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Highs and Lows

Another Sunday, and two more football games. Sometimes it's good to have two teams. The Giants are really on a roll, looking better with each game. I'm especially pleased by the way their defense is playing. Like any old-time Giants fan, I love defense, and the swarming four-headed sack monster the G-men are fielding with Osi, Kiwi, Strahan, and Tuck is splendid to watch. So far I like what I've seen of our rookie CB Aaron Ross too. The offense is looking pretty formidable as well.

As for the Jets... oy... what can I say? Chad is getting all the blame, but truth be told, it's not all his fault. In fact, I'd lay most of the Jet problems on the defense. The run defense can't even stop backups from having 100 yard games, the pass rush is nonexistent, and the cornerbacks commit penalties at the worst possible times. Whether Mangini stays with Chad or switches to Kellen Clemens, I expect we'll be drafting very high next spring. Let's see, any superstar defensive players coming out of college?

And on other fronts, for all of you who hate American football...

The first volume of DREAMSONGS should be in U.S. bookstores by now, in hardcover. Volume two will follow in a month. Yes, this is the same collection originally published by Subterranean in 2003 as GRRM: A RRETROSPECTIVE. Same contents, but if you missed that one, here's the chance to make up for that oversight. The new edition has some nice interior artwork by Mike Kaluta as well.

The American edition of HUNTER'S RUN and the first volume of the new Wild Cards triad, INSIDE STRAIGHT, are both due for release in January. Amazing covers on both, I think. Stephen Martiniere did the HUNTER'S RUN cover, Michael Komarck INSIDE STRAIGHT. Oh, and if you're a fan of fantasy art, check out the news page on my website to a glimpse of the artwork on the new Italian edition of THE ICE DRAGON.

Meanwhile, Gardner Dozois (my friend and co-editor) and I have gotten the first stories in on the two big original anthologies we're editing -- WARRIORS and SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH (the Jack Vance tribute anthology). The books won't be out until 2009, of course, but Gardner and I are excited about them both, and it would seem our writers are as well.

And yes, I am trying to finish up the third Dunk & Egg story as my own contribution to WARRIORS. Right now I'm calling it "The Mystery Knight." That's the fourth or fifth title I've slapped on this one. We'll see if it sticks.

DANCE WITH DRAGONS? Yes, working on that too. Lately it's been Tyrion and more Tyrion. When I finish these three chapters, I will need to double back and pick up some of the other POVs lest my devious dwarf get too far ahead.

An email asked why I disabled comments on my last Not-A-Blog post, about the Dark Sword Miniatures. My intent was not to discourage comments, but to redirect them to more appropriate places. Dark Sword has its own message board. So does Tom Meier, on his Thunderbolt Mountain website. Jim and Tom have much more "hands on" (literally) involvement with the figures than I do, and I know both of them would be pleased to hear your thoughts and field your questions. So take your comments to those forums, please. I provided the appropriate links in my last post.

Comments

grrm
Oct. 23rd, 2007 06:19 am (UTC)
Re: I'm totally demoralized
I haven't lost my enthusiasm for writing A DANCE WITH DRAGONS.

I have, however, lost my enthusiasm for answering questions about it.

And I have REALLY lost my enthusiasm for people writing that I am "not a young man" and speculating about my possible death.

I am not working "only sporadically" on DANCE. But it's not simple equation: x many hours does not necessarily produce X many pages. Oh, sure, some writers can do that. Not me.

For me, especially on this book, there's a lot of rewriting (and restructuring) involved. I write a chapter, sometimes several, decide later it isn't working, go back and rewrite and cut it all out.

These are aspects of the creative process that are NOT FOR PUBLIC VIEW. I am wrestling with my story, my characters, and my muse, and that's one wrestling match you won't see on Pay Per View.

Someday I will die, and I hope you're right and it's thirty years from now. When that happens, maybe my heirs will decide to publish a book of fragments and deleted chapters, and you'll all get to read about Tyrion's meeting with the Shrouded Lord. It's a swell, spooky, evocative chapter, but you won't read it in DANCE. It took me down a road I decided I did not want to travel, so I went back and ripped it out. So, unless I change my mind again, it's going the way of the draft of LORD OF THE RINGS where Tolkien has Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin reach the Prancing Pony and meet... a weatherbeaten old hobbit ranger named "Trotter."

