So you can read my books

Saturday, November 30, 2013


{Neil Gaiman and his dog, Cabal - photo by Kyle Cassidy}

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 9 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.)

9.) 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.


  1. I've loved his work with Doctor Who!
    Expectedly "The Doctor's Wife".

  2. David:
    I put up this video with expressly you in mind. I'm glad you liked Neil's work on the Doctor! :-)

  3. Neil Gaimon won me over with "Neverwhere". Writing tips like Gaimon's seem more doable.

    Most writing tips could easily challenge golfing tips for the quantity of things to remember.

    Just cruising the web, it seems there is an inordinate amount of authors teaching writing, editing and how to publish. When everyone is an expert, who will listen?

  4. D.G.:
    I leave it to experts like Neil and Hemingway, Twain, and Faulkner to teach on my blog. I just relay the information. :-)

    When I am consistently on the NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERS LIST (and not just laid on top of the paper!)then I might have something useful to say about how to write!

    Since I am working all weekend, I have too little time to visit my cyber friends.

    I really liked his graphic novel, BOOKS OF MAGIC (done BEFORE Harry Potter by the way).

  5. Some of the best rules I've read. :)

  6. Lara:
    Leave it to Neil Gaiman to be the best. :-)

  7. awesome! ive never read his "rules" before
    i especially like #5 and #8

  8. Jeremy:
    Like you, I especially like #8, too. :-)