Kat Oldrey: A Response to a Guest Speaker Saturday, Jan 29 2011 

From a stereotypical view of the personality type associated with members of the Ravenclaw house, guest speaker Kat Oldrey’s discussion of how the writing process changes between a prose or novel and a long book series was expectantly blunt and factual, though she did include her own special sense of humor while providing examples.  In her talk, Kat pointed out that there are many important points to keep in mind when writing a long series, including:

1)      Character Development – The development of a character must be done gradually with time so that the character grows through the series.  If they start off acting in the beginning as they do in the end, then the character will not have grown and therefore would appear boring and unbelievable.

2)      Narrative Voice – When following one character, you cannot know something before the character him/herself knows it.  Also, when writing from a character’s perspective, you must write in the character’s “voice/personality”.  This helps in understanding what character is the narrator when you are switching between characters.

3)      Consistency – Consistency is probably the most important point when writing a long series.  If the setting, characters, or plot are inconsistent, then the story will not make sense or sometime hard/impossible to follow.

4)      Plot – The existence of an overarching plot is crucial in keeping the progression of the series on track.  Within each book of the series, a bunch of smaller plots must exist to help drive the story toward the larger point.  These mini-plots must make small steps toward the goal, so that you don’t conclude the series a third of the way through the books.  Also, the earlier you can plant the plot thread into the series, not matter how discretely, the better.  You can’t just throw in a major point when it happens.  Some clue needs planted ahead of time.

These tips, or rather guidelines, are crucial to the success of a long book series, but may also be applied to individual, standalone writings.

Even more important than Kat’s tips on writing a successful long book series, were her tips on the editing process.  Having written multiple papers before myself, I can attest to the difficulties of the editing and reviewing process.  To assist in this process for a long series, Kat suggests that once the book is completed, you should set the book aside for about a month.  This will give you the time you need to detach yourself from your writing, your characters, and your background knowledge before beginning the reviewing process.  Then, once you have reviewed the work for yourself, you should pass the work onto a trusted friend or individual to review for an unbiased opinion.  Also, most helpfully, Kat suggested that you switch reviewers regularly so that one person doesn’t become accustom to your writing style and start missing key mistakes.


The Gryffindor House… Friday, Jan 21 2011 

Within the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, there exist four houses, each having been founded by one of four of the greatest witches and wizards of the age.  These witches and wizards wished to bring together students of magical talent to be instructed in the various fields of magic, and therefore created these houses for students possessing personal traits similar to that of their respective founders.  One of these houses is the noble House of Godric Gryffindor.  To belong to the House of Gryffindor, a witch or wizard must possess the traits described in the lyrics of the following song sung by the sorting during the Sorting Ceremony held for the first years at Hogwarts:

You might belong in Gryffindor,
Where dwell the brave at heart,
Their daring, nerve and chivalry
Set Gryffindors apart

–The Sorting Hat

According to this song, those students whom are sorted into the Gryffindor House possess courage, bravery, and chivalry as their dominant traits, though sometimes, as demonstrated by the actions of Gryffindor members Fred, George, and Ron Weasley and Harry Potter, they take their actions to the point of recklessness.  The house coat of arms has a red and gold background, said to represent fire, with the picture of a lion, the symbol of courage, on the front.

Each house has a large dormitory with a concealed entrance somewhere within the castle.  The Gryffindor Dormitory and Common Room is located on the seventh floor of the castle, in Gryffindor Tower, where its entrance is hidden and password protected behind a swinging portrait of a Fat Lady in a pink dress.  The Commom Room is the main meeting place for the students of Gryffindor and is decorated with fluffy arm chairs, tables and desks, and a large fireplace.  On either side of the Common Room a set of stairs leads up to the boys and girls dormitories.

Hello world! Thursday, Jan 20 2011 

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