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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 06:10 am (UTC)
I love your books George and I am, as always, more more than happy to wait however long it takes because I know you never stint on the story.
Feb. 21st, 2009 06:46 am (UTC)
I'm happy to wait for the books. I know you're a busy man and good grief, you deserve a life outside of your work! Ignore those who lack patience and understanding. I'm sorry it's been so harsh, but know true fans wait patiently.
Feb. 21st, 2009 08:01 am (UTC)
Chin up
I'm certain it has to be frustrating and discouraging when you get negative comments regarding ASOIAF, but, for what it's worth, know that the comments and e-mails *sort of* come from a good place. If your readers did not love your wrting so much they would not care. Chin up and good luck. I look forward, albeit patiently, for the next installment and wish you well in all aspects of your life and work. There will never be another as talented as you.
Feb. 21st, 2009 08:17 am (UTC)
Soon 500 comments of support! Wohoo! Take that spoiled insolent little brats, I'll make it my purpose in life to make it impossible for you to actually read the book once it comes out.

Seriously though, Mr. Martin, you are a wonderful author and my biggest inspiration, keep up the great work!
Feb. 21st, 2009 09:09 am (UTC)
Excellent work!
Hey George,

A game of thrones was the first book by your hand that I read and since then I've given it as a birthday present to lots of people. Of course I also read the other parts and I enjoyed them so much that I wanted to read more of your works. So now I'm reading your dreamworks and really enjoying al the short stories! I like to read one or maybe two and then I put the book away again for a while so that I can stay in those stories and enjoy them for a time in my head :D.

Thank you for your great works! And take as much time as you like for whatever stories you're working on, good stories cannot be rushed. It's like with the best stews, they need to be on the fire for a long time. Meanwhile I'll continue enjoying Dreamworks and then other books. I happen to like the works of some other authors too ;)

With kind regards,
Ward de Jager
Feb. 21st, 2009 10:21 am (UTC)
Another voice of support, for Dance with Dragons
Just keep on slogging away at it, we're more than happy to wait a few more months. (Don't worry, we've waited this long haven't we? Hehehe... ) I started reading Ice and Fire via the local library, I got sick of borrowing the books out over and over, so I just bought the set and it's been worth it a hundred times over.

Yours sincerely,
A Fan, (Tim)
Feb. 21st, 2009 10:35 am (UTC)
I'm a newer fan (picking up right after AFFC was published), but I've read all of the Song of Ice and Fire (several times) and a lot of your other work since. As somebody who writes as well, I spend a lot of time shushing the people who complain about the deadline moving back.

If it takes you another ten years, I trust that you know the people who YOU made, who LIVE IN YOU, to be portrayed in the best possible manner. Most of the time, that doesn't happen the first try. I can't imagine it ever happening the first time in this complex of a world.

Whenever Dragons comes out, I will read it, and I will be happy knowing that you were happy publishing it. It wasn't some slap-dash, fan opinion-based, shoddy piece of work that was put together for a deadline. It was something massaged and worked until it satisfied the creator.

Take as long as you like. I hope it turns out to be everything you hope for it to be.

Feb. 21st, 2009 11:10 am (UTC)
Why would anyone get upset that a wonderful author was taking the time he needed to finish a book? Gah! Annoying people! I would rather wait another 3 years and have a book to read after that that you were proud of and I would enjoy.

Your life isn't simply DWD, as much as people might like it to be!
Feb. 21st, 2009 12:03 pm (UTC)
Sorry to hear that there have been so many jerks making you feel down. The vast majority of us are just supremely grateful for your wonderful books and looking forward to the next one, whenever it comes out.
Feb. 21st, 2009 12:05 pm (UTC)
I will be happy when DWD is finished...But!
In the meantime, enjoy your life! And Finland! If you have time to visit Sweden or Norway, I highly recommend it; it's so idyllic, especially during the summer. Not to mention the fantastic seafood. (Oh, what I would not do for smoked salmon like that here in the States! Sigh...) And the strawberries...

The fäbods, or "summer farms" (also called "almwirdschaft," or "seter," are particularly interesting, as they offer a glimpse of traditional dairy farming methods in a northern climate, some with older breeds of cows which are much smaller than modern ones. (Could be used for 'research' for the North, although they are plenty interesting on their own.)

And depending on when you're going, bring an eyemask for sleeping! If you're there during high summer, the sun will set around 11pm and rise about 4am; it does a number on your circadian rhythm, let me tell you.

Anyway, good luck with the book, and enjoy your upcoming travels.

A. Egger (bastetbabe27)
Feb. 21st, 2009 12:30 pm (UTC)
I'm always a bit surprised that there are so many people who can't understand that a creative process is simply one of those things that really can't be rushed - or can be, but only at the expense of quality. I'm expecting the Dance as eagerly as the next person, but it wouldn't even cross my mind to vent my frustration on you in the hopes of getting you to write faster.

So take your time, we know you'll get there :)

P.S. I'm really looking forward to seeing you here in Finland in July!
Feb. 21st, 2009 12:55 pm (UTC)
I know you have nearly 500 comments here, this is just one more small one, but I wanted to say thank you for being so generous to fans with yourself. It's nice for me to see humanity in my heroes, (watching football, not always writing book from start to end perfectly with no editing) because if that wasn't there, people like myself would never even try to aspire to such a lofty goal of greatness, because it would seem futile. But sharing, as you do in this blog, brings us all closer together and that's why the majority of us care more about you, as a person than as being just an author.
So, Thanks.

