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.
“Do you ever come out of the water?” Hawk asked. “I mean, since you have gills and lungs, can you live in both the sea and on land?” He thought about a dream he had once, about a giant fish from the planet Zebulon, flying through space. The fish told Hawk it could live in both space and within an atmosphere, as well as in the ocean and in the heart of a volcano.
“Yes, sometimes I come out to sun myself.” She wiggled up to the pier and gazed at the giant, handsome man before her. He oozed charisma and manliness. He reminded her of a mysterious fisherman she’d once helped solve a murder. After much sleuthing and deducing, they’d discovered the butler did it in the conservatory with a candlestick.
“Well, maybe I could use some company.” Hawk’s gaze grew distant as he stared out over the water, thinking of all the love he’d lost in his life. Was he willing to risk it all, once again, for a beautiful mermaid with double Ds? “I came here to be alone, but…being alone is hard.”
“Yes, it is.” She sighed. “Somedays, the only people I have to talk to are the unicorns that live in the forest. And sometimes the wood elves.”
WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED HERE?
When you write a book, if you ever hope to publish it, you need to establish your genre. This doesn’t mean you can’t cross genres, or experiment, but being able to clearly establish what genre your story falls under is important, even if for only one category. Agents and publishers will want to know what genre it falls into (and you need to know whom to query) and online retailers require you to list books by genre. This also ultimately makes it easier for readers of that genre to find you.
If your book is a huge mess of genres and you can’t pick at least one to label it with (though it may be multiple genres) you’re going to have a hard time selling it. The surrealism/speculative market isn’t very big (that’s not to say people can’t and don’t write brilliant books in that vein). It’s also important to understand the elements of specific genres—if you write a murder mystery that just happens to have someone hallucinating a unicorn, that doesn’t also make it a fantasy. Figure out what you’re writing before you start, or at least while you’re writing your first draft.
The positive response to this has been SO beyond what I’ve expected and I’m SO grateful. With that in mind, I wanted to let visitors know right now things are insane in my offline life. I’m in the process of moving (which was not planned when I signed up for this!) and I’m working my day job. I answer ALL comments on my blog and try to visit as many blogs as I can. With that in mind, I may be a bit slow right now, but I PROMISE if you’ve left a comment I will reply. I try to set some time aside each night to catch up with comments/other blogs. If you’re waiting, please be patient! I apologize, my life is total unexpected utter chaos right now, but I make an effort to engage with everyone who visits me.
I apologize and thank you for your understanding/patience!
Also, Stephen Tremp proposed something in the comments yesterday and you can all thank him for this:
If Dropsy were the opposite–what a stunning piece of fish!