An evening with Terry Pratchett + Tomorrow.

Well. Okay. That was extraordinarily thinglike.

I’ve just returned from Drury Lane (or nearly Drury Lane, in any case) where ‘An Evening With Terry Pratchett’ was held. Theatre, packed to the brim with people, myself in the absolute nosebleed seats in the balcony back row, all staring down there as the man himself and his assistant, Rob somebody or other nobody cares about, (Rob Wilkins, we actually DO care,) playing with an iPad and saying things.

Many things.

Oh, and also getting hardcover copies of Snuff with our tickets, too.

Apparently there are goblins.

But what’s really fascinating is that apparently Terry Pratchett plays Oblivion, and was commenting on how in that game (in the opening, in fact) you encounter Goblins in their cave and they, for some reason or other, attack you as you wander in quite innocently with your swords and daggers and fireball spells and whatnot. And how that’s the psychology of videogames, but how he was quite interested in, you know. What might happen if they didn’t rabidly attempt to slaughter you, and apparently someone modded the game for him so he could find out with something like an Amulet of Goblin Friendliness. Which is just brilliant.

Not only does Terry Pratchett play videogames, he gets mods for his videogames.

He also mentioned Tolkien, and the Orcs, and Boromir. Specifically, that if Boromir, a man, can fall, why can an Orc not rise? Which I quite liked. (I always like it when people have a bone to pick with Tolkien.)

Apparently he went on a tulip hunt in Washington, which I’ll have to ask Tanzy about, and some other things, but there are two specific things from this evening that stick in my mind.

The first was related to the inspiration for Nation, a book I rather adored.

Apparently he had a vision, one clear mental image, of a boy on a beach in the pouring rain, shouting at the ocean. And most of the book was born in the following ten minutes, scrabbling to figure out how and why this boy was shouting at the ocean.

I absolutely love that, because it’s a process I can relate to. I do that. The whole of Askazi was born from my thinking about the sun crossing the sky in what appears to be a ballistic arc, as if someone had thrown it, and  that mental image, trying to figure out how and why, led to the writings that eventually led to the webcomic.

One thing you know shares corners with things you don’t know, and the things in the corners lead to yet more corners, until you suddenly have more of it in your head than anyone has any right to know.

The other thing is something which I think must be a universal with a certain breed of writer.

At the end, he stood up, and thanked everyone, because writing, for him, is fun. And people buy his books, letting him continue to write books, and have more fun. And in so doing, they get to have fun with his books.

I’ve seen Kyell say similar things. And in the end, I think it’s true.

I have a lot of strife with my writing, a lot of pain and self-esteem issues and pulling teeth… but I make it through all that because intrinsically, it is fun. And maybe that’s a very good thing for me to remember for tomorrow.

Tomorrow, I’m going to start writing a novel. My first, if it ends up completed. My time is blocked out until May 31st 2012, and I’ve never dedicated that much time to any one task in my life before. I’m nervous, I’m scared, I’m excited. I’ve spent the last week or so trying to get everything else important in my life done and put to bed, so I can concentrate. (The Jade novella is a notable exception, but I think I can squeeze the edits for that in around everything else.)

I am, ultimately, ready.

But I don’t feel ready. The working title is still a toss-up between ‘The Pirate’s Beard’ and ‘The Brocade Goat’. I’m not entirely sure I know what shape the plot’s going to be, and part of my early work on it’s going to likely be redoing my outlines and notes.


Writing is fun, sayeth Sir Terry.

So even if I’m terrified, I’m looking forward to it.

Thank you for a wonderful evening, Sir Terry, and underling Rob.

By foozzzball

Malcolm Cross, otherwise known as 'foozzzball', lives in London and enjoys the personal space and privacy that the city is known for. When not misdirecting tourists to nonexistant landmarks and lurking at bus stops, Malcolm enjoys writing science fiction and fantasy with a furry twist.

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