April 25, 2019

Game of Thrones Big Writing Lesson

By Annette Cole Mastron, Communications Director for Southern Writers Magazine

I haven't been a Game of Thrones watcher, yet. I was waiting for all the seasons to be completed before I got hooked. However, you’d have to be living under a rock to have not seen the books, multiple interviews, and trailers tied to the HBO show in its final season. Hundreds of thousands have entered the world of Westeros created by George RR Martin. Most have read or seen snippets about the sigils, stones, and symbols of the powerful houses of the seven kingdoms. 

Author George RR Martin was on “60 Minutes” on 4-13-19 with interviewer Anderson Cooper. Martin seemed surprised by his success. He shared, “If you have a story that is about the human heart in conflict with itself about these very basic human emotions about love and ambition and greed for power, it doesn’t matter if there’s a dragon in it or if it takes place on an alien planet or if it takes place in Faulkner’s Mississippi. Human stories are human stories; the rest is just furniture.” I loved that statement.

Martin’s series is, “loosely based on the historical period ‘The War of the Roses.’” He has created a world with, Whitewalkers, supernatural villains who control an army of zombie-like followers called “whites.” 

To quote Martin, the series, “Game of Thrones,” or “his baby,” he gave up for adoption when HBO purchased the rights to his books. He was to complete the series. He missed his deadlines to finish two more books to end the book series. The executive producers Dan Weiss and David Bennyhoff realized the HBO show was catching up to the end of Martin’s published books. They were left with no other option but to create an end for the HBO show in Season 10. With overall guidance from discussion with Martin on his general ideas for the ending of “the game,” Weiss and Bennyhoff are writing season ending scripts.

Martin says the books are still his “baby,” but the ending of the show won’t have his details. This is the lesson to take away: the author missed the deadlines on his last 2 books; HBO moved on without him; the executive producers are finishing the series without the author’s detailed book as a guideline because he hasn’t written it. HBO has the rights to the world he created, so the author won’t be ending his own series. 

The lesson for all authors to not get distracted from your writing by awards, accolades, and commercial success. Focus on your writing. The commercial world may move on without your input even though you created the world in your books. 

How will the Seven Kingdoms end? HBO knows, but the author of the successful series didn’t write the ending, HBO did.

How do you deal with writing distractions?

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