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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 09:36 am (UTC)
Doesn't matter how long it takes, we know it will be worth it. Nil illigitimum Carborundum as Asterix might say.
Feb. 20th, 2009 09:38 am (UTC)
Another chapter, please
I fully got what you said here, and on your next entry. I can't say I'm behind that 100%, but it's not my place to, anyway. Please consider, though, that if people get frustrated and need to vent about it to their friends (and other people like them), there's no reason to take that personally.
Now to my request - some time ago you decided, having rotated between the Dany chapter and Tyrion one for some time, that it was time to spice things up with a new John chapter. Will you consider adding to the mix, now?
Feb. 20th, 2009 09:39 am (UTC)
I'm frustrated at how long it's taking, but I enjoy the fact that I care enough about the books to be frustrated, and will be thankful for what I can get when I can get it :)
Feb. 20th, 2009 09:53 am (UTC)
After all these years of utter silence, now my two coppers:
I picked up A Game of Thrones in 1999 - suffice it to say, it blew my mind. I finished A Storm of Swords in the Summer of 2000. It was (is) up to this point the best story I have ever read. If truth be told, the 5 year wait on A Feast for Crows sucked. Especially in the first few years. I've gotten over it though, I made my peace with your pace. Hell, take another 5 years for Dance, I don't care, as long as you finish the goddamn story some when. All I want is the same high quality entertainment and mind boggling stories I've gotten so far. Do what you must, take as long as you must, do not rush things unnecessarily. Get the story done. Peace.
Feb. 20th, 2009 09:55 am (UTC)
George Martin, I adore you.

I'd adore you even more if you were easily distracted by hockey instead of football, but hey - no one's perfect ;0)

Like many other of your fans, I want a book written *to your standards,* not something pushed out of certain orafices rather than flowing naturally from your fingers and your mind. We live in an era where folks want everything "NOW" - but you, sir, are no purveyor of fast food or the like. People should learn some damned patience.

If the naysayers would think about it, they'd realize that what is REALLY a "waste of your time" is pumping your inbox full of vitriol.
Feb. 20th, 2009 10:01 am (UTC)
I think we've been spoiled a bit in expecting our authors to pump out a book every year or two. I'm fond of Jean M. Auel and her books are more like every 5 years.

So take your time and let it come out the way you believe it should rather than rushing it onto the shelves and regretting it. You are a talented writer. And I will wait patiently for your genius to unfold once more in the pages of your next book.

And do remind your detractors that those ball games, trips, conventions, etc. tend to stimulate the mind so you can bring back nuggets that keep your writing fresh. Never let go of the fact that if your writing wasn't amazing, they wouldn't be clamoring for it!
Feb. 20th, 2009 10:12 am (UTC)
Pah, you're no Robert Jorden. There is a distinct lack of mentioning how women cross their arms under their breasts and your characters generally reach the places they intend to go. (or get quickly side tracked to much better plot-progressing places). :P

And how the heck are you supposed to write without real life? Boring stifling fanfic is what you write when you stay in the same place, not intricate fascinating novels that take far more planning than anything I do in my life.

Silly people living their small lives. May they get claustrophobia.
Feb. 20th, 2009 10:19 am (UTC)
Hey no worries, I am remarkably chilled about not having read Dance of Dragons yet. It's finished when it's finished. Good luck dude.
Feb. 20th, 2009 10:19 am (UTC)
You know, I don't really feel you need to justify your actions, Mr. Martin. Despite what your detractors send you via E-mail, this is your book, and if you decided to make Dance with Dragons all off three lines long detailing a massive and beautiful meteor coming down and destroying all of Westeros, well then, I'm afraid we would all have to accept that.

I love your writing. My assumption is that you will make better work when you are happy with what you are doing, so... get to the cash cow when you feel like it, but don't let publishers and rabid fans ruin any of your writing. That is just silly.
Feb. 20th, 2009 10:24 am (UTC)
The word i "I liked AOIAF" is not quite so.
It is brilliant, and as all of you readers, and i think, most of them - I wait the next istallment almost for 5 years, I remember reading it when I was a kid, when I was a teenager, when i was student, and now I am reading it when I am a father already, I will wait it no matter what.
Good Luck.
Feb. 20th, 2009 10:32 am (UTC)
Look, I have friends of varying degrees who are novelists and writers. People who expect you to be a Song of Ice and Fire book machine don't quite understand the writer's life or writer's progress.

Do I want to read Dance? You betcha. Would I harangue, harass and treat you like crap about it not being finished? There's a word for people like that.

Take care, be well, and do what you have to do.
Feb. 20th, 2009 10:33 am (UTC)
I don't think 'Take all the time you need' will be any appropriate support. Writing on some (academical) work for two years longer than planned now, I've an idea on some of the problems arising out of 'no worries'... so: thanks for your update. I admit being curious about DWD was one main reason I added you here first, but I'm happy for very many other reasons by now that I did.

