Writers Write is a writing resource. In this post we share American author, George R. R. Martin’s writing advice.
George R. R. Martin is an American novelist, short story writer, screenwriter, and television producer. He was born 20 September 1948.
In 1977 he released his first work of full-length fiction, Dying of the Light. In 1981, he received awards for his novelette Sandkings.
Martin was a story editor for Twilight Zone at CBS Television in 1986. In 1987 he became an Executive Story Consultant, and then a producer, for Beauty and the Beast at CBS.
He is best known for his A Song of Ice and Fire series, including the 1996 release, A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1), which was adapted for television as Game of Thrones.
In 2018, he released Fire & Blood, which tells the history of House Targaryen, a family from his series, A Song of Ice and Fire.
Martin has won multiple science fiction awards, including four Hugos, two Nebulas, the Bram Stoker, the Locus Award, the World Fantasy Award, the Daedelus, the Balrog, and the Daikon (Japanese Hugo).
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On his website, he offers this advice for aspiring writers.
George R. R. Martin’s Writing Advice
- ‘The most important thing for any aspiring writer, I think, is to read! And not just the sort of thing you’re trying to write, be that fantasy, SF, comic books, whatever. You need to read everything. Read fiction, non-fiction, magazines, newspapers. Read history, historical fiction, biography. Read mystery novels, fantasy, SF, horror, mainstream, literary classics, erotica, adventure, satire. Every writer has something to teach you, for good or ill. (And yes, you can learn from bad books as well as good ones — what not to do)
- And write. Write every day, even if it is only a page or two. The more you write, the better you’ll get. But don’t write in my universe, or Tolkien’s, or the Marvel universe, or the Star Trek universe, or any other borrowed background. Every writer needs to learn to create his own characters, worlds, and settings. Using someone else’s world is the lazy way out. If you don’t exercise those “literary muscles”, you’ll never develop them.
- Given the realities of today’s market in science fiction and fantasy, I would also suggest that any aspiring writer begin with short stories. These days, I meet far too many young writers who try to start off with a novel right off, or a trilogy, or even a nine-book series. That’s like starting in at rock climbing by tackling Mt. Everest.
- Short stories help you learn your craft. They are a good place for you to make the mistakes that every beginning writer is going to make. And they are still the best way for a young writer to break in, since the magazines are always hungry for short SF and fantasy stories. Once you’ve been selling short stories for five years or so, you’ll have built up a name for yourself, and editors will start asking you about that first novel.
- Whatever you do, though… good luck. You’ll need it.’
Follow him on twitter: @GRRMspeaking
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TIP: If you want help writing a book, buy The Novel Writing Exercises Workbook.