Writing Fiction: 5 Lessons From Game Of Thrones

This post by Joanna Penn originally appeared on her The Creative Penn site on 4/8/14.

Game of Thrones fever is at its peak as Season 4 finally hits the screens.

We haven’t had a TV for years now, but in the last few months, we’ve watched the whole series, glued to the drama of Westeros and the battle for the Iron Throne.

As a viewer, I have been addicted to the story, and as a writer, I bow my head to a master story creator and world builder. It must be the ambition of every creative to see their work loved as widely as Game of Thrones now is. The adaptation to screen is fantastic, creating new fans outside the realms of the fantasy genre and drawing more into the books.

Even if you haven’t watched it, here are my lessons learned from the fantastic books and TV series.

(1) High stakes = excitement, anticipation and addiction in your audience

The stakes can’t get much higher than those fought over in this saga, and it keeps viewers hooked as the plot ratchets up each episode. The stakes include:

Control of the Iron Throne which guides all the battles. Who will rule the Seven Kingdoms?

Life and death. The body count is truly incredible, with no character safe from the executioner’s axe. Each character is fighting for survival – against the other families, against the cold and the supernatural forces of the north, against their own kind. Favorite characters are killed off all the time, and the shock of their deaths makes the uncertainty of existence ever more real.

Family honor. What use is your life if you haven’t upheld the honor of the family?

Religion. As the Lord of Light seems nascent, the followers of the Seven, as well as the Old Gods still fight for their believers.

(2) Take the audience out of their lives for a time


Click here to read the full post on The Creative Penn.