From the August 29, 2016 issue
Tagline: Kate thought she was too busy to find romance...until she met Darcy!
Observations: I'm so excited because this story was full of teaching moments.
I liked this story. It was cute. I especially admired the part where Kate was lost in her own thoughts and then came back to the conversation...
Robin's chirpy voice continued as Kate's thoughts turned elsewhere. After work, she'd promised to take her niece to ballet class, then pick up groceries for her sick neighbor. Somewhere along the way, she would grab a sandwich and eat on the run. It would be a full evening.
"So would you be his date?" Robin's voice broke into her reverie.
"What?" Kate surfaced with a start. "Sorry, what did you say?"
See what I mean? I felt as if I had joined Kate on her reverie.
I also wanted to point out this one sentence, because this is a lesson I need to take to heart.
Kate's heart did a little rhumba.
Young could have used a cliche phrase, like "Kate's heart skipped a beat." I, myself, am guilty of using that one! Or "her pulse quickened" or something like it. But doing a rhumba? Very original. This is the type of thing that, if you don't think of it while you're writing, you can fix in the revision stage. Make it a point to read your story and to look for trite phrases like hearts skipping beats. The stories are so short, that you can designate one reading just for this purpose. It might seem like a little thing--this is only six words, after all--but I believe the little things add up, especially in an 800 word story.
Lastly, this story is a great example of a mash-up of Woman's World tropes. Tropes are great because they're ideas that have a proven track record. Yes, they can become cliche, but only if you write them as such. One way to avoid the cliche and embrace the familiarity of the trope that readers respond to is to take two or more tropes and combine them, like take a woman to the rescue and add a garage sale, or make the setting a high school reunion and throw in a lost pet. This week's story took three--a wedding, a matchmaker, and a blind date. You can also take one trope and really do something crazy with it, like maybe two lost pets. Maybe the heroine, while out looking for her missing dog, finds the hero's missing dog. Wait a second...I think I'll write that story! But see what I mean? It can get your brain thinking.
Photo Credit: John Lodder via the Flickr Creative Commons License