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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

NEIL GAIMAN'S 8 RULES OF WRITING

{Neil Gaiman and his dog, Cabal - photo by Kyle Cassidy}
 
{From BRAINPICKINGS: http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/09/28/neil-gaiman-8-rules-of-writing/}

Neil Gaiman is the first author to win both the Newbery and the Carnegie medals for the same work, The Graveyard Book (2008). 

Siv, if you haven't read ODD AND THE FROST GIANTS, you need to.  He wrote it for World Book Day.

Here is the one and only Neil Gaiman's 8 rules for writing:

  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.

19 comments:

  1. Huge NG fan, and love these! :-) Number 6 particularly.

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  2. Just don't let anyone hear you laugh at your own jokes.

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  3. Some good rules. I'm not so sure about #5, though.

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  4. Seems like you feature all the guys I like, Roland. Neil Gaiman made an impression on me when I read Neverwhere (about the London Underground) while in Paris. I was captured by the way he writes.

    You've reminded me I want to read more of his work. Watched the trailer. (he reminds me of one of my scifi characters - whom I formed before I read that first book of Neil's)

    I also like his writing points. They make great sense.

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  5. I haven't read Neil's work, but I've heard amazing things about him. Perhaps it's time to take your recommendation and drop him on my TBR list. =) I do especially love #5, and that he suggests in #4 picking someone who reads the same genre.

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  6. Well I got #7 down to a science. Now to work on the others. =) A great list.

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  7. These are awesome. My hubby always shakes his head at me when I follow rule 7. :)

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  8. Great advice...now, to follow it.

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  9. Gaiman's awesome! I love that line from the Ferguson show "my people we stay in doors, we have darkness, we have keyboards"

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  10. Sad because I've spent a year reading his books and am running out of never-read ones...

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  11. E.J.:
    I'm a great Neil Gaiman fan, too. Yes, fix what seems wrong then go on to the next project! :-)

    Alex:
    Too late for me. My friends tell me that my mind must be an enchanted kingdom due to my smiles when things are grim.

    Richard:
    Number 5 usually runs true for me. All "rules" for writing are just guidelines after all. Glad you enjoyed the post.

    D.G.:
    We must be kindred spirits. :-) I loved Neverwhere. I read AMERICAN GODS first, then STARDUST, and followed with NEVERWHERE.

    His writing points do make sense, don't they?

    Crystal:
    NEVERWHERE or AMERICAN GODS would be two good places to start reading Neil. Yes, having someone critique your work who reads your genre is a must!

    E. Arroyo:
    I am working on all of them, but that just gives me a star to chart my writing by, right?

    Shallee:
    But this way, you, Neil, and I will never run out of things to laugh about!

    The Happy Whisk:
    Alex does have a way of making us all feel better, doesn't he?

    Gail:
    Yes! Giving advice is always easier than following it, isn't it?

    Deniz:
    I agree about that line. Oh, there will be a new Neil Gaiman adult book out in Summer 2013: THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE. How cool is that?

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  12. That's true! And I could read all the Sandman books until then...

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  13. Deniz:
    And you could read the first graphic novel of BOOKS OF MAGIC by Neil Gaiman and see where JK Rowling really got her idea for Harry Potter from! :-)

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  14. I simply must read a Neil Gaiman novel. If for no other reason than to enjoy the greatness that lies within the pages of his books.

    His tips are great as well. The first two are both simple and difficult.

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  15. Angela:
    I would think you might like NEVERWHERE a fable to explain why so many of us slip through the cracks of life and just disappear from the radar of the rest of the world.

    Weren't his tips great?

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  16. Hi Roland - I'll definitely be looking out for his books - I'm going near the library today I'll see what they've got .. thanks for pointing us in his direction - it sounds like Neverwhere is a good one to start with. Also the writing tips .. saw those .. cheers Hilary

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  17. Hilary:
    Since NEVERWHERE is set in London, I think you may enjoy it even more than his American-based stories.

    The Happy Whisk:
    Alex is a great friend to us all.

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