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Ethan Rodriguez
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Sinnissippi Park: The Magical Setting of Imaginary Friends E and Running with the Demon by Terry Brooks

Imaginary Friends E: A Short Story by Terry Brooks

If you are a fan of Terry Brooks, you might be familiar with his bestselling series The Word and the Void, which follows the adventures of John Ross and Nest Freemark in a modern-day world where magic and demons exist. But did you know that this series was inspired by a short story that Brooks wrote in 1991, called Imaginary Friends E?

Terry Brooks Imaginary Friends E

In this article, we will explore what Imaginary Friends E is, what it tells us about Terry Brooks' imagination and vision, and how it connects to his later works. We will also discuss why this short story is worth reading for any fantasy lover who wants to experience a different side of Brooks' storytelling.

The Plot of Imaginary Friends E


Imaginary Friends E is a short story that was first published in an anthology called Once Upon a Time, edited by Lester del Rey and Risa Kessler. It is set in Sinnissippi Park, a real place in Illinois where Brooks used to play as a child. The story follows Jack McCall, a troubled teenager who has been abused by his alcoholic father and neglected by his mother. He spends his days skipping school, smoking cigarettes, and hanging out with his friends at the park.

One day, he meets a strange girl named Wren, who claims to be his imaginary friend from when he was five years old. She tells him that she has come back to help him face his problems and find his true destiny. She also warns him that there is a dark force in the park, a demon named Derry Howe, who wants to destroy Jack and everything he cares about.

Jack is skeptical at first, but he soon realizes that Wren is telling the truth. He sees visions of his past and future, and he feels a strange power growing inside him. He also learns that he is not the only one who has an imaginary friend. His best friend Pick has an owl named Daniel, who can talk and fly. Together, they join Wren in a quest to stop Derry Howe from unleashing his evil plan.


Imaginary Friends E is a story that explores the themes of childhood, friendship, destiny, and courage. It shows how Jack transforms from a cynical and hopeless teenager to a confident and heroic young man. It also shows how Wren helps him rediscover his innocence and imagination, which he had lost due to his abusive family situation.

The story also conveys a message about the power of imagination and creativity. It suggests that our imaginary friends are not just figments of our minds, but manifestations of our inner selves. They represent our hopes, dreams, fears, and desires. They also guide us to our true potential and purpose in life.

Another message of the story is that we are not alone in our struggles. We have allies and friends who support us and fight with us. They may be real or imaginary, human or animal, but they are always there for us when we need them. They help us overcome our challenges and achieve our goals.

The Connection to Running with the Demon


Imaginary Friends E was the first story that Terry Brooks wrote after finishing his epic fantasy series The Heritage of Shannara. He wanted to try something different and experiment with a new genre and setting. He was inspired by his own childhood memories of Sinnissippi Park, where he used to play with his friends and imagine fantastical adventures.

He also wanted to write a story that would appeal to a younger audience, especially his own children. He thought that a story about imaginary friends would be a good way to capture their interest and imagination. He also wanted to write a story that would reflect the contemporary issues and challenges that young people face in the modern world.

He wrote Imaginary Friends E in 1991, and it was published in 1992. He received positive feedback from his readers and editors, who encouraged him to expand the story into a novel. He decided to do so, and he began working on Running with the Demon, which was published in 1997. It was the first book in his new series The Word and the Void, which would later become part of his larger Shannara universe.


Running with the Demon is a novel that is based on Imaginary Friends E, but it is not a direct adaptation. It is more of a reimagining and expansion of the original story. It features some of the same characters, such as Jack, Wren, Pick, Daniel, and Derry Howe, but it also introduces new ones, such as Nest Freemark, John Ross, Two Bears, and O'olish Amaneh. It also changes some of the names, such as Jack McCall becoming Jack Chalk, and Wren becoming Wraith.

The novel also adds more details and depth to the plot, the setting, and the themes of the story. It explores the history and mythology of Sinnissippi Park, the nature and origin of the imaginary friends, and the conflict between the Word and the Void. It also delves deeper into the characters' backgrounds, personalities, motivations, and relationships.

The novel also has a darker and more mature tone than the short story. It deals with more complex and serious issues, such as violence, abuse, addiction, racism, environmentalism, terrorism, and war. It also has more graphic and intense scenes of action, horror, and romance.

The Significance of Imaginary Friends E


Imaginary Friends E was a significant story for Terry Brooks' career and vision. It marked his transition from writing traditional high fantasy to writing urban fantasy. It showed his versatility and creativity as a writer, who could adapt to different genres and audiences. It also showed his willingness to experiment and take risks with his storytelling.

The story also influenced his later works, especially The Word and the Void series and its sequel series The Genesis of Shannara and The Legends of Shannara. These series continued to explore the themes and concepts that he introduced in Imaginary Friends E, such as the balance between magic and science, the clash between good and evil, and the role of destiny and choice. They also connected his modern-day stories to his classic Shannara stories, creating a unified and coherent universe.


Imaginary Friends E was a story that had an impact on the fantasy genre and readers. It was one of the early examples of urban fantasy, which combines elements of fantasy and horror with contemporary settings and characters. It paved the way for other authors who followed this trend, such as Neil Gaiman, Jim Butcher, Charlaine Harris, Cassandra Clare, and others.

The story also resonated with many readers who related to its themes and messages. It inspired them to embrace their imagination and creativity, to face their problems and fears, to find their purpose and potential in life, and to cherish their friends and allies. It also entertained them with its thrilling plot twists, vivid descriptions, witty dialogue, and memorable characters.


Imaginary Friends E is a short story by Terry Brooks that tells the tale of Jack McCall, a teenager who meets his imaginary friend Wren in Sinnissippi Park. Together with his other friends Pick and Daniel, they embark on a quest to stop a demon named Derry Howe from destroying their world.

The story is important because it inspired Brooks' later series The Word and the Void, which is part of his larger Shannara universe. It also showcases Brooks' talent and vision as a writer who can create engaging stories in different genres and settings.

emotion and adventure, you should check out Imaginary Friends E and its novel version Running with the Demon. You will not regret it.


Who is Terry Brooks?

Terry Brooks is a bestselling American author of fantasy novels. He is best known for his Shannara series, which spans over 30 books and has sold over 25 million copies worldwide. He is also the author of other series, such as The Magic Kingdom of Landover, The Word and the Void, and The Genesis of Shannara.

What is Sinnissippi Park?

Sinnissippi Park is a real park in Rockford, Illinois, where Terry Brooks grew up. It is a large and beautiful park that features a river, a lagoon, a rose garden, a golf course, a music shell, and a conservatory. It is also the setting of Imaginary Friends E and Running with the Demon.

What are imaginary friends?

Imaginary friends are fictional characters that some children create in their minds to cope with loneliness, boredom, or stress. They can be human or animal, real or fantastical, friendly or hostile. They can also have different names, personalities, abilities, and appearances.

What is urban fantasy?

Urban fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy that combines elements of fantasy and horror with contemporary settings and characters. It often features supernatural creatures, such as vampires, werewolves, witches, fairies, and demons, who coexist with humans in modern-day cities. It also often involves themes of mystery, romance, action, and humor.

What is the Word and the Void?

The Word and the Void are two opposing forces that represent the balance between good and evil in Terry Brooks' universe. The Word is the force of creation and light, while the Void is the force of destruction and darkness. They are constantly at war with each other, and they use agents called Knights of the Word and Demons to fight for their cause. 71b2f0854b


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