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3 lessons on writing from J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling, a.k.a. Robert Galbraith — author of the Cormoran Strike crime novel series — spoke with NPR’s Barrie Hardymon Monday about the latest Strike mystery, “Career of Evil.” The third installment in the series follows veteran and private detective Strike and his secretary and partner, Robin Ellicott, on another gripping tale.

Rowling is arguably one of the most notable writers in the world. It’s safe to say that the “Harry Potter” creator knows a thing or two about storytelling. Here are three things she told NPR about her writing method:

On creating characters: “Some of them just walk out of your subconscious and stand in front of you.” In the case of wounded war veteran Strike, “once he walked in front of me, it was a question of finding out what he was all about. With the characters I like best, it often does feel as though I’m discovering what’s already there, rather than inventing.”

On developing plot: “The work goes into not burdening the reader. The reader should enjoy the ride … You’re on the roller coaster, but nothing is creaking underneath you.”

On remaining loyal to readers: “It was very important to maintain the readers’ interest without feeling that they were being led down pointless rabbit holes for my own amusement. The number one rule in this genre is that you have to play fair.” Readers won’t forgive you if you’re “not setting out all the information in front of you. Because that would be cheating.

Listen to the full NPR interview here.

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