Saturday, February 16, 2008

Alan Moore knows the Score (as of half-time, anyway),

The Annotated Dracula introduction is finished and delivered, as is The 13 Clocks introduction. (Still to do: an introduction to Cabell's Jurgen and to Brian Aldiss's Hothouse, and then no more introductions for a long time.) Meanwhile, The Graveyard Book is in its very last pages. I might finish today or tomorrow. There's still revising and fixing to do, but it's so close to the end I can taste it.

Dear Mr. Neil,

In your last post, you said:

I went back to writing it all in UK English as it's set in the UK, and we'll fix things in the copyedit.

Wait wait wait wait! Don't fix things! It's fun to read UK English. American brains need the work, and we need to know that we're not the only English speakers in the world. UK English came first!

Point taken, and I didn't mean to come across quite that glibly. The truth is that more than ninety percent of the changes that will get made are copyediting changes that are pretty much invisible to the reader, and are things I think of as House Style anyway. Whether you have double or single speech marks, for example. In the US edition colour will, I have no doubt be spelled without a u and towards will probably become toward. And I doubt that anybody will notice. Sometimes, if I have a sympathetic copy-editor, I'll go in and fight for specific UK spellings and usages when things are set in England (you may have noticed that grey is spelled like that, and not gray, in the US edition of Stardust).

Overall, I suspect that The Graveyard Book will stay pretty English in terms of vocabulary -- nothing as huge as changing the title of the book. Some words may change like nappie to diaper and cot to crib -- possibly the rubbish bins in the alleyway on the other side of the graveyard might become garbage cans, but really, it's a graveyard on a hill in an old English town. Nobody gets into elevators, and the fish and chip shop at the bottom of the hill will resolutely remain a fish and chip shop.

It's normally not about insulting the intelligence of the reader. With something like Coraline or The Graveyard Book which is going to be given to kids in schools, it's often about making it easier on their teachers by not giving the American children the extra Us in Honor or Honour, and not taking them away from British children. (The Canadian children will, I'm afraid, continue to cope as best they can, and some of them will probably sensibly wait for the French edition anyway.)

Help! I'm in need of legal advice regarding ownership rights in collaborations, particularly an artist and writer. Is there a trustworthy online resource about such matters, either for free advice or to locate reputable counsel? Thank you.


Not that I know of, but I'll post this in case someone has any suggestions. (The Scrivener's Error blog, over at is very useful and smart. But it is a blog.)

O.K I've looked it up in about four online American dictionarys and pavement seems to have pretty much the same definition as it does in Britain! Whats the definition that you have heard?

Keep up the good work!



pave·ment (pāv'mənt) pronunciation
    1. A hard smooth surface, especially of a public area or thoroughfare, that will bear travel.
    2. The material with which such a surface is made.
  1. Chiefly British. A sidewalk.
I mean definition one, as opposed to definition two.

Dear Neil,

I'm not sure if you've heard of FAWM (February Album Writing Month), but it's the musical equivalent of NaNoWriMo. This year over 1400 people have signed up to the challenge of writing 14 songs in 28 days... well, 14 1/2 in 29 days, this being a leap year and all...

One MJ Hibbet has written a song that caught my attention, and I thought you might enjoy it while you rest your writing hand and have a cuppa. It's called "Alan Moore" and you can find it at:

Incidentally I also penned a little piece yesterday that I called "The Mouse Circus" ( because that's what it made me think of. It was then pointed out to me that you have links with Mr Bobo's Remarkable Mouse Circus. I'm not sure that they are the same circus. Maybe we've visited separate ones? I wonder how many there are in the world?

Best wishes


And now there is a video of the Alan Moore song. (Alan
has always maintained that it is a wise thing to have a name that rhymes. As he once said, "'Alan Moore knows the score'. It's because it rhymes. What else were they going to say... 'Jamie Delano plays with Meccano'? Neil Gaiman... doesn't really rhyme with anything, does it?")

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