The Weird Week in Writing: Neil Gaiman on today's vampires, Stephenie Meyer on being burned out (Plus a weekend writing prompt)

Freaky Friday—the latest from the weird and wonderful world of
writing this week (followed, as always, by a prompt):

The times, and the vampires, are changing: Picking up his Carnegie award, the awesome Neil Gaiman longed for the scary, wilier paranormals of old

… Versus Stephenie Meyer’s befanged vegetarians: And speaking of them, Meyer says she’s burned out on vamps. (Next week’s Freaky Friday: Little, Brown announces furloughs?)

Krakens, Minotaurs and Elves, oh my: Beyond vampires, The HuffPo brainstorms nine potential teen-lit subjects.

Of Mice and (Thrifty?) Men:
At an auction of modern literary master John Steinbeck’s writerly goods—correspondence, manuscripts, and so on—bidding underwhelmed, with items falling below estimates or failing to sell.

Has Superman lost touch with the common man?
The hero is going to walk across America and mingle with the people he protects—and DC Comics is offering readers a chance to lobby for the Man of Steel to drop by their towns.

Breaking Bukowski: An addiction expert says alcohol and other substances don’t actually enhance creativity—and, in fact, they derail it.

* * *

WRITING PROMPT: The Cartographer

free to take the following prompt home or post a
response (500
words or fewer, funny, sad or stirring) in the Comments section below.
By posting, you’ll be automatically entered in our
occasional around-the-office swag drawings.
you’re having trouble with the
captcha code sticking, e-mail your piece and the prompt to me at, with “Promptly” in the subject line, and I’ll
make sure it gets up.

You take a map of the world, close your eyes, and put your finger on a random spot. That’s it—that’s where it’ll happen.

A feature package on how to write and sell your
memoir. Interviews with Life of Pi author Yann Martel, and
the scribe behind “True Blood,” Charlaine Harris. The results of our
Pop Fiction competition. New markets for your work. For more, click

here to check the July/August 2010 issue of WD out.



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7 thoughts on “The Weird Week in Writing: Neil Gaiman on today's vampires, Stephenie Meyer on being burned out (Plus a weekend writing prompt)

  1. clark

    In it, we have 10 experts, from Natalie Goldberg to Donald Maass, arguing for and against 10 “rules” of writing (a la Show, Don’t Tell); 10 bestsellers, from Jodi Picoult to Chuck Palahniuk, offering top 10 lists of their own (see the links below); 10 Ways to Be a Productivity Pro; 10 ways to use frustration, hurt and anger to fuel your writing; 10 Tips for Delivering a Killer Reading; 10-Minute Fixes to 10 Common Plot Problems, and so on. 70-620



  2. Vibram Five Fingers

    I don’t really run barefoot. I wanted to, but the combination of super hot sidewalks and the fear of sharp objects convinced me that Vibram Five Fingers were a good compromise between running shoes and none at all. What I didn’t know was that my reasons were the same as almost everyone else’s and the guys that I looked up to were the same Vibram Fivefingers that everyone else did.
    Though I don’t call myself Barefoot Tyler (mostly because I DON’T RUN BAREFOOT), this video is absolutely hilarious. The insults are far better than the random crap the Vibram Five Fingers guy is spewing.

  3. Dorraine

    Kind of burnt out on vamps myself. Cover your neck, they’re everywhere!

    I tried to set up a poem, but I’m not sure the format will work.:-)

    Anywhere But Here

    I close my eyes and pick a spot
    Hoping for somewhere dreamy
    And creamy
    Anywhere but here

    Please give me waterfalls
    Iced drinks laced with rum
    So I can be a bum
    Just for awhile

    Throw in crayon colored fish
    And skiffs of green
    Some hot tropical men would be keen
    To gaze upon while I drink my drinks

    I squeeze my eyes shut
    Stick my finger on a spot
    Groan at what I got
    And now I’m crying

    My tears falling in the Mojave Desert
    Watering the yucca’s,snakes and junk
    Just my luck
    Anywhere but here

  4. Martha W

    Holy crap. Who needs Lovecraft? That was brilliant.

    Mine… not so much. lol.


    Arnie took out the map, determined to get this right. He closed his eyes and jabbed at the faded page. This is it, he thinks. Wherever I’m pointing, that’s where it’ll happen.

    He cracked one eye open, peeking at the place he’d chosen.


    His eyes popped open. Seriously? Of all the freaking places on the map, Ohio? Crap.

    Where at in Ohio? He hoped for someplace interesting, like Cincinnati. He leaned forward to read the tiny type, and groaned.


    He slid his finger a bit to the right, hoping he hadn’t read that right. Arnie sighed. Nope.

    Lima. Like the bean.


    How was he going to do it there? That would never go over with his family. They were big on tradition. Weddings, funerals, baptisms. They all happened according to tradition. This would be no different.

    He banged his head against the wall. How would he get them there? There wasn’t anything in Lima.

    At least with Cincinnati there was Writer’s Digest- no, wait. They wouldn’t go for that either. Oh! King’s Island. They would have shown for that, surely.

    But Lima?


    Arnie slumped into the chair, not certain what to do. He stared at his pants, shifted a bit, then flicked a piece of dried ice cream from his leg.

    He took a deep breath, straightened his back and looked back at the map.
    There was only one thing to do.

    Pick again.

  5. Mark James

    I like H. P. Lovecraft, a lot . . . so this is my brain on Lovecraft
    Zac, I agree with Neil Gaiman. . . there’s nothing like a good, scary vampire tale . .

    Thunder rolled across the floor of Heaven, its haunting echoes reminding me that mine was a fragile world, where Death marched and gathered his ragged armies. That I would soon join his dark legions, that no headstone would mark the place where my rotting remains would lay, subject to wormy corruption, was no obstacle on my mad course. I could not let it be.

    Although I had spun a globe, mark you, the wretched wide world I gave myself that terrible midnight, still my trembling finger fell on that place where fate would irresistibly draw me, a place where subterranean horror breathed noxious evil into the very air. And there I found myself, perched in a rocking carriage, my coachman bent over the reins of racing black stallions, his lashes across their straining backs no less a portent of my coming battle than the lightening that flared across the thunderous skies.

    I parted the black curtains wider, and looked past my hands, shaking as though palsied, and glimpsed the craggy hill upon which my ancestors had first built their blasphemous shrine to unholy arts. There it stood, atop the hill, its shadow against the roiling skies jagged, crooked, as though an act of goodness had never been committed, as though it stood monument to all the sins of men since the dawn of time.

    I slipped my hands away from the rough black cloth, so like the shroud that would soon wind my slaughtered carcass, and cast my eyes to the sword at my feet. I despaired that this task, murderous and most vile, had fallen through centuries of bloodshed, to now burden the twilight of my long season of mortality.

    The coachmen whipped the frenzied horses into a yet more desperate dash up the hill, determined as he had told me at the outset, to reach the house on the hill before midnight. Grimly, I held to the leather strap at my side, and closed my eyes, seeking a moment of peace, a moment of forgetting.

    But torments wracked my addled mind. Visions of unrecognizable forms, creeping, squirming, squelching through unknown muck and slime, assaulted me.

    I flung my eyes wide open, and wrapped the strap tighter round my wrist as the carriage took a jolt and landed with such a crash, I was sure a wheel would fly down the hill behind us, and I would tumble to my death.

    Every century, the eldest son, of the seventh House of Vladmir must come here, climb this accursed hill, cross the threshold of his ancestral home, and fight once more the evil that gave birth to Vlad the Impaler. My older brother, knowing the time was coming, retired quietly to his chamber one recent evening, and gulped a draught of wine brimming with arsenic.

    And so it is left to me, an old man who sought a quiet end, to die locked in combat with an immortal creature.

    I tell myself that there is no truth to the legends; that I will simply pass this All Hallow’s Eve by candlelight in an old house built upon a hill. I remonstrate with myself, denying that a demon will show itself, demand my soul for eternal torment, the price for remaining in the pit beneath until another century has passed.

    Yes. These things I tell myself. And thunder rolls through the night, as if in denial of all mortal lies.

  6. Grace Jensen

    I took a deep breath with eyes closed. My finger was cramping from tension. I wanted desperately to live up to an idea of enlightenment by chance. Spinning around, I played pin the fate on the map. Enjoying the disorientation, I shoved my finger forward, numbing any way of guessing from feel. Opening my eyes, I found myself on the other side of the room… Children on field trips were giggling. Not only had I made a fool of myself, I landed on an antique map, square on a cherub’s butt. The museum guards came to pull me away. As I was ushered off the property, I kicked over one of their garden cherubs. This will be a great story at rec time with the other patients. Who says you can’t make your own fate come true?


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