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 put Dropsy in the bathtub for safekeeping. No mean old ladies would get her there. The sight of her floating in the water of his spacious tub with its massaging jets made his loins quiver. She gazed up at him with limpid blue eyes, her ruby lips parted in supplication. He couldn’t resist. He knelt next to the tub and kissed her.
She quivered like a flower beaded with dew at the first touch of morning light. She tasted like heaven, like all the goodness and peace and tranquility he’d missed out on in life. He scooped her up into his arms, the entire length of her supple, trembling form, half glorious woman, half sensual fish. She wrapped her tail around him like silken bonds he never wanted to escape from.
He stopped kissing her and drew back, to gaze into her eyes. “You are the answer to all my prayers.” His manhood surged like a knight on the battlefield, about to vanquish the enemy.
“And you mine.” She touched his face, her fingertips like a delicate breeze. “Oh, Hawk MacHardcastle, take me.”
WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED HERE?
‘Purple prose,’ defined as the overuse of flowery, metaphorical (and ridiculous) language, especially in moments of passion, is usually the domain of romance writers, but it can pop up in all sorts of writing. In defense of romance writers—if you aren’t one and don’t already know this—purple prose is the relic of a bygone era. Most romance writers do not use purple prose these days and it is in fact actively discouraged by editors and agents. The stereotypical, pulpy romance novel overflowing with throbbing manhoods and heaving bosoms is in the past and in fact was probably never as prevalent as it’s made out to be.
This sort of overblown, lurid language tends to pop up in other genres too, especially with writers who don’t typically write sex scenes. It’s my opinion that these writers are uncomfortable writing sex scenes so they try to make them sound artsy and pretentious (see the famous laughable attempt that Morrissey made in his novel List of the Lost.) There’s even an award dedicated to awful sex scenes. Here’s my advice on purple prose—don’t do it, ever. If you’re uncomfortable writing sex, don’t write it. And if you write about sex, just write about sex, without using the words ‘loins,’ ‘heaving,’ or ‘dewy flower.’
And you’ll be relieved to know, I will not write Hawk and Dropsy’s sex scene. We’ll fade to black here (I know, you’re all dying to know how you do it with a mermaid).