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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

( 630 comments )
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succatash
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:19 am (UTC)
Thanks
Thanks for the update, George!
bogwitch64
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:19 am (UTC)
It'll be done when it's done. No one knows how long a story is going to take, not even the author. Your fans want DWD to be RIGHT, not NOW, no matter how some pester.

That said, it is humbling (and heartening) to realize that even the brightest bulbs on the tree wrestle with the same troubles those still waiting to shine do. Please do not type yourself bloody as the little bubbleman in your post did. Then for SURE we'll never see another word of SOIAF!
spiffystuff
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:20 am (UTC)
I admit I'm rabid for the next book but it's because the others are SOOOO GOOD! So uh... I'm going to ask you to please hurry in the cases where this will be good motivation to get out of a rut, and to take your time in cases where the book will be the better for it :P

I can't agree more with what you said here:
Art is not a democracy, and these are problems I need to solve myself.

So much of the media is trash because it's written by committee, or by what the author thinks people want to see. Bah! Go you!

Thanks for the update, too.
spiffystuff
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:42 am (UTC)
Aaaa, I just have to elaborate a little more on this...
One thing I love about your Ice and Fire style is that every word counts. I almost never find myself skimming passages or skipping chapters (okay, well maybe when I MUST follow a character, but I always go back). I can appreciate that such density must take an incredible amount of time.
I had another author I really liked who's really good at pumping out their books on a yearly basis. But... well the quality's really declined. The plot has gone in ways I don't like so much, but that's their prerogative; I would have no problem with that alone (I might not continue to buy books, but I'd not criticize, either). But when I see the author talk about their books, the emphasis is on pages, getting pages done, and stopping books (halving plots even) when they reach a certain number of pages.
Pages are only worth what's on them. And when I last read those books, well as a (comic) author I know filler when I see it. Pages and pages of people belaboring obvious points. It's frustrating and I skim half the book.

So, umm, I'm glad you're not like that. That you focus on getting plot and good work done, rather than pumping out a certain number of pages and deciding to call it a book.
aquariusrhimme
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:20 am (UTC)
True art takes time. Just glad to have such great stories at all. Thanks! :)
steady_03
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:21 am (UTC)
Thank you for letting us know. Wishing you the best.
hedwig_snowy
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:21 am (UTC)
All the best George. We're just an impatient lot...and avid fans. Looked forward to when it's completed. Will just find something else to bide my time til then. Imagine that? :)
spaceshotscot
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:21 am (UTC)
Thank you for sharing. I have recently discovered this wonderful work. Take your time and it will come out right.
10zlaine
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:22 am (UTC)
I love these books. Just keep doing what's needed; I don't mind waiting. :-)
chesterinman
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:12 am (UTC)
Thats great!!!
I gotta say your picture is fucking awesome!!! I couldnt stop laughing when I saw it in all these comments...thanks for the good laugh...
(no subject) - aearonlinn.insanejournal.com - Feb. 20th, 2009 04:15 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - newsbean - Feb. 20th, 2009 04:25 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - artistflop - Feb. 20th, 2009 05:16 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mister_borogove - Feb. 20th, 2009 06:07 am (UTC) - Expand
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werthead
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:23 am (UTC)
No battle plan survives contact with the enemy and few publishing deadlines survive contact with a reluctant manuscript :-)

Is that a new cover for ADWD?
prunesnprisms
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:24 am (UTC)
I hope you are right this time. =) I would love to spend the summer enjoying the next book. I suspect it will be wholly worth the wait.

I respect the time you are putting into the series and that you think enough of us to give us these periodic updates.
toadkiller
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:24 am (UTC)
George,

Thanks for the update and take your time and make it right. There is a reason why you my favorite author of all time, greatness can[t be rushed. Gives me something to look forward to as I reread the other books yet again.

Oh and I would have more sympathy for you if you were a fellow Chiefs fan like me. ;P
sibumi
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:25 am (UTC)
mmm, it will be great gift to all of us - your fans - to next xmas!
thanks for good news)
khaldrogo22
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:42 am (UTC)
Thanks for the update.

Don't let it get to you, it just shows the passion people have for your books no matter how misguided it is.

Quality is what I want when I read a book not the speed at which it is done.

Nice to see an Aussie in the superbowl!

Cheers
ignignokt
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:26 am (UTC)
I can imagine the pressure is unimaginable. Just keep on chugging and ignore the haters.

If you end up never completing a Dance with Dragons, I'll just assume that the Others are defeated when Tyrion, Jon, and Daenerys get together at the Wall with the three dragons and do an ancient Valyrian dance that melts the Others' hearts with love.
gthiru
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:36 am (UTC)
Haha!
(no subject) - evaca79 - Feb. 20th, 2009 09:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
lostrealist_05
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:28 am (UTC)
The best things in life take time and are worth waiting for.

