George R. R. Martin asked Stephen King the question we’ve all wanted to ask at a recent event in Albuquerque. Martin and King sat down for an hour to discuss many things involving their writing styles and character development. At the end of the hour (around 50:14), King asked Martin if there was anything he’s always wanted to ask him, to which George R. R. Martin said, “Yes, yes there is something I want to ask you. How the fuck do you write so many books so fast?” This is all of us, am I right? You can check out the whole video below or just skip to the end to hear that last bit!
I think we all know why this was Martin’s question considering we’ve been waiting for The Winds of Winter for about six years now. Vanity Fair reported that we can hopefully expect a book from Martin in 2018. It may not be The Winds of Winter, though, as Martin said that he has two books in the works – the other being about the history of the Targaryen family. He mentioned having “good days and bad days” throughout his writing process, which he mentioned again when talking to King, as he asked him if he had a similar experience.
While King said he is still human and has to keep living his life, he somehow writes about six pages a day when he’s working and says that finishing the first draft of a book should only take about two months. Sorry buddy, but King’s got it down to a science here!
So let’s talk about King’s writing process a little bit since he’s even written a book about that! King’s memoir, On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft, discusses the valuable writing lessons he’s learned during his career spanning over fifty published novels. Business Insider wrote up a list of twenty-two lessons that Stephen King wants you to know about his writing process. Basically, he comes up with an idea and writes what he wants without trying to please everybody or seem overly sophisticated with unnecessary jargon. He commits to writing about six pages a day and makes sure that he does this to ensure that the characters and the story are fresh in his mind and don’t begin to lose focus if he’s distracted by something else. Usually, the entirety of the first draft takes about two to three months. After that, he sits for six weeks and gets his mind off of it before he begins to edit, to make sure that he comes back with fresh eyes in order to spot plot holes and undeveloped characters. With the editing process he gives himself full license to cut as much unnecessary writing as possible. Lastly, he believes it is extremely important to have a good work and personal life balance and says, “The combination of a healthy body and a stable relationship with a self-reliant woman who takes zero shit from me or anyone else has made the continuity of my working life possible.”
What works for Stephen King clearly does not work for all of us or we’d all have a ton of books out already. Don’t worry, George R. R. Martin, we trust you and your writing process and know that you’ve been hard at work for six years to give us the perfect ending to our beloved Westeros that we all need! No pressure…
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