In this second part of my “How (Not) to Write” series, I’m going to look at one author in particular and tell you how you–yes, you!–can write a fantasy series just like George R. R. Martin. Well, actual results will vary.
George R. R. Martin is a celebrity fantasy author for his famous “Song of Ice and Fire” series, which has been popularized as the TV show Game of Thrones. There are games, personality profiles, and plenty of merchandise based on the hit series, so why not copy him if you want your writing to be a success?
Here’s what you need to do if you want to write your very own epic fantasy series:
1. World creation. It’s okay if you don’t have anything big in mind. You can base your fantasy world off of a part of the real world and blow it up to make it look big. Also a good idea if you add an extra tweak or two to make it more memorable (like seasons that last for years).
2. Bring in the characters! What’s a good fantasy story without good characters? And you’re going to want a lot of them. Don’t worry, you can start small. Just remember to expand exponentially and stick with every new character that you introduce until they die. And they will die before you finish this saga.
3. Stick with what works. This is serious advice, really. If one of your characters gets amnesia, and that makes the story way more interesting than it was before–give three other characters amnesia! If a forbidden romance sneaks in and leaves readers breathless for more–pair up a dozen more characters into forbidden romances!
4. Forget the major story arc. Who says all good stories need a plot? Of course, plots are a good place to start, but once your characters start acting independently you should follow them instead of an organized structure. The important thing is that you keep building up and building out–that will keep readers interested in you and give you an infinite story (though you shouldn’t admit that it’s infinite. Keep teasing about an ending, by all means!).
5. When you’re rich and famous. . . relax. You’ve already put in all of your hard work. Now you can sit back and enjoy the fame and fortune. Keep churning out the new books, but don’t waste time thinking about quality. If you want, you can even cut and paste earlier sections that match up closely with the current scene and then switch around some words to make it sound fresh.
6. The big secret! How can you write a major fantasy epic without completely overwhelming yourself? How can you exponentially grow the world of your writing forever? Only worry about starting it. Once you get the ball rolling, you can base new characters off of old characters, and the readers will never even know the difference. Hey, if it works for George R. R. Martin, it works for you!
All right, maybe the above tips won’t help you become a great writer, but hopefully you learned a bit about what not to do when writing a medieval fantasy epic. What authors and genres do you want to see featured next? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!