1. Published on Amazon? If you have a book, e-book, or audiobook available on Amazon.com, we'll promote it on WritingForums.org for free. Simply add your book to our Member Publications section. Add your book here or read the full announcement.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Dismiss Notice
  1. marcusl

    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

    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

    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

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,410
    Likes Received:
    2,921
    Location:
    Boston
    That's just his unique style, and I see nothing wrong with that.
     
  5. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,953
    Likes Received:
    2,066
    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

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    19,705
    Likes Received:
    11,040
    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

    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