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.
“Tell me what’s wrong.” Dropsy thought Hawk was the best thing since sliced bread but she knew you couldn’t judge a book by its cover. “Why are you sad? Why did you come here to be alone?”
Hawk sighed. He felt he could spill the beans to her, let the cat out of the bag, instead of beating around the bush. “I’m not satisfied with my life. Being a billionaire Highlander cowboy who sells feminine products was not the life I had planned for myself. I need…some meaning.”
Dropsy couldn’t imagine a life like that. She didn’t want to bite off more than she could chew, but she hoped he would stay, for a man like him only came along once in a blue moon. “Maybe you’ll find it here,” she said. “It’s only been my wish to have the curse lifted and escape this place, but–maybe if I had something to stay here for, it wouldn’t be so bad.”
Hawk smiled. Maybe they could help each other find meaning in their situations. After all, they couldn’t spend their lives crying over spilt milk.
WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED HERE?
Idioms are sayings and phrases we all know well, which convey a sentiment in a short and clever way. Should they be used in writing? That depends. If you use it in the prose itself, probably not—any good editor is going to make you pluck idioms out of your writing, for they’re trite and distracting. Your characters can say them of course, because that’s how people talk. But again, they should be used sparingly. It’s much better to write succinctly and just say what you mean.
Of course, if you’re writing comedy, as I discussed yesterday, idioms might work for you. A certain turn of phrase at the right time can be hilarious—but you don’t want people cracking up at your dramatic murder mystery.