- Paperback: 210 pages
- Publisher: Del Rey; Reprint edition (February 3, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0345465512
- ISBN-13: 978-0345465511
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 56 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #317,385 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ $4.64 shipping
Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life Paperback – February 3, 2004
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
“A MARVELOUSLY PRAGMATIC INITIATION TO THE ART OF WRITING.”
Author of Bastard Out of Carolina
“[A] SUCCINCT AND WARMHEARTED AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL MEDITATION ON THE WRITING LIFE.”
“Terry Brooks is adamant about dedicating oneself to the craft, while showing awe and humility for the creative process. . . . Every serious writer should refer to this book regularly for inspiration as well as solid crafting advice.”
—ELIZABETH ENGSTROM CRATTY
Director, Maui Writers Retreat
“A wise, warm-hearted book—part autobiography, part how-to-do-it manual, with some amazingly candid behind-the-scenes material . . . Fantasy fans, novice writers, and even veteran pros will learn plenty from it.”
Award-winning author of
the Majipoor Chronicles
From the Inside Flap
In Sometimes the Magic Works, New York Times bestselling author Terry Brooks shares his secrets for creating unusual, memorable fiction. 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 Brookss self-portrait of the artist. If you dont think there is magic in writing, you probably wont write anything magical, says Brooks. This book offers a rare opportunity to peer into the mind of (and learn a trick or two from) one of fantasy fictions preeminent magicians.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
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. You don't need to be a fan of his work or even wish to write fantasy. (By the way, after I read the book, I found Brooks' website has a Q&A with 25,000 words just on Writing alone, so you can check that out to see what kind of advice he offers.)
If you've already read a few books on the craft of writing, though, and are looking to learn more, this book tells you very little, and you'd be much better off with something like Lawrence Block's Telling Lies for Fun & Profit: A Manual for Fiction Writers.
To give you a better idea of whether this book is for you, I've included a look at each chapter in the Comments. From looking at that, it'd seem as though there's a lot there about writing, but Brooks skims over most everything. For instance, in the chapter about how Lester Del Rey critiqued his second book with pages and pages of notes pointing out all his mistakes, Brooks writes: "What he had given me was the kind of education young writers can only dream about - the kind you hope and pray you might find in college writing programs, writing conferences, or even from editors, but seldom do."
But what does Brooks share of it? Nothing. Not one word. Even though "I learned more about the craft of writing and about being a writer through that one experience than I learned from all the other writing experiences of my life combined," all we're left with is that - how grateful he was.
In contrast, Stephen King's "On Writing" shows you exactly how a newspaper editor corrected his story and what he learned from it, and Lamott's book details how her own second novel was rejected and every step she took to improve it.
So again, it's a nice collection of reminiscing by a likable guy, but there's many better books on writing.
Think of this as sort of a comic con panel by a guy who loves to write for people who love to write. A really fun little read.
One thing, I bought this for kindle on sale for $2, but the ebook price is back up to $13 as of now. That's a lot of money for something this short. I do not blame the author. The publisher sets the price. I'm not saying it's not worth $13. I'm just saying it's really short. Know what you're going to get after you pay for it.
My age is just a few years younger than the author's and his anecdotes about growing up touched a number of memories. What a delight.