Thursday, April 10, 2014

J is for JK Rowling's Editing Advice

I thought I would list some editing tips from J K Rowling, love her or hate her she's managed to buy her castle!

Instead of diving right into line 1, paragraph 1, J.K. Rowling advises taking the time to plan out the world your books will live in. She took five years to create and develop every last detail of the Harry Potter world, right down to how the Wizards and Muggles interacted (and the word Muggles, to begin with!) what the education was like, how magic helped in every day life and how the wizarding world of government worked. She also plotted out all the events of the seven books before she started writing the first.

You would think after five years, J.K. Rowling would just be able to dive right in there and write the whole of the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, without much rewriting. But in fact she rewrote the opening chapter of her first book a total of fifteen times, until it was just right. It’s easy to imagine published authors writing with the greatest of ease, but actually the process is just as difficult for them.

J.K. Rowling openly talks of her struggles to get published – it certainly wasn’t easy for her.  Given that it took around a decade from ‘Harry Potter’s’ inception to being published, being patient is a crucial trait.
It is true that if you have been rejected by every publishing house in the world, it may be time to accept defeat but, equally, consider this.
An unknown Joanne Rowling, an unemployed woman living on state benefits became J.K. Rowling, billionaire author within 5 years.  ‘Harry Potter’ was rejected by numerous publishers for a year.  She waited patiently and it paid off.


  1. The only difference between J.K. and any other decent writer is a belief in themselves and their stories...most give up after one or more's always the crucial moment in any endeavour in any field, when all is thought lost...those that give up, naturally fail, those that press forward against the tide of rejection, they reach their utopia.
    Self belief can move mountains...
    Loving the A to Z Challenge Maggie@expatbrazil.

  2. Fame like hers would scare me (even more) witless. I wonder whether that sort of success is possible without fame.
    Love her determination though - and that of everyone else who sees their dreams through to fruition.

  3. Ms. Rowling is definitely one of my hero's. I aspire to be like her, in that I wish I could share her passion for her ideas. Great tips indeed!!

  4. What a great thing to know. And I'm amazed at how much forethought she put into her world, but it was obvious in reading her books that they were very well organized. All the books came together so well.

  5. Patience and tenacity - things I'm still working on strengthening. Thanks for a great post. I shall not give up!

  6. I admire Ms. Rowling. She had a vision and she saw it through. I'm glad that sometimes it does happen for the "little people!"
    Thanks for visiting Poetry of the Netherworld.

  7. If a writer like JK Rowling has tips to share I think it wise to listen. It makes sense to take time to discover the world you will be writing in. That's one of the things I love about the Harry Potter books. The world is thought out very well and after 5 years it should be.

    LittleCely from LittleCely's Blog

  8. J K Rowling is an inspiration to all writers - a success that we can all aspire to. :)
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - A to Z Ghosts
    Fantasy Boys XXX - A to Z Drabblerotic

  9. Perseverance is required at all stages- and it is good to have an example of that working for someone! :-)
    Lisa at Wishbone Soup Cures Everything

  10. If people dislike JK Rowling, I think it says more about them than it does about her! She strikes me as being very gracious and grateful. I admire how hard she worked to get herself published.

    Good pick for the letter J. Very inspiring! :D

    ~Tui Snider~
    @TuiSnider on Twitter
    My blog: Tui Snider's Offbeat & Overlooked Travel
    I am also part of the #StoryDam team, a friendly writing community!

  11. She's a true inspiration to any writer. No matter how talented you are, though, there will be people who just don't care for your writing--and the fact that JK Rowling has haters is proof of that!

    Visiting from the A to Z signup page. Great to meet you!

    Stephanie Faris, author

  12. The best editing advice I've heard was: "kill your darlings". Famous advice that served me well when writing my first book.


  13. She's one of my favorite writers as well and teaches me how to never give up! I didn't know it took so long to create her world, so I guess that 7 years for mine isn't that much then! Thanks so much for sharing!

  14. The ultimate success story.

    Stopping by from the #atozchallenge !