inkwell.vue.73 : Neil Gaiman - SANDMAN:THE DREAM HUNTERS
permalink #76 of 1905: Elise Matthesen (lioness) Tue 9 May 00 23:50
    
Woo-hoo!

Well, Shadow is one of those names that Gets Around, I think. Turns up in
the darnedest places.

You've talked a bit about collaborations, and you've mentioned various
writers and artists who have either given feedback on something you've done,
or said something in conversation that was useful -- I'm wondering, do you
have a group of folks to whom you show works in progress for comment?
  
inkwell.vue.73 : Neil Gaiman - SANDMAN:THE DREAM HUNTERS
permalink #77 of 1905: Neil Gaiman (neilgaiman) Wed 10 May 00 19:34
    
Elise -- more or less. It floats, expands, contracts, depending on
what I've written and what kind of feedback I need. ("Is this any
good?" being the most basic question.) There's a core bunch of beta
testers out there who are very good at pointing out whether things work
and what can be done to fix the bits that don't. They range from
Martha Soukup and Kelly Link to Steve Brust, Pete Atkins, Colin
Greenland...

Mostly they're the difference between the first and the second draft,
though. 

I only show people works in progress if I'm REALLY worried that what
I'm writing is just crap.

I'm now in part two of AMERICAN GODS, after being stuck on Chapter 8
for months. And now it's done, I'm not entirely sure that Chapter 8
will ever make  it into the book. I may skip it entirely. But the book
is rolling again, and I am happy.
  
inkwell.vue.73 : Neil Gaiman - SANDMAN:THE DREAM HUNTERS
permalink #78 of 1905: Ron Hogan (grifter) Wed 10 May 00 19:59
    

Jason Nagel, from the world outside the WELL, writes:

"Not being a fan of Babylon 5, I unfortunately did not see the episode that
you had written.  How did this collaboration take place?  Are there any
other television series that you would like to write for; Buffy: The Vampire
Slayer, Angel, or Farscape perhaps?

"Also, are there any current musicians that you would like to provide a song
for?  Personally, I think it would be great to hear Portishead perform a
song written by you."
  
inkwell.vue.73 : Neil Gaiman - SANDMAN:THE DREAM HUNTERS
permalink #79 of 1905: Martha Soukup (soukup) Wed 10 May 00 20:46
    
Martha Soukup's been so bad about the last ms., Neil may not send her any
more.

Generally there are just first-drafty things to point out.  Once I said I
thought a story had to be torn up and rethought entirely, but Neil decided
to sell it to the editors who liked it the way it was anyway!  What _was_ he
thinking?

Most people would be happy to see as many first drafts come out as well as
Neil's do.
  
inkwell.vue.73 : Neil Gaiman - SANDMAN:THE DREAM HUNTERS
permalink #80 of 1905: Elise Matthesen (lioness) Wed 10 May 00 21:12
    
A couple of odds-n-ends questions:

You mentioned writing with a fountain pen on paper -- what other preferences
do you have about how, physically speaking and all, you work?  Do you like
room to pace?  Music? The hubbub of a coffeeshop oblivious to your table
full of paper?  Peace, quiet, and a few raindrops rolling down the window of
the lonely writer's tower?

If you've got preferences, do you get to work under those conditions often?

And have you worked in any particularly memorable or satisfying
places/circumstances?
  
inkwell.vue.73 : Neil Gaiman - SANDMAN:THE DREAM HUNTERS
permalink #81 of 1905: Neil Gaiman (neilgaiman) Wed 10 May 00 23:33
    
Jason -- the Babylon 5 script happened because Joe Straczynski, who
created and wrote much of B5 asked me to write a script for it, about 6
months before the first episode aired, and wouldn't take no for an
answer for years and years, and finally I found the time and wrote him
an episode. It's called THE DAY OF THE DEAD and was great fun to do.

I'd happily write an episode of Buffy, and it might have been fun to
have written an episode of X-files back when I enjoyed it. These days
the only TV I try to make a point of watching is IRON CHEF -- and I'm
watching videos of the classic MONKEY tv series, which they're bringing
out in the UK now.

Music? Hmmm.. let me ponder that. 

Martha -- you were of course right about that story: it did need to be
torn up and tried again, but there simply wasn't time. I did a rewrite
of it in the UK edition of Smoke and Mirrors and it's not as bad as it
was, but it still isn't a good story.

One of the drawbacks to achieving a certain amount of success as a
writer -- success enough that a publisher believes that putting your
name on the front of a story guarantees sales -- is that stories which
ought to get rejected are accepted.


