Let’s be honest. We’ve all walked into a bookstore like Chapters and seen the massive table filled with Harry Potter memorabilia. We’ve looked through Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and failed to pronounce the many creatures’ names in the book. It’s no secret that the Harry Potter series is a worldwide success or that JK Rowling makes money off way more than just the books. But what does make the Harry Potter series so successful?
Multiple Genres for Multiple Audiences
If you’re a kid, you know that adult who’s a proud Gryffindor. And if you’re an adult, you know that one kid who knows every Dumbledore quote like the back of his hand. There’s something about Harry Potter that appeals to all age groups. Of course, not everyone loves Harry Potter; but it wouldn’t be too hard to find someone from every age bracket who does. This could be due to the characters. Although the book’s main characters are teenagers, many adults are also in the spotlight, such as Hagrid, Dumbledore, and Voldemort. The book also falls under many different genres. The books are mainly fantasy, due to the magic and the creatures. But action and adventure, mystery, and even romance are also present in the series. You can’t have a story about a group of teenagers without love showing up somewhere! Harry Potter might also be considered a coming-of-age story, as we see Harry grow from a little kid into a mature adult.
The World Is Full Of Detail
If you’ve read Harry Potter, one of the first things you remember is the massive Hogwarts castle. It appears on the movie posters, some of the book covers, and you can even build it out of Lego! JK Rowling put a lot of thought and effort into making the Hogwarts castle as realistic as possible, despite it being a fantasy place where teenagers learn to blast each other across the room. Although its concept is unrealistic, it feels real because there are so many details and history behind this one building. Similarly, JK Rowling has created dozens of different creatures in the Harry Potter universe from the sometimes invisible Thestrals to the hedgehog looking Knarls. Another factor that makes this series so realistic and engaging is the laws and rules that are regularly referenced throughout the series. Although they revolve around a fictional world full of magic, some of them are similar to the rules in our society, making them slightly more believable. For example, it makes total sense that a wizard can’t use magic at home before they are 17 years old, because they are probably irresponsible with a wand.
The Themes Draw People In
Although Harry Potter is mainly meant to entertain, there are a few lessons that can be learned from the series. The biggest one is friendship, shown by Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s continually evolving relationship throughout the seven books. They may be close but their friendship has been tested in different ways. For example, in the fourth book, Harry and Ron have a massive fight as Ron starts to feel jealous of Harry’s success and attention. Another huge theme in the Harry Potter series is good versus evil. Harry is a hero, while Voldemort is a villain. The Order of the Phoenix is helpful, while the Death Eaters are harmful. This can even go as far as animals in the books. Fawkes, Dumbledore’s phoenix, is gentle, while Nagini, Voldemort’s snake, is dangerous. These themes are universal and most of us are naturally drawn to stories revolving around them.
Harry Potter’s Character Arc
Harry Potter is a compelling character because of his character arc, which follows the “Rags to Riches” storyline. In The Philosopher's Stone, Hagrid and Dumbledore leave Harry in the care of his aunt and uncle, who hate both him and his parents. Because of that, he is neglected and scorned, making most of his childhood miserable. It’s only when Hagrid shows up again and tells Harry that he has magic, does he consider a life outside of the one his aunt and uncle have provided for him. He is taken to Hogwarts, where he proves to be a very talented wizard, more exceptional than others his age. As he grows older, he meets people who care about him and help him on his quests. This arc may speak to some people because they might not be satisfied with their own life and want to be the hero in their own story. In the end, Harry beats the villain, showing that you can overcome the challenges life throws at you.
Harry Potter Has Huge Marketing Potential
There’s no doubt that JK Rowling makes money on a lot more than just the seven books. The series led to a spin-off series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which has been quite successful too. Aside from making money off the movies themselves, she also makes a profit from the screenplay, which is available as a book. On top of that, those tables in bookstores are filled with everything about Harry Potter from costumes to board games. Think back to Halloween - how many 10-year-olds have you seen walking around with glasses and a fake lightning scar on their forehead? Probably a lot! And if you weren’t aware, there is a massive theme park dedicated to JK Rowling's books at Universal Studios. Because of the diverse work she created, JK Rowling has had many opportunities to expand the Harry Potter universe.
So if you’re a writer, take a look at your own work. Does your story have the same components as the Harry Potter series? Can you use the elements of your fictional world to market it effectively? If so, maybe someday you’ll have a table filled with games and costumes about your series in bookstores!
Staying at home during COVID-19 can be hectic and crazy. With everyone now under one roof, it can be hard to find a quiet place to work. While you’re enjoying the extra time with family, maybe you’re also missing sitting at Starbucks and cranking out a few hours of writing or other work. Perhaps you’re a writer, whether for career or hobby, looking to find a new place to finish that draft. Maybe you’re a student looking for a quiet room to complete that English assignment.
Here are five tips to make writing easier while at home.
