Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Bright New Beginnings

by Debbie Noone from the November 19, 2018 issue

Tagline: When an old flame walks back into Erin's life, she refuses to fall for him again...until his surprising plea melts her heart.

Observations: I have a ton of stuff to do today, so I'm going to do another Stream-of-Consciousness analysis.

Erin March...I'm immediately reminded of the March sisters of Little Women, for some reason, which gives me an idea of writing stories for Woman's World with heroines named after the March sisters. Yeah, my brain is weird.

Gertie smiled, fluttering out from behind the front desk of her yarn shop like a spooked starling.

I really don't know how starlings move, but I can imagine. I always appreciate a good simile in a Woman's World story.

OMG. I love the idea of a yarn shop - even though I am a failed knitter from way back - but when Gertie also holds an Ugly Sweater contest? LOL.

Well, I really should have known it was a second-chance story because of the tagline, but for some reason I was still as surprised as Erin. LOL

Erin plastered on her brightest smile a she pretended not to recognize him.

Again, LOL. I really identified with Erin because I have been in the grocery store and seen someone I didn't really want to talk to for whatever reason and pretended not to see them.

So, it occurs to me that this story has what storytellers tout as a key element of fiction writing - conflict. Erin doesn't like Jake at all, so they are at odds right from the beginning. This can make it "easy" to write the story because "all" you need to do is show her starting to like/forgive him bit by bit.

I've read two thirds of the story now and see that Erin doesn't actually start to like him. More like she remembers how much she liked him before, which isn't quite the same thing. But it works in this story.

Oh, plot twist and more conflict! Enter Daisy, the girl Erin suspected Jake had a crush on, back in the day. I love it.

"I knew the two of you would hook-up if you moved back!"

FYI, my sons (early twenties) have schooled me on the current meaning of hook-up and that I should be super careful about using it. Apparently, this generation equates a hook-up with meaningless sex.

Ah. Daisy isn't the "bad guy" after all. That was resolved quickly, but then it had to because these stories are so short!

Okay, I've finished the story. She forgives him... Honestly, I'm not feeling it. He was scared of the depth of his feelings. I can see how that would happen, but his apology didn't move me. It felt rushed to me.

Photo credit: Casey Fiesler via Flickr CC license


Pat said...

Loved your stream of consciousness on this story. I did like the story also

I can't tell you how many times, while editing two anthologies and many short stories, that I have told writers they have rushed endings. I think rushed ending are common in new writers, but I was surprised here because I've seen this writer's name before in WW.

Kate Willoughby said...

When I'm editing WW stories via my service, many times I pinpoint a key emotional point in the story and telling the writers to beef that up, even if they have to skimp somewhere else.

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