Friday, November 30, 2012

(22) Lighthearted Women's Fiction: The Princess Paradox

TITLE: The Princess Paradox
GENRE: Lighthearted Women's Fiction

Jaded by fairy tales, Nora Roseberry’s surprised to find herself caught between ‘Prince Charming’ and his brother ‘Prince-Damn-He’s-Charming’. Stick to the story or change the fairy tale ending? Happily ever after just got messy.

I wish I had the guts to tell my best friend I’d rather gouge out my eyes with a cocktail weenie than attend her wedding. Weddings, by nature, raise numerous questions if you’re single. People you don’t even know approach you as if it’s open season on any insensitive question they can muster. Aren’t you involved? Did you just break up with someone? Are you a lesbian?

My answer to all of these was an emphatic “no.” But explaining my feelings to Jillian, well, that just made her want to hook me up with someone even more. Which was why I was sitting here in dressing room I-lost-count, watching her zip up a beautiful Marchesa bridal gown, dreading this whole experience. I knew exactly how today would end.

”Ohmigod, Nora. Look at me.”

”You look…” I nodded, “breathtaking. Really.”

”I do, don’t I?”

”You do.”

She twisted her body, arching her back, and straining her neck to peek at every possible angle reflected in the mirror, patting her body down as she did so. “It really sucks in my fat.”

”You don’t have any fat. You’re like a size two.”

”Whatever. I think this is the one.” Her eyes became teary, her lips puckered. She looked at me, attempting a smile.

”Are you sure? How do you know it’s the one?” I asked. “You’ve tried on a gazillion dresses and I’m pretty sure I heard you swear on your unborn child that you’ve found ‘the one’ at least eight times.”


  1. I think both the logline and excerpt are really strong here. I love the wit of Prince Damn-He's-Charming!

  2. Great logline! "Prince Damn-He's-Charming" is inspired! I think that you could cut, "Stick to the story or change the fairy tale ending?", though. "Happily ever after just got messy" covers the same thought, in my opinion.

    I got a little lost with what was actually happening and what Nora thought would happen. With your second paragraph, you end with "I knew exactly how today would end," but then, after the dialogue, Jillian "twisted her body," so does that actually happen or is it Nora's suspicion on what would happen?

    And I know this is only the first page and there will be more flushing out of Nora's character later, but is there a way to include that she's a little bit happy for Jillian? The opening line is funny but with words like "dreading" and your concluding dialogue line ("Are you sure..."), it seems like she's a bit of a Debbie Downer and, in my opinion, it makes her less sympathetic.

    Overall, the writing is very strong!

  3. Greatest First Line Ever!
    I had to read it aloud to the others at my work (because I am totally slacking off to read these) and it is much loved.

    We will now be mentioning cocktail weenies whenever the bosses ask us to do grunt work.

  4. I don't really read Women's Fic, but I would totally read this! I LOVE the voice in both the log-line and the snippet! I think you have the right balance of snark and charm here. Great job. Let me know when you get published so I can buy the book.

  5. I don't usually read women's fiction either, but your log line made me laugh and I had to read it out loud for my husband and son.

  6. This is fabulous! Love the logline, love the voice, love the premise. Yay! My only tiny thing is that I wondered about using something sharp since a cocktail weenie might just mush into her eye. Maybe the toothpick from the cocktail weenie? Or there's a very high chance I'm just too literal. Either way, I love this one!

  7. I got a chuckle out of Prince Charming v. Prince Damn He's Charming. Nice!

    I also wondered at the cocktail weenie--it seems like a strange thing to jam into your eye.

    Nora became less sympathetic as I read on--it seems like she might feel a pang of jealousy or something else as she watches Jillian try on dresses. I empathize with her, but I'd like it to be a bit easier to find an emotional connection with her.

  8. Let’s just call this what it is: chick lit, or even contemporary romance if you want to avoid the dreaded “c” phrase. And I love chick lit, so this sounds fun. But I want to know more about the conflict in the logline. As it is, it just sounds a little “woe is me, I have two great guys to choose between!” Which isn’t the most compelling story. So tell us what Nora is really up against.

    The tone and voice of the writing are quite good, too. I hate going to weddings, so I can instantly connect with Nora. But the second paragraph is a little confusing. Why is Nora’s answer to the questions just now making her best friend want to hook her up with someone, and wouldn’t her best friend already know those answers? Is Jillian trying to get her a date for the wedding so that people won’t ask those questions? Clarify a bit. And also watch out for making Jillian unlikeable (unless she’s supposed to be the antagonist). She’s already on the verge of annoying with her “I’m fat at size two.” No one wants to hear that, and there are hints of self-centeredness coming through.

  9. I've seen this entry before in other contests. I like the logline - it's catchy. However I don't see a conflict here. Okay, so she probably has to choose between them? But I don't get what is meant by "Stick to the story." Part of me is intrigued, but I'm afraid I'm more confused.

    Regarding the first 250, the cocktail weenie line made me laugh, but I don't see any connection between the logline and the opening excerpt.

    Although the dialog reads well (very realistic) I think it's irrelevant for a first page. I'd much rather have more clarification of Nora's thoughts (from the first 2 paragraphs). The dialog just made the story seem too commercial IMO.

    I agree with Jennie's comment above. Since we don't know anything about Nora (why she's 'jaded'), my first impression of her was that she comes off as cynical (or a little jealous?) but maybe that is exactly how you want her to be perceived. ??

    Sorry to be so nitpicky. Your writing is strong, but I guess I just didn't connect. Good luck to you!

  10. I am with Mindi - I thought your writing was strong, but I didn't connect with the characters. I'd like an idea that something more is going to happen in this book than Nora whining about the wedding while choosing between two great guys?

  11. I love it! only thing that slowed me down was how an eye can be poked out with a cocktail weenie, but i think she's funny and solo in the whirl of weddings and i love the writing!

  12. I absolutely LOVE this entry. It has such a Sex & the City vibe to it. I thought the humor was great, the voice came through perfectly, and I 100% feel as though I know Nora already.

    I wonder about her BFF. She seems annoying. LOL. But I think I was quite annoying as a bride-to-be, so I'll give her a pass. ;) Besides, I like the way Nora interacts with her and tells her what she needs to hear. It shows that Nora is a good friend despite her eye-poking-out tendencies, which adds more depth to her character.

    Great job! Best of luck! I hope to hear your how-I-met-my-agent story soon!

  13. Thank everyone for the comments. They are super insightful and helpful. <3

    Most, if not all, of the questions/concerns raised would be answered within the first five pages. Most sooner than later.

    I intentionally did not begin with tons of inner dialogue. These thoughts come out little by little in an organic way throughout the first chapter.

    As for Jillian, her character is definitely controversial. And the sense you get here is exactly as intended. Nora and Jillian have a complex relationship.

    I also called it lighthearted women's fiction based on a suggestion from an agent. ;)
    Although it seems like it could be, it is not a contemporary romance. It does not follow those guidelines. :)

    As for the conflict, it is hinted at in the logline. She is caught between not only two guys, but between society's obsession with fairy tale endings (what she SHOULD want) and what is actually best for her. Hence the ambivalence about the wedding.

    And I just love the cocktail weenie line. :)

  14. I love this.

    I think what Nora is trying to convey is that she dreads going 'solo' to her friend's wedding, not that she doesn't want to go in general. And she said her friend looks breathtaking. That's not being cynical; that's a wonderful compliment.

    Nora sounds like a fun character with a bit of a wry sense of humor. I would definitely read this.

    Great job, Carey. Good luck with the contest.