Thursday, April 15, 2010

Eleventy-One winner and fairytale fractured!

I'm tickled to be chosen as second runner-up in Laurel Garver's Eleventy-One Celebration. I've won a critique from Laurel, which makes me go squee, but I'm also honored to be part of what she's doing.

Laurel named this contest after Bilbo Baggins' 111 birthday in order to celebrate a milestone of her own. Laurel always comes up with thoughtful and thought-provoking ideas, so for this contest she requested scenes that are dialogue-driven and feature persuasion and negotiation.

I sifted through my manuscripts and came up with a scene in a fractured fairytale I wrote called "Princess Charming."

Laurel and I are running the snippet simultaneously, but please visit Laurel's blog for her insights on craft, which are worth your time. And please return to read her other winners during this week. (Addendum: Oh, my. I just came back from reading what Laurel wrote about this piece, and I'm almost speechless. Thank you, Laurel!)


Alphonse Mucha's Princess Hyacinth seems to have an appropriate attitude to illustrate my scene. This is meant to be fun, so I hope you enjoy!


The princess entered the Grand Hall. This being a formal occasion she wore a multi-layered, buttercup-yellow silk gown, which she smoothed nervously.

All heads turned in her direction. She curtsied toward the far end of the hall where her father and mother sat on gilded thrones, wearing their gold-thread brocades and crowns inlaid with rubies and emeralds. In their private quarters, her father called her "Charms" and would pad about in warm slippers. But this was Court.

"Princess Charming, come forward," called King Ormond.

Charming wondered if she would've had to bow instead of curtsy if he'd commanded her to come in knight's armor. Thank goodness she didn't have to clank and clunk across the room.

At the foot of the dais, she curtsied again.

"Princess Charming, you soon turn seventeen and take on your destiny. We wish to give our royal blessings for undertaking the long and difficult journey ahead of you."

Charming's stomach lurched. "If you please, sire, I am not sure that particular destiny is really mine. It's such an ancient legend and probably just a tall tale. And, well, times change."

King Ormond scowled. "We've discussed this before, Princess. It's been reliably foretold that you will leave your home and find an enchanted castle hidden for two hundred years and break the curse upon it."

Charming looked to her mother and saw eyes filled with tears. But they did not fall. The Queen would never let loose a tear in public.

"But I've never gone beyond the local township and know nothing about lands afar. I might get lost."

"You should have paid more attention to your geography lessons. Ever since you could talk you've been told you have a destiny to fulfill. If you don't attend to your training, it's your own fault."

Charming tried a different approach. "Please, Father, don't send me into the wilds alone. What if I'm attacked by a bear? Or fall into any abyss?"

The queen sucked in her breath, barely audible but, still, a crack in the veneer. The king, on the other hand, jabbed his finger in Charming's direction. "I've spent a small fortune on you--trick riding, broadswords, jousting, close-encounter dagger fighting. By now, you should be prepared for anything."

"But it's all academic, isn't it? I've sparred with teachers and boys from court, not dragons or ogres or whatever."

"Enough!" King Ormond slapped a hand on the arm of his chair. "What is it you don't understand about destiny? It can not be argued with, ignored or circumvented. It will happen, no matter what you do to try to avoid it."

Charming's heart beat a rapid tapping in her chest. Her mouth was dry. She swayed, feeling a tad dizzy. He really meant to send her away!

The king's expression softened. "Only you can bring good fortune on us. After all, it was your great-great-great-etcetera-grandmother, on your mother's side, mind you, who was related to the witch-woman that caused this mess, putting a spell on a poor prince. So really, it is up to you to set it straight and remove this shadow from our realm. Go with our blessing."

"Huzzah! Princess Charming!" cheered the courtiers.

When she turned to acknowledge them, she saw through the open doors that servants were dancing in the corridor. It was one thing for it to be her destiny. But now it seemed she was responsible for the future well-being of all her people.

She had no argument for that.


Unknown said...

Great job! I loved it. I used to read a lot of YA fantasy. This makes me realize just how much I enjoyed reading it. I love stories about princesses.

Bish Denham said...

Love it! And congratulations!

Laurel Garver said...

Thanks again for entering, Tricia! It's a really fun piece, as well as a good demonstration of ways to frame persuasion.

Linda Kage said...

How fun. Love the excerpt. My favorite line was "it was your great-great-great-etcetera-grandmother, on your mother's side, mind you, who was related to..."

Can't wait till this book comes out so I can read it!

Anonymous said...

Ha, I love it! Funny too :D And big time congratulations! And wow, that critique of the story is brilliant too! You did a fantastic job and it's awesome seeing it broken down as to exactly why. I'm sure your prize from her is going to be well worth it! Congrats!!!

storyqueen said...


this is lovely and fun! I would have read on and on and on.


Claire Dawn said...

Well, that's an original concept!

Nice job!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Well done, Tricia! I love it. You are a great talent! :-)

Julie Dao said...

What a fun story, Tricia! I want more more more!

Donna said...

Go, Princess, go!

Natalie said...

This is awesome Tricia. I love fractured fairy tales and I was crazy about them when I was a kid. I love the idea that she's forced to go out and live her "destiny" just to please the people too. It's a great premise.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Stina: I remember as a child pouring over an old-fashioned storybook that had a picture of several princesses together in different colored dresses. I used to wonder which I would rather wear. I love fairytale princesses, too. And, thank you so much.

Thanks, Bish!

Laurel: I can hardly thank you enough for this opportunity. You are a peach!

Linda: Thank you, friend! I loved that line, too, but wondered if people would go for its run-on-ness.

Wen: It makes me smile that you found it funny cuz you are queen of the funny. Aren't Laurel's comments amazing? I learn a lot from her posts.

Shelley: Oh, my, thank you. :D
I guess I'm going to have to dust this one off and make it query ready. It's been tucked away for awhile.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Claire: Yay, I'm glad you like it.

Shannon: *blushes* Thank you!

Julie: I had shelved this one although it was complete. I think I will give it a make-over and maybe query it. I wasn't sure anyone would be interested in a fractured fairytale, but maybe I'm wrong.

Thanks for the encouragement, Donna.

Natalie: Welcome back, my friend. I'm so pleased to hear you like the premise. I loved it when I wrote it and then thought nobody would really be interested. So I think I'll dust it off.

Unknown said...

Love it! And big congrats to you. :)

Stephanie Thornton said...

Congrats! This is a really fun piece!

sarahjayne smythe said...

Congrats to you. This is a great piece. :)

Angela Ackerman said...

You did a great job here! And such a great idea for a contest, too.

TerryLynnJohnson said...

hello fellow SCBWI member. found you through Paul's blog. New follower!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Karen, Stephanie & sarahjayne: Thank you all so much!

Angela: Thank you. Isn't it a great contest? Laurel is very creative in her ideas.

TerryLynn: Hi there! So glad you stopped by. I'll come for a visit.

Jemi Fraser said...

Awesome!! Congrats :)

Eva Porter said...

I read this at Laurel's site and really enjoyed it--great voice and characterization. I also liked the idea of the "gender flip" where a Princess has to awake a Prince. well done!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Thanks, Jemi!

Hi EP, welcome and thank you so much! I'll come by for a visit, too.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Good job, Tricia! Congratulations. I loved, "it was your great-great-great-etcetera-grandmother."

VR Barkowski said...

Congratulations and well done, Tricia! I, too, loved fractured fairy tales as a kid, and this is a delightful piece.

L.T. Elliot said...

Very fun, Tricia! I love how you've switched the role of charming and beauty. I'd like to see how this one ends!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Thanks Yvonne and VR!

LT: I had fun writing it--the twist continues. Thank you.

Sherrie Petersen said...

Cool story! Congrats on the win :)

Talli Roland said...

Congrats. Really enjoyed reading this! :)

Victoria Dixon said...

This was a fun entry, Tricia. Thanks for coming by my blog to say hello, too. I really appreciated it and the following. :)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Thanks, Sherrie!

Hello Talli. So pleased to have you drop by and thank you!

Victoria: Hi and welcome. I enjoyed your entry, too, and look forward to following!

Elana Johnson said...

I saw that yesterday! Congrats to you. :)

Alyson said...

Congrats and what a great snippet! I love the idea of Princess Charming. Thanks for commenting and following, too!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Hi Elana! Thank you, friend.

Alyson: Thank you so much, and thanks, too, for the follow. :D

Janet Johnson said...

You should definitely dust it off. Fun piece! Congratulations!

Carolina M. Valdez Schneider said...

Congratulations, Tricia! so beautiful and fluid. I LOVE the notion of a Princess Charming, by the way. What a strong heroine, facing difficult odds. To think her father has prepared her so well for nothing. Well done.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Janet: Thank you, and welcome!

Carol: Oh, thanks so much. I think the Princess is getting some more attention from me.