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Erin

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  1. STORY STATEMENT A wannabe wedding influencer, Willa, will stop at nothing to get the wedding dress of her dreams-even if that means getting her ex-boyfriend involved in an elaborate reality TV show plot. ANTAGONISTIC FORCE The antagonistic force can be seen in Willa's insecurity, which envelops her like a heavy, suffocating blanket for most of the story. She often feels in competition with other's (people she knows personally or just from the internet) for social media attention. She bases her own happiness on the recognition and engagement her social media posts receive. All Willa wants is to amplify this persona of perfection and being "put together"-a goal that is put into jeopardy when she is fired from her job. With her income diminished, Willa is terrified that she will not be able to pay for her perfect, Instagram-worthy wedding. The idea of not having her wedding "go viral" is the driving force for Willa as she concocts a harebrained scheme with her ex-boyfriend in an attempt to win over the hearts of producers of a wedding dress reality show to give Willa her dream dress, "Helena", for free. At times, this antagonistic momentum is reinforced through the characters of her fiancé, Hugh, and her mother as both of them tend to question Willa's choices and are not afraid to voice their disapproval. BREAKOUT TITLE I have found that in the women's fiction wedding genre, the title often has wedding vocabulary included: Bride, wedding, committed, white dresses, rings, couples, etc. In addition, many women's fiction utilizes alliteration in the title. With these things in mind, I have thought about the following titles. Original: The Mess with the Dress-this uses both alliteration and wedding vocabulary as well as gives a clear understanding that the book is based on shenanigans around a wedding dress. Other: Wannabe #WED-This title encompasses not only the social media aspects of the book but also the multifaceted word "wannabe". Willa is not only desperate to be married and a bride simply for the sake of being "married" and a "bride" but she is also a wannabe in that she strives to be an influencer with a following but she falls short. Willa Will Wed or Willa Will Wed, Won't She-these titles use the alliteration to the extreme but also has a playfulness of having the title be in the form of a question, much like Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella or Where'd you Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple COMPARABLES The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren. Parallels: Exes reunited in a plot where they have to pretend to be a happy couple but in a fun, fresh way The Wedding Sisters by Jamie Brenner. Parallels: Public Persona is on top of mind while dealing with dramatic twists and turns behind the curtain. HOOK LINE After a scheme goes awry, a wannabe influencer has to pretend to get married to her ex-boyfriend on TV, all while making sure her real fiancé is happy, her Instagram pictures are perfect, and no one suspects anything. INNER CONFLICT Willa constantly worries about how others perceive her. It is the driving force of her actions. When it comes to her mother, Willa knows that her mother disapproves of her "modern" life and how she wants it played out on social media for the world to see. Willa struggles to make her mother understand that this is her new life direction as she tries to harness the power of social media to become an Influencer. When Willa realizes there is no changing her mother, she tries to proceed with her life without her mother's involvement but still keeps in contact, constantly on edge because she can predict her mother's disappointed reactions to any life updates. With her fiancé, Hugh, Willa just wants him to be happy. Willa goes above and beyond to make sure he is on board with any of her plans-whether it was her plan to become an influencer or to embark on the reality TV show with her ex in order to make money for her "real" wedding. As Hugh continues to remain steady in his emotions, Willa realizes that nothing she does will make a difference as Hugh is not invested in the relationship as she thought. Through the process of filming, Willa overcomes her obsession with appearances and begins to see that she does not need others' approval for her own happiness. HYPOTHETICAL INNER CONFLICT During one of the early days of filming, Willa feels that the producers are not reacting to her interviews as they should. Instead of finding her charming and spunky, Willa worries they find her vapid and trite. Interpreting their tight smiles as condescension, Willa works herself up into a panic attack and hides away in her bedroom as the crew leaves for the day. Travis calms her down as he talks to her through the bedroom door. He convinces Willa that they loved what she had to say; that she is a joy on camera; and there is no way they are going to cancel the show because of something she said. Willa feels relieved and feels ready to face the cameras another day. HYPOTHETICAL SECONDARY CONFLICT Willa and Travis have to pretend to be a couple who reunited and are getting married for the TV show. Although they ensure their friends and families that it is just for TV and there are no real, lingering feelings, Willa's mother takes it to the next level. Convinced that Willa and Travis have "unfinished business", Willa's mother takes to telling people that the pair have reunited for real. Willa has to endure countless calls and texts from people saying that "they knew it" and "they were meant to be". She has to examine what this reaction means: Is there unfinished business between the two of them? She had been feeling strange urges to embrace Travis but that must be loneliness and missing Hugh, right? All these confusing emotions are just down to the craziness of filming and having to live in the same apartment...isn't it? But then there is the second question Willa must face-did anyone ever like Hugh? Why are all the people in her life so relieved when it sounds like she broke up with Hugh for real? They might not have been a perfect match but they worked together...didn't they? SETTING There are two major locations (Willa's apartment and the Bleu Bridal salon) in the novel with various others (Willa's office, the El train, Willa's mother's house, Macy's, The Drake Hotel, etc) speckled throughout, all based in Chicago. Main location one: Willa's apartment. While an apartment might not seem the most exciting location, it serves as the only thing that ties any of these rotating cast of characters to the ground. We start with Willa and Hugh happily living in the apartment together as a couple planning their wedding. When Willa is fired, she is alone in the apartment during the day, her "bleak" future smack dab in her face as the emptiness of the rooms matches her emptiness of her life direction. After the producers fall for their scheme and offer them a TV show, Travis moves in with Willa to give the illusion that they are truly "back-in-love" and planning a wedding together. When Willa's life seems to crumble even more when she and Hugh break up for real, Justin the producer swoops in to fill the empty energy of the apartment. It almost becomes a character itself as the one constant through out the highs and lows of Willa's many relationships-including the epilogue scene with a very important Zoom meeting. Main location two: The Bleu Bridal wedding salon. Will is invited to appear on Say I Do-a reality TV show where brides are filmed trying to find their perfect wedding dress. When they find their perfect gown, they utter the signature phrase, "I can't Say I Do, without my something from Bleu!". Appearing on the show is Willa's dream. When she cannot afford her dress, she works with her dramatic ex Travis to come up with a scheme to win over the hearts of the producers to try and giver her a discount. Several of the scenes in the novel take place in the salon as Willa gives interviews, tries on other dresses (the show producers add to the drama by hiding away "Helena, Willa's dram gown, causing a slight panic), and where Travis's grand "proposal" occur. It serves as the start of her journey as well as the end. Willa returns to the salon for a fitting after producer Justin clued into the charade. Where the salon was once heavenly and inviting, Willa now finds it oppressive and constricting. Trying on her dress again causes Willa to burst from secrets and reveal the truth to the crew.
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