Author Takeover: Editing out Sorting Scenes, by Chloe Seager

August 14, 2018

Our Author Takeover today comes from Chloe Seager, with a missing scene from her new hilarious and relatable UK YA book in the Editing Emma series. Like any Potterhead, Chloe is no stranger to thinking about Hogwarts Houses. Find out whom of her characters Chloe would sort into which House, and why.

Now she’s in the sixth form, Emma’s expecting life to be a breeze but when her best friend Steph suddenly has a boyfriend who she’s spending more time with Emma’s not sure what to do with herself.

So Emma’s got a mission in mind: making new friends. Signing up for the school fashion show seems like the perfect opportunity. Although soon, through a series of mishaps that are absolutely not Emma’s fault (well, sort of), her world is teetering on the edge of disaster again.

Would going back to creating a life for herself online really be so bad?

 

Editing, Cut Scenes, and Sorting

Unfortunately, due to word count restrictions and because it doesn’t actually “add anything to the story,” I had to delete this scene from Friendship Fails of Emma Nash. But I love this conversation because it tells you so much about the characters.

 

Friday 14 November

posted by EditingEmma 13.50

Steph Is NOT Qualified To Be A Sorting Hat

We were just sitting around at lunchtime when Gracie said,

‘If we were in the Harry Potter houses, which ones would we be in?’

‘Easy!’ yelled Steph.

‘Go on then, oh sorting hat,’ I said.

‘Faith is Ravenclaw. Gracie is Slytherin. Emma is Hufflepuff. I am Gryffindor.’

‘Hey!’ yelled Gracie.

‘Yeah, WHAT?!’ I added.

‘Guys, don’t get aggy. It’s pointless. The sorting hat has spoken.’

She leaned back and crossed her legs.

‘Oh yeah, well, I’m stripping you of your authority, because I don’t think you’re qualified.’

‘Look, don’t hate. We can’t all be in Gryffindor.’

‘I don’t want to be in Gryffindor!’ I said. ‘UGH! You’re so self-righteous! At least you sorted yourself correctly.’

‘What makes me a Slytherin?’ interjected Gracie. ‘Why am I evil?’

‘You have an overpowering Slytherin vibe,’ said Steph, ‘and not all Slytherins are evil.’

‘First Jigglypuff and now Hufflepuff,’ I said. ‘Why do you always have to lump me in with the word PUFF? Come on Gracie, let’s resort ourselves.’

Gracie bit her lip.

‘Well, um… I sort of agree with Hufflepuff.’

I gasped.

‘TRAITOR.’

‘Hufflepuffs are very loyal, and, um…’

‘Useless,’ I said.

‘And true…’

‘Useless,’ I said.

‘Guys, GUYS,’ Faith shouted.

We stopped bickering and looked at her.

‘Let’s not let this ruin our lunch, or our friendship, alright?’

‘Such a Ravenclaw thing to say,’ said Steph. ‘See. I am qualified.’

‘Steph,’ Faith warned. ‘Come on guys. Let’s just forget this now.’

‘Alright for you,’ I said, ‘you got Ravenclaw. That’s the best one!’

‘Alright, simmer down Grumplepuff.’ Steph patted me.

I hate them all.

 

Steph is a classic Gryffindor. She’s bold and fearless in every sense and always tells it how it is. She excels in team sports because she works well with others, is brave enough to do whatever it takes to win, and will always take one for the team. She’s also, dare I say it, slightly smug.

Gracie is, unquestioningly, a Slytherin. Unlike Steph, she desires solitary glory and loves nothing more than coming top in a test or knowing something that someone else doesn’t. She’s smart, ambitious, and knows exactly what she wants and how she’s going to get it. She’s also no stranger to the odd underhanded comment…

Faith is a pure Ravenclaw because she’s responsible and level-headed. She’s smart, too, but she’s academic in a less flashy way than Gracie – she just wants to quietly keep her head down and learn. She wants everyone to get along at all times and always makes sensible decisions. Sometimes, she’s maybe a bit too sensible.

Emma (though she won’t accept it) is a definite Hufflepuff. Her strengths lie not in academic achievements or… well, in any achievements, but in her constant, unwavering efforts. She’s always on a mission with a good intention, even if it does usually fall flat on its face. She’s a bit awkward and bumbling, but this makes her more likeable and relatable than she thinks. She always has a cheery sense of humor even when she’s totally miserable.

 

It’s different for all authors, but for me, the way I write characters has nothing to do with knowing their morning routines, their favorite food, whether they take milk and sugar in their tea, or even their interests. Interests are secondary for me; I decided that Emma would be into fashion, Steph into sports, Faith into art, and Gracie into science after getting to know them as people. Before I start writing a character, I have to get a strong sense of their internal life – how they view the world and what makes them tick. So sorting the characters out into Harry Potter Houses is a really useful exercise for me.

If I know whether a character is a Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, Slytherin, or a Ravenclaw (or a mixture!), I already have so much to go on. It gives me a strong sense of their core values. I often hear authors being asked “what house would your character be in?” and 99.9% of the time they know the answer straight away. Whether they’re like me and know before they start writing, or whether it comes to them later, the Harry Potter Houses are such brilliant markers for personality types. When J.K. Rowling created the Hogwarts Houses, she didn’t only create strong characters in her own world, but she gave lots of other writers strong building blocks for their characters as well.

@ChloeSeager