1. marcusl
    Offline

    marcusl Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2009
    Messages:
    98
    Likes Received:
    0

    Neil Gaiman's style

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by marcusl, Dec 10, 2009.

    I've noticed something that Neil Gaiman would occasionally do when writing. He would go:

    He sat down, picked up a pencil.

    Instead of:

    He sat down and picked up a pencil.

    Is that grammatically incorrect? Whether it's fine or not, it does throw me off a little bit. Still, I enjoy his books a lot.

    Thanks. I just wanted to hear your thoughts.
     
  2. HorusEye
    Offline

    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,215
    Likes Received:
    48
    Location:
    Denmark
    Neil tends to write as if he was telling things orally. It's his literary voice, which is a good thing to have. Whether it's gramatically correct I can't say, but if it's not I'm sure it's on purpose.
     
  3. Rei
    Offline

    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Messages:
    7,869
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Kingston
    In fiction, once you have mastered the technical rules of grammer, it is perfectly okay to break them every once in a while as long as it serves a purpose.
     
  4. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,351
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Boston
    That's just his unique style, and I see nothing wrong with that.
     
  5. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    It's a comma splice, a variety of run-on sentence, but Gaiman is a good enough writer to get away with it.
     
  6. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,859
    Likes Received:
    10,034
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Yes, as others have mentioned, that is a written artifact of the oral tradition. One of my current favorites, M. John Harrison has an unusual tendency to start a chapter or split the action of a chapter with a little thing like:

    What happened later that day was this:

    or

    These are the things Penelope was thinking:


    And then he starts a new paragraph and tells what he's going to tell.
     
  7. marina
    Offline

    marina Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Messages:
    1,280
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    Seattle
    Exactly. Also, fortunately for him he has a rich, interesting voice, and so he narrates his audio books.
     

Share This Page