Maia goes to Jordan’s apartment to get new clothes, and though she’s upset about being in that setting again, it’s all pretty subdued. I’m rather torn between “oh thank god, finally,” and “with any other character you’d have an entire chapter devoted to dramatic suffering and crying; did you just get tired by the time you got to Maia?”
Clary and Jace wake up to find that the big council meeting is abou to start, and also all the Downworlders are mysteriously missing, including Clary’s mother.
They find this out by following Jia around and saying “And then? And then? And then?” while she doles out information with a teaspoon. Never actually hesitating when she say something, but apparently only willing to answer with one factoid at a time. Because…padding.
So, CoHF is 725 pages long, but it’s split into only 25 chapters, which gives us really frakkin long chapters. The damn thing is taking me so long because every time I sit down to write a chapter, I just think “uhg, I won’t be able to finish it during this time slot” and then I get discouraged and look at pictures of puppies instead.
So today was the last full chapter of this book. From now on, I’ll be posting whatever amount I can get done in a day, even if I stop partway through a chapter.
Clary’s own harsh breathing was loud in her ears.
She thought of the first time that Luke had ever taken her swimming, in the lake at the farm, and how she had sunk so far down into the blue-green water that the world outside had disappeared and there was only the sound of her own heartbeat, echoing and distorted. She had wondered if she had left the world behind, if she would always be lost, until Luke had reached down and pulled her back, sputtering and disoriented, into the sunlight.
She felt that way now
Hey, I think I figured out how this book got to over 700 pages long.
Clary wakes up back in Amatis’s house, with Jocelyn hovering over her. Jocelyn is concerned, because Clary almost killed herself trying to heal Jace. I’m…still confused on that entire point, though. We’ve never seen runes taking any particular amount of effort before. Clary has never suffered for making them, and she’s never seen anyone else getting low on “energy.” Hell, they write these things on each other just before going into battle; one would think if that had a draining effect they wouldn’t do it right before they need a lot of energy. Maybe Clary wasn’t “willing to sacrifice herself for a dude,” maybe she literally had no idea it was any amount of dangerous. Certainly we had no reason to think it might be.
Everyone’s heard this particular piece of advice. It’s so ubiquitous that even non-writers can spout it off, in a vaguely confused way, if you ask them if they know any writing tips. It consistently makes Top Ten lists of advice for new writers all over the internet.
And, like so many of the ‘rules’ for writing, what started out as basically a good idea got simplified and codified and meme-ified to the point of being near-useless. When adhered to with a fanatical bent, the advice of “show, don’t tell” can actually make your writing worse.
Now, many of us are guilty of knowing better but shouting “SHOW DON’T TELL” at bad books. I’ve certainly done it. And I think the more appropriate insistence would be “in this particular case, you should have shown instead of told.” Except, well, that’s not very pithy, is it? Showing and telling both achieve different goals, and so should be used at different times. Today, I want to focus on when to use which.
I think my exact words when I found out were “aw, fuck.”
A vegetable is an edible plant or an edible part of a plant. A fruit is a vegetable from a flowering plant that contains seeds.
The culinary distinction between fruits and vegetables is arbitrary and based largely on culture.
The next person who tells me that a tomato, a squash, etc is “really” a fruit is going to get punched right in their metaphorical face.
I don’t give five-star reviews very often. I have high standards for books, some would say impossibly high standards. Nothing is ever good enough. Hell, I have Tamora Pierce four stars just a couple weeks ago. Why? Well, because it wasn’t perfect.
*le gasp,* you say. “But, Whitley, why do you insist on everything being perfect?? Don’t you know that’s not the way to happiness!”
Yes. I do know that. I never said I was unhappy with my three- and four-star books.
I hold books to a higher standard because I believe that only by constantly striving for perfection can we better ourselves. You’re not going to write a perfect novel, fine, but if you don’t try to get as close to that as possible, then…well, you’re not going to get close.
But perfection takes time and practice and heartache, and authors have bills to pay. I get that, I really do. And to be perfectly honest, I don’t have a problem with mediocre books. I buy them by the bucket load. Near-perfect books are rare because of how much work they take; we’re lucky to get three or four in a year. I’ve no problem reading meh stuff while I wait and paying for the pleasure, because…it’s reading. Even mediocre reading, much like pizza and sex, is better than not reading.
I’ll enjoy a flawed novel, but that doesn’t mean the flaws aren’t there. But books are rather special in that they can be thoroughly satisfying experiences despite being flawed. With any other product — a tool or lamp or a television — you can’t have a major component of it broken and still use the rest of it. With books, you can. And that’s pretty damn awesome.
I think it’s past time we take the stigma off being mediocre. Something that’s worth the jacket price is still hella impressive, even if it’s not revolutionary.