How George R.R. Martin Writes on an Old-School, DOS Computer

As I’m sure many of you readers know, the Game of Thrones books are freaking massive. They’re so long and hefty that just holding them to read should count as some form of weightlifting. The popular novels’ crazy size and complexity makes it even more shocking to find out that author George R.R. Martin writes them all on a computer older than current college students.

Martin uses a DOS running computer and a WordStar 4.0 word processor to type out his epic novels. For anyone too young to remember, WordStar 4.0 was released in 1987, nearly 30 years ago. Think about that next time you want to upgrade your system as soon as the newest version comes available.

The WordStar 4.0 word processor looks like it came straight out of a 90’s sci-fi movie too. With its black background and complex controls, it looks like Microsoft Word’s evil twin. There isn’t a cursor, so you have to enter commands on the keyboard to do anything within the processor. If you’ve never used a DOS computer or have forgotten just how complex the WordStar system was, there are plenty of demonstration videos on YouTube that will give you some serious respect for Martin’s writing methods.

So, why does he write on such an old system? It’s not like he can’t afford a better computer. The guy’s made so much money off of Game of Thrones that he’s got this writer wondering if a DOS computer isn’t the real secret to success. Well, it’s not hooked up to the internet, so the distractions are minimal, he doesn’t have to fear a virus or a hacker, and it doesn’t autocorrect all of his made up words. Can you imagine the field day autocorrect would have with the names from Game of Thrones?

I know what you’re thinking: so that’s why it takes him so damn long to finish each novel. Honestly though, using an old school word processor seems to help him and his writing. Everyone has their own weird preferences when it comes to their personal computers, especially writers. Plus, according to his interviews, Martin does have a second computer that is hooked up to the internet, so he isn’t totally stuck in the dark ages.

Now, we don’t know whether or not he uses a Das Keyboard hookup on his old-school machine, but if you’re out there, George, let us know. What about the rest of you? Is anyone else out there still running retro machines?