Nobody is a villain in their own story. We're all the heroes of our own stories.
I like grey characters; fantasy for too long has been focused on very stereotypical heroes and villains.
I prefer to work with grey characters rather than black and white.
Over the years, more than one reviewer has described my fantasy series, 'A Song of Ice and Fire', as historical fiction about history that never happened, flavoured with a dash of sorcery and spiced with dragons. I take that as a compliment.
All fiction has to have a certain amount of truth in it to be powerful.
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.
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.
It's really irritating when you open a book, and 10 pages into it you know that the hero you met on page one or two is gonna come through unscathed, because he's the hero. This is completely unreal, and I don't like it.
With a book I am the writer and I am also the director and I'm all of the actors and I'm the special effects guy and the lighting technician: I'm all of that. So if it's good or bad, it's all up to me.
You can have the power to destroy, but it doesn't give you the power to reform, or improve, or build.
I try to make the readers feel they've lived the events of the book. Just as you grieve if a friend is killed, you should grieve if a fictional character is killed. You should care. If somebody dies and you just go get more popcorn, it's a superficial experience isn't it?
A lot of writing takes place in the subconscious, and it's bound to have an effect.
Fiction is lies; we're writing about people who never existed and events that never happened when we write fiction, whether its science fiction or fantasy or western mystery stories or so-called literary stories. All those things are essentially untrue. But it has to have a truth at the core of it.
I have an instinctual distrust of conventional happy endings.
I wanted to write a big novel, something epic in scale.
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