The reasons most authors frown on fan fiction are legal. If you do not defend your copyright, legally the case can be made that you have abandoned it, and you lose all ability to protect your work.
I also think that doing fan fiction is bad training for any aspiring writer. With the world and the background all provided, the writer does not learn to create these things for himself. Fan fiction is to fiction as paint-by-numbers kits are to painting.
Of course, it is very flattering when someone likes your world so much that they want to write stories in it, and you hate to douse any fan's enthusiasm... but ultimately it's a bad idea, for both fan =and= pro.
[Summary: The post replied to asked for some pronunciation information]
Rhaegar = Ray Gar
maester = may ster
No, I'm afraid the author has little say about selecting an artist either. That is the province of the publisher's art director, and to a lesser extent the editor.
Michael Whelan would have been a brilliant choice, of course, but just about the time that A GAME OF THRONES was heading into production, he decided to take a two-year hiatus from cover assignments in order to do some original paintings for galleries.
He may be back to doing covers again now, but once a series has begun with a certain artist, publishers prefer to stick with him, in order to maintain a certain continuity of look. In the case of my series, that means all the future covers will likely be done by the present artists -- Steve Youell in the US and Jim Burns in the UK.
The first chapter of A GAME OF THRONES came to me all at once, when I was well into the beginning of a totally unrelated SF novel that I had been planning for a long time. I sat down and wrote it, with no conception of where it would lead.
I hope to deliver A STORM OF SWORDS by the end of the year, for publication in summer 2000.
As for my old books, check out the website at: http://www.georgerrmartin.com/bibliography.html
Yes, A CLASH OF KINGS sold considerably better than A GAME OF THRONES. These series have a tendency to build.
It was a NY TIMES bestseller, which GAME was not. Also made lots of other lists.
However, in the publishing biz it is considered impolite to ask a writer about his sales figures... like asking someone how much they make when you meet 'em.
I've heard a good rumor about A DANCE WITH DRAGONS. I've heard that it will be the fourth book in the series. The third is A STORM OF SWORDS.
Like all but a very few writers, I have absolutely no control over the covers of my books. The art is largely the province of the artist and art director, with some input from the editor.
Six. Definitely six. No more than six.
Six will allow me to tell the story I want to tell; three did not.
But I have other stories I want to tell as well, in this lifetime.
My actual dreams are usually too incoherent to be of much use to me in my fiction.
However, quite often I find myself thinking of my stories just before sleep, as I lie in bed, and sometimes ideas, scenes, and plot twists will come to me then in profusion. Sometimes I even remember them the next day...
Dragons would have longer natural lifespans than human beings, certainly -- but given that so many of them are involved in wars, a good many of the Targaryen dragons did not live out anything approaching a natural span, but died "young" by violence. This was especially true during the "Dance of the Dragons," where both sides used dragons in battle against each other.
There will be more information on the Targaryen dragons in future volumes, but I'm not certain I'll go so far as to do a dragon geneology. Thanks for the suggestion, though.
[Summary: Yasmina asked if there were any plans for an art book of characters, as done with McCaffrey's Pern books, for _A Song of Ice and Fire_]
There's no plans for an art book at the moment, I'm afraid.
[Summary: Dan Kenny noted 'the two brothers' (Josua and Elias, sons of Lord Willum of Renly's court) was an obvious nod to Tad Williams. At first he was concerned that it wasa rip-off, but then thought it was more likely a friendly nod.]
Definitely. I was a huge fan of Tad's MEMORY, SORROW, AND THORN -- in fact, I doubt I would ever have written my own series without the inspiration his provided.
There are a number of other "nods" to my favorite fantasy authors buried in the books as well.
As for answering too much questions... ... well, I know what you mean. I'm about to leave on my book tour for CLASH OF KINGS, however, so I'll be pretty much gone from here for the next month.
I will post the dates and times of my signing tour in the "touring" thread uptopic. Thanks for asking.
As for your other questions (boy, you folks are relentless), I don't have the precise population of King's Landing on the exact area of Westeros immediately on hand.
In very general terms, however... King's Landing is more populous than medieval London or Paris, but not so populous as medieval Constantinople or ancient Rome.
Some readers have likened Westeros to England because they see some general similarities in its shape, and in its location off the west coast of a larger landmass. The latter is true enough (I don't see the former, myself), but Westeros is much much MUCH bigger than Britain. More the size (though not the shape, obviosuly) of South America, I'd say.
The other continent is bigger, Eurasia size.
Yes, a league is three miles.