Don't worry about the harassing emails. They aren't worth your time.

Thanks for the update Mr. Martin and my fiance and I are patiently re-reading your other novels and awaiting the release of ADWD.

Take your time and we'll all still be here.

-Krystal
seremak
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:29 am (UTC)
take your time
Just here to say I am with you. Take your time please. I enjoyed every page of your writing so far. Please have a life too. You have to do things outside ASOFAI for inspiration (and sanity). I am 100% behind your need to create something you will be proud of.

tsgeisel
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:31 am (UTC)
No worries here. And you're still doing better than David Gerrold and his War Against the Chtorr series.

Frankly, I'm still waiting for The Last Dangerous Visions, so really, in comparison, this is nothing.

Good luck.
ebullientjenn
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:31 am (UTC)
I love your books, I'm a huge fan! I'm going to go read some Wild Cards, while I'm waiting. I looked the series up online yesterday and it sounds like a fascinating concept.

I love A Song of Ice and Fire and I'm eager to read Dance whenever it gets done. Be well, and try not to let the weirdos get you down :)
dswdiane
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:36 am (UTC)
You totally have my support and willingness to be patient even if takes longer than you are saying now.

I'd rather have in my hands a book about which you feel totally right and reflects your vision of your creation than something you hurry out to please others.

I think I miss Jim (Robert Jordan) more as a person than I regret than he wasn't able to finish The Wheel of Time ,. I totally trust Harriet to get it done in a way that would have made Jim satisfied.

Please take your time and produce what makes you happy and ignore idiots who say you should do nothing else but write Ice and Fire. I mean, my gods,if you don't have a life, your creativity will dry up and blow away.

Just my two cents. You rock. Rock on.
laeryken
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:37 am (UTC)
GRRM!
We love you, man!

Honestly, you're a champ for putting up with all of this. I would be so down-hearted with all of the trash-talking that it would make me almost resentful!

There are so many good books out there, I have no idea how someone could hate on one author, especially an author who shares himself with us here in LJ, for having a life and other projects.

I say cheers to you, Mr. Martin, cheers a thousand times. It took me a week to get over the next book not being done, I won't lie, but after that I remembered that this isn't some fantasy magic-land where we all get everything we want handed to us on a silver platter.

~Jason
hksherra
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:38 am (UTC)
I just bought the Dunk and Egg books which gave me enough of a fan boost to last me a while longer. XD Once that wears off... maybe I'll hunt down the old artbook or something!

Fortunately, there's plenty of Song of Ice and Fire stuff to keep us entertained in the meantime! Me, at least! <3

Good luck writing!
bloodypoetry
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:38 am (UTC)
it will be finished when it is finished. I am sorry that people have been hateful to you. Just because you are an amazing writer doesn't mean that that is ALL that you are. You have a life other than Dance, and people should respect that.

Some of the comments you mentioned above make me never ever want to become famous in any fashion. I hope you have a better night/day/whenever this comment gets to you!
ashkta
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:38 am (UTC)
I don't think I understand why anyone would pressure someone whose books they really like. Personally, I get excited when I hear about the authors I read doing new projects and going to conventions and what have you. And if I'm feeling like I miss their writing...? I go buy something else they've worked on or reread the old stuff. I just bought Inside Straight a couple weeks ago because I thought, hey...I haven't read any of GRRM's Wild Cards and I should get caught up on that!

So A Dance with Dragons isn't done yet. Oh well...I can wait. I'd much rather it come out the way you intend it than come out rushed or at the expense of something else (like sanity). And after waiting, it can only be that much more exciting to get the announcement when its given.

I promise, if I ever meet one of those complainers, I'll chuck them really good between the shoulderblades. It's the least I can do.
radial_jives
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:38 am (UTC)
I would imagine that any reader who writes in to complain to you about your deadlines fails to realize that you write each and every word in your own blood. Dance with the dragons and don't you worry about anyone out here in the not-a-blog-i-verse getting antsy and impatient. They'll just have to wait, and it's a sign of delusion for anyone to think that a demanding, impatient, rude email message is going to help you make progress. Cheers!
nesf
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:39 am (UTC)
Because you don't push out the books until they're ready and you're happy with it the books are worth waiting for.

It's as simple as that really.
briary_flower
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:39 am (UTC)
Fandom is psycho and fans are whiney entitled bitches
Dude, if I were you I'd issue a press release that you refused to deliver the book until everyone apologizes to you personally. Then I'd put the book in a drawer and take a life drawing class or learn to make cheese. And after I'd sulked for a good long while I might condescend to appear at a convention or something, but only on the grounds that everybody treated me like a God and catered to my every whim. And I'd threaten to burn the only copy of the manuscript a lot. I mean, I want to know what happens too. But it sounds like the fans are sucking your life force.
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