10 Things I learned from J K Rowling, Part 1

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your humble host
I’m reading Harry Potter in paperback, and I’m doing it for several reasons.

(Aside from a few glimpses when my daughter was watching the DVDs, I have never seen more than 30 seconds of the Harry Potter movies nor read one word of any of the books.)

First, I was curious to know what all the fuss was about. It is a great book and great storytelling? Or is it 50 Shades – a fad that caught on?

Let’s face it, if you want to be a world famous writer, it couldn’t possibly hurt to read the stuff other world famous writers have written.

Second, I was curious about setting descriptions. After visiting the wizarding world at Universal Studios in Florida and seeing the amazingly cool castle and village, I wondered how true they were to what I’d glimpsed in the movie, and how they were described in the book. (I’m only one chapter in so I don’t know yet.)

But as I’m reading, I’m noticing things, and they’re worth mentioning while they’re fresh in my mind.


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The Opening.

There’s nothing more boring than describing people. That’s not what the first paragraph does, but that’s how it appears. The first paragraph introduces a backwards type of humor. “They didn’t hold with such nonsense.”

The second para basically described the Dursleys, and does so in a sarcastic  and humorous way.

hp-2
yup, we own this now
But the third paragraph is probably where I would have advised most writers to start this story. In fact it is where the story starts, but I like the fact that we had to work a little bit to get there. The first two paragraphs were not wasted. They introduce the style in which the story is going to be told. I am reading it as though I am reading a children’s book. That’s not an insult, that just settles me in to relax. But the third paragraph says the Dursleys have a secret and they hope that no one will discover it.

And that means we right away are hooked.

It is a mystery.

What is their secret?

Rowling explains to the reader how the reader should be feeling by showing how Mr. Dursley is feeling.

Throughout the rest of the chapter, we jump around a little bit as far as who’s point of view you’re in. But for the most part it is Mr. Dursley and Rowling explains to the reader how the reader should be feeling by showing how Mr. Dursley is feeling. You can complain about filters and dialogue tags but this is very good storytelling for one reason. We keep getting introduced to things that make him more and more uncomfortable and through him you the reader are informed of all kinds of strange things that are happening – and you want keep reading to find out what they are.

That’s my guess as to why this is a great book.

hp-1
we own these, too
One thing that is a bit of a giveaway – but it’s probably intended for readers  much younger than me – is a big tell. They tell you the bad guy is gone and Harry Potter is the reason and he’s got a scar on his head.  I couldn’t kill him… That’s all done through dialogue, telling you instead of showing  – nothing wrong, but it’s not something I would usually advise. However, if the author has a reason for doing it, that’s always an asterisk. Don’t do it unless. Unless what? Unless you have a damn good reason. After chapter one  I can only assume the world’s most popular book had a good reason for doing it the way she did.

telling you instead of showing  – nothing wrong, but it’s not something I would usually advise.

Don’t do it unless. Unless what? Unless you have a damn good reason.

I also have to chuckle as the two wizards are saying Harry Potter will be famous, books will be written about him, and every child in the world will know his name. It’s never a bad thing to put that in your own book! Love the confidence.

One more thing.

I like not knowing the inside joke. I like having to learn what a muggle is and that somebody had the creative ability to create an alternative world and all kinds of things in that world have unique names. A watch with 12 hands and a bunch of planets on it. A flying motorcycle. A putter outer. Cats that turn into people – or wizards, I guess.

That all sets up a bunch of clues – less than subtle ones, of course – that we are entering a very different world in this story. Anyone not interested in playing along will bail out now. Those who choose to come along for the ride are going to be in for a treat.

There’ll be more tomorrow. See you then.

.

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your humble host
Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the amazingly great sci fi action thriller “The Navigators.” Click HERE to get your copy of The Navigators – FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

19 thoughts on “10 Things I learned from J K Rowling, Part 1

  1. I love how you are approaching this review. The HP books are a favorite in my family. Kids, grandkids and of course me were all hooked after the first chapter of Book one. You’re tempting me to reread them. But I’ve too much to do as it is. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve never read the books either (there on my list… eventually… someday… maybe) and I’ve only seen glimpses of the movies (my kids are fans) and, like you, I’ve been to Universal and was intrigued by how all this came about and how did Rowlings do it. I just haven’t had much time to spend on a book that wasn’t college related in the last few years (which is when all my writing/reading passion has come back (and waned… so much college)).

    I’m interested in reading the rest of your reviews. This should be interesting.. but come on, do me one favorite… label the spoilers because… the books have only been out for like 15 years or so.

    Liked by 1 person

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