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Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life (2003)

by Terry Brooks

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4491448,182 (3.85)8
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 Brooks’s self-portrait of the artist. “If you don’t think there is magic in writing, you probably won’t 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 fiction’s preeminent magicians.… (more)
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» See also 8 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
Terry Brooks is one of my favorite fantasy writer, I've read books in all three of his main series and enjoyed them all. I have no hopes of becoming a writer but I love to read books by authors I already enjoy to find out about their writing process. Throughout the book Terry takes us through all 3 of his series and we also learn a little about Lester Del Rey his 1st editor. ( )
  kevn57 | Dec 8, 2021 |
A few chapters on his approach to writing. Basically, a minimalist version of his how-to guide, but not the real focus of this book. This is primarily a memoir of various highs and lows in his life.

Light and fluffy, but of interest to any fans of Terry Brooks, in particular, or author's memoirs, in general. ( )
  James_Patrick_Joyce | Oct 24, 2020 |
Reminiscent in some ways of Stephen King's "On Writing," Brooks provides a loose guide to writing couched in autobiographical anecdotes. Take it for what it is and enjoy it :) ( )
  kodermike | Jul 31, 2020 |
Terry Brooks weaves real life stories with writing advice for a book that is enjoyable to read. One chapter, "Tough Love", stayed with me ever since reading it and likely saved my own writing career. Thank you for sharing sir! ( )
  AshleighDJCutler | May 12, 2020 |
Terry Brook's insight into writing and the writer's world. So far I'm enjoying it immensely.
  rodweston | Apr 23, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
The muse whispers to you when she chooses,

and you can’t tell her to come back later,

because you quickly learn in this business

that she might not come back at all.
Dedication
This is for writers yet to be published who think the

uphill climb will never end. Keep believing.

This is also for published writers grown jaded by the process.

Remember how lucky you are.
First words
It's true. I'm not all here.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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 Brooks’s self-portrait of the artist. “If you don’t think there is magic in writing, you probably won’t 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 fiction’s preeminent magicians.

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