Inverse Editor-Author Power

New authors have fairly weak power. Editors can exert their power to:

  1. streamline the story such that it flows more smoothly
  2. cut out dense detailed descriptions that take the reader from the story
  3. their experience at what it takes to make a book become a bestseller gives them authority

The trick is when the author becomes a proven bestseller, the editor becomes weaker. You can look at the books in a series like Game of Thrones and see how the editor became weaker as the book lengths ballooned.

  1. A Game of Thrones 726 pages
  2. A Clash of Kings  761 pages
  3. A Storm of Swords  973 pages
  4. A Feast for Crows + A Dance with Dragons 1761 pages

Tom Clancy follows this model as well.


The only books I have ever pre-ordered are the ones for A Song of Ice and Fire. The question came up about whether George R. R. Martin has the time to finish the books before the HBO television series catches up to him. In summary he estimates the television series will take multiple seasons for some books:

  • Book one: one season
  • Book two: one season
  • Book three: two seasons
  • Books four and five*: three seasons

Total: 7 seasons

* These are parts A and B of a single book. Events on each continent went into their own books. Book five is not even out yet. The last date given was Feb 15, 2007. In my opinion, it would be smart to have it published while the HBO series is out to renew interest, so let’s say it hits shelves April 2011.

Let’s assume it takes a year from start of one season to start of the next season. That means you get them…

  • Book one:  2011
  • Book two:  2012
  • Book three:  2013 and  2014
  • Books four and five:  2015,  2016,  2017
  • Book six:  2018 and  2019
  • Book seven:  2020 and  2021

I think this is what GRRM was trying to describe as he has plenty of time.

To make this timeline work, GRRM has 8 years to write two books. He has spent over ten years on books four and five. He’ll have to pick up the pace to make this timeline. Personally, I do not see it unless he stops spending so much time at conventions, watching football, and most recently consulting on the HBO series.

Maybe the seasons will take longer than a year? We saw that somewhat with Sopranos.

Maybe much of the story is already laid out in advance for some of the final books.

Maybe HBO will cancel the series after season one and make all this moot.

Book Club

Joined a book club. Oddly enough for being an avid reader, I’ve never really done well discussing them in groups. In high school, there was a group of authors who would discuss manuscripts each other had written. The difference between this and a book club being openly critical of something hurts can hurt the author’s feelings. Saying you don’t like someone’s favorite book doesn’t have the same personalization.

Guess I turned a corner when Chelsea and I planned to get together and discuss The Tipping Point about 9 months ago. In the actual book club, I enjoyed hearing other’s takes and responding to them. Better understood some areas I guess I glossed over when reading on my own. Not too much like Lit class like I expected. (Was also able to overcome the nausea of going off to meet strangers.)

Wondering if perhaps the best approach is to discuss while reading … instead of … reading then discussing? Guess people’s differences in pacing make that hard. Plus they’d have to be around each other more like daily than once a month.

By the way, in my introduction, I claimed these as the three “books” I like.

  1. Piers Anthony’s A Spell for Chameleon (the Xanth series) started my obsession with getting a hold of new books. One of my aunts gave me the first three books. I then had to buy the rest of the books the day they dropped in bookstores. That was before Amazon existed.
  2. George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series (first book is A Game of Thrones) Ended my obsession of getting a hold of new books. After all, I spent months checking in with a certain bookstore asking when Storm would drop. Feast spent a year on pre-order through several slipped drop dates. I no longer pre-order books.
  3. Not sure why I named Lincoln’s Melancholy except the other books which came to mind were about physical sciences. I less than stellarly try to be more partial to behavioral sciences.

Naturally quantum mechanics came up. For the life of me, I could not remember name Michio Kaku. His book Hyperspace was where I learned the about the concept of using worm holes to travel massive distances or even time travel. (Actually I read that one at the request of another aunt so I could explain it to her.)

Now… Off to read Ender’s Game again.


George R. R. Martin ranting about bad endings seems odd. “C’mon. Writing 101.”

One of my bigger terrors is his end to A Song of Ice and Fire will be bad. A slightly bigger one is 3 years between books means the end is possibly a decade away and a sedentary lifestyle will prevent us from getting to read it.

Maybe writing 101 really means never put it down on paper?