaining it well. maybe some of you "old timers" can help me out in the comments.


Tamara said...

I left a comment after the previous post(which was the final one that elicited no responses). I will repeat myself a bit here. I think it is just a matter of the content of the story, coincidentally, whether it ends with a beginning or ends with a happily-ever-after--or even begins with and ending and flashes back. Mine are mixed; it seems to me that the published WW stories are mixed also.

Mary Jo said...

Huh, Tamara?

Anyway, this is what I wrote to Chris about this story after she sent me a scan since my issue of WW did not arrive until LATE:
The Romance was a nice little story, but it did skip along from one scene to another, didn’t it? I wouldn’t mind living in that condo. We didn’t really get any background information on the lead characters. The older couple reminded me of a pair of seniors who appear in a series of TV commercials now for the Swiffer floor mop. Really cute. They needed only one bag of groceries? I thought the girl (Lara?) had invited them over for dinner and so was surprised by the guy with the red pot under his arm. I think the author did not hit all the spots and left us to fill in the blanks.

Yeah, another cheap coffee date.

Tamara said...

Well, I guess I didn't explain myself very well either. Some of the stories end with a marriage; others end with the beginnings of a romance, or as Kate said, "like there wasn't an end, so much as a beginning", leaving the reader with the impression that the romance will lead there. I don't think WW has a preference, as long as the story is good. And, when I write, I sometimes don't know which type of ending it will have until I'm there.

Mary Jo said...

Much better. Now I see what you mean and totally agree. I recently sent WW a Romance that skipped ahead at least three or four years in the last few sentences. I have not heard anything from the editors yet.

Tamara said...

Mary Jo, I actually like that format. I hope your story makes it.

Pat said...

As long as the story works and is enjoyable to read, I don't pay much attention to the format.

As for writing me own story, I just follow the way the story flows. By that I mean what the characters tell me to write. I can study format and elements of writing but, for me, it still comes down to characters and what they have to say.

Hope this makes sense.