I was pretty sure J. K. Rowling was over hyped until I read one of her books. Now I’m taking you through examples of her great storytelling methods you can role model in your writing, using Rowling’s Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets as a reference.
Follow along as I tell you what I like in “real time,” show you things you should try to do in your own writing – and identify some stuff you probably shouldn’t do, too.
Endings: when do you end your story?
I saw it in the first book and I’m noticing it here, that the story tends to go on a little bit longer than it needed to. Again, since it’s popular there’s no reason to knock it, but once everything is finished, why not just end the story? I’m not sure we learned much in chapter 18 that we couldn’t have just been told briefly at the end of 17.
You end the story when the good stuff is finished – unless you have loose ends to tie up, or want a little farewell to characters you’ve come to love.
After all, as a writer you spent a lot of time with these people, getting to know and like them. Don’t worry, they’ll still be there every time you open the book. End the story when the good stuff is over.
In Chamber of Secrets, Harry is being threatened with expulsion again. See kids? Don’t go breaking all the dang rules!
This is funny:
“But one of us seems to be keeping a little quiet about his part in this dangerous adventure,” Dumbledore added. “Why so modest, Fauntleroy?”
Harry gave a start. He had completely forgotten about Lockhart.
So did I.
Probably so did Rowling.
Anyway, off to the infirmary with him. Good. Maybe he gets his memory back, maybe not. Don’t really care, and some things are best left to tell “later.” It’s okay to have readers assume stuff that you don’t tell them.
Another loose ends (for me) tied up:
Oh, that’s nice. The hat put Harry in Gryffindor house because he asked not to go in Slitherin. And as Dumbledore explains, that’s what makes them different from Riddle. That’s nice. Stuff like that makes me smile.
And smiling kinda makes me erase that grrr I had going on a moment ago.
I can see Dumbledore enjoying explain this to Harry the way I can see parents enjoying explaining this to their kids as a lesson to take from the book, the same way I can see Rowling explaining it to her readers. The rest of us plain old just get to enjoy it for a nice little way to tie things that that happened a long long time ago.
Ha! The sword is explained.
He pulled it out of a hat – a magic hat.
Okay. All is forgiven.
The rest of the chapter ties up some loose ends that probably didn’t really need to be fully explained, but what the heck. If she hadn’t done it, people would’ve said What about this? What about that?
So to wrap it up and do it in a relatively endearing manner is just fine by me.
That said, there isn’t any big unanswered question remaining except the fact that it appears Voldemort may have escaped again. (For me, if you don’t have a dead body, the bad guy can still come back, some way somehow.)
Is it onward to The Prisoner Of Azkaban?
It is. But don’t worry, I’m not gonna burden you with a bunch of posts about it.