Posted by Lisa
You haven't heard enough about Harry Potter. Really, you haven't. You may not be a fan. Perhaps you've never cracked open a book. Or you read the first and second books, then lost track, somehow, along the way. You might want to check back in; this phenomenon is worth studying.
The top reasons why Potter fans keep on reading:1- We care about Harry. Who wouldn't? He's kind, orphaned, cute (bordering on Hollywood Hunk post puberty).
2- The setting is well woven and complete. Hogwarts, the school, is so real I close my eyes and I am there. Why? Details like the photograph of a wizard who demands a password from students entering their dorm rooms
3- It's unpredictable. Plain and simple. Readers love that.
4- It's unbelievably creative and unique. The author created the ideas of an invisibility cloak and a mirror that reflects your innermost desires - you mean those things don't really exist?
5- There is conflict and stakes. You-Know-Who. Oh, how that is lacking in some works of fiction (present company sadly included at times, I confess).
The writing has been criticized, but what IS good writing? Frankly, I don't know. It's not literary. But, nonetheless, the prose engages me; I turn page after page, letting minutes slip by unnoticed. I read Harry Potter as a reader. How can I not? But, I read Harry Potter as a writer as well.
As a writer of middle grade and YA to date, I look to Sarah Dessen, Lois Lowry, Jerry Spinelli, and Jack Gantos with awe; I learn from each of these writers each time I sit with one of their novels. They, too, keep readers reading. Isn't that our ultimate goal?