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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 11:59 pm (UTC)
I don't care how long it takes as long as there are more WildCards books in betweentimes ;)

I'm sorry people are being douches to you over the wait. Apparently they don't understand that writing is work and does not spring fully formed from your forehead and into your word processor.

Feb. 22nd, 2009 01:38 am (UTC)
another THANKS ALLOT!!! :)

Thanks for making this series in the first place, its too bad that people dont understand that because of you they are reading this wonderful series in the first place! Also, there is allot of other good litature to read while waiting.. Steven Erickson has 10 books out now that are mind blowing fantasy, up there with Martin... Thanks again George, take your time !
Feb. 22nd, 2009 03:58 am (UTC)
Dear Mr. Martin,

Take as much time as you need to finish Dance. Of course, I want to read it as soon as possible, but that time is for you and you alone to determine. I, as well as you, I am certain, want an excellent story, not just a good book. Do whatever you need to make it as good as it needs to be. If I have to wait till 2010 it will be worth it.

For what it's worth, I feel like the time between Feast and Dance is something of a journey, especially with the availability of your Not A Blog. And, again, for what it's worth, I feel rather honored that you would let us enter your world for little bits at a time, and let us go on this journey with you.

Keep writing, and all the best.
Feb. 22nd, 2009 04:10 am (UTC)
A Dance with Dragons
We all have lives and you are no different except that in your profession you give us something to do in our off time. I think that often we, your readers, seem to forget that. It seems to me that you are living your life the best way that you know how and along the way share with us you imagination and soul. Thank you for that. You just write and we will patiently wait for your honey dipped prose.
Feb. 22nd, 2009 04:51 am (UTC)
you have something like 550 comments, so my commenting is probably not at all needed, but;

i don't read the Ice and Fire stuff, i read WildCards. and while i know that Ice and Fire is considered to be your best work, most popular work, whatever...

I read WildCards. i ADORE WildCards. i own many of the first ones, the GURPS stuff, everything!

so please, don't listen when people bitch because you work on other things too. thats just assinine. (them bitching, i mean). your other works are just as good, just as important, and you have that fanbase, too, and the people bitching just suck. writing is HARD, and when one has an actual LIFE, writing is really hard.

so, boiled down, i am saying don't let them get you down and write more WildCards :P
Feb. 22nd, 2009 04:31 pm (UTC)
I am always over optimistic on timelines. A lot of us are. Hope it comes along well - and hope it doesn't feel like a millstone.
Feb. 22nd, 2009 05:30 pm (UTC)
I've been a long time fan of your books, I know writing is not an easy or quick process. Having ideas does not always mean they go onto paper well, hence why I'm not a writer or an English major. I don't care what others say about how long it takes. As anything in life if it's not worth waiting for it's not worth it at all.

Please keep watching football, I love watching the Patriots and as I know you hate "evil little Bill" they are still my team.

Please please please take the time you need! I will be patient and wait for the next book to arrive when it arrives. Till that moment I will check your not a blog to enjoy reading what you have written about.
Feb. 22nd, 2009 05:55 pm (UTC)
You are fabulous.
Your work is amazing. It is worth waiting for. I think you have more supportive readers than mean, nasty ones. We are just usually quieter. But we are out here!
Feb. 22nd, 2009 09:01 pm (UTC)
Lookig Forward to It
I agree, your work is amazing and I truly can't wait to read it! I understand it takes time, that is why I have never created an account and logged in to comment before! I kind of wished I hadn't read the books yet, that way when you finish the series, I could pick up the first book and read them all at the same time! Then again, there would be no anticipation for the next book. The problem is you've created a work (much like Robert Jordan's) that we just can't wait to immerse ourselves into. There are good books out there and then there are works like yours where we will stop everything we are doing, and allocate the time to just sit and enjoy a wonderful story! After reading some other books, they pale in comparison, so we are disappointed with them and just can't wait to read a truly good book, which we know DWD will be!!! That is why us fans want to know when it will be done (I know it'll be done when it's done), we just can't wait to read it! All's I can say is: I'm looking forward to reading it!
Feb. 23rd, 2009 01:32 am (UTC)
Mr. Martin, you have all my support from this faraway land named Chile. My english is not very good, so I think i can't express my feelings very well, but I understand so damn well your situation. The deadlines are a pain in the ass for the inspiration, but I know that you can surpass this little problem.

Feb. 23rd, 2009 01:45 am (UTC)
As long as it's good.
Dances taking a long time is a mixed bag to me. On one hand, I'm as anxious as anyone to read it, but all I think of is that great things take time.

