1. 33percent

    33percent Active Member

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    What plot structure does Game of Thrones use?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by 33percent, Aug 8, 2017.

    I watched last Sunday's episode which was epic and was wondering, what Plot Structure does George R. R. Martin use for his books? Seems to me there is alot of Main Characters, all having different needs and wants, the plots which seems like several 3 act structures all revolving around the main plot the Iron Throne. I was questioning how he organized the book structure on such complex level has he did with that many characters.
     
  2. ELeFloch

    ELeFloch Member

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    I have wondered that myself!
     
  3. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    A phrase that may be worth Googling is "braided plots." I wouldn't call it a structure so much as...uh...OK, I don't know what I'd call it, but it seems relevant.
     
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  4. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I guess we won't know till he's done writing it. Last I heard he still has two books to go, and the series has already lapped him, in that they're already filming episodes he's not actually written yet.

    Although he's a rich man, I think he's pretty miserable at the moment. He seems to have been stuck with some form of writer's block for a long time, and now he's seeing his series getting away from him. Although he's apparently told the producers of the series what will 'happen' right up to the end, now he's committed to that, and will need to follow the writers of the series, rather than lead them. JK Rowling managed this feat of still writing a series that was being filmed, and stayed well ahead of the movies. But he's not managing that.

    I feel kind of sorry for him, actually. You'd think with all the success he's had, and the closer he gets to ending the series the easier it would be to write it—but that doesn't seem to be happening for him. I look at him and hear him speak or read interviews, and I sense an unhappy man, trapped by his own story and the need to finish it. It's a real shame. I hope I'm wrong about this. I get the impression that money isn't all that important to him, except as a means to live.

    He's a very prolific author, but he seems to have dropped off The Game of Thrones series. Note the publication dates:

    Game of Thrones - 1996
    Clash of Kings - 1998 (a two-year gap)
    Storm of Swords - 2000 (a two-year gap)
    Feast for Crows - 2005 (a 5-year gap)
    Dance w/Dragons - 2011 (another 5 year gap)

    and two 'forthcoming' (after at least a 6-year gap, and may end up being longer)
    Winds of Winter
    Dream of Spring

    It just seems to me that he would rather be working on something else. He's already published several 'prequels' to the series, which is maybe what he'd rather be writing. I hope he gets everything finished to his satisfaction, but he'd better get a wiggle on.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
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  5. Michael Pless

    Michael Pless Senior Member

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    I think you're pretty much on the money. My guess - looking at the gap between publications of the series is that when it took off, he was wrapped-up in book launches, public speaking, travel, etc. Then pressured to produce. This may well have disturbed his creative process and maybe he lost the urge to write. The chance he got stuck seems probable to me, because he (re-)introduced some significant characters in the last-published book and to me it was clumsy plotting.

    The sheer size of the series would make it quite daunting to return to after a long lay-off. It takes a lot of time and energy to just write a "regular" novel and it's easy to find distractions to draw you away, which is part of the reason my current piece is almost at the end of its third year and still not finished.
     
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  6. Xboxlover

    Xboxlover Senior Member

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    He has a huge ass paid team to keep him in check. I think they even have entire manuals dedicated to that project that they can cross reference to make sure that they don't make mistakes.
     
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  7. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView Supporter

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    The "just write without having any kind of plan and expect everything to come together nicely by, I don't know, magic" structure.
     
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  8. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    I've edited @jannert 's timeline...

    He's a very prolific author, but he seems to have dropped off The Game of Thrones series. Note the publication dates:

    Game of Thrones - 1996 - at age 48
    Clash of Kings - 1998 (a two-year gap) - at age 50
    Storm of Swords - 2000 (a two-year gap) - at age 52
    Feast for Crows - 2005 (a 5-year gap) - at age 57
    Dance w/Dragons - 2011 (another 5 year gap) - at age 62 - and this coincided with his marriage to Parris McBride

    and two 'forthcoming' (after at least a 6-year gap, and may end up being longer) - at age 68 (?) - perhaps he's just taking early retirement? (Although he may have moved on to other interests...In 2017, Martin confirmed he will serve as an executive producer of the HBO television series adaptation of the 2010 novel Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor)
     
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  9. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I wonder if he realised how long this saga was going to be, when he started? Facing your own mortality (in terms of number of years left to accomplish goals) kicks in right about now. I've just turned 68 myself, and think ...hey, I'm okay at the moment, but for how much longer? If I still had several books to write in order to complete a series, I'd be having a mild panic just about now.
     
  10. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I'm firmly of the opinion that this project has gotten away from him. Reading the last book was ridiculous, the way he was introducing whole new extravagant plot lines and characters, just spraying ideas onto the page with no sense of any impending wrap-up... I don't think he has any idea how to get this all tidy in just two more books.
     
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  11. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    absolutely!

    My father took early retirement at 62...(my mother had told him to take early retirement, and get a little part-time job...he responded "Where am I going to get a job that's more part-time than teaching?")...I'm well past that and still working a three-week month.

