Pratchett puts forty pounds of story in a five pound bag and then tightens the string. How does he do that without descending into chaos (if he does; he kinda likes chaos)?
I think a lot of it is that he always remembers whose story he’s telling. This may story may go all over the place, but it goes all over the place following Moist, who is worthy of being followed. While it does have a classic doppelganger protagonist and antagonist, it also follows the classic doppelganger structure: the protagonist learns and the antagonist doesn’t, so as the protagonist arcs, the antagonist falls behind. In this story character is structure.
If you want a slightly more formal book club start, try these questions:
1. Two prologues. If you skip them, the book is much better. What is it with authors and prologues? (I know, but I’m not telling because it’s rude.)
2. If the story structure is about Moist’s rebirth after death and rise to the heights, it’s also about the post office’s death and rebirth. How does linking character to goal shape this story?
3. There’s a romantic subplot in here, the hero gets the girl, but the girl is not a Girl in the “Be careful, Moist” mode. How does the structure of the love story (and the character of Adorabelle, shown below) not just support but also fuel the main plot?
NOTE: This Book Club Post will remain open, so if you haven’t read the book yet, decide to later, and then have things you must say, no worries. I’ve added a “Most Recent Comments” widget to the sidebar so people will know when comments go up on old posts.