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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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Apr. 26th, 2009 01:27 pm (UTC)
Mr. Martin,

I don't think I've logged into LJ in about two years solid. I logged in today though, to tell you that a friend of mine got me hooked on this series. I introduced my girlfriend to it, she loves it. She passed it on to her friends, who love it. I introduced it to my friends, they love it.

I just want to express to you that you've got a much larger network of support that's not going to stand in front of you, nor is it going to stand behind ya - We'll all stand right beside you in whatever decisions you make with your projects, because you're the mastermind behind them!

Just try to laugh off the people that take fantasy too seriously. Take care of yourself and enjoy your life the way you want to, and at the pace you want to. Lord knows, you deserve it. We'll still be here when you think it's all ready to go =)

-Andrew from Baghdad
Apr. 30th, 2009 06:04 am (UTC)
I saw a link to this post on IMDB and I had to check it out. I am wicked excited about the upcoming HBO series as I am sure you are. I have been going through some hard times myself recently so I certainly respect your struggle to make the progress you want to while there is so much on your plate. You have a brilliant story to tell and I am rooting for you. I am looking forward to checking out wildcards but there is no way I can not read any work with your name on it without wishing it was ASOIAF so I am forcing myself to hold off on that until ADWD so that I will have subdued the great desire to see the story progress. Well I hope you find the time, inspiration, and motivation to accomplish your goal of completing by this date. Good Luck!
Apr. 30th, 2009 08:16 pm (UTC)
I can bide my time a little further until this is finally complete. :P

But what i do not understand is why so many stores and sites are even listing the book for sale.. it's very discouraging for readers when we have to deal with that kind of uncertainty. better to not know at all, than get variable release date information from sellers. I personally have been waiting three years now for this release.

I just hope this is out soon, Steven Erikson is the only other author I find interesting enough to read lately other than George.. and his series only has two more books until it's complete!

My suggestion is.. don't write anymore literature until your Song is done :D

Thanks for the epic though, best series I've ever read.
May. 5th, 2009 12:06 pm (UTC)
My husband tells me that their should be another term for someone who reads as avidly as I do. Said that from now on, when he calls me a bookworm, I should realize he's actually calling me a bookwyrm instead, as a normal day for me includes reading at least one novel.

One of the many reasons I love your books, other then the fact that they're well written and draw me right in of course *grin*, is the fact that they actually take me two, maybe three days. I've noticed that most of my favorite authors have the same knack of drawing me in and keeping me entertained for a couple of days. The problem with this is that a well written, well crafted, well researched book takes time! Not one of my favorites takes less then two years to write a book, and often take longer. Because of this, while I may have an occasional and brief moment where I want to scream "GET BACK TO WORK!!" I invariably chide myself, and remind myself that a good book takes a good amount of time, and if a good author was chained to his/her desk to write continuously it's a good bet that that author would no longer enjoy their job, and it would show in a shabby book, at least in comparison to prior works.

Basically what I'm saying is I'm looking forward to reading your new book, and will quell those occasional selfish mental demands, and am sending you my best wishes for a good life and for smooth writing. Know that you've joined that elite in my library. In other words, you're one of the six or so authors that I'm not patient enough to wait for the paperback and buy the hardcover the day it comes out.


P.S. I loved the picture of your miniature squire polishing the helm. Awesome!
May. 12th, 2009 04:01 pm (UTC)
Dear Ser,
One can only appreciate your strive for a perfection.
Whatever you do, don't fret, it will be amazing.
As always.

With outmost respect,

May. 16th, 2009 02:46 pm (UTC)
People shouldn't give you such a hard time. They are the idiots who don't see the man behind the manuscript. People! Realize you're only making it more difficult on him!
May. 18th, 2009 11:52 pm (UTC)
Waiting Patiently
You have to be the best author in fantasy I have ever read, I will oppupy myself with other people's dribble while I wait for the next book. Thank you again for sharely your talent with the world.
May. 19th, 2009 09:55 am (UTC)
Don't rush the man with the pen! He'll kill Daenerys off and punish us all!
Jun. 9th, 2009 08:07 pm (UTC)
Well... in a flood of comments...

