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Not Done Yet

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But I've left the Isle of Cedars behind, at least. 1261 pages and counting.

The timeline of this monster is going to drive me mad. I know perfectly well that as soon as DANCE is published, some of you out there are going to attempt to correlate its chronology with that of A FEAST FOR CROWS, fit all the parts together to suggest an appropriate chapter order for a (hypothetical, and largely impossible) combined book, something like what the "Big Feast" might have been, before the split.

Well, good luck with that. I'm glad you're doing it, not me. With all these characters scattered over my entire world, some chapters that span hours and others many months, various journeys and voyages to account for, not to mention the demands of the dramatic chronology, an entirely different matter than the literal chronology... well, it may well make your head explode. It did mine. The DANCE timeline alone is a bitch and a half.

Just musing aloud here, so don't anyone get all hysterical... but depending on how long the book comes out, moving some of these finished chapters into WINDS OF WINTER may make sense. Structurally you could make a good case for making DANCE a perfect parallel to FEAST; different cast of characters, but exactly the same time frame, so both books end on the same approximate date. Then WINDS could pick up the action for both sets of characters the following day.

That's not the way I have been doing it, however. As written, I've covered the FEAST time frame in the first 800 pages (manuscript pages, the printed book pages will be different) of DANCE. Everything that follows is post-FEAST, so that's where some of the cast from the last book start popping up again. Not the most elegant structure, I admit... but given how late this one is, I wanted to resolve at least a few of the cliffhangers from FEAST... (if only to set up the new cliffhangers). So...

These are the kinds of things I grapple with. No comments necessary, really. I am not looking for advice, and in fact I seldom talk about such issues precisely to AVOID unsolicited advice. These sorts of things are best resolved by me and my muse, sometimes assisted by my editors. Just felt like rambling a little.

Anyway, there we are. Back to the grindstone tomorrow.

Comments

( 201 comments — Leave a comment )
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alexds1
Feb. 16th, 2010 03:21 am (UTC)
That's pretty interesting! Thanks for posting this explicitly so I won't have to go back and correlate the chapters, haha. As long as it reads well I'll be happy :)
dimurof82
Feb. 16th, 2010 03:22 am (UTC)
Just knowing..
Just knowing where your head is a great thing..

Thank you for your frequent updates as of late. Grind away..
coaldustcanary
Feb. 16th, 2010 03:23 am (UTC)
No advice, sir, but I'm just gonna say: However I get it, I'm gonna be happy. Sure, I - and probably a lot of other people - will waste a lot of time trying to work things together, and arguing about timelines, and debating how we feel about the books and all. But, damn, I'm gonna be happy with what you give me. There is a lot that is elegant about this epic tale, and a lot that isn't. But it's all pretty damn good.
moxie_raqs
Feb. 16th, 2010 03:23 am (UTC)
I'm excited for you. Cheers.
(Deleted comment)
aulus_poliutos
Feb. 16th, 2010 03:03 pm (UTC)
Be glad your muse only hangs out on the Bahamas. Mine's a time traveling Scot who gets involved in clan feuds all the time, and I'll have to patch him up when he finally comes home. Next thing is he gets at my Whisky and comes up with the craziest ideas. Why I keep him? Because some of those crazy ideas actually work out, and he can be fun company some days. :)

Mr Martin, my sympathies re. those time line troubles. Though in a way, it's comforting - and sobering - for an aspiring writer to see that even those with many years of experience still struggle with those problems. Good luck in solving the Knot.

I thought historical fiction would come with a timeline already. Yeah, right. ;)

So not happening. But your posts about the five year gap and the ensuing Meereenese Knot have helped me figuring out how to deal with my own five year gap (the time between the Varus battle in 9 AD and Germanicus' campaigns in 14-16 AD). I now have set up a plotline that will (hopefully) move smoothly through that gap and link the standalone scenes from other plotlines I want to get in.

Thank you for sharing snips of your process and by that helping and encouraging aspiring writers.
doesi
Feb. 16th, 2010 03:25 am (UTC)
Well, you could try to piece the audiobooks together in such a way. I think.

But that'd be an even bigger headache. And just silly. >.>
ladysmith
Feb. 16th, 2010 03:28 am (UTC)
No critique. Just a comment to say that it's fascinating to learn about the PROCESS of how you're plotting this out. I'm just a new writer, over here in the corner going "This is so freaking COOL! This is how he writes books!"

prof_nrvna
Feb. 16th, 2010 03:28 am (UTC)
Ramble away, I love to listen to it :)

Very interesting stuff, and very glad that you want to do it the way you are. I was rereading FEAST and thinking about how long the wait was, and how much longer it would be until the storyline picked up off where FEAST left and had worried a little bit. But of course, you've taken that into consideration, and I bow to you good sir.
kbgilmore
Feb. 16th, 2010 03:28 am (UTC)
I am sure if you feel it needs to be moved to WINDS then it does. Your work is amazing and who are we to second guess or tell you how to do what you do. I am just looking forward to reading it.

