Neil Gaiman
Journal Neil's Work Cool Stuff & Things About Neil Message Boards Where's Neil Search MouseCircus.Com FAQs
You are here: Home » Cool Stuff » Essays » Essays By Neil » Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett at EosCon IV

Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett at EosCon IV

Neil and Terry share their thoughts on their books, chat symbols and more at EosConIV, 2001.
EOSCON 4.0: Lighting Out for the Territory
Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

Moderator2: Neil, can you type to the screen?

Neil-Gaiman: Yes, lets begin.

Moderator2: Hi everyone, welcome to EOSCON 4.0. I'm your Moderator for SCIFI. This hour we're chatting with writers Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Moderator2: Neil Gaiman, author of the forthcoming American Gods (publication date: June 19, 2001), the creator and author of the acclaimed Sandman series of graphic novels, is the winner of four Eisner Awards and a World Fantasy Award. His previous books include Neverwhere (made into a BBC series), Stardust and Smoke and Mirrors. He is also co-author with Terry Pratchett of the longtime cult favorite, Good Omens and the author of a children's book, The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish.

Moderator2: The topic is Lighting Out For The Territory

Moderator2: If you'd like to know more about our panelists visit our panelists page at:

Moderator2: Brief word about the drill - please send your questions for our panelists to me, Moderator2, as private messages. (To send a private message, either double-click on my name or type "/msg Moderator2" on the command line - only without the quotes.)


Moderator2: What was the transition like for you when you moved from Graphic novels to more conventional novels?

Neil-Gaiman: I started out writing prose books.

Neil-Gaiman: The first 3 books I wrote were prose.

Neil-Gaiman: And then, during the year that I wrote the beginning of the second year of Sandman and Books of Magic

Neil-Gaiman: I also wrote Good Omens with Terry Pratchett.

Neil-Gaiman: And that was in 1989.

Neil-Gaiman: However, there was certainly

Neil-Gaiman: a transition. American Gods, my new novel, is the first novel I've written that wasn't something else to begin with.

Neil-Gaiman: Good Omens was a collaboration. Neverwhere was based on the UK TV series I wrote.

Neil-Gaiman: And Stardust was originally illustrated.

Neil-Gaiman: So, American Gods felt very much like my first solo novel in some ways.

Neil-Gaiman: ga.

Moderator2: Several people have asked how long you and Terry and have known each other, and how you met?

Neil-Gaiman: Terry and I met in 1984, I think.

Neil-Gaiman: When a young journalist wearing a hat interviewed an author, and it was Terry's first interview as an author...

Neil-Gaiman: where somebody took him out to lunch and asked him questions. I was interviewing him for Space Voyager magazine.

Neil-Gaiman: A magazine so poor, I had to take the photos of Terry after thelunch.

Neil-Gaiman: And we met and we got along incredibly well. And we made each other laugh.

Neil-Gaiman: So that's, what, 17 years? It must be...I hadn't realized that.

Neil-Gaiman: ga.

Moderator2: to : i am interested to find out some of the actors both neil & terry would pick for the good omens movie Bouncer: terry is here

Neil-Gaiman: When Terry comes on he can give his answewrs. I am very very hesitant these days to cast actors in online chats.

Neil-Gaiman: Or even to go on the record online with actors.

Terry: Er...anyone there?

Terry: How about this?

Moderator2: Yes Terry. We can see you :)

Neil-Gaiman: Because if you go on record as saying "I would desparately like Peter Sellers to play Crowley and Aziraphale with different color hair," the next thing you know

Terry:'s been a long day...

Neil-Gaiman: the actor's agent sees that you are saying you want them online and their price goes way up.

Neil-Gaiman: And I figure that Terry Gilliam has enough to worry about without me saying I want SO AND SO or George Clooney to play Crowley. [to take it two extemes]

Terry: Neil knows the only one I've really wanted way Brian Denehey (sp?) for Aziraphael...

Terry: Are you in a cyber cafe, Neil?

Moderator2: Just a reminder..We're chatting with Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Moderator2: If you have a question for our panelists, please send it to me, Moderator, as a private message. . (To send a private message, either double-click on my name or type "/msg Moderator2" on the command line - only without the quotes.)

Neil-Gaiman: ga.

Moderator2: Next Questrion...

Moderator2: to : would like to know if neil and terry intend to ever do another novel together?

