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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

( 628 comments )
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lorayto
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:40 am (UTC)
So the gist of what you're saying is that raising a teenager is no fun when you have so many new babies to take care of.

I'll buy all of the Ice and Fire books the day they come out on the shelves. Sometimes it's a little frustrating to see that your attention has so often been fixed on inferior (in my opinion) products these last several years.

The part I don't understand has to do with the fools who e-mail you. Why in the world would someone do that? I know you like to read all the e-mails you get, and that's a very valiant thing of you to do. Maybe you should try an e-mail filter which automatically puts messages with certain key words or phrases (like A Dance with Dragons + finished) into SPAM.
mihrimah
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:40 am (UTC)
It's ready when it's ready, Mr. Martin, just like dinner. People who don't want to wait for art should learn to make their own. :)
distributeddark
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:41 am (UTC)
We love you George!
I'm sad to see you've felt 'worn down' by your fans. As an eager fan myself, I get the others frustrations, but please understand it is simply because we find your work magnificent.

I want you to finish sooner rather then later, but I have *no doubt* that however long it takes, it will be worth the wait.

You may not get to read this, but if you do, I just want you to know you have at least one huge fan (and many thousands more I'm sure) who both support you, and want you to *enjoy* writing such fantastic literature.
raeyn
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:42 am (UTC)

I'm sure that it will be more than worth the wait. And in the meantime, there ARE other things to read. For example, I'm re-reading the five Amber books pertaining to Corwin, as I loaned out my Great Book of Amber to my sister and never got it back (and never felt like replacing it, as the Merlin arc isn't as good). After that, who knows? I might re-read through the Wheel of Time books. I might break down and spend money I don't have on a new series. I might read through Black Company again!

Anyways, blah blah blah - I appreciate the work you do to provide us, the reader, with a most excellent literary product. I'm honestly pleased to see you go out of your way to open a window on your real world and what goes on within. It serves to remind everyone that you, like us, are just another person doing their thing. And while it might not be what some people want (god forbid you take time off to pursue a hobby! *snorts*), and least you know you're getting your value out of this life.

To the whiners, I say - shoo, go find something else to do. I mean, seriously - don't you have something better to do than slow up the process with incessant childish complaints?

So... that's my bit on it. May I never have to say it again. :)
maine_character
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:43 am (UTC)
I appreciate the candor, and you're definitely right in not, as Hemingway put it, pissing it all away by talking about it.

A Song of Ice and Fire is a gift, and it's your gift to create and shape and reshape and share as you choose. Till then, I'll gladly wait till you finally come through the Black Gate to tell us where our friends have been.



lucid_dr34ming
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:47 am (UTC)
I know there's a lot of people out there that think you have to be chained to your writing 24/7 and can't have a life, but they're just bloody stupid.

When it does come out, at some indetermined point in the future, all the wait will have been completely worth it. :) In the meantime I'm getting my ASOIAF fix by re-reading the older books.
darthparadox
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:49 am (UTC)
I started what was supposed to be a weekly comic series in June of last year. I'm publishing page 14 on Monday, which is the 28th week since I started; I published nothing whatsoever between late August and the beginning of February, for a variety of reasons ranging from the mundane to the tragic.

I guess my point is, life happens. I look forward to the next book, but the reason I look forward to it is the quality of the writing and the care you put into your craft, and those things can't be rushed.

May the Muses smile on your endeavour. Thanks for the not-an-update on your Not-a-Blog. :D
stealingbabies
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:49 am (UTC)
Thank you for all your hard work on making A Dance with Dragons the best it can be.
dscotton
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:50 am (UTC)
Hey George, sorry you have to deal with the whiners and the haters, that really sucks. If you hadn't done such an amazing job with the earlier books in the series then there wouldn't be so many of them, but I doubt that's much comfort.

I enjoyed the copy of Tuf Voyaging I ordered from you a couple months ago, and I appreciated that you personalized it without my even asking you to. Thanks.
spitphyre
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:50 am (UTC)
Thank you for telling us something.

I would like to say that I love all of your work and while the Song of Ice and Fire is my favorite epic fantasy I think you're a great writer. I look up to you and would love to follow your career path.

Keep it up, will be waiting for your next book whenever and whatever it is.
kylara
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:51 am (UTC)
>> Art is not a democracy, and these are problems I need to solve myself.

I wouldn't want it any other way.

Don't worry how long it takes. I'd much rather have a finalized piece than something rushed out for the impatient masses. June, September, another year... art has it's own pace. We'll still be here and we'll be grateful for it in the end.
m4dh4tt3r
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:52 am (UTC)
Thank you for your continued work on A Song of Ice and Fire. I truly enjoy reading it, and I am eager to read A Dance With Dragons as soon as it is published. Until then, I will re-read the other books! Again, THANK YOU! :-)
myrddinfyre
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:52 am (UTC)
Good luck... I like not knowing when it'll be ready, it will make it that much more exciting to hear because we weren't expecting it!
ladytory
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:54 am (UTC)
Thanks for the update.

Best of luck on all of your literary adventures this year!
elbamoonraven
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:55 am (UTC)
I agree, ignore the haters. As jojo_kun said, I await ADwD with both anticipation and patience. Take the time and definitely keep working on all those other wonderful projects! I love both ASOIAF and Wild Cards, and also own one of the Dany resins and a ton of the AGOT CCG. Those people are nuts for saying those things are a waste of time. Pah!

<3
coccinellidae
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:56 am (UTC)
Just today I was looking at your site wishing for another update. I know you hate giving them, but I can't tell you how much I appreciate them. Having some direct statement from you telling me that Dance is still on your mind everyday makes the waiting (for me at least) so much easier.
skjaere
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:56 am (UTC)
*hugs* Don't let the assholes get you down! You are one of my all-time favourite authors (up there with Umberto Eco and Tamora Pierce), and whenever this book happens, I will buy it and read it and love it and re-read it, just like all the others. Don't let a few vocal jerks ruin the what should be the enjoyable experience of creating something fun, rich and wonderful.
greyglass
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:56 am (UTC)
It's amazing to me that people have reproached your recent projects; art doesn't come after a set number of hours at the keyboard, and I doubt a life of asceticism will force literary conflicts to resolve.

While I will be excited to read A Dance with Dragons when it's finished, I am also happy you haven't compromised to fit time constraints. I am happy that you are doing it your way, because that's how I like it :)
parhellion
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:58 am (UTC)
You can't rush art. Some people just don't get that. I know it's frustrating, but my mother always impressed upon me the value of ignoring idiots. Wise woman, that one :-)

If you ever need to decompress, find a convention with a good Barfleet party. We'll set you up with a drink and some good company, and all will be right with the world. Be well!
kilks401
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:58 am (UTC)
its you're book, to finish when you finish it. I will read it when's its done, until then there's plenty of other things to do.

the fact you have to defend yourself is a joke, but thank you for taking the time to update you're fans.
ladybriggan
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:59 am (UTC)
Take as long as you need. When you say the book is done, I'll be ready to read it.
lno
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:00 am (UTC)
Don't you realize you were put on this early ONLY TO PROVIDE ENTERTAINMENT FOR PEOPLE? How dare you live your life for yourself!

...

Ok, I can't even continue past that. Obviously any detractor who denigrates your other accomplishments, pastimes, or hobbies has a serious misunderstanding of life. Take your time, as much as you need; we will still be here, ready to do silly things like order the hardcover from amazon.co.uk since it's out two weeks sooner overseas.
z4nd4r
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:00 am (UTC)
I for one don't want to read a book that you don't feel is finished, so take your time sir and I look forward to the day that DoD is in my hands.

Besides, I am reading Anathem right now... I'll need a break from 20lbs novels when I finish it up ;)
maherajah
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:00 am (UTC)
If the delays result in a book that is as well written as the Crusader chapter from Inside Straight, it will have been well worth the wait.

So in the words of my generation, "Stay up, playa."
chezmax
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:00 am (UTC)
Good luck. :)

That gives me time to reread the books again ;)
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