George R. R. Martin keeps a blog (although he calls it Not a Blog since he doesn’t update it too frequently), and it’s a great place to hear news and general goings-on from one of my favorite authors. It gives a whole new level of personal connection to an author, even just reading a few postings every so often from them.
He doesn’t, however, spend a lot of time talking about writing. He gives plenty of updates about his progress on the latest Song of Ice and Fire book, but entries about the craft itself are rarer.
Today was an exception to that, though. In talking about a prologue that he’s been working on literally for years, he digs into just how hard the process is:
This, by the way, is the quandary that every writer faces on every book. When is a chapter really done? When is it good enough? We all walk tightropes there. On one side are those who just pound out first drafts, publish them, and move on to the next book. On the other side is poor souls like the character from THE PLAGUE, endlessly revising one sentence over and over in search of some illusory perfection. The best work, I believe, comes from those who stay up the tightrope, leaning this way and that, but never falling off to either side. That’s what I try to do… and yes, that’s one big reason why the books take so long.
To hear one of my favorite authors, whose work has consistently amazed and enthralled me, talk about how difficult the task of writing a book is gives me hope. Thanks George!