Creating The Annotated Sword of Shannara: Part IV


brooks-annotatedswordThis October, The Annotated Sword of Shannara will publish in hardcover.

It will be a great release and not because I’ve worked on it. There is so much history in the fantasy genre dating back hundreds of years and Sword is most definitely a part of that. Without it, according to many authors in fantasy, bookstores would look very different. Because with it, Lester del Rey initially built Del Rey Books, proved to other publishers that epic fantasy had a place outside of J.R.R. Tolkien, and gave fertile ground for thousands of writers since.

There are many secrets that went into the writing of that book, its editing, and its eventual publication in 1977.

That’s one of the reasons The Annotated Sword of Shannara is being published later this year—to give fantasy fans an inside look at some of Terry’s thoughts.

To read the progression of how The Annotated Sword of Shannara has come together the last four months, click the links below:

With Part IV, the book has already been edited. The annotations themselves have been edited. Both parts of the book are final. But there is one problem left:

The perfect placement of the annotations.

There is no easy way to place annotations while work is being done. The physical copy of the book I used is very different in terms of page layout then what will come out this October. While reading The Sword of Shannara, I took notes, asked questions of Terry, and wrote preliminary annotations for possible submissions, placing numbers next to the paragraphs where they belong.

Of course, over the period of time when I turned in the 208 questions/annotations, many of them got wheedled out of the book by Terry and his editor, Anne Groell. There are about 190 now. What’s wrong with that? My numbers no longer correspond to my physical copy.

Last Thursday, I sat down with a new .PDF of The Sword of Shannara and, copying each individual annotation, began placing them in their correct spots in the book. It took hours. I daresay I know that book better than anyone now. Bleary eyed, I then sent the file off to Del Rey.

The editorial production team at Del Rey will now go over those annotations and place them where they respectively must go—in the margins!

We aren’t finished though. I’m sure Terry and or myself will have to go over the final page proofs at some point and make sure the annotations were placed correctly. Fodder for another post later.

What’s up next month? An interview with art director Dave Stevenson about how he put together the cover!

And in July, we’ll get the prequel short story featuring Allanon!

More in June! Stay tuned!