A Writer’s Voice – The Shepherd’s Crown

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Many apologies for my extended absence this time. I still don’t want to talk about it though. Life happens all the time, to everyone, and whining doesn’t do much for me most of the time. Onward and forward is my preferred go-to. My other go-to is reading. I’ve read some fabulous books these past months, which I will post reviews for later-ish, as well as doing a big comment catch up, but for now I’m thinking about how unique us scribblers are.

Real readers are a discerning bunch. They’re just as much of a tribe as writers are, and it’s not easy to pull the wool over their eyes. They know what their favourite authors sound like. They know what the worlds in their favourite books look and feel like. They recognise the voices coming off the pages, and a lot of the time, if those voices don’t seem quite right, they will go to a lot of trouble to investigate and find out why. A lot of readers can research a lot of writers under the table. Sometimes they will be outraged when they find out the reason for their suspicion and dispense with a one star whopper of a scathing review. But sometimes they’ll just have a good cry, and keep a ten star review forever in their heart when they learn the reason for a book that doesn’t sound or feel as it should in some places.

Reading The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett was a very strange experience for me, and to begin with had me thinking that the publishers should have distributed the original unfinished manuscript to some of his die-hard fans to have a go at before sending it to professional editors. Any professional editor that read the finished book would probably have had a couple of issues anyway, even if they’d never read any other Discworld book before, but still, I thought that a couple of us Pratchett groupies would have done a better job at putting words in some of the character’s mouths. But then I completely changed my mind. The Shepherd’s Crown is perfect exactly as it is.

The thing is, it is full of Pratchett, and reading it from cover to cover, knowing that it is his final book—his swan song—was one of the most moving experiences for me precisely BECAUSE of the places where his voice was missing. It broke my heart, but in a comforting way. It was the only Discworld book that made me cry more than it made me laugh. I don’t want to put any spoilers here, but there was one huge thing that happened in the beginning of the book that was so right (even if it would have been fleshed out a-la-Pratchett a whole lot more if he had had the time to finish this book) for this final tale. You can just see “her” settling down next to him wherever he is now, nodding, accepting a cup of tea, and then heading off into whatever adventures are happening in that new to them world.

I haven’t posted a review for this one on Amazon or Goodreads yet, but I have read a lot of the ones already there, and they are so poignant and loving. How could any Terry Pratchett lover post a bad review for The Shepherd’s Crown? Of course I give it ten out of five stars, and of course I’ll read it again, just as I do all of his other books. A most fabulous and fitting end to the writing of a true legend.

It does just go to show though, how very powerful a brilliant writer’s voice can be. In my “day job” editing the books of Indie authors, I try to be as gentle as possible when it comes to their very unique voices, even if my fingers burn to advise a change to something that I would never dream of writing myself. Yonks ago, when eBooks were still only science-fiction, I remember being about twenty pages into The Running Man by Richard Bachman, when I thought, “This is Stephen King!”, and I was right. You can’t pull the wool over real readers’ eyes, and you really shouldn’t try to.

27 thoughts on “A Writer’s Voice – The Shepherd’s Crown

    Jack Eason said:
    February 17, 2021 at 9:16 am

    good to see you back sweetheart. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

      jorobinson176 responded:
      February 20, 2021 at 9:13 am

      Thank you Jack! It’s always fabulous to see you, and see you’re still as brilliant as always. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    Books & Bonsai said:
    February 17, 2021 at 11:25 am

    So sorry to hear that life has not been kind, Jo… and I applaud your attitude!
    Like Terry Pratchett, the good will out!

    Liked by 2 people

      jorobinson176 responded:
      February 20, 2021 at 9:17 am

      Thank you Anita! It is amazing that you are all still here and as lovely and kind as always. I’m alright now – got the most epic catch up pile of all time though. I’m looking forward to catching up to catching up with you and Jaye and your latest writing. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

        Books & Bonsai said:
        February 20, 2021 at 10:23 am

        Not much happened last year, nothing good anyway! Hopefully, this will change this year, for all of us…

        Like

    davidprosser said:
    February 17, 2021 at 12:42 pm

    I’m so sorry Jo. I wanted life to be kind to you as you deserve.
    Huge Hugs

    Liked by 2 people

      jorobinson176 responded:
      February 20, 2021 at 9:19 am

      Hello David – I’ve MISSED your Huge Hugs! I hope all is well with you and that life is being kind to you especially. I must catch up with your news and your fabulous feathery guy – forgot his name now though. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    grimbeau said:
    February 17, 2021 at 1:27 pm

    HEY JO! (Always wanted to write that) Keep the Aspidistra Flyin’ , Eh?