I'd just like to say, take the time you need and finish it. I will read it when it does appear and enjoy it immensely.

As a thank you for lovely books.

Jun. 12th, 2009 09:13 pm (UTC)
I hope all would expect nothing less than what you, and you alone , deem readiness for the forthcoming novel.
I appreciate your candor and honesty.
No one else, other than a fellow author, knows the demands of writing an epic.
The waiting is hard, but the reward is always more than expected.
Excuse my grammar.
Best of luck

Big fan
Jun. 12th, 2009 11:41 pm (UTC)
It is sad to hear that folks are taking it out on you. Apparently the part where authors, actors, and Other Famous-Type Folk are real people seems to have passed some by.

To be perfectly frank, one can't rush a good thing, and I'd rather wait for the Good Thing. Plus, well, I wonder how many of your fans were/are Jean Auel fans, and they had to wait something like eight or twelve years for her to give them a new tome. (Myself, I couldn't get past "The Mammoth Hunters", but my aunt is a fan, and "happier than a pig in shit" sorta describes it when "Shelters of Stone" came out however long ago...)

I know I'll be thrilled as anything when it does appear, and will be actually hoping for a little extra time in the editing/publishing circuit so I can re-read and get back up to speed.

In the meantime, I've been recommending your books like crazy, because I think they're one of the best-written, engaging stories I've read in a long time, and I would just like to thank you for sharing it with us. Even better, I find I enjoy your Not-A-Blog keeping the masses at large informed of your varying authoring (and non) endeavors. I don't believe I've ever commented here before, but I'd like to throw my hat in with the supporters that know it will happen when it happens, and not a moment sooner. Thank you.

(And your frequent short-story compilation recommendations have gotten me back into the short-story state of mind...my amazon wishlist is now chock-a-block full of short story/essay collections...)
Sep. 11th, 2010 02:49 am (UTC)
You seem rather knowledgable of these things, would you have any recommendation on what to read/listen to while waiting for the next "A song of ice and fire" books, and to a less extent "Wheel of time"?

Would be great for me, as a comparably new epic fantasy reader
Jun. 19th, 2009 03:34 pm (UTC)
Leonardo made them wait
All masterpieces take time. Da Vinci made them wait, and so can you. I would rather wait many more years and get the same quality as your previous books, than rush you to completion and be disappointed. I waited this long, I can continue to wait. Keep the faith!

Jul. 9th, 2009 08:28 pm (UTC)
Take as long as you must...
for greatness can't be rushed!
First ask the heavens to turn at our whim,
before this stories' life escapes him!

Cheers Mr. Martin and thanks for all your excellent work and inspiration ;-)
Jul. 21st, 2009 07:30 pm (UTC)
Take your time. I'm still patiently waiting for Jean Auel's next book...and the last one came out 7 year ago!
Aug. 17th, 2009 07:09 pm (UTC)
The Greatest
Sir (or would that be "ser"?), you've been called the American Tolkien--and frankly, no one is more deserving of the title. Robert Jordan doesn't even begin to compare. I myself am one of the countless who has been utterly SPELLBOUND by your work. As an aspiring pup of a writer and a lifelong fantasy fiction fan (since I discovered Tolkien, of course), let me say that no one, sir, NO ONE, has done more than you to advance the genre both 1) as literature in general and 2) out of Tolkien's shadow, in particular. Above the scads of Tolkien knock-offs and imitators (both poor ones, like Terry Brooks, and talented ones, like Robert Jordan), this series rises like Mount Everest.

I look forward to DWD when it's good and ready.
Feb. 25th, 2010 04:32 am (UTC)
write it for YOU George
dude - you're in a class all your own. Can't imagine what it takes to put your world on paper. If another book comes out I'll be grateful, but you've already given us so much.

