The "RL Technique" J.K. Rowling Uses To Hook Her Readers

by Jared Myers

The “RL Technique” J K Rowling uses to grab readers by the eyeballs and forces them to re-read her books again and again.

I’ll show you how it practically gives away all her best kept secrets and how you can use it to keep your own readers hanging on your every word.

You’ve probably heard the stories about the kid who hated reading, picked up one of Jo’s books and now he can’t stop reading them. Maybe the same thing happened to you.

But did you ever stop to wonder WHY you can’t stop reading them?

I’ll tell you. It’s a little secret Jo uses in her writing. I call it the “RL Technique.”

What is the RL Technique? The RL Technique is a lethal combination of 1.) Repetition and 2.) Layering that practically forces a reader to re-read books again and again. Especially when the technique is used in writing a series of books.

Here’s why: Many Fantasy novels have few or no boundaries. The dialogue might be realistic. But the characters can do almost anything they want, because there’s always some magical spell that makes it all possible. (And that’s part of the excitement of reading Fantasy. That’s what makes these types of books such an escape for us.)

But this idea of “no limits” can be used as a cheap trick, too.

The last thing you want as a reader is to come to the resolution of a great book. And say to yourself, “Okay now, let’s just see how she’ll get out of this one.” And the author’s lame explanation is, “Well, there’s a spell that takes care of that problem.”

It’s a cheap trick. And it’s sloppy writing.

Jo’s technique of repetition and layering works better.

Let me show you how it works: You remember the first time you read Sorcerer’s Stone? And you remember the part where Harry’s at the zoo talking to the snake? But no one thought anything of it until Book 2, when we found out that most wizards can’t speak to snakes like we thought they could.

And I’m sure you remember the part in Book 2 when Harry, Ron and Hermione drank the Polyjuice Potion that turned them into Crabbe, Goyle and Milicent Bullstrode’s cat? (Sorry, Hermione.) But we didn’t think anything of it until Book 4, when Barty Crouch Junior used the same trick to turn himself into Mad-Eye Moody.

Well, that’s good use of repetition.

You remember the time Draco Malfoy went into Borgin and Burke’s, and wanted his father to buy him the Hand of Glory? And we didn’t see it again until Book 6.

You probably also remember the heavy locket that Harry, Ron and Hermione came across while cleaning Grimmauld Place 12? But we didn’t think anything of it until Book 6, when we started looking at possible Horcruxes.

Well, that’s good use of layering.

This way Jo forces you to go back and search her books for clues. And you can use this technique in your own writing.

In Jo’s own words she explained:

  • “[The reason Book 5 is so long is because] there’s information in there that you really do need to know otherwise people will feel cheated when certain outcomes happen.” [1]
  • “I had to put in some things because of what’s coming in books 6 and 7 and I didn’t want anyone to say to me ‘what a cheat you never gave us clues’. If I didn’t mention things in Order of the Phoenix I think you’ve said ‘well, you sprang that on us’! Whereas I want you to be able to guess if you’ve got your wits about you.” [2] And speaking of Thestrals she said, “If Harry had seen them and it had not been explained then it would cheat the reader. [3]

You see? Jo *wants* you to have to work hard to “get” her books. She doesn’t want you to be able to solve them until after you’ve read Book 7. But she has promised readers that the answers are there.

She wants you to read Book 7, see the resolution, and slap yourself on the forehead when you realize, “Oh, yeah; she did say something about that all the way back in Book 1!”

She’s compelled to write her books this way. Because it’s a game for her. And she doesn’t want you to feel cheated.

And here’s the good news: You can beat Jo at her own “game”…if you’ve got your wits about you go to my resource box now, and I’ll show you how.

[1] Couric, Katie. Interview with J.K. Rowling. Dateline NBC, 20 June 2003.

[2] Fry, Stephen, interviewer: J.K. Rowling at the Royal Albert Hall, 26 June 2003.

[3] Fry, Stephen, interviewer: J.K. Rowling at the Royal Albert Hall, 26 June 2003.

If you’ve got questions about Harry Potter 7, I’ve got more answers for you. A lot more answers. You’ll find them here at http://www.book7answers.com/t2-index.php

About the Author:
Jared Myers is a former Private Investigator who uses his puzzle-solving techniques to bring you hard to find information.

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5 thoughts on “The "RL Technique" J.K. Rowling Uses To Hook Her Readers

  1. makes sense because the little things that happen in the past are brought to your attention again. Example, the ability to speak to snakes. That was more important in book 2 but hints in book 1.

  2. Oh my… well that explained a lot of why my chapters didn’t seem to fit properly. Everything was too random. Time for some editing!

  3. I disagree with one aspect. She did use cheats. What about the time-turner. She hinted it in the beginning of book 3 and then used it as an out at the end of book 3 (and there were many other uses for it that would have been more practical). This was a major disappointment and I felt that too many things were not planned out, like Lupin and Tonks felt forced…along with many other things. I understand your point and agree more books should have this technique…but I felt it wasn’t completely fine tuned in HP.

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