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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 06:27 am (UTC)
Take your tine, George! Whatever time it takes, better later and good then now and unfinished.

Greetings from Russia!
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:29 am (UTC)
What a thrill, just seeing the cover! It's so exciting to hear about - but nothing compared with the joy of what's already written. Thanks for the update, and I hope the knuckleheads don't get you down!

From time to time the subject of when it's going to come out comes up here in L.A. and I'm always the one that gets the call (as if I have some secret knowledge) - I always point out what a huge and intricate work you've created, and how each added layer adds to the complexity, and probably adds to the difficulty of getting back up to speed in "writing mode". All are sympathetic, most are patient, and universally, we are just grateful the work exists to be excited about.

We're watching a masterpiece unfold. Let the master work at his own pace!
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:32 am (UTC)
Write, man. All of the haters can go out...and get a life
My subject heading is slightly ironic: I check your updates about twice a week, and have every week since '07 - so how much of a life do I have? I also own a replica of Longclaw - a Christmas gift from my wife that actually scared the hell out of my inlaws and made my old college buddies call me in concern. Yeah, maybe I'm a little into the series.

Despite all of that, "quality" is what made your series so popular, and I am willing to wait for quality in order to advance that series. At times the waiting does sucks because I would love to reconnect with characters that I have followed since early college, but that is the price paid for genius and a great story.

All those who complain can find something else to do - like get a life. Keep writing, whatever you choose and at your own pace. I'll buy the book when it is ready.
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:33 am (UTC)
for god's sake, George
How much money have you made as a writer? How much adulation have you received for your work? You chose to become a public figure when you published your first work and you've stayed at it despite all of the pitfalls of being in the public eye.

Quit letting all these prepubescent whiners get to you and write the damned book. Or eat a couple of chili dogs and watch the game. Or go to Tokyo. Or whatever floats your boat. It's you life, and they matter not a whit unless you allow them to.

Just quit crying about how all mean all these little kids (and the adults who act like little kids) are and how they're all gonna regret it and miss you when you die!

There are plenty of us who know what it's like and while we wish you'd get the damned thing done, it's not like anything we say or do will help you get it worked out. And if you pay attention to all the cheeseheads, the only thing they're gonna do for you is give you yet another excuse to hide from it, and feel guilty about it, and wish it would go away. Suck it up and move on, George. ;)
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:35 am (UTC)
I, for one, would rather the book be well written, than quickly written. Take as long as you need.
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:39 am (UTC)
Dance of Dragons and Timing
Much happier for you to take the time you believe you need to complete the book the way you feel it it needs to be done. We have come this far on the journey together - we can wait. Why should anyone encourage you to go for second best?
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:39 am (UTC)
Thank YOU for your patience.

You probably don't have the time to read every single comment, but I hope this one joins all the supportive ones, and you feel just a tiny little bit more of good thoughts and support from all around you. October would be truly lovely. And if it's not, it will come out whenever it comes out. We'll wait.
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:40 am (UTC)
No worries, man. I'm totally patient! And so's my boyfriend, who got me into your work. We saw you at comic con, we know you're not going anywhere anytime soon :D

I'm an artist and I totally understand the need to focus on a variety of projects for sanity's sake. I'm pretty shocked to hear that you're being bashed because you haven't magically pulled another perfect 1000 page novel out of your ass, but as we all know, the internet is haven to the cowardly and the socially inept. Awesome folks, too, but... yeah.

Feb. 20th, 2009 06:41 am (UTC)
We are rooting for you.
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:44 am (UTC)
While I am very excited about ADWD, I also know that the best things in life are worth waiting for. I know many people out there are impatient about the new book, but please don't let them get to you. Ignore them; don't even respond to them. Whether you finish ADWD by June, or not until 2011, or even beyond, I will still buy it and enjoy it. In the meantime I'll have to finish reading some of the books by the other absolutely fantastic writers out there. Thank you so much for writing, editing, teaching and all of the other contributions you make.
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:45 am (UTC)
It's terrible that George is getting so much flak.
I'm a long time fan. I read the wild cards novels when they first came out. I still have my copy of Gurps Wild Cards somewhere. And I think A Song of Fire And Ice is his best work.

Like other fans I was frustrated that the novel hasn't come out yet. And I'll admit I was really frustrated when I saw all these other projects going ahead. And the conventions and and minitiatures and such. But I got over it. It's a really complicated series that's unlike anything I've ever read. I'd rather wait to get something spectacular than some of the schlock other fantasy writers put out.

Life happens. And maybe the people talking trash should go out and live more and stop criticizing how George lives his.
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:46 am (UTC)
After 250 or so comments, you'll probably never read this, but what the hell... eight years ago I was in a hospital room waiting for a surgery that could've ended in my death. Among the thoughts bouncing around my head was that I might never finish ASoIaF now, and how much that sucked. Then I realized that I had already had A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings, and all the other great books in the series I'd read till then. I had already had a lifetime of good experiences up to that point, and if I were denied more years of such experiences, it didn't make all the great things I'd experienced in the past any less sweet.

So what I'm trying to say is that, no matter if I see A Dance of Dragons in September 2009 or September 2019 or ever, you have already given me the gift of four truly great books that I might not have ever read. I am very grateful for that and *that alone*. The past is gone, the future is unknown, but we live in the present, and you have made my present richer than it might otherwise have been. So thanks.
Feb. 20th, 2009 09:30 am (UTC)
A bit belated, but dude, glad your surgery went well.
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:47 am (UTC)
Dammit George, fuck the nay-sayers. Oddly enough, you're on the schedule I thought you'd be on, but that doesn't matter; you do what ya gotta do to get that done in whatever time you need. I want quality and I trust what you think is the quality this book deserves, so please, don't rush it. Sure, I'd love ADWD done ASAP, but you're the creative mind, not us and you haven't let us down yet. Keep it up; you'll get there and your true fans will be there to receive and hopefully drag in some converts.
Remember: we love you.
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:56 am (UTC)
Hang in there. I really want to read DwD, of course, but I want it to be the best possible version of itself, and one you're happy with, so I am content to be patient.

