Tag Archives | Lindsey Leavitt

Plot Busters – PRINCESS FOR HIRE (part 3)

Let’s see how Leavitt wraps up all the plot threads! You won’t be disappointed.

Break Into Three: (The answer is found.)

After Desi’s dark moment, she and Meredith have a heart to heart. Meredith opens up and shares her past mistakes. Turns out she made mistakes too. As a sub, she fell in love with a prince. Gasp! (My heart went out to Meredith.) We learn that Desi is not only fighting for her job, but she’s fighting to change the philosophy of the entire agency! Talk about potential impact.

Finale: (The whole reason we read the book – the climax.)

This is Desi’s final battle against the villain: the establishment of the Princess Agency and the fact that they think the subs should not make an impact. And Lilith represents this establishment. They go head to head.

Lilith presents video clips of Desi’s worst moments. She cuts Desi down to size. It looks like all is lost. No way will they advance Desi to Level Two.

Meredith arrives with the Princess Progress Reports. We finally find out if Desi’s meddling in Act II paid off. I won’t spoil the great reviews. But let’s just say that Simmy and the Amazon princess approved of Desi’s sub job! Yay!

(Drum roll.) They pass Desi onto Level Two. And they admit that maybe they need to reconsider their philosophy of not trying to make an impact on the princesses.

Final Image:

We come full circle to find Desi back with Celeste, and Hayden. She realizes she’s over Hayden, and she admits it to her friend, Kylee. She is brimming with confidence. She has made a huge impact – on Meredith, on the Princess Agency, and most of all, within herself and her own life. Remember the six flaws from Act 1? We see all of these flaws/problems fixed!

I love that the ending wraps up the outer and inner story beautifully, with enough hints to some major conflict in book 2. I’m not going to share exactly what those are – you’ll have to read Princess For Hire yourself.

And don’t forget Lindsey’s new book coming out in March. Sean Griswold’s Head. And the sequel to PFH, The Royal Treatment comes out in May.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

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Plot Busters – PRINCESS FOR HIRE (part 2)

We’re breaking down PRINCESS FOR HIRE by Lindsey Leavitt in order to apply better structure to our own writing.

Act II is the bulk of the story. Let’s see how PFH holds up, according to Blake Snyder’s beat sheet.

B Story (subplot/love story/internal story/focus on theme)

The B Story offers a breather, a break from the tension of Act I. And it often offers a different set of characters, which this story offers in abundance.

In PFH, we see the start of Desi’s relationship with Meredith, her princess agent. I see this relationship as the “love” story. Meredith is grumpy, snarky and nothing like you’d expect a princess agent to be. (Great surprise and reversal of expectations!)

Fun and Games (Promise of the Premise)

Training: Desi substitutes for a Hollywood star as a Princess Caterpillar at a costume party. (Not exactly glamorous.) After, she meets Lilith, the sweet and kind agent, who is nice to Desi and fills her in on the why and how the whole substitution thing works. (Great explanation of the magic rules.)

Leavitt fulfills the promise of her premise perfectly. After training, Desi experiences a couple princess sub jobs. Her first job is for Simmy, an overweight and bullied princess. Right away, Desi breaks the rules. The substitutes aren’t supposed to act out of character or try and improve the life of the princess. But Desi, wanting to make an impact (remember the theme?), stands up for her princess, with much humor and tension. And we’re left not knowing if Desi made a difference.

Next is the Amazon princess and the tribal dance. And it’s everything you’d imagine it to be. I’ll leave it at that. Except, Desi tries to make an impact and “screws up” again. And we’re left not knowing if she made a difference. Again.


Meredith rescues Desi from her Amazon experience and states that Desi failed. Then, Desi is called to a probation hearing – as in she might get fired for breaking policy. Total game changer, just as a midpoint should be. Yay!

Bad guys close in:

Even though we didn’t have a standard villain in this story, in this next section it feels like it. The tension is upped, and Desi’s wish ‘to make an impact by breaking the princess sub rules’ is put to a test.

After the hearing, she is put on probation and sent home. Again, Desi runs into Celeste, Hayden, and a new cute guy in school. Did I mention it was while she was the pooper scooper in a town parade? Still humble and humorous. After getting dunked in a water tank by Celeste, Desi calls out to Meredith.

