Today’s post is part of the #PotterChat blog hop, a collection of fantastic blogs, Twitter chats, and prizes. Check out Susan Sipal’s post at Harry Potter for Writers for all the details.
For those who didn’t win a prize in my Milestone Blogiversary Contest, you might want to complete the scavenger hunt of this blog hop, as one of the options is a beta read by me. Other great prizes include critiques, guest blog posts, and free books.
In case you missed my
boasting sharing on Twitter, I saw the last Harry Potter movie on Friday. In 3D. And IMAX. And we were the first in line. And yes, the whole experience was awesomely awesome.
Don’t worry if you haven’t seen the movie or read the books yet. I’ll keep this post spoiler-free. My review can be summed up like this: The movie hit all the emotional notes I wanted it to—and some I was dreading.
My love affair with Harry Potter began with the books. But I’ll admit I wasn’t one of those who read them before there was a bandwagon. Starting with the fourth book, I bought the books in hardcover. However, as I’ve mentioned here before, my to-be-read pile is scary-huge, so I didn’t actually read any of them until after the fifth book was released.
I loved them.
Let me explain how amazing that simple statement is. My expectations for these books were sky-high. How often have we heard others gushing about a book and then when we read it, we’re disappointed?
Not with these books. I devoured all five books and then had to wait like everyone else for the sixth book.
Okay, that’s not a unique story. Hundreds of thousands of others probably did the same. What makes this story unusual was what I did during that wait.
I’d written a bit in high school short story writing classes (which I took mostly to avoid Shakespeare). Then I got in we’re-calling-your-parents trouble with the school for one of my stories (the main character was near-suicidal and swore—a lot). No one believed that the story wasn’t “a cry for help.” (It really wasn’t. My characters have lives of their own.) Discouraged and misunderstood, I gave up writing for many, many years.
Instead, my creativity expressed itself with role-playing games, creating characters and worlds within the context of a game. When life got too crazy to even continue gaming, I was a creative wasteland. Until I read Harry Potter.
I knocked out 58,000 words in a little over a month by writing my version of what the seventh book would be like. That’s right. My first completed novel was fan fiction.
Of course my story was wrong in every respect compared to the real seventh book once it came out. But I knew those characters so well that I was able to crawl inside them and write a story that was still true to them and their world. For the first time, I felt a bone-deep connection to a character.
At the time, I told my family that if I ever came up with my own characters who spoke to me so clearly to watch out. The writing bug had bitten me. Hard.
Fast forward a year or so and my characters finally visited me. My worlds formed in my head. My muse started talking to me. Now he never shuts up. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I suspect I’m not the only one to have been inspired by J.K. Rowling to start writing. Millions of virtual trees have been used for Harry Potter fan fiction alone, much less for those who grew beyond that.
So as I sat in the darkened theater and watched the end credits of the final movie scroll by, that’s when I really started bawling. Yes, we still have Pottermore to look forward to, but that’s not nearly as big as the movies, which weren’t as big as the books. This last movie signaled “the end” to me in bright letters crawling up a 70 foot screen.
The tears stopped only when something new lit inside me: the desire to find, to read, or maybe, just maybe, to write the “next” Harry Potter.
We all have that moment when we were bitten by the writing bug, but something more keeps us going when the words aren’t flowing, when a harsh critique leaves us doubting ourselves, or when another rejection lands in our mailbox. Something inspires us to continue to write.
I’m a writer today because of J.K. Rowling and her world of Harry Potter. Do I think my stories can compete with hers? *snort* Uh, no. But I think my efforts can honor the contribution she made to literature and to my life. I think my stories can affect others on some level. So in that small way, I can continue what she started.
What gave you the writing bug? What inspires you to continue to write even when things get difficult? Have you ever written fan fiction (stories about someone else’s characters)? Do you want the answer to one of the #PotterChat blog hop scavenger hunt questions? Hee. (His silver arm, page 470, Chapter 23 – Malfoy Manor)Pin It