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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. 20th, 2009 03:47 am (UTC)
This is actually RE: the Detractors.
Dear Mr. Martin,

I greatly enjoy your Song of Ice and Fire series, and am very excited by this news on the progress on the latest installment. However, I just wanted to let you know something: I am not your owner. Slavery, in this country, has not been legal for a long time, and I don't currently own any other human beings, let alone a sci-fi/fantasy writer.

I'm letting you know that I'm not your owner because it seems like a lot of your fans have forgotten this.

Please don't forget why you started doing this kind of stuff in the first place.

Feb. 20th, 2009 03:47 am (UTC)
Hey George,

Never felt the need to comment before (just signed up for an LJ account which I'll never use), but as one of the silent people you never usually hear from I thought I'd weigh in:

Remember that on the internet, it's all the crazies and pricks that need to make themselves heard so unfortunately you get to hear a hugely skewed proportion of them (as well as a few staunch defenders). I just hope you know that the other 99% of your fans greatly admire you and your work while they are off doing other things until the next book comes out. Please don't get too depressed about the tiny window of obsessive losers intruding on you!

All the best with the book, and thanks for providing us all with such brilliant entertainment already.
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:48 am (UTC)
<3 Anyone who is creative in any way should understand. Myself, I can't have just one project. There has to be at least 3 to switch between when I get frustrated, stuck, or have to wait to continue. It is the nature of artists, I believe. I could be wrong, but I doubt that da Vinci worked exclusively on the Mona Lisa after he began painting it.

Onward and upward. We wish you luck and regardless of how much flack you get,the ends will justify the means. I doubt there will be very many people who will remember how long it took you to write these books when they're done. They will just be remembered for the masterpieces that they are.
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:48 am (UTC)
As you said, "Art is not a democracy," even if some fans think that it is. And I loved the response in your subsequent post. . . .
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:49 am (UTC)
Thanks, good luck :)
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:49 am (UTC)
delays and such
I'm sure we'd all like the novel to magically be finished tomorrow. Reality doesn't follow wishes and plans though. If people are getting down on you for how long it's taking maybe they should try writing at anywhere near your level. The closest I've ever come to writing anything near the length of your books (and it wasn't very close)was my Master's thesis, and that had enough rewrites, and delays to go around. I'm willing to take it as it comes, DwD will be worth the wait and then some. Just give us enough warning so we can reread the series first :D
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:50 am (UTC)
Dance with Dragons will just be a great literary bottle of wine.
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:51 am (UTC)
Thank you for the update :)

While I admit I have been known to whine on occasion that I really, really want to read DANCE right now, it would never occur to me to unleash attacks or bullying or snarling in your direction. I am appalled at the poor manners and social skills of those who do. Shame on them.

I'm delighted with the four books I've already gotten to read, and will wait (mostly) patiently for the fifth. And if my impatience gets the better of me, that's certainly my problem and not yours, and I would never try to *make* it your problem.

Onward! =)
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:52 am (UTC)
Sounds good to me, I'll be getting it on my kindle the minute the kindle edition is released, and for anyone else who wants it : I’d like to read this awesome GRRM book on Kindle when he's done, and not a minute sooner ;). Keep up the good work. And regarding your other post on this matter : Awesome, just awesome. Thanks for all your awesome books, and thanks for letting the others come out for kindle.
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:52 am (UTC)
Bless you for giving us your work. It's worth waiting for until you feel it is done and ready to share with us (lucky us!).

Don't let the detractors get you down...and thank you for your hard work.
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:53 am (UTC)
I often wonder if the people who're writing such awful things to you have ever tried to write an enormous book in a series, let alone a book...

I am a writer working towards finishing my first non-fiction book based on a trip to Spain and Portugal last year (I arrived stateside just before you left to head there yourself) and it's hard! I wanted to be done by the end of 2008, to feel as if I accomplished something awesome since I haven't been able to find work. However, that didn't happen. Fortunately for me, I don't have fans or goaders; I don't have people desperate for the next piece. I'm just me and I can deal with the fact that I was wrong. I'm sure you can too, but you have thousands (I'm sure) who're reminding you constantly.

