Advice from Neil Gaiman

I can’t believe it’s already 2014!  I thought I’d start the new year with a sage bit of advice offered to a young writer by author, Neil Gaiman. Gaiman drops in on an episode of the Arthur cartoon to impart some writerly wisdom, but his advice is true for writers of any age…trust your story and don’t give up.  You just might be lucky enough to live the author dream of hearing a reader ask, ‘What happens next?’

…and thanks to GalleyCat for the heads up.

Neil Gaiman Shares ‘Secret Freelancer Knowledge’ – GalleyCat

Neil Gaiman Shares ‘Secret Freelancer Knowledge’ – GalleyCat.  Neil Gaiman, one of my favorite authors, passes on great advice for students graduating from University Of The Arts in Philadelphia.

The best advice he ever received came from novelist Stephen King. Here is Gaiman’s secret freelancer knowledge:

You get work however you get work, but keep people keep working in a freelance world (and more and more of today’s world is freelance), because their work is good, because they are easy to get along with and because they deliver the work on time. And you don’t even need all three! Two out of three is fine. People will tolerate how unpleasant you are if your work is good and you deliver it on time. People will forgive the lateness of your work if it is good and they like you. And you don’t have to be as good as everyone else if you’re on time and it’s always a pleasure to hear from you.

10th Anniversary of Coraline

I can’t believe it’s already been 10 years!  It’s a must read if you haven’t read it already.  Check out what Neil Gaiman has to say about the book on facebook.

Tips for Writers

I love The Guardian.  I’d even go so far as to say that it you want to be a writer,  it’s even more of a ‘must read’ than the New York Times.  Even seasoned writers will relate to tips offered by some of the best in the business…Elmore Leonard, Diana Athill, Margaret Atwood, Roddy Doyle, Helen Dunmore, Geoff Dyer, Anne Enright, Richard Ford, Jonathan Franzen, Esther Freud, Neil Gaiman, David Hare, PD James and AL Kennedy.

Here are a few of my favorites

Elmore Leonard…”Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue. Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said”

Diana Athill…”Read it aloud to yourself because that’s the only way to be sure the rhythms of the sentences are OK”

Margaret Atwood…”You most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book, and a grip on reality. This latter means: there’s no free lunch. Writing is work. It’s also gambling. You don’t get a pension plan. Other people can help you a bit, but ­essentially you’re on your own. ­Nobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don’t whine.”

Roddy Doyle…”2Do be kind to yourself…3 Until you get to Page 50. Then calm down, and start worrying about the quality. Do feel anxiety – it’s the job”

Helen Dunmore…”4 Reread, rewrite, reread, rewrite. If it still doesn’t work, throw it away. It’s a nice feeling, and you don’t want to be cluttered with the corpses of poems and stories which have everything in them except the life they need.”

Geoff Dyer…”6 Have regrets. They are fuel. On the page they flare into desire”

Anne Enright…”2 The way to write a book is to actually write a book.”

Richard Ford…”9 Try to think of others’ good luck as encouragement to yourself”

Esther Frued…”2 A story needs rhythm. Read it aloud to yourself. If it doesn’t spin a bit of magic, it’s missing something. 3 Editing is everything.”

Neil Gaiman…”1 Write.”

P D James…”4 Write what you need to write, not what is currently popular or what you think will sell”

Al Kennedy…”7 Read. As much as you can. As deeply and widely and nourishingly and ­irritatingly as you can. And the good things will make you remember them, so you won’t need to take notes”

By the way, this isn’t a new article, but it’s well worth going back to have a look at.  In fact, there are tons of articles well worth a second look.  Thanks Jeremy Tankard for the reminder.

I love Maurice Sendak but…

At 83, Maurice Sendak has a new book out and he’s still making waves.  Check out his recent interview in The New York Times where he admitted that he hasn’t been keeping up with children’s books but finds there to be “a certain passivity.”  I’m not sure that I entirely agree though; not when I think of books like Mo Willems Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus and Neil Gaiman’s The Wolves in the Walls to mention just a few that break boundaries in the same way that Sendak’s books did.  I’m wondering what others think about this.  Any comments?