Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Music of Hope by Tina Radcliffe

April 18, 2016 issue

Tagline: Josh never thought he would love again...until he met his son's piano teacher!

Observations: There were some aspects of this story that I liked and some that I didn't.

I liked that Josh was a strong enough person to take criticism about his cooking from a child. I liked that he was demonstrably grateful to his mother for helping out. I liked the tie-in between the canned spaghetti that Josh kept serving and the homemade lasagna that Maddy had made.

However, it read as if Josh didn't know his son was taking piano lessons at the beginning of the story. It might be because the son, Jake, had to explain how he'd had two lessons at Gram's house. This lead me to think there was an ex-wife and the dad just wasn't in the loop. However later, I found out that wasn't true. Josh is a widower.

Be careful about how you drop in backstory. Yes, it's great to do it in dialogue sometimes, but not in an "As you know, Bob" way. Some information should already be known to the characters talking and it doesn't make sense for Jake to tell his dad that he's taking piano lessons at Gran's house when his dad should already know this.

To me, Jake's character was hit and miss. Sometimes I really liked him and his dialogue sounded perfect. Other times, he did not sound like a seven-year-old.

I was unsure if Josh and Maddy lived in the same apartment building. Maddy, the piano teacher, just said, "We're in apartment 10, as if Jake knew where she lived. This is a tiny detail, but glitches like this can cause your reader to mentally stumble and take them out of the story. Do that more than once and you risk losing the reader completely.

So, a couple of confusing elements for me made it feel disjointed. Your mileage may vary. :)

Also is anyone else hungry for lasagna? LOL

Photo credit: Mark via Flickr Creative Commons license


Sandy Smith said...

I thought it was a cute story. I noticed it took place on a few different days rather than all at once like many of the stories do. I like seeing it develop a bit.

I agree with you about being confused on where they lived. I did not realize they lived in the same apartment building. When they found the dog, I figured it was going to belong to the piano teacher, but thought that would be too much of a coincidence when I didn't realize they were neighbors. As for the piano lessons, it sounded to me like Josh had just not met the piano teacher, but then it did sound like he wasn't aware Jake was taking lessons. Maybe the grandmother is paying for them, or Josh will be surprised when he gets a bill!

Yes, I am also hungry for lasagna.

Pat said...

I thought this was a cute story. I assumed the grandmother was paying for the piano lessons just to keep the kid occupied, or as a fix-up for the Dad, or both. LOL

Of course, now I'll go back and check it against the review. I love it when reader see things I don't as it makes me a better writer.