Writer’s Block

Joanne Rowling once explained that she rewrote chapter one of the first Harry Potter book five times. The whole chapter was foreshadowing. She kept giving too much away, and would rewrite it more and more cryptically, until she settled on the present version.

I always thought book 1 chapter 1 was the weakest part of the entire Harry Potter series, and feel that Rowling might have done better to cut the entire chapter and do without it.

With the script of Princess Ugg almost finished, I’m finding myself going back and rewriting the opening scene over and over, trying to get it right. For a while, I had it to a point where nothing was wrong with it except that the whole thing was wrong. Time to start over.

In the meantime, here are some early concept sketches.

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  • Lan Pitts


    You should have the faith in yourself to know what is best for the story and your audience. You’ve done this before and I’m assured you can do it again.

  • wolfenm

    Heh, I know how that goes. Years later, I find myself still fiddling with things in my stories. And yet it can also be hard to let some passages go. XD

    Anyway, I agree about the first chapter of HP — at the time, I was like “What’s so special about this series that everyone loves it so much?” But I gave it a chance, and now it’s a huge obsession of mine.

    So basically, I wouldn’t fret so much. Everyone’s allowed a rough passage now and then, and quite often it’s in the beginning. 🙂 So how do you feel about your *second* scene?

    Love the sketches, BTW!

  • Akileos

    Hi Ted,

    It’s so cool to see the sketches of Princess Ugg! I remember the first time you told me about it. I’m sure you will overcome the block. I’m not very qualified but, thinking about all the good openings I can remember (movies, books, etc) I think the best ones are those that do NOT try to be “opening chapters’…
    PS: Did I mention your sketches are awesome. Well, they are…

  • blasphemina

    The first book of HP is both the weakest in story telling and also the best in getting to the point. It’s one of my least favorites, because it’s all set up. On the other hand, it does what it’s supposed to do and I can’t fault it for that. The 2nd book is my least favorite. Listen to me, prattling on…

    The sketches are cute! I love her fat braids and that the hat sorta looks like a panda. I look forward to more XD

  • tednaifeh

    Glad you guys like the sketches. I’ve been holding off on drawing too much Ugg till the script is done, but I really like the initial concept stuff. I think there’s something there.

    I could talk for hours about the relative merits of the various Potter books. Suffice it to say that I can’t place my finger quite on why the series is good, but I think it has something to do with her laying innocent looking seeds in the first few books that germinate into amazing stuff by book 4.

  • Derrick Fish

    I spent the better part of a YEAR writing and rewriting the first chapter of a comic before I figured out how to make it do on paper what it did so easily in my imagination. The actual solution was FAR simpler in hindsight than all the stressing out I put into it, but I suppose that’s just the fun of writers block. (insert sarcasm liberally)

    That all said, the sketches look EXCELLENT. Great design!