Terry: That's what the Future is all about...

Terry: You fitst, Neil...

Terry: Or indeed, you first...

Neil-Gaiman: We wrote Good Omens

Neil-Gaiman: for fun.

Neil-Gaiman: We didn't know if anyone would want ot publish it.

Terry: We thought it was a holiday job..

Neil-Gaiman: And it's success and popularity took us both by surprise.

Terry: We said: I wonder if this'll make any money?

Terry: At a signing, even today, if someone comes up to me

Neil-Gaiman: If we wanted to do a sequel, publishers all over the world would get into line to offer us enormous quanitities of money

Terry: with more than two books, one with be GO.

Neil-Gaiman: which immediately takes the fun out of the thing, so I'd rather just leave it the way it is.

Neil-Gaiman: ga.

Terry: Although I'd quite like the money...

Moderator2: Next Question

Moderator2: to : Where do you start when you write? With a character, a concept, a setting, a plot?

Neil-Gaiman: My reply could be any of the above. It depends on what the project is.

Terry: In my case, about one sentence.

Neil-Gaiman: You always start somewhere.

Neil-Gaiman: Sometimes all I know is how it ends.

Neil-Gaiman: With American Gods, all I knew was how it started.

Neil-Gaiman: ga.

Terry: You don't have to start at the beginning.

Neil-Gaiman: Very wise.

Neil-Gaiman: Very true.

Terry: Very trite. But that's how it goes..

Neil-Gaiman: (Sometimes all; you ahve is an image.)

Neil-Gaiman: ga

Terry: I do have one rule, though..

Terry: Write the cover copy by the time you've done 10,000 words

Terry: Because if you don't know what the book is about by then

Terry:'lll never know.

Moderator2: Next Question

Terry: So I write the blurb to tell myself what I'm writing.

Neil-Gaiman: {And if the book doesn't suprise you by the end, it's not a real book.)

Moderator2: Oops..

Neil-Gaiman: I'm ready for the next Q whenever Terry is.

Terry: Can I make a brief statement, please?

Moderator2: Please type GA at the end of an answer so I don't interrupt you. Sorry

Neil-Gaiman: Go for it, Terry.

Moderator2: Yes, Please do, Terry

Terry: I thought it was Neil throwing up...

Terry: Okay. Any way that works, when you're writing a book

Terry: is a way that works.

Terry: Start at the beginning, end or doesn't matter.

Terry: Sometimes I'm working on three areas of the story at the same time.


Moderator2: Question for Neil

Moderator2: to : question: my friends and i live near northampton and we were wondering which restaurant it was you sat outside being comforted by the friendly crazy person?

Neil-Gaiman: I assume you're not talking about the one in Mass. butin the English midlands.

Neil-Gaiman: Sooner or later you will see Alan Moore wandering the streets of Northampton like Santa Claus's demonic younger brother.

Neil-Gaiman: And you should go up to him and ask, and he will either tell you or put a curse on you.

Neil-Gaiman: And either way your day will become more interesting.

Neil-Gaiman: ga

Moderator2: Next Question...Several people have asked this one...

Moderator2: Neil and Terry, how log long does it take for you to write a book? In average?

Neil-Gaiman: Terry, you go first.

Terry: Er...being alive for 50 years, and then about five or six months

Terry: ...of actual writing.

Terry: ga

Neil-Gaiman: Good Omens took us nine weeks.

Neil-Gaiman: Neverwhere took about three months.

Neil-Gaiman: Stardust took six months.

Neil-Gaiman: And American Gods took a hair under two years.

Neil-Gaiman: And the novel that comes out next year, which is called Coraline, took about eight years.

Neil-Gaiman: So, I imagine the one after that will probably take about 20.

Neil-Gaiman: I'm obviously getting slower./

Neil-Gaiman: ga


Moderator2: Just a reminder..We're chatting with Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Moderator2: If you have a question for our panelists, please send it to me, Moderator, as a private message. . (To send a private message, either double-click on my name or type "/msg Moderator2" on the command line - only without the quotes.)

Moderator2: Next Question

Terry: Yeah, but GO also took us years of research that we didn't know we were doing...the time is takes to *write * the words is only one part of the whoe business, as Neil says.

Terry: ga

Moderator2: to : Question for both: You both write, and both travel how do you keep the travel from eating the writing? Or are you just both enormously energetic?

