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


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.


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

I've come across this class after finishing writing a novel. It has reinforced that I'm on the right path and just to keep doing what I am doing. Brilliant!

I've learned to continue writing & submitting. To view short stories as the last chapter of a novel I didn't write, and to view everything that happens and everyone I meet as things I will need in my stories.

I'm finishing what I started and I like what I've written. Next step is submitting it and I have already started something new because I do have a lot to say. Thanks, Mr. Gaiman and Masterclass.

I like the idea of mashing up fairy tales with new elements. Am now setting up a scrap book with images and stuff for the compost heap. Thanks Neil!


George T.

I couldn't write my review because the window simply closed when I checked another one on my desktop. I wished I could have provided my feedback on this class. I learned quite a bit and secured me about my process. Finishing is important, living is important, being accountable to stay honest about my work is important.

Márgara G.

This lesson, as well as each and all lessons have helped me to push forward, to be brave and to carry on. I think I will start all over with lesson One, I still need another push. Thank you mr. Gaiman!

Christa A.

I am so thrilled I took this class. Inspiring, beautifully taught, and loaded with immediately actionable advice. I feel encouraged to continue on my path with some tools and renewed confidence. Thank you, Neil!

Derek D.

Good guidance, charmingly delivered. Good presentation. Lessons broken out in useful portions in a helpful progression. I've printed out much of the guidebooks to then cut portions out as prompts and reminders and pointers in the journal I'm using to guide my edits to a finished manuscript I need to reshape.

A fellow student

There was no way I wasn’t going to enjoy this. Having Neil talk about writing is likely having a friend tell you they’ve made cookies and there is endless wine and laughter.

Karen A.

Neil's class is by far the best of the writers that I have viewed. The assignments and resources are meaningful and useful. Thanks!

Libby D.

Absolutely phenomenal. Both specific writing tips and broader, "big picture" advice, this class changed how I look at my own work. I'm saddened that it's over. Now, to go give my characters silly hats...

A fellow student

I am a painter. There are so many overlaps between the 2 arts,especially the chapters on editing and responsibility. Brilliant.

Paul D.


Ramon M.

I am an aspiring writer, I have written 9 stories currently. I have been told my work reminds people of Neil Gaiman so I took his class. I must say, his lessons on world build, description, humor and finding your voice were the most inciteful things I have ever heard. I will finish my stories and send them out. Thank you