Desi is given one last princess sub job for Elsa in the Alps. The stakes are raised in that this is Elsa’s first call for a sub, which means Desi has a chance to earn the position of permanent sub.

Again, Desi tries to help Elsa when her childhood love, Prince Karl, tries to break it off because Elsa isn’t “royal” enough, even though he loves her. In the next six chapters we grow to care about Elsa and her grandmother, Helsa. (You’ll have to read it for the beautiful, moving story)

All is Lost:

Still subbing for Elsa, in a last ditch effort to convince Karl he still loves Elsa, Desi kisses him. Then she is whisked away and goes straight to the court of appeals. Her dark moment is while she is with Meredith in the travel bubble. Desi realizes she could be fired and brainwashed so she’d remember nothing.

Dark Night of the Soul:

Desi realizes she could go back to being a nobody with no impact. This moment is short and sweet but devastating because Desi is not the type of person to be held back.

Next time we’ll talk about the Act III – the part of the story which determines whether readers will read your next book or not. No pressure there! How will PFH hold up? Come back and see.

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PRINCESS FOR HIRE by Lindsey Leavitt is a cute, fun ride with plenty of depth. It lives up to the promise of its title. Join me as I break down Act I – so we can learn and hopefully apply to our own writing. Scroll down for links to Act II and Act III.

Logline: (my words) Small town Idaho girl receives her wish to make an impact when she’s offered the job to substitute for princesses around the world.

  • Strong protagonist? Check. Desi
  • Irony? Check. Right away I can picture the potential scenes for a small town girl trying to survive in the world of royalty.

Is the main character of your current wip the absolute worse possible candidate for the role? Good. If not? Um, fix it.

  • Universal appeal? Big enough for the targeted age. Girls at this age aren’t playing dress up any more. They make fun of Disney princesses, but secretly wish to feel special – like a princess.
  • Antagonist? The Princess Agency establishment and their philosophy of not letting the subs make an impact in the lives of the princesses. And one agent in particular.

Act I

Opening Image: (Tone, style, mood, snapshot of the character’s life.)

Desi works for a mall pet store dressed as a groundhog, passing out coupons. She runs into her ex-friend, Celeste, who makes fun of her. Desi’s voice during this heartbreaking but humorous situation sets the tone. It makes me want to read more.

Funny, funny, funny. I could do a whole post on the genius of this first chapter!

Theme stated: (What is this story really about?)

Check. I found it in Chapter 2, page 15. Desi wishes to be the kind of person who makes an impact. And she humorously adds, and a more glamorous job. Can a small town nobody make a real impact?


  • Hero: Desi
  • Stakes: Her happiness.
  • Outer Goal: Desi wants a fresh start for eighth grade. (Not looking good.)
  • Inner Goal: Desi wants to make an impact, even though her friends and family seem to be against her.


  1. Desi has a miserable job that Celeste (her ex-friend) knows about.
  2. Desi feels like the black sheep of the family – the non beauty queen.
  3. Low self-confidence.
  4. Unrealistic crush on Celeste’s boyfriend, Hayden.
  5. Unwillingness to listen to the voices of reason in her life. (Friend, Kylee; parents)
  6. Needing money for college.

“If the events that follow did not occur, it would pretty much stay this way.” Blake Snyder, SAVE THE CAT.

Catalyst: (The life is about to change moment!)

In chapter 4, Desi takes a bubble bath, and Meredith appears in a bubble (love the play on Cinderella) and offers Desi a job as a princess substitute.

Honestly, I debated whether the catalyst was Meredith arriving in the bubble or when Desi made the wish to make an impact on the fish tank at work. But Blake’s words in SAVE THE CAT when describing the catalyst moment convinced me otherwise. The main character should be asking: Dare I go? Should I go?


PFH is a middle grade novel. And accordingly, the debate section covered the span of about a few pages instead of a few scenes. Meredith asks Desi to sign the contract. Desi has to make the fateful decision.

Break into Act II (The protagonist makes the decision and leaves the old world behind.)

Desi signs the contract and enters the bubble with Meredith. Reader can’t miss that turning point!

I’m sure there are lots of terrific stories where the main character isn’t the worst possible candidate for the role. But how I feel about that would make this post way too long. So maybe another time!  See you next time for Act II!

Click for the breakdown of Act II and Act III.

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