Friday, December 30, 2011

Resisting the Temptation

Here I am after Christmas with a fresh pile of new books to read but I’m rereading Harry Potter again… It is however, benefitting me in some ways: By now I’ve memorized all the plot twists and my mind is able to focus even more on the clever writing.

When I last posted about Rowling’s genius a question popped up concerning how the young wizards who aren’t muggle-born get educated before Hogwarts. I pondered this a bit while reading but the answer never came up. It got me thinking about how there are many other huge important aspects of this world--that has become real to so many of us—that are never covered in the books.

I promise I’m getting to the point.

The question about the young wizards’ and witches’ education was just that, a question; a speculation of how the younger wizards lived. We inquired “How were they educated?” It was never, “Why didn’t Rowling think of how they had been educated?” This is because we have grown to trust her. She has formed the world so flawlessly with Harry being introduced to features about it little by little all the way to the end of the story. We never doubted that—whether Harry’s been given time to find out about it or not—the answers to our questions exist. Rowling may or may not know the answer to how the children were educated before Hogwarts, but we have no problem trusting that there is one.

I am one of those writers that has a problem of pausing the story for pages at a time hoping to get all of the aspects of the world I’ve worked so hard on across to my readers. It is extremely difficult for me to tone things down and weave in the description I would much rather just give in an info dump. This becomes especially hard when my MC is already familiar with parts of the world; I always fear that my readers will never have a chance to learn everything.

The simple truth is that most of the time, they probably won’t. If you have done your job as a writer and made your world whole and complete, then while your readers explore parts of it with your MC they will grow to trust that the rest of it exists. We need to learn to enjoy the fact that much of our preparation with worlds and characters will never make it into the manuscript but that our knowledge of their existence gives what is written there a new depth and reality.

(Though I may never hear of any goings on in South Dakota, I trust that exists and has just as much of a history and culture as Utah.)

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