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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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anthonysubtract
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:07 pm (UTC)
the book
Take your time. I'll wait as long as it takes (I like having something to look forward to). When it does come out I don't want something that was rushed; I want some thing that is good. Having a chance to go back to Westroes on the horizon is good enough for me, as long as when I do go back it's awesome and not something that was thrown together.
dragonmen
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you for all, Master!

We will just awaiting your masterpiece in silence.
13tore
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:10 pm (UTC)
Tell them to fuck off!
Mr. GRRM-
First, let me say that I immensely enjoy the Song of Ice and Fire series. I am eagerly awaiting the next installment, and I would love it if it were ready today.
That being said, do whatever you want, for as long as you want, while finishing the story. Please do not rush the story for the idiots out there who think you work for them. Without doing the things that fuel your imagination, what good would your writing be?

TRE

P.S. I can't cheer for your Jets, because they are now tainted by Favre, but good luck in the draft!

weatheredpebble
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:13 pm (UTC)
A Kind Word
I'm sure many people have expressed sympathy, let me add another expression to the pile.

I am impatient for the book. That may not sound like sympathy, but let me explain. You have created such a beautiful world full of wonderful characters. However impatient I am I know that art cannot be rushed. The reason we have such a wonderful world and great characters filling it is because of your care and attention to them. Take whatever time you need to continue giving us a view at the characters we love.

It takes how long it takes. Rushing doesn't help anyone, and it is your life. While we enjoy what you create that doesn't make you a slave to your readers. We have no hold over your life or say in what you do based on the fact that you've entertained us so well in the past.

Keep up the good work. People who accuse others of misdeeds without proof are the type of people to be ignored.

I eagerly anticipate DWD, but more importantly I want you to be a fulfilled and happy writer. That way fewer of our beloved characters will bite the dust (I kid, I kid).

Thank you so much for sharing your vision with us for so long. I wish you the best in completing DWD and all the future ASoIaF books. They are good enough to be worth the wait.
chadly_11
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:25 pm (UTC)
dance with dragons
George,
Hey dont sweat the assholes giving u grief. I dont see any of them trying to write a 1000 page novel, or doing anything meaningfull with their lives.... A good book is worth the wait kinda of like good ketchup!! you know heinz. lol.... In all asoif is a great series that has brought me much enjoyment i'll wait till its done right.... Thanks george from an avid fan
aragorntyrant
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you. Thank you for the update, thank you for writing these awesome books, and thank you so much for keeping in contact with your fans when some of them are so unsupportive. I'm anxious for the book, to be sure, but I want to read the book that you mean to write, not the book you pump out as soon as you can to meet a deadline.

Also, I just want to say that I am overwhelmed by the sheer crassness of the people who are talking about pulling a Robert Jordan. "Gee, I really like this author, so let me speculate angrily on his possible death." It astounds me.
sensorium
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:30 pm (UTC)
I've always been annoyed when people rant about how long you're taking with it. My dad is a writer and I get that other things get in the way that you have multiple projects at once. What is not to get about that? People who think that this is the ONLY thing you should be working on are idiots.

Frankly, I'm glad you're taking your time with it and I'm glad that you're working on other projects. Some people don't work very well when they have to focus on just one thing, plus I'm sure your other projects help give you inspiration for A Dance With Dragons and give you a chance to hone your already insanely amazing writing skills.

I'm sorry you're going through some personal stuff and I hope things get better soon.
jason_kenyon
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:34 pm (UTC)
You're a human being and I think a lot of the less vocal people understand that. It really sucks that people are treating you this way, I'm sure you're doing your darndest to put the book out and I think you want it finished more than even your most ardent fan. I just wanted to say THANK YOU for the wonderful works of literature you've offered us rather thanklessly considering the treatment that you're getting
kbgilmore
Feb. 20th, 2009 07:01 pm (UTC)
Support and well wishes.
I would rather have something raight and good than something quick. I think people have become too sppiled on instant gratification and low quality "fast food" entertainment. I know that when the book is published it will be as amazing and as evoking as the books that have come before it. YOu are by far my favorite author publishing today.

