So I have a confession to make; I’ve been spending the summer with Neil Gaiman. Every chance I get. Sometimes three or four times a day. I just can’t get enough.
I picked him up at a Rite Aide in Puerto Rico, in the paperback aisle, of course. Took him to lunch, and then back to my cabin on a cruise ship. We’ve been together ever since.
I don’t know where your mind is going, but I’m talking about luxuriating in Gaiman’s unexpectedly fantastic The View from the Cheap Seats, a collection of his articles, speeches, book introductions, and other nonfiction writing.
This is understandably essential reading for the Cult of Gaiman, and will prove immensely enjoyable for sci-fi, fantasy, comics, and horror fans, but the epiphany here is that this should also be required reading for writers.
Gaiman discusses his writing heroes, the power of genres, why we should break through genre limitations, how he became a reader which lead him to writing, why, early on, he would write anything for anyone, how hard it is to say no (but that writers should learn this valuable skill), and, above all, he discusses and demonstrates the non-negotiable skills necessary to become writers.
Best of all, he does all this in a comfortable, engaging, approachable voice that I may like even more than his fiction style, blasphemous as that may sound.
Writers are urged to read this book for enjoyment and for all the encouragement and education Gaiman offers.
Fun, funny, and inspiring? That’s a catch to keep forever, ladies and gents. And this thick volume delivers with each and every entry.
You may even need a cigarette afterwards.
Just don’t ask to cuddle. It is after all, a book.