That Horrible Moment…

…when you read the second novel from an author you loved years ago and hate said second novel. Gahahdmrockwndcsndaaa!!

I read Anne Easter Smith’s A Rose for the Crown when I was about fifteen and could not put it down. Now being twenty-two I’m reading her second novel Daughter of York and am seriously struggling. I don’t know if it’s my changed/older perspective, the writing itself, the slow character and plot development, or the fact that I have a cold and am pumped full of NyQuil at the moment (which is undoubtedly playing a huge role. Btw, please attribute any spelling errors in this post to that fact) but I’m not into this novel. The age-old conundrum: Too much telling where I would enjoy more showing.

Example: A sentence reads “Edward reacted angrily,” and then launches into a description of his actions. So my question is, why include that sentence at all? His table-hurling, mug-smashing and insult-throwing would inform me of such an angry reaction without spelling it out so simply.

I also seriously dislike her overuse of the word “was.” It’s a fluff word and she’s got it printed about five times per page. “Margaret was perplexed.” “Margaret was elated.” “Margaret was devastated.” It points back to what I lamented in the previous paragraph: telling too much. I once had a writing instructor tell me that if you used “was” more than four times in a chapter, you used it too much and you had better think of more inventive descriptions of actions.

I’m not saying telling is an ineffective method of writing. At times it’s extremely useful, like of you’re relating backstory or action that took place far away from the central characters. But if you’re smack in the middle of the book where everything is happening to the characters at that moment, readers want to see it go down.

I guess all this ranting means I’ve been in the publishing world long enough to never be able to read without overly critical examinations ever again.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, and if any of you have read this book or this author, please share your sentiments.

NyQuil kicking in. Good night.


About Miss Rosemary

is a recent college graduate from NY hoping to complete her novel of ten years. Stop by her blog, Miss Rosemary's Novel Ideas at or contact her at with comments, questions and suggestions. She'd love to hear from you! View all posts by Miss Rosemary

4 responses to “That Horrible Moment…

  • Maimoona Rahman

    I haven’t read anything by Easter Smith, but I can totally relate to the horrible feeling you talk of when books seem to tell rather than show. I am reading The Feast of the Goat by Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa right now, and all the telling and the adjectives and the repetition have bogged me down. I think because it is a translation from Spanish, these are the bits that did not translate well into English. The mass paperback is a mere 421 pages, but I have been reading it for a week now. I think a good story is often ruined by bad writing–sigh!

  • Rowenna

    I think it can be hard to take off the criticism hat when reading for fun if you’ve been writing and critting a lot! Honestly, sometimes the book isn’t all that bad, but I get huffy about things *I* would have changed. Older pieces and books in genres I’m not as familiar with can be tricky too, because often they’re just using a style I know won’t work for what I write…and I get judgy lol.

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