The Writer’s Voice Contest – #152

Entry # 152

Title: The Fallen Princess
Genre: YA Fantasy Romance
Word count: 85,000

Sent away at age sixteen to serve as an artist in a foreign ruler’s court, Princess Delfina is eager to leave her uncle’s palace. Not only will she get to use her training as a painter of illuminated manuscripts, but she will delay the looming threat of an arranged marriage. The price to be paid for such an opportunity? She must gather information for her uncle, the ruling Khan of Karavai. No easy task, since she is expected to charm Prince Darclor—one of the Khan’s worst enemies—into sharing his secrets.

When Delfina meets the handsome young prince, she is surprised at the powerful attraction she feels for him. But as long as he poses a threat to her homeland, she cannot risk falling in love with him.

Upon learning she must return home, to marry an aging, half-crazed monarch, Delfina runs away in desperation. Only too late does she learn that her uncle offered her up to Darclor instead, to secure an alliance between their kingdoms. And when Darclor captures her, seeking revenge for the humiliation she caused him, Delfina must find a way to win back his heart, or risk losing her freedom forever.

First 250:

The door to the palace workshop burst open, disrupting the silence of the afternoon. I looked up to see one of the younger apprentices standing there.

“The Khan is coming! He’s coming for his inspection!” The boy leaned forward, hands on his knees, breathing heavily.

My stomach twisted in knots. My uncle was coming. Now. And I was in no state to greet him. “I thought he wasn’t due to visit until next week.”

“No, he’s on his way. He’ll be here soon. Within minutes!”

Master Giordani strode to the center of the room and clapped his hands together. “On your feet! Put everything away except the pages for the Khan’s book. Fetch them from the shelves and place them on the center table. Hurry!”

Without hesitation, all of us—the apprentices, calligraphers, and senior artisans—were up and moving. To the untrained eye, the studio appeared a chaotic mess, the wooden tables crowded with paper, reed pens, brushes, and oyster shells filled with oil paints. Every bit of it was essential for our work, but the Khan would regard it as clutter.

Giordani reviewed the pages, nodded in approval, and then ordered everyone to stand in line. When he saw me lingering by the shelves, he came over to me.

“Delfina, you need to join the others,” he said.

“I don’t think I should. If I leave now, you won’t be blamed for my appearance.” I wound my finger around a stray curl—one of many that had escaped from under my headscarf.





24 thoughts on “The Writer’s Voice Contest – #152

  1. Seen this around the internet, I think? MSFV maybe? LOVE the sound of it though, especially the illumination training. So wonderful. Good luck!

    1. Thanks, Marieke! I’m not sure what MSFV was, but I was in an earlier Cupid contest (Blind Speed Dating) in February.

    1. Thanks, Tina. I studied Islamic Art History at UCLA. And I actually met with a modern-day miniature painter when I was living in India.

  2. I like the way you show the political machine, present always in the “you do this for me and I’ll do this for you” with nothing more than a simple allusion to how she will be forced to spy to delay her unwanted marriage.
    Nice stuff, good luck!

  3. Hi Carla,
    I saw your email on the FF&P loop and I too am in the contest. 🙂 I wanted to stop by and wish you luck. Your story sounds so interesting. Especially where she has to woo back the Prince. Again – good luck!!
    ~tosha (TL Sumner #132)

  4. I liked it! I was sincerely intrigued by when the 250 ran out and I wanted more to read, lol.

    Good luck in the contest!

    Summer – #40

  5. Illuminated manuscripts? Historical fiction with intrigue and romance? I want to read your book! 🙂

  6. I LOVE this one. Something about the use of language in the first 250 really puts me into the scene~ the world-building is subtle, but so rich. Wishing you the best of luck with this!

  7. Carla, I want you! I’m getting here a little late, but I just wanted you to know how excited I am to have you and THE FALLEN PRINCESS on my team. I love the world you’ve created–it has a cool GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS vibe–and I especially love Delfina. I’ve never heard of an illuminated-manuscript-making princess before, but now I can’t wait to meet her. Also, I love the sense of urgency and impending doom in your the first page.

    I think we can tweak the query a little, just to give the characterization a little stronger punch. If you add a line or two that will help us sympathize more with Darclor, I think that will go a long way. But it’s nothing major. On the whole, I think this entry is already quite strong as it is.

    Welcome to the team! We’re looking forward to having you!

  8. I don’t usually read Romance (too girly heh heh)
    But this actually sounds really interesting!
    Welcome to Team Krista!

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