Like millions of other people, I thoroughly enjoyed the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Though I admit, back when it came out I was a little slow to jump on the bandwagon. It wasn’t until my father read the first book (and we got the paperback copy, which tells you how long it was out before we bought it) that I decided to give it a try. I believe I finished it between that evening and the next morning XD. And I didn’t look back – I remember reading #4 (Goblet of Fire) cover to cover on a 4-hour car trip!
I even remember my grandma saying that she was disappointed when Hollywood started to make movies of the Harry Potter series – because kids were finally interested in reading books again! And why was that? Well, actually, there are multiple reasons why those books were such a big hit :-D. But one of the reasons that stands out most to me was how vividly the author managed to create this world of magic.
From Platform 9¾ to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to Diagon Alley, every installment of the Harry Potter series featured a fantastical location full of wonder. It’s no wonder that the Universal parks in Florida have added Harry Potter elements to their collection – because all of us wanted to taste delicious butterbeer, or find our perfect wand, or visit Hagrid with his unusual pets. There are even “schools of magic” now, where you can enroll and attend classes and banquets for a week or weekend! All because one author created a world so real, so wonderful that everyone who read her stories wanted to visit.
Even better was the fact that her world existed right next door to the world we live in: King’s Cross Station is where young wizards board the Hogwarts Express, while those entering the Ministry of Magic use restrooms near the subway or a telephone booth. Knowing that the magic was right there – instead of light-years away on a foreign planet – made the stories even more appealing. As if you could really go there, if only you believed hard enough.
(Sigh) Sadly, my imagination is not nearly as refined as Ms. Rowling’s. I don’t have the writing skills yet to create such an incredible world from scratch. Thus I take the “paranormal” part of my genre literally – my stories happen “alongside” that which is “normal.” I start with the real world and add in that which usually only exists in the shadows, with the idea that since the locations are real, the characters could almost be real as well… but I’ve yet to wander from the “real world” all the way into another realm. Perhaps someday I’ll board a magical train and my books will end up somewhere that you can’t actually find on a map, but for now, I’ll leave the incredible world building to the experts ;-).
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section!
Until the next time, keep reading!
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I have two passions: reading and writing. You can't write good stories without first reading good stories - that's my theory, anyway. So this is where I'll share with you the depth of those passions: background on what and why I write, as well as talking about the books that I read and how they impact my writing.