From Neil Gaiman's MasterClass

The Writer’s Responsibilities

Neil concludes with a deeply personal discussion of the responsibilities that people who create art have to their audience and what this means for humans as a whole.

Topics include: Parting Advice

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Neil concludes with a deeply personal discussion of the responsibilities that people who create art have to their audience and what this means for humans as a whole.

Topics include: Parting Advice

Neil Gaiman

Teaches the Art of Storytelling

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Over the years, one of the things that I've given an enormous amount of thought to is what my responsibilities are as a person who creates art. It wasn't something I thought about to begin with. It wasn't until a man was found dead, believed to be a suicide, with a note on his chest saying that the Sandman did it, and the Sandman would bring perfect peace, and a copy of "Sandman" by the body. I had to go, hang on, did I do this. What happened? And I had a very, very bad weekend. And then, a few days later, I discovered that actually he wasn't-- it wasn't a suicide. He'd been murdered. He'd been murdered by his boyfriend who had written the note and put the comic there to try and make people think that this was a "Sandman"-inspired suicide. And the boyfriend also killed himself. And I was very angry. I felt like someone had tried to frame me for murder. But I also thought that the questions that it raised-- what is my responsibility-- were huge and important questions. And what I decided was my responsibility is to tell good stories and tell honest stories, tell them as well as I can, tell them to as many people as I can. My responsibility is to encapsulate, as much as I, can the things I believe and the values that I believe in the stories but also having a point of view, being willing to allow other points of view in, to be able to allow characters who I might not even want to associate with into my fiction, and to do them justice. Those, I figure, are my responsibility. And that, for me, has to be there at the bottom of everything that I write. So I need to be able to point to "Good Omens" and say, yes, it's a farce. It's a silly, funny farce about the end of the world. But absolutely, it has a message I can stand behind. It says that human beings have to be responsible. We have to fix the world, that war is very rarely a good idea, and avoiding war, which rarely gets praised, actually is huge and important, and that, , really we have to remember that the greatest triumphs and the greatest tragedies of the human race are nothing to do with people being basically good or people being basically evil, they're all to do with people being basically people. And so that-- I can take a farce, and I can stand behind it. I can say, this-- this is something I believe. This is real. I can take a book like "Coraline" and say, it's filled with scary stuff for kids, absolutely. There are people who feel that is absolutely and utterly inappropriate, and kids should be kept safe from all the darkness and all the terror and all the bad things. And to those people, I say good luck to you, although I personally believe that if you are keeping people-- young people safe from the darkness, then all you're doing is, when the darkness shows up, you are denying them tools or weapons that they might have needed and could have had. But really, it's a book about bravery. It's a book about carrying on. And that for me is important. I know I can ...

Unleash your imagination

Award-winning author Neil Gaiman has spent more than a quarter of a century crafting vivid, absorbing fiction. Now, the author of Stardust, Coraline, and The Sandman teaches his approach to imaginative storytelling in his online writing class. Learn how to find your unique voice, develop original ideas, and breathe life into your characters. Discover Neil’s philosophy on what drives a story—and open new windows to the stories inside you.

Reviews

4.7
Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I decided to go through the videos first and print off the workbook in the process. I am now setting out to do the writing activities and to resume my daily writing with the inspiration that Neil Gaiman provided for me. He rekindled my flame with his wise, brilliant, caring advice. Better than one thousand writing courses. The best of the best. Thank you, Neil Gaiman.

Neil Gaiman's masterclass far exceeded my expectations of what this course would be. He was engaging, instructive and so relatable.

Love Neil's advice! From the buzzing yellow jackets at the beginning to the 'killer' Sandman ending, Neil is a brilliant teacher. Great class. Great style. Great content. (This was my first introduction to Neil Gaiman, and now I'm reading his books.)

I love Neil's point of view. I also appreciated his techniques for dealing with rejection, writers block and the rules for writers. Thank you!

Comments

Dwight H.

War is the praise of those who don't fight or die in wars. War praises those who start wars with gifts of salvation of junk from an old world smelted down and made into something of the new world. The same thing with a different shell is still a turtle.

Tammy P.

I wasn't fully sure what it was I was going to be getting out of this class when I started, but now that I have finished it, there's so much I couldn't begin to list it all. Neil Gaiman is as wonderful a teacher as he is a writer, and the lessons I've learned here will hopefully carry me far.

Melinda F.

I'm an old person and a young writer who didn't write very much during the class. Instead I watched and read The Graveyard Book, and Coraline, which I finished before the last 2 sessions. I was afraid to read Coraline because scary books and movies feel very real to me. I didn't know how much I needed to experience a story about bravery and finishing the job. Start, stop, perfection is the brick wall. The teacher in Neil was the key. Thank you.

Patricia B.

Yes. I have continually been drawn to stories that teach, stories with a moral, stories that the reader learns through the main character's arc. I am interested in writing didactic stories. Write, finish things, and experiences... Those last parting words....so lovely. Thank you for such insight. I will be watching this again. I truly appreciate the depth imparted here. Thank you, Neil, for a great course on writing and living.

Diane D.

I enjoyed his course. It was very interesting and it really inspired my thinking process and everything I thought of on writing. I learned a lot and it made me think about my story and my short story, that I maybe a young writer getting started but I am determined to make this happen and I'm going to see it to the end. Thank you Neil, you were great. God bless.

Victoria

I've learned that Neil Gaiman is fantastic! No seriously, I learned to be more free with my story writing. Rules are good, but they are able to be broken to get the story told. I'm reading everything Mr Gaiman has written at the moment. His spoken voice is only trumped by his written voice. I'm a new (old) writer, coming to the art in my late 50's. This is the best.

Jenna G.

Thank you, Neil Gaiman, for a wonderful learning experience. I feel like I've gained an enormous amount of insight and inspiration.

Myriam B.

This seemed like a final, personal insight, but yet it goes at the foundation of building confidence as a writer. Know what IS and is not important when setting out to write, in whatever genre. When you look at it like this - the barriers fall away, the complication falls away.

Dixie P.

Mr. Gaiman is as talented and skilled as a teacher as he is a writer. As a seventy six year old woman who began writing a mere thirteen years ago this course was everything I needed and more. I'm certain I will be viewing the videos again and again as well as studying the printed pages until they are dog eared and in tatters.

Cornelia D.

Wonderful teacher, I was captivated start to finish. Thank you. I am working on a first draft of my novel. And I don't know what I am doing. But I feel like it's a story that needs to be told. So, plan to continue. To make daily progress and to complete the work.