Elise -- I quite like music in the background. Tea is good. Being left
alone to write is good.

Most important of all for fiction writing is not being in a city. I
can write great non-fiction in cities, but making something up is
something I do best in the country.

But when the story is happening it doesn't really matter where I am or
what's going on. The best writing I ever did was SNOW, GLASS, APPLES,
handwritten on a plane and then in the lobby of the hotel room I was
checking into: 9,000 words written in an afternoon and an evening which
I just started and kept going till it was done.
  
inkwell.vue.73 : Neil Gaiman - SANDMAN:THE DREAM HUNTERS
permalink #82 of 1905: Martha Soukup (soukup) Wed 10 May 00 23:36
    
Iron Chef is one of the two nonfiction shows I watch every week.  The other
is Changing Rooms.  They're pornography, of course.  (And I know perfectly
well I wouldn't even like most of the dishes they prepare on Iron Chef--yet
I enjoy the show as much as Michael, who dearly wishes he could be eating
each and every one of them.)
  
inkwell.vue.73 : Neil Gaiman - SANDMAN:THE DREAM HUNTERS
permalink #83 of 1905: Neil Gaiman (neilgaiman) Thu 11 May 00 00:45
    
Changing Rooms is pleasant (and was particularly bemusing when I
actually realised I knew one of the people concerned, living on a
houseboat on the Thames) but Iron Chef is, at its best, magical.

I ate at Nobu in NY last week, for the first time, and we opted for
the menu category where you have no say in what you eat: they bring you
things and you eat them (and first they enquire if there are things
you don't eat. It was rather like being on the Iron Chef tasting panel.

Having said that, while I don't want to taste the weirder looking Iron
chef dishes, I delight in watching them being prepared. And I love the
soap opera in the background.

Changing the subject, I was pottering around on the bookfinder.com
website and, checking myself, was surprised to find that  Barnes and
Noble.com already have Coraline listed for sale. Bookfinder also listed
a Jumbo Christmas Activity and Colouring book that it claimed I'd
written, but I think there's some mistake there...
  
inkwell.vue.73 : Neil Gaiman - SANDMAN:THE DREAM HUNTERS
permalink #84 of 1905: Rafe Colburn (rafeco) Thu 11 May 00 06:10
    
 The Iron Chef is incredibly good television on so many levels.  
 
 My favorite things to watch them make are the stuff that I would never 
eat.  I can't get into terrines of any kind, but I love watching Sakai
make those crazy terrines with whatever ingredients he's stuck with.
I'm not fond of innards at all, but whenever I see Kaga unveil whole fish,
I'm completely excited to figure out which dish is going to have the 
innards in it.

 One of my favorite aspects of the show is how the announcers exaggerate
whatever the chefs say to make it sound like trash talk.  It always cracks
me up.
  
inkwell.vue.73 : Neil Gaiman - SANDMAN:THE DREAM HUNTERS
permalink #85 of 1905: Ron Hogan (grifter) Thu 11 May 00 10:43
    

BatsNeedFriends@aol.com writes:

"Hello Neil~ its me: Tori Bat! *smile* Things seem to be quite busy
lately...with all the movie news and anticipating American Gods! I hope
things are going well...  I really dont know what to say -sigh- my brain is
marshmellow at the moment since I have finished my finals for school, so
please forgive me!  you are extreamly nice for doing these online message
boards, and wonderful readings and such...why are you so nice to your fans
when you dont really have to be? Most people(except for the OtHeR Tori)
aren't and I know you're *not* most people...but -laugh- like I told
you...marshmellow! I will leave you to ponder my jumbled question... good
luck!  *hugs* Tori Bat!"
  
inkwell.vue.73 : Neil Gaiman - SANDMAN:THE DREAM HUNTERS
permalink #86 of 1905: Martha Soukup (soukup) Thu 11 May 00 11:04
    
I just enjoy knowing Chairman Kaga is the Japanese Jean Valjean.
  
inkwell.vue.73 : Neil Gaiman - SANDMAN:THE DREAM HUNTERS
permalink #87 of 1905: Yvonne Harrison (yharrison) Thu 11 May 00 15:47
    
Hi Neil - -

I met you a couple of years ago when you were down in Wellington, New
Zealand for the SF convention (think...sock puppets... think Xena sock
puppet :-)  Anyway, I would like to take the opportunity in this forum
to thank you for your words of encouragement in regards to the
difficulties I was having with my writing at the time.  I did indeed
finish the damn novel (it's a terrible beast which will never see the
light of day, but I *did* finish it :-)   Thanks again.  The experience
of being able to talk to a professional writer really did give me
enough impetus to get to those all important words: "The End".

