Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Courage to Love by Mary Jo Young

from the May 8, 2017 issue

Tagline: Rita wasn't looking for romance...but it found her when she began to live a more courageous life!

Observations: I liked this story a lot. I just finished editing a story and one of my main suggestions to the author was that she focus more on the main character and give him a character arc--something to get past, like shyness. It really helps people identify with your characters. When we see characters with challenges that we ourselves have battled, we automatically root for them.

I thought the conversation between them flowed naturally, one subject leading into the next. This is another tricky skill that is often challenging to beginning writers. We know, as authors, where we want the conversation to go. We need them to talk about x, y, or z and sometimes an author forces it that way.

For example, girl meets boy at the auto show...

"That's a nice model," Jane says. "It's so sleek and speedy looking."

"It sure is," Richard replied. "I love cars. That's why I come to the auto show, so I can see all the latest models."

Jane sighed wistfully. "I can't afford to get a new muffler on my car."

Whoa. Where did that come from? Maybe we need Richard to find out that Jane is poor and can't afford the upkeep on her vehicle, but do you see how that doesn't flow? Yes, her statement does have to do with cars, but it's out of place.

Another thing I thought was great in this story was the ending. In my class I talk about a plot device to bring your story around full circle, which is having a friend or family member say something sage or repeat a saying and then bring it up again at the end of the story. In this story, Rita's mom said "someone special would come into her life when she least expected it." And at the end of the story Rita realizes her mom was right. But Young went one step further and pulled in the fact that the lecture was about courage. This was very clever because it reminds us that Rita has grown as a person. She's become more daring and it's paying off.

Photo credit: Vee via the Flickr Creative Commons License.


Sandy Smith said...

I don't think I saw this one. I will have to try to find it.

Pat said...

I loved this story. I know when I see Mary Jo's name the story will be great.

Mary Jo said...

Pat, I always knew there was some reason I liked you.