In 2005, Terry wrote an Amazon Short titled Why I Write About Elves.

It was a short piece of non-fiction, where Terry talks about why he writes fantasy and why it’s important to do so. It is kind of an autobiography of sorts where he talks about how people view him once he has told them his professional—and what subject matter he writes.

When the Amazon Shorts program was discontinued, the rights for Why I Write About Elves returned to Terry. He decided to post it for free on this website, so fans can get his opinion on the fantasy genre and why it is important to keep such wondrous stories alive for everyone.

Here is the opening of Why I Write About Elves:

While traveling on airplanes I frequently pass the time working on notes for a manuscript or the manuscript itself. Frequently, a fellow passenger will notice and ask what I am doing. At this point, the conversation can go off in any number of directions, but the destination never changes. The exchange, though the words and their order will vary, always goes something
like this:

“What are you working on?” the other passenger will ask.

“I am a writer,” I answer.

“Oh. What do you write?”

“I write books, novels.”

“What sort of novels?” Or, my personal favorite, “Would you have written anything I might have read?”

Now at this point I have tried giving any number of responses, all of them intended to accomplish one thing—to describe in succinct fashion what I write. But whatever variation of the following I employ, it is never as successful as I would wish.

“I write fantasy,” I might say.

Or, “I write fantasy/adventure stories.”

Or, “I write stories about elves and magic.”

Sometimes I throw in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, even though only the books of the Shannara series are really Tolkienesque in form. Sometimes I mention Harry Potter, even though nothing I write is like J.K. Rowling’s work. I always hope that mention of Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter will be enough of an explanation, even though I ought to know by now that it rarely is and frequently just confuses people.

In any case, what happens next is that almost without fail I get one of the following three responses.

To read the entirety of Why I Write About Elves, click HERE!

Written by Shawn Speakman
I am the long-time friend and webmaster for Terry Brooks as well as the author of The Dark Thorn, an urban/epic fantasy hybrid novel Terry calls "a fine tale by a talented writer." Join me on Facebook and Twitter (@shawnspeakman)!