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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The February 2013 entrée: Diamond Jim Tyler » » How to read a Magic Book... » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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How do you read a Magic book? Cover to Cover? Cards in hand? Only Searching for something that you'd like to work...????
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First I only buy a book when I know there is something inside I'd like to learn. Once I have it I skim it, looking for things that fit me. I read those things first.
Then I go back and try to read as much of it as I can. It's rare that I read a whole magic book.

But I am the consummate student and I always love learning new sleights, presentations or subtleties. As a young magician I worked on sleights constantly.
That was good then, but now I consider doing so as putting the cart before the horse.
If there is a routine in a book that I'd like to master then I will learn the sleight if necessary or try to remove it if possible.

For example there is a move during my MYTHOS routine where I created a sleight that I called the Gravity Change. It took lots of practice to master. It was the only difficult sleight in the whole routine. Eventually it dawned on me that no sleight was necessary at all. See MYTHOS here:

I don't buy as many books as I used to. Lately I've been more interested in character development and story-telling so I've been reading autobiographies about fascinating people.

Jerry Andrus claims that he didn't buy any magic books because he wanted to create his own magic. This was wise in some ways but in other ways I think he could have taken some of his ideas further with a little research or at least not reinvented the wheel.

When writing books I try to think of what the reader would want. In Pockets Full of Miracles I put a glossary in the back of the book to describe all of the sleight of hand terms. As a reader I've always hated it when a magic book refers to some sleight that it doesn't teach, but refers you to another book. Also, I think it takes away from the flow or the plot of a routine if a sleight is described in the middle of it. So I highlighted the sleight of hand tems and explained them in the back of the book.

Most bar betcha books are oversized and have few illustrations. So I created Bamboozlers to be a visually enticing book that people would be proud to own and show off and I made sure that each effect got the attention it deserved with some old school illustrations. The book was purposely made pocket-sized so guys would take it with them to restaurants, bars and parties so they could amuse and amaze their friends.

I know I went off on a tangent there, but it seems related.
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Just commenting on your point about story-telling Jim, I find I'm really drawn to the idea of 'story' magic. It appeals to the artist and creative right-brained person in me. As an animator by trade I've learned that story is the single most important element in any good animated production. You can have the best, most expensive artwork imaginable in an animated movie but if the story is flat and boring then the movie will be flat and boring, period. I think it's the same for magic. Of course normal patter works just fine, but I believe a good story really draws someone in if you give them a beginning, middle and end with a nice story arc, just like any good movie does. I recently purchased Walt Anthony's book Tales of Enchantment, and although I'm not sure I would want to go quite as far as he does I love his approach. Even taking old tried and true effects and transforming them into something new again, simply by putting an original spin on it and creating a story around it. It suddenly makes it seem magical again. I recently was playing around with a simple coins across routine, turning into a story about 3 brothers fighting for the love of a single girl. Corny, perhaps but it feels so much more interesting than 'and I take this coin and place it here..'.

Sorry if I got off topic there!
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I concur.
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MYTHOS is awesome
I j
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The February 2013 entrée: Diamond Jim Tyler » » How to read a Magic Book... » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (1 Likes)
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