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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. 21st, 2009 12:53 am (UTC)
Having read both this post and the one you wrote after that was closed to comments I say screw all the people who are causing you grief.

You owe us nothing! Yes, I enjoyed the books in the series immensely, and yes I am as anxious as anybody to read more about the wonderful characters and world you have created but, if I never see any more books in the series I will be thankful and satisfied that I read the ones you did write.

A lot of authors have not finished a series for one reason or another and life goes on. Sometimes authors have written too many books in a series with the quality suffering. It was obvious they wrote the book(s) because they had too, not that they wanted to.

You have your own life to lead and you can do whatever you want. If you announce tomorrow that you are retiring from writing and not writing another word, then that is OK. You're entitled.

I was told by a wise person that "Those who judge don't matter and those that matter don't judge."

I sincerely doubt any of the people who criticize you and what you chose to do with your time have ever written a novel that has been published and certainly have never written anything near the quality of the "Ice and Fire" series.

I hope these words are of comfort and encouragement. I am pleased to have met you and read your work.
Feb. 21st, 2009 12:56 am (UTC)
Above all, don't let the detractors turn writing the series into a chore and not a joy. While it can be a chore to wait, I'll gladly do so, because it's a joy to read :)

Feb. 21st, 2009 12:57 am (UTC)
I am sorry you are getting such flak George. The bitter crazies are going to stay that way - and they will be in line to buy the book right like the rest of us. :p

I think the comments about you 'doing a Jordan' are simply stupid. Anyone who has been out with you knows you have more stamina than people half your age. You will outlive all of us. :D
Feb. 21st, 2009 01:00 am (UTC)
for all you've given me, and others... you don't even need to lower yourself to an explanation.
the series could end where 'feast...' left off and, although I would always wonder what you had in store for the characters and lands I have grow to love, I would be satisfied with 4 amazing books that I hope to pass down to my friends, and kin in hopes that they too get sucked into 'songs of ice and fire' like I did.
also, look at it like this: if sansa's chapter is being moved into another book... you have yet another book STARTED! to me, that's just great news! don't let them get you down Mr.Martin. you're still a literary genius in my opinion, and as a jets and giants fan, I value your football analysis. keep on keepin on sir. =)
Feb. 21st, 2009 01:18 am (UTC)
Regarding Your Detractors
Understand that I am in no way defending the discourtesy exhibited by those electing to send you feedback via any method of communication, but a key point you seem to be missing is that these people -- even the most abrasive and unforgiving of the lot -- are still your fans.

Granted, their behavior is borderline inexcusable, but you should still be thankful to even have such ravenous critics. The most boisterous will likely purchase a hard cover, a paperback, and then several more copies after that.

Keep that in mind the next time you become discouraged by an item in your inbox. Truly, as incomprehensible as it may seem, you should be smiling on each and every occasion that you encounter an admonition. It is truly a blessing to have inspired such fervor over your magnificent work.
Feb. 21st, 2009 01:36 am (UTC)
about support and patience...
You have it all George : )
You have to forgive us... so good work, so much time waiting... it's normal the anxiousness. We live a lot of our daytime (and sleepy time too : P) in Westeros.
Note: south america present!
Feb. 21st, 2009 01:40 am (UTC)
Dear GRRM,

I'm so sorry people have been abusive dicks!!

My friends and I joke around about when DWD is going to come out, (as I'm sure you would do in our position) but we all truly understand that many things take too much time, and the longer they take, the harder they are to finish! And we would never, EVER, be unpleasant to someone about that.

I hope the thought of DWD doesn't send you into despair...(I am imagining it a little like a masters thesis, only worse)....Maybe after its done you should take a long break from anything Westeros related??

Very, very warm wishes, and much support.
Feb. 21st, 2009 01:46 am (UTC)
That "pull a Jordan" comment is pretty tactless.

As has been said before, I'd rather wait for a good book than get a rush job.

And in the meantime, read Greg Keyes. He's a fencing instructor, so his fight scenes are, dare I say it, up there with the Red Viper and the Mountain's.
Feb. 21st, 2009 02:06 am (UTC)
no worries
Take your time Mr. Martin...
Feb. 21st, 2009 02:18 am (UTC)
bah! words...
Seeing that everything that can possibly be said has been said already, I'll just settle for giving you a big ol' hug. *NNNGGHFF!* So there.
Feb. 21st, 2009 02:20 am (UTC)
Mr. Martin, you take your time. I'm eager to read A Dance With Dragons, but I recognize that you are a person with other needs and priorities, and you'll get it done eventually.
Feb. 21st, 2009 02:58 am (UTC)
I hate deadlines too...
Thank you for bringing us that amazing world, thank you for your work! Please, don't feel upset! We will wait patiently, all the time you need! Just don't forsake us (every time I read the news I'm afraid you can tell you are bored with all of that...)
Feb. 21st, 2009 03:24 am (UTC)
I know it's not easy! I can only offer this thought:

The motivation behind all the rabid fans panting at your heels is the fact that you've built a 'verse so tangible and characters so engaging that your readers have a pavlovian reaction when your name is mentioned.
I know the result - whining and accusations and endless harping - is no fun, but it's all because they love you!

