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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

( 622 comments )
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reynardine
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!

justinaquino
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).



unovian
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.
khalahd
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. ^__^
thoros_of_myr
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.
curserer
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.
lawdogman
Feb. 20th, 2009 07:23 am (UTC)
Mr. Martin...

Hang in there and don't let the bastards get ya down.
thebluridr
Feb. 20th, 2009 07:24 am (UTC)
Ohh!
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!
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.
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