Modern Literary Terms: The Glittery HooHa
I’ve been working on the Fun Book on Sundays, and I ran into a snag because my hero, who is supernaturally irresistible (stick with me, it works) sleeps with at least twelve women before he goes to bed with the heroine. That’s believable given his character, but here’s the kicker: my heroine won’t sleep with him because he’s promiscuous–she’s no dummy–and he actually gives up other women to have her and keep her. I mean, what are the chances?
So I talked this out with a pal of mine, somebody who’s very savvy about literary convention and respectability, Lani Diane Rich.
“Sam nails everything that moves and then gives it all up for Char,” I told her. “Who’s going to believe that? I’m in so much trouble here.”
“Oh, no, you’re fine,” Lani said. “Char has a Glittery HooHa.”
“You’ve never heard of the Glittery HooHa?” Lani patted my arm. “Oh, honey.”
I’m going to quote directly now, because nobody explains the origin of the Glittery HooHa like Lani:
Once upon a time, in a land called Television Without Pity, the peasants gathered to discuss a particular type of character on soap operas. She was always blond, always beautiful, and always good-natured and kind, and always stupid beyond the telling of it. Did someone get approached by a masked man wearing dark gloves who needed help getting a puppy out of a wolf trap, only to happily agree to assist and disappear? It was her. Did someone get drunk on her honeymoon, pass out in a strange bed, and wake up only to assume on very little evidence that she’d slept with another man? Then lie about it? Then get caught lying? Then find out it was all a set-up by her evil twin, who had always been evil and had, in fact, done this before? It was her. Did someone get trapped in their own microwave oven?
And yet… there is a man. We’ll call him… Hero. Hero is handsome, he is strong, and… well, yes, okay, he’s kinda dumb, too, but still he manages to rescue her every single time she’s in trouble… which is approximately twice a show. He stays by her side and loves her through thick and thin. He disentangles her hair from the curling iron. He drops his Very Important Job to rush off and rescue her from the cardboard box on the pier where the Villain left her, warning her NOT TO SAY A WORD lest he do BAD BAD THINGS to her favorite hamster, so she kept quiet, even though the Villain was long gone, and many a passerby had passed her by. The Hero is loyal and loving
and doesn’t seem to mind the fact that she is so FREAKIN’ stupid. How can this be??
Well, my friends, it comes down to the power of the Glittery HooHa, or the GHH for short. A woman with an HH as G as this girl merely needs to walk around as glitter falls from her netherparts, leaving a trail for Hero to follow. And once he finds her, it only takes one dip in the GHH to snare him forever, for yea, no matter how many HooHas he might see, never will there be one as Glittery as hers…
I love Lani Diane Rich.
So, the Glittering HooHa or the GHH. Does my girl Char have one?
Char’s a redhead, not a blonde, and she’s a forty-two-year-old professor of Ancient Near Eastern History, so she’s not dumb although she has had her nose buried in her work for over twenty years which probably isn’t the brightest way to plan your life, and she owns a dog not a hamster, and she doesn’t end up in cardboard box on a pier although she does end up in an ancient temple with a pissed-off goddess . . .
“I don’t see it,” I told Lani.
But as she explained further, the GHH is more universal than the dumb blonde, it is, in fact, applicable to the romance heroine in general. “Char definitely has a GHH,” she told me. “Sam’s toast. One dip and he’s done.”
When I thought about it, I realized she was right about the romance heroine. Take J. T. Wilder, the hero of Don’t Look Down. He sleeps with a hot actress his first day in the story, even though he’s already met our heroine, Lucy, but the next day, he feels that something was missing. He can’t put his finger on it (stop snickering) but of course we know now it’s the GHH. Shortly thereafter, he and Lucy get horizontal and by damn, that’s it for J. T. My writing partner, we’ll call him Bob, took awhile to get used to this, probably because I didn’t know about the GHH and couldn’t explain it to him that way. In fact in his first draft of the day-after-Althea scene, J. T. was thinking he’d had a very good time.
“Nope,” I said.
“You’re kidding me,” Bob said. “He had great sex with a hot actress.”
“Yes, but it wasn’t that great,” I said.
“Yes, it was,” he said.
“No,” I said. “It wasn’t.”
“No, it really was.”
“She’s an actress.”
“Oh, come on.”
So he sighed and wrote in the part about how something had been missing–”Yeah, right,” he said–and saved us from some angry mail although we still got a lot because J. T. dared to sleep with anybody but Lucy in the book. I guess J. T. wasn’t looking at the ground and missed the glitter on that first day.
So now I’m looking at Sam, who is irresistible to women and who in turn sees no point in resisting them, and at Char in her mud brown sweater and sensible shoes, and I’m thinking her GHH better have Super Glitter (which, come to think of it, it does), and that I’m going to have to write the hell out of this because even with a supernatural GHH in front of him, Sam is not going to find fidelity easy.
But at least I have literary convention on my side.