And that's about as much as I'm going to say on this subject. Which is probably too much. I guarantee you, I will now get a bunch of letters from those who want to read this deleted chapter. (No. Thank you, but no).

I'm working on it.

It will be done when it's done. When it is, I'll let you know.

Why isn't that enough?
b_mcq
Oct. 23rd, 2007 07:24 am (UTC)
Re: I'm totally demoralized
thank you
inadequate_one
Oct. 23rd, 2007 09:14 am (UTC)
Wow.
To me I am in awe that I can even have an access to someone whose work I appreciate and enjoy so much. The story really has meant a lot to me. I have read over 4000 stories probably (including comics) and your song is the best of them. I just really think its cool and that we are lucky in the modern world that we're able to get this kind of connection to your life as well as through the work itself. I mean I actually wished you and your wife well when I read that post about her injury for god's sake, and I've never even met you guys. I don't think this site makes me like the books anymore, the books speak for themselves, but I actually read your commentary on football before espn so that to me does mean something LOL.
If you can imagine that you could have posted your words to Tolkien as a child and known that he probably read them, that is kind of the way I think this opporunity is for your fans. Great stuff, and may many musings find you well :)
jonsnowthewall
Oct. 23rd, 2007 05:29 pm (UTC)
Re: Wow.
well said. The part about Tolkien reading your words and feelings. hit's the mark.
furry_porcupine
Oct. 23rd, 2007 11:56 am (UTC)
Re: I'm totally demoralized
George, it is enough.

First rule of using the Internet - don't feed the trolls.

You could write a book a week and there'd still be people complaining they had to wait seven whole days to read the next one. Ignore them.
ericreiss
Oct. 23rd, 2007 05:52 pm (UTC)
Re: I'm totally demoralized
Maestro,

Thanks for responding to this post... and you know this already, but sometimes it is good to say things out loud.

We're rabid for the updates because we love your work.

It is interesting that sometimes this gets vented in frustration in ways that might seem mean, but take that with a grain of salt. It might be an unusual perspective, but on the grander scheme, this is better than say, apathy and people not caring at all if there is a next book.

It probably doesn't feel better at times though, I certainly get that.

So to G.R.R. I would say, "people expressing frustration in timing for the next book means that they care about it, even if they are being unfair in how they say it. Please try not to be discouraged by this... keep writing and know that we're looking forward with great anticipation for what you produce."

To everyone else, I humbly ask that we keep things on the positive side.

Clearly he cares about this and about what we think. If he didn't care, he wouldn't have a website or blog at all where people could comment and if he didn't care, he wouldn't respond to this kind of thing at all.

Bashing him isn't helping him write, in the best case, it is irritating and rude, in the worst it is another distraction!

One option would be to shower our author with praise. Focus on the positive and tell him how much we are looking forward to the next book. I have to believe that the response to that will be better than the flames I occasionally see here.

Mr. Martin, you rock. Love your work. Keep writing!

Arya, Tyrion, Jon, Bran... (and more) I would happily read a novel based on any ONE of these characters and would force my friends to read them. You're doing them all at once and it is borderline unbelievable in terms of how good and how tightly written all of this is.

And if we're anxious for Dany to land on f*ing King's Landing with Dragons... well how could we not be??
yagkosha
Oct. 24th, 2007 06:01 pm (UTC)
Thank You
Thanks ericreiss. I agree with all of your well written points.

Thanks GRRM. Primarily for the books. They certainly rank up there with the best I've ever read.
Thanks for this blog. You have to put up with a lot of negativity but continue to give your readers interaction with their fave author. As others have said, even the negative trolls wouldn't be here if they didn't love your writing.

