The Sheet

jkrowlingpage

Above is a spread sheet by none other than J.K. Rowling for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Ever since I came across it, it has become something of a talisman, a treasure I keep close whenever I write. It’s a little piece of the process of writing from an (in my opinion) absolute genius and it is, like the ‘I Wish I’d Written That’-work itself, something to cling to, and learn from.

Currently, I’m stuck. There, I said it. I haven’t done any writing in about a week and opening up the file seems too intimidating. Each idea I have is followed by one of those bells that sound whenever anyone gets it wrong in a quiz show. ‘Maybe she could…’ BELL! ‘Ok, but perhaps if he…’ BELL!

So I’ve left it. As soon as I realise how silly that strategy is I’ll probably use Rowling’s mapping as a template and flesh out my story so I can get cracking and spill the words. As it is it’s doing no one any good.

Do you use sheets like this while planning? Or do you keep it all in your head, neatly organised? I wish I could! And, most pertinently of all, what do you do when the bell won’t keep quiet?

N.

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