Web/Tech Writing

So Game of Thrones is written in Wordstar

Here’s George R. R. Martin explaining why he still writes on an old DOS computer using Wordstar 4.0…

Good on him. Writers should use what they’re happy with, not what they feel fashion forces them into.

I was never a Wordstar fan and it wasn’t just for the interface, below.


For one thing I was a Mac user from the moment the Mac came out. So, apart from an early dalliance with other machines, I was on Microsoft Word from the start. But one thing about Martin’s choice does amaze me. Those early word processors really screamed at long files. It wasn’t until the late Nineties that hard drives and memories finally allowed me to write an entire book in a single file. Before that you’d hit crashes as early as the 10K word mark when documents got too unwieldy for the machine.

Perhaps Wordstar’s different. But I wouldn’t want to go back to the days of writing a book in separate files just to keep the computer running.

Interestingly though perhaps we’re going back to some of the earlier ‘show me just the words’ ideas that seem to attract writers like Martin. Here’s the dark, full screen view from Ulysses which breaks books down into sections and chapters but shows you them as a combined whole.

Screen Shot 2014-05-15 at 12.52.00

It’s a lot more attractive than Wordstar… but quite similar too in some ways.

Browse the Ulysses themes library here and you can see plenty of people looking back to those simpler days too.

As always… whatever works for you. I’m not sure I could write in white type against a black background. But I may try all the same.