Monday, February 03, 2003
Long, occasionally frustrating, eventually rewarding day of battling with computers. I've more or less managed to get the house network working again, and to reinstall the satellite dish for internet, and everything's more or less where it was four or five days ago before I screwed everything up a little, and then, in an attempt to fix it, screwed everything up a lot.

Also it snowed -- several inches -- and then began to rain.

This in from Tom Galloway:

Don't know if Cheryl Morgan's mentioned this to you, but she's been taking Hugo nomination suggestions at her Emerald City fanzine at http://www.emcitcom/hugo_rec.shtml
and apparently has been getting a fair number of suggestions for Coraline for Best Novel. However, by word count, which is how the various Hugo categories are differentiated, Coraline can only go into the Novella category. It's probably worth mentioning this on the blog, since 1) a fair number of people probably automatically think "one story book = novel" and 2) for reasons that are a bit complicated to go into, if someone submits a Hugo nomination ballot with five Novella nominations and lists Coraline as a Novel nomination, the Coraline nomination will likely be tossed out (whereas if they only had four listed Novella nominations and had Coraline up for Novel, their Coraline nomination would be moved to Novella; the gist here is that often the Hugo Administrators won't allow a single person to make an effective six nominations in a single category as allowing five listed Novella nominations *and* moving a Novel nomination for Coraline to Novella would do)

Or, to really simplify it, if you want to nominate Coraline for a Hugo, be sure to do so in the Novella category, *not* the Novel category.

Tom Galloway

(Coraline's 30,000 words long, in case anyone was wondering. I just did a word-count.)

oh well... I should do a couple of others, shouldn't I?

Hello Neil:

At the end of December, you mentioned on your journal an essay on Dave McKean that you wrote, and that would be featured on your website at some point I keep checking the "exclusive material" section, but I haven't seen it so far. Am I looking for it in the wrong place (or the wrong website), perhaps?

I was also wondering if you'd be attending Dave's upcoming Narcolepsy retrospective exhibition in Belgium. I would love to see it, but I won't be able to. Please report back if you happen to make it!

I loved Coraline, by the way, and the little rat face that you drew on my copy is great too. Thank you for coming to New York -- it was a thrill to see you again at the Barnes And Noble Coraline signing last July. Looking forward to your next books and comics and movies. Thank you for the stories, the coolness, and (oh yeah) the time -- Gabriel

If it hasn't gone up, that's just because it hasn't gone up. It'll go up sooner or later -- I hope that after we go onto our own server it'll speed up the process of getting new stuff up on the website. No, I won't be in Belgium, I'm afraid. And you're welcome.


The question is: Why are comics taking the back seat to novels? Don't get me wrong, I find your novels to be as, if not more amazing than your comics I could presume why it is you decided to focus your attention on writing novels rather than comics, but I would prefer hear it from you. The Sandman seemed to me to be one of the most notable comics of our time. When it comes to comics, as you well know, intelligent series' are far from abundant. I suppose I just never expected you to leave the comic world, or perhaps I didn't want to see it lose such a talented writer. I tell myself that the switch was just an example of the natural progression of a writer, however that seems to be a bit too simplistic.

Holly H. (Scooter)

It does seem a bit simplistic, or at least, a bit wrong. You might want to take a look at the list I wrote early in January of what I did last year. Most of what I wrote was comics -- about 200 pages of comics last year. Much of that will start being published in late summer and autumn, and people will go, good lord he's back doing comics. Although by that time I'll be doing another novel -- I think it's about time to write one: it's over two years since I finished American Gods, and I think it's time to try and do a longish piece of prose again.

You're a very strange and interesting person. Are there more of you?

I keep hoping that sooner or later a few more of me will show up, and then they can write some of the things people are waiting for. Maybe they could even even catch up on e-mail. But currently it's just me. Peculiar, isn't it?

Do you read any fanfiction? I've noticed your somewhat-professed interest in anime, and fanfiction is a pretty prevalent subset of anime fandom, and fiction = writing, so it kind of all connects upon itself, leading back to you. If so, what are some of your favorites?

Also, do you think writing fanfiction is useful for honing writing skills(as your characters are already established and you're given somewhat rigid specifications), or not useful(because of the previous parenthetical aside, and because that gives you less room to be truly creative)?

Er, no, I don't read fanfiction.

I think that all writing is useful for honing writing skills. I think you get better as a writer by writing, and whether that means that you're writing a singularly deep and moving novel about the pain or pleasure of modern existence or you're writing Smeagol-Gollum slash you're still putting one damn word after another and learning as a writer.

(I just made that up. I imagine it would go something like: "Oh, the preciouss, we takes it our handssses and we rubs it and touchess it,, Smeagol musst not touch the preciousss, the master said only he can touch the precioussss.... bad masster, he doess not know the precious like we does, no, gollum, and we wants it, we wants it hard in our handses, yesss..." etc etc)

There have been a few remarkable talents who came out of fan fiction or who did amazing things with fan fiction -- I remember talking, somewhere on this journal about David McDaniel.

But I do think that, in the final analysis, all a writer really has to give is the stuff that only she or he can give the world and no-one else can. That the sooner you sound like you and tell the stories only you can tell, for good or for ill, the better. And from that point of view, I suppose I think of fan-fiction as training wheels. Sooner or later you have to take them off the bike and start wobbling down the street on your own.