In Which a Part-Time Bookstore Clerk Dispenses Advice to a Best-Selling Writer

During a quiet few moments at the bookstore yesterday I talked to Brandy about my disappointment in Clockwork Princess, Cassandra Clare’s third book in her Infernal Devices series. You can read my review here. Basically, Clare buried the true climax of the book one hundred pages from the end, resorted to borrowing heavily from the Harry Potter novels, and worst of all, cheated on the ending so that the three leads do not have to live with the consequences of the supposedly serious choices they made a few pages earlier in the book.

I had a few other quibbles too.

I said that I thought she had basically sucked all the air out of the Shadowhunters stories. They’ve degraded into incomplete paranormal romance. My suggestion was, write a stand-alone book about some other character. I would read a novel about a young Magnus Bane, for instance.

Brandy had a different approach. Since it sounded like Clare has become interested in paranormal romance (all the current books now just erect obstacle after obstacle between the lovers and their happiness) – maybe she ought to write one.

I thought that over and I agree.

So, Cassandra Clare, since this part-time bookstore clerk who has sold three stories in her entire life feels perfectly comfortable dictating career moves to a highly successful writer with eight books (nine books?) under her belt and a movie of the first one about to be released, here it is: Go for it. Kick out the jams and write a full-on, gooey, steamy, hot and racy paranormal romance. Don’t hold back. Don’t limit those soft lips meeting gently, then growing more urgent; those manly/soft contours; that growing heat in his/her body; the near-tragic yearning for the other as he/she walks away; the flashing eyes; the swirling hair the color of midnight/copper/sunlight/violets/whatever. Don’t hold back on the best friend who says “Do it!” and the conniving villain/relative who wants to keep them apart to claim the inheritance or whatever. You’re already writing all of that now, and trying to squeeze it in around an actual adventure plot, and killing the adventure plot to do so. Take the adventure plot out of the picture.

The unspoken but well-understood words that follow, “Just write one,” are, of course, “and get it out of your system.”

Seriously, though, Clare might not get it out of her system. She may discover she likes paranormal romances. There is nothing stopping her from writing both and publishing the romances under another name. And then the publisher could put “Cassandra Clare writing as Velvetia Dulcimer Hawkwood,” on the cover and everyone would be happy.

This entry was posted in Book Reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to In Which a Part-Time Bookstore Clerk Dispenses Advice to a Best-Selling Writer

  1. Chad Hull says:

    Oh stop it… it’s wasn’t that bad.

    (It wasn’t that good either…)

    “Incomplete paranormal romance” I would have said incompetent paranormal romance.

    The Magnus things has kinda already been done and feels sort of Anne Rice vampirish to me: immortal badass, traveling the world, being awesome. Hasn’t that train already pulled out and since been derailed? That said, Bane and Woosely Scott were the most complex characters in her stories; perhaps Henry or, dare I say Will, as a close third?

    I hope she takes your advice and writes a five book series of paranormal romance. When–if–she ever comes back to action adventure fiction one could hope the romance would be worked out of her system or she would be able to do it much more convincingly than in the Infernal Devices series.

    I think you should open a consulting firm offering help to authors to write their own stories but better than they could do without.

    (Okay, Okay… It was that bad. I wrote my review as I did because I couldn’t bring myself to actually talk about the train wreck that was the book.)

  2. Marion says:


    I love this!

  3. Chad Hull says:

    Thanks. Every now and then I figure it’s nice to share some of the oddities of my life.

    Have you read Clare’s other series? Better? Worse? More of the same?

  4. Marion says:

    I liked the first three (City of Bones, etc.). The Shadowhunters were new, she explained them well, and there was a real story that took center stage. Yes, the romance was a big part of the books but it wasn’t obnoxious. They have gone downhill since then in my opinion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *