Tag Archives: Harry Potter

A Creator of Words

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to Live.” – Albus Dumbledore

  

This past weekend, I skipped my writer’s group meeting so that my husband and I could take our kids to see a showing of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in theatres. I know, I know, skipping a writing meeting is generally unheard of.

But… Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was showing in the theatre. That hasn’t happened since 2001!

Now, my kids have grown up with a mother who absolutely loves all things Harry Potter, so this was not the first time that they have seen this movie. Nor was it the second, third, fourth, or… you get the idea. But it was the first time they were able to experience it on the big screen.

And they were amazed.

The first time I saw this movie was the weekend that it was released. My husband (then fiancé) and I were joining part of my family for a movie night, and at the time this was the only interesting kid friendly movie showing. I had never heard of this Harry Potter and his magical world and just needed something that my (under ten) siblings could agree on. They are now in their 20’s and probably do not even remember going. Later that same weekend, I drug my mother and another younger sibling to see it. After that, the rest was history.

We immediately went out and purchased the first book. As in the next day. A few days later, we bought the second. And so on. The movie had been spectacular, but the books were/are better. By the time the series was fully released, I had babies of my own. My son has his own collection of the books and the movies, and I have a collection of the books saved for my daughter for when she is able to read them on her own.

Now, I am sure there is someone out there that didn’t care for the series, but I haven’t met them yet. As I am also aware that there are plenty of people who liked the series, read them, even watched the movies and that was that. It was just another book/movie for them.  I have read or listened on audio to the series more times than I care to share with you.

Everyone is different. There are those who fall back on Shakespeare, Austen, Fitzgerald, Tolkien; there is a creator of words out there for anyone and everyone. You just have to be willing to find who speaks the loudest to you. Me, I’m just a Rowling girl.

One day, one of us might become one of those authors for someone. One never knows.

Who/what speaks the loudest to you? Let me know down in the comments, I’d love to hear from you.

Till next time,

~AJP

The Dangerous Power of Editing As You Go

“But you must not change one thing, one pebble, one grain of sand, until you know what good and evil will follow on that act. The world is in balance, in Equilibrium. A wizard’s power of Changing and Summoning can shake the balance of the world. It is dangerous, that power…It must follow knowledge, and serve need.” ~Ursula K. LeGuin, A Wizard of Earthsea

I have a jar of quotes my mother gave me one year for my birthday. It has quotes from a lot of famous (and slightly famous) women. From writers to actresses to world leaders to saints, there is encouragement that speaks across generations. The idea for this jar was that whenever I needed support or encouragement that I would pull a quote from the jar and read the words I need to hear. It was a beautiful and inspiring gift, and the above quote is the one I pulled out today.

I am a huge Ursula K. LeGuin fan. I discovered her in this series of books I bought in the 90’s edited by the wonderful Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, and I’ve been a fan ever since. Her Earthsea series is one of my favorites and the above quote comes from the first book in that set.

As I read it, it actually made me think about the writing process. Our fearless Borg leader, Amanda, is constantly telling us to write without editing. Just get it down. As a prolific writer, she knows what she’s talking about, and so I do my best to listen to her advice. After all, if you’re going to build a rocket who are you going to ask for advice, a garage mechanic or a rocket scientist? But I struggle with not editing as I go.

When I sit down to write, I do begin just writing and not focusing on anything but that. But then, invariably, I stop and go back to read what I’ve just written and find either it’s missing information I have in my head, or it needs grammar fixes or oh, wait! I just thought of more dialogue! Thirty minutes later I am banging my head on the table (or desk) because I just spent all that time editing and I forgot where I was going originally. Or I have totally messed up the atmosphere I was trying to create. Or, I wrote myself into a corner and can’t figure out how to get out of it. AMANDA!!! HELP!!!

Yep, that’s how it goes. Well, except that, fortunately, I haven’t written myself into a corner…yet. *knocks on wooden head*

We are wizards, we writers. We summon up worlds and people who don’t exist yet. We are the gods of our unique universes, and as such, we create something from nothing. But with great power comes great responsibility. We have to be omiscient. We have to know whether one single word or phrase will change the way readers will view our creations. Will this scene read better if I leave it, or does it need some revision to make it more visual, more understandable? Will my protagonist be relatable or do I need to humanize my antagonist more? What happens to the story overall?

But, as Ms. LeGuin says, you must not change a thing until you can see the effect that change will have on the story overall. Minor changes are just that. They don’t affect the world you are creating. But a whole scene change can (and does) affect an entire storyline. How would Harry Potter’s world have been, say, if J.K. Rowling (the author for those not in the know) had made the Dursley’s more likable? Would you have related more with Harry if they had been nicer to him?

What about the Hunger Games? Let’s say Suzanne Collins had made Katniss less distant towards Peeta in the beginning. If Katniss had been less antagonised by the thought of killing Peeta, how would you have felt towards her character?

There are so many ways your story can go, but before you begin to edit your story, you need to write it first without changing one pebble, one grain of sand. That can be done later when the story is written and you can see the full scope of the tale.

For now, just sit down and write.

Jesi