With a saga as complex and detailed as the world of Harry Potter, even a master storyteller like J.K. Rowling needs a few tricks to keep it all in order!
JKR revealed just one page of her planning notes for Book 5 - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - and it's fascinating to take a glimpse at the thought processes involved in crafting this sprawling great novel...
Look at the OOTP notes and help us decipher them!
JKR sets out 10 columns to keep OOTP organized
The first four column headings are broad and practical:
No.: The chapter number corresponding with events
Time: Which month of the Hogwarts school year it is
Title: The name - or working title - of each chapter
Plot: A brief outline of the plot of the chapter
The next 6 columns focus on the biggest storylines
Prophecy: The plot about the prophecy, as predicted by Prof. Trelawney
Cho/Ginny: Harry's romantic interests
D.A.: Dumbledore's Army, its development and actions
O of P: The Order of the Phoenix, events for the group
Snape/Harry: Harry spends a lot of plot-vital time with Prof. Snape
Hagrid and Grawp: Hagrid and his giant half-brother, Grawp
The notes reveal a few early HP secrets...
Umbridge's first name changed
Dolores Umbridge was originally going to be named 'Elvira'! I think that JKR made the right move in changing that - it's the banality of Umbridge's evil that makes her so frightening, so a more homely, common name such as Dolores suits her better than the more vampy, exotic Elvira.
'Black Marks' was the original name for chapter 16, which was called 'The Hog's Head' in the published version of the book. The crossed out portions read 'Cho' and 'Rita Returns' - getting the ordering right must be an ongoing process for a book as long and complicated as OOTP!
'Missy' Slip kiss / Slipkiss
This one is a bit confusing, but here's the most likely explanation: Seeing as 'Missy' is what Rita Skeeter calls Hermione, Rita is happy that Hermione lets slip about the kiss between Harry and Cho? There are other, more baroque interpretations, including 'Missy Slipkiss' as previous names for Luna Lovegood or Dora Purkiss.
Grawp & Hagrid became closer
JKR writes 'Cousin Grawp' here, but we know from the book that Grawp is Hagrid's half-brother...
... And what the heck is 'firehead'?
JKR says 'they can use firehead'... We say '???' Am I being a complete ignoramus? Help, Potter fans!
Here's the whole chart typed up, courtesy of HP Lexicon!
Spotted anything I missed? Get creating and let me know!