Feb. 21st, 2009 01:49 pm (UTC)
That's alright. The Wall wasn't built in a day...at least I don't think it was.
Feb. 21st, 2009 02:25 pm (UTC)
George, every time you get a letter from one of those idiots - just remember that they have probably never scribbled a word themselves and for the most part lack the ability or motivation to do so. Never forget that you have accomplished more than most authors dream of accomplishing. Not just in your Ice and Fire series but in your entire career. I would like to finish a novel one of these days and would be happy to have it be as enjoyable as Armageddon Rag was for me. Don't let fools take away from what you enjoy.
Feb. 21st, 2009 02:42 pm (UTC)
Dear George,
I just want to let you know my total support.

The books you've done and that you'll do are precious art for us all! Thank you!

About detractors... The web is a big place, and attracts inexorably a lot of weird stuff like frustrated people of sorts... Maybe *they* would have surely already finished the books. Mh. Go writing, then...

Maybe your only fault, George, is that you're too kind with us... I never found another author with so many contacts with his readers, and I thank you for this, but you also leave the door open to fellows of any kind, including frustrated detractors :(
Feb. 21st, 2009 02:44 pm (UTC)
What to say that hasn't been said already? The wait for both AFFC and ADWD has really propelled me into the realm of a true aficionado of ASOIAF. I read the first 3 novels in the summer of 2001 in quick succession, and then had to actually wait for the next installment. Did I want to wait for the next part? Hell yes. Did I want to wait 4 years? You bet. In that time period, I reread the series several times, both in narrative order and solely by POV. I discovered things I had missed the first couple of readings. This isn't a serialized story where the next part will be out next week or next month and be total shite, this is actually art, with a great story propelled by even better characters. It takes time. The wait makes it greater. The aficionados will still be here, as the trolls fade by the wayside. So take your time GRRM, learning how to dance is tough work, but the result will be worth it.
Feb. 21st, 2009 03:00 pm (UTC)
As others have said, I don't care when it gets done as long as when it's done it's as awesome as the rest of the series and I know it will be. :) Trolls will always be trolls and "fanatics" will always think that they know best. Keep up the good work. You've got a fan here! And it looks like you have hundreds of fans just here on livejournal alone :D
Feb. 21st, 2009 03:41 pm (UTC)
GRRM, I am sure you can't be reading all these comments, but here is one more voice for take your time; do other things, and ignore the haters, as the kids say.
Feb. 21st, 2009 03:56 pm (UTC)
I'm not going to read the nearly 500 comments so far, I just want to add my voice to the chorus.

I really enjoy reading your books, but I don't want people to suffer for my entertainment. Please, have a life. Enjoy it. I want you to watch football even if I find it stupid and dull. Not that you need my permission, but please understand that I will not begrudge any person a chance to suck the marrow out of life.

Write the next book, but don't feel like everybody hates you for not being able to hit a deadline. Some of us are not just understanding, but glad that you have a life outside of the one series that we're waiting for.
Feb. 21st, 2009 05:23 pm (UTC)
don't let the bastards grind you down
Hi Mr. Martin,

Keep the faith.

I've never commented before, but after reading this post, I decided to create a live journal account just so I could comment on your post and give you what encouragement I could.

I, for one, am patient enough to wait as long as necessary to read the ADWD with which you are happy. I'd much rather read the book that you took your time on than one you rushed just to make the naysayers happy. And I believe that the majority of your fans feel that way, too.

It will be AMAZING, as all the other ASOIAF books have been, I have no doubt. These books are by far the best I've EVER read.

Thanks for keeping your loyal fans in the loop with your progress. Even though I (admittedly) come to this site in hopes of seeing the "it's done" words, I also visit the site because I immensely enjoy hearing about your progress, life, and about all of your other projects that make you the best author EVER!

Please take your time - as much as you need - and know that we're all here rooting for you!

Take care,
Feb. 21st, 2009 05:26 pm (UTC)
While writing my doctoral thesis this past year (at least a year later than I had hoped to finish), I have been hit with a constant of stream of "so... how's the thesis going? Got your PhD yet?" I think I know exactly how you feel, on a smaller scale. When I finally turned it in 2 weeks ago, the feeling was beyond exhilaration! And even though the feeling of closure wasn't really there (on to the next task!) the sense of accomplishment was amazing. You'll get there when you get there!
Feb. 21st, 2009 05:39 pm (UTC)
Nothin' to say that hasn't already been said. I don't want it Thursday unless it's right. I want it right. And right is at your own pace, as it comes.

Feb. 21st, 2009 09:27 pm (UTC)
This might get lost in the flood, but I do have to say as someone who has recently ventured into telling stories in written form, only for fun and my own solace mind you, sometimes the narrative is an ugly thing and it does take time to sort it out, to say it right. Take your time. Breathe deep. Don't rush. It's a story worth telling right and you have every right in the world to not work on it 24-7. Good luck.
Feb. 21st, 2009 09:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the update.
I hope all is well with you and I look forward to the eventual release. It is great that you interact and care about your fandom.

Simply Thank You.
Feb. 21st, 2009 10:17 pm (UTC)
thank you, good luck!
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George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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