How to Write Like George R. R. Martin

George RR Martin

Authors of genre fiction like George R. R. Martin have a lot to teach me and other aspiring writers, regardless of what genre(s) we find ourselves belonging to.

Here are three brilliant lessons I learned from A Song of Ice and Fire.

1. Keep it simple. Then build.

Martin has a big task with the opening of this series. He must introduce a huge cast of characters while giving readers enough tension to keep them moving forward. The first events in A Game of Thrones accomplish this in a very straightforward manner. We open with a scene that sets up a familiar fantasy world: a spoiled noble doesn’t listen to the experienced veteran. The party meets their untimely end, but the author breaks away from this glimpse of the Others and uses the reader’s wave of interest to introduce the Stark family and Daenerys. We get sketches of the…

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Recommended Reading: On Artistic Jealousy

I’m creepily reblogging everything now.

The Daily Post

Jealousy: competing against others or yourself can be a great motivator or a great source of frustration. Jealousy: competing against others or yourself can be a great motivator or a great source of frustration.

At varying times in our lives, we struggle with a particular emotion or vice. When someone mentions it, that word carries so much power, conjuring up all the things we’d prefer to hide about ourselves.

For me, the word is jealousy. Jealousy. A word with an unparalleled ability to force me to look right into the depths of myself, in exactly those places where I feel most vulnerable. It’s an excellent teacher, a terrible friend. Oh Jealousy, how do I hate thee? Let me count the ways.

I’m a huge fan of the writer Esme Wang. While she’s written novels, stories, articles, and more, I primarily come into contact with her through her blog, where she writes incredibly sincere and insightful essays on what it means to be a writer, an artist…

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Getting Started with a Prompt Box

Maybe I gotta try this. Anyone with me?

The Daily Post

The other thing I discovered: If I had a topic to begin with, it was easier to get started.

— Natalie Goldberg, Long Quiet Highway

Sometimes with writing, getting started is the hardest part. You feel this energy inside you, this impulse to write, to spill words and sentences and paragraphs onto a page. Electric with excitement for the brilliance in your mind, for the genius you will share, you sit down to write.

And… nothing.

You stare at your blank screen. Your white sheet of paper. You think, “What was that idea I had in the shower? The beginning I thought of as I fell asleep last night?” You stand up and pace. You think. You sit down again.

And? Nothing.

Most writers know this feeling. I certainly did. Then I remembered my prompt box.

How I write

Writing Station Writing Station

I abandoned my writing practice in the second half…

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