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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.

Comments

( 626 comments )
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enjae
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:01 pm (UTC)
Oh. This post, and the other one, made me want to simultaneously punch the detractors and give you a hug. Take whatever time you need. I don't mind waiting.
georgian_fan
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:06 pm (UTC)
Do not let them distress you
Hi Mr. Martin,
I love your books and certainly am looking forward for the “dance”.
Do not let them distress you. Take as long as it needs to deliver once again one of the best fantasy books.
Have a nice day!
Your faithful fan.

PS. Are not you planning to visit Germany in the near future?
ceebeetee80
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:07 pm (UTC)
Good Luck
I know it is rough when characters and the like don't cooperate. Keep it up! Take breaks as necessary, read, work on other stuff, it always helps me when I hit hiccups. I'll be waiting anxiously, but patiently. As much as I want it, I want it good too :-)

I hope none of my comments previously were in the group you mentioned with some amount of disgust. If they were, I apologize.

Good luck!
Cassie
theswornsword
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:07 pm (UTC)
Assisstants?
Maybe you could have one of you assisstants weed through your e-mails & delete all the negative crap you don't need to read.
woodbyrne
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:07 pm (UTC)
Take your time. It's art and you need to love it. Screw the haters. There will ALWAYS be haters. Write for yourself first and foremost. This you know. Your real fans await and cherish your work. If you do not do it for love, it will not live up to the first 4 books. Again, you know that. Just giving my support to today's Tolkien. Peace, bro.
rynzi
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:10 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
I'm sorry people seem to be so upset with the lateness of this book.
I'd like to say thank you for even coming up with the world of Ice and Fire and writing the series. And am waiting patiently for A Dance with Dragons.
Best of luck writing.
bruisedgarden
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:15 pm (UTC)
Books are never done until someone finally tears it out of your hands and tells -you- it's done. Just enjoy yourself, that's why everyone else writes, you just have more of an audience. Have fun, don't stress out, and enjoy the vacations, that's what royalties should give you - not the chance to write on someone else's schedule, but to enjoy yourself.
alanashinean
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:15 pm (UTC)
Unlike many of you out there, I got my copies of the Song of Ice & Fire calendar, so I knew what date it was.

That made me literally laugh out loud.
ulfric
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:17 pm (UTC)
GRRM,

I dont normally post here, only once or twice during football season when your NY teams and My Eagles were at odds. That was just playful banter. this is more in response to your post to your detractors.

Why listen to them? Why be baited by them? if they are arrogant and self righteous enough to tell you how to live your life and talk about and do what you enjoy most, then they are not worth bothering with.

Dr Suess once said, "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."

You are sharing a part of your life with your fans by having this LJ or that blog. giving updates on your work...hell, just sharing your work!

Am i disappointed that Dance isn't done? I would be lying if i said no. However I also understand that you have a life. The book will be done when the book will be done. I do not begrudge you that fact. I will patiently wait to read more about Arya, Jon and the rest. The more angst you feel over it the less you will want to put into it.

Do what makes you happy. Do not be ruled by these other insignificant people trying to tell you how to be or what you should talk about or do.

house_sysadmin
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the update, Mr. Martin. I look forward to Dance and Winds. Things take as long as they need to take and while I've been a little frustrated with that length of time, I know that your next novel will be worth the wait.

You see, when I picked up and read A Game of Thrones, I had given up on the Fantasy genre as a essentially dead - I hadn't found an author I could enjoy for a very long time. Friends encouraged me to grab the first two books and read (A Clash of Kings was new at the time). I was taken aback at your style and subject matter. Your characters were fun and complex. Your plots weren't the same rehashed ideas of yesteryear.

So, once again, my thanks Mr. Martin.
helgagrace
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:36 pm (UTC)
Hang in there!
There are still fans like me out here that are patiently waiting, because we would prefer a complete and un-rushed final product. When it does come out, we will happily buy it to join the others on our shelves. And start waiting for the next one the instant we're finished reading! :)
littlemissangel
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:43 pm (UTC)
I will be so happy when it comes out and I know it will be brilliant so am content to wait until it's done. :)

It makes me very sad and angry that people are complaining about the "lateness". You have your own life too and should be doing whatever you want with it!
koboldninja_5
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:48 pm (UTC)
My only comment here was for a football post months ago, but I feel I should say something. Did I want DwD last year? Yes. Did I want it the moment I finished the last book? Yes. Is this cause for rage at the author? No.

