Monday, September 20, 2010

How J.K. Rowling uses magic to shift scenes

Children’s books as a rule are allowed to have only one point of view. Even if you are writing in the third person you only write from the main character’s point of view. If you are writing for adults, you have the luxury of shifting from one point of view to another, but not with children’s stories. For most children’s stories the only way you can get around something happening somewhere else is if someone tells you about it, or your main character dreams or imagines it…. Even dreams and imaginings are not common in children’s literature.

J.K. Rowling got around that difficult limitation by allowing Harry Potter to see into Lord Voldemort’s mind because of the lightening scar on his forehead – the result of Voldemort’s murderous attack on Harry when he was a child. The visions of other people and other places is generally accompanied by tremendous pain in the scar – which lets the reader know it’s not usual or not happening in Harry’s present time or place. The lightening scar is Harry’s attachment to Voldemort. It is also the writing tool that expands the writing platform that Rowling enjoys. It is an exceptionally clever way to incorporate information that could otherwise not be incorporated into a children’s book.

The limits of a single point of view are one of the things that make writing children’s books very challenging, more challenging than writing adult fiction.

No comments:

Post a Comment