Yvonne :-)
  
inkwell.vue.73 : Neil Gaiman - SANDMAN:THE DREAM HUNTERS
permalink #88 of 1905: The music's played by the (madman) Thu 11 May 00 17:46
    

I just want to say that I adore Snow, Glass, Apples. I thought it was
amazing, and recommended it to all my friends. I was going to refer to it
earlier, but I forgot its name. Whoops.
  
inkwell.vue.73 : Neil Gaiman - SANDMAN:THE DREAM HUNTERS
permalink #89 of 1905: Elise Matthesen (lioness) Thu 11 May 00 20:44
    
Two more questions:

What, if anything, are you weary of being asked about in interviews?

What do you really, really wish someone *would* ask you in an interview --
and why?
  
inkwell.vue.73 : Neil Gaiman - SANDMAN:THE DREAM HUNTERS
permalink #90 of 1905: Neil Gaiman (neilgaiman) Thu 11 May 00 21:00
    <scribbled>
  
inkwell.vue.73 : Neil Gaiman - SANDMAN:THE DREAM HUNTERS
permalink #91 of 1905: Neil Gaiman (neilgaiman) Thu 11 May 00 21:02
    
(Let's try that again -- some of my answers got a little jumbled)

Rafe -- exactly....

ToriBat -- good to hear from you. How's Knoxville? 

As for why am I so nice to my fans when I don't have to be... well, I
suppose on the whole I try and treat people as I'd like to be treated.
And when I was a journalist I watched a lot of people and I watched
how
they treated their fans. Some of them treated them well (Alan Moore,
for example), some of them didn't (and I shall name no names). And I
decided which camp I wanted to be in.

Hi Yvonne -- of course i remember the Xena sock puppet show. It was
undoubtedly and unquestionably the finest sock puppet play I've ever
seen.

Well done on finishing the novel. Sorry it wasn't any good. Write a
better one.

Madman -- oh good. I wish I could have come up with a better title for
that story but the obvious one had already been used by, if memory
serves, Tanith Lee.

Elise --
Weary of being asked? Dunno. "How did you get into comics" is
certainly up there. What tends to happen is that each publicity tour
winds up with its own set of questions, so on the Stardust tour I
found
myself giving the same interview across america.

I'm already dreading the American Gods tour questions -- all of them,
starting with "So, Neil, What's this book about?"

As for what I wish someone would ask me....

Again, let me ponder.

Off to Denver tomorrow morning -- I'll try and keep posting each
evening of the convention, if I can.
  
inkwell.vue.73 : Neil Gaiman - SANDMAN:THE DREAM HUNTERS
permalink #92 of 1905: Ron Hogan (grifter) Thu 11 May 00 21:43
    

The sad thing is, you can't really ask, "Well, you read it, what did YOU
think it was about?" as so few times has the book actually been READ before
interviewer and author chat. (At least, that's what I've been told by quite
a few authors who exclaim, "Wait--you've read the whole thing, haven't you?"
in the middle of an interview. I thought I was just showing up prepared!)
  
inkwell.vue.73 : Neil Gaiman - SANDMAN:THE DREAM HUNTERS
permalink #93 of 1905: Neil Gaiman (neilgaiman) Thu 11 May 00 21:56
    
Radio and TV interviewers are the worst.

Most print journalists have read the book. Most radio and tv
journalists were handed the book a few seconds before you came into the
studio, and slipped a couple of bits of paper into the book to give
the impression that they not only read it but felt impelled to make
notes and treasure the good bits.
  
inkwell.vue.73 : Neil Gaiman - SANDMAN:THE DREAM HUNTERS
permalink #94 of 1905: Jeff Kramer (jeffk) Thu 11 May 00 23:06
    
Weird, I'm flying out of Denver tomorrow and you're flying in.

I've scoured all the bookstores in Boulder and none of them have Smoke and
Mirrors.  I'm going to check Book People when I get back to Austin,
otherwise it looks like it'll be Amazon.

