Last night, talking about the Harry Potter books at Omst's house.
Phillip: "What do you think makes the Harry Potter books so popular?"
"Lindsey": "They help me paint a mental picture. I can imagine their robes, quidditch, the hallways..."
Me: "The author is very good at authoritative details."
Phillip: "Do you think if a group of us got together and focused for a weekend, we could reverse engineer what makes a children's book captivating, and then write one that's just as good?"
Omst: "I think by reading Harry Potter, you implicitly agree to terms that you will not try to reverse engineer the book."