Okay, maybe this is just the frustrated wannabe writer again, but...
I've read the first 40-something pages of "A song of ice and fire". The prologue I thought was okay. Not great, but okay. I didn't need that much repetitions of how inexperienced the leader was. The rest... pah. I can do better.
- Why does it have to mix the stories of so many people? Is this a requirement for fantasy? Once, I alternated between only two stories of only two people and my readers thought it confusing already. But Martin gets away with it (as do many other well-known writers).
- Why does it have to describe all the guests of a feast in great detail? There are more parts I wanted to skip, but this is the most obvious one. If I add this much description, my readers (including a few publishers) tell me I should start the story already.
I have tremendous problems with starting a story, especially a fantasy or science fiction one. You need to make the reader familiar with the world (without a geography/history/magic/future tech lecture), you've got to introduce the characters and describe them, AND you need some conflict. So I thought I'd study some popular books in the genre. But then I encounter things like this. It's not the only one, either, but perhaps the most popular one.
A question for the fans of Martin! What is it that gripped you? What is it that made you want to read further? Why do you like it?