Archives for posts with tag: Neil Gaiman

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1. Write.
2. Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.
3. Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.
4. Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.
5. Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.
6. Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.
7. Laugh at your own jokes.
8. The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it ­honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.

Neil Gaiman is the author of American Gods (2001) and Coraline (2002). 

Illustration: Becky Walker, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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“Writing is flying in dreams. When you remember. When you can. When it works. It’s that easy.” NEIL GAIMAN

Photo: “Whooper Swans, Japan” by Stefano Unterthiner (National Geographic). The photo appears in the White Gallery on the National Geographic website devoted to Life in Color, a 504-page book of 245 photos, divided into 11 color-based chapters. Find the book at Amazon.com.

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“He left the drapes open, watched the lights of the cars and of the fast food joints through the window glass, comforted to know there was another world out there, one he could walk to anytime he wanted.”

NEIL GAIMAN, American Gods

Photo: Jeremy Egger, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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“…don’t ever apologize to an author for buying something in paperback, or taking it out from a library (that’s what they’re there for. Use your library). Don’t apologize to this author for buying books second hand, or getting them from bookcrossing or borrowing a friend’s copy. What’s important to me is that people read the books and enjoy them, and that, at some point in there, the book was bought by someone. And that people who like things, tell other people. The most important thing is that people read… ” NEIL GAIMAN

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“We who make stories know that we tell lies for a living. But they are good lies that say true things, and we owe it to our readers to build them as best we can. Because somewhere out there is someone who needs that story. Someone who will grow up with a different landscape, who without that story will be a different person. And who with that story may have hope, or wisdom, or kindness, or comfort. And that is why we write.” NEIL GAIMAN, The Graveyard Book

Photo: Kelli Bickman, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Note: Published in 2008, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman won the British Carnegie Medal and American Newbury Medal for the year’s best in children’s novel. It also won the Hugo Award for Best Novel, which honors science fiction and fantasy books. The idea for the story (Kipling’s The Jungle Book set in a graveyard) sprang into Gaiman’s mind when he saw his son riding his bike around a cemetery near the family’s home in England.

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1. Write.
2. Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.
3. Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.
4. Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.
5. Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.
6. Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.
7. Laugh at your own jokes.
8. The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it ­honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.

Illustration: Becky Walker, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED