8 December, 2021

LitStaff Picks: Our Favorite Fictional BFFs

Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Neil Gaiman is friends with a lot of authors. He he has an insanely admirable amount of connections, both in the writing world and outside of it. It’s hard to pick which of Neil Gaiman’s friendships are my favorite. However, since I just finished reading and enjoying Good Omens, it’s only fitting that I would choose Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Good Omens is a humorous, amusing book about the apocalypse and the antichrist. In the hands of Gaiman and Pratchett, subjects that are usually played for drama and horror is instead effectively played for laughs. They make for a great team and an even greater friendship. I think this conversation between the two explains their friendship much better than I ever could:

Neil Gaiman: “The first radio interview we did in New York, the interviewer was asking us ‘Who is Agnes Nutter? What is her history? Is Armageddon happening?” and so on and so forth. After a while, we twigged he hadn’t realized this was fiction. He thought he’d been given two kooks who’d come across these old prophecies and were predicting that the world was going to be ending.”

Terry Pratchett: “Once we realized, it was great fun. We could take over the interview, since we knew he didn’t know enough to stop us.”

NG: “And at that point, we just did the double act.”

NG: “We’re working on seeing how many smart-alec answers we can come up with when people ask us how we collaborated.”

NG: “One thing Terry taught me, when we were writing the book together, was how not to do it. Too many funny books fail because people throw every single joke they can think of in, and have an awful lot of fun, and eventually it just becomes a collection of gags.”

TP: “The big problem you face if you’re working collaboratively on a funny book is that you start with a gag and it’s great, it’s very amusing, but with the two of you discussing it, eventually it’s not good anymore. It’s an old gag from your point of view, so you avoid it and you take it further and further. What you’re putting in is a kind of specialized humor for people who work with humor. There’s an old phrase, ‘Good enough for folk music.’ As you work, you have to stand back and say, ‘Never mind whether we are bored with this particular gag, is the reader going to be bored with it, coming to it fresh?’”

See the full interview here.

-Tiffany T. Cole

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