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And pass it on Ford was pretty much the smartest writer I knew. He did one thing that was less than smart, though: He's not the first writer I know who didn't think to take care of his or her posthumous intellectual property. For example, I knew a writer -- a great writer -- separated from and estranged from his wife during the last five years of his life.
He died without making a will, and his partner, who understood and respected his writing, was shut out, while his wife got the intellectual property, and has not, I think, treated it as it should have been treated.
These things happen, and they happen too often. There are writers who blithely explain to the world that they didn't make a will because they don't mind who gets their jeans and old guitar when they die but who would have conniptions if they realised how much aggravation their books or articles or poems or songs would cause their loved ones or editors, anthologists or fans after their death Writers put off making wills well, human beings put off making wills, and most writers are probably human beings.
Some of us think it's self-aggrandising or foolish to pretend that anyone would be interested in their books or creations after they're dead. Others secretly believe we're going to live forever and that making a will would mean letting Death in a crack. Others make wills, but don't think to take into account what happens to our literary estate as a separate thing from the disposition of our second-best beds, which means unqualified or uninterested relatives can find themselves in control of everything the author's written.
Some of us are just cheap. All this bothered me, and still bothers me. Les is a lawyer, and a very good one, and also an author. Les immediately saw my point, understood my crusade and went off and made a document for authors.
Especially the lazy sort of authors, or just the ones who haven't quite got around to seeing a lawyer, or who figure that one day it'll all sort itself out, or even the ones to whom it has never occurred that they need to think about this stuff.
It's a PDF file, which you can, and should, if you're a creative person, download here: Better yet, go to a lawyer with this form and discuss your choices! Having said that, the first option, a "holographic will" isn't valid everywhere -- according to WikipediaIn the United States, unwitnessed holographic wills are valid in around 30 out of the 50 states.
Jurisdictions that do not themselves recognize such holographic wills may nonetheless accept them under a "foreign wills act" if it was drafted in another jurisdiction in which it would be valid.
In the United Kingdom, unwitnessed holographic wills are valid in Scotland, but not in England and Wales. So the second option is by far the wisest. And then, if you're an author, or even a weekend author with just a few short stories published, or one thin book you don't think anyone read or would want to republish, fill it out.
Sign it and date it in front of witnesses. Put it somewhere safe. And rest easily in the knowledge that you may have made some anthologist, or some loved one, in the future, a bit happier and made their lives a little easier.
As Les says, take it to a lawyer and discuss your choices. Feel very free to repost it on your own webpages, or to link to it above, or link to this blog entry -- it's http: And the same goes for you artists, photographers and songwriters, although a few words may have to be changed or added.
If you're outside of the US, go and see a lawyer -- you can take Les's template with them to show them the sort of thing you have in mind. And if you're an estate planning sort of lawyer in a foreign land and you feel like doing a template document, send it to me and I'll put up a webpage here with all of them on.Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods” tackles earth-rumbling concepts — faith, mortality, media obsession — but the acclaimed novel is rooted in the relative quiet of the Midwest.
Here's one way to become a better writer. Listen to the advice of writers who earn their daily bread with their pens. During the past week, lists of writing commandments by Henry Miller, Elmore Leonard (above) and William Safire have buzzed around Twitter.
Study Hacks Blog Decoding Patterns of Success Neil Gaiman’s Advice to Writers: Get Bored November 11th, · 22 comments Boring Advice. Earlier this summer, the beloved writer Neil Gaiman was a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers to promote The View from the Cheap Seats..
At one point in the interview, Meyers asked Gaiman . Inevitably, I've been asked many questions about my creative process. In my usual fashion, I talk about my narrative arc and how I cannot begin writing a novel until I 'see' the clear shape of my dramatic arc, or, to put it in more simple terms, my story thread with its bright beads of scenes, leading strongly and powerfully to my endpoint, my crisis and resolution.
Neil Gaiman () is one of the best fiction writers in the world in my opinion.
His work covers novels, short-stories, children’s books, comics, film, television – pretty much the whole pop-culture gamut. This quote is taken from Gaiman’s commencement address at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, which was all over the internet last week.
Neil Gaiman knows a thing or two about the secret of the creative life. In this mashup of Gaiman’s Nerdist podcast interview and scenes from films about writers, video-monger Brandon Farley captures the essence of Gaiman’s philosophy on writing and his advice to aspiring writers — a fine addition to celebrated authors’ collected wisdom.