Neil Gaiman Writes Back, Insecure Writers, and a Shower Curtain Story

Jumping up and down:

Neil Gaiman wrote back!

Hope this catch sways Gaiman towards taking me on as copy editor (she says wistfully).

All this is very timely as I'm in the midst of editing insecurity. So many missing scenes (25 to be exact) to draft for Rome, Rhymes and Risk, and each time I sit down to write one all I hear is a negative inner critic cackling at my efforts.

I know, I know, just quiet that critic with a little whisky latte, right? But it doesn't always work. Yet the only way to plough through is to do so despite the insecurity. As John D. MacDonald said, in his introduction to Stephen King's Night Shift:
"The only way you learn how to write is by writing. ... Because that's the way it is done. Because there is not other way to do it. Not one other way. ... Compulsive diligence is almost enough. But not quite. You have to have a taste for words. Gluttony. You have to want to roll in them. You have to read millions of them by other people. You read everything with grinding envy or weary contempt. ... Diligence, word-lust, empathy equal growing objectivity and then what? Story. Story. Dammit, story! ... Story is something happening to someone you have been led to care about. It can happen in any demension--physical, mental, spiritual--and in combination of all those dimensions." (lucky for me, someone else had already typed all this up)
Or you can, you know, try something new:

Shower curtain story

Dave Eggers has published a story on a shower curtain: "The McSweeney's founder has given a new meaning to idea of reading in the bathroom. His text is printed on a shower curtain for people to read while getting clean. It costs $65."

I don't know. I think I'll keep using my notebook.

Have you ever printed a story on something other than paper?


Anonymous said…
He wrote you back?! Man, I can't even get him to tweet me back.
Misha Gericke said…
Wow congrats on getting Neil Gaiman to write back. :-D

Hmm... I'm thinking today is All-Inner-Critics day. Because that's what I blogged about too.
Sarah McCabe said…
I love that quote to bits. How perfectly inspiring.
Cherie Reich said…
That's awesome Gaiman wrote you back!

And the shower curtain thing is kinda cool, but I'll stick to typing on the computer.
S.P. Bowers said…
I would never pay $65 for a shower curtain. But it does solve my problem of the shower being one of the few places where I haven't figured out how to read. Of course shower time is thinking time. That's where I come up with good ideas for my story.
Matthew MacNish said…
No, but that curtain looks pretty cool.
Rek said…
Lucky you and let the critic to take a hike...that what you have editors and crit partners for. The curtain is novel but I wouldn't want it getting dirty.
Vicki Tremper said…
Yay, congrats on NG writing you back! Good luck quieting your editing demons (loved that quote). Yeah, you just have to do it. And, no, I have not written a story on anything but paper or screen. I think writing a story on a pencil would be interesting, though.
Jenny Maloney said…
Gaiman is so polite, isn't he? I hear everything he writes in a British accent. Even stuff like "Google is our friend."

(Did you read the full essay/speech on his regular-sized blog? He re-posted there as well. Good, good stuff.)

(P.S. I'm all giddy too because he retweeted a link to my blog!! *girly squeal of excitement!*)

(P.P.S. I'm totally gonna write a story on a shower curtain now.)
I saw a huge canvas at the Los Angeles Museum of Art that was basically stream of consciousness writing. It must have been 9 feet by 9 feet. I loved it...

I have written on napkins, as perhaps all of us have... but would not call it "published"... I have thought of doing a stream-of-consciousness write on fabric and then sew it into a dress or an apron or something...

Glad to hear your work is continuing via ROW80! You are rocking and a rolling!
Nadja Notariani said…
Editing is like that. One minute you're filling in those plot holes with finely-crafted twists, amazing and lightening-quick ideas, and witty-beyond-belief dialogue...the next, you're doubting yourself and all those lovely words...
It is the way of it.

