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Talking About the Dance

Kong is dead. That is to say, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS is complete, and moving inexorably towards its July 12 publication date.

Yes, I know. Old news. I've announced that before. And since finally completing A DANCE WITH DRAGONS some weeks ago, and announcing it here, I have been working on... drum roll, please... A DANCE WITH DRAGONS!

That's the way it goes with books. You finish, and breathe a sigh of relief... and then you get back to work. There's always more to be done. Your editor reads it and gives you notes. You make revisions, corrections. A copyeditor goes over the text, finds errors, points out contradictions and inconsistencies, raises queries. You fix some, stet others. Friends and fans gulp down the book, and find mistakes your editors, copyeditors, and proofreaders all missed. You fix those too, as time allows. Then there's the appendix to prepare. And then the appendix needs to be edited, proofread, corrected... and on and on it goes...

But now even that is behind me. Copyediting, appendix, proofs, corrections, all that stuff. The book tour has been planned (a few details yet to be worked out), the marketing plans are in place... and I can finally say that Kong is not just merely dead, but really most sincerely dead.

Now that the dust is settling at last, I thought I'd take a deep breath and look back at what a long strange trip this has been. If the process interests you, read on. But beware -- past this point, there may be some SPOILERS lurking amidst my discussion. Read on at your own peril.

Read more...Collapse )


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May. 20th, 2011 07:09 am (UTC)
So...how long do you think until TWoW?

Kidding, KIDDING. =P Can't wait for July; congratulations and thank you.
May. 20th, 2011 07:17 am (UTC)
May. 20th, 2011 07:19 am (UTC)
The development of a book . . .
As I look over at my bookcase, which has two shelves devoted to Tolkien, my eyes are drawn to volumes VI through IX. Here the development of The Lord of the Rings are detailed. Tolkien made many changes as his story developed: Aragorn's nickname went from Trotter to Strider, being one of the most famous.

I wonder if we all might see ASoIaF get similar treatment 20 or 30 years from now. The drafts and that which is taken out can truly be the window into the creative mind; the old dust-covered, cobweb filled furniture may stay up in the attic and rot in the darkness, but in the light of day it can sometimes be the greatest treasure of all.

Oh, and about the next book, I am going to start timing you . . . now!
May. 20th, 2011 07:19 am (UTC)
Patient fans are not noisy for obvious reasons, but we're the majority & we were happy to wait. What's it worth to shave a few months or a year off a release date given published work stays in the public domain forever? Far better to take some time and make it the best it can be.

Having said that, very happy news. Congratulations sir.
May. 20th, 2011 07:23 am (UTC)
Congratulations on finishing the book, I already picture myself reading it with a suitable beverage at hand a sunny summer day! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the process as well, an insightful and intriguing read.
May. 20th, 2011 07:36 am (UTC)
I can't wait until July, I can't wait until July, I can't wait until July! It's rather torturous knowing it's finished but I can't have my hands on it yet - especially when in the interview an earlier post a copy was held up!

That said, I hope you find the next book to slip out of your brain and out through your fingers easier than the last. :)
May. 20th, 2011 07:38 am (UTC)
Looking forward to it
I suppose now we know why The Monkey Treatment is one of your few stories with a, let's say, happy end.

Just chiming in to add to the thanks for the insight into the history of ADWD. I'm really looking forward to it! (Also, I think I will have to Re-Read AFFC before then...)
May. 20th, 2011 07:56 am (UTC)
May. 20th, 2011 07:59 am (UTC)
It was a tremendous relief to see the post that the Dance is finally finished. I won't lie, I used to check the website just for updates on the novel along the years. What a selfish individual I was. now I see the bigger picture. How much effort it took. I know it was worth the wait. Here's my question, or concern, if you will. Could it be that the Winds of winter and A drema of spring will take that long, each of them individually? I shudder at the mere thought of it. bout four more years for each book? I hope not, but if it is, then so be it. It will still be workth the wait.
May. 20th, 2011 07:59 am (UTC)
Congratulations :) What more is there to say?

Arkadiy Volkov
May. 20th, 2011 08:11 am (UTC)
Great news! Congratulations and many thanks from Moscow!
May. 20th, 2011 08:16 am (UTC)
All I want to say is.. CONGRATULATIONS!
I can't wait till I get the book in my hands! I live in Greece, so I had to pre-order it from Amazon. It's the first time I do this with anything. The books can be found here, but they are very rare AND on paperback, which I don't like all that much.
Anyway, take your time, relax, and don't worry about those crazy fans who DEMAND the next book. You have a life besides ASOIAF and that's the way it should be. I can't tell you how happy I am about this post! It's a pity there's no Sansa, but I adore Jon, and Tyrion, and the ironborn, and all these new povs are very exciting! <3
May. 20th, 2011 08:26 am (UTC)
credit where credit is due
you rock GRRM and so does this song of Ice and Fire - thank you :)
May. 20th, 2011 08:43 am (UTC)
Congrats. I can only thank you for all your dedication of doing something THAT special for yourself and for us.

