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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

( 628 comments )
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bookwormtammy
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:54 pm (UTC)
Hello!
I hope you dont let all of this stupid, morbid shit get you down! It is your story to tell. And I absolutly loved your response to all of the nay sayers! True true! I guess I am not one because I am used to this sort of thing. Ever heard of Jean M. Auel? Now there is an author who takes her time! Anyway's I just want you to know that I am excited about this book coming out. But,like you, I know there is more to life then the next release date. So do what you gotta do, and fuck the rest!
jarathen
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:57 pm (UTC)
Don't Sweat It, George
The fact that you even keep a blog, letting us all in to see what you do and like, is cool. There will always be detractors, and always people who claim that they like your books but you're mistreating your fans. I have a hard time believing that you are fleecing your fans or otherwise maliciously mistreating those who enjoy your works. It sounds like too much work.

I'm a huge fan of your written work (I can't say I ever watched B&B or the 80s TZ series) and found the Dreamsongs collections far better than I'd even hoped. If you stopped ASOIAF now I'd still be happy for what I have, but I have to admit I'm greedy and I'd love more.

Don't let the vocal minority get you down; we all know that ADWD is a #1 book the moment it hits stores. You have at least as many fans who read your blog as so-called fans that are really just entitled whiners that post here too, as well as thousands and thousands of fans who just enjoy your books and don't take to the 'net in force.

Armageddon Rag is an awesome book.
excellist
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:58 pm (UTC)
Please hang in there! Don't give up on those of us that are patient and loyal. It's neat to have fans, but ultimately, a writer writes for him or herself at their own pace. And that's the way it is. And life gets in the way for better or worse. Your fans who stick with you through the good and bad road blocks are the ones who are important. It's all about the story, and we'll wait patiently.

I'm a playwright and comic book writer. I understand.
swgarasu
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:00 pm (UTC)
LOL... I was like wasn't Dance with Dragons the last one?

We have the series and read them, but for some reason I was thinking that was the last one, because oddly my mind linked red with dragon. I know it's wierd.

No pressure on this front. I like your books and hope you finish the series- but whatever. :)
Take care.
electorprince
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:01 pm (UTC)
Asking for patience from us is like asking a starving man to wait until after the blessing to gorge. We shall endure, but don't imagine for a moment that we aren't anxiously awaiting the next installment of what is arguably your magnum opus. It's your train, but we did buy tickets, which makes it a vested interest for us as well, even if we don't get to be the conductors.

Pilot safely, good Navigator.
moonbeamdisco
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:02 pm (UTC)
Take you time, it's worth waiting for.
Greetings Mr. Martin!
I have never left you a comment but I follow your blog because I am a huge fan of the song of ice and fire. It is awesomely amazing! Actually when I started to read it, I didn't know it was more than one book, or that the series was not yet complete. I'll admit I was upset at my friend who gave me the book (but not you!)but only because he didn't tell me!
Well, When I reached the end, I put them all aside and started checking for updates on the next book. After some time I started game of thrones again, and thought maybe it will be ready by the time I've read through the series again. It was! And I was very happy! Feast for crows was as good as the others! I put them aside and read some other books. I read and enjoined Fever dream, not your usual vampires! After sometime I picked up game of thrones again, and thought maybe the next one will be ready by the time I finishes them again.... And you know what? I'm reading feast for crows for the third time now, and it was even better this time than the first two times I read it!!! Every time I reread my FAVORITE books I catch something that I missed before. Sometimes a half hint in a sentence, sometimes a tiny bit of foreshadowing, sometimes just a really beautiful / ironic image.
There is just so much in each of these book. Surly this must have taken a lot of thinking and hard work, writing and rewriting and rewriting again, and you know what? It shows in the quality. I am SO THANKFUL to you that you are not just whipping them out to appease those people who give you a hard time and accuse you of lying. I really want Dance with Dragons to be as good as all the others, so please don't rush, fill it with all the rich details and images it deserves, and don't stop until YOU are happy.
Also I would like offer some of my own personal opinions;
1)You are entitled to a life. What you choose to do with that life is up to you sir. If all you want to do is sit on your bum picking your nose, I say have at er! If you want to watch football do so and enjoy it! You see I also have a life, and I have more things to do than just read your book, there are in fact other books I can read while I wait for you to finish the next one. It is not a big problem to me if you have a life of your own
2) You are under no obligation to write only for my pleasure, if you are inspired to write a book that is not a part of my favorite series, please do so and post about it, because I may enjoy that book as well.
3) Inspiration cannot be forced. Just trying harder is not an option. Rushing things makes them crappy. You are a brilliant author, you don't produce crap because you know this.
4) I am generally a nice person but if people bugged me they way they have been bugging you I would get seriously pissed off.
5) on lying, it would be nice if we could predict the future wouldn't it? Trying can sometimes get us into trouble. Don't worry about it. I know the truth (which is that you do not have powers to see into the future and know when the book will be finished.)