I don't know if this question has been asked before, but it seems like alot
of your work has been collaborations.  Do you enjoy collaborating on
projects, or does it sometimes get in the way of the story or experience
you're trying to weave?
  
inkwell.vue.73 : Neil Gaiman - SANDMAN:THE DREAM HUNTERS
permalink #95 of 1905: Ron Hogan (grifter) Sat 13 May 00 15:57
    

Tori Bat writes:

"Hi Neil~ *smile* thanks for the reply... your thoughts on treating people
as you'd like to be treated is excellent. I try and do that myself,
sometimes its difficult because some people for some reason try very hard to
make everything a battle... but I wish more people would try to live like
that--> OK! enough of my preachyness... -laugh- Knoxville, is umm ok... the
magic of moving to a new place is starting to wear off and I am slowly
getting bored which for me is bad but I have been trying to occupy myself
with artwork and running... I have made a few new friends--> College is over
for the now, I have a little break until june~~ My life is pretty great,
nothing to complain about! *smile* so thats good~ I read your interview with
Mr. Lou Reed... as I only knew about 4 songs of his it really pushed me to
go and check out more of his work... which I have and loved (esp Beg. of a
Great Adventure off New York) and just finished reading a book about him--
transformer by Victor Brockris-- very enjoyable! umm so now I am re-reading
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland--> for enjoyment/nostolgic purposes... and
had a great giggle at the "Do cats eat bats?/Do bats eat cats?" part!!! I
loved it really~ anyway so thats whats been going on (exciting isnt it?)
*GRIN* Thanks for reading all of this!!!"
  
inkwell.vue.73 : Neil Gaiman - SANDMAN:THE DREAM HUNTERS
permalink #96 of 1905: Ron Hogan (grifter) Sat 13 May 00 15:58
    

And Amanda writes:

"I was reading you 'lifeboat' parody on the comic book defence funds website
Neil Gaiman, Will Eisner, Mark Waid and Frank Miller drift in a solitary
life raft. In this parody you equate Wil Eisner as the father of the graphic
novel.  Why is this?  Also, how do you define the graphic novel as oposed to
a comic book?  Thank for the recommendations for a supervisor as well."
  
inkwell.vue.73 : Neil Gaiman - SANDMAN:THE DREAM HUNTERS
permalink #97 of 1905: Neil Gaiman (neilgaiman) Sun 14 May 00 18:39
    
Jeff -- I love collaboration. As long as it's a good one, when both
people bring something to the project. And it keeps me excited.

Amanda -- I can guarantee you that I didn't write the lifeboat parody
thing, or have anything at all to do with it. Honest.

I don't define graphic novel or use it very much: mostly it's a polite
euphemism, like calling a hooker a lady of the evening. Comics is
comics. But graphic novel can be a useful term for a certain kind of
thing, or a certain range of thing. (Is Sandman a graphic novel? Or is
it ten graphic novels, three of which are short story collections?)

But Will Eisner certainly coined the phrase for his collection of
comics short stories A CONTRACT WITH GOD, in around 1977.

Eddie Campbell does a terrific history of the graphic novel in his
recently serialised story in DEE VEE, an Australian comic anthology
series. 

ToriBat -- I did tell Tori you exist by the way, like you asked me to.

......

Won a Bram Stoker award for Dream Hunters this evening. God it's a
gorgeous object.

Also read CORALINE to a small audience. Started at 11:00 pm and
finished at 2.00 am....

Home tomorrow from Denver.

good night.

.....................

(That was written last night -- for some reason it wouldn't post & I
was too tired to try & figure out why.)
  
inkwell.vue.73 : Neil Gaiman - SANDMAN:THE DREAM HUNTERS
permalink #98 of 1905: Martha Soukup (soukup) Sun 14 May 00 19:20
    
Congrats on the pretty award, Neil.  It will balance out some of the ugly
ones.

Lucky audience!
  
inkwell.vue.73 : Neil Gaiman - SANDMAN:THE DREAM HUNTERS
permalink #99 of 1905: Lenny Bailes (jroe) Mon 15 May 00 14:57
    
Hi Neil.  I discovered the Petrefax series last month.
I think of all the Vertigo spinoffs on things you started,
it's the best one so far.  
  
inkwell.vue.73 : Neil Gaiman - SANDMAN:THE DREAM HUNTERS
permalink #100 of 1905: Neil Gaiman (neilgaiman) Mon 15 May 00 19:41
    
Thank you, Martha. I was as grateful to the audience as I think they
were to me: a three hour reading is a marathon to sit through and at
that time of night it's a wonder anyone was awake till the end.

Hi Lenny -- I like Petrefax enormously, although my favorite is
Lucifer, which is just getting better and better.
  

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