It’s been a long time since a story truly captured my imagination the way The Mortal Instruments has. This is an incredible series. If you haven’t read these books, do. This week I’m posting CITY OF GLASS, the third book in the series, all though I am actually already on the fifth book.
To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters—never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.
As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City—whatever the cost?
Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the third installment of bestselling series the Mortal Instruments.
“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”
~Charles William Eliot
I received a beautiful Charles Dickens hardback for Christmas, complete with five novels. Oliver Twist, A Tale Of Two Cities, David Copperfield, A Christmas Carol (my all time favorite) and Great Expectations. The weight alone, 1483 pages, is impressive. The gilded pages and heavy dark cover indicate it’s value and overall worth in a time far past.
I also received an iPhone 4gs and with it, a storm of headaches. Half of my iTunes library, to which consists of over one thousand songs, got wiped out. Panic was quickly replaced by anger, replaced by heartbreak. My music. I can’t put into words how important it is to me. How would I replace it all? How would I even remember all of it?
An illustrated copy of Tolkien‘s The Hobbit, a hugely scaled hardback encased behind glass at a local bookstore, spoke to me. It was probably two feet in width and height, under lock and key. I wanted it the second I saw it, untouched and unowned. Books like these are treasures and meant to be treasured and adored. Now it seems they are a dying breed. I bought the book in all it’s 1977 glory.
I’m reading the fourth book in the George R. R. Martin series, A song of Fire and Ice, A Feast for Crows. I’ve been downloading them one by one onto my Nook. It occurred to me over the holidays just how upset I would be if this series, a sure to be classic in its own right, was somehow lost behind the black screen. Irretrievable. Like my music.
If I lost my novels, these treasures of mine — the thought makes me ill. I love the ease and convenience of my Nook. But what about my Dickens, my Tolkien? Is it the same if I have downloaded copies of these masterpieces?
Here’s the glitch with technology. Everything can get backed up, copied, protected. But like with my music, there are no guarantees. And even if there were, is it the same when these legendary authors are hidden behind the black screen? Not for me it isn’t. The history gets lost somewhere in the technology for me. I need the paper for these stories to remain alive and true. Weight, storage, inconvenience — all of those reasons we have to stop buying paper and start downloading — I agree with. Until we start messing with the classics. I’ll take those in all their hardback glory.
The whirlwind that the holidays become leave my head spinning and in need of normality. The trusty laptop, my Mac Pro, which I love, is my absolute savior. It’s like a loyal pet waiting at my front door as I turn the key in the lock. It shines up at me, “Where have you been?” It whirrs into beautiful illumination. The cloud lifts. My mind clears and all is right again. Ahh.
They lure me inside and force me to buy, buy, buy! Books that I should, I guess, be buying on my Nook.
Yeah, I bought one. A Nook. I failed to mention that fact about….six months ago. I broke down. Technology lulled me into its grip. Honestly, I bought one because:
1. I’m a writer and we need to stay current.
And 2. I thought for the sake of research and further education, it would serve an excellent purpose. I didn’t want to lug around a lot of books on craft and research material.
It was great at first. Then the inevitable happened. I started downloading novels. Of course I did! Do you realize the price difference? The ease of paying and BOOM, there’s your book. Waiting to be read. I love that!
But….I miss bookstores. I miss turning pages, the smell of paper, the feel of a book in my hands. I’m a reader and part of that love is meandering through bookstore isles. Browsing. Searching.
So yesterday as I continued my Christmas shopping, I found myself in Barnes and Noble. I could have only bought the two paperback books on my list, the ones for kids who don’t own ereaders. I could have gone on by only purchasing a Nook gift card for my mom, but did I?
I saw a gorgeous hardback copy of the book I intended my mom buy with that gift card on her own Nook. The soft light gleamed off the black cover, I inhaled the sweetness of paper and picked it up off the shelf. All $18.99 of it. 400 pages of…ahhhh. I had to buy it. It was calling me!
So there. My defiance toward ereaders is based on my pure love of heavily perfumed, weighted paper books. They are why I write. Why I’ve always written. Why my shelves at home are stuffed full of books I’ve read time and again. They give me a sense of pride. For myself and for every writer whose blood, sweat and tears poured into those pages.
Soon I will also join the ranks with my fellow indie, self-pubbed and trad authors with books available on every manner of ereader imaginable. But, Barnes and Noble, and all of you mom and pop bookstores and shops….you had me at hello and you’ll keep me ’til goodbye.
It was the flu. The fever crept in mid-week—after the sore throat and lack of energy sent me to bed. The fever kept me there for days.
Since my writing has been in a better place than it has in months, the timing was really bad. You see, I don’t function well when I’m ill.