So to sum up. Enjoy your life and take your time. I am really looking forward to reading Dance with Dragons, and it is worth waiting for!
Also you won't see my blog on here, because I am over on blogspot. I'm at moonbeamdisco.blogspot.com You are more than welcome to check it out if you want to know more about me!!
Regards,
S. Brykczynski
oscarrob
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:05 pm (UTC)
The Immortal words of Sandra Boynton
Don't let the Turkeys get you down.
1. Artists are...well...artists.
2. You are who you are.
3. Anybody who tells you not to watch football is a snooty moron.
4. Depression and anger are two sides of the same coin. Be angry its more fun.
5. Take your time. Take it easy. Smile. Laugh - especially at people who are vitriolic about things over which they have no control.
Sixth and lastly - write them down as asses.
coscaram
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:08 pm (UTC)
Take your time. There's lots of great writers and great books, out there to keep me occupied, in the meantime.

Best wishes and don't let the bastards wear you down.

and, while I think of it, Thank you!
el_burdo
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:08 pm (UTC)
From south-america
My friend (since i love you i guess we re friends : )) here, im Peru, we, your readers suports you too. Take your time. Take ours if you need some of it XD... but please... do not rush on writing! give us the pleasure of your fully timed art. thanks a lot and we ll await you Sir.
Valar morgulis.
steppemerc
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:10 pm (UTC)
I trust you, Mr. Martin. I believe that taking longer is always better than rushing something. Of course I wish that the book was done, but if wishes were horses we'd all be eating steak. I wish you luck in writing Songs, as well as your other works (I am really looking forward to Warriors). I have to say, I am sad that Sansa will not be in the book, as I really enjoy her story, but I am thrilled that I will see Tyrion and Dany again.

And I also want to express support for your above statement to your detractors. Anyone that is that rude to you is not a true fan, and really ought to shut up. I hope that you do not think that all of your fans are of that opinion, and that it does not deter you from your excellent work.
katierunyon
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:18 pm (UTC)
My Heart Goes Out
I am saddened to hear about your trials and troubles. It sickens me to know that people could be so whiny and cruel as to do such things as you have mentioned. I find it amazing that you have so many things going on at once and have a modicum of sanity, especially with so many people buzzing around giving their input. As a writer myself, I know how hard it can be. But to think of all the stress you are under from not only the big guys, but from your alleged fans is enough to crack any normal human being. As a fan of the Song of Ice and Fire series, I know I am eagerly awaiting the next book, but more than anything I understand. I only finished my first book recently and it took me over 3 years. I kept giving time tables, but in the end it never worked out that way.
I wish you the best in everything you do. It will take as long as it takes and everyone has no choice but to deal with that. Otherwise, they should try writing it themselves and see how hard it is. They expect perfection, but are unreasonable in the time they expect you to finish it. Good luck in your work and your life. And thank you for creating such wonderful works of art and sharing them with us.
dwarftosser
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:20 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry for all the criticism you have gotten over this. I believe you are one of the greatest writers ever to live and you certainly don't deserve to hear many of those comments.

I think a lot of the fan frustration stems from the fact that your updates on here usually talk about Wildcards, Appearances, Football, etc.. and rarely mention anything about the work you are doing on A DANCE WITH DRAGONS. That gives the appearance to a lot of people that it's not a high priority to you and makes people frustrated.

Anyways, it is nice to see an update posted although from your recent posts I can see some of your reasons for trying to not mention it very often. I think these books are the best I have ever read and I am glad you are taking your time to do the masterpiece you have created justice.
steveoh77
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:20 pm (UTC)
Alas we all have bosses
Taking care of yourself is nice, but taking care of others is far more rewarding.

I believe we all strive to be our own boss but in the end realize there are always "bosses" (i.e. spouses, the government, customers etc.) pushing us to get the most out of our lives.

Cheer up George and please be well and continue to eat that "elephant", known as A Song of Fire and Ice, one bite at a time.

Warm Regards,

Steve

aestil
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:26 pm (UTC)
Awesome
Mr. Martin, Thank you so much for the update. I wasn't even hoping for a date that you thought it would be complete. It may be nice to hear, but you've been wrong so many times I can't possibly trust it!

Rather I am very excited to hear from you 'how its going' in a general sense. Its great to hear that the first half of 2008 went well, and it was sad to hear that the later half went not so well. I love those kinds of updates, and I'm confident that you'll finish the book soon, and that once its done all of your 'anti - fans' will apologize for all the nasties they've said. Thanks for the great fiction. I am eager to read ADWD, probably as much as you are eager to be finished with it.

Long term, you have to continue to be happy writing these characters and stories. I hope you finish the work, thrilled with your achievement!
kindredsgirl
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:29 pm (UTC)
Darlin'

I just want to give you a hug. *HUGS*

thanks for writing these great novels. Obviously we're all anxious to find out what happens in the story. But I'd rather have it be right and take longer.

Take care and may your muses bless you.

Laura
jrthro
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:30 pm (UTC)
I cannot believe that some people get so worked up over a book that they're looking forward to reading, that they accuse the author of lying or of deliberately delaying the completion of the book. Not only is such behavior absolutely ridiculous, it also can't possibly be an effective way to encourage you to write faster.

