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A Dance With Dragons

Spain
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.

Comments

( 627 comments )
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ornotmajestic
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. :)
vmorris27
Feb. 20th, 2009 07:30 am (UTC)
I'm sorry
I'm so sorry that you have such a great weight on your shoulders...when all you really want to do...in the deepest part of your heart, is write the story for you. I can sympothize on the opposite end of the scale. I have dozens of stories, a few that I think are pretty good and one that I believe could...maybe be the one that gets me published, for that first time.
I enjoy your work, and I look forward to every new chapter to the worlds and lives you have given to us all. But I have always believed in the writer. In the one who can and will do the best they can, when they can.
Enjoy it, George...for you first. And thank you for your time.
mariefoxprice
Feb. 20th, 2009 07:31 am (UTC)
Good luck on finishing ADWD. I'm with you - it makes me angry when people moan at the Facebook fan site. Clearly those are the people who don't know that writing is HARD.
escarboucle
Feb. 20th, 2009 07:33 am (UTC)
Problems arise all the time. Life is life.

I'll be waiting patiently for Dance. To me, it doesn't matter what time you take, because there are not many authors around that can make me feel such glee whern I read their work. Thank you for writing it, and for writing so magnificently. I wish I could write like you. :)
bohemiancoast
Feb. 20th, 2009 07:40 am (UTC)
I'm happy to wait as long as it takes. Thank you for all the excellent books you've written so far.
trifridda
Feb. 20th, 2009 07:46 am (UTC)
Wishing you the best
Mr. Martin.

Like many of your fans I have been on the edge of my seat, biting my nails and crossing my fingers to learn about the release date of A Dance with Dragons. I know things are difficult. I had a hard enough time writing a 10 page term paper in college. I can't imagine what you are going through.

I know you will finish the book and the series and it will be well worth the wait. Until then I have countless other books to read. Maybe the rest of your fans should realize that there are many other great authors out there. All of whom are quite entertaining. Maybe that will satiate them until Dance is released. I wish you the best of luck and the largest light bulb in the world over your head as well as a giant axe to chop through any writer's blocks that get in your way.

can wait.

David lunsford
hesterbyrde
Feb. 20th, 2009 07:49 am (UTC)
I'd love to hear more of what it is like to write a narrative on this scale but I understand as someone who dabbles in the art (that's all I can call it when talking to you) that sometimes those details are intensely private.

I look forward to reading, whenever that may be. Thank you for working so hard on something like this for us.
syderia
Feb. 20th, 2009 07:50 am (UTC)
This series is worth waiting for. :-)
infinite_hiatus
Feb. 20th, 2009 07:51 am (UTC)
Seems to me that it's pointless becoming a successful writer unless it affords you the ability to do all the things in life you've always wanted to, such as going to conventions, editing anthologies, and watching shit loads of football.

I also suspect that the people who post negative comments on your blog and on message boards are 13 years old. It would be silly to get upset because of 13 year olds. :-)

I started writing a novel this past year (my second attempt). I told family and friends. Now I have to deal with them asking me for status updates every week. Finally I had to tell them it'd be finished when it's finished and to stop bugging me. I can only imagine you're going through that same thing times 6 million. That animated gif you posted says it all.
mladshii
Feb. 20th, 2009 07:54 am (UTC)
We are patiently waiting, looking forward to and offering constant sympathy and support - through clenched teeth :-)

By the way, could you tell us later, is there any news about Ice and Fire TV series? Any progress?
mrcarnival
Feb. 20th, 2009 07:59 am (UTC)
What a beautiful monster you've created GRRM! /humble bow

And to you, yes, -you-, the chattering baboons that are driving this poor ol' man crazy. GO READ OTHER BOOKS AND WATCH MOVIES. The world is literally FULL of other stuff to be involved in! As good as SOI&F books are, there's other stuff out there just as good. Find it.

You have your quest...
luinied
Feb. 20th, 2009 08:01 am (UTC)
I'd like to echo what everyone else has said here about being absolutely fine with waiting for high quality books.

