Neil Gaiman Teaches Storytelling Review
There’s something about Neil Gaiman, something more than his wonderful accent, or his unique analogies, or that he’s a pleasure to listen to. He’s inviting. Yeah, maybe that’s what it is. He just has a way about him, and how he teaches thats, well, “lovely.”
More Than What I Thought
To be honest, when I saw how many writing, or writing-related Masterclasses there were–part of the initial appeal to me–I wondered if they would be repetitive. I’m happy to report, that as far as these first two Masterclasses go, they weren’t really repetitive at all.
Each course is as much about the writer, in a way, than it is about the craft of writing, or storytelling, in this case. Neil Gaiman’s personality and experiences are woven into the thread of his teaching, not only in his way of presenting, but in the content itself. For example, imagine my surprise when he was going along teaching, and suddenly, he went into comics! He shared experiences about drawing, and inking, and even how to approach setting up the panels from a storytelling perspective. Fascinating!
Gaiman covers a lot of ground in his course. He starts out by covering topics as abstract and subjective as truth, and author voice, and where ideas come from, and then gets into the mechanics of writing with topics like developing the story, dialouge, and character. All helpful, and delivered with sage wisdom, and colorful analogies.
While R.L. Stein read some of his own work in his Masterclass, it seemed as though Neil Gaiman infused a little more of it in his. That’s probably just my perception, but I acutally walked way feeling like I had read a few of Neil’s stories that I was unfamiliar with. It was not only great learning his experiences, but enjoyable to experience it from the master, too.
Like the other Masterclasses I’ve seen so far, the instructor includes a class workbook (PDF). This includes instructions, recommended reading, writing exercises, and a narrative that follows along with the class. Another great resource beyond just the videos.
Check out the trailer above. I don’t know how you could listen to Neil and not want to hear more. Perhaps you showed up for the accent, and soon found yourself transfixed by his narration, or maybe you hung out because you knew he was a highly regarded master storyteller, and you were bound to pick something up. For me it was the whole concoction. There was a little magic in all of it that had me spellbound. I ripped through his whole class in a day or so, almost without noticing any time had passed. It was like I woke up from a dream, and I wanted to crawl back under the covers and fall asleep again.
Check it out. You won’t regret it.