When approaching Young Adult fiction, there is a singular holy grail of modern achievement. I can’t recall a series that had such equal appeal across age and gender. Naturally, I’m talking about Harry Potter.
Now, when you have a series as big as Harry, there are going to be the naysayers and pundits that want to tear the book apart and justify why it should not be the success it clearly is. As writers, I don’t think any of us really care about Harry’s grammar, structure or any other negatives people drag up. What we care about is, why does it work, and how can we use those lessons to improve our own chances of success. Well, I have a handy series for you to look at that can do just that!
Jane Friedman’s website There Are No Rules contains a wealth of advice and information. One particular series of articles, contributed by guest writer Jim Adam takes a look at The Strengths of the Harry Potter Series. There’s a wealth of things to learn from looking at the fundamental elements that makes Harry Potter work. I know the first article, on being able to sum a plot in one sentence, gave me some serious pause on my own work in progress. I went back to ensure my story held up to this seemingly simple test. Initially, it didn’t, and I realised I was writing more of a concept than an actual story. Some serious soul searching and digging in the guts of what I was writing eventually produced that simple sentence, and I found almost immediately everything seemed more cohesive.
So go check the link. I found every single one of the points useful and will be returning again and again just to check. There are far worse role models.