Harry Potter and Rowling’s Story Soundscape

hogwarts_teach_us_something_please_by_albus119-d57sgo9Recently I discussed how learning styles match writing styles, and since then I’ve been more alert to writers’ use of the senses. As I read I ask myself, does the author linger with visuals, jump ahead into action, or take advantage of every sound? Which element is predominant? Inspired by Claire Saag’s guest post for StoryForge, I picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

You know what I discovered? Sounds. Everywhere.

If you can, recall the scene where Harry first meets Hagrid. Boom, crash, smash! Sounds bring the chapter to life. When Rowling isn’t describing the howling wind or sizzling sausages, she plays her characters vocal chords like musical instruments. Continue reading

How do you feel about Mr. Oxford Comma?

 

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Our Dapper Oxie

I settle back on a red leather chaise and self-consciously adjust my glasses. The shrink sits across from me, hunched over the clip board that rests on his knees. His loafers press together, like the dot to his question mark. After a little hemming and hawing, he finally looks up and asks:

“How do you feel about this old friend you’ve told me about? This Oxford Comma?”

I knew the question was coming, but I panic a little anyway. To control my nerves, I pull my glasses off and clutch them, pressing my hands against my stomach. I consider how much he looks like a question mark, now that his form has blobbed into an indistinct curve. Continue reading

Book Club

I always thought that book clubs were for rich middle aged women who had nothing better to do. I have no idea where I got that notion, because I just started my own book club last month! I realized their value: community with good friends, and exploration into good fiction.

I had no idea how to start one, or what to do when I did, but I emailed a bunch of girls and off we went! Are you interested in anything like this? Because really, it’s quite incredibly simple:

  1. Email people.
  2. Meet and pick a book. (We’re reading The Help right now)
  3. Read the book.
  4. Meet a month later.
  5. Talk about the book.
  6. Pick another book. (Not sure what’s next yet—we’ll see!)
  7. Repeat.

However simple that sounds, the one difficult task is picking the book. Still haven’t gotten that part down yet. We have so many tastes and opinions: sci-fi, mystery, classics, pop-fic, dystopia, memoirs. The list goes on. So much wonderful diversity—but it makes it difficult to find something that everyone will enjoy. 

To you all out there, the floor is open: Any tips on how to pick books? Or any recommendations?