The sun rose slowly, as if it wasn’t sure it was worth all the effort.

Those aren’t the first words in Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, but they’re the first ones I read, and they caught me immediately. This, I thought, is how you tell stories. In fifteen words, you don’t just know that the sun is rising. You have a sense of languor, but more, you have a sense of the writer, the dry voice that you will become so well-acquainted with over the course of more than 40 novels. Because it’s not possible to read just one.

Some of you don’t know Pratchett yet. Some of you are young enough to have him among the first fantasy books you read, and others are old enough to have been in your twenties or thirties, disillusioned with Piers Anthony’s Xanth and longing for a series that could blend fantasy with humor with puns but maybe leave the creepy pedophilia out of it.

It wasn’t just the puns that kept us coming back for more, though. In Pratchett’s world, sometimes the witch marries the prince. The  captain of the guard marries the duchess. The six foot tall adopted dwarf proves that family is about where you know you belong despite the world’s insistence that you look wrong. In Pratchett’s world, anything could happen to anyone. He didn’t focus on the princes and princesses, although they’re there, but on the little people around them that are just trying to get by and maybe have a few dreams come true in the process. They are, in fact, about the rest of us. The ones who don’t get stories in traditional fantasy novels. The ones who show up as “fifth elf from the left, second row” in photos of the Last Homely House.

Pratchett’s stories aren’t about humor, despite being humorous. They’re about universal truths, and the good and bad things that we do to each other, the grand hopes and schemes and the little grinding miseries of the human race, all on the back of a world carried by four elephants standing on a turtle. And somewhere, “behind the hours, there was a place where the Hogfather rode, the tooth fairies climbed their ladders, Jack Frost drew his pictures, the Soul Cake Duck laid her chocolate eggs. In the endless spaces between the clumsy seconds, Death moved…”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2”][vc_column_text]Sir Terry Pratchett’s Death is kind. He tries hard to understand humanity, and he wants to be gentle. He also speaks in allcaps. He can’t help it; that’s just his voice. As I write this, on March 12, Pratchett is finding out if his theory about belief is true. I’d like to think it is. I’d like to think this, his final gift to us, is pretty accurate.

[NB- the first quote is from The Light Fantastic, the second from Hogfather][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”24259″ border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”yes” img_link_target=”_blank” img_size=”medium”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Now that I’ve given you at least half of the feels if not all of them, I’m going to give you the results on all three of our grids – nonfiction, fiction|poetry, and microfiction.

But it’s not all about the popular vote, folks. Every week our editors comb through your submissions looking for great posts to give editorial staff picks to. We don’t always give out staff picks – only if we really like your post. Picks are based on writing quality, how successful the author is in conveying information, and just plain style. If you got a staff pick this week, grab your badge from the sidebar and wear it with pride!

Once you’re done reading through the staff picks (and congratulating the winners in the comments), keep scrolling down to check out who won the popular vote on all three grids.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Yeah write #204 weekly writing challenge staff picks: fiction|poetry


march poetry slam participants: the cinquains

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”22650″ alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_circle” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” title=”nate” img_link_large=””][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]

The poetry slams make me so happy. Not only do I love that we’re trying something new together, I enjoy seeing how everyone slots their own voice into the same poetry form. Michael took us for an intergalactic trip in his modified lanterne. R. Todd plopped us down right in the middle of the end of a relationship with his crown cinquain. And Natalie confronted us with lines from her mirror cinquain, such as “You grew large, expanding/ Until you seeped through all my heart’s/ Chambers.” I can’t wait to see where else we’re taken.
[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text][Ed’s note: poetry slam participants, grab your special slam badge from the sidebar! All our cinquain writers have earned this badge, even if Nate didn’t specifically call you out by name. Thanks for playing along, and good job! /RBG][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Congratulations to this week’s winners! If you earned the highest number of votes in either challenge, you are this week’s crowd favorite. If you came in first, second or third, you get “top three” honors. Grab your badge from our sidebar!

Looking for your badge? The fiction|poetry, nonfiction and microstories challenges all have the same winner, staff pick, and top three badges. It doesn’t clutter up our sidebar, and they’ll still look pretty on yours!

Everybody: before you go, please take some time to leave your favorites a little love in the comments.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Weekend moonshine grid opens today at 6 p.m. eastern time

Quaffing. It’s like drinking, but you spill more. If you need to raise a glass in Sir Terry’s honor, or just share a post you wrote five years ago that’s kind of fantasy related, come on down to the cosiest little bar in Ankh-Morpork. We’re serving lizard. Onna stick. In sauce. Maybe. Commercial posts will be detained by the Night Watch and may be used for experiments at Unseen University. You’ve been warned.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

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