I am not going to get into it myself, except to say (1) if I am writing “boy fiction,” who are all those boys with breasts who keep turning up by the hundreds at my signings and readings? and (2) thank you, geek girls! I love you all.
Do you want to die old and craven in your bed?- How else? Though not till I’m done reading.
One of the big breakthroughs, I think for me, was reading Robert A. Heinlein’s four rules of writing, one of which was, ‘You must finish what you write.’ I never had any problem with the first one, ‘You must write’ – I was writing since I was a kid. But I never finished what writing.
The great thing about reading is that it broadens your life
And if I’m guilty of having gratuitous sex, then I’m also guilty of having gratuitous violence, and gratuitous feasting, and gratuitous description of clothes, and gratuitous heraldry, because very little of this is necessary to advance the plot. But my philosophy is that plot advancement is not what the experience of reading fiction is about. If all we care about is advancing the plot, why read novels? We can just read Cliffs Notes.
The best writing advice I had was [in] ‘Heinlein’s Rules for Writers’ by (American science fiction author) Robert A. Heinlein. His first rule is that you must write, and I was already doing that, but his second rule is, ‘You must finish what you write,’ and that had a big impact on me.
Life is very full of sex, or should be. As much as I admire Tolkien – and I do, he was a giant of fantasy and a giant of literature, and I think he wrote a great book that will be read for many years – you do have to wonder where all those Hobbits came from, since you can’t imagine Hobbits having sex, can you? Well, sex is an important part of who we are. It drives us, it motivates us, it makes us do sometimes very noble things and it makes us do sometimes incredibly stupid things. Leave it out, and you’ve got an incomplete world.
The odd thing about being a writer is you do tend to lose yourself in your books. Sometimes it seems like real life is flickering by and you’re hardly a part of it. You remember the events in your books better than you remember the events that actually took place when you were writing them.
I hate outlines. I have a broad sense of where the story is going; I know the end, I know the end of the principal characters, and I know the major turning points and events from the books, the climaxes for each book, but I don’t necessarily know each twist and turn along the way. That’s something I discover in the course of writing and that’s what makes writing enjoyable. I think if I outlined comprehensively and stuck to the outline the actual writing would be boring.
Writing is like sausage making in my view; you’ll all be happier in the end if you just eat the final product without knowing what’s gone into it.
Ideas are cheap. I have more ideas now than I could ever write up. To my mind, it’s the execution that is all-important.
But my philosophy is that plot advancement is not what the experience of reading fiction is about. If all we care about is advancing the plot, why read novels? We can just read Cliffs Notes.
A man of the Night’s Watch lives his life for the realm. Not for a king, nor a lord, nor the honor of this house or that house, neither for gold nor glory nor a woman’s love, but for the realm, and all the people in it. A man of the Night’s Watch takes no wife and fathers no sons. Our wife is duty. Our mistress is honor. And you are the only sons we shall ever know.
Little redcap,” he snarled, “when next you bare steel on Shagga son of Dolf, I will chop off your manhood and roast it in the fire.” “What, no goats?” Tyrion said, taking a bite of his cheese.