on 13 March 2003
While not a writer myself, I was looking forward to reading the new book by one of my favorite authors, and I am pleased to say I was not disappointed.
Sometimes the Magic Works contains two parts; a memoir of Brooks' own experiences in becoming a bestselling author and the second part, giving advice to aspiring writers, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed
The autographical aspects of the novel were excellent, I particularly liked reading about Terry's love for 'make believe' when he was growing up, the challenges he faced and conquered in getting his first book published, and how amazed he was when it landed on the New York Times Trade Paperback bestseller list.
Terry also tells us of the disappointments he has faced throughout his writing career, and how a determined novelist must be prepared to go through these trials. One of my favorite parts of the book was the tales of the people who have influenced him in his career, especially the stories of the lessons he learned from his grandson Hunter.
Although I don't write myself I found the advice Terry offers to would-be writers both enlightening and enjoyable. He provides thoughtful and useful insights into the techniques he uses to write a bestselling novel, while keeping the reader entertained and amused throughout.
All through the novel I felt I could identify with Terry's love of books, and I also felt I learned more about what it takes to become a published author. At the end of the book I was left with the inspiration that if you believe in yourself and work hard enough you can accomplish anything. If you write or if you don't you will find this novel to be informative, thought provoking and entertaining.
on 19 July 2010
I am not actually a huge Terry Brooks fan, I thoroughly enjoyed both the Sword and Elfstones of Shannara and some of his later work, but was never a great follower of the so-called "epic fantasy" genre. But one thing I always loved about Terry, was his ability to write. His skill in setting a scene, describing and developing characters, and seemless methods of integrating many themes, thoughts and ideas through a story was always second to none. So I was really interested to not only gain an insight into Terry's writing career, but also to find out the secrets of his well honed craft. And this book delivers both. The book is first and foremost about the craft of writing itself, but integrated around an autobiographical account of Terry's early writing years, and episodes of his later exploits (including the Shannara prequels, and his experiences writing novelisations for both Hook, and the Phantom Menace).
Terry explores the many areas of novel writing in the book, from characterisation, to dialog, to "show and tell", and provides an incredibly interesting and insightful look at both the writing and editing process. He covers all of the pitfalls of choosing to write as a career with a wealth of superb examples and anecdotes, and shares his skill and knowledge with great passion.
This is a book that will appeal not only to fans of Terry, but to anyone considering a career in writing, or interested in the creative and business sides of the profession. If you're a Terry fan, you will get to know him considerably better, and if you're an amateur writer, by the time you've read this book, you will be significantly less amateur. A great read.