I just wanted to let you know there are fans out there who are NOT angry or upset. A work of art takes time. Take yours. I will still be here, and so will you.

I am a large man, myself. And there is a FAR cry from overweight to Robert Jordan. People are really snippy when they have to exercise patience.

Thank you for all you have written. I have shared it with dozens and will continue to share. Your books are wonderful.

strongbelwas
Feb. 20th, 2009 07:03 pm (UTC)
I'll give 'em hell...
GRRM,

It's a shame this world as become so 'gimme gimme now it's mine,' where people forget that craft not only takes time, but that life isn't just about them. We all know you have a life. We all have lives. Believe it or not, I have one too. :-)

I've been to some of your signings, and know you're the real deal. I admire that in people, people who can enjoy what they do and share it with others who enjoy it just as much, if not more.

As with everyone else, thanks for your hard work, your wonderful world, and if you want to post anyone's location that has been giving you a hard time in Jersey, hell, even NY or PA, I'd be more than happy to teach some of these individuals some manners.

mnoone
Feb. 20th, 2009 07:19 pm (UTC)
No worries
George,

You have already written the greater portion of an awesome series. It will get done when it gets done. :-)

Thanks and keep up the great work!

Michael Noone
papermashy
Feb. 20th, 2009 07:32 pm (UTC)
Kind of in response to this post and the next one: I don't think some people appreciate that we need a break from time to time, otherwise we go mad or stop enjoying what we're doing. And i can't imagine trying to put a deadline on something that's always evolving like this. I say do what you need to so you can keep enjoying and producing great work, I can wait as long as it takes :)
dodonovan
Feb. 20th, 2009 07:41 pm (UTC)
Life is more important than a book
Thanks for the update, I am looking forward to the next book but I can wait. I want to thank you for not rushing this book, too many times writers have a successful book and then their publishers and fans pressure them to get the next one out and the quality degrades. I can wait another 5 years if it means the quality will be up to your usual high standard.

But I do agree you should not be watching the NFL ever since the SeaHawks were cheated out of their superbowl I have lost interested. Actually as a non football fan I love to read your game reports, you have such a passion for the sport it makes for fun reading

Thanks again and keep up the good work!
eabsher
Feb. 20th, 2009 07:51 pm (UTC)
How Dare You Sir!
It's obvious you are lying. Why else would withhold your book other then to continue the bombardment of petulant hissy-fits. I mean c'mon! Writing isn't that hard. Look, I have just written an entire sentence and did it without thinking. Authors, pshaw, you people think your books need to be "good". That complex characters need to inhabit a detailed and though out world. I mean, just write some words down until you have a thousand pages. Trust me, those of us who think you are lying and deride you for liking your work so much that we can't wait for more won't know the difference between masterwork and poop. So, in short, you can't possibly care more about this story then I do. You are not a person, you don't have a life or other stories to tell, because I am not a person, I don't have a life, I have no thoughts of my own that don't relate to Dance with Dragons, so why should you?

Your most maladjusted reader,
Douchey
aurorn
Feb. 20th, 2009 07:53 pm (UTC)
I'm not quite sure what to say here, except that I support you in any and all endeavors you choose to do.

I'm sorry that some people suck, but I hope you know that many of us support you and cheer you on and wait (relatively) patiently for any of your next releases. Please try not to stress over those that refuse to be supportive.

Thank you for everything you've done and given us fans.
oddrid
Feb. 20th, 2009 08:02 pm (UTC)
We love you GRRM! Don't let the haters get you down, ever.
dantedellaluna
Feb. 20th, 2009 08:02 pm (UTC)
Big fan of the series, but I'd rather wait till you are actually ready to finish it on your own time, than read something that you wrote cause you felt like you had to in order to make folks happy.

roflcopter_down
Feb. 20th, 2009 08:03 pm (UTC)
Well, this makes me feel like a heel for the latest entry in my own LJ. I won't even presume that you've read it. I suggested that the entire Song of Ice and Fire series was troll bait and that you never actually intended to release A Dance with Dragons, and have been stringing along your fanbase for laughs. Your post made me look over my entry again, and I realized how mean spirited it looked. For that I apologize, sir. I'm sure the burden of your work must weigh on you heavily. For my own part, I was just joking but sometimes my jokes can have pretty nasty barbs on them even when I don't want them to. If you read this, I hope you'll accept my apology. It was childish and unthinking, and I should know better.