1. White Noise
The power of white noise is incredible. Many people don’t realize that it’s thousands of sounds entering your ear at the same time. Science has proved that the more sounds you hear simultaneously, the more it affects your brain. Certain sounds allow you to focus on your project and block out any extra noise. TV static works best, but you can also use a quiet radio or even a running shower! According to a study done by the Journal of Consumer Research, white noise at a level of 70dB is the sweet spot for sparking creativity. Any higher than that, it starts to become a distraction. If white noise is too loud, your brain starts to notice the patterns that exist within whatever sound you are using.
2. Mimic The Coffee Shop
Coffee shops are great for writing because they have a sense of community, but at the same time, you’re less likely to be bothered. Just buy a drink, set yourself up at the corner table, and work away. People talking around you can also act as white noise, which can help increase your productivity. Just because you’re at home, doesn’t mean you can’t simulate this same experience! Grab a sweet treat, pour a cup of coffee, put on some background music, and you’re on your way! I always found that coffee shops know just the right volume to play their music. Too loud and you can’t think. Too quiet and you can hear the guy at the next table talking about how the Toronto Maple Leafs loosing another game.
3. The Kitchen Table
This tip is for all the food-lovers out there. If you rely on a snack to boost your energy, then why not work where the food is plentiful? Your fridge probably has more healthy snack options than your local coffee shop too. I love a good piece of chocolate cake but foods like blueberries, broccoli, and nuts can increase brain performance way more than those sugary delights. You’ve probably heard that dark chocolate can improve your mood, but did you know that it enhances creativity as well? Dark chocolate contains compounds called flavonols, which can lower blood pressure and make people calmer. When you’re relaxed and satisfied, you’re more likely to think clearly, which is when all the good ideas show up. No wonder Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory was so elaborate...
4. The 20 Metres Rule
We all have people in our lives who sound like a dump truck driving through a nitroglycerin plant when they walk in a room. They mean well, but they’re yelling when they think they’re talking at an utterly acceptable volume. I believe those people are the inspiration for the 20 metres rule. It works like this - when you’re over 20 metres away from someone, you can’t hear the person audibly, unless shouting is involved. So obviously, if you want to write where it is quiet, you need to be at least 20 metres away from that person. It’s best to find a low traffic area within your home, where people are less likely to come within 20 metres of you. So, in this case, the kitchen table probably wouldn’t be the best option.
Music is a great way to zone out and zone into what you’re working on. Studies have shown that music helps lower blood pressure, increases productivity, and can even improve your mood. Back in the olden days, listening to classical music was the Spotify of their time. Many inventors, who created technology we still use today, used classical music as their brain boost. However, any form of music will do. Many writers have recognized that music has helped several others before them and are reaping the benefits for themselves. Think about it - how many times have you felt a lot better once you’ve listened to that new song from your favorite artist? Why not feel good when you’re cramming to meet that deadline?
Hopefully, you’ve learned some cool things about writing at home that you may not have considered before. So what are you waiting for? Leave that dull office space and find a new place to spark that creativity!
Many people will say that, for the most part, the book is always better than the movie. There are so many reasons why this is true - you can visualize the character in your mind and there’s usually more story in a book than a movie. Sometimes movies disappoint us because they weren't accurate to the book. Despite that, there are a few books that we feel would do well as a movie.
Here is our Top 5 list.
1. Gone by Michael Grant
Gone is the first book in a six-part series by Michael Grant. The story is unique and has a cool premise. What happens when all the adults disappear from a small little California town called Perdido Beach? The answer - kids take over and rule everything. Some are less honorable than others, and it’s not long before everything descends into chaos. The book is slightly graphic, so it would have at least a PG-13 rating, should it make it to the big screen. Despite that, throughout the book, many of the kids develop special powers that would be super cool to see, such as laser hands, cancelling gravity, and teleportation. All the main characters are teenagers, so famous young adult actors could easily play the residents of Perdido Beach.
2. The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
Rick Riordan is a famous middle-grade author who has written many different series. The Lost Hero is the first book of his sequel series, following the events of the original Percy Jackson series. If you remember (or maybe you’d like to forget) his first two books, The Lightning Thief and The Sea of Monsters received a movie adaptation, with mixed reviews. Although The Lost Hero does feature Percy Jackson, he is not the main focus of the story anymore. The Lost Hero follows three new characters - Jason, Piper, and Leo - who all realize they are descendants of Greek gods. They must travel across the United States and defeat an army of giants raising havoc. There aren’t many books that blend fantasy and humour cohesively, but The Lost Hero effectively does, which is something that Hollywood needs more of on-screen.
3. The Dogs by Allan Stratton
The Dogs is categorized as a psychological thriller, and the first book on this list to lean more towards horror over fantasy. The Dogs is about a boy named Cameron and his mom, who are repeatedly on the run from the boy’s abusive father. After relocating to a small house in a secluded rural area, they think they’re safe. But it’s not long before Cameron begins to see things in the backyard that live in his nightmares. The book has elements similar to Steven King and would be a movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat. The novel features more real-life situations, rather than fantasy fiction, but it is still exciting and suspenseful.
