Since starting my writing education early this year, I have discovered many avenues to learn the craft. You can do courses on writing, there are many out there; read the many how-to blogs about writing; discuss writing with like-minded people on the social pages, or listen to podcast interviews with authors.
What they have in common is they talk about having a strong hook, using strong sentences with active (not passive) verbs and show, not tell. Use the senses, so the reader can step into the shoes of the character.
With that in mind, I’d like to share with you the first page of Terry Pratchett’s The Colour of Magic, the first book in his Discworld series. I first read this book in 2010 and to be honest I hoped the next books I read in that series would be better, and they were. This is not a book review so that’s all I will say on the matter, except that Sir Terry himself agreed that there are better stories in the series to start your Discworld discovery tour. I’m reading The Colour of Magic again and this time I appreciate that Terry uses only the good words even for this story.
The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett
“Fire roared through the bifurcated city of Ankh-Morpork. Where it licked the Wizards’ Quarter it burned blue and green and was even laced with strange sparks of the eighth colour, octraine; where its outriders found their way into the vats and oil stores all along Merchants Street it progressed in a series of blazing fountains and explosions; in the streets of the perfume blenders it burned with a sweetness; where it touched bundles of rare and dry herbs in the storerooms of the drugmasters it made men go mad and talk to god.”
As a side note, if you are a fan of the Discworld series or indeed any of Sir Terry’s other works, did you know there are Discworld Conventions worldwide? In fact, the eighth Australian Discworld Convention is to be held, in Sydney, in July 2021. Full details can be found on the website.
Edited 11/3/21: Due to Covid restrictions, you know blah blah, Sydney’s convention has been postponed till April 2022. Once again check out the website for further updates.
What book grabbed you from the onset with its hook and sensory descriptions?
If you’re a TP fan, what’s your favourite book?