Hollywood's 25 Most Powerful Authors
“A prose writer is limited only by the size of his imagination … and I have quite a large imagination,” says Martin of the challenges that come with adapting a sweeping fantasy franchise like his seven-book A Song of Ice and Fire series, launched in 1996 with Game of Thrones. “I’ve written half a dozen novels and short stories that I think would make terrific movies and television shows; none of them have ever been optioned,” he says. “Yet my epic fantasy series, which I was firmly convinced was too big, too expensive and too complicated to ever be done onscreen, has become HBO’s Game of Thrones.” While Thrones has delivered Martin numerous literary awards (and eight Emmys for HBO), it was the failure of his fourth novel, 1983’s The Armageddon Rag, that led him to start writing for the small screen with gigs on The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. In addition to serving as a co-executive producer on Thrones and writing one episode of the series per season, Martin is writing the final two Ice and Fire novels — each expected to clock in at the 1,500-page mark — and next has his superhero anthology Wild Cards in the works at Syfy Films. Being involved with the adaptations, he says, isn’t the typical experience. “Hollywood may want your work, but they do not necessarily want you,” he says of writers who outright sell their literary works. “Wheelbarrows full of money are nice, but sometimes when you see the finished product, you rather wish you hadn’t.”
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