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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. 24th, 2009 11:44 am (UTC)
You are great GRRM!!
Don´t worry about deadlines George.
The time doesn´t matter. I´m sure you can finish DWD soon or later.

We will wait.
Feb. 24th, 2009 05:08 pm (UTC)
Hello and give em hell
Dear George, non illegitimati carborundum. Too many trolls out there, and you are too nice a guy and too splendid a writer to have to put up with this stuff.
Be well, keep at it; remember Jim loved your stuff; he loved being Jordan of the Golden Quill (or however you did it). Best regards, and buck up -- Harriet Rigney (Mrs. Robert Jordan).
Feb. 24th, 2009 05:25 pm (UTC)
I hope this gives you a laugh
Teaching the Ape to Write Poems
by James Tate

They didn’t have much trouble
teaching the ape to write poems:
first they strapped him into the chair,
then tied the pencil around his hand
the paper had already been nailed down.
Then Dr. Bluespire leaned over his shoulder
and whispered into his ear:
“You look like a god sitting there.
Why don’t you try writing something?”

I write that stuff. and LOVED this. Cackling madly I sent it to every poet I knew for Christmas.

Love, Harriet
Feb. 24th, 2009 07:59 pm (UTC)
Re: I hope this gives you a laugh
With ADwD and AMoL both poised for a possible '09 release I think this year (or next) will be a great period for fans of fantasy. We have much to look forward to.

Cheers to you both (and Brandon) for all the hard work you put in and all the sacrifices you make to give us fans these great pieces of literature. As an aspiring writer myself, I know how hard it is to put ideas on paper, let alone complete a whole novel. My hat is off to you.
Feb. 24th, 2009 06:04 pm (UTC)
Don't worry...you are still awesome.
Mr. Martin;

Honestly the fact that you have a life outside of writing fantasy novels is probably a reason why you are such a good writer in the first place. Don't give up. I will wait for your book, and so will everyone else. I look forward to it; plus it gives me time to read the series again anyway :)

Cheers from the chilly White North,
Feb. 24th, 2009 07:15 pm (UTC)
I will still be here, waiting the traslation in spanish.
An artist need time and a big history need patiently.
Thanks for all the books you write!
kisses from mallorca!
Feb. 24th, 2009 07:21 pm (UTC)
However long it takes to get it right, you go ahead and take it. And take your vacations, and watch your TV and football. I doubt any of your detractors works all day, every day, and neither should you. The book will be ready when it is ready, and I'm just thankful I get to live in a time when it is available. Thanks for the series, Mr. Martin. Thank you very much.
Feb. 24th, 2009 11:32 pm (UTC)
About a month ago I read an interview with you, Mr. Martin and some...one... Anyway, I believe you mentioned that you wanted to go into the field of writing books so that you wouldn't have the same kind of deadlines that you did when writing movie scripts. Ironic, eh? :X

I, like the many others here, would vastly prefer you to take your time and deliver an excellent piece of artwork than sell out to the money, the whiners (publishers or fans), time, or anything else. And frankly, I think your dedication to this series and perserverence under stress is incredible. So - power on!
Feb. 24th, 2009 11:37 pm (UTC)
I don't think people realize how hard it is to write a book, then a series of books, then a series of books that you are happy with, then a series of books that the world is happy with.

Because they haven't done it. Unless they are, in fact, one of the famous people like Tolkien or Stephen King or whoever, they simply don't understand. And if they were, they would know better than to bother you.

Gosh. Come to the conventions I go to.
Feb. 25th, 2009 02:48 am (UTC)
Writing can be ridiculously difficult, especially for peole who are good at it. That's why they're good at it: because they go through that difficulty. I understand. Sometimes the pressure of a deadline makes things easier, but the quality can suffer. I don't want the quality of the series to suffer. I will suffer with waiting, but there will be a big payoff at the end of my suffering.

And in response to the next entry about everyone being impatient and rude...that's horrible. I hope they pull their heads out of their asses and realize you are a human being with interests of your own and are allowed to do other things with your life besides try to please some crybaby who doesn't understand how real life works.
Feb. 25th, 2009 10:25 am (UTC)
I love your books and you - no matter what. You have given us much distraction and fun and even if you should for circumstances beyound your control never finish the series, you would still be one of my favorite authors ever!
Feb. 25th, 2009 03:50 pm (UTC)
"When It's Done"
George, I hope I speak for the bulk of your fans when I say I want you to write the best book that you can, and for you to be as happy with it as you can be. Finish it when it's done, and then I'll happily buy it and read it. In the meantime, I'll continue finding more people to hook in with A Game Of Thrones.

Keep at it!
Feb. 25th, 2009 05:50 pm (UTC)
Dance to your own tune, Mr. Martin
Can't speak for anyone else, but here is one fan who supports you 100%. I would much rather wait two more years for your normal level of excellence than get a mediocre "rush job".
Feb. 25th, 2009 06:18 pm (UTC)
It'll be done when it's done. Fine with me. I've been waiting for Diane to finish the door series since I first read "Door Into Fire" decades ago. Kevin O'Donnell Jr. sent his latest McGill Feighan book to the publisher 5+ years ago and they still haven't published it.

I don't pin my entire life on waiting for one particular book, movie, TV show, video game or whatever.

