• hagrid:[points to friendly domestic pet dog]
  • hagrid:FANG
  • hagrid:[points to mythical three-headed canine beast creature most well known for guarding the entrance to the Greek underworld but which now guards a magical stone with the potential to grant literal immortality]
  • hagrid:fluffy :)

How J.K. Rowling Plotted Harry Potter with a Hand-Drawn Spreadsheet

At the height of the Harry Potter novels’ popularity, I asked a number of people why those books in particular enjoyed such a devoted readership. Everyone gave almost the same answer: that author J.K. Rowling “tells a good story.” The response at once clarified everything and nothing; of course a “good story” can draw a large, enthusiastic (and, at that time, impatient) readership, but what does it take to actually tell a good story? People have probably made more money attempting, questionably, to pin down, define, and teach the best practices of storytelling, but at the top of this post, we have a revealing scrap of Rowling’s own process. And I do, almost literally, mean a scrap: this piece of lined paper contains part of the handwritten plot spreadsheet she used to write the fifth Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.


“the bravest man i ever knew”

- stands up to his friends when they’re breaking rules in first year
- goes to potions class despite the professor literally being his boggart
- visits his parents constantly despite them probably being unaware of who he is
- stands up to the death eater responsible for his parents being that way
- helped re-form the DA
- destroyed the last horcrux with the sword of godric gryffindor

- abused children because they reminded him of a girl he liked
- outed remus lupin as a werewolf, causing him to lose a home and a job
- ??????