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Neil Gaiman |  Image: Getty Images
Source: Neil Gaiman | Image: Getty Images

84 Neil Gaiman Quotes on Writing and the Beautiful Art of Storytelling

Dayna Remus
Nov 17, 2022
03:20 P.M.
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Writer Neil Gaiman has probably typed out more words than many of us can imagine, and it seems that all of them have something poignant to convey. Scan through these 84 quotes to get a taste of this writer's beautiful way with the English language.

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Neil Gaiman is a renowned renaissance man in creative writing and prose. From novels and comic books to theatre and film, his works can be found in many artistic fields, whether it's his original writing or an adaptation.

One of his more famous works includes the movie "Coraline," an adaptation of his novel of the same name and directed by cult filmmaker Tim Burton. The series, "American Gods," is also based on one of his books, as well as the wildly popular "Doctor Who" and "Sandman."

Read the author's 84 quotes below and get a deeper account of his poetic way with words.

 Neil Gaiman's quote: "Words save our lives, sometimes." | Image: AmoDays

Neil Gaiman's quote: "Words save our lives, sometimes." | Image: AmoDays

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Neil Gaiman Quotes on Books and the Beauty of Storytelling

"What I say is, a town isn't a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it's got a bookstore, it knows it's not foolin' a soul." — Neil Gaiman

"Most books on witchcraft will tell you that witches work naked. This is because most books on witchcraft were written by men." — Neil Gaiman

"Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten." — Neil Gaiman

"Stories you read when you're the right age never quite leave you. You may forget who wrote them or what the story was called. Sometimes you'll forget precisely what happened, but if a story touches you, it will stay with you, haunting the places in your mind that you rarely ever visit." — Neil Gaiman

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"I went away in my head, into a book. That was where I went whenever real life was too hard or too inflexible." — Neil Gaiman

 Neil Gaiman’s quote: "A book is a dream that you hold in your hands." | Image: AmoDays

Neil Gaiman’s quote: "A book is a dream that you hold in your hands." | Image: AmoDays

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"Books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside of them. And it's much cheaper to buy somebody a book than it is to buy them the whole world!" — Neil Gaiman

"Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and dreams are the shadow truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes..." — Neil Gaiman

"Picking five favorite books is like picking the five body parts you'd most like not to lose." — Neil Gaiman

"A book is a dream that you hold in your hands." — Neil Gaiman

"I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else." — Neil Gaiman

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Neil Gaiman’s quote: "Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten." | Image: AmoDays

Neil Gaiman’s quote: "Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten." | Image: AmoDays

"Words save our lives, sometimes." — Neil Gaiman

"Never trust the storyteller. Only trust the story." ― Neil Gaiman

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"Stories may well be lies, but they are good lies that say true things, and which can sometimes pay the rent." ― Neil Gaiman

"Books were safer than other people anyway." ― Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman Quotes on Writing

"You learn more from finishing a failure than you do from writing a success." — Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman’s quote: "I've been inspired by dreams — I've even stolen scenes or images or characters from them." | Image: AmoDays

Neil Gaiman’s quote: "I've been inspired by dreams — I've even stolen scenes or images or characters from them." | Image: AmoDays

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"If you get stuck, you can ask yourself what your characters want — and that is like a flashlight. It shines a light on the road ahead and lets you move forward. It's the only question that opens the door to 'What do you do next?'" — Neil Gaiman

"This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard, and you put one word after another until it's done. It's that easy, and that hard." — Neil Gaiman

"'And then what happened?' Those words, I think, are the most important words there are for a storyteller. Anything you can do to keep people turning the pages is legitimate." — Neil Gaiman

"Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days, nothing else matters." — Neil Gaiman

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"Dialogue is character. The way that somebody talks, what they say, how they say it is character. And dialogue has to show character. It also has to show plot. And maybe it can be funny along the way." — Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman’s quote: "It's always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen), and quite often the blank piece of paper wins." | Image: AmoDays

Neil Gaiman’s quote: "It's always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen), and quite often the blank piece of paper wins." | Image: AmoDays

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"You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we're doing it." — Neil Gaiman

