Check Out This Writing Advice from Neil Gaiman

Credit: MasterClass
Neil Gaiman is one of our most celebrated authors and screenwriters. Let his words inspire you. 

What was your first introduction to Neil Gaiman?

For me, I was writing coverage on books for Scott Free, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane came across my desk. I had heard of Gaiman but never actually read him. I was quickly absorbed into the world and characters and knew I had to seek more of his writing out. As I did, I saw how many had been adapted into film, television, and pretty much every medium imaginable. Since then, I have enjoyed watching Good Omens, American Gods, Stardust, and just about everything else that bears his name.  

It's all to say that in terms of great scribes, Gaiman's name should be near or at the top of every list. That's why I was so excited when I stumbled across this video of him chiming in with some writing advice that I think it's important for us to hear. 

Check out this video from MasterClass and let's talk after. 

One of the most touching parts of this video is how Gaiman talks about breaking into the world of writing. As a young writer, he worked hard to figure out what his voice was and what he did and did not understand what he was trying to do. 

For him, starting out was the hardest time as a writer, because he was not only learning to develop his voice but also gathering the courage to ask questions. This question asking transcended being a journalist and followed into his novelist and screenwriter days. 

Questions became how he would give himself prompts. And how he would learn to build a world. Questions would help him seek out his ultimate goal: to tell the truth. 

For Gaiman, the best writing comes from a place of truth-telling. You have to make it as honest as you can because that's what people respond to. If people respond, you build an audience, and can get fans who want to see your projects adapted. 

So when you sit down to type your next screenplay, ask yourself if you're doing it to tell the truth. The truth about your characters, your world, and your themes. What you communicate to the audience has to connect, and people can sniff a lie out right away. 

What did you take away from this video? 

Let us know in the comments.      

Your Comment


Great advice. Akin to the advice that I've heard often which is to be authentic in your writing. People can sniff out things that feel trite or disingenuous. When we respond to something by saying it was "cheesy", "corny", "over-the-top", "on the nose" or any number of similar reactions, usually it's because there's a jarring lack of authenticity in the work. So essentially, to me at least, his advice sounds like he's saying to write characters and scenes that feel authentic.

August 23, 2021 at 5:27AM, Edited August 23, 5:27AM

Dale Raphael Goldberg
Director / Editor

Excellent post! Thank you for such inspiration and advice from Neil Gaiman. We all know that he is one of the most popular English authors and screenwriters. So I am very glad to read these effective writing tips. Actually, I am a student who takes academic writing help from this website. I want to be a professional writer that's why I always try to enhance my writing skills and also try to do my assignment ownself. In this term, I hope this writing advice will be an inspiration to me and others who are struggles to build their career in this sector.

September 26, 2021 at 3:21PM, Edited September 26, 3:25PM

Allen Thompson
Academic Researcher | Writer