The last time I was sick, really sick, was probably two years ago. Thank god for that because I kind of turn into a giant brat. I’m generally mad for the duration. And I don’t think clearly. That’s likely due to a combination of cold medicine and head congestion.
So as I’m trying to pull myself back into a productive state of mind, I’ve come up with a few motivational triggers that have helped.
Reading unlocks your brain and gets the writing current flowing again. And if you feel awful, you can read in bed.
Yeah, I know. But once your energy returns, exercise. Run, walk, whatever. It is one of the best ways to get back in the saddle.
For me this is obvious. But not for everyone. If listening to music triggers certain responses or emotions, use them. Music is great for generating ideas.
Yep. If you’re finding zero inspiration, sometimes going over your WIP with a skeptical eye is the best motivational tool.
Thankfully, my foggy head has cleared and standing for more than an hour is no longer torture. I have a lot of work to do.
What role does a title play in the overall feel of a book? Does it pull at your heart-strings, begging you to pick it up or is the cover more important as a draw?
Since I am now in the position of weighing my options in regard to changing my title (or clinging to it with both hands), I’ve given the whole process quite a bit of thought.
There are a good amount of book titles out there that have little or no relevance to story content. Good books. Books that I’m sure had original titles, titles that fit and worked, only to be changed in order to draw more readers.
In the YA fantasy/paranormal genre they seem more prevalent. So here’s the question: Should the title represent the story? Or should the aim of a title be to draw more readers regardless of its relevance to the book?
Example: Twilight. Stephenie Meyer intended the first book of this series to be titled FORKS. It represented the town obviously, but it also represented where Bella was in her life. Stuck at various cross-roads, trying to do the right thing, make the right decisions. Put aside the fact the we are all comfortable, and there for biased to the Twilight title, and ask yourself if it really works. Does it have any real relevance to the story? It makes a great sounding book. It fits the cover nicely. It sold millions of copies.
How about Beautiful Creatures (Darkness and Chaos), a favorite series of mine, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. These books are magical and dark and delicious. They also have a different title. The original one. SIXTEEN MOONS (and Seventeen and Eighteen). Titles that fit beautifully with the storyline. But those titles aren’t the ones we see.
How about JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows? Pretty clear that her titles (and covers) could not be more perfectly matched to the story.
That all being said, I am assuming it’s the romantic paranormal side of YA that tends to fall to luring titles, regardless of story content. Pretty covers sell. Put a catchy title on that pretty cover and you just increased your odds of selling a book.
So, what do you think? Choose the title that fits the storyline and hope it appeals to your readers? Choose the title that grips you as the writer from the start? Or choose a title (and cover) that targets your genre regardless of relevance to the book?
I know, I know. Be savvy enough to meld them all (EXCEPT relevance, I can’t move past that). Just answer the question;)
I tried not to squawk or burst out laughing or stare. But as I sat quietly, my head shot up and I did stare. And I’m almost sure I shook my head, rolled my eyes and in some other way, incriminated myself, as I gawked in total disbelief at two women having conversation in the local hair salon.
I fidgeted in my chair and attempted to look normal, crossing and un-crossing my legs, wanting desperately to stand up and say: “What do you mean, you don’t read? Are you INSANE?” But I didn’t do that. No, I did what any other respectable writer would do, I yanked out my iPhone and began filling my notes app with their conversation.
“Oh gosh no, I just can’t concentrate for that long. I mean some books are 500 pages! Who has time for that?” She went on. “Really though, even if I did have the time, why would I want to read a book that long? I’ve got better things to do.”
Even if I wasn’t a writer and a voracious reader, I still would have been speechless. Seriously? Reading is a waste of time??
It got me thinking.
The perception of reading is a varied one. One that is generally learned from childhood. If you are introduced to reading in a positive way as a child, you are more likely to love reading as an adult. If not..well, you’re missing out on a truly incredible part of life.
One of the main reasons, if not the main reason I read so much, is because of my mom who ALWAYS reads. She recommends books, passes them down to me and had me reading novels at a very young age. I was taught to love books by example. And what an important example it was and continues to be. I wouldn’t be a writer if I didn’t have a genuine love for books.
So although it has been said before, I have to say it again, hats off to JK Rowling and Stephanie Meyer for gaining an enormous wealth of young readers. Regardless of whether you are or aren’t a Harry Potter or Twilight fan, these authors both did something very special.
They got millions of kids to read. Millions. And they changed the view of reading from something kids thought was a boring waste, to something they thought was cool and important and fun.
They changed the way generations of kids view books.
And thank goodness for that because as writers we need as many readers as we can possibly get.