Trolls - please knock it off. I confess to having contributed some complaining posts myself in the past, but what's the point? For one thing you can't hope to achieve any positive result from it, at the least your annoying and delaying GRRM more. But even more so, it's just rude. Go to other ASOIAF boards and comlain there, not on his own blog.
chirop1
Oct. 23rd, 2007 06:30 pm (UTC)
Re: I'm totally demoralized
The accessability of the internet is a truly amazing thing. Not only does it keep us dialed in on the absolute latest happenings (up to the minute in fact), it also leads to an amazing level of "intimacy" with our authors. I was never a message board troll until I came across this site. I'm with some other posters in that I enjoy reading your thoughts on football weekly. Sure I listen to ESPN radio on the way to work, but to hear the thoughts of one of my favorite authors, it gives me insight into the man writing the stories I love. I daresay, that has never been available to fans.

Sadly, the anonymity of the internet leads people to say things that they would never say in person. I would hazard to guess that if any of these random trolls had the opportunity to meet Mr. Martin in person, they would clam up and get giddy like the rest of us and have nothing more substantial to say than, "You remember that scene in Storm where Oberyn fought Gregor? ... That was awesome." (Imagine that exchange as done by Chris Farley in the old SNL skits.)

I'm always reminded of this whenever I read flame/troll topics:

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19
(Deleted comment)
greyglass
Oct. 23rd, 2007 08:23 pm (UTC)
Re: keep guessing idiot
It was kind of you to further demonstrate the internet phenomenon referred to in the penney arcade link above your post; however, I think we got it the first time. Trolling is a bit old hat these days, after all.
justynv
Oct. 23rd, 2007 08:59 pm (UTC)
Re: keep guessing idiot???
If you think its so awful, why do you hang around his blog?

George, Feast was sweet!

Ok, it wasn't knock down drag out action like storm or clash, but it still had tons of intertesting stuff: coniving Cersei with her own disintegration(I love how she's the only POV with which you don't find any sympathy), Brienne getting stuck in her conflicting oaths (and getting her face chewed on...c'mon), the Martells and their sweet revenge, the iron men and their ruthless pursuit of a chunk of Westeros and possible control over Dany's dragons, and the entire North and Riverland force getting its ass handed to them, Poor Sam-you just want to shout out to him how close he is to things, the Starks having nothing, some creepy frankenstein-esque champion being developed by the maester who "lost his license", Jaime's constant battles (whether it be duty, his microscopic conscience, or just his golden hand), the sparrows putting everyone in jail for religious crimes...what part wasn't intersting?

And SerG, good. Go to GRRM's appearance and say your piece in your shirt. Then move along. You're no more important than the next guy, and I'm waiting to get my copy of Dance signed. In fact you're more of a douche cuz you have nothing better to do than spend your time "wasting time" as you would have it.
phewes
Oct. 23rd, 2007 10:20 pm (UTC)
Re: I'm totally demoralized
I personally think you should disable the comments here. While I am appreciative of the small chance to have discourse with a great writer, I am willing to forgo that so I do not have to read the posts that are basically pissing and moaning about the book not being done yet.
elfich47
Oct. 24th, 2007 12:42 am (UTC)
Candor and happiness
I appreciate your candor. The good and the bad is that for every glimpse that people get, people want another one. It's also easy to speculate on what happens behind closed doors (whether it be writing or just your own private life). Some people cannot (or will not) respect the boundary that you have set and that leads to the unfortunate post above.

If you say that you are working on it; and that you are still enthusiastic about working on it, that is enough for me. I will (attempt to) wait patiently and read it when you are happy with it.
king_andre
Oct. 24th, 2007 01:09 am (UTC)
Re: I'm totally demoralized
First of all George, I think that you do a great job of communicating with your fans in this blog. I discovered it about six months ago and I now look in every couple of days to see what's going on in GRRM's noggin. It's neat that people can reply to you with their musings directly and know that you probably read them.

The problem(?) with being so open is that people have a direct way of venting their frustration to you; something fans cannot do as much with writers who are more difficult to contact. It seems like more people are going to pour out their thoughts (without bothering to reflect on them) when doing so is as easy as clicking on . On the one hand, that gives you a really easy way to see first hand how your most ardent fans are feeling. On the other hand, I imagine that knowing how your fans are feeling can be frustrating, disappointing, irritating, etc... especially when they are crude, demeaning, and downright stupid.