Shower curtain stories? For $65.00 it better have peel-off layers so I can continue reading for about 10 novels worth! Ha!
Anonymous said…
Very cool Gaiman wrote back.

Since when do we not ply the inner critic with whiskey? If I didn't do that, or at least send her on a cruise, I'd never make it through edits, LOL. Best of luck with them!

I love the shower curtain but no way would I spend that on it. Hope you have a wonderful week.
Kate said…
We've been going gaga over this one at goodreads:

Editing is soooo the best, because it's great to get an opportunity to fix the things that need that extra tweaking. It's SOOOOO the worst because that's when my inner critic comes out and says, "You'll never be as good as Laini Taylor." I mean, duh, but like I really need to hear that right now.

My advice, when you're done with the book, find someone who you know will love it, just so you can feel the warm glow of it. My go-to is my sister, who is no critic, but sometimes we just need the love. :)
Anonymous said…
It's awesome that Neil wrote back.

I think that shower curtain is cool. It's pricey, though.
I love the idea of a story printed on a shower curtain! It'd be cool if it came with illustrations too. I've never printed a story on anything other than paper, though that would be fun to try. I think it'd be cool to write a poem or a piece of flash fiction on a wall of some really tall building outside, so that people on the street could read it, kind of like the character Amelie wrote a line from her unpublished writer friend's story on the wall of a building at the end of the movie.
It's so cool that he wrote back! :)

I've never tried printing a story on something other than paper. But since I find taking a bath is a good way to get away from my writing, I'm not sure I'd want it as a shower curtain if I had to use an alternative material. LOL.
Anonymous said…
It's true you only learn how to write by writing - and I would add by READING.

I hope you'll download my novella to your PC while it's free, and then read it when you have time. It's a quick read, and I'd love your feedback!

Take care. Have a great weekend.
Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs
Deniz Bevan said…
You never know, Joshua. I think Tolkien might have had something to do with it :-)

Maybe us writers are on the same cycles, Misha...

I need to start taping these kinds of quotes on the wall, Sarah...

I like my pen and paper, Cherie!

I love story thinking time in the shower, Sara :-)

Wonder if I could just read it in the store, Matthew...

Thanks, Rek!

On a pencil, Vicki? Neat! Sounds almost Ottoman, when they would engrave texts on grains of rice (no joke!).

Yum, I hear his accent too, Jenny. I saved the speech :-) And ooh, a retweet! Makes me wish I was on Twitter.

I've got napkin texts, too, Julie. Stream of consciousness on canvas, now there's an idea!

Love your peel off layers idea, Nadja!

Forget the critic, Raelyn, I'd like a cruise myself! On the Mediterranean...

That's going on the wishlist, Kate!

Thanks for coming by, Medeia!

I remember that scene from Amelie, Neurotic. That was a good idea.

Do you get story ideas in the bath, Eagle? I love thinknig story thoughts in the shower...
Talli Roland said…
Love that shower curtain!

Wow, what an interesting question. Hm... I don't think so!
maine character said…
Congrats on your brush with greatness!

And love the shower curtain, but I try to use that time for getting ideas, and so maybe I should get a blank curtain and a waterproof marker.
I had no idea you and Neil Gaiman were so tight.

Love the shower curtain.
Deniz Bevan said…
Thanks for coming by, Talli!

I use that time for ideas too, maine!

Aww, thanks Theresa - probably never happen again...
I'm a Neil Gaiman stalker. I have received (to date) three tweets from him and on each one, I have squeeeeed in delight. I suppose I stalk him because he is one of my favorite of all time authors, and I bow to his greatness. But I have also learned a lot about him (aside from his genius). The one thing that impresses me is how humble and giving he is. The man is incredible. And yes, he will respond to fan emails of merit (and clever tweets).
Deniz Bevan said…
I agree, Michael! I've considered getting on Twitter simply because Neil and Diana Gabaldon are on there. I keep trying to think of reasons to contact him on Tumblr...

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