Neil Gaiman’s 8 Rules For Writers

Neil Gaiman’s 8 Rules For Writers


Writers Write shares writing tips and resources. In this post, we share novelist, Neil Gaiman’s 8 rules for writers.

Neil Gaiman is an English author who writes short stories, novels, comic books, graphic novels, and films. He was born 10 November 1960.

His novels include the New York Times bestselling titles, Neverwhere and Stardust, and the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning American Gods, Anansi Boys, and Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett). He is also the author of the short story collections Smoke and Mirrors and Fragile Things. He is the first author to win the Newbery and the Carnegie medals for the same novel – The Graveyard Book.

Many of his works have been adapted for film and television. Here are his eight rules for writing.

Neil Gaiman’s 8 Rules For Writers

  1. Write.
  2. Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.
  3. Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.
  4. Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.
  5. Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.
  6. Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.
  7. Laugh at your own jokes.
  8. The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it ­honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.

Suggested Reading:

  1. How To Become A Writer The Easy Way by Neil Gaiman
  2. Neil Gaiman On Making Good Art

Visit his website: Neil Gaiman

Source for Writing Tips / Source for photograph

 by Amanda Patterson

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  8. Philip Pullman: On Writer’s Block
  9. Writing Advice From The World’s Most Famous Authors

If you want to write a book, join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg or sign up for our online course.

This article has 1 comment

  1. Anne

    “Oh, not another author telling us what to do,” was my first thought. Until I reached Rule 5. I started cheering. Rule 8 had me dancing and singing. Thank-you Neil, for confirming the uneasy thoughts that had started to worry me about some of the feedback I had received – edits which my gut-feel told me would sound clumsy, or were just not my style! Screwing my courage to the sticking-place, I shall now charge forward confidently, telling my stories in my own way, if perhaps trampling on the odd shibboleth en route!

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