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Coraline
INTRODUCTION 
I
T WOULD HAVE BEEN
easy to put together an “unseen material” section on American Gods
my last novel. Once the book was done, there were about ten thousand words ready to be cut. 
There was a whole short story that didn’t seem to belong in the book, so I wound up sending it 
out as a very wordy Christmas card. That wasn’t going to happen with Coraline. I wrote it very 
slowly, a word at a time, making, unintentionally, something that left no room for cuts and 
elisions. 
I only removed one bit from the whole thing; many years ago I showed it to a very eminent and 
brilliant author, who wanted to publish it in her line of books, but who felt that it needed 
something at the beginning to tell you what sort of a book it was. 
This is the story of Coraline, I wrote, who was small for her age, and found herself in darkest 
danger. 
Before it was all over Coraline had seen what lay behind mirrors, and had a close call with a 
bad hand, and had come face to face with her other mother; she had rescued her true parents 
from a fate worse than death and triumphed against overwhelming odds. 
This is the story of Coraline, who lost her parents, and found them again, and (more or less) 
escaped (more or less) unscathed. 
But the author’s career as a publisher was pretty much over, and when, some years after that, I 
sat down to write the last two-thirds of the book (in August 1992 I’d got up to “Hullo,” said 
Coraline. “How did you get in?” The cat didn’t say anything. Coraline got out of bed and then 
stopped, without ending the sentence, for six years), the first thing I did was to remove that 
opening. 
I think I just wanted the book to creep up on you slowly. 
While we don’t have any cut sections in this part of the book (except for that one), we do have a 
few interesting things in here for you to look at. Dave McKean is a prolific and brilliant 
illustrator: we’ve included versions of the illustrations he did for the book that have never seen 
print. I went and dug out the battered black notebook I wrote Coraline in, by hand, with 
occasional notes to myself on what was going to happen later in the book, which tended to be 
right in spirit but wrong in the details. You’ll find some reproductions of notebook pages, in my 
handwriting, which I can actually read, although some people doubt this. The ink color, which 
ranged from a dried-blood brown to a new-wine purple, is unfortunately not reproduced, 
although all my crossings-out are. 
There are also some questions, with answers that may or may not be very helpful but are at least 
true (or do I mean that the other way around?). 
N
EIL
G
AIMAN 
April 1, 2002 





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