Sunday, September 28, 2003

Am I wearing Eyeliner, and other important questions of the day

Neil. NeilNeilNeil. Saw the EW photo of you. Are you in fact wearing eyeliner in the photo? Your public needs to know.

Gregory from Middle Tenn

P.S. Thanks for signing our copy of Endless Nights (and for the wonderful Sandman sketch) at the Fort Lauderdale Barnes and Noble thing that was presented to you by our Stepson, Adam.

Nope. No eyeliner. Just lots of squinting and scowling and suchlike, while a huge fan blows my hair and coat about, and I have to keep my hands where the photographer put them. Also, in that photo, sucking an ice-cube, to cope with the bleeding tongue. And a lady who would nip in every couple of minutes and powder the shinier bits of my face.

As I explained to someone recently, I felt like they got exactly the photo they wanted. I just didn't quite understand why they wanted it.


I checked the Where's Neil page and I could find no mention of Scotland. Are you not touring here this year?? You gotta! I've introduced all these kids to your books, and they're like 'where's neil????' and it'd break their hearts if you couldn't come, leaving them bitter and gaiman-less forever... or something... Anyway! I hope you can make it this year, and I hope anansi boys is coming along ok.

Hamza Khan

While I don't think the list is complete yet, I also don't think they're actually sending me to Scotland, based mostly on the fact that they kept sending me to Scotland last year -- Glasgow, Dundee, and two weekends at the Edinburgh Festival, and things in all the Scottish papers, mean that the Bloomsbury Press office want to send me to places I've not been to for a long time, like Bristol. And I don't get a vote.

But you never know -- some Edinburgh bookshop could make a frenzied appeal that would melt Lucy Chapman at Bloomsbury's heart, and make her decide to send me to Scotland. But it probably won't.

(There should be at least one Irish signing to come, though.)

I posted this question elsewhere on the site and then it came up with this, so I may as well write it again. Right. For an aspiring author in high school who is currently writing a manuscript of her first novel, would you read and give literary critiques... or is that too much to ask? Many thanks for reading this- Jennifer

Afraid not. I don't have time (multiply your manuscript by everyone who'd like me to read their manuscript, and then try and figure out when I'd have time to eat and sleep). Your best bet is to find an encouraging writer's group, on-line or in the flesh.

If ever I get talked into teaching any kind of writing course I'll post it up here in plenty of time. So far I've succeeded in saying no.

I can't buy Good Omen in my country. Can I buy Good Omen in your shop?

Well, this website doesn't have a shop, and nor do I. There's which isn't my shop either -- I just gave them the website name because I owned it and it wasn't doing me any good, and it could help them. Really it's DreamHaven Books, my local SF, Fantasy, Cool, Comics and Everything Else Bookshop, and I support them through a sense of enlightened self-interest; if they close down, I won't have anywhere to go and buy weird books. Also, they order enough of my stuff that I can send people there with a clear conscience.

And I just checked, and they seem to have both editions of Good Omens available.

Hi Neil,

I don't know if you'd be interested in this but I remember that you were acquainted with Douglas Adams who wrote for the original version of this show. Dr Who is back! Daily Telegraph Link here.
Also, on a slightly different note, I'm making an Endless Dinner where all the parts of the meal are based in some way on one of those characters. When I am done, would you like pictures and/or the recipes?

Good news about the Doctor.

And that would be fun. (I believe the Deadly Nightshade Creme Brulee is de rigeur for the Death Course, although some prefer the Arsenic Surprise.)

I'm doing a thesis paper on Emperor Joshua Norton, and the first place I heard about him was in the Sandman series. Mind if I ask what kind of research you did on the man? Was it difficult to locate sources? Any advice about where I can begin would be appreciated.

I first ran across him in a book called THE EMPEROR OF THE UNITED STATES AND OTHER ENGLISH ECCENTRICS, but most of the information in the Sandman story was taken from his biography, NORTON I, by William Drury. (And I just found a whole Norton Bibliography online here.)

A review of Neverwhere DVD over at the Boston Globe. Bit puzzled by the bit where it says that:
Gaiman supplies an interview and commentary, but when he notes that, for instance, the series strove to make its sets look expansive, the argument isn't convincing. I can't remember saying that. What I said was that most of the sets aren't sets but locations, badly lit so they look like sets, and that the locations themselves looked amazing. You just never got much of a sense of that on the screen...

Are there any plans for releasing your reading of "15 Portraits of Despair"? I was at the New York reading and I really loved it. I would adore a recording and I'm sure other people would as well...

-Kate (that Bard girl who looked a bit deathish)

Er, I don't think it had occurred to anyone, no. I mean, that was the first time I'd ever read it out loud (and if I'd been warned about the large Irish contingent in the audience beforehand I might not have done Dermot's accent, either).

Being a budding writer, I naturally have a question for you on writing. But I must first confess that I'm actually an artist with a deep need to tell my own stories.

After reading a great deal of your own work, which really showcases the storytelling aspect of, well, telling a story, I want to really just concentrate on writing short fiction. I was born an artist, so I'm very comfortable with letting my art take a back seat to writing or, more specifically, I see art and writing as very much related, or even interchangeable in some instances, so concentrating on writing is like gaining a different perspective on art, and thus will only be benificial to me.

I know this is beginning to read like a loveletter but I'm getting to the point. My question to you is: When writing scripts for The Sandman or any other comic you did, or for that matter any kind of short fiction that had to be turned in on a deadline, did you afford yourself the time after finishing the piece to stick it in a drawer for a day or so, and read it again later with fresh eyes? It seems like writing a monthly periodical you would have to make compromises at some level with something. I hold The Sandman series as straight fiction, just a sweeping story cut from whole cloth I don't even consider it a comic book. It could've easily been a giant series of novels. That is why I pose this question to you. I want to know how you were able to stay on your toes so consistently and be so creative while still maintaining a strict, timely deadline. What shortcuts did you use? Did you use any?

I'm sure this question has been asked many, many times before now so I will expect your prompt reply in the FAQ section 'On Writing'within a couple of days. Yeah right. You won't answer, the question is too damn vague, and besides, there are a hundred and ten thousand books "on writing" so why don't I 'Mr. I Wanna Express Myself" just schlep my ass to the bookstore or at least the library and research it my damn self. OK. Off to the library. Hey, it was worth a shot. Did you even read this far?

All the best,
Steve Krach

P.S. I've saved this as a Word document and will cut and paste it to the FAQ section as many times as I have to until I get an answer. Just Kidding. Maybe.

Well, seeing that you didn't, I'll post this (but as a rule, any kind of "I dare you" or threat or anything automatically means that things don't get used).

Once I threw away part of a storyline (in Season of Mists) because I realised that the story would just get too damn big if I used it. It had hundreds of dead babies in it, two fashion satanists, and a girl called Isolda Bane, who swore a lot. Once I rushed the end of a story in order to leave for a convention, and it wasn't right, and I knew it as soon as I got on the plane, and I called everyone and told them not to draw the last five pages and I'd fix it when I got back. And I did. (Sandman 24 -- the one in the School.) Other than that, mostly it worked. I rarely got the re-reading time, but I just about always had the thinking time, with the deadlines pushing hard enough that I rarely had the second-thoughts time. And that was good.