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Topic: Advice on writing a book
Message: Posted by: JonathanW (Apr 16, 2018 03:00AM)
I guess this is an alright place to post this.

Subject sums it up. If anyone has any tips or things you would like to see in a magic book etc.. feel free to respond.

I'm not asking how to write a book, I'm more curious about what magicians like the most. You know, what makes a good magic book for you personally.
Message: Posted by: DiegoNovati (Apr 16, 2018 05:58AM)
Difficult to answer without knowing the subject of the book, because each subject has different requisites.
For example: in a book for mentalism the technical part is less important than presentation/misdirection, while in a book for cardicians the technical part is the focus of the book.
Could you provide us with more information about the book you would write ?
Message: Posted by: JonathanW (Apr 16, 2018 07:06AM)
It's all magic. No mentalism. I'm currently deciding what material to put into the book. I could put everything, but I think I am going to focus on more of the original creations instead of my take on certain plots.
Message: Posted by: Tim Cavendish (Apr 16, 2018 07:34AM)
Skilled writing and clarity of detailed description are crucial. History and credits. Judiciously chosen photographs/illustrations to clarify the text. I enjoy discussion of not just how to do the effect, but WHY this method is chosen instead of others, etc.

Have you contributed tricks anywhere for publication? (Genii magazine, for instance?)

You could learn a lot by writing up an effect, submitting it, and seeing what changes get made as it gets published by a professional. To what degree is it edited (or completely rewritten) for clarity? Etc.
Message: Posted by: JonathanW (Apr 16, 2018 07:41AM)
Https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7t0hY05j-c ((only effect out. Non written ))

I haven't published any written effects. So this would be my first. I may try that. I know someone that works for Genii and I may take up their offer to put an effect in a magazine. I'll message them soon.
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Apr 16, 2018 11:58AM)
For me a good magic book has, as Time mentioned, the "why" of it. Why use that method? What problem did you have with existing methods? What problems did your choice of methods solve? Performance theory and philosophy is more important to me than a list of methods.
Message: Posted by: Rachmaninov (Apr 16, 2018 07:50PM)
As said before, it’s all a matter of choice and focus. You can write a 500 pages book for a single effect if you explain everything really deeply.
Message: Posted by: Rachmaninov (Apr 16, 2018 07:59PM)
Jonathan,
How did you make the clip ? It looks professional. Which software I mean ?
Message: Posted by: JonathanW (Apr 17, 2018 03:04AM)
[quote]On Apr 16, 2018, Rachmaninov wrote:
Jonathan,
How did you make the clip ? It looks professional. Which software I mean ? [/quote]

http://sansminds.com/ made it ;) lol
Message: Posted by: Rachmaninov (Apr 17, 2018 06:49AM)
It looks professional because it is !
Message: Posted by: willtupper (Apr 21, 2018 09:43PM)
I'm not 100% sure what I'd like in a magic book. Every book I buy feels like a discovery. Some things I love. Others I don't.

One thing I would VERY MUCH LIKE in all my magic books in the future, though, is well-written work. Sometimes - not always, but certainly sometimes - magicians do not make the most wonderful wordsmiths.

To that end, I would (humbly) suggest you read Stephen King's how-to / memoir, "On Writing." So much stuff (that can be applied to any kind of writing) in such a short, punchy book.

It will make all your writing better, no matter the genre.
Message: Posted by: Doc Willie (Apr 22, 2018 06:20AM)
A great magic book tells a story in addition to technique and theory. The better the story, the more memorable the book.
Message: Posted by: Huzzah (Apr 24, 2018 01:32PM)
I really love Darwin Ortiz's writing style and the layout of his books. So much so that I often use them as points of reference when judging another book. One thing I think is a must is that you include a brief description of the effect before every trick. Few things frustrate me more than having to read half a dozen pages of detailed finger placements just to figure out what's supposed to be happening. I also really like (as other people have said) when books go into the "why"/theory. I like that Darwin's books have this throughout the actual handling as well as "performance tips"/"analysis" sections at the end of each trick. Another thing I admire is how he put consideration into the organization of the books (typically a gambling section and a non gambling section). This may not be applicable to your material, but I'd recommend taking this into consideration as well
Message: Posted by: Poof-Daddy (Apr 24, 2018 01:49PM)
John Bannon says it very well in this excerpt from the intro to "Dear Mr Fantasy" -

[i]"THANK you for reading this book. I write magic books because I like to read magic books.
In a way, I am always writing the magic book that I would want to read:"[/i] - John Bannon

I think the only way to write a book is to do what "You" want. Otherwise, it may never reach the potential "you" see because you spent too much time wondering what others would think, like, want, agree with... If the material is good and you are a seasoned writer, it will show.
Message: Posted by: JonathanW (Apr 24, 2018 09:11PM)
Thanks for the feedback everyone. Maybe some others will comment as well. This could be a good thread for anyone else that has the same question.
Message: Posted by: JonathanW (Apr 24, 2018 09:13PM)
[quote]On Apr 24, 2018, Huzzah wrote:
Few things frustrate me more than having to read half a dozen pages of detailed finger placements just to figure out what's supposed to be happening. [/quote]