But also, seriously, do not take the haters seriously. Internet fandom really can bring out the worst in people - I have seen similar reactions of "how dare they waste their time with [whatever]!" to the personal journals of young people who, say, go out on dates rather than produce the next in a popular line of fan parody videos. They're not worth your concern.

If it helps, though, remember that they'll be collectively giving you quite a bit of money for A Dance With Dragons as soon as they're able to. And, of course, despite any snarky criticism they've had for the series, they will devour it almost instantly and then start complaining about The Winds Of Winter not being out yet.
delanthaenas
Feb. 20th, 2009 08:07 am (UTC)
Take all the time you need!
I'm really looking forward to Dance. But, I would hate for you to rush it just to appease the raving masses. So if you said I had to wait 'til 2010, I'd wait that long, and still be incredibly pleased when I did get to read it.

In the meantime, I get to continue theorizing with my friends before we find out who's right and who's wrong. So please, take your time and don't let the bastards grind you down.
silentinflames
Feb. 20th, 2009 08:08 am (UTC)
I have been writing a bit myself, so there's one thing I can say: it happens when it happens. You can't force it.

I will happily wait another year or two if the outcome makes you happy, because that is what counts: the artist needs to be happy with his artwork, no one else.

Take all the time necessary. I'm not going anywhere. ;)
isis_newton
Feb. 20th, 2009 08:23 am (UTC)
Thanks for the update. I do look forward to reading ADWD but in the meantime I have hundreds of other books to be getting on with. :)
richgreen01
Feb. 20th, 2009 08:26 am (UTC)
Good luck and thanks for the update!
stevesez
Feb. 20th, 2009 08:27 am (UTC)
Relax
I think the problem is when trying to make the new one better than any other, trying to outdo yourself. Are you having fun George? If not you're doing it wrong. Geez, you're good enough that you'd have to TRY to write dross to write dross. Write dross if it's fun and then publish it and I promise you I'll love it. Just want to know what happens next, don't need it to be better than the last! :D

Heck, in ten years you can always go back and rewrite books or parts you change your mind on. Why not do that? be the first even
bleupencil
Feb. 20th, 2009 08:30 am (UTC)
It will take as long as it takes and I can wait forever for you to finish, because I know it will be worth it. Sorry to hear that people are making the process more difficult for you. Keep on fighting the good fight!
alice_the_raven
Feb. 20th, 2009 08:31 am (UTC)
It will be a pleasure to wait for another wonderful story. :D
crashbarrier
Feb. 20th, 2009 08:33 am (UTC)
Being of a creative mind myself, albiet I create things more practical that written, I too often suffer from creative block.. this can last for months on end, leading to stress frustration and angst of the worst order.

I try to redirect my interests into other things in the hope that the block will end and the creativity will flow. It doesn't alwasy immedicately happen but eventually something does. I am "lucky" in that it is not my profession so I don't Have to do it..

I tip my hat to you sir. When the book is finished I will be here to read it.
shaevairc
Feb. 20th, 2009 08:46 am (UTC)
Just wanted to say: I don't care how long it takes you. I love this book series very much and I just hope that some day I might be able to read on. But it's better you keep your own pace instead of rushing it. Good luck!
prokhozhyj
Feb. 20th, 2009 08:46 am (UTC)
We are esteem and anticipating :)
faery_lights
Feb. 20th, 2009 08:56 am (UTC)
George, lots of your fans are very, very happy to wait. The ones that aren't need to take a reality check. I'd rather you took a long time and wrote a book that you're happy with than feel rushed. =)
drowned_ophelia
Feb. 20th, 2009 08:58 am (UTC)
It'll be done when it's finished. The only version of the book I want to read is the one you're happy with! So what if that takes a while? There's so much to read in the meantime! ^_^
snarky_sharky
Feb. 20th, 2009 09:13 am (UTC)
We want it to be GREAT, so take all the time you need and please don't mind the hate cries or whatever negativity you might face. Of course, we want it here and we want it now :) but we will wait. The only thing I personally am afraid of is that you might have grown tired of ASOIAF and that's why it is taking so much time.
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