You should start by writing short stories
In this century the Middle Age seduces us like a sorceress to a young man without experience. King Arthur, Sir Lancelot, dragons, mythical beings, and magic swords have returned with other names and new stories. J.R.R. Tolkien amazed us for many decades. J.K. Rowling updated and brought a world of forgotten legends to the children and teenagers of our time. However, there is a writer of this genre epic and fantastic, who we cannot forget on account. This is the American writer George R. R. Martin.
Mr. Martin’s epic ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’, is a favourite among the dragon’s tales. Although at this time Martin’s work has almost unlimited popularity, this literary project of the American writer is quite old. The author has commented that when the idea of writing ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ came, he was working on another novel. Somehow the project of ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ came about in a rather casual way. This is what Mr. Martin tells us about the popular saga that has been brought to television with great success.
“I actually began it in 1991, five years before the first book came out. I was writing another novel which I’d been planning for a while and the first chapter of ‘A Game of Thrones’ came to me. Not the prologue, but the actual first chapter – which is the one where Bran and his brothers find the direwolf pups. It just came to me so vividly that I knew I had to write it even though it wasn’t part of the novel I was working on. So I put the other book aside and I sat down and started working on that chapter, which I finished in just a few days. It really seemed to write itself, and that led me to a second chapter, and a third, and I spent a couple months working on it”.
Martin’s method of creation might seem strange, or exotic, for he claims that his stories emerge from the deepest level of his subconscious. This is crazy only for those who do not practice the art of writing. Many writers have said the same thing, albeit in other words. Stephen King expresses something similar when he explains to us that his stories of terror are elaborated by the boys of the workshop down there. Anyway, the process of writing a novel is mysterious, and Mr. Martin knows it very well.
“I think it was evolving all through that time. A lot of my writing takes place on a level. It’s not necessarily that I’m trying to think of it in any kind of rational terms. It’s almost a daydreaming process – I’ll be driving somewhere in my car, playing music, and all of a sudden I’ll start to think of scenes, pieces of dialogue, plot twists, bits of action. They’ll just come to me, and that continued to happen all through those years where the book had been on the shelf. Other ideas, other characters, complications; such things continued to come to me. It was all there when I got back to it”.
Wise words from George R. R. Martin to those who starting on the long road to literary creation. There is no a concrete cause to write a certain topic or story. The great novels flow like the stream of an underground river. It is a gift bestowed by unknown gods. Either way, although Mr. Martin is a writer of enormous creative power, moving from one topic to another, climbing a new literary summit, is not so easy. An inevitable question then arises.
Was it difficult to make the transition to such an epic scale as ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ has turned out to be?
“I think my stuff has been getting longer through my career. I think if you go all the way back to the early days of my career, I was writing almost entirely short stories. They were quite short stories. The Hugo Awards and the Nebulas divide short stories into three categories: Short stories, novelettes and novellas. I was writing mostly short stories, and the occasional novelette – the shorter of the two forms. As time went by, I began to do more novelettes, and then I began to do more novellas, and finally in 1976 I wrote my first novel, which was published in 1977. That was ‘Dying of the Light’. It took a while to build up to that. Similarly, it was pretty much twenty years into my career that I was able to tackle something on the epic scale of ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’. I do think, by the way, that that’s the best way to do it. I get a lot of letters from fans who are aspiring writers, and they ask me for advice. That’s one of the key things I always tell them, begin with short stories”.
Well, you have to follow the advice of this great writer: you should start by writing short stories.