Categories
Arts Books Writing

Neil Gaiman’s MasterClass: Learn the art of storytelling

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see the disclosure for more info.

Introducing one of the biggest MasterClass courses yet: Award-winning author Neil Gaiman teaches students how to create compelling plots, new characters, and bring unseen worlds to life. If you want to be a compelling author, you’ll need to improve your storytelling.

In 19 lessons, the world-renowned writer takes his students through his own philosophy on what drives a story while also guiding them on how to develop their own unique writing voice. As Gaiman reminds aspiring writers: “Most of us find our own voices only after we’ve sounded like a lot of other people.” Take what Neil Gaiman teaches in this course and adapt it to your own writing style.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, the author of American Gods, Coraline, Stardust, and The Sandman, reiterates that his class is more about sharpening your stories than it is about enhancing your prose.

I definitely talk about writing, but what I get into more—because it’s much more interesting to me—is the mechanics of how you find and build the story and make your characters interesting. How you take that idea and build it into a short story, how you can look at a short story and decide if it has the length to become a novel. I suppose it’s my justification. I know lots of novelists. Novelists are very nice people. But I’m not a novelist. I’m a storyteller who sometimes writes novels, and graphic novels, and short stories, and makes film or television.

Neil Gaiman

The course includes a downloadable workbook with creative writing exercises and interactive resources plus lesson recaps and ‘office hours’ where students can submit videos to classmates and hear back from Neil himself!

Below is the entire lesson plan:

  1. Introduction
  2. Truth in Fiction
  3. Sources of Inspiration
  4. Finding Your Voice
  5. Developing the Story
  6. Story Case Study: The Graveyard Book
  7. Short Fiction
  8. Short Fiction Case Study: “March Tale”
  9. Dialogue and Character
  10. Character Case Study: “October Tale”
  11. Worldbuilding
  12. Descriptions
  13. Humor
  14. Genre
  15. Comics
  16. Dealing with Writer’s Block
  17. Editing
  18. Rules for Writers
  19. The Writer’s Responsibilities

About MasterClass

If you’ve never taken a MasterClass before, it’s a great opportunity to take a peek into the mind and explore the process of some of the world’s leading experts in photography, writing, music production, filmmaking, and even cooking. You may be aware of Malcolm Gladwell’s writing courseTom Morello’s electric guitar course, or Serena Williams teaches tennis course.   

If you’re looking for a great gift, consider sending one of the courses to a loved one or friend. Even better, gift someone the All-Access Pass so they can explore all the courses they want!

Categories
Creativity Productivity & Work Social Media Writing

Why everyone should blog

Everyone should blog. You do not have to publish 500 words a day. You do not even need to post at all. In fact, writing comes easier when you can write for yourself, in private.

Use a smartphone journal like the Day One app or the ever-popular Morning Pages Journal where you write by hand. When it comes to blogging effectively, you have to be a little vulnerable. Don’t tell all but don’t hide everything either, especially if your advice will benefit the lives of other people.

Everyone should write a blog, every day, even if no one reads it. There’s countless reasons why it’s a good idea and I can’t think of one reason it’s a bad idea.” 

Seth Godin

I have been blogging for years (click here to view my guide to setting up a blog on WordPress). It is harder to get an audience who cares to read your stuff today than it has ever been. You have to assume nobody wants to read your shit because he or she is busy or would rather be social networking or playing games instead. However, for those readers who do read your blog frequently, they have subscribed for a reason.

Luis Suarez has been blogging since 2002 and recently offered some advice about using your blog to reflect the real you.

It’s all about having a meaningful presence and how you work your way to make it happen, to leave a legacy behind, to share your thoughts and ideas others can learn from just like you do yourself with other people’s vs. pretending to be who you are not…Just be yourself with your own thoughts and share them along! It is what we all care for, eventually. The rest is just noise.”

Luis Suarez

No, blogging is not dead

People like to say blogging is dead. But not only are new platforms emerging like Medium, but blogging is just writing. Words will always be a powerful way to say something meaningful, whether it is in print, online, graffiti, or the walls of a cave.

I started this blog so I could show the world what interests me. It is no surprise that what you read here is information I learned from other blogs. In other words, blogging acts like a canvass where you synthesize, remix and interpret in your words.

Blogs are like ham­mers. They are tools for building stuff.”

Hugh MacLeod
Why everyone should blog
Art by Hugh MacLeod

Above all, blogging is free, what Seth Godin calls “the last great online bargain.” Blogging gives you a voice, and it is an excellent incentive to think in a world that just wants us to consume.

Blogging is a bicep curl for the brain. Write daily, and practice the art of conviction.

Use your blog to connect. Use it as you. Don’t “network” or “promote.” Just talk.”

Neil Gaiman