Pratchetty wisdom

So currently Sir Terry Pratchett is an Adjunct Professor of the School of English, Trinity College Dublin, which as far as I can gather is one of those posts that looks good for all involved and doesn’t mean having to do the tedious bits of professoring. Nevertheless. He gave a delightful seminar yesterday for postgrads in the field of popular literature, which ended up mostly focusing on his writing (no complaints here, obviously), and, here, have the best bits, which I suspect are familiar enough to anyone who’s read interviews with him or whatnot:

  • He seems to have the ideal approach to writing stuff that sells. “You do not know where the magic comes from,” is what he said of his writing, but he was also quite firm on the idea of turning up and just writing “the damn book”. Quite candid about writing things that sell well, like his almost-exclusive turn to fantasy, but emphasising the love of it as well.
  • He says fantasy writers are given the same paintbox as other writers, but with extra colours. Silver and gold and glitter. And this: “Fantasy is not a genre. Fantasy is the original fiction. The Bible was written by people like me.”
  • “The words are easy – most of them have already been invented.”
  • “There is such a thing as a children’s book for everyone.”
  • With regard to reviews, he noted that he knows when something’s a good book or not, and also talked about his early reviews attacking his perceived readers rather than him or the work, which is not really something that happens in other genres. [Well….hmm. Chick-lit? Any genre associated with female readers including the very novel form itself?] The knowing something’s good intrigues me – it’s another reminder that there’s so much about this writing biz that people handle differently. [I loved Sarah Dessen’s recent post on the books she’s had published, which takes a completely different approach.]

(And that was my Friday afternoon.)

About clairehennessy

Writer (mostly YA fiction), creative writing teacher, tea drinker, book junkie. View all posts by clairehennessy

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