Tag Archives: Books

From Neil Gaiman

I came across this post from Mr. Gaiman and like he wrote I wanted to pass it on to my readers.

From his website:


Important. And pass it on…

John M. Ford was pretty much the smartest writer I knew. Mostly. He did one thing that was less than smart, though: he knew he wasn’t in the best of health, but he still didn’t leave a proper will, and so didn’t, in death, dispose of his literary estate in the way that he intended to while he was alive, which has caused grief and concern to the people who were closest to him.

He’s not the first writer I know who didn’t think to take care of his or her posthumous intellectual property. For example, I knew a writer — a great writer — separated from and estranged from his wife during the last five years of his life. He died without making a will, and his partner, who understood and respected his writing, was shut out, while his wife got the intellectual property, and has not, I think, treated it as it should have been treated. These things happen, and they happen too often.

There are writers who blithely explain to the world that they didn’t make a will because they don’t mind who gets their jeans and old guitar when they die but who would have conniptions if they realised how much aggravation their books or articles or poems or songs would cause their loved ones (or editors, anthologists or fans) after their death…

Writers put off making wills (well, human beings put off making wills, and most writers are probably human beings). Some of us think it’s self-aggrandising or foolish to pretend that anyone would be interested in their books or creations after they’re dead. Others secretly believe we’re going to live forever and that making a will would mean letting Death in a crack.

Others make wills, but don’t think to take into account what happens to our literary estate as a separate thing from the disposition of our second-best beds, which means unqualified or uninterested relatives can find themselves in control of everything the author’s written. Some of us are just cheap.

All this bothered me, and still bothers me.

Shortly after Mike Ford’s death, I spoke to Les Klinger about it. Les is a lawyer, and a very good one, and also an author. I met him through Michael Dirda, and the Baker Street Irregulars (here’s Les’s Sherlockian webpage).

Les immediately saw my point, understood my crusade and went off and made a document for authors. Especially the lazy sort of authors, or just the ones who haven’t quite got around to seeing a lawyer, or who figure that one day it’ll all sort itself out, or even the ones to whom it has never occurred that they need to think about this stuff.

It’s a PDF file, which you can, and should, if you’re a creative person, download here:


As Les says, your options are:

1) Recopy the document ENTIRELY by hand, date it, and sign it at the end. No witnesses required.

2) Type the document, date it, sign it IN FRONT OF at least two witnesses, who are not family or named in the Will, and have each witness sign IN FRONT OF YOU and the other witnesses. Better yet, go to a lawyer with this form and discuss your choices!

Having said that, the first option, a “holographic will” isn’t valid everywhere — according to Wikipedia, In the United States, unwitnessed holographic wills are valid in around 30 out of the 50 states. Jurisdictions that do not themselves recognize such holographic wills may nonetheless accept them under a “foreign wills act” if it was drafted in another jurisdiction in which it would be valid. In the United Kingdom, unwitnessed holographic wills are valid in Scotland, but not in England and Wales.

So the second option is by far the wisest.

Pass it on. Spread it around. And then, if you’re an author, or even a weekend author with just a few short stories published, or one thin book you don’t think anyone read or would want to republish, fill it out. Sign it and date it in front of witnesses. Put it somewhere safe. And rest easily in the knowledge that you may have made some anthologist, or some loved one, in the future, a bit happier and made their lives a little easier.

(Or better still, print it out and take it to your own lawyer/ solicitor or equivalent legal person when you get a formal will drawn up. As Les says, take it to a lawyer and discuss your choices.)

Feel very free to repost it on your own webpages, or to link to it above, or link to this blog entry — it’s http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/2006/10/important-and-pass-it-on.html — which contains all this information.

(And the same goes for you artists, photographers and songwriters, although a few words may have to be changed or added.)

Grammar Time

When one writes so much has to be taken into consideration. Is the plot line working, how is the pace and flow of the story and are we bringing our readers along for the ride or leaving them back at page four? We have to incorporate and weave scenes, characters and drama and make it all work together or else it will go nowhere. When we finally finish a book well that is just the beginning. The cliché that writing is the easy part I feel is dead on.

For once we are done we are now having to revise and edit. To me edit is an evil word but one that is needed and required. Some words we must pay certain attention to for it can change our sentence structure around.

Its vs. It’s: When I have to use either word I tend to pause sounding out the contraction to make sure I am using the right form. Its is possessive while it’s stands for It is.

I vs. me: I truly hate this one. What helps is if you separate the sentence. For example if you are not sure whether it is “Sharon and I will go” vs. “Sharon and me will go”, take them apart. You now have “Sharon will go” and “I will go” which both make sense. “Me will go” does not so hence you need to use the word I.

Another example of this is “Give it to Tom and me” or “Give it to Tom and I”. Separating the two you will have “Give it to Tom” vs. “Give it to me”. Both make sense so the correct word to use is me.

Your vs. You’re: This one does make me pause. Your is used as a modifier before a noun. For example: Your books. You’re means you are which would not make sense if you say you are books.

There vs. Their vs. They’re: There is the possessive form of they. They’re stands for they are. There tends to mean place and position.

This is their car.

Take a note of their names and addresses.

The child is theirs.

Sit over there.

I wouldn’t go there again.

Stop there before you make any more mistakes.

They’re going to the concert.

They’re making bread.

There are other examples that make me mutter such as effect vs. affect, to vs. too and then vs. than.

I won’t even bring up commas. They are the death of me and that is why I have an editor. Editing is not fun and while people have said they love to do it, I doubt those words will ever be uttered by me. So yes writing is the easy part as far as I am concern. The revising and editing are the hoops writers must go through to get their MS ready for the world to enjoy. It is not fun and that is probably while I still have three books to be edited. Instead I continue to write.

The Books We Read

I stated earlier this year that I run a book club in my area. A list of what we had read since the group started in the Spring of 2009 was created so there would be no duplications. We have had books from a variety of genres, age groups and topics. It has been a great experience for me personally to share the love of reading with others. Looking at the list I’m amazed and proud of the group.

Here is the list.

1-The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter- Carson McCullers

2-Graceling- Kristin Cashore

3-Illustrated Man- Ray Bradbury

4-The Art Of Racing in the Rain- Garth Stein

5-Bloodwork- Michael Connelly

6-The Physick Book Of Deliverance Dane-Katherine Howe

7-The Memory Keeper’s Daughter- Kim Edwards

8-Slam-Nick Hornby

9-Lacemakers of Glenmara- Heather Barbieri

10-The Peculiar Memories of Thomas Penman-Bruce Robinson

11-Bastard out of North Carolina-Dorothy Allison

12-The World According to Garp-John Irving

13-My Melancholy Whore-Gabriel Garcia Marquez

14-Good Omen-Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

15-Dog on It-Spencer Quinn

16-Wicked-Gregory Maguire

17-The Thirteenth Tale-Diane Setterfield

18-Life of Pi-Yann Martel

19-American Gods-Neil Gaiman

20-A Million Little Pieces-James Frey

21-The Reader-Bernard Schlink

22-To Kill A Mockingbird-Harper Lee

23-Memoirs of a Geisha-Arthur Golden

24-The House on Mango Street-Sandra Cisneros

25-The Road-Cormac McCarthy

26-Fried Green Tomatoes-Fannie Flagg

27-Lovely Bones-Alice Sebold

28-Mother Road-Dorothy Garlock

29-The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo-Stieg Larrson

30- Holes-Louis Sachar

31-The Last Lecture-Randy Pausch

32-Grand Delusion-Matt Witten

33- One For The Money- Janet Evanovich

34- Run For Your Life-James Patterson