fighting words

‘Unlike George’ R.R. Martin, Outlander’s Diana Gabaldon Meets Her Deadlines

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Writers each have their own creative processes, but some might be better suited for the pace of the internet. Diana Gabaldon, the author of the Outlander series, was at the Television Critics Association winter press tour when she was asked when readers might expect the ninth installment of her series. One audience member asked Gabaldon if she would meet her deadline for her book, pointing out that fellow fantasy writer George R.R. Martin has had trouble finishing the sixth book of his Song of Ice and Fire series, The Winds of Winter, confessing to “blowing” multiple deadlines. “Unlike George, I write no matter where I am or what else I’m doing,” she said to murmurs from the audience. “He admits it himself, he likes to travel and he can’t write when he travels. That’s just the way he works.” While Gabaldon concedes that “everybody’s got their own writing mechanisms,” she describes herself as someone who is constantly compelled to write:

[Even with] two full-time jobs and three small children, I wrote in any spare minutes that I had, so I’ve kept that work ethic, so to speak. I do have a couple of hours in the middle of night that I can count on when things are quiet, and that’s my main writing time. I will write at intervals during the day. I write when I travel, and so forth.

Gabaldon is nothing if not prolific, writing an entire spinoff series of stories about a minor Outlander character as well as an episode of the second season of the Starz adaptation. She says that while negotiating deadlines with her publisher can be tricky, she operates by her own internal deadline. “Eventually we get down to my deadline, which is when the book is talking to me so strongly I’m not doing anything else,” she said. “Stuff just goes through me, I’m not doing anything else. Luckily this only lasts two or three months or else I would die.”

George R.R. Martin Called Out by Diana Gabaldon