You are a human being and you should be allowed to have outside interests, like football, and other projects, like Wild Cards (which I liked very much, btw), without a bunch of people jumping all over you. All that besides the fact that I imagine quite a lot of work goes into an epic series like ASoIaF, work that we never see on the pages and can't really appreciate. I would much rather have a well done book that takes some time than a hastily produced book made to please the masses.

Edited at 2009-02-20 06:56 am (UTC)
Feb. 20th, 2009 07:00 am (UTC)
Holy mother of updates!
I personally want the book..like right now...but then, when would I have time to read it anyway=-) Take your time..I'd rather have an amazing copy then one quickly put together. your the best author out there, and although I haven't picked up any of your others books in recent years, the ones I've read (including ice and fire) are amazing...While we all would love it if the book came out tomorrow, i'm still an eager fan waiting to get my new martin fix=) screw the haters! Keep up the amazing work!! :D
Feb. 20th, 2009 07:03 am (UTC)
Mr. Martin, you're a great writer. Dance With Dragons will be worth the wait, just like every other book in the series. I'm reading Feast for Crows very slowly because I'm sure it ends in a cliff-hanger, and I don't want to be salivating for the next book just yet.
Feb. 20th, 2009 07:03 am (UTC)
Love ya, George. You hang in there and don't let folks get to you! Most especially, don't let them take away the joy of your work!

It takes me forever just to make myself finish a short story. Can't imagine trying to do a novel. Well, I have tried (and not yet succeeded). It's a bear trying to keep details and literary form consistent!

In the meantime, I'm really looking forward to the new anthology with the Dunk and Egg story whenever that comes out!

Feb. 20th, 2009 07:05 am (UTC)
Hang in ther G!
I really love the ASoIaF but I'd rather you be happy with what you've done then be pressured to produce something just for the sake of satisfying curiosities.

I'm also a fan of all your other stuff so I'm grateful of what ever your inspiration is directing you towards.

I've heard about the flak you've been getting all the way from the RPG boards and I'd want to add my voice to those who throw their moral support behind you (or at you).

Feb. 20th, 2009 07:07 am (UTC)
September this year? Great, then I have time to read through the series again! :D Sweet! Good luck with the book, Mr. Martin! It'll be done when it's done.
Feb. 20th, 2009 07:11 am (UTC)
I am sure that dozens upon dozens of other fans have already stated, far more eloquently than I ever could be.

However, this entry and your subsequent one have made it so that I feel there is no way I could not comment.

But I want to say Thank You.

Honestly, it could be left at that. Thank you so much for doing everything that you have. I feel that you have been unappreciated by your fans far too frequently, as you spoke in your entry about Detractors. I know all to well the types that you have said, as many of my friends have sadly expressed those sentiments. But I feel like you are completely right. Ignore them. They are breaking the simple rule of not biting the hand that feeds them.
But honestly, I am glad that you talk about everything else. I find it warming to know that one of my favorite authors ever actually does indeed have a life. So, I say thank you for sharing everything with us, and thank you for having given us everything that you have, and thank you for continuing to give everything you do. And so I say, good luck, and keep up the good work, and don't let everyone get you down.

Thank You. ^__^
Feb. 20th, 2009 07:15 am (UTC)
Thanks for the update Mr Martin!

I'm going to wait for the book with the patience whatever time it needs to be finished.
Feb. 20th, 2009 07:18 am (UTC)
Dear Mr. Martin,
I would like to apologize. I have often wished you would finish the novel. I have also wished that you wouldn't post your NFL stuff. I have never been a football fan, and I usually skip those posts when you do. However, this is the thing: as you have said many times, this is YOUR place. YOu don't even have to let people read this, and you do. People should be grateful enough for that. As for the novel, I will be glad to read it when it is done. I am now starting the series over, and am content with that, as the novels are so richly delicious. You just can't rush your art, and I would classify what you are doing as an art. Just the fact that so-called fans would call you fat and lazy riles me up to no end. The books will be finished when they are finished. And I will be waiting for them. I hope this finds you in a better mood. May you sleep well.
Feb. 20th, 2009 07:23 am (UTC)
Mr. Martin...

Hang in there and don't let the bastards get ya down.
Feb. 20th, 2009 07:24 am (UTC)
Love ya, George! What's the point of being a successful writer if you don't get to do some other things you like? I like my job in insurance, but I'll be damned if I'm gonna just do that all day! I'm proud of you for having a life outside of your work, even if work is your passion!
Feb. 20th, 2009 07:26 am (UTC)
It's your book, not ours. Therefore, you'll finish it when it is finished. I'm pretty sure that what we see is 5% of the true going-ons of the project, so it's pretty pathetic for people to judge, get angry or demanding (or all three).

I do know one thing for certain...when it DOES get done, I'll buy it. I'll read it. I'll enjoy it.
End of story.

Enjoy your life, your travels and your varied interests. It's what keeps each and every one of us sane and happy, when we do what we enjoy. The second we live for others demands is when we cease to live our own life.

Not all of us are jerks, and I'm glad you recognize that. :)
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George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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