On a side note, Windhaven is wonderful. Thank you!
burger_eater
Feb. 16th, 2010 03:29 am (UTC)
Thanks for talking about this. May the grindstone spin quickly tomorrow.
thewgill
Feb. 16th, 2010 03:34 am (UTC)
I am loving this new transparency, George.

Loving. It.








pnkrokhockeymom
Feb. 16th, 2010 03:35 am (UTC)
How about this for a comment?

<3



shootermcgee
Feb. 19th, 2010 12:16 am (UTC)
DITTO!
bruisedgarden
Feb. 16th, 2010 03:39 am (UTC)
You're awesome. Make sure no one has to clean up any gray matter.
luinied
Feb. 16th, 2010 03:39 am (UTC)
Just remember, the longer it takes readers to figure out a combined timeline for A Dance with Dragons and A Feast for Crows, the longer it will be until they start complaining about how The Wind of Winter isn't out yet!
cabbageboylsmsa
Feb. 16th, 2010 04:45 pm (UTC)
For this very reason, I suggest the addition of a time-travelling hot tub.
(no subject) - starmarketrules - Feb. 16th, 2010 09:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - hoshizuke - Feb. 16th, 2010 07:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
Winter is coming? - whatamiatailor - Feb. 18th, 2010 05:21 am (UTC) - Expand
gxb3200
Feb. 16th, 2010 03:45 am (UTC)
..
I like these type of posts the best. I find it intriguing and fascinating to get a point of view on the little things that go into writing a story that most non-writers never even think about. The sheer immensity of the characters, time-lines, story connections and plot lines would have to be overwhelming. It is nice to see your perspective and see your daily successes and struggles to make it all work. It's like having a backstage pass or VIP access!

Thanks for the insight.
wraith_mistress
Feb. 16th, 2010 03:53 am (UTC)
Wow!
I love to hear the thought process behind your writing.

You are awesome! :D

Thanks for writing.

Marlene

saxster
Feb. 16th, 2010 03:56 am (UTC)
Well, *now* I'm genuinely happy. You are making mad progress. Kudos, sir.
cigamerisedi
Feb. 16th, 2010 03:57 am (UTC)
You hit the nail on the head yourself of course, being such a literary master - no one can solve any of this for you but you. But I would say, just as a fan and friendly reader, to not over think it. You can't please all of the people all of the time - please yourself and I'm sure we'll love it and you all the same. If we're still here - we're here for the long haul. ;) I for one ain't correlating shit. I just wanna know more when the time comes. :)
out_totheblack
Feb. 16th, 2010 04:01 am (UTC)
Thanks for sharing. It's good to see how all this goes down and the concideration that goes into all your work. It'll be great and I can't wait to buy it!
laeryken
Feb. 16th, 2010 04:07 am (UTC)
Cheers, George, cheers! Keep up the good work! :] I imagine that the only person who will enjoy the end of this journey more than us faithful fans, is you yourself haha.
agent_tomato
Feb. 16th, 2010 04:15 am (UTC)
I'm going crazy with the timeline to my 50-page story; I can't imagine how complex it must be for something twenty-five times as long. And I know that Dance will be awesome when it's done. Your capacity for complicated plotting continues to amaze me.

I've really loved getting these glimpses into your process, and I wish you continued productivity.
barristans_sqir
Feb. 16th, 2010 04:16 am (UTC)
It sounds even better this way.
Which ever way the story leads you. Around the twists and turns of meereeneese knots or down the straights of the tridents red fork We'll follow. Rest assured.
odiedragon
Feb. 16th, 2010 04:16 am (UTC)
It's kind enough of you to keep us in the loop. I wouldn't dare to try and give advice. :)
astro_tiger
Feb. 16th, 2010 01:43 pm (UTC)
Woohoo! I just started playing Dragon Age, got Wynne last night! Awesome!
(no subject) - bruisedgarden - Feb. 16th, 2010 07:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - astro_tiger - Feb. 17th, 2010 03:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
infinite_hiatus
Feb. 16th, 2010 04:17 am (UTC)
I love the update. Thanks. :-)
liandriel
Feb. 16th, 2010 04:20 am (UTC)
It's so nice to read about your progress on DANCE again. You'll figure out the chronology. However it comes out, I'm looking forward to reading it. Thank you for the update. :)
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