Self-ban on reading Pratchett

dneuschulz

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I read Pratchett, love him, but in short 2 or 3 book binges. I absolutely call a moratorium on reading him, though, when I am writing.

This is because his style is too damn infectious. I'm a U.S. citizen, so my natural voice isn't the Queen's English as in Her Majesty, it's Queens English as in the borough of New York City. If I'm reading Pratchett, my sentences start taking on his Monty-Pythonesque syntax and sarcasm. Which (a) I can't sustain, and (b) I can't infuse with enough, you know, actual humor. Broadly, I have this problem of automatic mimicry, but with Pratchett (and Douglas Adams), it's extreme.

Akin to eating the ginger shaving between tasting different kinds of sushi, I have to read something closer to my natural voice to "clean my palette," before I sit down to write.

Does anyone else find the need to do this?
 

Toby Frost

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Yes, but only once. While I was writing the Space Captain Smith books, I deliberately stayed away from anything by Douglas Adams, because I didn't want his style of humour getting into mine. Generally, I don't find myself mimicing other writers' styles, but Adams is so respected and so important to a certain generation of SF readers (I can only think of Tolkien as an equivalent) that I really didn't want to take the risk.
 

BAYLOR

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I read Pratchett, love him, but in short 2 or 3 book binges. I absolutely call a moratorium on reading him, though, when I am writing.

This is because his style is too damn infectious. I'm a U.S. citizen, so my natural voice isn't the Queen's English as in Her Majesty, it's Queens English as in the borough of New York City. If I'm reading Pratchett, my sentences start taking on his Monty-Pythonesque syntax and sarcasm. Which (a) I can't sustain, and (b) I can't infuse with enough, you know, actual humor. Broadly, I have this problem of automatic mimicry, but with Pratchett (and Douglas Adams), it's extreme.

Akin to eating the ginger shaving between tasting different kinds of sushi, I have to read something closer to my natural voice to "clean my palette," before I sit down to write.

Does anyone else find the need to do this?

Try Jurgen a Comedy of Justice by James Branch Cabell . :)
 

Biskit

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Someone described my writing and humour as Pratchett with the rude bits left in, so I don't worry about it.

I am currently writing a character which is not exactly humorous, but does carry the boiling anger underlying some of Pratchett's writing, but without the layer of restraint and gritted-teeth politeness that he achieves.
 

Hugh

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Ahem! cough! I've never read any Pratchett, perhaps part of one book many years ago. I have read the team-up with Neil Gaiman.

I know I'll get round to him one day.

For reference, when I do, which one is a good starting point?
 

Montero

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Depends a bit on your taste but there are a number of threads set with mostly different characters in different parts of the world - a lot of people like some of the threads more than the others. It is worth trying one from each thread if you don't like the first one you try.
The Colour of Magic is the first one written and is the first in the Rincewind/Unseen University thread. It is a take on University politics and tech nerds. It's funny but has never been a great favourite of mine. I think his writing improves and has more of an edge in later books.
Guards Guards starts the City Guard of Ankh-Morpork thread - dedicated to all those people who rush into the room when someone shouts "Guards, Guards" and tend to die anonymously. The Unseen University is in Ankh-Morpork so there are mentions of it and wizards. I like this one a lot.
Wyrd Sisters starts the Ramtop Mountain witches thread and is actually a mick-take out of MacBeth with the witches as the heroines. One of my favourites.
Death thread starts with the Grim Reaper - good, like it better than Unseen University but less than the others. Death does appear in some of the other threads, not surprisingly.
A couple of near one-offs - Soul Music, Pyramids and Small Gods - with just a little overlap with the other threads. If you are not much into popular music since WW2 then chunks of Soul Music will go over your head. Pyramids is actually not a bad one to start on as it is a bit stand-alone apart from starting in Ankh-Morpork and will give you a good feel for the style.
Then there are the Tiffany Aching books which are YA and a spin-off from the Witches thread.
Have fun.
 

Hugh

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Wow! Thanks for laying these out for me. I'll be bearing these recommendations in mind.
 

Mon0Zer0

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Does anyone else find the need to do this?

Not generally, but I find the same thing listening to Alan Moore. Whenever I hear a podcast where he's a guest or in an interview I find his voice stuck in my head for hours after.
 

dneuschulz

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Wow! Thanks for laying these out for me. I'll be bearing these recommendations in mind.
There are a lot of helpful guides on the interwebz in the form of flowcharts. Some of them are question-and-answer format that, depending on your answers, guide you to the best first TP novel to read. Then there are others which really lay out the chronology and series of ALL the books. Just Google "Terry Pratchett books flowchart" and you'll have plenty to work with.
 

The Big Peat

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I very much accidentally mimic authors' styles after reading on the regular but, oddly enough, Pratchett's one where I rarely do so. His style was too unique for it to slip into mine unbidden (there's plenty of my stuff where it was clearly bidden though).
 

Hugh

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There are a lot of helpful guides on the interwebz in the form of flowcharts. Some of them are question-and-answer format that, depending on your answers, guide you to the best first TP novel to read. Then there are others which really lay out the chronology and series of ALL the books. Just Google "Terry Pratchett books flowchart" and you'll have plenty to work with.
Well, many thanks @Montero and @dneuschulz

I've printed off your comments for reference and will be starting with the Wyrd Sisters sometime in the next few months.
 

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