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Royal Writing Tips

Writing and Princess Diaries. Two of my favorite things!

 

Anyone who knows me in real life or has been following along online for awhile, knows what a massive Fairytale Fan I am!

What can we learn, as writers, from examining various Disney tales?

 

Well, sharpen your sparkly pencils and hold onto your tiara’s, because we’re about to find out!

 

Today we’re going to look at Disney’s Princess Diaries! AKA, The-Best-Movie-On-The-Planet-And-If-You-Haven’t-Seen-This-What-Are-You-Doing-With-Your-Life!?

 

Yeah, that movie. 

1. What Lie Does Your Character
      Believe About Herself?

In Princess Diaries, Mia believed she wasn’t beautiful. She wasn’t special, wasn’t brave, wasn’t lovely…wasn’t much of anything. She believed that she was invisible, and that nobody liked her. Completely raw and real emotions and feelings for a fifteen-year-old girl! The lies she battled with in her mind made her totally relatable, and the way she eventually conquered these lies made her (hashtag) goals, right?!

So what lie does your character believe about herself? Plaguing your protagonist with a completely believable lie about herself, her abilities, and her world, is a solid way to flesh out your character and cause your readers to adore her.

2. Conflict Between the Unbreakable Allies

Mia and her Mom experienced some major conflict. You know, the kind of conflict that arises after you discover your Mother hid a secret from you for fifteen years of your life!

Mia and Lilly (my personal favorite character, hehe!) also encountered emotional terrain far more intense than anything they climbed their scooters up!

 

Creating conflict between close knit relationships is a great way to cause readers to bite their nails, bounce anxiously up and down on the couch, and hope that their favorite characters mend things ASAP!

3. A Fizzy Haired, Plaid-Skirt-Wearing,
              Fish Out of Water!

Fish out of water stories. They’ve been done thousands – no, millions of times. Disney is especially gifted at cranking out these kind of tales. Characters who are ripped from their element, and forced to navigate an unknown world. Will they fail, or fly? And why is it that every time, even though we’ve seen these stories done over and over again, we STILL care? We still want to cheer for them! We still want our protagonist to rise and conquer!
 

Whether Rapunzel’s been released from her tower, Dory’s looking for her parents, a bunny is fighting to become a police officer, Mulan’s struggling to win a war, the Little Mermaid is wobbly on her new legs, Wendy’s lost in Never Land, or a shy science-nerd is singing with the cutest guy at East High… are you sensing a pattern?


Even though Fish out of Water stories can be labeled as cliche, if you’re sneaky enough about how you approach them, you can send your main character on a similar journey, without causing your readers to roll their eyes and feel like they’ve read this story before. Star Wars, The Hobbit, The Avengers, all your favorite movies tend to run with this similar story line, don’t they?


Why?


Because a fish out of water story (done the right way!) powerfully resonates with both readers and viewers. We desire to cheer for the protagonists success, because at the end of the day, deep down in our souls, we’re all hoping for the same success in our own lives.


We want to defy the odds, slay the giant, and come out as victors! As we travel the path of pursuing our own
dreams, we can all feel like an awkward mermaid on wobbly legs, or an insecure, plaid-wearing-school-girl expected to behave like a dazzling, sophisticated Princess.


Fish out of water stories speak deeply to our human condition, because it’s a universal truth that everyone can agree with: we all want to be great, but we must battle and overcome fears, insecurities, and mental lies in order to do so.


If stories like these remind us (even in a totally cheesy way) that we can rise and conquer, it’s no wonder we keep coming back for more, and asking for sequels!

          4. The Under-Rated Hero

Oh boy, there’s nothing quite like the under-rated hero! Especially if he’s a handsome, thoughtful, heartbreakingly-dismissed gentlemen like Michael Moscoviz!

Seeing Mia brush Michael away like an annoying fly on the wall, evokes SO much emotion and empathy for this guy!

