One of the secrets to successful writing is offering something readers can identify with, but that has enough originality to be new. The same…but different.
J. K. Rowling’s shown us how it’s done. Back in the 1990s, Brit boarding school stories were dead, dead, dead. The world of ripping wheezes at the expense of The Beak, followed by clandestine visits to the tuck shop with Bunter Major, was soooo 1930s.
Trad magic stories were pretty much dead too – I mean, spells, wizards and potions were so cliched. Put together, they should have worked even less well.
What Rowling did was genius – mashing up two cliches and giving them a twist. That came partly from the way she reinterpreted the spell-and wand trope, partly from the seven-story plot cycle, and partly from her style – easy, unadorned and well pitched for the readership. And now writing has its first billionaire author.
Time for the rest of us to follow suit. But not with school magic mashups. They’ve been done…
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2013