Saturday, January 1, 2011

Neil Gaiman for the New Year

I'm currently reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman, a book that I've been saying I will settle down and read for at least five years now. He entertains with provocative turns of phrase and vivid description as well as compelling character development. His sense of humor is worth a study all by itself. I know I'll do a lot of thinking as I read it and after I finish it.

It's 2011, which will be the year of reading voraciously for me, and it will include lots of writing since I'm still in graduate school. So, I decided why not kick off 1/1/11 with video interviews of Gaiman, a writer I expect to read more often. He also looks like one of my favorite former English professors from many years back in the picture on the left. Maybe that's some kind of omen. Maybe I'll learn something about narrative craft as I read his work.

In this first video, Gaiman talks about how he writes. He says he likes to borrow friends' houses for weeks at a time to crank out a chapter, and sometimes he writes in special journals. It all depends on the work, he says.

I'm wondering if any of those friends' houses are in New Orleans. I've heard that he likes to sneak into town here because he loves the city. Really, there are few places better than New Orleans to get stoke the imagination of a science fiction and fantasy writer.

In this next video he gives advice to young writers and it is the same I've heard elsewhere and often: writers must write if they want to get better and read a lot. He adds that no elves will come in the night to finish your work.

In the next video he talks about writing what you know and how that applies to him. He says something pretty funny near the end about Snow White.

Finally, here he is on FORA TV reading his poem "Instructions." Consider it advice for fairy tale survival.

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