That Time George R.R. Martin Asked Stephen King How to Write Faster

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George R.R. Martin, the man behind the best-selling A Song of Fire and Ice novels, is admittedly a painfully slow writer. Fans, both of the books and the HBO hit Game of Thrones, have long known and accepted the fact that their idol takes an awfully long time to finish his books.

A Dance with Dragons?the fifth book in George?s epic fantasy series published in 2011?for instance, took the author five years to write. Five years later, fans are still waiting for the sixth novel, The Winds of Winter. Last year, the author announced that The Winds of Winter would be published before the sixth season of Game of Thrones. The sixth season has already ended and sadly, no sixth novel has materialized.

George R.R. Martin got the chance to poke fun at his slow writing pace during Stephen King?s recent End of Watch book tour at the Kiva Auditorium in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

In case you?ve been living under a rock, Stephen King is the award-winning author of Carrie, The Shining, The Stand, It, The Dark Tower, and Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, among many others. Considered one of the most prolific writers of his generation, Stephen King has published 54 novels and some 200 short stories.

At one point, George R.R. Martin asked Stephen King, ?How the f*ck do you write so fast? I have a good six months and crank out three chapters, meanwhile you wrote three books in that time!?

Stephen told George that he?s made it a habit to churn out at least six ?fairly clean? pages every day. ?So if the manuscript is, say, 360 pages long, that?s basically two months? work – but that?s assuming it goes well,? he explained.

George R.R. Martin, who?s always struggled with writer?s block, was surprised. ??You don?t ever have a day when you sit down there and it?s like constipation – you write a sentence and you hate the sentence and you check your email and you wonder if you had any talent after all and maybe you should have been a plumber? Don?t you have days like that??

Stephen said no. He added that he understands George?s feelings about those people who keep telling them to hurry up, demanding for the next novel. ?People yell at you and say, ?We want the next book, we want the next book, we want the next book right away!? They?re like babies.?

The hour-long talk also gave the audiences glimpses into their friendship.

George R.R. Martin said that he and Stephen have known each other since the ?70s. ?In those days, he used to go to science fiction and fantasy conventions, where we would run into each other to world fantasy conventions. We played poker together.?

Stephen King also had nice words for George. He said that he?s read A Song of Ice and Fire books during the time he was recovering from sciatica, which caused pain in his lower back and the leg.

?He [the doctor] said that it would go away when it goes away,? Stephen said. ?Sciatica is a weird thing. You see, when you have a back problem it?s in your back. But somehow this was in the leg and somehow it?s worse when you lie down.?

One night, when the pain kept him awake all night, he decided to pick up one of George R.R. Martin?s books. ?I was saying to myself, ?I?ll try one of these f*cking George Martin books and see if this thing is any good.? And it just carried me away. And it?s what books are supposed to do.?

Stephen added, ?And the last thing that I had expected from those books is what pageturners they are. And I just got lost. When I couldn?t sleep at night, I read the books. They saved my life, man, thank you.?

Watch the rest of George R.R. Martin and Stephen King?s conversation below:


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