Fantasy Writers: Stop Doing This!

Stuart R. Wahlin
2 min readAug 29, 2022

If you happen to be a fantasy writer, you’re probably also a fantasy reader who’s undoubtedly familiar with George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, which was adapted to the small screen for HBO’s wildly-successful Game of Thrones series, which now has its own spinoff.

While earning an epic television series based on the fictional world he created certainly moved Martin into a new tax bracket, this writers’ cream-dream was made possible through the man’s vibrant and imaginative storytelling, and not a result of the title he chose for his series of books.

A Song of Ice and Fire is a very fitting title for the series, given the elements of the story. But as someone who works closely with authors to promote their works, I’m going to give fantasy writers a little piece of advice:

“A ____ of ____ and ____” is not some special formula for a book title that will make you the next George R. R. Martin. It seems like something that should go without saying, but I see fantasy authors doing this each and every day, and it has to stop.

Instead of showcasing their own unique imaginations, many fantasy authors have fallen into this unimaginative behavior, believing a title following this formula will magically sell their books. It won’t. It makes you look like a hack.

Find your own voice, and stop making potential readers assume you’re just peddling some cheap knockoff, because that’s what titles like this make your book look like.

Rant complete.



Stuart R. Wahlin

Former print journalist, published author and ghostwriter, award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker, tragic figure.