Today I finished reading Terry Brooks’ Sometimes the Magic Works. It is definitely one of the best writing books I’ve ever read. Of course, I’m a little biased since it’s been helping me through my current writing crisis, but I would say that anyway.
If you’ve never read Terry Brooks, he’s a fantasy writer whose mostly known for three series: the Shannara series (broken up within that to several smaller series), the Word & the Void series, and the Magic Kingdom of Landover series.
I’ve read books from all series (or in some cases, listened to the audio version), and the man is talented. I’ve fallen out of heavy fantasy but after re-reading his writing book, I’m tempted to go back to some of his “regular” books.
Sometimes the Magic Works is a must-read because of gems like these:
“I cannot imagine life without books any more than I can imagine life without breathing. I don’t expect that this will ever change” (47).
“The first rule is that nothing goes into one of my books that isn’t grounded in something real and true about the human condition. […] The second rule is that everything I include must advance the story in some measurable way” (92-93).
“Dreaming opens the doors to creativity. Dreaming allows the imagination to invent something wonderful. Don’t cheat yourself out of a chance to discover how well this can work. Don’t shortcut the process. Make dream time the linchpin of your writing experience. Start right now” (96-96).
“My tenth rule for good writing is the most simple and direct of all: DON’T BORE THE READER. You can get away with breaking all of the other rules at least once in a while, but you can’t get away with breaking this one” (133).
“A writer can revel in unexpected successes, but must learn to live with crushed dreams, as well. If you are a professional, you accept both results with equanimity and move on. Another chance for either lies just down the road” (171).
Okay clearly I could go on for awhile. Point is, this is a fantastic resource for writers, so read it. No excuses!