A few days back, I was reading an article on the British Council about Neil Gaiman‘s writing style. And quite fascinatingly, I found something that completely resonated with my fellow Gaiman lovers and me. The article talked about the paradoxical fame of Neil Gaiman. Yes! Paradoxical fame – weird! I know.
I read further, and basically, you are either a complete Gaiman fan, in which case you know absolutely everything about him, or you don’t even know he exists. There’s nothing in between. Honestly, after reading that paragraph, I froze. And I am not even exaggerating. Like, literally, I was sitting in front of my computer screen, staring at the words, and my brain was legit toiling to process this newfound information.
Once I was out of my momentary brain freeze, I traced back to the point where I came across this prolific writer’s book. Long story short – I had a friend who loved Neil Gaiman. And when I say ‘loved Neil Gaiman’, it means he was crazy about him. He knew everything about him, and he used to talk about him all day, and that’s how I ended up reading The American Gods. I remember after finishing that book, we talked for hours about his writing style. There was so much to talk about.
We were completely head over heels. His writing, narration, and the pure art of storytelling knocked the two of us off. We were drowning in our newfound love for Gaiman. So, if you have no clue who Neil Gaiman is, I guess, now is the time for you to indulge in some book shopping (Hint: Add American Gods to your cart). And if you are already in love with him, then welcome to the tribe, honey. We got ya!
But how does Neil Gaiman create this quagmire that completely absorbs his readers? Honestly, it’s a bit difficult to categorize Neil Gaiman in any particular genre. However, if there are two vast categories that resemble his writing then they have to be Fiction and Fantasy. Fiction and fantasy, both of these genres require a lot of freedom and liberty. A mind trapped in confines can never think out of the box. And Gaiman’s writing is not only out of the box but, at times, pretty out of the world too.
Gaiman is easily the God of fiction. You see, there are no boundaries when it comes to fiction because it’s fiction. Anything fictitious can be anything. And that’s the beauty of this genre. The same goes for fantasy. When it’s a fantastical world, dragons may share some screen timing with vampires. I don’t know what they will be up to, but you know the possibilities are endless. So, when you are reading a Gaiman novel there are endless possibilities. There is nothing predictable about his stories. Anything can happen, and that’s the thrill of reading his books. You just never know!
In Gaiman’s world of fiction and fantasy, there is a lot of blending, though. He brings in horror, fairytale, folklore, and blends everything with gradual brush strokes. So, if you stumble upon a book where you find a couple of gangsters fighting for some business, and the next moment Gods are coming out from everywhere, with backstories that you’ve never heard of, then you are definitely reading a Neil Gaiman novel.
Another thing that excites me is the fact that Gaiman has a backstory for everything. He can trace back and connect all the dots. He has a backstory for each of his characters. And he knows how one is connected with another via some other characters. It drives me insane that Gaiman has, in fact, created his own unique world. And in his ‘Gaiman world’ anything and everything is possible.
Personally, I fancy beautifully constructed sentences. I feel when a writer puts in the right words, with the right amount of intensity and passion, s/he creates magic. And mostly I have found in my own reading journey that not a lot of authors who write plot-driven stories do that. Mostly character-driven books come with beautiful enchanting language because there is usually a lot of scope for dialogues in such books.
Monologues or soliloquies require care and time. Plot-driven stories do not have a lot of time to spare for such long dialogues. But Gaiman stands as an exception. And I feel this is where so many writers can learn from him. He writes plot-driven stories with equal emphasis on character development. His language is exquisite, and he knows that he has a knack when it comes to playing around with words and putting them carefully in a sentence.
But he doesn’t get carried away, and this is where he triumphs. His descriptions are deep, fulfilling, and petite. The plot comes first, but the language doesn’t suffer as well. In fact, in my opinion, he writes some of the most beautiful dialogues and monologues. And this is why, once a Neil Gaiman fan, always a Neil Gaiman fan. So, if you dodged the pretty explicit hint previously, please pick a book by Gaiman and thank me later. The tribe is always ready to take in more Gaiman lovers – anytime, any day! You can get Neil Gaiman books here! 📚
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