George R. R. Martin Tells Conan He Writes Using WordStar 4.0

Posted on May 16, 2014

George R.R. Martin, author of the A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series upon which HBO's Game of Thrones series is based, talked to Conan O'Brien about how he writes. Martin has been urged to write faster by fans who fear the HBO series could catch up to him. Martin revealed on Conan that he has two computers. One computer is a newer computer he uses to surf the Internet. The other computer is a much older DOS machine that is not connected to the Internet. He uses this to run Wordstar 4.0, an old DOS word processor from MicroPro that was popular in the 1980s before it was overtaken by WordPerfect and Microsoft Word. Martin has mentioned using this software before in his blog.

Writing on a computer not connected to the Internet helps Martin keep his work from potentially being exposed to hackers and malware. Martin says he also likes the ancient word processing tool because it does what he wants and nothing more.

Martin told Conan, "I have a secret weapon. I actually have two computers. I have the computer that I browser the Internet with, and I get my email on, and I do my taxes on. And then I have my writing computer, which is a DOS machine not connected to the Internet."

Conan says, "A DOS machine?" Martin says, "You remember DOS? I use WordStar 4.0 as my word processing system."

Conan asked him why he is still using old program. Martin says, "I actually like it. It does everything I want a word processing program to do and it doesn't do anything else. I don't want any help. You know I hate some of these modern systems where you type up a lowercase letter and it becomes a capital. I don't want a capital. If I wanted a capital I would have typed a capital. I know how to work a Shift key. Stop fixing it."

Martin also says he hates spell check, especially with all the unusual names of characters and places in his series. Take a look:

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