Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Wave of Romance by Mary Jo Young

From the June 5, 2017 issue

Tagline: When Lydia met Sam, the connection startled her!

Observations: This is a good example of showing a character getting past a hang-up they have, something that you can really hang your hat on with a Woman's World romance story. It's one of the ways to come up with story ideas I suggest in my "How to Write and Sell Romance to Woman's World Magazine" class. Think of a problem in the hero or heroine's life and tell the story of how they overcome it. It can be an emotional problem, like in this story, or a real life problem, like they need to find a new apartment.

Here is how Young did it. Note there are only two acts, not the usual three in this story, but it works.

Act 1: Young set up the "problem" by showing the widow Lydia talking with her daughter about finding someone special. Lydia is an active woman who seeks an equally active guy, but the men she meets her own age are couch potatoes. The daughter suggests she find someone younger and Lydia balks at first, but does feel lonely.

Act 2: We see Lydia is involved in community theatre and she meets the new manager. He's cute. They talk about surfing, something they both enjoy doing. Lydia, afraid, puts it right out there that she's got grown children and she's a widow and the hero doesn't bat an eyelash. He's not that much younger than she is.

Here's where we see Lydia turn the corner.

Divorced, Lydia surmised, and he didn't wear a wedding ring. Maybe she needn't be so hung up on the age thing.

After that, it's smooth sailing. There is no black moment in this story, but as I've pointed out in my class, that isn't a mandatory thing for a Woman's World tale.

Photo credit: Eugene Kim, (Flickr CC)

15 comments:

Pat said...

Thanks for another great review, Kate. You always see things I miss.

I loved this story because of the younger man, older woman theme. Also loved the theater setting and the characters. Didn't even notice it only has two acts instead of three.

Kate Willoughby said...

You're welcome, Pat!

Tamara said...

Glad to see you in the magazine again, Mary Jo. Nice story.

Shyra said...

Great story Mary Jo. I loved the So Cal references since I'm a native. Made me wish I hadn't been such a scaredy cat in my youth and had learned to surf. It also made me feel that maybe it's not too late???? (It is by the way)

Thanks for the advice Kate. I took your class several years ago. It helped me finally sell a story to Woman's World. Which brings up a question I've been meaning to ask you. The contract I signed said they were purchasing "all rights to the material created for this assignment..." does that mean I can't publish it again? Thanks in advance for your help.

Mary Jo said...

Thank you, ladies, for your encouraging words. Shyra, as I read my contract from Bauer, the company buys all rights...in perpetuity. Guess they never know what opportunity might come up in the future.

Patricia does a great editing job and is very writer friendly, so we can all be thankful that she is sitting in the fiction editor's chair.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mary Jo.

Betsi said...

Mary Jo, are you looking at your most recent contract? Because I got one today and it says (as they have again for the past year or two) Bauer "retains First North American Serial Rights."

Mary Jo said...

Betsi, you and Kate stop reading the contract at that point. Read on and you will see that they are buying everything that may be applied in various forms in the future. I do not see anything about Bauer offering more payment if they someday decide to publish an anthology or use a digital form of publishing the story. They have simply bought all those rights in the first place. Do you not agree?

Betsi said...

Yes, I did read it all, and I agree that it says Bauer can do anything they want with the story without any further payment. But North American Serial rights means that we can also re-sell or self-publish the story, which is what Shyra was asking.

Betsi said...

I forgot to add that Shyra, you may have gotten a contract during the period when it was worded differently. I do have two contracts that say Bauer "is purchasing all rights to the material."

Mary Jo said...

Betsi, that's an interesting interpretation of the contract. I wonder if that is Bauer's view. I never saw a contract that stated they were buying all rights. You don't think that the new wording now is just another way of saying the same thing...kinda lawyereze? Has anyone made further use of a WW story published in the magazine?

Betsi said...

All my contracts until mid-2014 said First North American Serial Rights only.Two from 2014 and 2015 specify "all rights." They changed again with the electronic contracts in 2016. They say First North American Serial Rights and then go on to say "as well as worldwide rights to republish." It's clear they have the right to do anything they want with our stories and not pay us again, and I'm fine with that. It's not a book . . . it's not like my 800 word stories are big income generators for anyone.

What isn't clear is what WE can do with the stories once published. If it was just FNAS, the copyright would revert back and we could self-publish or re-sell the story. The additional verbiage muddies the water. Since I have no desire to either self-publish or re-sell the story, I'm not worrying about it. I think that anyone who wants to do that should make inquiries at Bauer.

Sandy Smith said...

I really enjoyed this story, Mary Jo. The younger man, older woman theme is not one I have seen in Woman's World before, so nice way to add a new twist. The surfing theme was also something new. Great job.

Kate Willoughby said...

Sorry I didn't see this until now. The contract verbiage changed for a while. You'll have to look at the contract you signed for each particular story. I THINK they went back to FNAS rights, but I'm not sure. I haven't been published in WW for a while.

SRUN POR said...


Glad to see you in the magazine again..!Thank you for posting this blog.
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