George RR Martin Talks Winds of Winter, Hints at New HBO Project


In a new interview, George RR Martin talks his writing style vis a vis The Winds of Winter and A Song of Ice and Fire, and hints at a new HBO project.

It’s been six years since A Dance With Dragons hit shelves, the fifth installment of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. The wait for the next installment, The Winds of Winter seems to have gone on interminably long, but in truth, this is rounding on reaching just about the same length of time between the fourth installment, A Feast for Crows and the fifth one, A Dance With Dragons.

Why does it take Martin so long to write his books? Because, as he explains, he’s not an architect. He’s a gardener. By that he means, he does not plot out the shape of the story and then go back and fill in. He lets the story grow as it will, and then trims and prunes it into a beautiful creation.

Speaking at the Jean Cocteau Theater, he said:

"“For me, when I go architect, when I try to outline something, if I’m successful in doing it, it almost feels like I’ve written the book, and now I don’t wanna write the book anymore….And of course I love the fully fledged novels, so that’s why I’m mostly a gardener when I write a novel. I know that highlights. I haven’t written them yet, though…and I’m getting from one cool thing to another cool thing."

This comes about 2/3rds of the way through the interview, at about the 53:40 mark.

Interestingly, he admits that the reason he doesn’t do an outline is that once he has, he feels like he’s done the best parts of the story, and then doesn’t write it.

"You can look at The World of Ice and Fire…my book of fake history…and there’s a lot of stuff in there about what led up to Game of Thrones, all the preceding kings and the conflicts of their era and all that, and people have said to me, “You have 50 other novels in here. You could write a novel about Aegon’s conquest, and all that.” And yes, I could, but I don’t think I will because I already wrote those 20 pages about Aegon’s conquest and that’s the important stuff that happened in Aegon’s conquest…I’ve made up the fun stuff, and the twists and the characters and the cool lines of dialogue, you know? I skip over the boring lines of dialogue…The few times I actually quote dialogue it’s great lines of dialogue said by famous historic figures at fraught points. There’s very little of “Hey, what’s for dinner?”"

Meanwhile, in other things that are also distracting him, there’s the impending end of Game of Thrones on HBO. Martin has an exclusive contract with HBO. (It’s why he isn’t directly working on SyFy’s upcoming Wild cards, even though that’s been his project for longer than he’s been working on Westeros.) But that also means, anything else they set in Westeros (say….a prequel?) requires his involvement.

As we noted a few days ago, in a recent NotABlog entry, he mentioned it offhandedly:

"Besides all that, there’s been the huge new Wild Cards deal, the Wild Cards reread, lots of stuff with HBO that I cannot talk about yet, and of course — always, always — WINDS OF WINTER."

But in the comments he swears that it’s not affecting his writing. Nor is writer’s block. What he has, reading between the lines, sounds to be more of an overgrown garden that he’s desperately trying to prune down into shape.

"I don’t have ‘writer’s block.’ Never said I did. What I do have is “too much to do.” An entirely different problem."

Next: George RR Martin Reveals New Cameo For Game of Thrones

Will he manage to make the 2017 deadline for The Winds of Winter? We’ll all have to continue to hold out hope. Game of Thrones Season 7 will be here soon though, on July 16th, 2017.