when suddenly it just came to me, this scene, from what would ultimately be the first chapter of A Game of Thrones. It’s from Bran’s viewpoint; they see a man beheaded and they find some direwolf pups in the snow. It just came to me so strongly and vividly that I knew I had to write it. I sat down to write, and in, like, three days it just came right out of me, almost in the form you’ve read.
Rolling Stone Interview with George R R Martin. I read the books when they first came out over a decade ago and I must confess that I struggled – the political intrigue is not my favourite aspect of his works and keeping track of everyone made my head hurt when all I wanted was some escapism. I still have not watched the full GoT series (waiting for blu-ray and some mammoth GoT weekends) but I cannot fault it’s brilliance as a TV show.
The Interview is a great read for any author wannabe or not. And obviously GoT fans (spoiler alert in the interview – read the damn books). What struck me as especially amazing is that he did the world-building while he wrote – I can barely keep track of my own ideas and he somehow manages to build the detail and background on the fly while he writes…. a map in a half hour…. grrrr….
I have a problem. Yes, yes you smartarse. More than one. Ok! Let me rephrase it then. I have a problem with my writing and I am not yet sure how monumental it may actually turn out to be. You see, I am probably the least outwardly empathetic person you are ever likely to meet – unless perhaps you enjoy the company of people who have enjoyed a frontal lobotomy. What worries me is that according to those in the know, empathy is critical in writing anything that you want your reader to feel emotionally towards.
“What you saw belongs to you. A story doesn’t live until it is imagined in someone’s mind.”
“What does the story mean, then?”
“It means what you want it to mean. The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon. Too often, we forget that.” – Hoid, “Wit” ,The Way of Kings
When I find a book that I like, I usually voraciously consume every other book written by the same author until I get to the point where I sit starving, waiting (and sometimes pleading) for the author to publish his next work. I once did this so blindly that I only realised, after months of bemoaning the authors lack of work ethic, that he was long dead and would no longer be satisfying any of my cravings. The authors don’t need to be Tolkiens or Atwoods or have won some high brow awards – they just need to have written books that I have enjoyed reading and I will usually buy everything they have ever written. Brand loyalty or what!
The last and only time I have ever voted from my heart was ironically the first time I could legally vote – in 1992 for the referendum on apartheid. I voted to end something that I believed was just plain wrong and needed to be stopped. Since then, however, I have voted purely with my mind and my choice has been based on the simple fact that I believe that any healthy democracy needs a strong opposition to be able to function and thrive. In other words, I have never voted for a political party that represented an ideal that I believed in or for a leader I trusted. Instead I have voted to try and ensure that South Africa will never again have a single party dictating life to its citizens.