As I mentioned when I started the blog, I want to use guest bloggers from time to time. The following post was written by my friend Heather, who can be found at HeatherMuir.net or on Twitter: @heathermmuir. Heather graduated from the University of Utah in 2010 with a BA in English, Creative Writing Emphasis. An aspiring writer, Heather was invited to attend Orson Scott Card’s Literary Bootcamp and finished her first novel during a session of NaNoWriMo. (Consequently, if you’re interested on guest posting yourself, contact me on Twitter or email me at breathingfiction at gmail.com.)
There are few writers I admire more than Neil Gaiman. The wonderful thing about Neil is that he has tried his hand at nearly every creative form that involves words. Here is a brief list to give you an idea of what I mean:
Sandman: Graphic Novel
Don’t Panic: Non-Fiction celebration of Douglas Adam’s and The Hitchiker’s Guide To The Galaxy
Princess Mononoke: Script Adaptor for the English translation
Neverwhere: Series Deviser and Writer (later adapted to a novel)
Coraline: Book, Movie and Video Game (yes, he wrote the story for all three)
The Doctor’s Wife: New fan favorite episode of Doctor Who
M is for Magic: One of his numerous collections of short stories
American Gods: Hugo award winning novel for adults
The Dangerous Alphabet: ABC picture book
The Wolves in the Walls: Regular(ish) picture book
8in8: A project where Neil Gaiman, his wife Amanda Palmer and some musically inclined friends wrote and recorded 8 songs in 8 hours (Neil even sings one!)
The Graveyard Book: Newberry award winning novel and audiobook, read by Neil himself
See what I mean? Novels, short stories, screenplays, videogame scripts, tv episodes, comic books, songs, EVERYTHING! Except a stage play. But he’s working on that so we’ll give him some time. And as you already know if you read his blog, a writer is not your bitch.
As an aspiring writer, I find him and his career fascinating. I want to have such a strong grasp of story that I can transcend any boundaries of form that dare to face me. But that’s not the point of this post.
What I really want to talk about Neil Gaiman’s short story “Hearts, Keys and Puppetry.” You might note the author stamp says by Neil Gaiman and the Twitterverse.
Neil Gaiman was commissioned by the BBC to write a short story with the help of contributors on Twitter. The story started with Neil posting “Sam was brushing her hair when the girl in the mirror put down the hairbrush, smiled & said, ‘We don’t love you anymore.'” on his Twitter channel @neilhimself . The complete story is about 1,000 tweets long and was finished on October 22, 2009. You can find a list of the contributors from the Twitterverse here.
If that first line doesn’t get you, I don’t know what will. The story is very much a fairy tale in the vein of Alice in Wonderland, so it feels familiar and brand new at the same time. Of course, it is written by Neil Gaiman so expect it to tend more to the Grimm side of fairy tales. Which is just the way I like mine. 🙂
The short story was recorded and released in podcast format by the BBC. The narrator they chose, Katherine Kellgren (Austenland, Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, Bloody Jack Series), is a favorite of mine for her variety of voices and accents. She does a fantastic job. And it’s less than two hours long.
The podcast is still available for free on iTunes so give it a listen. You won’t regret it.
X Heather Marie Muir