Tell me about it. Some effects it's almost impossible to figure out lol.
Message: Posted by: chappy (Apr 28, 2018 05:04AM)
I agree, write a book you'd enjoy reading. That's all.
Message: Posted by: willtupper (May 2, 2018 11:22AM)
Not really related to magic (although there IS a pretty sweet mind reading effect in it), but as a former English Major who has written for magazines, newspapers, websites, and comic books, I would recommend reading and absorbing Stephen King's wonderful memoir/how-to book, "On Writing."

It'll teach you as much (if not more) about writing as many high-quality college courses could.
Message: Posted by: Quchoul (Sep 13, 2019 09:45AM)
Thank you very much for sharing the information.
Message: Posted by: Frank Yuen (Sep 13, 2019 05:04PM)
I can't remember which Workers book the essay is in but I would highly recommend reading Michael Close's essay on the criteria he uses to determine if something actually warrants publishing.
Message: Posted by: Harry Lorayne (Sep 20, 2019 08:27AM)
Perhaps this post from somewhere else here at the Café may help:

"In 1978 (aged 14) my Christmas present was The Magic Book by Harry Lorayne. Maybe hard for teenagers these days to believe but back then, there were families who did not have a lot of money; and apart from a few sweets (candy) a book would potentially be your main present.

When I started reading Harry's The Magic Book, I felt as if I'd been transported to a parallel universe; whereby superb close-up magic, with every-day items, was indeed possible.

As I type this post sat at my kitchen table, there are 2 books in front of me - may the Lord strike me dead on the spot if I'm lying. Harry's 'The Magic Book' and Quantum Leaps (I was cross referencing something last night). I'm looking at The Magic Book as I type. It's battered and bruised - having been regularly read. More than any other magic book that I own, there's bits of torn cigarette packets with notes written on, sticking out of it. The odd torn playing card with other references scribbled. And of course, the more recent post-it note.

The fact is this book has been my inspiration in magic for nearly 40 years. I have used literally everything within. Despite, like many of us in our adult lives, having wasted a lot of money over the years on the latest magic 'flim flam' it IS the material within this book that I return to time and time again. Because one thing I have learnt about how magic is perceived by an audience is that you earn the greatest respect by performing with borrowed, or 'normal' items. For example, there is hardly anything within the card section that cannot be performed with a beat-up, borrowed pack of cards. Nothing within the coin section that needs expensive gaffs (in order to produce a similar effect in the eyes of spectators). Where else can you get so much workable material with a piece of paper & a pencil? A handkerchief, table items, etc.

What's more, it taught me the most important elements of magical entertainment - presentation, routining and misdirection.

It also taught me a very, very important lesson. That it is the basic, clearly defined easy to follow plot that gets the best reaction.

Over the years, I've spent time and money learning different versions of 'The Colour Changing Deck'; or buying gaffs to get Aces to transpose, etc. I've spent money on further gaffs to get coins to go through a table; or pass from hand to hand. I've bought (and sold on) these gimmicks and flim-flam; along with countless others that achive matrix-style routines, etc. The reason being that all most gimmicks do is over-prove what you don't need to be over-proving anyway.

The classics of magic will live forever; because they have an easy to follow plot. When you use ungaffed or borrowed items and throw them into the mix, it's just so much more rewarding. Added to which 'less is more'. If you can go out with minimal props, you will generally work harder on your presentation - because you are building upon the basics - by actually using the basics. Does that make sense? I hope it does. In other words, you tend to put more energy into your performance. A prop isn't doing the work for you. I've worked with other magicians that rush at break-neck speed from prop to prop; akin to a magic dealer demo (only to then vanish to re-set their gimmicks). However, arrive at a table; borrow a few contrasting coins and a table napkin, and you are ready to entertain. And what I can genuinely say to guys (still reading my rambling here) is that people aren't stupid. If they can see you are working AND entertaining them with what are clearly not 'magic props' you will get one hell of a lot of respect.....and in many cases, you will stand out.

Harry (I believe) wrote this book for people who had an interest in starting out performing magic. It has the clearest of instruction; and covers so many useful principles of magic.

I would not only unreservedly recommend this book to people starting out; but also to any magician that wants to make a living as a professional, magical entertainer.

Indeed, it's title of 'THE Magic Book' could not be more deserving.

It is, in my honest opinion, the GREATEST book of magic ever produced.

Words cannot express my most sincere gratitude and thanks, to the Master himself.......Mr Harry Lorayne."

Barry Allen (Merc Man)
[email]harrylorayne@earthlink.net[/e