Tuesday, April 21, 2009
2nd of 5 hard questions
The second is harder than the first. It asks us to examine the books written by our favourite authors and select techniques ("what do they do") that grabs attention and keeps us turning pages. This is not something that I can answer off the top of my head. One thing that springs to mind is that the author makes me care about the main character. Maybe, as with Harry Potter, he's unfairly treated by people who should care for him. With my favourite character, Richmal Crompton's William, he just gets into trouble because he misunderstands the adult world, or is put upon by his elders, and he responds as an eleven-year-old boy would. Another important technique is to build a mystery. The reader has to care not only for the character, but also care about what will happen next. Then these questions have to be answered with just enough held back to keep the reader coming back for more. With Harry Potter, we need to know how he'll survive the threat to his life by the evil Valdemort (spelling?). And, how will all the magic of the world of Hogwarts come into play? With William, the stories are quite short, so it's just how he will get through the problem of the day.