So where was I?
First I was out of town for a three-day family visit that turned into a six-day visit that ended with my grandmother's funeral. Then I was running, running, running to catch back up with work and house and family and errands and friends and life. And in the midst of all that, I was shuffling back and forth between Little Whinging and the Burrow and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry ... because yes, I admit, for a few days there I let the Harry Potter series take precedence over most everything else. Really, though, it was about time I read it. And yes, it really is as fantastic as everybody says it is.
On that note, here are a few writing lessons I've learned from the master class that is J.K. Rowling:
- When your main character's life gets really, really awful, make it just a little bit worse. Or better yet, a lot worse.
- Give even your most beloved characters a few nasty flaws. Nobody's perfect. In fact, flaws are part of what make a character lovable (or hate-able).
- Let your imagination soar. This is fiction, people! Fact check, fact check and fact check some more, but when it comes to creating your fictional world, have fun and don't hold back.
- Don't overwrite, but do have fun with words. Every setting, every character, every (and this is a big one) name offers a chance to contribute new and hidden layers of meaning to your work. Details matter.
- Adverbs never killed anybody. Some rules are meant to be broken.
And if you haven't already, by all means, let your life be taken hostage by Harry.
Photo courtesy alitaylor