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Hello to everyone from the Beginning Writers class! Since the class has ended, I have been working on a romance short story. The story needs to meet specific criteria. The criteria of the story are as follows:

1. Romance story of 800 words
2. Stories must revolve around a compelling, true-to-life relationship dilemma; may feature a female or male protagonist; and may be written in the first or third person. Characters may be married, single, divorced or widowed; should be down-to-earth (no yuppies or jet-setters); and their dilemma should be poignantly or humorously conveyed
3. Think carefully about a story's setting, mood and plot, and tell the story with interesting action and dialogue. Every sentence, paragraph, and scene of the story should deliver more information about your characters and their situation and/or briskly advance the storyline.
4. No stories involving life-or-death matters, nor fluffy, flyaway-style romance
5. When we say romance, what we really mean is relationship--whether it's just beginning or is about to celebrate its 50th anniversary. The emphasis in our stories is on real life

My short story as as follows. I would welcome any feedback (negative or positive). Thanks so much:

Amy steeled herself as she prepared to bring up the topic one last time. Why won’t he just commit, she wondered to herself.
Amy and Todd had been dating for over five years. Those years had been full of love and laughter. Yet still no marriage proposal.
Well, now Amy had a whole speech prepared in her mind on the subject, and she needed to know once and for all if their future included a lifetime together.
Her green eyes clouded over as she recalled the other times that she had broached the same topic, always with the same reply. “What’s the rush?” Todd would say. “You know how I feel about you.”
As Todd entered the room, Amy remembered the first time they had met in their junior year of college. His wavy light brown hair, deep blue eyes and engaging smile had immediately drawn her to him. The immediate friendship that had formed between them had quickly blossomed into more as they became inseparable.
He sauntered over to her and playfully ruffled the soft blonde curls on her head. “Are you ready to go yet?” he asked.
“I’m ready. Are you?” Amy answered with her own question, the double meaning lost on him.
“You don’t seem very excited about the day we have planned,” he said warily.
“There’s something important that I need to talk to you about. I really need to know how you feel and what your thoughts are about us and the future,” she said.
Amy found herself wishing for something different than the standard reply she had heard before.
“Come on, Amy, let’s just enjoy the day together. I promise that we can talk about this later on,” he replied.
“Will you promise that we will talk about this before the end of the day?” she asked.
“That is a promise that I can make,” Todd replied as he presented her with his best disarmingly boyish grin.
With resignation, Amy put on her lightweight blue windbreaker. Unwilling to spoil the fun day they had planned to go browsing through the antique shops on nearby Main Street, she decided the speech she had planned could wait until later. Looking into the face of the man she loved so deeply, she forced a smile.
For a while now, Amy had been ignoring the advice of her friends who kept telling her it was time to move on. She knew that for the time being she would keep enduring the wait for him to make a commitment – if it ever even happened. Amy couldn’t imagine her life without Todd, but doubts began to form making her think that maybe he didn’t feel the same way.
As their day unfolded, Amy was able to forget her worries and enjoy walking through the quaint shops filled with interesting relics. They had browsed through the antique shops several times in their hometown, but each visit seemed to end with the purchase of a new and interesting treasure.
Todd put his arm around Amy’s shoulders as they leisurely strolled down the sidewalk towards the next store.
“It looks like we’ve made it to our favorite shop,” Todd said.
The door to the local cupcake bakery beckoned and was always on the list of stops to make whenever they shopped in that area. Once inside, Amy peered into the bakery case. The cupcakes were always so big and decadent, and it was hard to choose which one to try next.
“Why don’t we try the new strawberries and cream flavor they have?” Todd suggested.
Before waiting for her response, he placed an order for two of the cupcakes. The cashier handed him one of the cupcakes. With great care, Todd placed the cupcake in Amy’s hands.
A bright sparkle caught her eye as she glanced down at the cupcake. Surprised to see writing on it, Amy read its message – “Marry Me”. Nestled in the icing on the cupcake next to the writing sat a brilliant diamond solitaire on a shiny thin gold band.
Amy’s breath caught in her throat. He had kept his promise about talking about the future before the end of the day, but this was a response that she could never have dreamt of.
Taking the cupcake from her trembling hands, Todd gently removed the ring from off of the cupcake. Bending on one knee and taking Amy’s hand, he asked the question she had longed to hear.
“Will you marry me?” he asked.
With tears falling down her cheeks, she replied, “Yes, I will!”
Todd then placed the ring – icing and all – on her finger. Wrapping her arms around him, never before had she felt so happy or so sure about anything. This precious moment had been well worth the wait.

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Post on Sat Jun 23, 2012 4:53 pm  WWGrace

Hi. Glad to see you here!

Here are my thoughts:

It seems
like I have read this before...maybe part of it was for the class and I
read it there. My memory seems to lure me, vaguely, to another website I
visited sometime in the past.

The opening paragraph seemed a little choppy, these sentences in particular:
Amy and Todd had been dating for over five years. Those years had been
full of love and laughter.

I would want to combine those into something like: Amy and Todd had
been dating for 5 years, a span filled with joy. All the little things and all the big moments that filled those days were a lavish spread of love and laughter.

Your piece is structurally good, and the grammar is fine, but there's some sense of depth that I feel is lacking. Maybe a reminiscence, an active memory-scene, instead of the words spent on the advise of friends ("For a while now, Amy had been ignoring the advice of her friends....") to show why Amy couldn’t imagine her life without Todd,

This is a great opportunity to respond with a bit of writing on my part.

Thank you for sharing! I will give myself a week to see what I can do with these parameters.

Oh! By the way-- did you see the DIY class/syllabus/text/notes/etc in The World of Ideas category on this forum? I just ordered my copy of the book, and will soon begin working through the course. Vahlent is in, too. Check it out and see if it sounds like fun. MIT has a selection of courses available, free, to anyone with an internet connection, and this is one of them. Also, if you haven't read it, in that category (The World of Ideas) is a link to a great piece on narrative distance. I love it so much I'll read it again!

It's most assuredly 100 degrees (105.3° to be precise) so, keeping my word, I am back to writing.



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