Game of Thrones (and Plotting)

So far, writing a story from an outline has been an interesting experience. Usually, at this point I have several chapters written and a storyline vaguely plotted out, but with “Graveyard Empire”, things have been different. Characters? Check. Plotlines? Check. Chapters? Not so much. The 500 word snippet I have posted earlier is the majority of the actual writing I did for it, and it is unlikely to change until the chapter-by-chapter outline is done. Groan.

On a different topic, have you ever had a book, a movie, or a game sit on your shelf for months or years before getting to it? In my case, I have a massive backlog of all three types of media jousting for my time, and so far, it led to some very pleasant surprises. No, I am not talking about finally getting to the end of Act II in Diablo II (yes, I am THAT far back in that game), or watching “Swimming with Sharks” at the insistence of my lovely wife (it only took about two years). And don’t even get me started on my sadly missed World of Warcraft Blood Elf warlock, still lingering around level 65 or so after about two years of dormancy.

The pleasant surprise I am referring to is George R. R. Martin’s “Game of Thrones”, a truly sprawling book that has spawned four sequels and HBO series to date. And while I might be a bit behind the times, I have only three words for it. Oh. My. God.

I have newfound admiration for Mr. Martin and other writers who can pull off an epic storyline with larger than life characters, multiple points of view, show-not-tell way of describing the world, and intertwining plots. The amount of work that went into creating a coherent storyline out of so many disparate elements is highly impressive, and I shudder to think of the effort it must have taken to define each of the characters, describe their relationships with each other, identify their speech patterns, goals, motivations, and personalities. And all of it has been accomplished without sacrificing the intensity or the poignancy of the storyline. No wonder the series have been so successful.

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