Friday, October 5, 2012

Each One Teach One: JK Rowling -- Characterization, and How to Be Normal : )

I'm back from the SCBWI CAROLINAS 20th Anniversary Conference and am thrilled to report that I have a stack of interviews from famous childrens/YA authors from around the country that will soon be rolling in and appearing on this blog  These authors will be showing up here in the Each One Teach One Interview Series every week over the next few months giving tips on specific aspects of YA and children's writing. 

Don't miss it!

In the meantime, here's a great interview (no I didn't do this one, alas) with one of the most famous (and fabulous) children's book authors of the current century - JK Rowling.  In this interview, which I first saw on the website of "the Guardian" out of the United Kingdom (aka Rowling's home,) Rowling shares about her new book for adults that's was released a few days ago, The Casual Vacancy.  She talks about her fears that being hugely famous for writing children's books about Hogwarts makes her wonder whether people will accept her as a fiction writer for adults or will tell her to "go back to wizards."  She also talks about her journey of life and about the changes brought on by the unexpected fame she achieved through the Harry Potter series. It's a great interview which shows Rowling being what she is - a normal human being who has written some truly brilliant books. : ) 




I have always been impressed with the way that each of Rowling's many, many characters in the Harry Potter series all have such different personalities -- and that's not just true about the "important" ones.  Each of Rowling's characters is an individual.  Even if we think about just the secondary adult female characters -- who are really much less important than the main characters in the vast scheme of the story -- we find that each of these women, from Ron's Mom Mrs. Weasley, to Draco's Mom Mrs. Malfoy, to Professor McGonagal, to Purple Haired Tonks, to the slightly loopy Divination Teacher Professor Trelawny, to the pink and evil Delores Umbridge who loves her cats, to the insanely evil Bellatrix Lestrange -- each one is a complete individual.  There are no "cardboard" characters in the writings of JK Rowling.  We have much to learn from her about creating characters that are truly believable.

So, in honor of her attempt to write in a different genre (adult mystery), I'm sharing this interview by the Guardian today.

If JK Rowling ever writes a book on how to write great characters I'll be the first one in line to buy it. : )

So -- which secondary or terciary character in the Harry Potter Series do you think is so brilliantly characterized that you wish you had created him or her in your own fiction? Which of her characters can you learn from when writing characters in your own books?

For me there are many - but I choose Horace Slughorn, or Remus Lupin, or perhaps Gilderoy Lockhart...and of course, Severis Snape.  Oh dear. It's really hard to choose.  Who do you look to as an example of a great Harry Potter character who you wish you had written and who you think you can learn from?


Janelle said...

*Also, a side note. For those who entered the Book Give-Away in September here on Writermorphosis, winners will be announced here in next week's post!

Kit said...

great stuff Janelle, wonderful to see you at conference.
Kit Grady

Karen said...

To answer your question: Hagrid. He's a wonderful character.
And, if I had JK Rowling in my clutches, I would ask her an entirely different set of questions than the interviewer did -- Janelle - your questions about characterization, but also about plotting, scene, revising.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the interview with breakfast this morning. I'd love to read a book by her on characterization. She does it so well.

Janelle said...

I so agree, Karen and Anonymous!

It was great to see YOU at the conference too, Kit!