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 abruptly sat up. The wrinkled, haggish old woman they’d seen walking along the lakeshore stood before him, next to the dwindling fire. Her wrinkled old hands were curled into fists and her black eyes glittered with malevolence. The warts on her hooked nose glistened in the firelight.
“Who are you?” Hawk demanded. He grabbed up his sword, pistol, three throwing stars, and an axe. “What do you want?”
The old woman cackled. “I am Broomhilda Glinda McHag. I know you are protecting the mermaid Dropsy Velvet. She is mine, silly man. You will never possess her. On the day I drain this lake, she will be sucked down with the rest of the fishes!” Her cackle grew loud and maniacal.
Hawk threw his axe at her, but she vanished in a puff of green smoke. He wished he was having a nightmare, but he was wide awake.
WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED HERE?
Naming your characters can be difficult. Some character names come easily, while others you need to scour baby name blogs and click name generators until your eyes glaze over to figure them out. Names should be dependant on a few things: the time period during which the story is set, appropriateness to the characters themselves, and how they blend with the rest of the elements of the story. Some authors name characters to indicate what and who they are, deriving their names from things that relate to or symbolize their background. A very prominent example of this is the Harry Potter novels. However, this must be done creatively and as unobtrusively as possible, because it can spill over into parody.
In case you’re unaware, both ‘dropsy’ and ‘velvet’ are bacterial infections in aquarium fish. Hawk MacHardcastle is a parody of romance hero names. ‘Broomhilda,’ ‘Glinda,’ and ‘hag’ are all heavy-handed references to witches. Latrine, while actually being a rather pretty word…well, I’m sure you know what a latrine is. As I’ve pointed out several times during this exercise, if you’re writing comedy, by all means be ridiculous and make up ridiculous names. But even comedy requires subtlety, or else you’ll be trying too hard and it won’t be funny at all. On that note, if I’m not making you laugh, I apologize. I’m not actually a comedy writer.