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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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Matthew Smith
May. 20th, 2011 08:58 pm (UTC)
now that it's completely done
any chance of us seeing an all-new sample chapter? please? pretty please?
May. 20th, 2011 09:26 pm (UTC)
I was wondering what you did with your cut text and deleted scenes. (Obviously, they go to Texas A&M!) Do you ever hit on an idea while working on a chapter--something that ultimately won't work out for that scene or character, but you really want to use later?

Do you just make a note for later, or keep it in the back of your brain?
May. 20th, 2011 10:59 pm (UTC)
I keep all the deleted stuff as files on my computer. Sometimes what did not work in one place works splendidly in another, years later.

Not very often, though. Most of the cuts remain on the cutting room floor.
May. 20th, 2011 10:03 pm (UTC)
Congratulations! I look forward to purchasing your book in both Kindle and hardcover format.

Don't feel bad about your delayed book. As Neil Gaiman said, you're nobody's bitch. You're not obliged to release a book just because your fans demand it. Take your time and release the book when you feel it's done.
Jon Littler
May. 20th, 2011 10:10 pm (UTC)
Thanks for getting this done. I've been ever so patient!
Very excited about July. Truly can't wait any longer. Can't imagine what it's been like for you to slog through the mud with this one though, but it is most appreciated!

So..er...Winds of Winter? Summer 2012 right? ;-)
May. 20th, 2011 10:19 pm (UTC)
Just adding my thanks and appreciation for your hard work, and for continuing to spin this tale for us. I can't wait to find out what happens to all the characters I love and hate.

Thank you again.

:) Laura
May. 20th, 2011 10:19 pm (UTC)
This was an immensely interesting look into your writing process! I am sorry that you have to face fans who keep bothering you about coming out with DwD already even as you were pouring your energy into writing and editing it, but I think that your approach was what made your series so beloved in the first place. I hope that you never have to succumb to the temptation of having to change how you write to get those people off your back.

Congratulations on completing "A Dance with Dragons"!
May. 20th, 2011 10:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you for all you do, and congratulations. My hat is off to you. :)
May. 20th, 2011 10:37 pm (UTC)
Love it!
Thanks so much for taking the time to write such a detailed glimpse into the making of Dance. :) I cannot wait to read it and I'm sure it will be amazing, like all the others.

I love your last line... I hope this monkey stays cute. :)
May. 20th, 2011 11:10 pm (UTC)
Haviland Tuf
I just finished reading Tuf Voyaging and enjoyed the story thoroughly. Very fun, but also has a high literary quality. Reminded me very much of a Vonnegut novel. Anyways, it reaffirms my belief that George R.R. Martin is a great writer and I will be eagerly anticipating the fifth installment of ASoIaF. Tuf Voyaging was also reassuring in the fact that Martin not only builds a great story, but can end a great story, perfectly.
May. 20th, 2011 11:22 pm (UTC)
Loved to hear the story in your own words sir. Thanks for sharing it with us. Once Dance is out and read by all of us It would be great to hear specifics about the knot (who's POV's were screwing with which timelines), though I doubt you'll much feel like getting into it.

All the same, I'm glad that tremendous weight is finally off your shoulders and I hope the next one is all the easier.
May. 20th, 2011 11:24 pm (UTC)
I was actually just thinking earlier this week, that if I ever can afford to go to grad school I would really like to do a thesis on ASoIaF. There's so much there, both as a standalone story and as a point of evolution of the fantasy genre.

I would also give a leg to be one of your proofreaders. I currently proofread textbooks. I like proofreading way more than any self-respecting creative person has any right to like such assembly-line work, but I do. But I think proofreading good fiction would be much more exciting than proofreading math textbooks.
May. 20th, 2011 11:50 pm (UTC)
First, I have to join in with others in saying thank you for this, for all that you do. I've been rereading the series in anticipation of Dance, and knowing what's to come has given me a great appreciation for the incredible number of things you've had to keep track of. Dealing with all of that and still making the stories compelling and characters interesting so that it never feels like I'm reading a history book is quite a feat, and I really admire your skill.

