Thursday, December 01, 2005

A whole post in Kupu

Okay. I'm going to write another entry in the new interface, and I hope not lose it. Then I'll cut and paste it into Blogger.

I'll play with it by putting in lots of links and things...

Of all the hoax/art/fiction sites I've been sent I think this has to be one of my favourites... (thanks to an email from Jonathan Carroll).

Hi Neil,

I have a question for you about conceit. (No, not that kind.)

Since you so often work in the realm of the fantastic, how do you know when you've got the germ of the story versus just a clever little concept that won't hold up. Is there something other than trial and error that helps to distinguish between an original witty idea and a flat back-patting non-starter?

I ask because almost everything I've ever written makes me worry about whether I love conceits far too much, or whether I am simply recognizing them as nice little starting places. Is my relationship with my ideas doomed?

Thanks for all your words on the craft,

I'm not sure. There's definitely something that tells you whether an idea has legs or not -- but for me, it's still, often as not, trial and error. My two favourite stories of the last few years, "A Study In Emerald" and "How to Talk to Girls at Parties" both started as conceits that didn't work, that I put aside, ready to abandon, and then thought, days or weeks later "Hang on, what if I...?" and they both wrote themselves extremely fast after that. Both of them would have been abandoned though if they hadn't had good, insistent editors (Michael Reaves and Jonathan Strahan respectively) and the need to get a story out of unpromising fragments.

It's not a science. It's an art and a sometimes it's a craft. The most important thing (and I know I say this a lot but it's true, or at least it's true for me) is finishing things, because that's when you find out if they worked or not. The rest of the time it's just hoping. And if you stop writing when a promising beginning runs out of steam, maybe you need something more in the planning stages. Or maybe you just need to soldier madly onward and see what Chance and Necessity (the mother, it must be remembered, of invention) provide.

Hi Neil,
Perusing British Movie Mag TOTAL FILM today, I noticed mention of Mathew Vaughn and Stardust, but more importantly, that he was adapting it with Jane Goldman. Is this the same Jane Goldman (surely the one and only) of 'Mrs. Jonathan Ross' fame? She of the flame red hair, whom you once described in print as curving 'like a Raymond Chandler simile'? That, I think, is really rather cool. Is it a help to her or a hinderance that you are good friends. Or does it just mean she has to work extra hard to make sure it's perfect? Being that Jonathan will no doubt give her a very hard time if it ain't up to spec, knowing how much he (and I believe she) love your work.

Kepp up the goodness. Waiting, as ever, for the next thing you write.
Neil Snowdon

Same Jane Goldman. I've known Jane for about 18 years, and really like her writing -- in addition to her X-Files Companions and her sensible books of advice for young teenagers she wrote a really solid first novel called Dreamworld, and a much better second novel that she still hasn't finished but which she's showed me some of and which I loved (and wish she'd finish). I suggested Jane, rather nervously, to Matthew as a co-writer for him last year, when he was asking for suggestions, and was pleased when, after talking to a number of writers, he chose her.
I'm having a script meeting with them in about ten days from now, and will report back.

Just caught this at dvd town about Mirrormask- has cover art and details. Can't wait... link here

Joshua Scott

That looks like the cover all right. Let me see if I can copy it in here...

Nope. Can't. Ah well. I'll ask them to fix it in the morning. (And I won't put the image from up here, because I'm trying to stick to what I can do in Kupu, not what I could do in blogger. Sigh. Sorry.)

Hey Neil love your stuff. Just a question. What's the name of the model you used for Death? I forget her name.

Mike Dringenberg based the look of Death on a friend of his called Cinnamon. The models on the covers of the comics were a variety of professional models over the years hired and shot by Dave McKean.

(There was a gothic model who used to pad her resume and interviews with fanciful stories of being the original model for Death, and also had the various covers up on her website claiming they were her, but seems now to have been shamed into taking them down, and, at least on her website, no longer lists anything to do with Sandman or Death or Dave McKean on her resume, so I'll not embarrass her further by naming her here.)


Just as I think my inner fanboy is dead, Mark Evanier posts the upcoming DC Comics stamps, and I get all excited:


And finally, an email from the lovely Alison Barton in Melbourne to say...

Ahem, Neil. We have pleasure in announcing that Mirrormask is now due for a
limited cinematic release in Australia. Cinema Nova next Thursday and I understand it
will also be showing at the George in Sydney. As you can imagine, there is a
wee bit of excitement over on this side of the pond presently.