GLOUCESTER, MA—As he neared completion this week on his latest novel, By The Water's Edge, author Edward Milligan marveled aloud to reporters how he was able to flesh out, in meticulous detail, every single corner of his book's vast and stunningly shitty world.

According to Milligan, he spent seven months conducting in-depth historical research in order to conjure, as if out of thin air, the fictional and entirely bullshit universe of Connor's Cove, Massachusetts, including its utterly uninspired lighthouse, the predictably dark underbelly lurking beneath its quaint exterior, and its painfully trite main thoroughfare known as Chance Street.

"As an author, my job is to use my gift for detail to construct a sense of place so real that readers will almost feel as though they can step inside of it and walk around," said Milligan, who spent weeks mapping out the entire genealogy of the fictional founders of Connor's Cove, from their completely uninteresting origins all the way to their somehow even more mind-numbingly dull present-day progeny. "Every shop, every house, every inhabitant has a function within this little microcosm I've dreamed up."

"I believe that, by immersing themselves fully in the story, readers will actually become a part of Connor's Cove, in a sense," the author added incorrectly.

Having reportedly lived along the Massachusetts coast for more than two decades, Milligan drew heavily from only the most hackneyed and obvious aspects of maritime culture to depict life on the harbor, even going so far as to thoroughly research New England dialects in order to authentically craft the grating and unbearable phonetic renderings of speech he uses for all the book's terrible dialogue.

Milligan also said his novel's tedious descriptions of local flora and fauna, needlessly complex and yet childishly rendered sociopolitical context, and embarrassingly obvious parallels to major events in American history were all necessary to help lend his utterly garbage story a real and lived-in sense of verisimilitude.

"By carefully thinking through every detail, I made Connor's Cove feel like an organic extension of reality," said Milligan, unaware that his overwrought, tiresome backstories on each and every dilapidated lobster boat in the harbor and countless other minutiae added nothing to his flimsy, hard-to-follow story arc. "In such a vital world, you don't simply read about a village, you smell its salt air and feel all of its joys and all of its struggles."

When he wasn't blatantly wasting his time detailing the architecture of the Town Hall building or supplying dozens of fictional bridges and creeks with names that sound as if they were invented by a high school English student, Milligan was focusing his energies on crafting a diverse social stratum of characters so nondescript and stripped of anything resembling actual humanity that they might as well be lampposts.

"Each resident of Connor's Cove is such a unique and complex individual, with his or her own rich family ancestry going back centuries," said Milligan, who relied on a host of sad literary crutches to differentiate his bland characters from one another, including limps, horrendous signature phrases, and in one agonizing instance, an eye patch. "In fact, they surprise even me. I never know what they're going to do next."

"Lionel [King] would have to be my favorite [character]," he added, describing the two- dimensional protagonist who is clearly based on Milligan himself and whose insipid ruminations provide a dull glimpse into the author's own banal, self-important existence. "He's so multifaceted. But then again, all my characters are like little worlds unto themselves."

Claiming he was genuinely proud of his ham-handed effort, the apparently shameless Milligan then expounded on the fact that he was "really going to miss" Connor's Cove once the book was completed, and even somehow had the fucking balls to say that it had been a "pretty magical place to spend the last few years."

"Connor's Cove is such a fascinating world, and there's still so much left to reveal," said the author, who, at press time, had not yet been punched in the face. "Thankfully, I'll be going back there soon, and readers can look forward to four more riveting tales in the Connor's Cove series."