Sometimes the Magic Works by Terry Brooks

January has not  gone to plan. So far it's been a month of coughs and colds, snow and rain, and administrative annoyances. Destiny, fate or whatever you would like to call it has decided that my writing should go on the back burner while I tie up a whole orchestra of strings left dangling from 2012.

I'm recovering from a chest infection and walking in a rather wonky fashion because of an injured back so I have decided to put off starting the third draft of my novel until February. In the meantime, I will tighten my chapter plan and seek inspiration from my favourite writers by revisiting their novels.

One of these writers is Terry Brooks. I found Brooks through his novel 'Magic Kingdom for Sale/Sold' and later through his contemporary fantasy 'Word & Void' trilogy. Brooks has a subtle voice that never distracts from his stories and his characters are as flawed as the rest of us. Visiting his website, I found that he had also written a non fiction book called 'Sometimes The Magic Works - Lessons from a Writing Life'. I bought it immediately.

Three days later, in the midst of deep snow, the book arrived. It was Saturday. My husband was home. My children were engrossed in a computer battle. I settled down on the couch, wrapped in the shawl which my husband had given to me for my birthday at the turn of the year, with a Lemsip steaming on the shelf beside me and my new purchase on my lap. A few hours later, I removed my reading glasses and reluctantly closed the book. I had read the entire thing in one go. As I've said before, I don't often finish a book so quickly, rarely in one session. but this one was too good to put down.

This is part of the back cover text for this book,

"Writing is writing, whether one's setting is a magical universe or a suburban back garden. Spanning topics from the importance of daydreaming to the necessity of writing an outline, Brooks draws from his own experiences to share the 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: The Phantom Menace novel."

If you're like me and prefer instructional works that also tell you a story, then you'll love this one. Brooks doesn't lecture us on what we should do as writers. Instead he shows us what he did, explains why it worked for him and suggests that his approach 'might' work for us.

One of my favourite quotes from the book is from the first chapter which is titled 'I am not all here',

"So what am I talking about when I say I am not all here? I mean that if you are a writer, you really can't be. Writers are not all here, because a part of them is always "over there" - "over there" being whatever world they are writing about at present. Writers live in two worlds - the real world of friends and family and the imaginary world of their writing."

I fully intend to wave that page at my husband the next time he accuses me of ignoring him.


  1. Sorry to hear you've been sick. We're all sick in my house, but we're having a snow day, so everyone gets an extra day of rest.

    I love when I find a book I can lose myself in like that. And that's a great quote. I totally agree with it.

  2. Feel better - I was down with something horrible for the first two weeks of the new year. Me, too. when a book takes over my world. There is nothing quite like it.

  3. I know what Terry means, too! Great quote!

  4. Get well soon, Kelly and Brenda.

    Thank you all for the comments.

  5. Fi, hope you feel better soon. Love the quote.

  6. Thank you, Karen. I love that quote too - very apt for me.


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