So I talked a lot yesterday about good writing and bad writing, but not very much about Terry Pratchett’s writing. People don’t comment a lot about his writing. They write about his books, and his skills as a great storyteller, about his wonderful characters, and about his fantastic creation, the Discworld, and they write about his humour, but not very much about his writing. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying those things aren’t top quality.
His storytelling is second to none. His Discworld creation is so real and so convincing that you feel you could easily live in it. His characters are realer than real, so real that when he died, a lot of his fans imagined his characters going on without him and one of his characters, Death, even announced Pratchett’s death over Twitter, as though Death as a Pratchett character really does have an independent existence apart from the books. Pratchett is like Dickens in that respect; he could write characters so believable and so compelling that they assume an independent life which allows readers to….not so much forget, as to overlook the fact that they are fictional, as though it were merely a slightly unfortunate accident which could happen to anyone. And he was funny. Oh, my lord, he was funny.
I’ve already written here about his jokes and you can Google any number of his one-liners and just enjoy the brilliance of his extraordinarily inventive mind allayed to his stupendous skill with words. I write funny myself occasionally, and I know how hard it is to do well. And not just to write a few amusing posts, but to bring the funny consistently, to such a high standard, again and again and again and again, for over forty books, well, that is something else again. That is genius.