November ASK TERRY Posted

Terry Brooks
Terry Brooks
For many years the only chance a fan had of speaking to Terry was to meet him at tour events or conventions.

With the establishment of this website in 2000, Terry began accepting two questions from each fan per month. On the last day of the month, five questions are randomly drawn. Terry answers these five questions and they are posted monthly for your enjoyment.

Below are the questions selected for November 2015 and Terry’s answers! As you can see, we are a bit behind due to the show. Catching up now. Enjoy!

Note: This section may contain spoilers!


Hello All You Shannara Readers and Viewers!

Feeling ebullient today. Just watched the last of the Oscar nominated movies, save for the Revenant, which I cannot make myself watch, so feeling pretty smug. Like all of them, too. Don’t know if you got to many, but this year’s top choices for me are Room, Brooklyn, The Big Short (no, not for that reason) and Spotlight.

But I digress, and this is not the place. So let’s get to November’s Ask Terry:

Sebastian Goering writes: Mr. Brooks, when writing a story, whether for school or leisure, I find the hardest part for me is coming up with the names. If the story is based in a fictional world with fictional creatures, like elves, there seems to be extra pressure because an elf most likely would not have a human name. Is there some sort of trick to coming up with a good fictional name, or does it solely rely on imagination?

Terry Brooks replies: There are always tricks, Sebastian. I know many of them because I am sneaky. Names are tough. In fantasy, you need names that are recognizable and pronounceable but just different enough to suggest other worldliness. If you have to come up with them all at once, it is a bear. Better to accumulate over time. I keep lists of names, always ready to write down something interesting when I spy it. I find useful names everywhere. When I am ready to name things, I start there. Sometimes the names just jump out at me. Sometimes, I use the word as is and sometimes I make it a hybrid with another word. Names that are useful are not usually found in a baby register. Look at towns in other countries, at signs, at maps, etc. Odd places, I am suggesting.

Dave Freund writes: Although it has been implied in The World of Shannara guide, were Garet Jax and Stee Jans the same person?

Terry Brooks replies: I get this all the time. I think Teresa was just making a suggestion to stir up controversy, but in point of fact Garet and Stee had no blood relationship and were different characters entirely. I might write something on this down the road in the form of a short story.

Gabi Balhiser writes: I am an aspiring sci-fi/fantasy author. I just finished a rough draft of my first novel and I am considering forgoing the traditional publishing route, and just self-publishing my novel. Do you think that’s wise or a terrible idea?

Terry Brooks replies: I think it is a doable idea if you prepare yourself for what is needed. You will need a presence as an author through a website and Facebook. You will need content and you will need to connect with your audience. You might have to start out putting your stuff up there for free and seeing if you can build an audience. You should talk to experts like my own, sweet Web Druid Shawn or Bob Mayer, who lectures on this stuff, but you should go into this effort fully informed. Writers continue to be published regularly the old fashioned way, but doing it yourself gives you more of a feeling of being proactive. Both methods work, but both can take time.

Chris Deets writes: I have a question about the Druid Sleep. Does it extend a person’s “waking” life, or just put them into stasis? In other words, if a person’s normal life span was 80 years, would they still live 80 years, just spaced out over a longer period of time because they were Sleeping, or would they gain a longer life of 100 or more years? Or, since the Druid Sleep comes at a cost, would the person only live 70 years? Thanks!

Terry Brooks replies: Well, here’s a new question. Thanks for that, Chris. The Druid Sleep does not extend the waking years of life of the user. It only postpones the aging process while the Druid using it is sleeping. So the user wakes the same age as when he or she went to sleep, but begins to age normally again after that. It is also the way the Druid replenishes their magic. The cost you refer to has to do with having large chunks of time disappear that cannot be reclaimed and waking to a world in which friends are aged or dead and changes have occurred that might not be to the Druid’s liking.

Malcolm Davey writes: I just finished reading The Darkling Child, and found a number of aspects somewhat unresolved. Now the answer might be, “wait for the next one”. But there’s one that still doesn’t make sense. Why didn’t Paxon tell Reyn that they were almost certainly distantly related, and that he knew someone else who had the wishsong, and shared more about Reyn’s ancestors?

Terry Brooks replies: Paxon could have referred to the fact that his sister Chrysallin also had the magic and that all of them carried Ohmsford blood, since only Ohmsfords and their descendants had use of the wishsong. The passing of the wishsong from one generation to the next is genetic, and it crops up only now and then in those who carry the Ohmsford blood, however thinned by intermarriage with other families, reintroduction of Elven blood, and time’s passing. But the opportunity to explain any of this never really presented itself until Paxon tracked down Reyn at the end of the story. By then, Paxon was broken by what had taken place and only found Reyn in an effort to prove to himself that the boy and girl had survived. In my mind, after he heard that Reyn no longer used the wishsong magic, he saw no point in saying anything further, particularly when it became clear that Lariana wanted Paxon to get out of their new lives.

So there you have it for another month. End of the year, December, coming up fast. Will try to get that one done in the next few days. Hope you are watching the TV show and enjoying it. Remember. The book and the television show are two different animals.

All good magic,

Ask Terry

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