I wish you the best, sir.
740rs731n
Feb. 20th, 2009 08:12 pm (UTC)
WATCH FINDING FORESTER
Great writer's movie. Sean Connery as William Forester states:
(Paraphrasing Here):

"Do you know what is the best part of writing a book? It's when you read through the first draft and it is only for you...before these ASSHOLES take apart in one day what they couldn't do in a lifetime."

Just copy and post that and read it anytime someone tries to disparage you. This series is on par with Lord of the Rings, one of the greatest literary works of the last century. Keep up the good work, George.

I would rather have the books well written later than poorly written now.
stevewood
Feb. 20th, 2009 08:18 pm (UTC)
Creativity has no limits
This is the first I've heard of THE WINDS OF WINTER! Awesome! I hope you keep on writing about the Song of Ice & Fire...and keep adding until you need to split it yet against into another book forever. You don't have total control over how much you create...the best we can do it focus on the task at hand...and when we get ideas during the task we make notes. When we finish the task we look at the notes. Are the notes sometimes longer than our task? Yeah...sometimes it's like that.

Should you just work on Ice & Fire and nothing else? No way...creation is a very taxing work and requires a lot of away time to relax and let the creative juices build up again. I can definitely tell the difference between a writer that is truly enjoying their work and a writer that is just trying to get the task done. I think a good example is Terry Brooks...he has had some really good stories...plots are great...characters well crafted, but the actual word-by-word reading of much of his books is dry. G.R.R. Martin's books have great stories, plots, well crafted stories; however, every word seems to color the page with a different hue...the page seems to be a rainbow of color which saturates the senses.

So, please enjoy yourself in everything you like, because I know you like writing. I look forward to the books I purchased that you edited and I keep looking forward to hearing that you will be in Sacramento, CA for a convention.
briteeyesdimmed
Feb. 20th, 2009 08:23 pm (UTC)
i know i'm just another voice in the crowd here, but sometimes every little bit of encouragement helps. take your time with the book. it will come out much better if you let it develop naturally and don't try to rush it. i know many people who will be patiently waiting for it no matter when it comes.
irishstu
Feb. 20th, 2009 08:23 pm (UTC)
Crescendo
GRRM,

Longtime lurker, first time poster - I just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of "We love your work and are patiently waiting." I will be buying it on the break, and look forward to it when you are ready to roll it out.
sykusred
Feb. 20th, 2009 08:33 pm (UTC)
This is a good thing.
I'm sure I'm not the first aspiring author you've heard from, sir. I have been working on a novel of my own for what feels like far too long (5+ years). I am making steady progress - the project is not standing still - but it is proceeding at nowhere near the pace I'd like.

You are incredibly talented and imaginative, and are a role model, I'm sure, to more authors than just myself. The fact that you deal with the same issues that I do - such as real life intervening, setting goals that prove to be unrealistic, getting depressed when said goals are missed - really gives me hope. I have seen first hand the kind of masterpieces you can turn out despite these hurdles, and it makes me feel like maybe the events I perceive as constant failures are in fact just bumps along the road.

I look forward to Dance of Dragons, whenever it may come out. Thank you for sharing and being honest. God bless.
tyrionsaurusrex
Feb. 20th, 2009 08:36 pm (UTC)
Mr GRRM I don't care if you never finish it just don't let these fools get you down and cause stress. seems like this is a massive downside of the internet - everyone with an opinion thinks everyone else needs to read about it. you've given us great books already and an amazing new world to capture our imagination to boot so please ignore the trolls or get gandalf to keep them arguing til break of day '-`
lifeisacabaret
Feb. 20th, 2009 08:54 pm (UTC)
Much love to you.
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