    Liked by 1 person

      jorobinson176 responded:
      February 20, 2021 at 9:22 am

      Ha haaa! It’s like the song – the Hey Joe one, not the Mrs Robinson one. Aspidistra is definitely up to something. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

        grimbeau said:
        February 20, 2021 at 2:57 pm

        Hendrix, Orwell & Bancroft–sounds like a bunch of dubious solicitors.

        Liked by 1 person

    danniehill said:
    February 17, 2021 at 3:23 pm

    I think of you often and happy to hear from you! I do hope life takes a good turn your way, dear one. Terry is missed and a wonderful writer

    Liked by 1 person

      jorobinson176 responded:
      February 20, 2021 at 9:23 am

      Oh Danny – it is so lovely to see you here. How are you doing these days? ❤

      Liked by 1 person

        danniehill said:
        February 23, 2021 at 2:39 pm

        Back in the States, and enjoying a low keyed life. Missing Thailand but it is so restrictive to go there right now

        Like

    John W. Howell said:
    February 17, 2021 at 4:40 pm

    A beautiful review and a nice tribute to Terry. Sorry about that life thing. I wish it would be nicer to you.

    Liked by 2 people

      jorobinson176 responded:
      February 20, 2021 at 9:24 am

      Thank you John ❤ I'm happy for second chances – and thirds and fourths too actually. Hugs!

      Liked by 2 people

    floridaborne said:
    February 17, 2021 at 5:31 pm

    Hooray! You made it back to blog world. 😄

    May the coming years be kinder to you, and success become your norm.

    Liked by 1 person

      jorobinson176 responded:
      February 20, 2021 at 9:26 am

      Thank you my lovely friend. And you too! Very exciting couple of months coming up for you now. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    mysm2000 said:
    February 17, 2021 at 6:45 pm

    Good to have you back. Missed you.

    Liked by 1 person

      jorobinson176 responded:
      February 20, 2021 at 9:30 am

      The one and only Miss M – I have missed you too! Catching up is speeding up now. Looking forward to reading all your news – little Budge too. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    marianallen said:
    February 17, 2021 at 8:59 pm

    Miss you when you’re gone, Jo. HUGS I’m sorry Life has been troublesome to you. Me, too. I’m another Pratchett fan, and was sad to feel his voice subtly changing over the last several books. Authors have the right to change, I think, whether we like it or not. I loved this review without spoilers for his last book. It makes me want to read it. Thank you for that. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

      jorobinson176 responded:
      February 20, 2021 at 9:34 am

      Me too! I am so so sorry for your loss Marian – I’m going to have to go mining on your site. I will miss your meals for two but will always enjoy whatever you’re up to. HUGS HUGS! The last couple of Pratchett books were missing that bit of sardonic double speak that always made me laugh. It would be interesting to know how much was filled in by editors. I think you will enjoy Shepherd’s Crown if you read it – especially as an author – you might get a little sad but he is still there in all his fabulousness. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    Jack Eason said:
    February 20, 2021 at 8:44 am

    Reblogged this on Have We Had Help? and commented:
    Heres something for us all to read from our Jo

    Liked by 1 person

    Jemima Pett said:
    February 22, 2021 at 2:09 pm

    Glad to see you back. I have no idea how the last year has panned out in your area, so I won’t try to imagine. Thanks for the news on the last Terry Pratchett – I ifnally got into his books during our lockdown 🙂

    Like

    Carol Balawyder said:
    February 22, 2021 at 11:12 pm

    What an interesting review, Jo. Totally enjoyed it and your authenticity! ❤

    Like

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