Catching Up with the Pope of Prose and the Wizard of Northampton

First, there’s this news straight outta San Diego: Neil Gaiman is writing a two-issue Batman arc — running through Batman and Detective Comics — for 2009. Pardon me while I say Zoinks! You can read about it here and here and here.

And then there’s this interview with Alan Moore, over on L’Essaim Victorieux des Mouches D’Eau. Moore discusses writing, working, and politics — and when the Wizard of Northampton talks, it’s always worth a listen. I mean, where else are you gonna get advice like this:

“If I ever write a book on writing it will probably be called Real Men Don’t Use Thesauri, because no, don’t touch ‘em, I think they’re cheating. What’s wrong with having an enormous vocabulary? What’s wrong with thinking, ‘Oh, there should be a word that means this or that, could it be this, could it be…,’ then making up a word and checking in the dictionary and seeing if there is such a word, and if it meant what you thought it did. That’s better, and all right, you can waste an hour trying to get the exact right word that’s got the right kind of sound, the right flavour, the right colour…that fits just perfectly….

“The thing I’d grab if there was a fire is my Random House Dictionary, which is an etymological dictionary which tells you where the words come from so you actually know what you’re talking about. If you use a word like ‘fascism’ you can actually have a look and see: ‘now where does that word come from, what does it actually mean?’ That’ll save you a lot of embarrassment. It’s also got a great Encyclopaedia function . . . it’s a biographical dictionary, it’s got all famous names and obscure names and dates . . . it’s fantastic. And that is my best Grimoire if you like, my best magic book, because it’s got all the words in the English language and where they come from and what they mean.

“If you’re gonna be a writer, you’ll cover all this territory, from the broadest categories down to, like I say, the sub-atomic detail of words and syllables.”

Read it. Learn it. Live it.

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