J. K. Rowling’s Spreadsheet Shows How She Wrote Harry Potter

Every writer has their own process, and apparently J. K. Rowling is a meticulous plotter. This hand-written spreadsheet from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix plots out everything from the month a chapter takes place to what is happening on or off screen in each subplot:

J. K. Rowling

The first few columns are pretty simple: chapter number, month, chapter title, and plot outline

The next set of columns keep track of the different subplots, as Endpaper explains:

  • “Prophecy”: A subplot about the prophecy Harry finds himself concerned about all through the book
  • “Cho/Ginny”: The book’s romantic subplot
  • “D.A.”: What’s happening with the resistance army, or “Dumbledore’s Army”
  • “O of P”: What’s happening with the “Order of the Phoenix” group
  • “Snape/Harry”: What’s happening with Snape and Harry
  • “Hagrid and Grawp”: What’s happening with Hagrid and Grawp

If you are stuck in your own writing, perhaps following Rowling’s lead and mapping out your novel will help.

(h/t Open Culture)

More Like This

The Best Literary Masturbation Scenes of All Time

Rebecca Rukeyser, author of the sleaziest book of the year, recommends stories dripping with lust and existential angst

Jul 1 - Rebecca Rukeyser

Queer Love Poems for Wherever Your Heart Is

These poems celebrate queer love, whether that love is sweet, bittersweet or somewhere in between.

Jul 1 - Liz DeGregorio

Sooner or Later, We’ll All Belong to the Kingdom of the Sick

The "Invisible Kingdom" author Meghan O’Rourke on the silent epidemic of chronic illness

Jun 30 - Carli Cutchin
Thank You!