Pictures can help me write a thousand words, so I do a lot of google-search. This time it lead me to Kate Wagner’s McMansion Hell, an outstanding blog about the infernal large builder-designed houses that are too big, too ugly, and too poorly built to deserve anything but Wagner’s biting criticism (Zillow once tried to shut down the blog because it was too truthful. They failed.)
I started my search because I had this line in the book:
Nita slowed as they reached the turn down into the Preserve, passing the ugly yellow McMansion the Lemmon family had built in the middle of all the wild beauty.
That’s picked up again in a later scene (Act 2) where Max and Mammon go to see who lives there:
“So, we’re zero for four,” Max said, looking at the massive yellow mansion plunked down in the landscape just outside the Nature Preserve.
Max looked back at the massive yellow builder’s dream. “That is really ugly.”
Yeah. It lacks specificity. And since there’s a huge scene there later, I really needed something that I could describe briefly that would stick in the reader’s mind. McMansion Hell did not let me down.
Except that the Lemmon Mansion is, of course, done in yellow brick.
I can work with that. Here’s Max’s dialogue now (a million rewrites yet to come):
“That is one ugly house,” Max said, looking at the massive yellow builder’s dream plunked down in the landscape just outside the Nature Preserve. “It looks like it was built by angry elves. Who then peed on it.” He tilted his head, trying to find a better angle. “The balcony was probably useful for defenestrating the architect.”
Mammon shook his head. “The last time I saw that many turrets on a building, I was at Disney world.”
“You went to Disney World?” Max said.
The McMansion Hell blog is more that just snarky comments on bad architecture and well worth checking out. But the snarky comments alone are worth the trip. (Apologies to any reader who might reside in this house.)