I write this at my parents’ place, on a tablet. So apologies in advance if the post looks wonky.

Chapter Twelve, of A Study In Magic: The Application is now available in FFNET. I’ve titled it: Werewolf Woes and Welfare. Writing from Snape’s POV is always fun, and this chapter had plenty of such moments. Especially when Snape and John started texting each other again.

Characterization and Plot

The more I thought about werewolves in HP universe, the more tragic scenarios I could come up with.  I actually had to walk away and cry a bit before I could continue typing some passages.

The chasm between academic medical research and availability of treatment is a complicated one. Scientists favor randomized clinical trials since it’s the best way to demonstrate a treatment works. But randomized trials are time-consuming and resource intensive. Meanwhile, desperate and dying patients are willing to try anything, including experimental unproven drugs, because they have nothing to lose.

It’s not hard to imagine werewolves having the same attitude.

The conflict rising from this chasm basically writes the plot. You just have to stomach through the sadness. I’m drained but happy with the result. My only regret is that I didn’t get to cover everything I planned. Still, better to undershow than deluge with details and complicate things.

Speaking of complicate, Ah Snape, you complicated character you. Not much surprises to be found about Snape in this chapter. At least, not for those who read book seven. Well, I guess you could call John texting Snape again a pleasent surprise. Side bar: Snape really enjoys John’s creative swearing. If he wasn’t so uptight, he would’ve matched John word-for-word.

I hope I will be able to incorporate a scene where Sherlock imitates Snape’s speech, and Snape imitates Sherlock’s. Inside Grimmauld Place. While the whole Order is there to listen. Just to make John laugh.

It would be glorious.

Dumbledore surprised me. The fandom hate towards him makes me sad. I understand where it comes from, but I can’t help but think it’s unreasonable and nonsensical. At any rate, I enjoy showing Dumbledore as a human being, who everyone treats like a benevolent god until he fails to meet their expectations, after which they overreact with condemnation and fury.

Hmmm, that sounds a lot like fandom attitude towards Dumbledore.

My Chapters never look like my Outlines (Or Why I am a Slow Writer)

I’m an inveterate planner, but my chapters never follow my plans. For chapter twelve, I expected to cover werewolf activism and Snape being an Awesome Potioner by discovering a lead indicator that shows a werewolf achieved full remission.

I had it all planned out. My notes were copious. I studied the AIDs epidemic and carcinogensis to make sure I got the details right. I prepared myself to muscle through the emotional drain of writing human feelings.

So what do I write? Snape bantering with John over text, and Harry becoming a werewolf activist.


I don’t consider my preparations and research a waste. Everything I write is a result of my varied (and often random) interests, connecting together in new and unusual ways. I have fun discovering what kind chapter will turn up after all my planning, which I know will never quite pan out the way I think it will.

It’s just very time consuming. In a world where professional authors churn out a novel every three months, I’m a sloth. I was able to update A Study In Magic once a week because I had years worth of material incubating. (I also had a well-paying job that kept me thoroughly under-employed. I no longer have that job. Alas, alas.)

It’s something to consider as I continue to practice writing. That’s for sure.




Jo · 2017-08-06 at 10:09 am

Super intensive research leading to very slow chapters… Where have I heard this before?

What happens to me is I get bogged down in the research in the middle of a chapter. It’s not all done beforehand, but something esoteric or important only in background knowledge will occur to me, and off I go down the rabbit hole again. Twenty chapters in three years? Why yes I know that feeling. I have future chapters written for that particular piece, but there’s a long way before I get to any of them.

No matter when they appear, your chapters are always a delightful surprise.



    booksofchange · 2017-08-06 at 9:45 pm

    🙂 thanks for the kind words. It’s funny, but I just sat through a webinar on writing and it mentioned research rabbit holes. The advice I got was “put a time limit or it will never end”. True enough. Now if I can learn to follow the advice…

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