Dear Mr. Martin,
First of all I'm a big fan of your A Song of Ice and Fire series and I normally wouldn't dream of criticising someone else's work. I realise that you are a best selling novelist and I'm just a blogger which puts me way, way below you on the writing ladder.
Experts are still debating whether or not the last one actually counts as 'writing'.
It's just that...how can I put this? We're all fucking terrified that you are going to die before you finish the series!
It was originally only supposed to be three books! But you've expanded the story into five so far, with at least two more planned. The last two books took a decade to write and, well, you're not exactly a picture of physical health.
This is not the face of a man who lives well into his 80s
1. Stop describing food, armour and clothes in so much detail.
George. We get it.You're trying to create a vivid, realistic world and that means a lot of time needs to be allocated to descriptions. It's just that I've done the maths and about ten percent of your entire series is devoted to just describing armour, clothes and food in excruciating detail; especially the food. I would even go as far as to call your food descriptions 'uncomfortably pornographic'.
You need to understand that, after five books, I don't care how Jaime's sword glimmered in the semi-darkness as the weak Autumn sunlight played across the Valerian steel of his blade. I just need you to get on with it and tell me who he's stabbing with it.
Here's an example of how you could maybe speed things up a tiny bit.
Instead of something like:
Tywin Lannister cut an imposing figure in armour that was crimson plate inlaid with the finest gold leaf. The torchlight played off two snarling lions embossed on each shoulder that seemed to glare at Tyrion with malevolence. The sigil of his house was stitched expertly into his cape which was fastened at his throat with a broach of polished gold ...
Tywin wore red armour.
And then tell us what's going on with the plot!
2. No more new characters.
You are an expert at creating engaging, realistic, morally ambiguous characters but, and I can't stress this enough, you have too fucking many of them at this stage. Despite your best efforts I'm only capable of giving a shit about half of them. Every new book you give us another mysterious priestess, dispossessed nobleman or swordsman with a dark past and I've just given up trying to keep track of them.
Don't get me wrong! They're all very well rounded and complex it's just that the main characters of your books are starting to take up space in my brain that I need for remembering the main characters of my actual life. I swear that when I finished reading your description of Doran Martell I had forgotten what my grandfather looked like. I'm afraid that I'll have to start reading the next instalment with a fucking glossary beside me
Here's a paragraph you can throw into the start of your next book to get things back to a manageable level.
'And a great earthquake shook the 7 kingdoms. From the Arbour to the Wall, from Casterly Rock to the sands of Dorne the earth shook as if thrown by an angry giant. This killed about half of the population including all those characters that you weren't particularly invested in. Especially Jorah. Because fuck Jorah! He's never done anything interesting.
3. No one gives a shit about Daenerys.
Look George. You've been trying for five books now to make Danaerys a compelling character but it absolutely hasn't worked. We can't say you haven't tried. At this point she's been the leader of an army, the liberator of a city, has had sex every other chapter (sometimes with women).You've given her three actual dragons and I still couldn't give a shit whether she lives or dies When your readers are struggling to care about a dragon-riding, world conquering quasi-lesbian then I think it's time to give up and stop devoting a quarter of each book to her.
Naked, on fire, has a fucking dragon on her shoulder - Still not interesting as Tyrion.
And please don't think that this is just me being biased against female characters. I love all your other female protagonists: Cersei, Arya, Brienne, Sansa etc. They all have interesting arcs that I'm totally invested in but once I see that the story has switched back to that whinging albino I automatically start skimming.You're known for killing off main characters anyway. Don't make this any harder than it has to be.
I've taken the liberty of preparing a sample:
'The three dragons stood tall against the desert sky, their scales and talons glittering dangerously in the sunlight. As one they turned their majestic, reptilian gaze on Daenerys, their beloved mother and realised, that in retrospect, she was sort of a whiny cow. They promptly ate her and went to follow Tyrion instead since he was a far more interesting character.
4. More Tyrion .
I can't stress this enough. Take all of the pages you were going to devote to Daenarys and write a spin-off series entitled 'The Adventures of Tyrion and Bronn: Westeros Pimps'. I would read that book every week for the rest of my life. I am in no way joking.
'Hey Bronn. You know what be cool? If we teamed up to fight crime.'
'Would it be mostly vagina-based crime?'
5. Stop it with the incest.
Off the top of my head I can think of four examples of incest in your books. That's too much incest. This really shouldn't be something that I have to point out. I didn't know that such thing as an 'incest-threshold' existed but it does and you've crossed it.
Like, the first time it was a genuinely gripping plot point. But when it's happening every other chapter it starts to get a tad disturbing. To the point where I'm literally afraid to Google whether or not you have a sister.
This. This is exactly what I'm talking about. Stop it!
Let me say again. I'm a big fan! I don't want you to have to change your writing style (except for the last point. Seriously, enough with the incest.) None of this stuff would be necessary if you can try to cut down the writing process of each book by about 2/3 years...or maybe start doing yoga or perhaps eating the odd salad. Just, please don't end up like Robert Jordan. He spent over 20 years trying to finish his 'Wheel of Time' saga, a series which ended up spanning 14 fucking books! And then he died before he could finish it.
If you die George, it will truly be a tragedy because you're a tremendously talented writer with a knack for creating engaging characters (and Danaerys) but mostly it will be awful because then I won't get to find out who Jon's real mother is or what the fuck is up with Melisandre or what happened to Catelyn or...You see what I'm talking about here George? Maybe it's about time you started wrapping up some of these fucking storylines.
If you'd like to read more about my views on incest in fiction (and why wouldn't you) then why not check out my other recent update: Letterland was Kind of Fucked Up.
Or maybe read about how Zeus was a Huge Pervert.