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C – Characterization

My A to Z Challenge theme is teaching you how not to write a book, or a short story, or any piece of creative writing whatsoever. For more information, including links to previous chapters and lessons, please refer to this post. Now buckle in and proceed with…

THE WORST ROMANCE NOVEL EVER WRITTEN IN 26 DAYS.


PANDORA’S TACKLEBOX

Billionaire Highlander cowboy Hawk MacHardcastle is tired of living the jetset life of champagne, bucking broncos, kilts, fast cars, and burning bundles of cash for warmth. Desperate to find meaning in his life, he retires to his family’s isolated cabin in the wilds of New Jersey, on the shores of majestic Lake Latrine.

There, Hawk plans on self-reflection and pursuing the great love of his life—fishing. However, Hawk’s self-imposed loneliness comes to an end when he makes a most unusual companion and fishing buddy.

Dropsy Velvet was once a young woman living on the shores of Lake Latrine with her settler family. However, a curse turned her into a mermaid and now she lives, sad and alone, in the depths of the lake. She hasn’t had human contact for close to fifty years, thanks to everyone either being terrified of her or thinking they’re drunk when they see her—but Hawk may be the connection to the world she’s been craving. Charmed by her innocent face, sparkling wit, and huge bare breasts, Hawk decides to help her find a way to lift the curse, as she will lift his: the curse of ennui and affluenza. But time is running out, for something sinister wants to flush Latrine away forever.


Characterization

Hawk was just about to cast his line out, when a faint ripple in the water caught his ultra-keen attention. His parents had named him Hawk, after all, because of his nearly inhuman eyesight that was evident even at birth. He caught the little details other people missed in everyday life. That’s why he’d created MacHardcastle Feminine Products—he could tell by the way women walked when they were on their periods, and he wanted to offer them a product that disguised their unsightly time of the month.

“Is that damn shark back?” Hawk stood, clutching his rod. “Maybe he wants some more of these mighty fists.”

Instead, something else rose from the water, inch by inch—first, a shimmering head of golden wet hair, like gilded seaweed. Next, the face of a goddess, with crystalline blue eyes and red Cupid’s-bow lips. After that, a svelte pale torso that seemed to be carved from alabaster, graced with two huge, bare, buoyant breasts. Hawk was mesmerized—never in his life had he seen firmer, rounder, more succulent, delicious, tempting…eyes. For a moment he thought it was a skinny dipper, and then a great blue and green fish tail flopped in the water behind her.

She giggled, the sound of it like music on the warm breeze. “Hello, stranger.” Her voice rang like a clear bell at dawn. “I’m Dropsy Velvet, the Latrine mermaid. I can be your catch of the day, if you like.”


WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED HERE?

Have you ever met a perfect human being in real life? I mean, one that is physically, mentally, morally perfect, who saves orphans from burning buildings while composing magnificent operas and lifting weights while eating only healthy, organic food? And this person is also funny, brilliant, charming, and a Nobel Peace Prize winner? No? Would you even want to know someone like that? Flawless people don’t exist in real life and they shouldn’t exist in fiction either, because they have the same effect—they make you groan and roll your eyes.

Characters shouldn’t be perfect. It’s their flaws that help us connect with them, that make them real people–their struggles, the things they’ve overcome, the blessings they’ve done without but made their way in life anyway. Think of your best friend, your mother, your own child—do you love them for the things they can do, or the things they’ve done despite the obstacles they face? Courage and growth is much more interesting than just being crowned with greatness. The characters we connect with are the ones we identify with and admire for their struggles, just like people in reality. Life is hard and it sucks. No one is majestic and flawless, not even your favorite celebrities—that’s just makeup and stage lighting.

When two perfect people meet in a book it’s not a story, it’s author wish-fulfillment.

Megan Morgan View All

Paranormal and contemporary romance author.

50 thoughts on “C – Characterization Leave a comment

  1. Hahaha I laughed so hard at “MacHardcastle Feminine Products”. Oh lord. And nope, I wouldn’t want to know someone who was perfect. //fellow challenger

    Like

  2. It is evident Mr McHardcastle has issues, faults and flaws. With this information overload, (dare I say it?), it is almost possible to predict his reaction … That is, until he opens his mouth!
    He appears to be typically male, thinking with the brains that he sits upon.
    Does he possess a hint of romanticism? (He might compare the girl’s attributes to his passion for detailed saddle leather, but at least there would be some hope for him, no?).

    Sir Leprechaunrabbit 🍀🐰
    @leprchaunrabbit
    yourrootsareshowingdearie.wordpress.com

    Like

  3. We root for flawed characters because character flaws help us celebrate our own imperfections.
    Keep up the awesome/awfulness! I am learning so much. You are a fantastic writer. Only a talented writer can expertly teach others how not to write!

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  4. A character with flaws is so much more interesting. A perfect character is way too boring. I don’t like reading about a character that is so perfect it’s unattainable in real life!

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  5. What? You mean that perfect characters aren’t charing? Relatable? Involving? You mean readers don’t care about them and actually they become annoyed with them at a lightning speed?
    You can’t be serious! This can’t be!!!!
    NOOOOOOO!!!!!

    @JazzFeathers
    The Old Shelter – Jazz Age Jazz

    Like

  6. “Cupid’s-bow lips”…yes! Classic romance description that got overused in its heyday and yet still seems to be with us. And I love the description leading up to her…eyes. 🙂 You’re doing an amazing job! (Maybe you should actually write satire? You have a great talent for it.)

    Andrea Lundgren
    Into the Writerlea Blog

    Like

  7. MacHardcastle Feminine Products, huh? LOL!

    ~~~~

    My male characters are physically hot because that’s part of the fantasy. I don’t want to write about some average looking guy I can just see at the Walmart or the post office. That’s not why I write sexy romances. That said, my male characters may be physically hot, but they have inner flaws. They aren’t perfect people. Maybe they have issues with their personality that they need to fix. Or maybe they fall for the wrong women. The next character I’m writing about is physically hot, but he’s a criminal. So he’s certainly not perfect.

    Piper Presley
    C is for Coming in Hot: A Squad of Sexy Firefighter Romances Multi-Author Boxed Set
    http://www.presleyromance.com/blog/coming-in-hot-blogging-from-a-to-z-challenge

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    • I totally understand that. Most romance novels are for fantasy anyway, and I certainly write my heroes ‘hot’ too, or at least, hot to their love interest. But pretty people have imperfections too, and that’s where the real meat of the story comes in. I definitely agree with all of your points.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

    • I’m glad you’re enjoying it! And I’m sure that could happen. No one would want to read about a completely irredeemable character, I don’t think. They need something to make them likable.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

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