Saturday, April 09, 2005

That's All He Wrote.

Small proud family thing -- Mike's been accepted to Brown for his computer science grad school stuff. (So it's only another six years until it's "Dr. Gaiman", I suppose. How odd and nice.)

(And Holly told me to let the world know that she will be one of the people showing visitors around at Bryn Mawr this year, walking backwards, explaining the college traditions and telling them how many books are in the library. So if you're thinking of getting a tour of Bryn Mawr, you may get Holly.)

Maddy, looking over my shoulder as I type, just said "Ohh -- ooh. Say something about MEEE." So I shall: Maddy just flew out to the place I'm working with Roger, and we get the weekend together. Which makes me very happy and unstressed, and she seems to be enjoying it as well. She is also now eating a bagel and wearing Capri pants but not in that order. ("Yay!" she just said, still looking over my shoulder, "MY paragraph is longer than Holly's! Mwa-ha-ha-ha!" I am raising a breed of demons.)

And a thank you to the people at Final Draft -- some months ago Final Draft went down and took a chunk of Death with it At the time I sighed, grumbled, and did the work again. Yesterday morning the computer crashed and when I loaded up Final Draft most of the previous day's work had vanished. I called Roger Avary, who was on his way over, and in a few minutes I had people from Final Draft talking me through where the backup autosaved files are kept. And as Roger came through the door I had all the lost work back up on screen. Which made me wish I'd done that for the Death stuff last year, and reminded me how very good and cool the people who make Final Draft are.

Hi Neil,there is a book in the latest issue of the Previews catalogue that�s called "Mirror Mask" scriptbook. Is this the "Mirror Mask" graphic novella you mentioned on your blog or something different ? Chris

There are three MirrorMask books. These are:

1) The MirrorMask Scriptbook. This comes out on May 1st from Morrow -- it's a huge book, with the script, all the deleted scenes, all of Dave's storyboards (which is about 1700 drawings), a colour still section, forewords, afterwords, all the e-mails between me and Dave that shaped the story, song lyrics and all of that sort of stuff. It's laid out really interestingly -- the interaction of the script and the storyboards turn it into a sort of weird new kind of comic. It comes out in the UK from Hodder Headline, and the cover looks rather like this:

2) The MirrorMask Graphic Novella/Picturebook. This comes out from HarperChildrens in September, when the film comes out. It's the story told as a story, from the point of view of Helena (our heroine) with lots of new illustrations from Dave and film stills as well. It'll be the same kind of size and shape as WOLVES IN THE WALLS, although with more words. It's the book for the children's section of the bookshop, is about 80 pages long, and comes out in the UK from Bloomsbury.

3) The Alchemy of MirrorMask (so titled because it was felt that The Magic of MirrorMask sounded too much like a Disney book), out from Harper Design in September, which will be a huge and beautiful book and will contain art. Lots of art -- sketches and paintings and computer models and how they did it and all sorts of stuff. This is the book for people who want to know how Dave did it, or just want to see lovely Dave stuff in colour.

Hi Neil,

Just a short one, since I'm also from The Netherlands, and I've bought both the Neverwhere DVD and "A Short Film About John Bolton" at
While Neverwhere is a Region Zero DVD, "A Short Film About John Bolton" is Region One, a problem which is easily solved if you don't mind watching the DVD on your computer and buying a DVD-region-free program. Installing such a program does involve a certain risk though; The first program we tried kind of messed up our computer (not only Media Player), but the second one works just fine (and can be tried out and bought at I hope this helps.
(Love your work, etc.)


Marijke Hobo

I use DVDidle myself to ensure my notebook exists in a region-free world, and it's a terrific program. (In addition, most computers allow you to change your DVD region setting a certain number of times before locking down.) Sorry about misleading anyone -- I'm sure that New Video told me that John Bolton was going to be Region Zero, but perhaps it didn't turn out that way.

"(With the recent MirrorMask novella, it was trying to find US versions of some colloquial British words, of which "punters" turned out to be the hardest to translate.)"Does that ever bother you as a writer? I mean, it's one thing to translate entire languages, but the words you used are the words you used. Americans can Google a word like "punters" if they're just that confused, can't they? I think most of us would rather read what you'd originally written than what you and the editor came up with as an Americanized compromise... Your language should only be as Americanized as you are. ;)--jlr

Actually, I'd prefer that the language is as American as the book is -- I was very pleased when the copy editor caught the occasional "car park" that had crept into American Gods and corrected it to "parking lot".

In the MirrorMask script (and indeed, in the film) the word "punters" is used, and it's pretty obvious what it means from context, but I don't have a problem with the American editors asking me if there's a word that would work better for kids (who aren't going to find it in their dictionaries). The only request from the US I'm pondering right now is changing Helena's "caravan" to "trailer", only because in my head a trailer is so much bigger...

Mostly, I want to communicate. And I'm very used to negotiating words in the editing process -- take a look at where I'm copy-editing American Gods and learning that hessian and burlap are the same thing in the US and two different things in the UK, and so on...

in the end of american gods, what does the line:"That�s all she wrote" means? who or what is shadow talking about? thank you

It's a saying that, if I remember correctly, dates back to World War Two, and it means there isn't any more. The way I heard it, it was the tagline for a cartoon, showing a soldier holding a letter and saying to his friends "It says, Dear John... and that's all she wrote." Let's see -- this is a google moment, isn't it?

Look at (about half way down) and


Right. Maddy time. Then work.