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