Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sometimes The Magic Works

I've read a few books on writing and some of them have been so boring and obtuse that they almost put you off reading let alone writing. However I picked up Terry Brook's "Sometimes The Magic Works: Lessons From A Writing Life" from the library and have nearly finished it after just three days. Brooks is basically a fantasy writer and he writes of the difficulties of getting published, what it's like to write something you think is wonderful but doesn't sell, as well as the vagaries he encountered when writing the book for the movie "Hook". There is some specific advice in there as well: the importance of having an outline or blueprint for your novel so that the story doesn't run out of steam half way through, having a strong beginning and ending, building your characters, as well as the usual rules of writing what you know even within the context of sci fi or fantasy writing.

I'm not a huge fan of fantasy novels or fiction in particular although I enjoy reading a good historical yarn. However Brook's book was an interesting insight into writing a novel with many personal anecdotes spiced with a dry sense of humour. For anyone aspiring to write it's a good introduction to the technicalities without taking itself too seriously.

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