    I think that you get old at the point where you stop planning what you're going to do next year, and start slowing down. It seems that GRRM isn't doing that, given his new executive producer role, but it does seem that he's lost interest in ASOIAF...after all, the screen-writers have already ghost-written it, can't they get some hack to turn the script into a novel?
     
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  12. Lifeline

    Lifeline Going South. Supporter Contributor

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    Uhm. A ghostwriter does a very difficult job, and getting the style of the author right (in this case GRRM) requires lots of experience and hard work—if it can be done. I have only respect for ghostwriters, even if I can't see myself ever ghostwriting anything, or giving my story to anyone else. But I don't knock the people down who do this job.

    I concur with you that GRRM has lost interest.
     
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  13. Lifeline

    Lifeline Going South. Supporter Contributor

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    To return to the topic, IF grrm has a structure (which I kind of doubt, to me he looks like a pantser whose story has gotten away from him), it'd be 'nested' or 'braided' as @ChickenFreak said.
     
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  14. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    I'm not dissing anybody and the difficulty of their job, etc., I was just suggesting a potential mind-set of GRRM...after all, he can't be overjoyed that, in their enthusiasm to get the show to the screen, HBO have painted him into this corner...no matter how much of a planner he may be, I doubt that he's happy about the situation where he's either got to write "what he's told" - even if it was by himself - or write a different ending that pisses his fans off.
     
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  15. Lifeline

    Lifeline Going South. Supporter Contributor

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    To me, a 'plot' is a different thing than a 'structure'. Caution: this is only my personal opinion:
    • A 'plot' is a the way a sequence of actions reaches from a starting point to an end point. The link between action and meaning. The way actions make way to the new present, at story's end. The way characters react to challenges. The way things unfold.
    • In contrast, 'structure' is about how the author presents this unfolding. Does he write linearly? Does he jump back in time? Does he present information from several POVs at the same place in time? It's about how to tell a plot.
     
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  16. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView Supporter

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    Would it piss his fans off? There are so many books that have a different ending to their movie versions, because different endings test better with TV audience than readers and vice versa. If I enjoyed both the TV show and the books (I gave up on both) I think I'd be happy to get two alternate endings. I could pick which one I like best and declare that the "real" ending in my eyes. :)

    Not disagreeing with you per se, just musing.
     
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  17. Lifeline

    Lifeline Going South. Supporter Contributor

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    I think you are right with respect to GRRM (and I, in his situation, wouldn't be happy as well), but the word 'hack' implied disrespect. We are writers (or we are trying to be :rolleyes: ), and should be choosing our words with care.
     
  18. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    This shows much more sympathy for GRRM than I feel... instead of blaming HBO for "painting him into this corner" I'd be more inclined to phrase it something like His own greed and over-confidence prompted him to make a deal with HBO with a too-ambitious schedule, and/or his lack of discipline/writer's block made a reasonable schedule unworkable for him.

    I certainly can't blame HBO for, A) giving his story ten times more attention than it ever got when it was just a book, and B) sticking to the schedule they originally laid out for the series. Do we really expect them to put a high-profile "water cooler" series on indefinate hold because the author hasn't yet, and may never, finished the damn series?
     
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  19. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I've always asked myself WHY did he accept a TV series deal for a series that wasn't finished? Wasn't anywhere near finished? In fact, one that he was already slowing down with and probably losing interest in? I truly can't imagine why he did it, unless it was a desire for money, as you suggest, or a bad case of rose-tinted glasses. Maybe he thought having a deadline would make him work faster? Dunno.

    I remember thinking JK Rowling was off her rocker when SHE did the same thing, but she pulled it off. However, she was also writing like mad and turning out even larger books in relatively the same period of time it took her to write the smaller ones. She obviously knew what she was doing.

    Martin has, apparently, told the producers of the show what he'd planned to write, and how the series was supposed to end. So he must have known where he was going. I stopped reading the series midway through the fourth (or was it the third) book, because it began to feel like a neverendum to me, however. I said at the time (before the series was mooted) that if he ever finished the series I might go back and resume reading it. But so far? No.
     
  20. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView Supporter

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    JK Rowling had the whole series planned out pretty minutely, I believe.

    I don't think GRRM had any kind of plan. I think he came up with something for the TV show because he had to, but there's no evidence that his series was carefully planned. The opposite, in fact.
     
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  21. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm beginning to think his plan was to have the only character still left alive inherit the throne. Makes sense.
     
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  22. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView Supporter

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    It does make sense! We'll have to remember this post in 2082 when he releases the final book, and see if you were right. :D
     
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  23. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    You read it here first. But I'll probably be dead by then too. Mind you, I'm working on that immortality thing....
     
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  24. Myrrdoch

    Myrrdoch Active Member

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    Cool! That's my go-to structure.

    Can I get some of that immortality?
     
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  25. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I suspect the huge royalty cheque probably soothes his pain
     
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