I hope you take as long as you need to do it right. I'm sure it'll be worth the wait.
Feb. 23rd, 2009 04:34 am (UTC)
Good things are worth waiting for. Wonderful things like ASoIaF even more so. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us, and illegitimi non carborundum!
Feb. 23rd, 2009 03:14 pm (UTC)
You honestly misunderstand the nature of (most of) our impatience. The amazing following you created is a testament to the power of your story, and we're really less interested in deadlines than we are knowing what happens next. No one's trying to tell you not to live your life, because you deserve to enjoy your life, but the complete lack of assurance that you're working on the book we want so desperately to read sounds almost like whiplash to us, especially because you respond so negatively to our concerns that we may never see it come to fruition at all.
I'm not saying you should list what chapters you should work on, how many words you've written, or how many chapters you've rewritten everyday (if, by some chance all of those numbers are zero on some days, I understand). I'm not even saying you should hurry up and try to get the book done. We love it just as much as you do and would be more disappointed than anyone to be presented with an imperfect rendition.

But the longer you take, the longer you wait, the higher you set our expectations. I officially don't care if or when you finish it anymore, because I don't even remember the names of your first five books, or the characters that once mystified and enthralled me. I don't even remember to haunt this blog in hopes of hearing good news anymore. And if Dance is a masterpiece, I will appreciate it. But at this point I'm just going to wait until you finish the series before I risk getting passionate about your story again. I don't blame you; I'm doing us both a favor by not setting you up to disappoint me.
Feb. 23rd, 2009 03:21 pm (UTC)
Just joining the general tide of support to say, go you! Boo detractors! I'll read DANCE whenever it comes out and -- gasp -- read other books until then. I like the title of the sixth one.
Feb. 23rd, 2009 03:51 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the update! I mean that. Waiting drives me nuts sometimes, but I really enjoy your books, and I'm waiting anxiously (and trying to wait patiently)for Dance!
Feb. 23rd, 2009 05:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the update :) I understand not wanting to post updates unless you have something to update, but I'd missed the last one and so seeing this reiteration was very helpful for me.
Feb. 23rd, 2009 07:02 pm (UTC)
I had no idea of what you are going through.
I myself was a bit angry that I have to wait so long to continue that genius journey and sometimes I thought "what's he posting about NFL when he could write DWD`? but i knew that you have a private life and deserve it (maybe more than others).
I know many answered to this post and support you and I want to do it too.
Don't hurry, do it in your pace. Real fans will wait!

(includes me ;-) )
Feb. 23rd, 2009 08:06 pm (UTC)
Mr. Martin,
I've never gone out of my way to check on a series. I don't think I've ever checked out an author's blog (or Not-Blog) in my life. Not Rowling, not Patterson, not anyone. Your books are amazing and I'm willing to wait as long as I have to to read them. I wish people were more understanding for you. I find it funny that I'm writting you a message along with 557 other people and trying to make it personal, but really... I love the books. Keep up the good work no matter how long it takes.

Feb. 23rd, 2009 10:21 pm (UTC)
I don't know if you'll get this, but...

I've been promising my wife we'd hang the kitchen cabinet doors for the last 5 months. Good steps have been taken, and yet doors have not appeared in their proper places.

Life happens. Things take longer than we all expect.

Anyone who doesn't understand that needs to grow up and go experience some life of their own, and I don't care if they're twelve or fifty-seven.
Feb. 23rd, 2009 11:09 pm (UTC)
I'd wait a lifetime to get my hands on the next book. Seriously.
Feb. 23rd, 2009 11:14 pm (UTC)
I had completely given up on the Fantasy genre until your books came around. Now, after I've read your books, I've dived back in. Discovered Glen Cook and your buddy Jack Vance. New stuff; great stuff. Keep it up, GRRM. Of course, I wish for expedience, and your 5/7 is taking awhile to complete... but I have nothing cruel to offer. You have more characters than Russian novels could dream of. Lots of loose ends. Lots of love, man. Keep it up. Those negative SOBs are outweighed by us positives!
Feb. 24th, 2009 06:19 am (UTC)
Tune them out
Mr. Martin, tune them out. The internet makes our lives more public than ever, and the tiny souls of the do-nothings love nothing better than to sit around and comment on everybody else. The sad part is, we never really knew before just how many of them there are. But so be it. Since we never evolved to handle this, we have to develop our own mental filters.

Enjoy your life. I'm sure the happier you are, the better everything you work on, whether it's Dance or something else, will be.

Feb. 24th, 2009 08:50 am (UTC)
Rome wasn't build in a day!

Feb. 24th, 2009 09:39 am (UTC)
Thanks for the update! Don't worry about the nay-sayers - some people just need reminding that patience is a virtue to strive for.

Love the vid clip, btw; that was me at my old job!
Feb. 24th, 2009 11:39 am (UTC)
Cool =)
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George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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