Featured Articles

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

One more day... and More on Game of Thrones


I hate having to say this... but first of all... looks like it'll be at least one more day until I get the Test of Metal Non-Spoiler Review up before diving into The Gathering Dark. I've gone plenty of days with only six hours or less of sleep since I've started working, but while I'm sick (but getting better, no more uncontrollable coughing, and still able to go to work), it looks like my body is finally telling me to get some rest.

The good news is that after this graveyard shift, I have almost literally 24 hours off until I move back to the morning shift on Friday. So even if my body demands 10 hours of sleep, I'll have plenty of time to do the review.

Game of Thrones

Friend of the blog VoyagerOrchid says:

While I applaud your efforts to keep the TV series going, it's unlikely to get past 5 seasons. GRR Martin has written only 5 of 7 (8?) books so far, and the first season covered the entire first book. Not to mention the horrific choice of splitting up simultaneous events between two books 4 and 5, but not publishing book five until mid last year (6 years after the release of book 4).

Unless he gets into high writing gear, the series will run out of content long before the next book comes out.

There will actually be at least 6 seasons based on the material that's currently released. Book 3, A Storm of Swords, is going to be filmed as two seasons. It's going to be filmed back to back to save money, and because there is just too much content to fit that all into one season if they want to do it justice. Books 4 and 5 are clearly going to be paced differently than written, so I wouldn't be surprised if they mixed and matched into 3 seasons total (or kept it at two seasons for the two books but still mixed and matched).

But as for the release of the next books in the series, there are a lot of factors as to why those books will be coming out quicker than the last book did. I'm not going to go into heavy detail into it. Much of what I'm about to say can be read in a blog post by Sean Speakman of Suvudu.com back in 2009.

But the major factors that play into the long wait for books 4 and 5 are this:

1) George R. R. Martin is a Discovery Writer (as opposed to an Outliner)
2) Middle Series Syndrome
3) The Five-Year Gap

Going into it a little bit more:

1) Writing Styles - There are two kinds of writers. Discovery Writers and Outliners. If I was to write something, I most definitely would be the Outliner variety. I would have a clear beginning, end, and all the major steps in between all ready set before I began the actual writing, and all I would need to do is fill in the gaps.

For Discovery Writers, they don't have as clear a plan. Sure they know some things they want the series to lead up to (sometimes), but they rely more on letting the story just go where it leads, and only after they're done writing, do they go back and fine tune the whole thing so it feels like a cohesive story. With Martin specifically, this means he can write eight complete chapters in a row, then come up with an idea that is much better than where he was headed, and scrap all eight chapters and do it all over, thus losing months of writing. That's just his process.

An example of an Outliner would be the man who has taken over the Wheel of Time series, and has come up with several other great series on his own, Brandon Sanderson. An example of a Discovery Writer other than Martin would be Stephen King.

2) Middle Series Syndrome - (I may have heard of this term through the Writing Excuses podcast, but I'm not positive about it.) The middle of a series is the hardest to write, especially for Discovery Writers. The beginning of the series is nice and focused. You are introduced to the characters and the world. The end of a series is nice and focused. Everything is coming together for the climax. The middle of the series is not nice and focused. The plot has expanded, the characters are growing, and everything is in turmoil. As a Discovery Writer especially, with everything up in the air, and no outline to guide you, it takes a lot more effort to find path that fits. The path that feels right for your story.

3) 5-Year Gap - The original plan for the A Song of Ice and Fire book series that the Game of Thrones TV show is based on, is that Book 4 was to take place five years after the events of Book 3. Matrin tried it, and realized it wasn't going to work out. He realized he was going to have to actually write about what happened during those five years to show out the state of the fictional world transitioned from one state to the other. While Discovery Writing and Outlining may be more on a scale rather than a person being just one or the other, this meant that even the bits that Martin did have outlined in his head had to be thrown out, and something he hadn't ever been planning for had to now be written.

...Adding that all up...

Combining all three points... that leads to a lot of time needed to get Books 4 and 5 written. But Martin is pretty much past the middle part of the series and is beginning the final stretch. Plot lines will be resolving or converging, and everything will be funneling towards the conclusion of the series.

I have no doubts that each book will take at least two years to write, perhaps three, but Martin will most definitely have at least one book done by the time the TV series catches up, and mostly likely two. I'd be willing to bet on it. If the series ends at book 7, I have no idea.

[Once again, all of these points and much more can be read about in the article "In Defense of George R. R. Martin" by Sean Speakman of Suvudu.com... I think. If not there... they can be found scattered throughout the extremely long thread in the Terry Brooks sub-forum regarding Other Authors, in the thread "GRRM - A Song of Ice and Fire."

[Sean Speakman is the webmaster of the Official Terry Brooks website, which lead to the creation of his own book related blog Suvudu.com and the creation of The Signed Page , a website which allows fans to acquire signed copies of newly released books by their favorite authors by mail.]

1 comment:

  1. While I do have a lot of hope in seeing 2-3 more books in 3-4 years apart each, that is all we can hope for. I liked the analysis you had of the splitting of the seasons, and that "can" work out very well.

    A Dance with Dragons (ADwD hereafter) was only a frustratingly long wait because of Martin's own statement in the book, that it would be done around 2006. Had he not published those words, I would not have any statement at all. (After all, after reading the "In defense of George RR Martin" article, it's true, Feast for Crows did take 5 years to publish.

    I have yet to read ADwD, but I will at some point, but I'm not sure it's coming to a close/climax, even after this book. However, with his introduction of new plots and new characters in AFfC (the 4th book), it seems unlikely that Martin is actually in the "middle" of his series, and I personally fear that he will attempt to go on to 9-10 books. I would not dream of giving Martin criticism or stress on his blog, the man needs to write, and he does write well. But I will mention my misgivings for a book series I've enjoyed when seeing a written promise lost, for whatever the reasons.

    Books, especially good books, take a long time to write correctly, to write well. But if time is needed and creativity is involved, do not make promises to fans...