October 13, 2012

I THOUGHT THE HARRY POTTER SERIES WAS BOARDING SCHOOL STORIES WITH MAGIC: Because I grew up on British boarding school stories, I didn’t find HP wildly inventive.  I did however find it engaging.  I haven’t had the nerve to try her grown-up mystery yet.  Reviews like this aren’t helping: J. K. Rowling and the Deadly Tedium.  The reviewer reminds us of Flannery O’Connor’s observation that “the writer can choose what he writes about, but he cannot choose what he is able to make live.”   In my experience, not only is that true, but first efforts in any genre are best kept from public eyes or very thoroughly re-written after you get your bearings.  Each type of story has a language/rule set of its own. (Update: yes, even if you read a lot of the genre, the first time you write it you’ll still be clumsy.)