Wednesday, July 10, 2013

July Secret Agent #19

TITLE: A Modern Day Princess
GENRE: MG Fantasy

Please try and forget I’m a princess for a few minutes and put your feet in my shoes. Lots of my friends say they wish they could walk a mile in my glass slippers. But let me tell you a little secret. My shoes are too big for me. I have blisters. And my athlete’s foot is acting up again. Trust me. You don't want my slippers on your feet right now.

Once upon a time, just a few months ago, really, I lived an average, yawn inducing life. I went to school, where I spent most of my time hanging out with my friends, whispering about cute boys and to-die-for clothes, dreaming about what high school would be like.

My closest friends aren’t the popular prissy that prance around the school halls as if they were royalty. Not that any of my friends would ever nominate me Most Likely To Be A Princess. I’ve never wanted to be like the plastic Barbie and Kens or rock star wanna be’s. But I always wanted to at least fit in. I don’t think anyone could blame me for that.

My teachers all said I was fidgety and too talkative. I chattered about everything and came up with too many crazy ideas. So when I started attending the Royal Conservatory, I thought they had picked the wrong girl.

But they hadn't.

And if you can believe it, I’m actually good at this princess stuff. Not that I’m, like, this instant royal or anything.


  1. This is cute and has a lot of voice, but not a lot happens in your first 250. So far, it's just your MC telling us she's a princess.

    I think it could be stronger if you show her at the school, rather than just have her tell us about her friends.

    Good luck.

  2. Agree with K. Callard. I love the voice, though, and I would still read on, but I think you'd have better success if you added more tension. I'm sure it's there, just not in these words.

    But I do like the character already.

  3. I really like your character. I like her voice and I love this line: My shoes are too big for me. I have blisters.

    I do think you can add a bit more tension here, streamline your beginning and up the stakes. But to be honest, I've read plenty of books that started like this and continued reading on - which I would totally do here.

    I like it and I think (most) girls will be able to identify with your MC right off the bat. I certainly did!

  4. I really like your character, and the voice! I'm wondering if she's not royal, how she became a princess, what is the conservatory, etc... I'm in, and waiting for what comes next.

  5. The voice pulls me right into the story. I would keep reading for sure. But I want her main conflict to appear or something to happen to cause tension.

  6. I agree with others about the good voice. Also a modern day princess has a lot of possibilities: sarcasm, humor, adventure. I suggest the first line not be negative. I like the harsh reality of her foot problems. It builds contrast between the fantasy of a princess and reality. There's a lot of internal dialogue without moving the story forward. Maybe an early first-day-at-the-Conservatory scene?

  7. Nothing happens here. After 250 words, I don't know your MC's name or age. I don't where she is or what her world is like. You talk about Barbies and Kens and glass slippers and Royal Conservancies. Are we in a modern world or a modern fantasy world? I don't know what her problem is. What I do know is that she wasn't a princess to start with, and now she is, so the ending has been given away. She was successful. As a reader, all I have to look forward to is how and why that happened.

    I would suggest you rethink the entire opening. Perhaps start where her adventure starts and write it in third person, that way you'll be forced to show us what happens instead of chatting. Once you have a good opening in third person, then rewrite that opening in first person if that's the way you want to go. Try to include name, place, problem and inciting incident on that first page.

  8. I liked this one. Both the voice and story kept me reading.

    The one paragraph that seems a little out of place is the one about the friends. The first sentence seems like too much telling. Consider starting that paragraph with the second sentence, which introduces her friends, but keeps us learning about her. "My friends..."

    We can learn about her friends later, by seeing their actions and hearing their dialogue.

  9. I agree with the others that you have a great voice and idea so you've made a good start. But I also agree about needing more action. You've told us a lot about her before-princess life but that's not the interesting part. Maybe you could show us what she went through to become good at the princess stuff or contrast the before and after.
    You've got a good start with your idea and character. Good luck.

  10. I liked the first paragraph of this. There's a strong voice and a touch of humor, and it promises a fresh spin on being a princess.

    Everything after that is backstory, and it's not a very compelling way to introduce your character. I don't want to know who she used to be, I want to know who she is now. You can show us that she's new to the princess life in half a sentence: "A few months ago, I was hanging out with my friends, whispering about cute boys, and now I'm..."

    This looks like a fun story, so I hope you can make the beginning a real grabber.

  11. I like the voice a lot but I thing you're probabyl starting in the wrong place. This is mostly backstory and you can fill the reader in on that later. On the first page, you need something happening that draws the reader in. It doesn't have to be big, but it needs to be active (I know because I keep forgetting that quite often and have been called out on that in this contest too). Is there something more active on page two? If so, make it page one and move the backstory a little backwards.

  12. I dont have much to add here, everything I thought as I read the opening was raised in the comments. I think princesses will always appeal to girls.

  13. I love the line about your main character’s “slippers” giving her blisters. The premise here is charming (makes me think of the movie The Princess Diaries), but you’re giving us a lot of information all at once. Instead of having your MC tell us that she goes to The Royal Conservatory, why not take us into her world and show her doing something princess-y? Or perhaps give us more background for her fish-out-of-water story – can anyone apply to be a princess? She does seem an unlikely candidate, so more info on how she wound up in princess-training would be helpful. I would recommend holding off on telling us about her previous school, as The Royal Conservatory seems much more exciting!