Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Studying a genius

I'm reading the 7th Harry Potter book again, mainly because I read it so fast the first time that I can't remember one thing about it and that was years ago. I want to know how closely they followed the book when I see the movie. I also wanted to read it with a critical eye, to get a taste for her genius, hoping it would seep in through my pores.

I don't know that it has so far.

I have come to the conclusion that she is, yes, a fantastic writer. The only thing she does that is a no no here in the US is put 'said' first. That's a very European thing to do so I can't really criticize her for that. I'm so totally into her story that I hate to put it down. I'm riveted. I find myself asking, "How did she even think to put that word there?"

I love the poectic way she describes things, like, "Dawn seemed to  follow midnight with indecent haste." Would I ever think to write something this way? Doubt it. I do justify my own lack with the fact that she went to college to study writing and I didn't, but that will only hold up for so long.

Now, It's not healthy to compare yourselves to others. You'll always find where they are better. But it doesn't hurt to glean knowledge from them. It doesn't even hurt to imitate their form until you can find your own. Isn't that how we all start?

When I wrote my first book and gave it to a friend to critique he told me it was too much like Harry Potter, too much like Star Wars, too much like the Joseph Smith story. And then in big letters at the end, he said, "WRITE YOUR OWN STORY!"

I didn't know what my own story was at the time. I do now. I've written quite a few novels. It's something that comes with time and practice. I'm sure JK had lots of practice. It doesn't hurt to add desperation to the recipe either. She was pretty desperate at the time.

So, may  all your writing dreams come true like hers have! Keep your imaginations alive and remember the most important thing of all. Take breaks!!!


Jenn said...

Excellent advice! I've been rereading a few books I've enjoyed in the past, slowing down to notice the imagery and word choice they throw in. Nothing like learning from the masters, right? :)

Charlotte said...

I didn't realize that it was possible to write a story that was like the Joseph Smith Story, the Star Wars Story AND the Harry Potter Story all rolled into one.

Pretty talented you are, Melissa.

Melissa J. Cunningham said...

Char:hehe. Maybe that's why the story didn't sell!

Elizabeth Mueller said...

Hey, Melissa, great post. So true. We all need our practice novels. We get better with each passing one. ;)

I have an waiting for award ya!

Fran said...

I've only read Book 1. I know this is a terrible, terrible thing - or so all the kids I teach tell me. I must, must get round to the rest of them, because I loved Book 1 and agree she's a good writer.

Old Kitty said...

Awwww - glad you are now writing your own story!! That's the best thing!

I remember reading The Philosopher's Stone in one sitting - it was really really amazing. Oh to be able to capture a reader's imagination as JR did with me! I can only dream!!

Take care

Nicole Zoltack said...

Great advice! I love to reread books. I should reread the Harry Potter ones.

Colene Murphy said...

She is a genius. I can't read any of her HP books when I'm in writing mode b/c I get sooo depressed. lol.

Anonymous said...

We read the wonderful books we love the most, and then one day we write our own. The trick is to both keep reading and keep writing, which is what you're doing!! Good job, as my daughter would say.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I was planning to re-read the 7th HP book before seeing the movie (especially since it's two parts), but never got around to it. Now I'm thinking it'll just depress me if I try. ;)

Madeleine said...

Great post. I intended to re-read HP No7 but hubby got there before me. We're booked to see the film on Sunday. :O)

Kittie Howard said...

Great advice, Melissa! JK is definitely the gold standard. I sometimes wonder where the inspiration came from for some of the exquisite sentences I read, then selfishly wish Tinkerbell would sprinkle my brain. *sighs*

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