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A Dance With Dragons

No, it's not done.

Yes, I am aware that more than a year has passed since my last update. A lot of you have been emailing me to point that out. Thanks, but really, I did know. Unlike many of you out there, I got my copies of the Song of Ice & Fire calendar, so I knew what date it was.

No, I'm not planning to update the update, for reasons stated in the update itself. Until such time as I can write, "It's done," it will remain the last update... aside from what I may say here from time to time, on my Not-A-Blog.

I made a lot of progress on the book in the first half of 2008. So much so that I was optimistic that I would be done by the end of the year. Unfortunately, I did not make much progress on the book in the second half of 2008. Indeed, I made some regress. (That Sansa chapter I talked about finishing, for instance. It's still finished, but my editor and I decided it belongs in THE WINDS OF WINTER, not A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, so it's been moved into the next book. Sansa will not appear in DANCE.)

Some of the reasons were literary, arising from problems in the narrative itself. I'm not going to discuss them here, because I really do not like talking about questions I am still wrestling with on a work in progress. It never helps. Art is not a democracy, and these are problems I need to solve myself. Having a few hundred readers weigh in with their thoughts and opinions -- which seems to be what happens whenever I post here about DWD -- does not advance the process. I'm sorry, but that's true. I know that many of you would like to help me, but you can't. I have editors and I have two capable assistants, and that's sufficient. I'm the only one who can dance this dance.

Some of other reasons for the delay have nothing to do with the book itself. They're extra-literary, arising from other things in my life. I could sketch out some of them here, sure, but what good would it do? Those who are inclined to understand would send me messages of sympathy and support. Those are not so inclined would dismiss them as "excuses," or even "feeble excuses." A few will even go so far as to accuse me of lying.

That's the part that really bothers me. For the record, I have never lied about anything having to do with A DANCE WITH DRAGONS or the series as a whole. I have been wrong, yes. I have been wrong lots of time, especially when I've tried to predict how long it will take me to complete the book, or when it will be published. Being wrong is not the same as lying. Since the very beginning of this series, I have been guilty of being over-optimistic about how long it would take me to finish the next book, the next chapter, or the series as a whole. I cannot deny that. I have always been bad with deadlines... one reason why I did my best to avoid them for the first fifteen years of my career. That's an option I no longer have, however. Or at least will not have until A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE is complete.

That's the main reason why I no longer want to give any completion dates. I am sick and tired of people jumping down my throat when I miss them.

This latest flood of emails has worn down my resolve, however. So in hopes of quieting it, once more I will step into the breach --

I am trying to finish the book by June. I think I can do that. If I do, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS will likely be published in September or October.

(Yes, I am aware that I have previously said that I hoped to finish by the end of 2008. And before that, I said that I hoped to finish by June 2008, before I went to Spain and Portugal. And before that, I said I hoped to finish by the end of 2007. I know, I know, I know. No, I was not lying. I was wrong. And wrong again. And wrong before that. This time I hope that I am right. But you know, I can't swear that in blood. I write one chapter at a time. One page at a time. One word at a time. And then the next.)

That's all I have. But it's more than Amazon has, or anyone else.

The INSTANT that I finish the novel and put it in the mail to Bantam, I will post that fact here, just as I did for SUICIDE KINGS a few days ago. Until and unless you read that announcement here, believe nothing you hear from any other source.

Thanks for your continued support... and for your patience.


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Feb. 20th, 2009 02:03 am (UTC)
The manuscript I thought I'd have finished by last May at the latest is only on page 210.

Sometimes Life gets in the way.

I will still be here, waiting patiently. I have baseball and football to distract me in the meanwhile.
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:03 am (UTC)

Good luck with the rest. :)
Apr. 27th, 2010 12:30 pm (UTC)
Thanks for interesting post!
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:06 am (UTC)
Watching that cartoon was eerie, as it fit right in time with the music I was listening to at the time.
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:06 am (UTC)
speaking as a rabid fan, I don't care when it gets done, just as long as it does eventually :)
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:08 am (UTC)
This is a generic message of sympathy and support from someone inclined to understand. :)
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:08 am (UTC)
Good luck George!
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:08 am (UTC)

Whenever it's done, it's done, and I will give you as much money as you want for it! (If it's done by the time I graduate from grad school, I will consider it gravy.)

(Deleted comment)
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:48 am (UTC)
^^^ THIS. I whole-heartedly agree.
(no subject) - shark_girl - Feb. 20th, 2009 06:57 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - valorion - Feb. 20th, 2009 03:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - arilyn78 - Feb. 22nd, 2009 02:03 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:09 am (UTC)
I appreciate that you let us know how it is coming.
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:09 am (UTC)
Just consider us your dedicated cheerleaders, sir. \o/
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:09 am (UTC)
Hey George?

I don't care why it's not done. I'm just happy that it will be done eventually, and it sounds like I'll even have time for a good re-read!

You take care of you, and nevermind the people giving you grief.
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:09 am (UTC)
Chin up...
Thank you Mr. Martin.

Your works are amazing, and I can only imagine the frustration from the direct emails, but I believe genius needs its time.

So take it. You haven't let me down with an Ice & Fire book yet, and I trust your method. There will always be curmudgeons, whiners, and the impatient. I'm sorry to hear that the supportive haven't been louder than the destructive.

Again, thank you for your hard work.

~Dave from Delaware
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:10 am (UTC)
Thanks for keeping us informed. Speaking for myself, I'm anxiously awaiting DWD, but willing to wait as long as it takes. It's a privilege to read your books, and I appreciate you taking the time to make it right, rather than rushing out a half-finished piece of work every two years like some other authors.
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:10 am (UTC)
You have my complete and utter sympathy, sir. I know exactly whereof you speak - except that I don't have a million and one people getting upset when the book runs late. Just having my editor get upset with me is bad enough.

