This #WIPpet Wednesday: Glass slippers for a prince — and the consequences

I’m still working on (hopefully final) revisions for Island of Glass. With my daughter visiting, there’s a lot less time for writing and translating, and the translation job has to come first. So this week, my WIPpet will again be from my glassmaking fairy tale.

Last week, someone said they would love to see the shoes, and I promised to provide a description. Now this is certainly a lovely glass slipper, but Chiara’s is even cooler:

Glass slipper art

I want to provide the description of Chiara’s art, but at the same time, I want to move the story forward a little bit. So this week I’m going to give you two short excerpts from the novella, 4 paragraphs each for the month, 4 from the completion of the glass shoes, and 4 from the scene of the prince’s reaction to the gift:

“Pasquale, could you heat the millefiori rod for me? I want to make a rosette for the front of the shoe.”
He grinned and pulled on an apron. “As the maestra commands.”
She extended the shoe into the heat again, while Pasquale prepared the rod that would become its laces.
When both of the glass evening slippers were completed, the workers in the hot shop stood back, admiring Chiara’s art. The blue glass of the shoes were decorated with glittering gems of clearest cristallo, and the rosettes at the front made of a mosaic of pure, colorless glass, combined with slices of colorful millefiori. The strips appeared tied together with the carelessness of a real shoe. The red heels had the exact curve of the elegant slippers preferred by the nobility of Venice.

So those are the glass slippers, and this is the way the prince reacts after receiving them. This snippet comes directly after the one I provided last week:

Chiara blushed, glancing at her footmen, his guards, and his secretary. They all stared into the distance with that lack of expression servants cultivated, as if they didn’t hear a thing. She knew that wasn’t true. Although the prince’s words had not been loud, they were easily audible to all in the room. But footmen and guards obviously did not matter to him — he treated them as little more than pieces of furniture.
He noted the direction of her gaze. “Do you want me to send them away?”
“No, please do not for my sake.” She tried to keep any hint of panic out of her voice.
He chuckled, placing the second slipper next to its mate on the gilded side table. “Most young women scheme for the opportunity to be alone with a prince of La Serenissima. Yet here you are, offered the chance, and you turn it down.”

WIPpet Wednesday is the brain child of K. L. Schwengel. If you’d like to participate, post an excerpt from your WIP on your blog, something that relates to the date in some way. Then add your link here — where you can also read the other excerpts. :)

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About Ruth Nestvold

Ruth Nestvold's short fiction has appeared in numerous markets, including Asimov's, F&SF, Baen's Universe, Strange Horizons, Scifiction, and Gardner Dozois's Year's Best Science Fiction. Her fiction has been nominated for the Nebula, Tiptree, and Sturgeon Awards. In 2007, the Italian translation of her novella "Looking Through Lace" won the "Premio Italia" award for best international work. Her novel Flamme und Harfe appeared in translation with the German imprint of Random House, Penhaligon, in 2009 and has since been translated into Dutch and Italian. She maintains a web site at www.ruthnestvold.com.
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14 Responses to This #WIPpet Wednesday: Glass slippers for a prince — and the consequences

  1. Adrian says:

    he hittin’ on her? o.O Love the description of the shoe!

  2. Oh, what a lovely description! It is so gloriously detailed and vivid – I can tell that you as an author have really thought about the intricacies of Chiara’s work. And oooooh, the prince is a bit of a flirt, isn’t he? Can’t wait to see where all this goes!

    Daughters and grandchildren do take up a lot of time, don’t they? But I’m sure you would have it no other way. I understand! :-)

  3. Emily Witt says:

    Fantastic description. I especially like “The strips appeared tied together with the carelessness of a real shoe” – very vivid. I love the prince as well. Teasing her just enough to let her know who’s in charge, but being very casual about the whole thing as well.

  4. kathils says:

    I don’t think I much like this prince. And I wouldn’t want to be alone with him either. Love the description of the shoes. The only thing that bothered me was “clearest cristallo” and “colorful millefiori” because I have no reference for what those are and my brain kind of fizzled in an attempt to construct an image.

    • And so you shouldn’t like him! As to the Italian glassmaking terms, I’m hoping to address that in a glossary. I don’t think there’s any other word for millefiori (it’s a very colorful kind of glass, a specialty of Murano).

  5. Amy says:

    The prince is a bit arrogant, isn’t he? But I wonder if he really is or if he’s trying to compensate for Chiara throwing him off by being different from other young women.

    I love the description of the artwork. It’s obvious she takes such pleasure in what she does.

  6. Harliqueen says:

    Incredible description!

  7. ReGi McClain says:

    Like Kathi, the technical terms were over my head. I assume you describe them elsewhere in the story, though.

    I think I can picture this prince just from his behavior and the shoes he likes so much. All dandified and wearing white lead makeup, yes? With a big fluffy collar?

    • I’m hoping that since my initial fifteen-year-old beta reader didn’t have a problem with the Italian glassmaking terms, I must have explained them enough in passing early on. I also plan to make a glossary.

      And the prince is a bit of a dandy, yes. :)

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