The Trouble With Neil Gaiman

I’ll confess. A lot of my writing – almost all of it in fact – is directly inspired by someone else’s creative projects. The other word for this is stealing, but hey, we all do it. You get hooked on an amazing character in a TV show, you fall in love with this one idea in a book, you can’t stop staring at a particular shot in a movie. And you think to yourself – What if that character were like that but in the 1950s and gay? What if that idea came up in a story about goblins? What if that shot right there were actually the basis for a whole new fantasy world where everyone has wings. These are the sorts of thoughts writers have. It is because we are crazy people that no one has gotten around to locking up. Maybe once they figure out schizophrenia, they’ll have time to move onto us. Until then we will continue having thoughts like this.

The trouble with someone like Neil Gaiman is that 1. There is no one else quite like Neil Gaiman and someone should get on that please because we can’t expect him to write twenty books a year as much as we’d love to read them; and 2. He has all of these amazing characters, and ideas, and worlds, and everything, and he has the nerve to do all of them perfectly. So there’s no point in stealing them and trying to do something better with them, because they fit so well in whatever it is he’s already written that you know they belong there.

I’m not saying I will never steal anything from Neil Gaiman. I probably will. In fact, maybe I already have and have just forgotten about. But it is still very frustrating to think to yourself, “Oh, that is awesome! I wonder if I could…Hmmm. No, I like his better.” I’m reading Neverwhere right now and go through this thought process approximately once every other page.

Not that I’m complaining, of course. I love Neil Gaiman. I will probably always love Neil Gaiman. Everything I’ve read of his has blown me away in some capacity. If there was a type of writer I would love to be – apart from, you know, my own kind – it would probably be Neil Gaiman because living in his head sounds like the best use of time I’ve heard in a while. And it is very hard to fault someone who delivers us all of this awesomeness on a regular basis. And who knows, maybe someday I’ll be good enough that I can write stories where everything works so perfectly that everybody else gets frustrated there’s no point in stealing. That would be nice.

So the point of this observation?

Mostly, I suppose, to point out that I’m crazy and greedy and a thief. And I really, really, really wish I’d written Ocean at the End of the Lane. Like a lot, guys. Like a lot. And maybe if I took…No. His is still better.

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