8 Things I Learned From the Discworld

April 28th is Terry Pratchett Day – in honour of the late author’s birthday – and on the day itself I wrote a little thread on Twitter.

Now, of course, it’s May, and the lilacs are blooming. Remember the smell of lilac? You thought about those who died.

So, here’s that thread, reproduced for posterity…

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For #TerryPratchettDay, here are some writer things, and life things, that I learned from Discworld books. There are 8. It was my favourite number before I ever found Discworld. 7? Yuck. It’s all… prime and sticky. 8 is all factorable and curvy. Octarine? I love it.

Let’s go…

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Learn the bloody rules. AND THEN break them, if you must. Break rules deliberately, knowingly, because you want to. Not, if you can possibly avoid it, by accident. This applies to spelling, grammar, story structure and, most importantly, life in general.
1
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There are few things more delightful to read than a sharp left turn. Why not write a beautiful, literary description of, oh, say, dragons, and then segue to sardines? And finish with a gently implied threat? It’s jolting, and it’s wonderful.
2
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People are never one thing. No one is all bad or all good. Everyone is a complicated, messy mixture. Everyone is capable of causing pain, and of doing amazing good, and they might not always choose the course of action you’d like. But that’s people for you.