"Writer advice...Write. Finish things. Go for walks. Read a lot and outside your comfort zone. Stay interested. Daydream. Write.” — Neil Gaiman

"The world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before." — Neil Gaiman

"Because, if one is writing novels today, concentrating on the beauty of the prose is right up there with concentrating on your semicolons, for wasted effort." — Neil Gaiman

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"You may need to write about types of people who you do not know." — Neil Gaiman

 Neil Gaiman’s quote: "As far as I'm concerned, the entire reason for becoming a writer is not having to get up in the morning." | Image: AmoDays

Neil Gaiman’s quote: "As far as I'm concerned, the entire reason for becoming a writer is not having to get up in the morning." | Image: AmoDays

"Growing up is highly overrated. Just be an author." — Neil Gaiman

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"A lot of what you do in world building is you do your homework. You do your research. Go on walks. See things. All of that—and then take notes." — Neil Gaiman

"I've been inspired by dreams — I've even stolen scenes or images or characters from them." — Neil Gaiman

"It's always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen), and quite often the blank piece of paper wins." — Neil Gaiman

"As far as I'm concerned, the entire reason for becoming a writer is not having to get up in the morning." — Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman’s quote: "Writer advice...Write. Finish things. Go for walks. Read a lot and outside your comfort zone. Stay interested. Daydream. Write.” | Image: AmoDays

Neil Gaiman’s quote: "Writer advice...Write. Finish things. Go for walks. Read a lot and outside your comfort zone. Stay interested. Daydream. Write.” | Image: AmoDays

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"I learned to write by writing." — Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman Quotes on Life and Love

"I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes...you're doing something." — Neil Gaiman

"Pain shared, my brother, is pain not doubled, but halved." — Neil Gaiman

"I think that the joy of world-building in fiction is honestly the joy of getting to play God. Because as an author, you get to build the world." — Neil Gaiman

"People ask me, 'How do you cope with rejection?'… And there are only two ways to do it — one of which is you go down. You get sad. You put the thing away. You stop writing. You go and get a real job; go and do something else. And the other is a kind of crazed attitude that actually the most important thing now is to write something so brilliant, so powerful, so good nobody could ever reject it." — Neil Gaiman

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Neil Gaiman’s quote: "Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here." | Image: AmoDays

Neil Gaiman’s quote: "Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here." | Image: AmoDays

"Have you ever been in love? Horrible, isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest, and it opens up your heart, and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up." — Neil Gaiman

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"We all not only could know everything. We do. We just tell ourselves we don't, to make it all bearable." — Neil Gaiman

"Most of us find our own voices only after we've sounded like a lot of other people." — Neil Gaiman

"Trust dreams. Trust your heart, and trust your story." — Neil Gaiman

"All your questions can be answered if that is what you want. But once you learn your answers, you can never unlearn them." — Neil Gaiman

 Neil Gaiman's quote: "Life is always going to be stranger than fiction because fiction has to be convincing, and life doesn't." | Image: AmoDays

Neil Gaiman's quote: "Life is always going to be stranger than fiction because fiction has to be convincing, and life doesn't." | Image: AmoDays

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"You're always you, and that doesn't change, and you're always changing, and there's nothing you can do about it." — Neil Gaiman

"You always have to remember, when people tell you that something doesn't work for them, that they're right. It doesn't work for them. And that is incredibly important information. You also have to remember that when people tell you what they think is wrong and how you should fix it, that they’re almost always wrong." — Neil Gaiman

"Each person who ever was or is or will be has a song. It isn't a song that anybody else wrote. It has its own melody; it has its own words. Very few people get to sing their song. Most of us fear that we cannot do it justice with our voices or that our words are too foolish, or too honest, or too odd. So people live their song instead." — Neil Gaiman

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"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself." — Neil Gaiman

"If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained." — Neil Gaiman

 Neil Gaiman's quote: "Death's a funny thing. I used to think it was a big, sudden thing, like a huge owl that would swoop down out of the night and carry you off. I don't anymore. I think it's a slow thing." | Image: AmoDays