I'm certain you're doing the best that you can, and, believe me, I know that you want the book done even more than all the rest of us combined.

It'll get done when it gets done. I'm okay with that. Hang in there.

Mike Lee
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:10 am (UTC)
It's done when it's done.

The only concern that should be at hand (aside from Bantam wanting to get it out for people to buy) is that if the TV series goes ahead, it doesn't run right over you while you're working towards the end of the book series.

Seriously...fuck 'em all. What counts is what you're doing with the work.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - inizitu - Feb. 25th, 2009 03:02 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:11 am (UTC)
Please, please, please, take as long as you need to finish it. I'd rather wait years and get your best effort, a book that lives up to it's predecessors, than have you rush it to meet a deadline.

Just don't die without finishing it or anything, okay? That's really all I ask. :)

Thank you. I recommend Ice and Fire to everyone I know who reads, and for friend who normally read fantasy I've begun to use it as a litmus test to see if they have taste or not. So, thank you.
Feb. 23rd, 2009 02:09 pm (UTC)
that makes me worry too....
i think the story is just 2/5 done... and we have a long way to go...
i love his work and how much effort he put in it. Just want to see a masterpiece end without turning itself into something else
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:11 am (UTC)
Thank you, sir. It is a frustrating wait, but only because it's much looked forward to - and that frustration should not be spilling onto you. I appreciate that you made a post here about it, and will cheerfully continue to shut up and wait for it to be done.
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:14 am (UTC)
You know what? I don't care when it will be done; the wait will be worth it. If it's done in June, that's great. That'll be a nice birthday present. But if it's done in 2010, the wait will be worth it. If it's done in 2020, the wait will be worth it.

Your fans are so utterly rabid because you've written such fantastically great books. And you've written such fantastically great books because you've written them YOUR way. So as long as you don't do it anybody else's way, on anybody else's schedule, then I'll be happy.

Keep up the good work, and honestly, don't sweat about the dates. I've got a similar issue with deadlines -- I can see them from 10 miles off, and they freeze me like a deer in the headlights. Not very helpful. Just relax, have fun, and let the story itself. Your fans will continue to be just as rabid, whenever you release the book, and long after that too, I'm sure.
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:43 am (UTC)
Your fans are so utterly rabid because you've written such fantastically great books. And you've written such fantastically great books because you've written them YOUR way.

Well said. Huzzah!
(no subject) - maine_character - Feb. 20th, 2009 02:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:15 am (UTC)
GRRM, Thanks for the update. We appreciate the communication. And congratulations on finishing your other projects.
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:15 am (UTC)
I'm sorry you're having such problems finishing off aDwD's and the series itself, George. Writing a series like this is something one should really, really enjoy doing so. I just hope you still find it worthwhile (and not purely in a financial sense).
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:15 am (UTC)
Take Your Time...
Get it right. We'll be here when it is done.

The extra time has introduced me to other authors such as Pat Rothfuss (who is absolutely fantastic in his novel and hilarious in his blog). Another 'filler' has been Steven Erikson. I love that series, and since we were playing catch-up with the British versions until last fall, we got something like five or six books in the last 3 or 4 years. Again, fantastic, complex and original. Now I'm reading Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn and starting to like that as well.

I'll have to check your What I'm Reading section. I read the first Flashman on your recommendation and need to find the others. And now that football is over (Steelers!), I have more time for reading. Thanks for your work so far and for what is to come... Any other authors we should check out?

Feb. 20th, 2009 02:17 am (UTC)
Thanks man, Reed College looks forward to it.
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:18 am (UTC)
Hey man, take as much time as you need.

The only thing we ask is that the first chapter begin, "Previously on A Song Of Fire And Ice" and recap the entire story so far.

Feb. 20th, 2009 04:17 pm (UTC)
Bury the beggers
Very funny. I'm planning to reread the series from the beginning when it comes out. This will serve to prolong the fix.

I wonder if any of the ass-hats bugging Martin ever consider that bitching is notbthe best way to nurture genius. Or if their missive might be the one to make him throw up his hands and say, "For these ungrateful bastards I sweat blood?" *shudder*
(no subject) - skitty - Feb. 20th, 2009 07:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - madbard - Feb. 20th, 2009 08:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:18 am (UTC)
Just, please have it be awesome.

That is all.
Feb. 26th, 2009 02:01 am (UTC)
Thanks, this may be silly but this post was more than enough. To be honest for me I have moved on from your books. I have found other authors I like and am reading them. Right now I am in the midst of Brent Weeks's "Night Angel" trilogy, and I just finished Joe Abercrombie's trilogy just completed with Scott Bakker, Stephen Erikson and others on the horizon.

I am still gonna buy the book, when it comes out, twice actually, once in hardcover, which will then become a Christmas gift or birthday gift to a friend, and then softcover for my own collection.

I think the death of Robert Jordan taught me to cherish what we do have, rather than be upset for what may be. Best of luck with the writing, your efforts are appreciated.
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:19 am (UTC)
All the best with this! I'm waiting for DWD with a great deal of anticipation, but also with patience. I know how difficult it is to deal with the ebb and flow of creativity, and no, art is definitely not a democracy. You have to take what you can get and run with it when it comes to you. It might sound snobby but it's true - non-creative types will never understand how difficult it can be.

You have weaved the story so wonderfully and so masterfully, and especially when a story like this is coming to a close I'll bet it just gets more and more difficult as you go. You can't rush something like this, and I for one am glad you're not!
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George R.R. Martin
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