‘Outlander’ Author Diana Gabaldon Once Threw Major Shade at ‘Game of Thrones’ Author George R.R. Martin

Diana Gabaldon and George R.R. Martin have a lot in common. They both wrote a franchise of novels that became hit cable TV series. As authors, they have different methods. Game of Thrones ended before Martin finished the books and he still hasn’t finished The Winds of Winter. Gabaldon is still writing Outlander books but Starz says the series, now in between its fifth and sixth seasons, is in no danger of catching up to the author.

Outlander Season 2
Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan | Starz

Gabaldon was on a Television Critics Association panel for Outlander Season 2 in 2016. One reporter asked Gabaldon about her writing process compared to Martin’s. Admittedly, fans and critics alike were frustrated with Martin back then. 

The reason Diana Gabaldon won’t have a George R. R. Martin problem 

Asked if there was any danger of missing the deadline for her next Outlander book like Martin had, Gabaldon outlined the difference between their process. In the process, she politely called the Game of Thrones author out. 

George R. R. Martin
George R. R. Martin | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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“Unlike George, I write no matter where I am or what else I’m doing,” Gabaldon said. “In fact, well, he admits it himself.  He likes to travel, and he can’t write while he travels. That’s just the way he works. Everybody’s got their own writing mechanism.”

Diana Gabaldon is used to multi-tasking ‘Outlander’

Having a TV show and a series of novels is not prohibitive to Gabaldon. As she points out, she actually has fewer jobs now than when she was a professor. 

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“As I say, when I began writing, I had two fulltime jobs and three small children,” Gabaldon continued. “I wrote in any spare minutes that I had, so I’ve just kept that work ethic, so to speak. I do have a couple of hours in the middle of the night that I can count on when things are quiet, and that’s my main writing time, but I will at intervals during the day. I write when I travel and so forth.”

She could write on the set of ‘Outlander’ too, but chooses not to

Sam Heughan himself pointed out that he saw Gabaldon writing on the set in Scotland. However, Gabaldon insists she keeps her on-set writing to a minimum.

Diana Gabaldon and Sam Heughan
Diana Gabaldon and Sam Heughan | Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

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“I could when we have the inside scenes because there’s a long stretch between takes while they turn things around and you’re just sitting there, so why not?” Gabaldon said. “So I had my laptop and would work between. I wrote one whole scene on that one day at Callendar House. But when it’s outside, no, because you’re just standing in ankle deep mud for 12 or 14 hours. I can do things in my head, but I can’t actually write.”

There is crunch time for Diana Gabaldon

Gabaldon did say that the last few months before her deadline are especially intense. 

“Eventually we get down to the deadline, my deadline, which means that the book is talking to me so strongly that I am not doing anything else other than eating and sleeping minimally,” she said. “It’s like being plugged into electrical mains with both hands and just stuff going through me. I’m not doing anything else. And luckily this only lasts two or three months or I’d die.”