A Glimpse at J.K. Rowling’s Writing Method

The movie blog, /Film, recently posted some images of J.K. Rowling’s planning for a couple of chapters of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. To be honest, I was blown away by the level of detail. I knew that J.K. Rowling had plotted the storyline for the whole Harry Potter series before she started to write The Philospher’s Stone, but I hadn’t really considered how complex the planning would have to be in order to keep track of the many subplots.

/Film says that:

She keeps track of all the book’s subplots in every chapter and how they are developing in the real world of the book, even if they aren’t mentioned on the page. So, there’s a full column on “The Prophecy” which is the main subplot Harry is worried about throughout the book. Then there’s a column for the romantic subplot, titled “Cho/Ginny” followed by “D.A.” which follows what’s going on with Harry, Ron and Hermione’s resistance group “Dumbledore’s Army,” one called “O of P,” a column about what’s the latest with the “Order of the Phoenix,” a.k.a, the people who believe Voldemort is still alive, then separate columns for Snape (and others, I can’t read Rowlings writing) and the Hagrid and Grawp story.

Check out part of J.K. Rowling’s plan. I love the way it is written in biro on a rough piece of lined paper. It’s almost as if she had finally worked how all the pieces and strands of her story worked together, and had to record it on whatever was available before she forgot some of the details.

J.K. Rowling Planning Page
J.K. Rowling's Planning

See /Film for larger images.

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