What I learned by reading Harry Potter

A writer’s style continues to evolve day-over-day. The manuscripts I wrote nearly a decade ago read and feel like something I did in elementary school. Even with all the guidance from my editor and feedback from fans from book one, there’s still plenty of room to grow.

I’m currently reading the Harry Potter series from J.K. Rowling with my son Derek (who’s 6).  It’s fascinating how we can equally enjoy the story, even if I’m picking up more details than he is.

She has a simplicity to her style that really flows. Sprinkling in little facts and tidbits about a store or a personality quirk really bring the locations and characters to life.

Interestingly enough, she also uses a page turner device at the end of every chapter making you wonder what’s going to happen next. Many times my son was begging to “read just one more chapter tonight.”

Another thing she does very well is keeping a scene focused. She smoothly takes you from background information to the action, moving you towards the major drama for that chapter. In fact, it almost feels like every chapter is like a mini-story with a general setup, build-up, major drama, and then hook to the next loop. The convention really works.

Is she the best literary model of all time? Probably not.  However, the millions of books sold world-wide shows she did something very right.

As I continue forward, preparing the second manuscript for publication, I’m keeping her techniques in mind. It’s not so much that I wasn’t leveraging her approaches, but rather I want to refine them to be as effect as hers.

For those wondering how book two is shaping up, I’m currently revisiting the last three chapters of the book two. I’m also working with Glenn Clovis, who did the Awakening’s artwork, on book two’s cover. Everything’s on schedule for release in 2014. Originally I mentioned summer, it may be sooner!