Friday, July 15, 2011

What Harry Can Teach Us About Writing...

Happy Harry Potter Release Day!!

For many of you... I'm sure you've already seen it. So, I hope you had a great time and loved it!! I am seeing it tonight with my hubs and li'l sis. And I have mixed feelings about the end of this ERA. The Harry Potter books hold a special place in my heart because they are the reason I started reading again after a fairly large drought.

In many ways, the books changed my life. They're not the reason I started writing, but I like to think they helped.

For those of you going this weekend or later, I hope you have a wonderful moviegoing experience. *sniff* I can't believe it's all ending...

So. What can Harry teach US about our writing?

Bravery - No can argue that Harry wasn't brave and careless. You almost can't have one without the other. Bravery moves the plot forward, it makes you cheer, it creates a HERO.

Vulnerability - At many points Harry shows he can be vulnerable and human. Vulnerability endears people to each other, it lets people in. No one is a rock all the time, not even Harry.

Loyalty - Once Harry latches onto you, he doesn't let go. I could say the same of Hermione and Ron, too. Harry wouldn't have gotten far without them. Your characters need people to help them in their mission. I think it's also important to test that loyalty, often and always.

How To Have A Sense of Humor - Characters who can laugh at themselves are always more likable. We relate to that in someone. Harry & crew knew this, especially Ron.

How to Endure  - He lost his parents before he ever got to meet them. He was abused by the family that took him in. It would make anyone nuts, but Harry remained a kind person willing to help anyone out, even his crusty ol' cousin. To endure is to SURVIVE.

Sacrifice - To go along the path he chose, there will always be sacrifice. You can't have the prize without giving something up at some point. Characters who don't sacrifice anything are boring. Yeah. I said it ;o)

How to Love - Harry loved his parents, his friends, Sirius, Ginny and many others. Through everything he saw and heard he was still able to love. I mean that's what saved him, after all. I'm not a romantic, like, at all, but I'll tell ya, if you can write LOVE in a non-corny way, you've sold me. Even corny is okay every once in a while, just don't make it a habit. It's getting a little too serious out there -- loosen up. Just a little. Please.

Do you have any to add? I know I didn't get them all.. I kept it kind of general as to avoid spoilers for those who haven't seen any of the movies or read the books -- Seriously. You're missing out!

What's your favorite part of the series?

I really loved the beginning, but there's something about seeing Harry search for those Horcruxes that gets me excited!! I've always loved the lasts in series'. Return of the Jedi is my favorite Star Wars movie, Empire Strikes Back is a close second, though ;o)

Have a wonderful weekend!!!

<3 Er

erica m. chapman is a YA writer by night, workin' for the cause by day. Fan of football, especially Lions and Michigan. She loves alternative music, Foo Fighters, animals, reading, golf and playing her guitar. She resides in Michigan where she sits quietly typing her next story on her macbook in her Detroit Lions Snuggie. You can also find her at


  1. I originally bought the first couple books in order to share the love of reading with a younger person - read to them before they knew how to read. She only sat through maybe 3 chapters of the first book before it was a lost cause (not enough pictures I guess) - I started reading them because well, I had spent money and didn't want it to go to waste... and I fell in love. I ate everything J.K. Rowling up and she is one of my writing idols to this day (along with Stephen King!). I wish I could see the movie today but alas no money in the bank... have some popcorn and soday for me!

  2. The movie was awesome! What a wonderful story JK Rowling gave the world. Harry seems real to us because of things you mentioned above. Now, if I could only understand Quidditch. Great post! :D