On Writing & Publishing by Robin D. Owens

Personal notes on writing techniques, writing a novel, my writing career and threading your way through publishing a book.

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Location: Denver, United States

RITA Award Winning Author -- that's like the Oscar, folks! Futuristic/Fantasy Romance and Fantasy with Romantic Subplots.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Harry Potter Pub Date -- Noble Snape -- Killing off Characters

All right J.K. Rowling and I will both be published in July. Millions of people await her book. For pub dates, I would say that if she hasn't delivered her manuscript, she will be doing so very shortly. I am sure the process for her isn't like me. They will run her manuscript straight through, probably no editing but copy editing which looks for typos and grammar -- and off it goes through the system.

I got into a discussion with a good friend of mine yesterday at brunch about Snape. I don't like Snape. Snape is MEAN. Why could my friend possibly like Snape. We batted this around for quite some time, and he said that he likes more complex characters, but really, when worse came to worse Snape could rise to the occasion and do the noble thing.

Good point. I still don't like Snape. He is mean. He is unfair. He visits the sins of the father on the child. But I will agree that he can be noble. I guess the expensive delux edition of Harry Potter comes with a sticker "Trust Snape" OR "Snape is a very bad man." I think I'd like one that said "Snape is Mean but he is Noble."
Or something. Do I think he'll do the right thing in Deadly Hollows? Yes. I think he is ultimately on the side of good.

So who do I like the best? It was never Sirius. I'm not sure why. My friend yesterday kept saying James (Harry's father) was mean too, a jerk, and a kind of football bully who picked on geeks (since we are all geeks at breakfast, the fact that we might very well have been picked on by James and Sirius went unsaid). I will take Rowling's explanation of those incidents -- James was 15 and we can all be jerks at 15.

The thing is, both James and Sirius arrived at Hogwarts from privileged families (Harry didn't and Snape didn't recognize this and that makes him INFLEXIBLE too). I've always liked Lupin. Lupin has been kind, fair, and survived horrible circumstances. He's the one I like the best.

We also discussed who would die in the next book, but I won't go into that. I think if Rowling hadn't been as much as a phenomena as she is, she would have had more leeway in killing off one of the main three -- though that would have cost her readers. I don't think she has the option of doing that, and perhaps not the heart. When it comes to killing off characters you like you have to truly believe that They Must Go, and it's harder than you think. I was very sorry about Shade in Heart Thief. I think he had a chance to reform, but the circumstances of Ruis' arrest pushed him over the edge.

One last thing -- about the movies and the books, I saw something in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire that if I'd been Rowling I'd be kicking myself and saying "why didn't *I* think of that?" It was making Neville Longbottom a good dancer (and liking to dance). One of those contradictory things that can really endear a character to you (nothing about Snape endears him to me, contradictory or not).

So, wouldn't it be FABULOUS to have millions of people discuss your books? I think so. The flaws would show up, of course, but just the passion of the discussion must be gratifying.

May you dream big today,


Anonymous a reader said...

I think people like Snape, mostly, because Alan Rickman plays him in the films: he appears more attractive as a bad character than any good guy! and because one feels sorry for him - his chilhood, backround, etc.
What I like most of her books is the interesting, personal and new twists she puts into the very old mythology and legens she uses. Loved to read about Cerberus called Fluffy! and hated that obnoxious girl Jenny!
Have ordered your books and hers already and look forward to the varied reading. Thanks!!

10:34 AM  
Anonymous a fan said...

Look at it this way: you can talk about Celta for ever! No limit since you can add new characters, new places, new circumstances. Hope you do!!

10:37 AM  
Blogger Holly said...

I think there should be a third sticker option, too. I'm all on the "Trust Snape" side, but he's also a very bad man. He's just an unpleasant sort of guy...and I adore him, as a character. Like your friend said, he's deep and complex. He's nasty, and yet there are moments when he becomes *more.* I liked him before Alan Rickman was announced for the role. (Except for that moment in Goblet when he tells Hermione he can't see a difference in her teeth...how can any female not hate him for that?) It boggles my husband and most of my friends. But then, I love a good intrigue. I will vote for deep mystery before the shining hero. I don't care much for James or Sirius, but Lupin...he was my favorite until the 'revelation' at the end of Half-Blood Prince. It still irks me. (It also disturbs me that Harry's match is pretty much the same girl his mother was...but that's a different topic altogether.)

I agree about Neville's dancing. I thought it was a wonderful way to show his growing confidence without actually addressing it.

(Sorry for the long comment - nobody will talk about Harry Potter with me. Not being writers, they don't see the point.)

I keep meaning to pick up a couple Celta books. Must do it next time I have book money. I CAN discuss Lladrana for a good long while, though. :D

11:13 AM  
Blogger Robin D Owens said...

Thanks, Reader. That is a point, yes, loved the "Fluffy" stuff, and particularly like thestrals.

Fan, that's true, thanks.

Holly. The man is mean. What revelation about Lupin? That he being thickheaded and noble, spurned Tonks? And as soon as Tonks appeared I thought she was right for Lupin. And Snape was nasty to her, too. Maybe it's easier to like someone consistently nasty than someone noble who slips...of course I've used the "she's better off without me" thing, too, so it didn't bother me as much. Having to live with Rowling's werewolves, that's HARD! And while I like Hagrid, he can make me scream with irritation.


11:42 AM  
Blogger Holly said...

He is definitely mean!

I didn't have a problem with Lupin spurning Tonks; I felt it in character given that everyone he loves is dead, and nearly everyone else can't stand what he is. From his perspective, I can see why he wouldn't want any woman to have to share that life. I missed the entire Lupin-Tonks thing throughout the book, though, so it annoyed me when that turned out to be the reason she was so upset. Worked very well as a red herring about Sirius, but still. I just didn't - and still don't, maybe because I don't read a lot of straight romance - see it coming, or feel the motivation. I can see Tonks falling for him, but - and maybe you can help me here - why did Lupin fall(ish) for her by the end? I like Tonks. She's fun. She's gutsy, and she has heart. I just can't grasp the relationship, I guess.

What about the werewolves? And I like Hagrid, too. Once in a while, though, he's just too...Hagrid.

8:12 PM  
Blogger Robin D Owens said...

Well, you like Tonks, I like Tonks, I'm sure Lupin likes Tonks for the same reason. Here she is, fun, intelligent, endearing, and loving him. Why wouldn't he fall for her?

Lupin has been living with the werewolves as part of his mission, and I think they are a very bitter folk. He's looking worse every time we see him.

And if Snape died, I wouldn't care.

7:57 AM  
Blogger Holly said...

Mm. Good point!

Oh, I see what you meant about the werewolves. For some reason, I thought you were saying *you* had a problem with the way she drew them. Yes, poor haggard Lupin. I imagine they're not that much better than the giants.

And my husband reminded me this morning - likely the reason I like Snape is because I have a really big soft spot for the underdog. Everybody picked on him as a kid, nobody likes him as an adult, and, like Lily, I want to stand up for him. Not that he didn't bring the majority of that enmity on himself...

8:29 AM  

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