Neil-Gaiman: (yes)

Neil-Gaiman: Being places is really interesting.

Neil-Gaiman: Traveling can be immensely boring and is a great time to write. I write a lot on planes and trains, and sometiems boats.

Neil-Gaiman: Also, travel give you stuff that you can write about later.

Terry: You can make time expand. But it is quite stressfu;

Neil-Gaiman: Terry wouldn't have written The Last Continent if he hadn't been in the habit of visiting Australia.

Neil-Gaiman: I did a lot of American travel which fed into American Gods.

Terry: However, airport strips look pretty much the same wherever you go...

Neil-Gaiman: Yes.

Terry: I've been to lots of places without every really seeing them...

Neil-Gaiman: ga

Terry: ga

Moderator2: Next Question

Moderator2: to : What writer or kind of writing to you find now draws you the most?

Terry: These days, I am mostly reading history.

Terry: I find I read less and less fiction every year.

Neil-Gaiman: I spent 2 years on American Gods reading no fiction at all, just books of myth and books of history.

Neil-Gaiman: So I'm trying to catch up on my fiction reading currently.

Neil-Gaiman: But, for a writer, fiction gives you very little you can steal from.

Terry: Whereas you can open an old history book and bingo!

Neil-Gaiman: Whereas reference books give you huge huge unmined fields to go and explore.

Terry: And no one else reads them now, except us...

Neil-Gaiman: ga

Terry: ga

Moderator2: Next Question

Moderator2: to : Terry, what do you think about the American covers to your books? I for one would rather have the UK covers......

Terry: Yeah, me to. However, the sales have shot up at around the same time that the covers changed.

Terry: Go figure. It might be coincidence, but do I want to find out?

Terry: I gues that's

Moderator2: Our time is about up, so this is the final question. Thanks for being such great guests! ...What was it like working on Snow Glass Apples, a Seeing Ear Theater piece for SCIFI

Neil-Gaiman: I love doing the SCIFI.COM Seeing Ear Theatre plays.

Neil-Gaiman: (

Neil-Gaiman: Brian Smith is a great director and we got Brian Dennehy for Murder Mysteries, but I was even more thrilled to have

Neil-Gaiman: Bebe Neuwirth play the Queen in Snow Glass Apples which I'm told will go online in May

Neil-Gaiman: It was quite chillling and all of the actors came up to me and seemed rather scared, actcually.

Neil-Gaiman: They assured me I was a very sick man.

Neil-Gaiman: To which I told them it was just a retelling of a famous fairy story.

Neil-Gaiman: I'm looking forward to hearing it when it goes online.

Neil-Gaiman: I think we have time for one more question.

Terry: He *is* a very nice man...

Moderator: We have switched moderators in mid-stream...

Moderator: So please send your FINAL question to me now!

Moderator: Aha!

Moderator: to : How much do you keep in touch nowadays? Do you for example give each other christmas presents?

Moderator: And the all-important follow-up:

Neil-Gaiman: (Some slightly more coherent thoughts of mine can be found on the journal page.)

Moderator: WHAT do you give each other for Christmas???

Terry: No, we tell one another about interesting books...

Terry: ...although I recently gave neil a bonsai mountain and he sent me a skeletal Elvis...

Neil-Gaiman: He lies. I gave him 69 Love Songs by the Magnetic Fields last Christmas.

Terry: A great album...influenced both of us, I think.

Neil-Gaiman: Yep.

Neil-Gaiman: And I think that's it for both of us.

Terry: Seems like it...

Moderator: I'm sure the skeletal Elvis exerted its own strange influence as well!

Neil-Gaiman: I send best Jet Lag wished to the world and I'm going off to see Dawn French's Bottom.

Neil-Gaiman: Thanks to Terry and everyone for joining in.

Moderator: Terry, Neil -- thank you so VERY much for joining us here today.

Terry: Yes, they say in the paper it's a good Bottom...


Moderator: Dawn French's bottom leads to thought's of the crack of dawn...

Moderator: Everyone in the audience -- thanks for your wonderful questions!

Moderator: We're sorry wwe didn't have time to submit them all.

Moderator: Please stay with us because we have a wonderful chat event for you in this next hour where Kristine Smith and Susan Matthews talk about non-tradional military forms as viewed through the SF lens.

Moderator: I'm going to make the room UNmoderated for five minutes.

Moderator: Hold on to yr hats...