WhyPotter? 1: The Perfect Plan

incredible-harry-potter-fan-art-in-celebration-of-a-triple-birthday-527526I promise I won’t harp on the MBTI too long.

So J.K. Rowling is arguably confirmed as being an INFJ on the MBTI: my arguement is that this is irrelevant and to create something similar you don’t need to be this type: but you will need to adapt your skills. Let me explain: so the MBTI discusses 8 possible strengths and weaknesses that are assumably “each side of the spectrum” of 4 traits, meaning you can’t use both: I disagree: I believe that one can (and most do) posses all 16 strengths: your test will reveal which you favour on an average basis. Let’s talk about P vs J in terms of a writer. P essentially means improvisation and J means stability and planning. Now to write an amazing story like Harry’s you will have to plan large story arches that intertwine, expand and then tie up in the end as for example the story of how his parents died. This is the strength of a planner, if you are a natural planner this is what you will enjoy HOWEVER those who are more spontaneous or improvosional will find their talents being used in writing as well.

When I imagine the design for a chapter I don’t decide what colour Jim’s hat will be: I might as well write the chapter shouldn’t I? my point here is, word to word you will have to improvise and grow. You will have to find a rhythm and then go through the entire thing and find little symbolism that matches the themes you entrench: you think Rowling started POA with the idea that Snape would teach a class on werewolves? I doubt it, she probably saw it as a perfect opportunity as she developed the plot and was writing. Then she thought “Perfect! Hermione could bring this up later because she would be the type to remember this detail.”

My point has been that anyone who enjoyed the amount of planning that J.K. put in her novels could most definitely do it themselves. It is not for everyone but I think there are a lot of you that would enjoy this process. I don’t think I have found anything more fulfilling than deciding a secret the audience doesn’t know. Which brings me to another topic.

The reveal: decide lots of stuff about your characters. Everything. Then choose what side of them you want to display that is most obvious: the things you would notice if you first met them in real life. Now shed new light. I have barely started this process (and no growth yet either) but I think it is the key to making your characters believable as J.K. Rowling did. Take Hagrid: Hagrid hides (and lacks the ability to) barley anything about his personality. Every time he has a secret the trio force it out of him almost immediately. This is who he is and this brutal honesty of zapping dudley with an umbrella is an accurate portrayal of who he is. I’m not saying that crazy reveals are bad. but would it not take away some of the “honesty” of Hagrid’s character if he would have turned out to be a Death Eater? Surely it would have been a shock and maybe sold some books, but this would be the trademark of a thriller. not an honest and REAL story like Harry Potter.

Rowling does have a plethora of surprises for us but the difference is her surprises ADD UP and we get this thrilling sense of looking back at moody’s behaviour and seeing the dishonesty! We get the feeling immediately that Lupin is hiding something. We look at Snape at the end of the series and the faintest trail of clues and character contradictions leave us with the cascade of feelings that one gets with an epiphany: not a shocker.

In conclusion, anyone can train their story to include clues for the reading to be teased with. In the meantime- I will let this topic simmer in my brain and undoubtedly write a part two with some of those “I Should have said this” moments. Get writing!


MBTI stuff if curious: https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test597e2b53ffb7a6b5039ce106c81013c9

writing characters guide: http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-articles/by-writing-goal/write-first-chapter-get-started/hooked-on-a-feeling