I’ve been really excited lately at the work I’ve been doing on my novels and their plot-lines. I mean, actually very excited to be writing my fiction and plotting and replotting my books.
I’ve had a wealth of great ideas in the past few weeks. Some difficulty, of course, as to how to best arrange all of these great ideas into the body of my novels, for some of these ideas complicate (and enrich) the plot considerably, and I’m not sure I can use all of the ideas I have – I may have to reserve some of these ideas for other books.
But still, overall, I’d much rather have these ideas and not be able to use them right now, than not have these ideas at all and so never use them because I lacked them.
At the height of the Harry Potter novels’ popularity, I asked a number of people why those books in particular enjoyed such a devoted readership. Everyone gave almost the same answer: that author J.K. Rowling “tells a good story.” The response at once clarified everything and nothing; of course a “good story” can draw a large, enthusiastic (and, at that time, impatient) readership, but what does it take to actually tell a good story? People have probably made more money attempting, questionably, to pin down, define, and teach the best practices of storytelling, but at the top of this post, we have a revealing scrap of Rowling’s own process. And I do, almost literally, mean a scrap: this piece of lined paper contains part of the handwritten plot spreadsheet she used to write the fifth Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix…”