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A cautionary tale for writers

or ‘Why I spent ten years being pointlessly annoyed at Neil Gaiman when I should have been doing something useful instead’ Way back when, I was an aspiring comic book writer living in Toronto. I used to hang out with talented and successful people like Salgood Sam and Ty Templeton, and I spent my every spare minute planning huge 100 issue comic book arcs, pitching for this that and the other, and writing spec scripts. Those were heady days. After one comic con I found myself sat between Alex Ross and Ty, opposite Jill Thompson and Mike Mignola, nattering about obscure English comedy records and “Bal-Ham, gateway to the South!” I felt comfortable and at home, and a little over-awed. I was briefly on nodding terms with a few superstars of the genre, so it was surely only a matter of time before I got my big break and joined the gang proper. Surely. I was cocky, too. I used to cold call editors and pitch storylines to them down the phone. You’d be amazed how successful this approach was. Well, I say ‘successful’, I had some very nice conversations and never got hung up on, which has got to be good, right…? So anyway, I heard that Sandman, Neil Gaiman’s magnum opus, was coming to an end, but a spin off book, The Dreaming, was in the works. This would feature multi-story arcs by different teams, all set in the Sandman universe. This was a perfect thing for me to pitch to. I decided to eschew the simple method of writing down a proposal and posting it, instead I cold called the editor...