Tuesday, May 30, 2017

First Kiss #11

TITLE: The Shoemaker's Daughter
GENRE: YA Fantasy

Connor and Princess Gianna are friends. When Gianna smashes a magic mirror to break the spell it holds on her mother, she falls into an enchanted endless slumber.  The queen believes Connor is Gianna’s true love because she saw magic when Gianna danced with Connor to save his life.

“I’m not Gianna’s true love.”  Connor protested.

“I’ve seen you dance with her.”  Cassiopeia insisted.   “You are the one who must kiss her.”

Connor followed like a cat being drug toward water, moving forward but with the entire body in reverse.  He sat on the edge of the bed, putting his hands on either side of Gianna.  Maybe first kisses didn’t count if the girl wasn’t paying attention.

Cassiopeia cleared her throat.

He had to do this if it would help Gianna.  He couldn’t think of Lyra now.  He took a large breath, held it and leaned over putting his lips on Gianna’s.  Then he sat up and looked at her face.

“That was completely insufficient.”  Groused the queen.

Connor stared in dismay.  He hadn’t expected a critique. “This is something I don’t have much experience with.”

“Nonsense.”  She responded testily.  “It’s natural.  Quit fooling around.  I’m desperately worried.”

He licked his lips again.  He felt queasy and wondered if he was going to throw up.  Maybe barfing on Gianna would get him out of kissing her.  Maybe it would wake her up.

“Just relax.  Lean in and close your eyes.”  Coached the queen who had sidled up next to him.

The door was flung open.  Prince Denis walked in.  “What are you doing to that boy?”  He stormed.  “You and your wicked fairy godmother rubbish.  Gianna is probably loaded with contagious germs and you’ve got him smearing his lips on her.  He’ll be sick.”

I already am, thought Connor.


  1. I like the pull-and-tug going on between the queen and Connor. However, the dialogue punctuation is very distracting. (Ordinarily dialogue would be followed by a comma that connects it to the tag, e.g.: “Nonsense,” she responded testily.) If this is a deliberate change, I have to say I'm not a big fan of it.

    Aside from that, the scene flows nicely between the two characters and I really like the Prince interrupting at the end. He seems to be a very practical man.

  2. I agree with the first commenter the only critique I have is your dialogue punctuation. I love the dialogue itself and the whole scene I s set up very nicely and places me right in the characters shows. Conners emotions and thoughts come across clearly and I really enjoyed it. Kudos!

  3. An evil queen critiquing a kiss .. now that's the stuff nightmares are made of! Connor held up his end though! I didn't care for the barfing paragraph. Perhaps a bit more of a hint why he was sickened by the thought of kissing her might have made that less off-putting.

  4. This was so cringe-worthy awkward (which it was supposed to be) and I loved it!

    There are a few basic mechanics that could use improvement:
    - The dialog tags punctuation is wrong, should be a comma and the next word if not a name should be lower case. Example: “That was completely insufficient,” groused the queen.
    - Dialogue tags don’t have to stick with just said/asked, however, they should be invisible and using a variety of other tags (protest, insist, groused, responded, coached, etc) doesn’t strength the dialogue and if absolutely necessary, should be used sparingly. Try using action tags. Also, you can’t “storm” a sentence when speaking, that doesn’t make sense.
    - The dialogue is rather stilted, especially from the queen, if she always speaks this way, I wouldn’t mind, but the others are similar.
    - Watch out for filters (wondered, thought) they distance the reader and tend to be a sign of telling.

    Overall, this works. I’m on Connor’s side, and I laughed out loud, especially at the end. (Oh, and is the queen supposed to be evil? I wasn't sure, I really wanted her to be, it'd make this scene all the more delightful.)

  5. I thought the scene worked. If there had been no lead in, I still would have gotten what was going on. Good job there!

    I didn't think comparing Connor to the cat worked, simply because he was following the queen while the cat had to be dragged. Perhaps the queen has his arm and is pulling him along?

    You might cut 'putting his hands etc.' Unnecessary. Putting his lips on Gianna's could be phrased better. Touched his lips to hers? Try to use strong verbs.

    He can't lick his lips 'again' if he never licked them in the first place. Cut 'again.'

    This was a fun excerpt. It made me wish there was more.

  6. Thanks for the very helpful comments. You've given me some great specific feedback that will help me make this better. I appreciate your time.

  7. ["Connor followed like a cat being drug toward water, moving forward but with the entire body in reverse.]

    Similes are like jokes: if you have to explain them, they don't work. Your simile works, so don't explain it. Trust your reader.

    [if the girl wasn’t paying attention.]

    She's asleep, not preoccupied. I understand what you mean, but there's a better way to put it.

    The awkwardness in this scene is fantastic and I definitely feel for poor Connor!