Thursday, 23 May 2013

Podcast Thursday: Neil Gaiman

Who has read Neil Gaiman's Stardust? Raise your hands. The Graveyard Book? Hands, please. Coraline? Yes, excellent. I thought so. Me too. What about American Gods and Sand Man? Sheepishly, I slunk down in my seat. Not me. Put them on that proverbial list.

Still, although there are big gaps in my reading of his work, I consider myself a Gaiman fan. I love this recording of his Blueberry Girl. I can't believe there are less than 140,000 views of the Youtube video.  (Here is the link, because I see the imbedded youtube link does not show up when I view this post on my iphone.)

I remember discussing Coraline in a Children's Literature course I took a few years ago where most of the other students were studying to become teachers. I was so sad that so many of them thought the book inappropriate or too scary for children. They didn't like it themselves, so it would never be something they'd recommend in their classrooms. They didn't get it. So sad.

It's not that I don't believe in age appropriateness. That book was creepy. But this group seemed a little too Pollyanna for me. I love Anne of Green Gables and I love Coraline. Both. There are different books for different times, moods, maturity levels, tastes. I guess my point is, sometimes we assume children are more delicate than they are.

As usual, I digress...So, in today's podcast, Gaiman offers very pragmatic writing advice. It's not some magical process.
The work of a magic maker? 
What you've got to do is this: Put one word down after another. Don't wait for inspiration. Not if you're writing a book. Maybe if you're a poet, you can wait for inspiration. But not if you are a novelist (or an aspiring one).

I love that advice. I get that. There might be magical moments in the process, where everything is flowing and beautiful, but most times you have to just finish scenes that are boring you to get to the next part, he says. I find it encouraging to hear that. He says, for the first draft, just get it down!

The other bit Gaiman says is, Great, you're writing already, good. Now finish something. Finish it, because that's how you learn.

Yes, Mr. Gaiman. (Read in whiny voice.)

So, those are a few valuable tidbits from this short podcast of Neil Gaiman on the writing process, but have a listen because there are plenty more gems to hear, and delivered in a super sexy English accent, too.

Hope you enjoy.

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