Neil Gaiman's quote: "Death's a funny thing. I used to think it was a big, sudden thing, like a huge owl that would swoop down out of the night and carry you off. I don't anymore. I think it's a slow thing." | Image: AmoDays

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"Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here." — Neil Gaiman

"You've a good heart. Sometimes that's enough to see you safe wherever you go. But mostly, it's not." — Neil Gaiman

"When we hold each other in the darkness, it doesn't make the darkness go away. The bad things are still out there. The nightmares still walking. When we hold each other, we feel not safe but better. 'It's all right,' we whisper, 'I'm here; I love you.' And we lie: 'I'll never leave you.' For just a moment or two, the darkness doesn't seem so bad." — Neil Gaiman

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"You get what anybody gets; you get a lifetime." — Neil Gaiman

"I believe that life is a game, that life is a cruel joke, and that life is what happens when you're alive and that you might as well lie back and enjoy it." — Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman's quote: "Every lover is, in his heart, a madman, and, in his head, a minstrel." | Image: AmoDays

Neil Gaiman's quote: "Every lover is, in his heart, a madman, and, in his head, a minstrel." | Image: AmoDays

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"Life is always going to be stranger than fiction because fiction has to be convincing, and life doesn't." — Neil Gaiman

"Death's a funny thing. I used to think it was a big, sudden thing, like a huge owl that would swoop down out of the night and carry you off. I don't anymore. I think it's a slow thing." — Neil Gaiman

"I do not miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even as greater things crumbled. I could not control the world I was in, could not walk away from things or people or moments that hurt, but I took joy in the things that made me happy." — Neil Gaiman

"Every lover is, in his heart, a madman, and, in his head, a minstrel." — Neil Gaiman

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"Even nothing can not last forever." — Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman's quote: "Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly." | Image: AmoDays

Neil Gaiman's quote: "Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly." | Image: AmoDays

"Everybody has a secret world inside of them. I mean everybody. All of the people in the whole world, I mean everybody — no matter how dull and boring they are on the outside. Inside them, they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds… Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe." — Neil Gaiman

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"Life is a disease: sexually transmitted and invariably fatal." — Neil Gaiman

"Face your life, its pain, its pleasure. Leave no path untaken." — Neil Gaiman

"There are so many fragile things, after all. People break so easily, and so do dreams and hearts." — Neil Gaiman

"Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly." — Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman's quote: "That which is dreamed can never be lost, can never be undreamed." | Image: AmoDays

Neil Gaiman's quote: "That which is dreamed can never be lost, can never be undreamed." | Image: AmoDays

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"Then, one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life… you give them a piece of you. They don't ask for it. They do something dumb one day like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn't your own anymore." — Neil Gaiman

"It's like the people who believe they'll be happy if they go and live somewhere else but who learn it doesn't work that way. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you. If you see what I mean." — Neil Gaiman

Opinionated Neil Gaiman Quotes

"Information and knowledge: two currencies that have never gone out of style." — Neil Gaiman

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"Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one." — Neil Gaiman

"There's none so blind...as those who will not listen." — Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman's quote: "Ideas are more difficult to kill than people, but they can be killed." | Image: AmoDays

Neil Gaiman's quote: "Ideas are more difficult to kill than people, but they can be killed." | Image: AmoDays

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"A nice, easy place for freedom of speech to be eroded is comics because comics are a natural target whenever an election comes up." — Neil Gaiman

"Adults follow paths. Children explore. Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands; perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths, to creep beneath rhododendrons, to find the spaces between fences." — Neil Gaiman

"Gods die. And when they truly die, they are unmourned and unremembered. Ideas are more difficult to kill than people, but they can be killed." — Neil Gaiman

"It is a fool's prerogative to utter truths that no one else will speak." — Neil Gaiman

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"I don't want whatever I want. Nobody does. Not really. What kind of fun would it be if I just got everything I ever wanted just like that, and it didn't mean anything? What then?" — Neil Gaiman

 Neil Gaiman's quote: "There's never been a true war that wasn't fought between two sets of people who were certain they were in the right. The really dangerous people believe they are doing whatever they are doing solely and only because it is without question the right thing to do. And that is what makes them dangerous." | Image: AmoDays

