1. Whedonesque
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    Whedonesque Member

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    To what extent can one take inspiration from GoT format?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Whedonesque, Sep 11, 2013.

    I am working on a fantasy novel, among other projects, and really love (I'm sure I'm not the only one) the plot mechanic of chapters told from various character's perspectives in Game of Thrones. For those unfamiliar with the series, the story is told by shifting between different character's viewpoints, e.g.

    Chapter One: Bran
    Chapter Two: Ned
    Chapter Three; Jon
    etc
    Chapter Eight: Bran

    etc. I was wondering whether using this format with a completely different plot, writing style, world and characters would be seen as copying George R. R Martin to too great an extent, or whether it's actually a popular style which I hadn't previously encountered and isn't seen as unique to Game of Thrones. Any thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2013
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    No. Martin is very much in the mind of young writers at the moment, but there is nothing at all new in this. Robert Silverberg's The Book of Skulls comes to mind and also A Home at the End of the World by Michael Cunningham. I think The Hours, also by Cunningham, is also told in this form. It's next on my read list. ;)
     
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  3. Whedonesque
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    Sorry, this is totally my fault but I very stupidly posed two (contrary) questions within the same post. The title, and then the last line. I assume your no was to "whether using this format with a completely different plot, writing style, world and characters would be seen as copying George R. R Martin", from the rest of what you said.
     
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  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    LOL :) Yes, that is correct. People are fevered right now over GoT (the very reason I will be waiting at least a decade to read it) but once the frothing settles, the zeitgeist will see that it is part of a continuum, nothing more. ;)
     
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  5. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I've seen this in various books right down to The Babysitter's Club so I wouldn't sweat it.
    The only way people will call you on a rip is if your book resembles another in technique and in story. I.e. Bared to You vs Fifty Shades of
    Grey. But on technique alone? Only the most anal geek will call you on it.
     
  6. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    GoT will calm down in about two years, I reckon. It's only because the TV series has only just started (and is controversial for some) that people talk about it so often.

    Personally, I like GoT (I read the book first and then the corresponding TV season), but it's nothing to die over. There have been better fantasies, IMO. Still, good books are books to read, so I'm not complaining. :)

    As to the thread's question: no, that chapter format has been done on numerous occasions.
     
  7. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I used this same technique in my first novel, which I wrote back in the late 80s. GoT wasn't out then, but I had no illusions that my approach was original. I always assumed everyone did things like that.
     
  8. JindleBrey
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    Yeah, I'm sure loads of books use this style.
     
  9. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, loads of books use it.

    If you're writing in the same genre as a popular work, you will inevitably draw comparisons to a very popular work, even if the popular work didn't originate the style or technique. So, if you're writing in Fantasy, people will probably be put in the mind of GoT, just like if you were to write a wizard-school story people are going to think of Harry Potter, even though so many of the elements of Potter had already been done before Rowling. That's just a factor of Potter's popularity. Likewise, when people encounter certain aspects of Warhammer, they may assume it was taken from World of Warcraft, even though Warhammer predates WoW by at least a decade.

    In other words, yes, when you're dealing with very popular works you have to be aware of the reality of reader associations, even though the popular work wasn't the first to do something. In this particular case, however, I can't see this hurting you. It has been done a lot.
     

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