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Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life Paperback – February 3, 2004
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Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Brooks had a very interesting beginning. He was a lawyer for several years, yet when he decided to write, he wasn't interested in becoming a legal thriller writer like Grisham or Turow. He settled on fantasy. (By the way, Brooks advises that you write in as many genres as possible until you determine which genre is for you.) His first book, `The Sword of Shannara,' made publishing history by becoming the first trade paperback to make the New York Times Bestseller list. So it was a bed of roses for Brooks from that point on, right? Hardly.
`Sometimes the Magic Works' is valuable for the writing advice, but also for a glimpse into the writer's life and the journey that Brooks has taken. Readers will see Brooks as a passionate writer and a dedicated family man. (Yes, you CAN be both!) This is a book that all writers, regardless of their genre, will want to read.
Sometimes the Magic Works is part memoir, part writing guide as written by Terry Brooks. He writes about how his first book was published, some of the difficulties in writing the book that would become The Elfstones of Shannara , and about the book adaptions of Hook (horrible experience) and The Phantom Menace (wonderful experience). The other half of the book focuses on tips and thoughts for aspiring writers. Brooks writes about things that a writer should do, what they should not do, and what works for Brooks himself. There is an interesting chapter about outlining (yes, an author talking about outlining is actually interesting). Brooks talks about how he has to outline the major plot and characters and while he believes it is an invaluable tool (and the reason he does fewer drafts of the book than many writers), he was at a conference and as he was extolling the virtues of outlining, fantasy author Anne McCaffrey (The Dragonriders of Pern, and author of dozens of books) leaned over and told him that she has never outlined anything in her life.
Sometimes the Magic Works is written with a very easy writing style, and feels almost conversational, as if an old friend is telling us some personal stories. This was a very interesting book to read and it was nice to get into the personal thoughts of one of my favorite fantasy authors.
It's also not a full memoir, but simply a collection of essays on his experiences with the writing life. In that it's fine. It's very similar (though not as lyrical) as Bradbury's Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You in that it combines memoir with encouraging people to dream. It doesn't, though, come close to the depth or usefulness of King's On Writing or Lamott's Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, both of which Brooks praises.
So the strange thing is, while I expected a book on craft, I actually looked forward to reading each day's chapter. Hardly ever dry or dull, Brooks comes across as sincere, smart, and humble. There's none of the arrogance of Sol Stein's books, but simply someone who got lucky doing the work he loves, and I enjoyed these essays.
In short, if you're totally new to writing and want a nice introduction to one author's experiences, it's fine.Read more ›
I wasn't disappointed. In fact, I read the entire thing in one evening. From peeks into the labor of the editing process to the debacle of writing the novelization of a movie, Brooks is honest and informative. He gives glimpses into his own beginnings and inspiration without seeming self-absorbed. He points future writers in the direction of hard work and quality craft. He offers a wonderful look into the joys of fiction.
Stephen King and Anne Lamott have written sublime books on the world of an author, and now Terry Brooks adds to the list a book worthy of his predecessors. If I had any doubts about his writing, I've now put those aside.
Time for me to grab one of his novels!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great advise. Grateful he included the difficulties and decisions he made in the process. Feeling his growth as an author motivates me to follow this literary leader. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Kimberly Thompson
I have read several of Terry Brooks stories, for him to layout the magic of writing was enlightening and informative. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Wesley Williams
This is not an instruction manual on how to write.
Think of this as sort of a comic con panel by a guy who loves to write for people who love to write. Read more
I have loved much of what Terry has written in the realm of fantasy. So this is a bit of a divergence, as he is writing about breaking into the publishing world. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Chris Sedlacek
This is one of the best books on writing that I have ever used. I have shared copies with many writer friends.Published 5 months ago by Landis McKenzie
Although I am a published writer i'm well aware that inspiration can be found in another writer's work. Terry Brooks writes in an easy, natural style. Read morePublished 6 months ago by quillet