I’ve been in a bit of a quandary lately. I might even go so far as to call it a crisis of sorts. As many of you who follow this blog are aware, I’m writing a story based around Hogwarts, the school of magic invented by J.K.K. Rowling. Although this all started out as an exercise to discover how Rowling might go about writing another series based on her wizardring world, I’m now using this story to teach myself the art of writing fiction. And believe me; the amount of information I’ve learned so far is staggering.
The thing is, my goal is to write the story as close to Rowling’s style as possible – partly because I feel my style is naturally similar to hers (although still pretty raw) and partly because I have a pet peeve against fan fiction that doesn’t sound as though it was written by the original author.
And therein lies the problem.
I want to use this story as a learning tool, but Rowling’s style breaks a good many of the so-called rules. She often wrote in a distant third person, occasionally drifting into omniscient POV, which American agents and publishers don’t care for as much as their British counterparts (or so I’ve been told). She mixed in a lot of telling along with her showing, her pages were filled with adverbs, and she used a ton of dialogue tags other than “he said.”
Now when I read the HP books, I didn’t notice any of these “rule-breakages” until I began learning the “rules.” Rowling’s style has been described as feeling as though you are being told a story rather than experiencing it, which is supposed to be a bad thing, but personally I often enjoy that style – as did, apparently, legions of her fans. It has to be done well, of course, and the narrator has to have an attitude of some kind (funny, sarcastic, etc.) or it won’t work. But I feel it is a valid style.
The upshot of all this is that I’m always running into situations where my CP reminds me I’m not following the rules I’m supposed to be learning, which can be maddening when I can find Rowling doing the exact same thing in her books. So should I stay with the way Rowling does it or should I follow all the rules?
So what do you think? I would very much like to hear your opinions.
Thanks for listening.