What's that cheesy phrase? "Victim of your own success".
Feb. 21st, 2009 03:57 am (UTC)
Thank you for such awesomeness!
It is no easy task to create such an epic body of original work. Your efforts, imagination, and perseverance are highly appreciated. I hope to see you @ Kepler's in Menlo Park on your book signing events upon its release.
Feb. 21st, 2009 04:00 am (UTC)
Ignore the idiots
Mr Martin, there are a ton of people with a ton of opinions on things that they do not understand. I am just a guy who appreciates brilliance.

You're work is unparalleled. Whether it comes out this year, next, or next decade is of little consequence.

I wish I had a chance to meet you last time you were up here in Calgary, would have been neat to meet a living legend. Hopefully our paths cross some day, it would be an honour to buy you a beer.

Keep up the (amazing) work!

Feb. 21st, 2009 04:01 am (UTC)
Those who bitch and moan should do what you're doing, live their lives. Take your time dear sir, I know I will be right here waiting for that story and it will be amazing as usual :)
Feb. 21st, 2009 04:07 am (UTC)
I'm sitting here, reading this, with my housemates.

You and your books are amazing. Don't listen to the detractors. Just write at your own pace, and know that we love your work.

Thank you!!!
Feb. 21st, 2009 04:12 am (UTC)
if you could kindly point out your detractors, I'll round up some of my buddies and give them a sound beating.
Feb. 21st, 2009 04:54 am (UTC)
Whatever you do...
...don't ever, EVER stop watching football! Part of the fun of the NFL season for me is logging into this site and reading your postings about the Giants and/or Jets (usually the Jets ones are funnier, for obvious reasons).

Genius cannot be rushed!

Oh, and Go Seahawks! :-)
Feb. 21st, 2009 05:14 am (UTC)
All In
I have never posted to this page, despite being an avid daily reader. I am saddened to hear of those who have abused this relationship, the openness with which GRRM shares the goings on in his life. I am more than ready for the next book in ASOIAF, as all of us are. I also appreciate that I reading the finest series of any genre since LOTR. Perhaps it is my love of football, swords and short stories that makes it easier on me. George, if you read these posts, take your time and live your life. Please excuse as best you can those whose passion for what you have created has led them to such ludicrous and inane babble. It is, I hope, some solace to know how much we care about this world and these people you have created. I will wait, if a little impatient, and enjoy other work you have done (finishing vol. 1 of Dreamsongs).
Feb. 21st, 2009 05:19 am (UTC)
Long time lurker and fan, first time poster.

467 messages (now 468+), most if not all supportive, should provide a reasonably accurate indication of how 99% of your fans are more interested in quality than quantity from our favorite author.

Keep up the good work and enjoy the ride!

Scott Walker
Feb. 21st, 2009 05:38 am (UTC)
I must admit that ocassionally I shout at your books because they are not longer and I wish closure/continuation of the story lines I care about. This is a human flaw stemming from impatience and obsession. That being said I fully understand that while in my head you are super human the reality is that we are all just mere mortals- which is why I bite my tongue when I want to make snippy remarks to most people and generally feel that others should do the same.

As an Eagles fan I offer the suggestion that perhaps a completed novel will assist the Jets and Giants in future years? Too soon for that sort of jab? In Philly it's never too early or too late to gloat about really anything :)

Best of luck Mr Martin- for the selfish reasons of not wanting to put my current books through yet another re-reading I hope to have more Fire and Ice soon.
Feb. 21st, 2009 05:42 am (UTC)
Another "Go Get Em' Tiger!" Message.
I think what a lot of people don't understand is that those of us in the arts (art, theater, literature etc.) not only have to wait for the creative gremlins to bite, but we also have to make a living. This usually requires working on fifteen billion different things at once to keep the bread on the table (and the creativity flowing)

Do I want DWD to come out? Of course I do! But Honestly I am totally willing to wait. The good thing is you're putting out so many other things for us fans to read in the mean time. No one can say you're lazy! Just remember for every rabid fan letter you get there are two or three of us happily taking in your other works and waiting patiently. :)
Feb. 21st, 2009 05:45 am (UTC)
Art can't be rushed
ASOIF books are two or three times longer than most other novels. so it can be expected that they take twice as long to write. If you compare ASOIF books to fantasy novels by other authors who release a yearly novel to meet a deadline, there is no comparison, George RR Martin's writings are completely at another level. Also the Spanish and Portuguese fans deserve the rare chance to meet and get their books signed by George.
Great creative works are done when they are done. You cannot set an artificial deadline and not compromise the results.

ADWD will be excellent, I think; a book dedicated to Tyrion, Daenerys, Jon, Davos and the others, like Bran will be worth the wait.

Feb. 21st, 2009 06:09 am (UTC)
My bad
I hate to write with the assumption of failure but I think this will be worth it even if it won't be posted. I'd just like to appologize for reposting the same comment. I hadn't realized the first one didn't show up because it hadn't been approved. My guess the reason for its rejection was mainly due to my last comment marking my desire for a george rr martin online store. I'm sure this isn't the first time you've heard the suggestion and to be honest its not vital to the post. I wish I could edit if live journal would let me or even let you do it but it doesn't look like I can. Plus I feel kind of silly reposting it for a third time so I suppose I can take solace in knowing you had to read it to deny it. :) Once again my apologies, hopefully this little misunderstanding won't black list me from commenting on your page in the future. Take care.
~a devoted fan
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