I do not believe that the post you replied to was just another rude and stupid flame, which is why I think you decided to give it a well thought out response. It represents a large population of your fans who are both frustrated with ADWD's delay and your decision to restrict discussion of it. This frustration must be both annoying (After all, who else talks to fans about upcoming books at all! Why is it that every time you give the people something they always seem to want more?) and hurtful (Who wants to be objectified to the point where people remind them that their mortality is a potential inconvenience to the reading community?).

Personally, after Jordan's death I could not help but feel a little disgusted with myself as I found that my first instinct was to think "damn, that's going to do a number on the series". It made me realize something; I don't really think of you guys as people. You are both more and less than human to me. You are the storyteller, an infallible demigod who brings me the captivating "story that is more than a story to me". After trying to work on my own writing I found that there is a difference between being the author of something, when you truly know that it is only a story, and reading something that feels like it exists in its own right. I sometimes think about Westeros as if it were real, spending perhaps more time than I should wondering about what the Valyrians were really like or wishing I had a map of the Eastern Continent to look at. It's like you are a conduit to another world that I can escape into and even though I know you are a person with faults, strengths, hopes, fears, it sometimes seems hard to think of you as such.

That is why I think your blog is important. It gives me a chance to get to know you a bit as a person. Perhaps I am alone (and awfully strange) in the way I tend to view the authors of particularly captivating stories, but maybe I'm not. Maybe you remember feeling this way about Tolkien, or Jack Vance, or some other inspiring writer. I think that having an open relationship with your fan base really makes you human to them. It also makes them human to you, for better or worse (with the friends come the trolls). All in all though, I have to think the good outweighs the bad. You are an important person to all of your fans and as you have shown, we are all important to you.
twistedsheets10
Oct. 24th, 2007 05:18 am (UTC)
Re: I'm totally demoralized
I completely agree with GRRM's take on writing. Honestly, where do people get the idea of x hours = x pages? God knows its rarely the case with writers.

I'm glad GRRM has not lost your enthusiasm for Dance, despite the insistent questions about it. I love hearing updates about it, and I'm probably just as rabid as any dedicated fan to get their hands on it, but I'm quite content with waiting until GRRM truly feel it's finished.

I also understand the concerns of the Original commentor, they're some of the few dark thoughts that drift in my mind in my brief momements of despair (although I vowed I will not die until ASoIaF is finished), but I don't think it helps to be negative about such things.

Aside: Tyrion and the Shrouded Lord? Sounds very evocative. ;)
mezeh
Oct. 24th, 2007 07:29 am (UTC)
Re: I'm totally demoralized
In general I don’t post here but this time it went too far. I enjoy you books very much and well understand what creative process is. Writes you have mentioned (x hours for x pages) usually create nothing but junk that IMO doesn’t worth paper it was printed on. Your books are very different and I wish they will continue to be like that. So take all time that is necessary for you and yours grateful readers satisfaction.

And please don’t bother about posts in this blog too much.
senorb
Oct. 27th, 2007 07:03 pm (UTC)
Re: I'm totally demoralized
Mr. Martin,
I made you a bet last week on the outcome of the 9ers-Giants game:
I'll make you a bet; if the 9ers win Sunday, you finish up your book ASAP.
If the Giants win, I read your book ASAP. Like any good bet, I win either way,

Since my team was ignominiously defeated, I will pay you your propers by refusing to ever ask you how your book is going and defending your right to privacy with my last finger-twitch.
following_bliss
Nov. 1st, 2007 12:42 am (UTC)
Re: I'm totally demoralized
"Why isn't that enough?"

I know that was a rhetorical question, but I can't resist answering. It isn't enough for some people, because they are goddamned raving out-of-their-minds addicted. You are the proprietor of the literary equivalent of the world's finest opium den. That's why it isn't enough! Take it as a complement; all it means is that you've been selling some fiiiiiiiiiiiiiine shit. :-)

But anyways, here's one rabidly addicted fan who doesn't mind you taking time off to be human. I'd hate to think that you gave up your enjoyment of life out of slavish obedience to my own selfish cravings. So please, keep having fun, and don't let the bastards guilt trip you for it. Your fans are the ones who are indebted to you -- not the other way around.

(By the by, give Parris my best wishes. I'm her long-ago i-nest sleuth; she'll know what that means.)

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