George R.R. Martin asks Stephen King: How do you write so fast?
Bestselling authors George R.R. Martin and Stephen King treated Albuquerque, New Mexico fans to a deep-dive discussion last week, the video for which was recently put online. Topics ranged from gun control to King’s new thriller End of Watch. But there was a particularly light-hearted moment at the end of the conversation when the famously deliberate Martin asked the famously prolific King: “How the f— do you write so many books so fast?”
Marveled Martin: “I think, ‘Oh, I’ve had a really good six months — I’ve written three chapters!’ and you’ve finished three books in that time.”
King replied: “Here’s the thing: There are books and there are books.” He explained that he writes for three or four hours each day and tries to produce a half dozen “fairly clean” pages in that time. “So if the manuscript is, say, 360 pages long, that’s basically two months’ work — but that’s assuming it goes well. “
Martin pressed: “You don’t ever have a day when you sit down there and it’s like constipation — you write a sentence and you hate the sentence, and you check your email and you wonder if you had any talent after all and maybe you should have been a plumber? Don’t you have days like that?”
King said nope, though added that real-life matters sometimes intrude. Yet King also said he could empathize with Martin over the pressure he gets from A Song of Ice and Fire fans, who have been waiting for the sixth novel in his saga, The Winds of Winter, since 2011. “People yell at you and say: ‘We want the next book, we want the next book right away,'” King said. “They’re like babies.”
On the topic of gun control, King noted, “as long as anybody who’s got only two wheels on the road can walk into a store and buy a … killing machine like an AR-15 or something, this is just going to go on. It’s really up to us [to stop it] … the sad thing about this is that we remember the killers long after their victims are forgotten, and that’s one of the things that makes this self-perpetuating act.
You can watch their full conversation below