Thursday, January 14, 2016

Talkin' Heads #1

TITLE: A Rather Unusual Shoe
GENRE: YA - Fairy Tale

Prince Gareth and Lily are riding in a carriage. He’s mad because she just tried to sabotage his marriage plans, and she responded to the accusation by throwing a tray of cakes at him.

“I’m so sorry,” she gasped.

Gareth licked whipped cream from the back of his hand. “For telling me to pick Theodora or for giving me a lesson in cake decorating?”

She swallowed. “Both.”

“Tell me why you did it.”

Lily lifted her chin. “She would’ve been perfect for you. She’d have fawned over you and told you everything you wanted hear. She would’ve curtsied and smiled when it was appropriate and never made you angry.”

“And you would be free of this mission. Is that what you wanted?”

She crossed her arms and looked out the window. “I never wanted to come, you knew that.”

“And yet you did.”

Her lips tightened, but she said nothing.

“Why did you come, Lily?”

“You ordered me to.”

“Why else?”

Her chin quivered. “The kingdom needs a queen.”

“You’re lying. You came because you wanted to go south.”

She flinched, and he knew he was right.

“What’s in the south, Lily? Your shoemaker?”

“My- what?” She blinked at him.

The idea tore him from the inside. “Your shoemaker. He left to work for another shop in the south, and you’re following him, aren’t you? You said you kissed him.”

A white smear of frosting looked brilliant on her scarlet face. “I kissed him goodbye, Highness. On the cheek. As a friend.”


She smiled wickedly. “It was the glassmaker’s apprentice I kissed.”

“Oh, well.” Gareth waved a hand to hide his flush. “He kisses everyone.”


  1. This is fun and engaging and I enjoyed the banter between Gareth and Lily. In just a few short sentences you've managed to make it clear Gareth likes Lily himself, and left the reader guessing at her feelings for him, and for the shoemaker AND the glassmaker's apprentice. So much potential for conflict here as they try to sort this out.

    I have only one potential change to point out. Sometimes mentions of Lily's body language interrupt the flow of the dialogue. Count how many you have in this short piece. I see ten. Which are the most telling about her character and which are just taking up space? I would definitely take out the line about her chin quivering. That applies she's about to burst into tears and she doesn't strike me as the type.

    Best of luck!

  2. Great exchange.

    I wasn't sure why Lily lifted her chin and agree that the quivering chin may not be the best action right there. I don't think she's about to cry, more so she's considering a lie - but that's the problem, I'm not sure.

    Also, I think you're missing a word: 'idea tore him from the inside' needs an 'at' after 'idea' IMO

  3. I agree with Jenny C up there. Cut out about 75% of Lily's body language, and this will be super cute. Love it!

  4. I think you've done a great job of showing us a lot about your characters. I really like the descriptions and the tension between the two. But, I'm a little confused as to their relationship. She seems to have a lot of pluck in some instances, but in others I feel her doubt. Would she be so contrite about throwing the cakes? Or might she apologize out of duty but still find it funny? Also, I sort of get the feeling that she has strong feelings for him, but it also seems she demeans him in her statements about Theodora being perfect for him.

    Of course, it's quite difficult to get a good feel for the characters in such a minute snippet of text. Overall, I did enjoy it quite a bit.

  5. I enjoyed this! Anything I would suggest is nitpicky; for your consideration:

    the "licked whipped" tripped me up at first; it's whipped cream, but the two -ed words strung together caused me to pause; consideration to change up phrasing.

    It wasn't until "the idea tore him from the inside" that I knew whose POV we were in. While this is only a snippet and you don't have to be overkill here, using your POV character to shed more insights can deepen characters beyond a more neutral viewing of a conversation. How does he feel when he is licking whipped cream? Is he furious? Amused? Embarrased? Any hints of that you can show gives us a deeper picture.

    Nice work!

  6. I have to agree with everyone else on how engaging this conversation is. I didn't like the lifted the chin - it stopped the flow of the dialogue for me.

  7. Thanks everyone, lots of good advice! The POV in the whole story is his (thinking I may even switch to 1st person), so that should be okay. To answer a couple other questions- after her fit of temper, Lily is a bit horrified to realize what she's done, which is why she starts with an apology. No, she is not the type to cry, but she's about to and it's going to stun him. This scene is a huge turning point in their relationship.