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.
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.
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.