A scribbly sketch with markers, Prismacolor pencils, and a few touch-ups. I still think the poor lad looks a bit wall-eyed, but that is merely my lack of skill. Or practice—I don’t draw nearly enough anymore. Still, I’m a little fond

Anatomy of a Scene

For those of you who enjoyed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows–Part 1 (and still can’t get enough), here is a link to a New York Times interactive feature in which director David Yates discusses his technique for creating tension and danger in the coffee shop scene.

Some of these elements did register with me even in my first, emotional experience of the film–like the frequency of hand-held camera and the unease that produced–but a lot of it didn’t. And I was a film student once, long ago! Also, thanks to my tediously slow dial-up account, the fact that the scene paused every few seconds gave me a really good view of the blocking. There are some great shots here.

I get excited when I think of how film technique can translate into writing, and I’m reminded just how big a toolbox there is to play with.

Harry Potter Overheard

Unlike the majority of Potter fans, I began reading the books after I was 40. At the moment, though, I am working at a University and am happily surrounded by much younger people, kids who grew up with these books.

As I ate my lunch today in the Third Floor lobby of the funky-cool Gates Center, the comfy chairs crammed together because of work being being done at one end of the room, I was party to the conversation of five students hanging out together before class. I was busy taking notes for my NaNo novel, so I’m not sure what they had been talking about before my brain caught “…but that’s the one Dumbledore dies…” and I realized I was the uninvited guest of a conversation that interested me very much. Four young men and one young woman all had read the books, loving them more or less until the final volumes. A chubby Neville-ish boy was the only one who liked the Epilogue; few of them were enthusiastic about the last two books. It was a high-level discussion really, a good deal above some of the muck I read on various forums around the ‘Net.

Two things were plain to me: First, that the Harry Potter experience was ubiquitous to their group, and second, that it was still important to all of them, enough so that three years after its conclusion, they still wanted to discuss plot, genre, author options, and such reader expectations as surprise and a need (or not) for closure. No ship discussion at all.

The conversation segued to Roald Dahl, grade school book reports, odd roommates and Sir Francis Drake. I had to get back to work.

I love working at a University.