Second, I also have to thank you for the look into your working and editing processes. It's good to know that, no matter how easy you make it look, there's still a great deal of struggle in getting the story onto the page. I'm a writer as well (one publishing credit in a small-press magazine, so at least I can say I'm not unknown, I'm obscure), and my current book is being more than a little difficult. It's encouraging to know that even someone of your ability has to work so hard to make it work. Thank you again, Mr. Martin.
May. 20th, 2011 11:58 pm (UTC)
lost characters
We have not heard from little Rickon since book 3. What's up?
Morten Skare
May. 21st, 2011 12:57 am (UTC)
new old pov
Looking forward to the Catelyn Stark aka Lady Stoneheart povs.
Matthew Smith
May. 21st, 2011 06:13 am (UTC)
Re: new old pov
I think I'd almost rather not have her pov. IMO you can probably get more out of it from the people who interact with her than her own POV. Though I suspect that other than maybe resolving the Brienne cliffhanger, there won't be much Stoneheart plotline advancement in book 5. Could be wrong, but I'd be surprised to see much about her.
May. 21st, 2011 01:05 am (UTC)
The Mayans were wrong.
July 12th. The day a third of us are going to get Sh*t-Canned from work.
Matthew Smith
May. 21st, 2011 06:11 am (UTC)
Re: The Mayans were wrong.
put in your vacation time in advance. I'll be taking a couple days, maybe the whole rest of the week off.
May. 21st, 2011 01:44 am (UTC)
It just occurred to me that I will need to re-read the other books to recall what happened before I embark on this missive (1500+ pages? YEEHAW! I do adore a long book).

Then I thought, awesome! I am so excited to read them again!

That does not happen often for me. :)
May. 21st, 2011 02:18 am (UTC)
So very excited after reading this...

I only have one question - when do we get 'The Winds Of Winter' ?

Ow! Hey! Ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ...!
May. 21st, 2011 03:27 am (UTC)
Let me add my congrats to this long list - can't wait, ser!
May. 21st, 2011 06:12 am (UTC)
I've pre-ordered, and it comes out just after my birthday. Happy birthday to ME! So looking forward to reading it this summer. I'll probably devour it in two days. I'll try to savour it but I know I won't be able to.

You don't have to explain yourself, but it was really interesting to read all that. I can't even imagine the amount of work, writing a novel of that length. I agonized over five-page papers in university!

Brienne is one of my faves, so even though she's not a POV character in DWD I really hope we find out what happened to her.

Thank you so much for writing another book for us all to love!
May. 21st, 2011 06:23 am (UTC)
So, would I be correct in saying that Kong is now is all dead - as opposed to mostly dead?

And thank you for the details, it is both enlightening and entertaining. I look forward to curling up with my new favorite book for a few nights. :)
May. 21st, 2011 06:30 am (UTC)
Congrats to you sir, for you momentuous accomplishments, and thank you!

"Sansa, Sam, Aeron Damphair, Arianne, and Brienne..." HOLD THE PHONE, Brienne is ALIVE? Wooo!

Though I am a bit sad that we won't be seeing Sansa or Sam in this book, the bulk being Tyrion, Jon and Dany is quite nice! I'm also hoping (but doubtful) we might get a POV from Sandor finally! Or...at least see him again? :o
Kyle Brown
May. 21st, 2011 07:24 am (UTC)
George I had no idea you had a connection with Texas A&M. I love you so much more now! GiG'Em

KB- Fighting Texas Aggie Class of '06
Martin Vavpotič
May. 21st, 2011 08:33 am (UTC)
Good work, Mr. Martin (not sure if I'm allowed to call you George :)). Most people have no idea how overwhelming writing a book can be. I found devoted readers much like spoiled children: they will flatter, they will beg but in the end they will demand and threaten.
May. 21st, 2011 09:14 am (UTC)
Great to read this, can't wait till the courier puts A DANCE WITH DRAGONS in my hands!

I hope that the little WINDS OF WINTER monkey will become a really big ape very soon!!
Frane Rogić
May. 21st, 2011 10:50 am (UTC)
:) we love u :D
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George R.R. Martin
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