 

So how can you create an under-rated hero like Michael, for your story? It’s important that you give this character some really shining, admirable qualities. Highly admired human character traits that poke through every now and then, just in the perfect moment, giving us a tiny sneak peek at the potential power this character could have to change the whole course of the story.

 

And then, in the spectacular climax, give your under-rated hero an opportunity to show what they’re made of! The fangirls will be tripping over themselves, applauding wildly as the under-rated hero rides in and saves the day!

     5. Multi-Generational Relationships

One of my favorite memories about Princess Diaries is watching it with my Mom and Grandmother. We excitedly flocked to the theater when Princess Diaries 2 came out, and we made a girl’s day out of it. That was extremely special for me, because it was the only movie I ever saw in theaters with my Grandmother, who later died of cancer.

I remember grinning ear to ear because I thought it was SO fun that all three of us could enjoy this movie together. I loved hearing my Grandma laugh (probably just as much as Mia did!) and to me, that proves the power of multi-generational relationships within storytelling.

 

Mia and Grandmother Clarisse’s relationship was very unique. Crafting a story with grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Moms, Dads, long-lost cousins…any kind of multi-generational relationships always add so much dynamic!

 

While it might be challenging to create a character as epic as Queen Clarisse (yeah, good luck with that, haha!) giving characters relationships with those older and wiser than them are always such a smart (and strong) move!

      6. Shattered Hopes and Dreams

Ah, nothing like some good ole’ heartbreak to make your story really hit home.
 

Giving your character a highly anticipated hope or dream, and then completely ruining it for them, might sound a tad bit cruel. But it’s not cruelty. It’s reality. In life, we all face situations in which we thought we would be completely wonderstruck, only to discover that particular dream or moment isn’t everything our little imaginations told us it would be.


A prime example of this, is Mia’s first kiss.


After all, what girl doesn’t have lofty, whimsical, completely unrealistic expectations about what that moment could and should be like? Mia has an adorable little fantasy built up in her mind, thanks to old-school black and white movies. She thinks her leg will magically “pop!” upward as she’s entranced with the magic of her first real kiss.


But when she finds herself about to kiss her dream boy, and her leg is stuck in fishing net? UGH. Totally un-romantic! Then, que the paparazzi, questionable pictures, the media spinning everything out of control, and jerk boy abandoning her…yeah, talk about heartbreak.


Mia’s dreams of finding true love are shattered.


UNTIL…yeah, you know how this ends, folks.  (And if you don’t, you need to go watch this movie RIGHT NOW.)


Giving your protagonist a false idea of what their dream moment will be like once they find true love, achieve their dreams, or accomplish their goal – then writing the exact opposite! – is a great way to add interest and emotion to your tale!


Just remember not to leave your readers on a completely depressed note, or else they will chuck your book out the window. (At least, I would!)


Note: If you’re going to utterly destroy their dream, please fulfill it with some kind of heart-soaring satisfaction in the end. K? Thanks. 

       7. That "Proud Mama" Moment

We all want a protagonist we can cheer for. A hidden hero we can believe in, then totally freak out when she finally shows up, conquers those lies, beats the enemy, and inspires us all!

The strongest of tales are sure to have this moment. I like to call it, the “Proud Mama” moment. The moment we feel like this world is going to be in good hands, if only there are people like our protagonist out there!

 

Mia’s moment happened when she arrived at the Press Conference, claimed her crown, and gave the world an inspiring speech about how we each need to stop thinking so much about ourselves, and focus on caring for the people around us.

 

Lilly clapped. Michael clapped. We all clapped!

End your epic story with a touching moment of and your story is sure to inspire and encourage others!

     The Coronation

Read Now!

​   “This book was so cute! The characters are priceless and unique, the premise is lovely, and the faith-filled themes cut right to the heart. A must-read for fans of sweet, thoughtful, Christian romance with a touch of royal sparkle!”
 

~Abbie Emmons

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