SF & Fantasy

Ask Terry Brooks: December Post


For many years the only chance a fan had of speaking to Terry was to meet him at tour events or conventions. Now with the establishment of this website, Terry will accept two questions from each fan per month. On the last day of the month, five questions will be randomly drawn. Terry will answer these five questions and they will be posted monthly for your enjoyment.

Below are the questions selected last month and Terry’s answers! Enjoy!

Note: This section may contain spoilers!

Welcome Back, Readers:

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year awaits. Mine was filled with food and drink and books. Perfect. But it was also filled with work. Still, results were produced. The book for 2014 is now 2/3 done and on the way to completion by March 1, my target date. A very different Shannara book. We will see what you think when you read it.

For now, Ask Terry demands answers!:

Mitchell Gage writes: Since the discovery of the Rindge in Parkasia we discovered that humanity survived the Great Wars and the reshaping of the planet in more places than merely the Four Lands. Would it be possible that another sizable, civilized nation or society exists? With the invention of the airship the edges of the map expand and grow clearer. The possibility of discovery by long range exploration is definitely a factor. Or, on the other hand, have the borders of the world exended as far as permitted by time and practicality?

Terry Brooks replies: Technically, there are no limits. Practically, it makes sense not to go too far afield and risk causing confusion, maps or no. Also, I might not live forever, I am told. So I try to keep things well enough contained that I can develop in a complete way the areas and characters I choose to write about. But, as it happens, I am just now considering a new voyage to a distant shore where something different awaits the explorers. This is part of the 3 book stand-alone set I am working on. We will have to wait and see how that develops.

Kyal Little writes: For me, the most intriguing character of all your books has to be O’olish Amaneh. He has been in four of your books, but for all that hardly any information is known about him. We know that he is the last surviving descendant of the Sinnissippi tribe and that he is a servant of the word. However what he is and how he became a servant of the word has always been unanswered. In some ways his powers seem like the druids, that he doesn’t seem to age, or if he does it is very slowly. In other ways he is more like a shade, able to disappear and reappear at will, but also somehow able to effect and touch the things around him and has great power, far greater than the knights of the word and even the most powerful of demons. Will there be any more books about him, to fill in the gaps of information or are you able to say a little more about him?

Terry Brooks replies: I don’t have any further plans for Two Bears just at the present, Kyal. That series is pretty well over and done with, barring the arrival of a movie that would spark fresh interest in the characters. But you never know. I might suddenly come up with something. That’s the way it usually works. O’olish Amaneh is a great character, but he is an example of how I like to leave much of what happened before or happens after the written tale for the reader to imagine. This is one of those instances.

Robin Henshaw writes: What advice do you have for an aspiring writer (who has had a story brewing in his head for 13 years that could span as many years as yours have) who can’t seem to get this first page written. I mean I have timelines, plot overviews, full character sketches, maps, the works, yet I can never figure out where to start. How did you?

Terry Brooks replies: Sounds like you might have over-prepared for the main event, Robin. Mostly, you just have to start writing and get your momentum up and running. Here are a few ideas about how to do that.

1. Start in the middle. Never start a story at the beginning. Choose a point where something important has happened and have your characters discover/react/be impacted by whatever it is.

2. Decide who your opening characters will be. Usually, you want your protagonist (s) on stage fairly early in the story so your audience can get comfortable with them.

3. Avoid long openings involving past history. Normally, this is a turnoff. Have something happen in the present and skip the history or feather it into your story later on.

4. Set up you central conflict, either directly or by reference. We need to know what is at stake early on.

That much should give you a starting point. It always works for me.

Jeff Veesaert writes: It has been revealed recently that the Shannara series is looking like its more and more destined to follow the “Game of Thrones” route through television. Given the complexity and depth of your books, this is obviously good news to us fans. Are there any more details about this, or what books they might use, given all the material. I’d really like to see Genesis on the screen but don’t know how they could go back in time if they started with Elfstones, as was the movie proposal that was recently abandoned.

Terry Brooks replies: Elfstones is a logical starting point. It is a solid story with great conflict and a good mix of male and female characters. It is self-contained with a clear beginning and end. It can be followed by Wishsong. After that, there are multiple ways in which a series might go. But the reading audience has always been solidly behind Elfstones as a favorite, so that influenced the movie people to start there. No other news to offer quite yet. We are in the process of tracking down a writer we all love.

Abigail Jackson writes: Firstly, can I say that I adore all the Shannara series and have been getting completely lost in them since I was a little’un. So, since you’re going to live forever, would you consider NOT wrapping up the Shannara series ever? Please.

Terry Brooks replies: Well, when you put it like that! Okay, I won’t end it. But I will find an end to it that lets me off the hook if the unthinkable should happen. After all, there really is no actual end. I am quite sure the publisher will find someone to continue the series after I am gone, so long as there are readers asking for it. That’s all right with me. I won’t know about it. But I would like to find a stopping point for me, personally. I don’t know when, where or how that will happen yet, but I think I need to be working towards it during this next decade.

That’s it for now. Be safe this New Year!

Best Wishes,

To ask your own questions of Terry Brooks, visit his website at www.terrybrooks.net!


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