When I was a kid there were people very keen to point out to me what was and what wasn’t a waste of time. Staring off into space, reading books with dragons in, doodling little pictures instead of doing homework… these were all activities typically quite frowned upon if you wanted to be a serious adult.
And rules are the kind of things that follow you around. Now that I’m a writer – and my job has become staring off into space, reading books with dragons in and doodling little pictures instead of doing real work – there are still people ready with rules, ready to tell you what you can and can’t do, constraining your choices like a too-tight coat.
Terry Pratchett breaks every writing rule in the book. He takes being ridiculous more seriously than every writer I’ve ever read. And most importantly, he doesn’t just tell stories, he tells stories about stories, and hands you the tools to break rules yourselves.
Here are five of my favourite Terry Pratchett novels, and why I think you should read them.