You might have heard the sad news just over a week ago that author Terry Pratchett had died. It wasn’t an unexpected death but that doesn’t make it any less sad. And you might not have read any of his books yet but I am willing to bet real actual money that almost every single one of your favourite authors has. Terry Pratchett’s books were and still are brilliantly imaginative, funny and fabulous in every way and they inspired a lot of writers to write, me included.
Back before I knew I was going to be a writer, I was a reader. And one day when I was about fifteen, my friend Cathy told me about this new book she’d been given. “It’s really funny,” she said. “It’s got magic and adventure and Death is a skeleton who comes to get you when you die. He’s got a horse called Binky. I think you’d really like it.”
And that was it: I was hooked. She loaned me the book (it was Mort, about an ordinary boy who becomes Death’s apprentice) and I discovered the Discworld – a world where almost everything is different to our own and yet things are surprisingly the same. I read every Terry Pratchett book I found and I loved them all. But more importantly, I learned from them all too – how to create characters, how to time my jokes so that they are a little bit funnier than they might have otherwise and a thousand other things that I didn’t even notice I was learning. Things I use every time I write and every time I make a joke. He was the first author I remember who made me laugh out loud.
So I wanted this blog post to be two things: firstly, an encouragement to you (in case you haven’t ever seen a Terry Pratchett book) to discover his genius for yourself (Maurice and his Educated Rats is a great place to start, or The Wee Free Men.) And secondly, I wanted it to say thanks to an author who gave me countless hours of happiness and more inspiration than I know what to do with. Thank you, Terry Pratchett. For everything. But especially for giving Death a horse called Binky.