I curse you (and kiss you) George RR Martin!

I finished reading A DANCE WITH DRAGONS last night. Everyone in my house is doing the happy dance because it means Mommy is coming out the cave Mr. Martin and I have been in for the last two months. 

I watched all of HBO’s A GAME OF THRONES, season 1,  in a marathon session back in July while my man was away. Loved it! (I’m a huge Sean Bean fan for one). Wanted to see how it compared to the books, so I downloaded the first book on July 15. Wow! I was immediately sucked in. It took me two weeks to read A GAME OF THRONES and the same for book two. I’ve devoured the last three in a week each. (No mean feat with two kids (3 and 6), and a testament to Martin’s storytelling power.)

I haven’t glommed onto a series like this in years. I already want to re-read book one to catch all the nuances I missed as I was racing headlong ahead to find out what happened. This urge rarely strikes. The only other series I have read over (and over) again are Dorothy’s Dunnet’s Lymond Chronicles (the first of which is coincidentally titled THE GAME OF KINGS) and Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. I bought all the Martin novels on my Kindle, so I’ll need to get hard copies.

I’m deeply distressed that I now have to wait months (optimistically) or years (more likely) to find out if …..(shut your eyes if you haven’t finished ADWD yet)….Jon Snow lives or dies. And is he really the son of Lyanna and Rhaegar?

And how does one go back to their own tepid manuscript after reading a master at work? Probably the number one takeaway for me was that I need to be a LOT harder on my characters. Martin tortures his without a blink and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

But if he kills Jon Snow, I’m done.

Today’s writing progress and a tip: I flushed out an idea for a novella with a mind map today. I’ll write more on mind maps another day. I see them as a middleground between plotting and pantsing.

Tip: My guru for mind-mapping and all sorts of other wonderful techniques to write faster and stronger is Daphne Gray-Grant, aka The Publication Coach. Daphne has a great weekly newsletter with writing tips and inspiration. It’s aimed primarily at corporate writers, but there’s lots there for fiction writers too.