5 Writing Lessons from J.K. Rowling

By on Jun 30, 2014 in Writing Tips from Famous Authors

J.K. Rowling

Writing lessons can’t come better than those from a widely loved author of the Harry Potter series. Reading her books is like taking a master class on plot and character development. So, if you really want to know the secrets behind the writing of one of the most loved book series of all time, you might want to read on. Here are some of the things J.K. Rowling swears by.

1. Write Strategically

First and foremost, you need to plan your novel in such a way that you do not give away the entire storyline in the first few pages itself. Make sure you write in such a way that your story keeps the readers on the edge of your seats for the entire length of the book. This may sound untrue, but it is a well-known fact that after J.K. Rowling had written her first book of the Harry Potter series, she realized that she had given away her entire plot of the series in the first book itself! She had to re-write it in order to keep the readers on the edge of their seats and eagerly awaiting the next book.

2. Make Your Characters Flawed

If you want to write a heartfelt story like Harry Potter, you might want to keep your characters as close to reality as possible. Remember, no human being is perfect, and there is no reason for not showing the flaws in your characters. Harry Potter himself, for example, is not perfect. He’s growing up; he’s going through a really dark time. These flaws that we notice from time to time in the characters are what make them more relatable and lovable! The key to great character development is in not just knowing their strengths, but also, their weaknesses. Just because they are your characters, don’t make them perfect. Let the characters live and breathe. Don’t get in the way of your characters.

3. Focus on Backgrounds of Core Characters

As a writer, there is a tendency that you may get lost in the many backgrounds of the characters you develop. Believe it or not, readers do not need to know each and every minute detail of all your characters. You need to figure out which characters are relevant to the story, and what parts of their background impact the story in a direct way, and tell only those to the readers. The backgrounds that are irrelevant will only waste the reader’s time and energy, and lead to your story becoming loose and boring.

4. Be Fearless

According to J.K. Rowling, “You sort of start thinking anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.” Don’t be afraid to write about offbeat subjects, or to write complex characters, if that is what you truly want to write about. Be confident in your skills and passion, and write what your heart desires. The readers will notice the heartfelt writing and the passion hidden in those words, and your work, even if rejected at first, will eventually succeed.

5. Do it if You Love it

Finally, the most important lesson that Rowling gives all budding writers is that write only if you have a love for writing. “I’ll be writing until I can’t write anymore. It’s a compulsion with me. I love writing”, she says. If the writing does not come from within, it is not really making a story, it is just writing for others. Instead, do it for yourself. She adds, “I just write what I wanted to write. I write what amuses me. It’s totally for myself”. Once you start writing for yourself, the success will follow.

Image credit: Daniel Ogren on flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0

Pranay Kanagat is a freelance writer who has a love for writing on various subjects. In particular, he enjoys creative writing. He is also studying for an Engineering degree.

Comments

    2 Comments

  1. Really very useful content for a writer .i’m so glad to read out all these tips..please send me more tips like that if possible..

    kamlesh bharti

    June 30, 2014

  2. Great advice I wish it was that easy to put into practice…

    Stephen Gane

    February 6, 2015

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