Neil Gaiman on Writing and Revisions

Neil Gaiman today answered a question from a reader regarding the amount of revisions one should make to a story. As always, his response was interesting and I think helpful for us writers. I don’t think we should take these professional writer’s opinions as gospel, but I always enjoy reading their take on things. Here is an excerpt from his post:

“Personally, I think you learn more from finishing things, from seeing them in print, wincing, and then figuring out what you did wrong, than you could ever do from eternally rewriting the same thing. But that’s me, and I came from comics where I simply didn’t have the liberty of rewriting a story until I was happy with it, because it needed to be out that month, so I needed to get it more or less right first time. Once I disliked a Sandman story on proofreading it so much that I asked if it could be pulled and buried and was told no, it couldn’t, which is why the world got to read the Emperor Norton story, “Three Septembers and a January”, although I no longer have any idea why I thought it was a bad story, and I’m pleased that Tom Peyer ignored my yelps.”

Anyhow, I encourage you to check out the entire blog entry.

One thought on “Neil Gaiman on Writing and Revisions

  1. It’s an interesting point of view. I force myself to produce something every week without fail and put it up on my site. Once it’s out in public I never amend it except for obvious typos/grammar. I do frequently look back on some of the entries and “shake my head” at some of the structure, narrative and plotting.

    I guess I have learnt a lot from looking back on “whole works” and seeing what worked and what didn’t.

    Still, doesn’t mean I’m not going to revise them before I try to publish one day =)

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