Damn you, Harry Potter (or “Conversation with a Demon”)

Regulars to the blog know by now that I caved and finally started reading the Harry Potter series.  I am taking breaks between the books mainly because to me, it seems more fun that way.  Because of that, I am just about to finish Book 4.  While I am still not over the moon about the series, I will admit that it is written in a way that every now and then you catch yourself physically unable to set the book down.

So I was wondering if when Mrs. Rowling was writing it, she had these sessions behind the keyboard where the words were just flying out and she found it impossible to leave her fictional world.  If so, this depresses me because this has only happened to me once and it was for a short story that has not yet been published.

But then, that overachieving demon in the back of my head cleared it’s throat and spoke up.  The following is a conversation I had with him earlier this morning:

Demon: You know…there is that one idea that you have for a book.  You know, the one where you keep getting ideas and you only jot them down and never actually write anything.

Me: Yes, I am well aware of that story.  What about it?

Demon: Why don’t you start writing it? 

Me:  Because if it goes the way I want, it will be a rather long series.

Demon: Uh huh.  And?

(At this point, rather than argue, I point him to the catalogue of in-progress projects that are always clogging the roadways of my head.  There are currently 4 novels and about a dozen short stories that are jamming up this part of my brain).

Demon: So what?  You know that 2 of those 4 novels are stuck in limbo.  Hell, you haven’t even touched one of them in about 6 months.  Just toss that one for now.  Start working on this series.

Me: Maybe…but I don’t have the motivation or determination to start something of that size right now.  There’s too much going on.

Demon: Stop being such a drama queen.  Get to work.  Here…I’ve already made a schedule for it.  And after we go over it, we can have lunch.

Me: Chinese?

Demon: Hell yeah.

So I started thinking about some advice that Stephen King gave on how to be a better writer.  Read every day and write every day…devote 4 hours to each if possible.  So, here’s what I am going to attempt to do.  All because of reading Harry Potter, I have convinced myself (well, with the help of a demon) that I should go ahead and start this series.

I will do my very best to devote at least 45 minutes to working on this 3-4 days a week (not much, I know.  But hey, I have to work and sleep and there are the other projects to be considered).  The series has no name yet but there is a mythology behind it that I am going to have a blast developing.

And because of the Harry Potter I’ve been reading (and my love of Neil Gaiman), part of me wants to write it as YA.  But I already know that parts of it would be far too dark to include in a YA novel…which sucks because agents are basically salivating for the next big YA series. 

So I have added one more project to my untidy pile of writing that will keep me busy for the next several months…as if I didn’t have enough incomplete stories sitting around. 

Okay, off I go now.  The demon craves Chinese food.



  1. 4 hours for reading (do blogs count?) as well as 4 hours for writing each day – is that possible for anyone with a normal life?

    Good luck with the series, I’m dreading getting back to work on redrafting mine.

  2. I am glad the demon won. I say any project that seems the most feasible and will hold your interest the longest is definitely worth trying. (King’s Dark Tower series was in the works for 12 years before the first book came out and the rest of the series took forever. Is he done with it yet?)

  3. I read On Writing last year…King as a literary mentor is kind of like the personal trainer at the gym yelling at some sweaty guy who is ready to pass out to do two more pushups and get back on the treadmill, or he’ll never have a glimmer of hope of seeing his feet again without a mirror. Effective, but sets a high bar.

  4. Jamie – Actually, he’s not. There are a few new details in the comic…they’re doing the Jericho Hill portion now, I believe.

    Awesome analogy, Jeremy. But I figured since he’s the man that got me first interested in writing, I can at least TRY to follow his great, albeit unreachable, suggestions.

  5. I wouldn’t worry right now about how to market the series — whether it’s YA or not, as sometimes a book that an author plans to be YA is marketed as adult, and vice versa. Just write the darn thing. Sometimes it seems writers talk themselves out of writing something because they don’t think they’ll be able to sell it. The truth is, you won’t know until it’s done … THEN it’s time to start worrying 🙂

  6. Robert – Agreed. But I hardly ever talk myself out of writing anything. I always try to convince myself that an idea is much better than it seems.

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