I love Terry Pratchett and I will love him until the day I die. As long as we remember him, he lives on. His books provided one bit of advice that I have taken to my own heart … you can’t wait for the right time, you have to make your own right time. Otherwise, the right time will never come. It was this advice that go me back to university to do a second degree, this time in creative writing. It was this advice that has me spending so much time at my computer writing.
I do not have ambitions to write like Terry Pratchett, for I am not so wise or clever. I do want to write characters and plots half as good, which would still make me one of the best writers of this era. Writers are lucky if they are remembered for one of two really good characters – truly great writers are remembered for making even their secondary characters interesting. Terry Pratchett had throwaway characters that took on lives of their own, and ended up with their own book, like the Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents, or his History Monks, which inspired ‘The Thief of Time’ and the character of Sweeper. That’s genius, that is. That’s an eye for detail that is astounding.
As the city of Ankh Morpork became more industrialized, so Pratchett’s Discworld novels went from strictly Fantasy into the Steampunk genre.The introduction of the printing press occurs in ‘The Truth’, the introduction of semaphores in ‘Going Postal’, the introduction of the steam-powered locomotive in ‘Raising Steam’. Even the non-Discworld novels of ‘Dodger’ and ‘Nation’ have distinctly Steampunk touches in their settings, characters, and plots. But it wasn’t this Steampunk influence that drew me to Pratchett. It was how his characters responded to changes, including technological changes, which made these novels so great.
I was lucky enough to meet and speak with Terry Pratchett a few times on book tours, and to exchange emails once or twice. I was very lucky, because I got to meet with one of my personal heroes. I hope everyone gets a chance like that. And I hope you were as lucky as I was, to discover your hero was more wonderful in real life than you had hoped and imagined. There will be millions of words written about Terry Pratchett over the next few weeks, because Terry touched millions of hearts.
I lived through Terry Pratchett’s entire writing career. It seems impossible that he is gone.