Neil Gaiman is best known for his fantasy writing in comics (such as the SANDMAN series), novels, children’s books, and screenplays. He’s hit various bestseller lists over the years, and has received 3 Hugos, 2 Nebulas, 1 World Fantasy Award, 4 Bram Stoker Awards, and more.
I got introduced to his journal about three years ago and I’ve been reading it ever since. His journal is an amalgam of answered letters from readers, commentary about his life as a writer, reviews of other authors of note, discussions about free speech, links to intriguing websites, and whatever else catches his eye.
There is a search tool for the website, so you can dig around to see if he has posted on a subject of interest. There are also answers to common questions hidden away in the FAQs section.
I just discovered this in-depth interview with Stephen King done by Mark Lawson on BBC4. No matter what your opinion about King’s work, this is a useful in-depth exploration of what it’s like to be a fiction writer. King talks about a writer’s life and how much of it goes into fiction, about the desperation of wanting to be a writer, blunt commentary on his first published book CARRIE, the struggle of being a novelist when you’re a teacher, the marketing labels put on writers, the difference between how genre writers are treated in America versus England, etc. etc.
This was a lot of fun to watch with a big mug of tea. Sort of like visiting your successful Uncle and his guest, and listening to them chat about the writer’s life before dinner.
There are days when it can feel tough to be a writer–increasing competition from other media, the large number of people trying to enter the profession, the low pay, etc. And yet, compared to the past, the arts have come a long way.
THE PLEASURES OF THE IMAGINATION: ENGLISH CULTURE IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY by John Brewer (ISBN 0-374-23458-2) is a fascinating look into the rise of professional artists in literature, painting, music, and theater in the eighteenth century. It is also a fun glimpse into the lives and minds of people living in Britain during the Enlightenment. Brewer also does an excellent job of weaving the personal stories of various artists with overviews about the cultural revolutions that occurred.
If I were a writer of historical fiction set in the 1700s in Britain, this book would sit within easy reach on my reference shelf.
Also, I came away from reading this book with a much better understanding of the roots of the conflict between writers and publishers over copyright laws and contracts.
If you haven’t had a chance to watch J. K. Rowling’s commencement speech at Harvard yet, you can watch the entire video at Harvard Magazine here.
I enjoyed watching this. I hadn’t known she worked for Amnesty International and had one of her college degrees in Classics. She has thoughtful advice to give on what we can learn from our failures, and how our ability to imagine can bring new things into reality and also build bridges between human beings.