Neil Gaiman's quote: "There's never been a true war that wasn't fought between two sets of people who were certain they were in the right. The really dangerous people believe they are doing whatever they are doing solely and only because it is without question the right thing to do. And that is what makes them dangerous." | Image: AmoDays

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"I've been making a list of the things they don't teach you at school. They don't teach you how to love somebody. They don't teach you how to be famous. They don't teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don't teach you how to walk away from someone you don't love any longer. They don't teach you how to know what's going on in someone else's mind. They don't teach you what to say to someone who's dying. They don't teach you anything worth knowing." — Neil Gaiman

"It may help to understand human affairs to be clear that most of the great triumphs and tragedies of history are caused, not by people being fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, but by people being fundamentally people." — Neil Gaiman

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"There's never been a true war that wasn't fought between two sets of people who were certain they were in the right. The really dangerous people believe they are doing whatever they are doing solely and only because it is without question the right thing to do. And that is what makes them dangerous." — Neil Gaiman

"People think dreams aren't real just because they aren't made of matter, of particles. Dreams are real. But they are made of viewpoints, of images, of memories and puns and lost hopes." — Neil Gaiman

 Neil Gaiman's quote: "It is easy to pretend that nobody can change anything, that society is huge and the individual is less than nothing. But the truth is individuals make the future, and they do it by imagining that things can be different." | Image: AmoDays

Neil Gaiman's quote: "It is easy to pretend that nobody can change anything, that society is huge and the individual is less than nothing. But the truth is individuals make the future, and they do it by imagining that things can be different." | Image: AmoDays

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"We are all wearing masks. That is what makes us interesting." — Neil Gaiman

"Grown-ups don't look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they're big and thoughtless, and they always know what they're doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. Truth is, there aren't any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world." — Neil Gaiman

"It is easy to pretend that nobody can change anything, that society is huge and the individual is less than nothing. But the truth is individuals make the future, and they do it by imagining that things can be different." — Neil Gaiman

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"Most people don't realize how important librarians are. I ran across a book recently which suggested that the peace and prosperity of a culture was solely related to how many librarians it contained. Possibly a slight overstatement. But a culture that doesn't value its librarians doesn't value ideas, and without ideas, well, where are we?" — Neil Gaiman

"Sometimes, we can choose the paths we follow. Sometimes our choices are made for us. And sometimes we have no choice at all." — Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman's quote: "We are all wearing masks. That is what makes us interesting." | Image: AmoDays

Neil Gaiman's quote: "We are all wearing masks. That is what makes us interesting." | Image: AmoDays

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Neil Gaiman Quotes Showing off His Way with Words

"She says nothing at all, but simply stares upward into the dark sky and watches, with sad eyes, the slow dance of the infinite stars." — Neil Gaiman

"I would like to see anyone, prophet, king, or God, convince a thousand cats to do the same thing at the same time." — Neil Gaiman

"I mean, maybe I am crazy. I mean, maybe. But if this is all there is, then I don't want to be sane." — Neil Gaiman

"That which is dreamed can never be lost, can never be undreamed." — Neil Gaiman

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"I am selfish, private, and easily bored. Will this be a problem?" — Neil Gaiman

 Neil Gaiman's quote: "I would like to see anyone, prophet, king, or God, convince a thousand cats to do the same thing at the same time." | Image: AmoDays

Neil Gaiman's quote: "I would like to see anyone, prophet, king, or God, convince a thousand cats to do the same thing at the same time." | Image: AmoDays

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Beyond his popular content, Gaiman is an extremely renowned writer, with the Dictionary of Literary Biography putting him in their top ten living post-modern writers. This all began with his obsession with reading and love for spending time at the library, a public space he advocates for as something that still plays a vastly important role in today's society.

While Gaiman has already reached a significant level of fame, there are other writers out there that are amazing at what they do but are still on the rise. One such writer, Morgan Harper Nichols, pens an exquisite writing style. Read 46 of this up-and-coming writer's quotes.

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