We'll be waiting here for the Dance, and even more.
May. 20th, 2011 08:46 am (UTC)
Fantastic! This series is an almost unimaginable achievement. Even thinking about writing something so vast, complicated, and brilliant brings me out in sweats. Can't wait to read the latest volume.
May. 20th, 2011 08:58 am (UTC)
Thank you for this message, very interesting indeed! And for the book!

I am re-reading the whole series now in anticipation of a new book. I'm in the midst of "Storm of Swords" now. How many things I forgot for these years since I read it last time. :)
May. 20th, 2011 09:04 am (UTC)
You had a finished script since 2005? I bet it was resting in a city near the capital of Pakistan and behind the scenes pictures of the fake moon landing were pinned to it.

Is the POV returning after a long time part of the other groups you listed (let's say for example: part of the 3 ironborn...)?
May. 20th, 2011 09:06 am (UTC)
Thank you, George <3
for the book
for the explanation you've given
but mostly for being who you are

PS: I wish I was that student... maybe in a future life I'll be there angain in Westeros... and what a marvellous life it would be!!!! (I cross my fingers for that... but if you ever need someone studying it NOW, I'm well avaliable, just give me time to get on the airplane!!!)
Rob Volz
May. 20th, 2011 09:16 am (UTC)
Illegitimi non carborundum
I know its trite, but what the fuck isn't anymore?


Show's been amazing, can't wait to see the next episode. Also can't wait to see your episode, I've heard bad things happen to good people.

if Dolorous Edd dies, please don"t make me kill you
May. 20th, 2011 09:25 am (UTC)
Thank you very much for sharing this analysis with us. I was asking for it in a comment to a previous NaB post, so I couldn't be more glad for it.

Do you think the huge amount of material already done for TWoW will lead to a 8 books saga, in the end, or is the 7 book idea holding? I'd prefer 7 books (7 gods, 7 kingdoms in Westeros, etc.) but if the story still grows bigger...
Oliver Schmieding
May. 20th, 2011 09:25 am (UTC)
i really appreciate this 'making of', thank you for the peek at the man behind the curtain through the steam clouds and the green flames ;)

on a different note: did you ever notice that NOT A SINGLE ONE of your readers, throughout the years , amidst all the bitchin' and complaining, never ever even so much as considered the possibility that ADWD would/will be less than overwhelmingly great? achievement unlocked --> right to wear a smug smile ;)
May. 20th, 2011 09:27 am (UTC)
Hip Hip, HUZZAH! A fascinating look at the process. I am immensely looking forward to getting started on the best gift I will getting (myself) for my July 12th birthday. Thank you in advance!


PS The HBO series is FAB!
May. 20th, 2011 09:28 am (UTC)
Cheers to you, sir. My hat's off. May your dedication shine, and inspiration be plentiful!
May. 20th, 2011 09:36 am (UTC)
God I look forward to your books. THanks for a new and LONG one. I know editing tightens the tale but I am jonesing the hours I will spend reading the new tale. The diversion from everyday life is sooooo appreciated. I see so much dysfunction and strife in the ER daily, I can't tell you what your books and lately the HBO series has meant to me. Come home, pick up a novel or hit up the DVR and let the story wash away my daily reality and the common man's whining. Keep the story hard and suprising! Take me to a place where life is more difficult and people's struggle trumps anyting in today's world (if possible). What a gift you have.
My sincere and deep appreciation!
Alberto Zaragoza
May. 20th, 2011 09:39 am (UTC)
The genius of hard work
To me, the most revealing insight of your post is that you're not a genius. At least not as shown in TV and movies, that someone sits down in front of a piano without ever having played one and voila! He immediately outclasses all the other dedicated, hard-working, pathetic piano players.

That just doesn't happen in real life.

I attended a public high school in Spain but learned English by reading English language websites virtually every day since I was 13. Average has been about well over an hour per day so it's been thousands of hours answering posts, arguing, debating, watching presentations and now watching Game of Thrones. If someone asks me a method for learning English in three weeks, sorry, I don't know how to do that!

It works the same way por professional chess players. It turns out that, even for some young talents, they had spent many years practising before they really started hitting the stride. And even after becoming world-class players, if they try to play another game, they're mediocre. Why? Their mental move database is restricted to chess.

And your work in ASOIAF is so amazing because you have focused on one story for the last 20 years, and put a monumental effort of writing, unwriting, rearranging, etc. to ensure that it was absolutely amazing. It would have been easy to release ADWD in 2008 and explain readers that characters time-travel thanks to a magician. You did not do that. In the end, nobody will care whether ADWD was published in 2008 or 2011. Lord of the Rings coul've been written in 1970, or in 1920, or hundreds of years ago. People don't know and don't care.

If I'm sincere the first three books are the best novels I've read in my life. The fourth, well, I'm being sincere, it was not at the same level. Good, but not ASOIAF good. And I already preordered ADWD so let's find out what kind of book it is!

Thank you and congrats
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George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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