Frankly, anyone not taking the same attitude with Song of Ice and Fire needs to get a life. It's a book series. A fun, good book series that I've immensely enjoyed. But WTF? It's so important as to bitch at the author about it? Whatever.

There's fandom, then there's luserdom.

Feb. 26th, 2009 08:41 am (UTC)
Don't let critics discourage you; keep your head up high!
I know this is kind of late, but I just wanted to let you know I love your series and they are so, so near and dear to my heart. I want to know what happens to the other characters as much as any of your other disgruntled fans, but I completely understand the kind of work that goes into such a saga.

You probably already know this, but if you can, take your time; enjoy lattes, the fresh air, going for walks, etc. Giving into pressure at the hand of other idiots will do you no good, and I know how hard it is to write with someone (metaphorically) breathing down your neck.

As a loyal fan of A Song of Ice and Fire, I can say with absolute certainty that I have never minded waiting for any books in your series. Even if A Dance with Dragons takes 10 more years to come out, I'll still be in line, buying it eagerly. It'll make it all the more sweeter. :)

I hope this wasn't too informal, but thank you for writing such a beautiful series, Mr. Martin. I don't care that it's incomplete; I'll be a fan of yours for as long as I live.
Feb. 26th, 2009 02:52 pm (UTC)
Have a big glass of wine.
I personally don't want to read anything you're not satisfied with, but rushed out to appease the masses.
Do it right. I've been re-reading, in eager anticipation of this, and there are a lot of questions to answer, and plot-lines to tie up. It's all been genius thus far! Anything less from the upcoming book would be a disappointment.
And as a fan, these updates (from time to time) are important. As much as you hate doing them, we appreciate hearing about changes, and advances.
Feb. 26th, 2009 03:27 pm (UTC)
"Tyrion for President 2012"
George, did you take that leak without raising your hand first???? ah ah ah you should be working, perhaps you could hire yourself a piss-boy?? (no I am not volunteering)To help speed things along?? I hope you recognize sarcasm, I have a feeling that you do sir Tyrion.
I respect your balls sir......ummm let me rephrase that. I respect the fact that you make yourself avbailable to the public. Yes we can be needy assholes at times.......most of the time. I respect the courage and patience it must take to put yourself on the chopping block of public opinion. You don't have to take this shit and abuse. There are very few public figures that do. For these reasons, I would like to start a campaign "Tyrion for President 2012"
If I were talented or artistic at all I would make T-shirts with those words proudly marquee'd
thank You again sir for your balls.
Feb. 26th, 2009 05:40 pm (UTC)
for all those who would detract, if you are in any way an artist you know how inspiration is. and while i, like all of you, wait with baited breath, we have to remember that pushing and pushing and pushing will only push and force out something that will be disputed and bickered about and what have you. sure we all want it now, but wait. be patient and sit your butt down. you try writing a series this visually intense, emotionally captivating, and just downright addictive. thank you grrm for creating a world that i love to live in when i read your books, no matter how many times i reread them they are always amazing.
Feb. 26th, 2009 09:59 pm (UTC)
Still looking forward to it avidly, sir, howeverso long it takes. I figure it'll be worth it. *grin*

Illegitimi non carborundum, eh?
Feb. 26th, 2009 11:40 pm (UTC)
no support, no sympathy
I show support for my favorite authors by buying their books.

I won't offer sympathy, because... well, sympathy for what?

I can wait.

I can wait for Dance to be exactly what YOU want it to be, to be a continuation of the story you are telling, and I am experiencing. To me, quality is far better than quantity, so I can wait.

I'll just say thank you.
Feb. 27th, 2009 06:49 am (UTC)
Give 'em hell, George! We've waited this long, and we can wait a little longer. Just ignore the haters; I know it's going to be worth the wait.
Feb. 27th, 2009 11:16 am (UTC)
A tenth...
If i could do something one-tenth as creative as Ice and Fire i'd be a happy man. Don't ever rush it. It's entirely your world and your creation. Speaking as one of your biggest fans, the wait always makes the enjoyment greater.
Feb. 28th, 2009 02:39 am (UTC)
Can't wait to read it but I know however long the wait will be worth it!
Thanks for all the updates. The insight into your working process is pretty cool and we're lucky that at this point in time, we're able to hear updates from an author so directly and frequently!

I'll be very happy to read it once it's done but I know it's going to be great whenever it's finished.
Feb. 28th, 2009 05:17 pm (UTC)
good for you. getting it done as well as you can do it is more important than getting it done fast.

Mar. 1st, 2009 01:24 am (UTC)
Take your time!
I, for one, don't care how long it takes. I waited almost 20 years for the completion of Stephen King's Dark Tower, and the masterpiece that resulted made me cringe with guilt at the angry words I had for him during that time. This series is simply some of the best fantasy I've had the pleasure to read, and I would be greatly disheartened if the impatient among us caused a hurried and incomplete result. You are a busy man and an accomplished author; you have certainly earned the right to watch some football and keep up with your favorite shows. Don't let the expectations of anyone, however seemingly reasonable, detract from your art or the process that defines it.

Oh, and thank you for so many years of enrichment, we owe you a great deal!
Mar. 1st, 2009 05:38 am (UTC)
Good God. I don't even know how you are still able to write, what with the millions of angry and impatient messages you get!

I don't care when it's done as long as A) it does get done (which it will be), and B) it is amazing (which it will be).

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George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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