Thursday, January 28, 2016

Smooth Sledding

by Kady Winter from the January 25, 2016 issue

Tagline: After years of loneliness, Eddie was certain he'd never love again. Then he met Olivia!

Observations: I am SO EXCITED to critique this story, because Kady came to me wanting an edit on her second Woman's World story and so I'm really proud that it sold. To tell the truth, it was already a good story, but with some tweaks it became a story I would have bet a thousand dollars would sell. And it did!

I just read this revised version and Kady did an excellent job with the revamp. I can tell because I got teary at the end of the story. It really tugged at my heartstrings. I really was rooting for Eddie to be happy.

There are many things I loved about this story. There is an Americana feel to it, like we're reading a Norman Rockwell painting, come to life. This giant toboggan sled is something a Southern California born and bred girl like me has no experience with, so I found that terrific. There was that little "old-fashioned" touch of Eddie helping her out of the sled. Loved that.

But mainly, this story is another study in character development. If Kady comes here and sees this, maybe she can help me out here, because I seem to remember suggesting that she make the story be from Eddie's point of view and this really, deservedly, made him the star of the story. I can't find the original story she sent me. My computer ate it, apparently.

I'll give you a run down on how we come to care about Eddie. When we first meet him, he's working hard as a volunteer. Admirable. We immediately find out he's alone now and as we wonder why, we feel for him. Poor guy, right? Then in Act 2, we see he's not all doom and gloom. He is interested in the woman at the post office, but we also witness him struggle to work up the courage to talk to her. We find out why he's alone right now. We see him conquer his fear and his loneliness and make a decision to act and we think, "You go, Eddie!!" And then that "mean" author, makes him fail. Did you feel as disappointed as I did?

So, we move into Act 3. Eddie gets another chance. We're all rooting for him again. "You can do it, Eddie," we're all thinking. We meet Olivia and she's so nice and Eddie is trying so hard. The author creates a little tension as we hope Olivia conquers her own fear and says yes to the sled. We spend a nice amount of time here as they make an emotional connection.

After that, we are in the denouement of the story. It's funny how our experience as readers mirrors that of the characters who are also "coming down" from the thrill of the ride. The last paragraph really tugs the heartstrings. Eddie has come full circle. At the beginning of the story, he's not sure he has the heart to move on with his life, even after three years of mourning. At the end of the story, we see he has a lot of love left inside him.

Photo credit: Erik Hansen via Flickr Creative Commons License

17 comments:

Tamara said...

Kate, I'm posting on here because I don't know if anyone is going back to read the post where we were discussing the new guidelines. I'm sending in a story as an attachment. This was not specified in the guidelines, so I hope it's correct. I sent two in last week via snail mail, and I think I read somewhere that she's going to read these as long as they trickle in. Am I correct?

Kate Willoughby said...

I'm sure she'll keep accepting snail mail submissions. The rest of the world doesn't know about the change to email, I'm thinking. And yes, Patricia said she wants stories as attachments.

Sandy Smith said...

I did also enjoy this story. It was a little bit different which was nice. I agree that it had a Norman Rockwell feel.

Pat said...

I loved this story, Kate. As a writer, I saw the story structure immediately. As a reader, I loved the premise and the characters. Delightful!

Anonymous said...

Oh, this one sounds really good! If you can, please post. Woman's World seems to be on a roll with good stories. I've really enjoyed them lately.

On a different note, I was wondering if anyone else has submitted to the new WW email address? And if so, did you receive an automated confirmation? Just getting really nervous, as I submitted a story, but never received an automated confirmation. Wondered if I should resubmit?

Thanks!

Mary Jo said...

I submitted two stories a day or two apart. The first one brought a personal acknowledgement from Patricia. The second got an automated response. So it would seem they are up and running.

Anonymous said...

Mary Jo,

When did you send your stories through? Wonder if I should be patient a little while longer, or simply resubmit? It can be so nerve-wrecking sending your "babies" into the world :)

Betsi said...

Ms. Anonymous, what did you mean "please post?" WW stories can't be reprinted here or anywhere else without the permission of the publisher, who owns the rights to them.

Kate Willoughby said...

Betsi beat me to it. I can't post the story here. Are you not able to get a copy of the magazine? Are you outside of the U.S.? It's only $2 an issue. I subscribe and write it off as a business expense.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I'm here in the U.S., but wasn't sure that particular issue would still be available for purchase. At one point, I ordered a WW subscription, but got tired of having to call regarding missed issues (it happened quite frequently). Needless to say, I gave up! Now, I usually just buy a copy at the grocery store whenever I'm there.

Mary Jo said...

Hey Anony: I submitted a Romance to WW via email on Jan 25. So far, I have had no acceptance of that, and maybe never will. On Jan 29 I sent in a Mini-Mystery and got an email on Feb 2 that the story was accepted and I would be getting a contract via email. It has not yet arrived, but I hope to see it soon. I understand that Patricia is swamped with Romances and is looking for more Mystery submissions. Evidently she is quick in her response to an accepted story. See what you can do.

Betsi said...

Mary Jo, you sold your first mystery? Congrats! And so fast! I've been worrying about how efficient WW's new system is going to be, but it looks like you have no complaints.

As for Patricia being swamped, the subject on the Yahoo discussion group yesterday was people being concerned that they weren't getting replies that their submissions were received. Patricia finally said that it wasn't working and their tech support person was unavailable. But SO MANY people have sent romances to her in the last couple weeks, and many have sent more than one. For once I'm glad I don't have anything ready to go -- I'm happy to wait a month or two and hope the flood has receded.

Tamara said...

I emailed a couple of stories and received no auto- or other response.
Mary Jo, that's great that you had a mystery approved. I can't wait to read it.

Mary Jo said...

Everyone is supposed to be electronically literate these days, and I am not. The server here has messed up my email so I can't even send anything out right now. It seemed the WW auto-reply system was up and working a few days ago, but not now? I am sure they will get it straightened out, but it is frustrating to both the senders and receivers. I am thrilled and amazed that Patricia took my little mystery story. I find the Romances so much easier to write, but it has been years since I sold one to them. So, plodding on.

Kate Willoughby said...

Congrats on the sale, Mary Jo!!!

Mary Jo said...

Thank you, all. Patricia said my mini-mystery would be in the #15 WW and I see that is the April 11th issue. Kate, when is your new story appearing? I have not yet received my contract, but it may be because my email is still not working right. I have to get that fixed. I did submit one Romance before my email failed, but it was probably lost in the current avalanche. So, as Betsi said, I would wait a bit before resubmitting my "lost" stories anyway.

Kate Willoughby said...

Sometime in March.