Good luck!
weezer25
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:31 pm (UTC)
Be Happy
We love you George! Sorry on behalf of all those who forget that sometimes. I love Ice and Fire and can't wait till the Dance, etc. comes out- but you keep enjoying yourself! That song above says it all-and you know even once that book comes out half of those now clamoring for it will be disappointed in some way or another and then it's onto a fresh wave of whining from them. So, pursue your hobbies, spend time with your friends; we never know when any of us may 'pull a Robert Jordan'. And in my mind it would be a much greater tragedy for you not to have spent that quality time with friends and fans and doing what you like than it would be for us to be denied a book or two. So for Heaven's sake, get out there and have fun! And I'm hoping for your sake the Jets snag somebody great to run the offense during the offseason :)
aestil
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:32 pm (UTC)
Quick request
I know that you can't have an 'exact' page count yet, but I'd love a guestimate. Will it be closer to A Storm of Swords in length? Or more like AFFC?

Just a hint as to which way you think it will go would be exciting information!
montana_greg
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:34 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the update George. I think I speak for many of us fans that we don't and won't hold you to every date you set to complete DWD. Just please don't leave us hanging so long between updates, please? Just a little insight to what you been up to and that you are moving ahead from time to time does wonders! And some of us have a harder time holding or tongues than others. And some of us are less understanding that you are human and have a life and it involves other things and works. Just drop us a hint from time to time and hopefully the rabidness will subside even when your personal deadlines fall astray. We know you're working hard to do the best job you can! Thanks again man.
dragonladych
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:34 pm (UTC)
Some people need to get a life. I guess they've never had to work on a project or worked as an independant worker... Stuff happens, other projects take shape, I hope I will never be famous, I would be even less patient than you are with such comments.

I stopped reading some of my mailing lists for similar reasons (in a completely different field). Since when are fans "entitled" to anything? We are the ones who are lucky to have people who give us moments of dream and adventure to help us forget our problems every now and then. We owe you not the the other way around!

I hope this passes and you can ignore these voices again. I'd much rather wait a bit longer and have a book to read that hasn't been done in a hurry and under pressure!
pigeonoverlord
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:40 pm (UTC)
In response to your other entry because you don't allow comments there:

I don't care what you do with your free time. I agree with you; you have a life and you have other demands on your time. My problem comes from the fact that it seems like you are doing everything EXCEPT for writing Dance. The fact that you update about everything EXCEPT for Dance leads me to believe that you have no news because you've done no work. I'm not asking for a minute by minute report, but it would be great if you took a few seconds to let us know that you're still plugging away at it.

I want you to take your time. I want Dance to be a fantastic book. But I want to feel like one of my favorite authors cares enough about his readers to acknowledge our concerns (namely that very little work is being done). Why do you think we're frustrated? All you have to do is say 'hey, I finished a chapter today'. I think if you did that you'd find a lot of the angry would dissipate; I know mine would.

This is a suggestion that you've heard many times before I'm sure, but I ask you to take it to heart. I'm not saying tell us that book will be done tomorrow. I'm not asking for the day when I will be reading it. I'm asking you to let us know that we haven't misplaced our faith and that the man who writes such wonderful books is actually writing something.

Another problem is your refusal to allow anyone to question you. Why must you delete the comment of a frustrated reader? That makes me feel like you haven't written anything and are ashamed of it.

I won't pretend that I know what you do with your time (other than what you post here), but I wish that you'd give us a little more insight and a little more credit. We're the reason you have a job. We buy your books and your merchandise (although I now refuse to), why do you treat us this way?

That's my two cents on the matter.

Edited at 2009-02-20 05:43 pm (UTC)
indigofan
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:51 pm (UTC)
Some of us are patient, and not jerks. Take however long you need, George. We'll be here to read it when it's done. :)
thudthwacker
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:54 pm (UTC)
I suspect that 260 comments in (at the time I started this; I expect a few more will post even as I type) you've heard just about every variant of this, but what the heck -- this is what you get for allowing comments to a post, Khal Martin:

I want to read the book when you finish it and declare it to be good. I don't get a vote on when that will be. I'd be dancing on rotten ice to assert that I have the right to voice an opinion on when that will be. Write well. Publish when ready. Repeat as necessary.

(Er, I just finished re-reading the first set of books, elsewise I'm unlikely to have used a phrase like "dancing on rotten ice.")
dave86
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:55 pm (UTC)
Ignore them...
Just casting my vote to support taking as long as needed to finish DWD- and every other book, post-card, or post-it note George chooses to write. It's George's book- on George's time and if he chooses to finish DWD and then write another, great. If he chooses to end ASOIF right now- that's his call. Based on the absurdity I've seen from the "George bashers", I wouldn't blame him if DWD was never finished.

Good books take time. Great books take time, passion and dilligence. Let's have a little patience and wait for the latter.

Take your time George. I think the vast majority of your real fans are willing to wait as long as you need.
dyehead
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks for this, Mr. Martin
Just wanted to say thanks for giving us something to keep us going. We do appreciate it, and all of your work in general.

Sebastian
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