Neil Richard MacKinnon Gaiman (born 10 November 1960) is an English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre and films. His notable works include the comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book. He has won numerous awards, including the Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker awards, as well as the Newbery and Carnegie medals. He is the first author to win both the Newbery and the Carnegie medals for the same work, The Graveyard Book (2008).
From an article in The Guardian, here is Neil Gaiman’s tips on writing:
- Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.
- Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.
- Put it aside. Read it pretending youve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.
- Remember: when people tell you somethings wrong or doesnt 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.
- 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.
- Laugh at your own jokes.
- The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, youre allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But its 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.
Did You Know?..
Neil Gaiman co-wrote his novel “Good Omens” with Terry Pratchett
Gaiman describes the process in this bbc article:
We wrote the first draft in about nine weeks. Nine weeks of gloriously long phone calls, in which we would read each other what we’d written, and try to make the other one laugh. We’d plot, delightedly, and then hurry off the phone, determined to get to the next good bit before the other one could. We’d rewrite each other, footnote each other’s pages, sometimes even footnote each other’s footnotes.
We would throw characters in, hand them off when we got stuck. We finished the book and decided we would only tell people a little about the writing process – we would tell them that Agnes Nutter was Terry’s, and the Four Horsemen (and the Other Four Motorcyclists) were mine.
The second draft took about four months, as we took what we’d done and did our very best to make it look like we knew what had been doing all along. Pepper became a girl, and so did War. I went to stay with Terry at the end of the book, to patch it all together and make sure it worked, and slept in his spare room. The window was open, and there was a dovecote nearby. When he woke me that morning, the air of the bedroom was filled with fluttering white doves. I assumed this always happened in the Pratchett household, but he said it was only me.
All that remained was to find a title for the book we’d written. I suggested Good Omens, Terry liked The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch. We compromised, or rather, we collaborated, and we had a title and a subtitle.