In fact so much that many people are angry like junkies demanding a fix. Nice job!

David Wood
Apr. 6th, 2010 04:30 pm (UTC)
Why would you let people push you? I personally find the feeling of anticipation delicious and the delay will make me re-read the books to make sure I really remember all the plot lines, which will add to the pleasure.
What will really make me desperate is the moment I read the last page of the last book, when I know your writting is over for the series.
I'm sure many share my opinion. Cheer up ;)
Jun. 29th, 2010 06:51 am (UTC)
Sausages, laws and art
In that none should be viewed in the making, I offer a meager breath of encouragement to a much admired artist. To the detractors: tell them to eat the sausage half finished or use the law half tempered or read the story half written. Then ask them how was the meal? The resulting thinly thought out directive? Or the art untamed? A poorer result for the impatient belly; one that won't stand the test of digestion.

Soldier forward brother, we stand at your back, resolute!
Oct. 4th, 2010 03:57 pm (UTC)
I just wanted 2 write in wee message of support 4 Mr Martin. I was so upset readin ur blog and how insensitive & down rite nasty people hav behaved 2wards u & how completely these people hav abused this blog of ur's. I personally dont think that with the unimaginable stress & strain that must come's with writing a book, plus trying 2 keep 2 a deadline which frankly just seeems obsurd! I mean in this day and age no1 could or should expect that u complete a book in a set time, that u should hav 2 endure anything but RESPECT, SUPPORT and ADMIRATION from the very people that u r writing these masterpiece's 4. I hope that if u havent completely shunned reading the comment's that people leave u that, this mite bring a little bit of comfort. Most of us out there that luv u & ur work dont need release date's & will wait however long we need 2 4 the nxt instalments. I would personally like 2 thank u on the incredible work ur doing n 2 take this opportunity 2 thank u 4 the hour's i can spend getting lost in the world that u created and forget my troubles & worries. U hav an amazing talent & a gift that most people would die 4. Ur a legend & must of us r here 4 u.xxxxxxx
Jaime Huff
Jan. 23rd, 2011 03:41 pm (UTC)
Joining the club...
Mr Martin,

As a fan and a hardcore fan at that, I am patient. You have a life. You can't rush creativity and genius. 'Nuf said. I can't imagine what it's like to come up with an amazing story. Heck took me a month just to write a small blog post. I say, can't rush genius. Do your thing man, and do it good. The trolls? They don't matter. We all love your work and think you are an amazing artist. Yes, you are an artist. I have found other series that I do enjoy that fell apart with the last rushed books (Yes, Charlaine Harris I am referring to you, after book 8? Your books went down hill and am quite saddened and am no longer reading anymore about Sookie) and with Robert Jordan's passing, we are left with a gaping wound and with Brandon Sanderson's talent, we get closure. Sure we are the fans, but it isn't all about us.

Carry on, GRRM. We all love you! Winter is coming... and I am ordering cable JUST because of Game of Thrones and I haven't had cable in over 4 years!
Wanda Silver
Feb. 3rd, 2011 03:03 am (UTC)
Happy to wait for another great book. Maybe not always patiently, but always with understanding. And absolutely with total support! :)
Vitalyk Khuzeus
Mar. 2nd, 2011 04:51 am (UTC)
Sansa Chapter Omission
Awesome. I hate that character anyway. She is so whiney and mopey, I guess it speaks a lot to other people but wow... really? You live in a castle and eat good food but YOU are responsible for your fathers death forced to dress nice and marry some soon to be kind brat and you cry like a baby about it and in the end what happens? You get whisked away to 'another' castle.. wow. On the other hand, Arya has been dragged through the mud, displaced out of her kingdom pretty much been crapped over and is still in high spirits (as high as spirits can be in her situation.) Thats besides the point... at least she is being productive with her time. Anyway, glad to see that people care about what they put out, can't wait to read the finished work
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George R.R. Martin
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