I thoroughly enjoy the series, but quite frankly if I have the time to vent huge amounts of anger at an author who only produces quality works and does so in numerous settings, I really need to get more of a life. That and read some other books too. No offense, but there are many other quality novels out there, too, so perhaps in the meantime people need some suggestions as to where else to look for entertainment.
djmalessence
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:55 pm (UTC)
We'll wait. Don't you worry. I ordered it off Amazon years ago and it'll arrive when it arrives.

If people can't handle the process of perfection, they don't belong reading this series. I HATE fantasy as a genre but you've managed to suck me in. I'd rather you keep up the good work then throw some trash on the market.

Just tell the detractors to piss off and worry about something important.
vix_kitten
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:55 pm (UTC)
I've never commented on your journal before, but your last post and this post made me want to reach out and say that I think you are a very talented writer and I, for one, am glad that you are doing things that refresh and revive you creatively, rather than slogging straight through to create a book that you are not 100% happy with.
I am patient and awaiting DWD eagerly. And I have every confidence that when it arrives, it will be all the better for coming from someone who watches NFL, gets excited about miniatures and occasionally takes a leak.
trebla1972
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:01 pm (UTC)
Indeed, George. Garden Party is so fitting. Please yourself, because I know you want to write the best books possible.

Treb
littlemissangel
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:12 pm (UTC)
I had to comment again because I'm so angry...

Do these people who send you rude emails realize that it takes time out of your day (and possibly time away from writing your book) when you have to read them all? And having to write these long explanations to people constantly also takes time away?

And now my comment has taken time away too! Sorry. ;)
kud_dukan
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:14 pm (UTC)
Don't rush, and don't listen to the haters
George, we love you series to death, and as far as I'm concerned, you can take as much time as you need to finish it. Rushing a novel as complex as yours are is dangerous. We'll all still be here when you're done, and you won't here a single comment from me about being annoyed with the wait. Waiting is part of the fun.

Had the internet been around when Tolkien was writing and rewriting Lord of the Rings, he would have seen the same pressure. :)
bsans85
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:15 pm (UTC)
You are worth the time it takes.
Hater Trolls. They infest like unwanted roaches you see in Gordon Ramsey's "kitchen nightmares". I believe sir you deserve to live your life however you want, you've certainly earned it. For people who read your work, you would think they would have mature outlook on how you life and enjoy your life. For the amount of enjoyable your books are to us, patience shouldnt be a problem as your books do not grow old. ever. Keeping on trucking sir, i as a fan have all the time in in the world to wait on your masterpieces. cheers
je_scott
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:19 pm (UTC)
Take heart and really sorry for all of the negativity spewing forth
Please keep up the wonderful work in all of your books and keep living the life that fuels the imagination that results in your work! It must be incredibly hard to have so much negativity spewed forth onto you and about you, but there are those who just wish you the very best and happily await more tales. And, as with most things in life, the satisfied happy customer rarely makes a fuss. So maybe we should take the time and make the effort to spread some positivity around because we really do appreciate the worlds that you've birthed, the characters that inhabit them, and the tales that you've told. We might be greedily awaiting more of them, but that doesn't diminish the respect and appreciation for those that came before!
prdct
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:24 pm (UTC)
*hugs*
coleoptera
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:24 pm (UTC)
Sounds like people sure have been real assholes to you. Sounds like probably those people should to some extent get a life and be happy that you're bothering at all to give them something that they want to see. I want to read the book, I'll be really excited when it comes out, but in the meantime, there's a lot of other stuff in this world I want and need and should do instead.
ieiazel
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:28 pm (UTC)
Dear George,
I read this journal every day, though I have never posted here. I enjoy your posts on every subject (even though I haven't read all of your works and I don't like football) but the trolls that sometimes wander around your blog irritate me beyond words. They have to be the most annoying, unbelievably rude people in the internet. Don't let them spoil your days!
And for the 260th time today... we will wait for your books for as long as it takes. Cheer up!
nespa46
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:30 pm (UTC)
Sorry!
I was one of the "haters" and I am so, so, sorry, I just love your series, it is so captivating that I can't wait to get more of it. But you are absolutely correct, you have a whole life other than A Dance and every right to enjoy it, travel, frolic and be merry, I've waited the short, I can wait the long, I don't like it when you are "depressed", take your time and do your thing, God bless you!
qualario
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:31 pm (UTC)
Keep on keepin' on, man. If it takes extra time to make something with which you're truly happy (while still living a good life with your family and friends, the importance of which people always neglect), you have to take that time.
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( 626 comments )

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