Best of lucks with the progress! (Bah, and of course we're awaiting it impatiently, but so what - there shall be other stuff in life worth living for so long ;)).
Feb. 20th, 2009 10:34 am (UTC)
It will be worth the wait. Please just don't let us go without it.
Feb. 20th, 2009 10:40 am (UTC)
People are strange...the entitlement of some never ceases to amaze me. All this raving about authors "owing" anything to readers... I don't understand it. It'll be done, when you finish it. Take your time with it, please. All the time necessary for it to be the book you want it to be.
Feb. 20th, 2009 10:42 am (UTC)
Take your time, Mister Martin.

The best stories take the most time.
Feb. 20th, 2009 10:55 am (UTC)
Chances of you reading a comment this far down is unlikely at best, but would like to add:

So far you have bestowed upon your fans part of something truly epic, and a pile of amazing works on the side. It would be a little sad if we never got to see where you were going with Song, but the world is still a slightly better place with half a Song in it than none at all. Even if you never finish it, the existing works speak for themselves far more eloquently than anything anybody else is writing.
Feb. 20th, 2009 11:00 am (UTC)
I know how it is. Writing is tough. I'm an aspiring writer myself and everything takes so long.
Feb. 20th, 2009 11:14 am (UTC)
hey man
all this has done has given me time to get this super hot chick (who's into books) hooked on your crack (and that's what it is)

I love the series, and while you haven't passed out the next rock, i don't want it to be chalk... i want the 100% pure you've passed out for a while..

I came across your first book by accident... and it took so long for the second i forgot about it for two years...

i picked it up and went out and whoa... two AND three

if i told you that the only reason I'm still alive was to see the end you'd never finish without a guilty consious...
okay i'm not really planning on killing myself either...

but it did get at least two more people hooked on your drug... and yeh you have a life...

and so do the rest of us... those who dont want you to live it don't have one, they probably sit in thier basement playing WOW with some script that shows a pop up ech time your journals updted
Feb. 20th, 2009 11:14 am (UTC)
I know this comment will be lost among the many comments but I feel I must say while I am jonsing like an addict for the next installment of A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE I don't want it to be anything but what the next book is supposed to be. Rushing it won't make the read good, stopping everything else in your life won't make the read good either. What made the rest of the series so good has everything to do with everything you have going on in your life. Your other projects, your traveling, your goofing off, things that we fans have no idea about, everything. It is what makes you who you are and helps the ideas of you the writer flow.

I'm a big fan and alight friend of another author, Horror novelist Scott Sigler, he too is a huge football fan, he claims the superbowl is a national holiday in his eyes. While his writing normally has nothing to do with football and I am not a fan of it I know that if he didn't watch it, talk about it and get as excited as he does about it as he does, his books would suck. They would lose the energy that he as a writer has, and I need that, as a reader I need that.

I need your passion for football, I need your passion for other projects I need your passion for everything that is important, because that is what makes the world of Westeros so freaking compelling to read.

I'm antsy for the next book, but I don't want it to come to me till it is done, and it is done right, only you will know when that is.

(Just like, I don't want to push an airline to fly if they think my flight should be delayed, I would rather land safly then not land well)
Feb. 20th, 2009 11:21 am (UTC)
Thank you.

I remain waiting patiently.
Feb. 20th, 2009 11:50 am (UTC)
No NFL blog for the last few days... this is an outrage, an atrocity!

Dont let the haters get you down George. Santa Claus is fat and 60 something and he's doing alright for himself isnt he?! If I got comments like that I'd nearly scrap the whole Ice and Fire thing altogether... Here's hoping you don't though!!

Keep on truckin'
Feb. 20th, 2009 12:01 pm (UTC)
"It's done when it's done."

I work for a gaming company that has risen to being the most popular developer in the world by virtue of sticking to that philosophy. It worked for them and it worked for all the great work you brought us before today, so why change it?
Feb. 20th, 2009 12:05 pm (UTC)
I think it's unfortunate the lack of support you have been getting from your fan base. Your not a machine who can pump out novels on a routine and regular basis. You *gasp* have a life, other interests and then there's the actual writing of the book.

I'd be willing to wait for a very very long time for your next book. The quality of your writing, depth of your characters and the compelling twists and turns make it worth it :)

Ignore the hate and know there are others out there who are patiently waiting. Besides, in the meantime you can reread the series, or *cough* experience other authors' works!
Feb. 20th, 2009 12:12 pm (UTC)
While I am impatiently waiting for DwD, I completely understand that life gets in the way and the muse dances beyond reach occasionally. I blog because I simply don't have the discipline to sit down and write anything novel-length, let alone the length and scope of your vision.

As for the detractors who don't want you watching football, do they not understand that the majority of your work takes place in the mind, while the body is occupied doing other stuff? Eff them.

I may not wait patiently (patience has never been my strong point), but I will wait supportively and eagerly.
Feb. 20th, 2009 12:13 pm (UTC)
Dont't worry and take your time!! If don't, it won't be what you want it to be and that's the most important point.
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George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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