January Ask Terry Posted

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 from January 2018 and Terry’s answers! Enjoy!

Note: This section may contain spoilers!


Dear Readers,

So time for another Ask Terry which will finally bring us into 2018 and all caught up with 2017. Remind me to avoid such lapses in the future.

Holger Sohm writes: When will you start with the 7th book in the Landover series?

Terry Brooks replies: I will begin writing the new Magic K book a year from this Fall, if all goes according to plan. Already, ideas are starting to take shape and a few of the characters are beginning to push their way to the forefront to demand auditions. I can’t let myself get too involved with them yet because I have one more book to write in The Fall of Shannara series. So I will be back to work on it a little further down the road, but it is definitely the next book up on the writing schedule.

Mat writes: Have you ever considered a book or series bridging the gap between The Word and the Void trilogy and Genesis of Shannara trilogy? Really I would just like to see more of Nest Freemark.

Terry Brooks replies: No, Mat, I haven’t. It took me a long time just to decide to suggest that Word & Void preceded Shannara. Mostly, Shannara and Word & Void have nothing to do with each other. They share a world and a bit of history, but that’s about it. Now, though, I am thinking I will write something new in Word & Void, just because it seems like you’ve all been asking for it long enough and need to be rewarded for your perseverance. That’s probably as much as I can see my way clear to doing.

Tom writes: I am sorry to see you end the series, but I understand why you are ending and love what you have done with the series! Do you have any recommended reads on the Shannara/Lord of the Rings type genre? I like the reading style, but it seems difficult to find.

Terry Brooks replies: Not many writers follow that form, mostly I think because it was taboo for so long to presume you could write something in the Tolkien mode. Tolkien devotees are very protective of his work and his legacy, but I think Shannara has proved there is a real demand for more of the same. So there are a few writers working in the field of epic fantasy who use the Hero’s Journey as a template, but not so many following the Tolkien blueprint. Even I have strayed pretty far off the beaten path, choosing to express myself in a different way when writing about a world or vast periods of time. You can look at Robert Jordan’s work, at George Martin, R.A Salvatore, David Eddings and Stephen Donaldson for those closest. But now we have new looks from new writers, and the best way to find out what it is you are going to be drawn to is to sample anyone who’s work seems to be right for you.

Phil Bonner writes: In Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, there was a secret society of people who memorized books. What book would you choose to memorize?

Terry Brooks replies: I doubt I could even decide on one book. There are so many wonderful stories being written, most of which I remember pretty well. Not in the details, but in the general sense of the story and characters. So to pick just one would likely cause my brain to explode – or worse!

Anonymous writes: When writing about the fantasy races, is it better to discuss them all at the onset so the reader gets familiar with them right away, or to start with the race of the protaganist and then mention the others as it becomes necessary?

Terry Brooks replies: The rule of thumb is this: Don’t spend time writing about anything in your story that the reader doesn’t need to know at the time of the telling. So you keep back what becomes important later in your story and tell it then. The sole exception to this is when you are setting something up that will happen later and need to seed your story with a few bits and pieces earlier. If you can reveal something about your story earlier and cause the reader to remember you did it when the reveal is given later, that’s cool. Readers love making that discovery. But info dumps – large chunks of information laid out all at once – just gives the reader an excuse for skipping over it and moving on. So you have to find a way to dole it all out, to give small bits and pieces of it over time. Also, if you can do this through character actions and dialogue and not through author narrative, you will be ahead of the game.

That’s it for now. See you in a month with the next edition of Ask Terry.

Magic Always,

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