My Influences (John Version)

Throughout my entire life, there have been three celebrity deaths that have affected me on a deep and personal level, made me feel like I had lost someone important in my life. Fred Rogers, Robin Williams, and Terry Pratchett.

I discovered the works of Terry Pratchett in my mid teens, after a contributor to a website I used to hang out at put up a page of his favorite Terry Pratchett quotes. (Cidolfas, on the astronomical chance that you’re reading this, thanks.) I won’t be so crass as to say that he made me want to write, but he certainly shaped my style.

Pterry’s works are known for their wit and their humor, but also their deep themes and deeper characters. There is only one other author wherein I can say I read everything of theirs I could get my hands on. (Tamora Pierce is the other, if you’re curious. I mean, you’re probably not, but shut up, it’s my blog post and I can write whatever I want. Kumquat aardvark periwinkle.)

I’d like to think I’m a reasonably witty person on a good day, and reading the Discworld series helped me hone that wit. And Pterry helped teach me that a good, meaningful story need not be brought forth at the expense of humor and levity, and that is one of the central tenets of the things I write. In fiction and in life, dark things happen. But good things happen to, but in any story, no matter how well it may be written, when there’s nothing but unrelenting darkness, it can be difficult to stay invested. Real people crack jokes, exchange quips, make terrible puns, even in the face of a world that’s presented them with overwhelming odds stacked against them. And I always try to bring that out in the things that I write.

Pterry himself wrote (in Going Postal, one of my favorite Discworld books), “A  man’s not dead while his name is still spoken.” And through his works and the people that loved them and are inspired by them, he will be with us forever.

Coming up after an indeterminate period of time, Angelique will make a post similar to this one. Probably after a reasonable amount of prodding from myself.

-John

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