For Writers

5 Things Harry Potter Taught Me About Writing

We all have those books that make us write better. The books we turn to when our creativity tank is running on fumes. The books that make us want to write. The books that made us feel like writing was possible.

I wanted to share five writing lessons I’ve learned from one of my favorite book series, Harry Potter. JKR’s fantasy series is lusciously liberal with description and teeming over with amazing characters; it’s no wonder that this is a book series that readers return to time and time again. Can writers learn something from JKR’s crafting of the Wizarding World? What are some of the elements of Harry Potter that make it so inherently, and insatiably, readable?

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Reading Nourishes Writing

The Hamilton Book Tag

Hamilton Musical Book Tag Meme

Okay, so this tag might be over a year old. But our love for Hamilton never dies, amiright, gang? So, I’ve just got to do this tag.

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For Writers

10 Harry Potter Related Questions to Flesh Out Your Characters

Show of hands: who has taken Pottermore’s Patronus TestShow of hands: who has taken it multiple times because they don’t like any of their results? Well, as much as we love sorting ourselves into Houses, finding our wand size, make, and core, and, now, discovering what completely arbitrary creature will protect us from Dementors, it turns out the same techniques we use to insert ourselves into the world of Harry Potter can be used to flesh out our characters as well!

If you’re well-versed in the Harry Potter world, it can be tons of fun to imagine what your own original characters might do if let loose on the Hogwarts grounds. Lots of people sort their characters into the Hogwarts houses — the studious into Ravenclaw, the brave and reckless into Gryffindor, the ambitious into Slytherin, and the loyal and hard workers into Hufflepuff. But there’s so much more you can do beyond sticking an imaginary Sorting Hat onto your characters’ noggins.

Take a character from your WIP and see if you can answer the following questions about them. Writing down detailed responses, even expanding your answers into scenes, will help kick your creativity into overdrive, and might teach you something about your characters you hadn’t realized before!

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Blog

His Dark Materials! JK Rowling! IT’S A GREAT DAY, EVERYBODY.

BBC One announced today that they’re going to be adapting Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy into a drama series a la Game of Thrones or their fantastic adaptation of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.

Me right now:

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REASONS THIS BBC ADAPTATION IS GOING TO BE AMAZING:

  1. The His Dark Materials trilogy has it all. Action, emotion, betrayal, kidnapping, witches, armored polar bears, ancient prophecies, gunfights, zeppelins, and daemons — little animals representing and connecting to each character’s conscience.

    I still remember the first time I read the fight between the armored bears in The Golden Compass and you realized the twist that was about to happen. Took my 14 year old breath away. And The Subtle Knife has a death scene that reduced me to a sobbing ball of uncontrollable feelings. (I’m serious, I was sitting in my hallway, unable to stop crying. My mom had to step around me.) And oh my god, when they go to the land of the dead in the third book???? There’s SO much to cover here, and so much potential for an amazing adaptation.

  2. The book deserves a better movie. Oh, the Golden Compass movie annoyed me so much. If switching the chronological order of book events wasn’t bad enough, completely omitting the ending that tied the entire story together was borderline unforgivable. The Golden Compass (or Northern Lights, if you’d rather) has THE GREATEST ENDING, and the movie cut it out. Yup. Just severed the story’s culmination, the big finale, the chaotic conclusion when everything came together. For what purpose? To stay family-friendly?

    That movie  neutered itself in so many ways, glossing over the book’s darker, deeper themes in an effort to make a fun action, family-friendly romp — which this book was not meant to be. The Golden Compass in the right hands should be a deeply moving story about a little girl taking on a problem too big for her, trying to rescue her friend from kidnappers whose crimes are actually far worse. It’s a story about betrayal, and manipulation, and selfishness, and love, and bravery, and empathy. The movie just didn’t understand the story it was adapting.

  3. BBC Adaptations tend to be great. I’m thinking North & South, Pride and Prejudice, Emma — okay so I’ve only mostly seen their classical adaptations, but still! I trust the BBC to actual stay true to the spirit and the story of the books.

This is going to be amazing. There’s so much to look forward to — casting news! Production stills! THE ACTUAL TV SHOW. The only problem will be getting my hands on the show once it airs, seeing as I’m stuck across an obtruding ocean. Hopefully H.D. versions will be made available on iTunes or something. *cries*

AND THEN, AS IF TODAY WASN’T ALREADY WONDERFUL:

J.K. Rowling announced she’s writing a new children’s book. Actually, she said she’s been working on books, plural. STOP IT, MY HEART CAN’T TAKE ALL THIS EXCITEMENT.

okay, okay, I’ve got to commit to writing for NaNoWriMo today. How excited are you guys for new JKR books and an HDM adaptation???? *grabby hands* I want it all right now!

Blog · Books

The Moments I Look Forward To Whenever I Reread Harry Potter

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The theme for this round’s Harry Potter Moment of the Week (over on Uncorked Thoughts) is Most Anticipated Moment. I’m not sure if this meant things we were looking forward to as we initially read the series or not (like Harry defeating Voldemort, or certain characters hooking up), but I decided to take it in a slightly different direction and talk about the moments I look forward to when I reread the books.

Because I reread these books all the time. Basically, at any given moment, no matter what books are stacked on my nightstand or even open on my lap, you can be sure I’m rereading some Harry Potter book as well. Right now, I think I’m around the Quidditch World Cup in Goblet of Fire. What can I say — I love reading Harry Potter! It’s a total comfort book, an easy way to charge my creative batteries, and just makes me happy.

So! I’ve noticed that whenever I get really into an HP book, there’s always some specific sentence or moment I’m really looking forward to reaching and reliving again. My toes start to wiggle, I sit forward a little in my seat, I get all jumpy and excited, like I’m in a car and the roadsigns are confirming we’re almost at our final destination. Here are those scenes, in order:

1. Neville wins his 10 points in Philosopher’s Stone

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Cue immediate tears. Book or movie, this scene slaughters me. I love Neville getting his moment, I love Dumbledore for giving it to him, I love everybody in this Great Hall. 

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