Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life

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Random House Publishing Group, Mar 4, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 208 pages
5 Reviews
In 1977, the New York Times Trade Paperback Bestseller list—back then the exclusive province of self-help guides, cartoon collections, and any number of cat books—played host to its very first work of fiction: The Sword of Shannara, an epic quest through a mythical land, by first-time author Terry Brooks. Nineteen New York Times bestselling novels later, it would be easy enough to just say: “. . . and the rest is history.” But when it comes to quests, everyone knows that getting there is half the fun. Now, Terry Brooks tells the story of how he got there—from beginner to bestselling author—and shares his secrets for creating unusual, memorable fiction.

Writing is writing, whether one’s setting is a magical universe or a suburban backyard. Spanning topics from the importance of daydreaming to the necessity of writing an outline, from the fine art of showing instead of merely telling to creating believable characters who make readers care what happens to them, Brooks draws upon his own experiences, hard lessons learned, and delightful discoveries made in creating the beloved Shannara and Magic Kingdom of Landover series, The Word and The Void trilogy, and the bestselling Star Wars novel The Phantom Menace.

In addition to being a writing guide, Sometimes the Magic Works is Terry Brooks’s self-portrait of the artist. Here are sketches of his midwestern boyhood, when comic books, radio serials, and a vivid imagination launched a life long passion for weaving tales of wonder; recollections of the fateful collaboration with legendary editor Lester del Rey that changed not only the author’s life but the course of publishing history; and an eye-opening look at the ups and downs of dealing with Hollywood, as a writer of official novels based on major movies by both Steven Spielberg and George Lucas.

“If you don’t think there is magic in writing, you probably won’t write anything magical,” says Terry Brooks. This book offers a rare and wonderful opportunity to peer into the mind of (and learn a trick or two from) one of fantasy fiction’s preeminent magicians.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - annertan - LibraryThing

Sometimes it is nice to read how other writers write, but doesn't really help much in helping me develop my craft. However, it's really interesting how much luck was involved with his character. Take away I learned from this book: never get involve with writing movie adaptations. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - autieri - LibraryThing

This was a nice, quick read. It's along the lines of Stephen King's "On Writing" only much shorter and a lot lighter on the writing advice. I read it primarily for writing advice, which was good but ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Cover
Write
Influences
Where Do You Get Your Ideas?
The Dreaded O Word
Hook
Maud Manx Part
The World According to Hunter Part
The Word and The Void
On the Trail of Tolkien

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About the author (2003)

Terry Brooks has thrilled readers for decades with his powers of imagination and storytelling. He is the author of more than thirty books, most of which have been New York Times bestsellers. He lives with his wife, Judine, in the Pacific Northwest.

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