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.
Dropsy swam to the shore and flopped on the sand with the force of an asteroid slamming into the earth. A thousand diamonds of sunlight glittered on her skin. She was as beautiful as Cleopatra, Aphrodite, Mona Lisa, and Christina Hendricks all mixed into one woman. Hawk’s heart—and loins—stirred, a jet engine roaring to life inside his rib cage and in his pants.
He walked over and sat down on the sand next to her, admiring her beautiful scaled tail, like the tail of a great white shark ravaging the deep and eating entire schools of fish in one gulp—the way she was consuming his heart right now.
“Why are you lonely, Hawk?” she asked. “Why did you come here? Tell me who you really are. Are you a god? A titan?”
Hawk laughed, his voice vibrating the air and causing ripples on the lake, since it was so deep and magnificent. “I am no god.” He gazed sadly at her. “Just a simple man, who became tangled in a complicated web.”
WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED HERE?
Hyperbole is over-exaggeration, blowing things up to gigantic proportions like an atom bomb being tested in the desert, and it’s most effectively used for comedy—so using it for something that’s not supposed to be funny has to be done carefully. As a general rule, if you’re writing something serious you should try to avoid it. There are much more effective ways to create intensity, drama, and impact—using dialog, character reactions, and even understatement. These are much less invasive (and absurd) tactics.
Hyperbole is also most effective when it’s subtle, ironically. It can be used to make characters into caricatures, so again, it’s better suited for comedy. By all means, if you’re a comedic writer you should learn how to use it, and use it well. Not to toot my own horn, but…have you noticed this entire theme has been hyperbole?