4. Exo by Fonda Lee
Exo is another story with a unique premise. What happens when humans try to live in harmony with aliens? The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where the aliens won and are running society themselves. Many humans feel oppressed, which causes them to form hate groups, such as Sapience. Others have accepted their new world and have begun integrating alien technology into their bodies to protect their world from other external threats. If this book were a movie, there would be plenty of cool special effects to light up the screen. Exo is also a fresh twist on how a young boy finds his true identity in a dystopian world.
5. Everything Beautiful is Not Ruined by Danielle Young-Ullman
Everything Beautiful is Not Ruined is a comedy, adventure, and a coming-of-age book all rolled into one. The story revolves around a girl named Ingrid who gets thrust into this extreme wilderness survival camp unexpectedly. She must bond with teenage criminals who have been sent to this camp as punishment and survive to the end, so she can go to her dream music school. Through flashbacks, we see Ingrid’s relationship with her opera singer mother and how it impacts the person she becomes on the wilderness trip. A privileged character who then learns to fend for herself is prevalent in Hollywood movies. There are plenty of female actresses who could be perfect for the role of Ingrid. Also, because her mother is a famous opera singer, this could be an opportunity for a well-known musician to be part of the movie, such as Celine Dion who has already been involved in many movie productions throughout her career.
So who knows, maybe some of these books will eventually make it onto the big screen someday. Perhaps one or two will be made into a Netflix series. But for now, we just have to be satisfied with the fact that they are great books.
1. How do you deal with writer's block?
Writer's block is something every writer faces, and I am no exception. I can't tell you how many times I've sat at my computer staring at a blank screen. But to deal with it, I try to limit any distractions while I write (noise, phone notifications, etc) and then I try to take frequent breaks. Sometimes, you'll have one of those days where you just can't work, which is totally ok. In that case, you might need to take the day off and try again the next day.
2. Will there be a sequel to The Jewels of Fate?
Yes! Actually, I plan on continuing with an entire series. The second book is in the works and I'm so excited for where the story could go next! Right now, there's no official release date yet, but stay tuned...
3. Have you ever met a famous author?
Unfortunately, I've never met JK Rowling or Rick Riordan - but I'm hoping it will happen one day. However, I did get to meet Laura Weymouth, author of The Light Between Worlds and Kristen Ciccarelli, author of The Last Namsara when they visited my high school. Both of their books are amazing and I highly recommend you read them!
1. What is your favorite TV show?
I would have to say my favorite TV show is Stranger Things. If you have never watched it, I highly recommend you do - especially if you're into sci-fi thrillers. I think I had the entire first season finished in about a week!
2. How did you decide on the title of your book?
There are jewels in the story that play a big role, so this title seemed fitting.That's all I'm going to say about that! :)
3. If you could live anywhere, where would you live?
I would love to live in Florida, where it's warm and sunny all year round. Plus, I'm a huge fan of roller coasters, especially the ones at Disney World and Universal Studios! If I lived in Florida, I'd get a yearly pass to both theme parks!
1. Where do you get your ideas from?
Many different places! I read a lot and find tons of inspiration from the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling and the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. I love stories about mythical lands filled with magic and teenage protagonists saving the world.
2. Who is your favorite character in The Jewels of Fate?
While all of the characters are awesome, I have to say that Kimi Sahivi is my favorite. Her aggressive attitude was so fun to write into the story. But she also has this really dark, personal history that adds a whole new layer to her. She's one of the characters who doesn't have magic, but she can definitely hold her own in a fight.
3. Who did the illustrations and front cover?
A good friend of mine - Olivia Losier! Not only did she do a fantastic job on the cover, but she also drew the characters separately. They can be found at the end of the book and on the Snure Stories social media pages.
1. Where does your book take place?
The Jewels of Fate starts out in New York where the main character, Chuck, lives. If you've been to New York, you will know a lot of the landmarks mentioned in the first few chapters, such as Central Park. However, the main part of the book takes place in Acanesia, which is a fictional kingdom in another dimension!
2. How long did it take you to write The Jewels of Fate?
This book has been a work in progress for about five years! I started the first draft when I was in Grade 7, and since then, I have been rewriting sections of the book, adding to the plot and changing the characters. The final draft took me a year to finish and about three months to fully edit.
3. How do you pronounce "Oglaturanta?"
The Oglaturanta is definitely one of the most dangerous creatures in Acanesia - and the most difficult to say! If you're getting tongue-tied, you're not the only one! Hopefully this will help. You can break the name down into five parts:
Og (as in fog)
La (as in last)
Tu (as in tu-tu)
Ran (as in the past tense of run)
Ta (as in taco)