I feel for you, sir, as I understand what you're going through. Just know - those dicks that are being so rude apparently have nothing better to do than sit around and harass you. I'm sure the moment the book hits the shelves, they'll start bothering you about the next one being done...

Chin up!
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:54 am (UTC)
I'd rather wait a while longer and get a book done right than something half-assed.
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:54 am (UTC)
As a dancer and artistic director for my troupe I know the pain in the arse it is to try and complete ANYTHING artistic on a deadline of any kind. Just know I read your blog posts here, smile at the fun stuff with you, keep my fingers crossed for you and yours with the bad stuff and will dance with joy when Dances hits the bookstores. Until then, this fan and her entire family hopes you take all the time you need. Good things are soooooo worth waiting for!
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:56 am (UTC)
I used to work for a publisher. And as the newly-hired paeon, it was part of my job to address all of the fans' questions about why their book is 3 years late. I had to answer this question via telephone, via emails, and in person at conventions (those were the worst). I wasn't allowed to talk about production delays, printing errors, lost page proofs, editors who didn't finish editing on time, or any of a variety of reasons why a book would be late. And my not being allowed to yank or change the expected due date on Amazon's site didn't make my job any easier, either.

Believe me when I say I sympathize greatly.
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:58 am (UTC)
From back in our time together of service for SFWA (you as VP, me on the Elections Committee) I know that you're an amazingly hard worker at everything you do, and it really saddens/disturbs me that people accuse you of being otherwise (or trying to deny you any sort of life for that matter).

To use a really bad metaphor, the squeaky wheel may get the grease, but most of the other wheels out there are doing just fine. Don't let some loud mouths get you down, George. You're doing a fine job and when it's done it's done, and it's that attention to detail and quality that will make people cherish it that much more.
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:59 am (UTC)
I don't usually comment on these types of blogs because I'm generally one in several hundred. But I can't help myself.

My heart goes out to you. Seriously. I would have gone into hermitude by now.
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:59 am (UTC)
Dear George, I'm quite happily getting my fix from your other work when the darn person in the bookclub returns your short story collection so that I can have my turn with it! GRRRRR!

You have my unending support. Just be glad you don't have daily deadlines like us peeps in newspaper publishing.

(who runs on coffee to see the light at the end of the tunnel)
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:03 am (UTC)
A patient reader
I just wanted to send a quick note to let you know that I will wait as long as necessary to read a quality book. I sincerely enjoy the series, and will take them as they come. Good luck keeping the tide at bay, enjoy football, life, and everything that comes with it.


Mike Mattner
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:08 am (UTC)
I think you're fabulous, and I really enjoy that you share yourself with us here on LJ. People seem to forget that writing is an art. Stories are things to be treasured and appreciated. One doesn't demand that an imagination crank things out like a trained monkey.

People have become too impatient, too demanding and too full of entitlement. I'd much rather wait longer and read a book that the author feels is exactly the story they want to tell than be given something sub-par that was delivered only to quiet the malcontent.
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:09 am (UTC)
I'm not interested in many of your other projects, but that doesn't mean they're not dynamite work. And the Dying Earth anthology makes me phenomenally happy. So forget the negative comments and keep on working on stuff that interests you. Nothing produces good prose like a passion for the subject.
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:13 am (UTC)
Kudos to you!
I look forward to the next book and have great patience for it. The people who are being so mean and callous do not deserve to read what you have written and will write.

Genius and art take time. I bet if you had rushed it they would complain how you should have spent more time on it. Those type of people will never be happy.

Good luck and I very much look forward to DWD, maybe my boyfriend and I can exchange them to each other as Christmas or anniversary presents this year. If not there is always next year. ^_^
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:14 am (UTC)
after reading
Dont listen to the naysayers. Just probably some punk adolecents whos parents never taught them the value of Patience. Sure I get frustrated...not being able to find books that even compare to ASoIF takes its toll after awhile, but SoS I would say was the best in the series and am I wrong in remembering that it took you the longest to write? Just take your time. I can wait. Besides if your as rabid a football fan as I am...nothing gets done between august and january. and then there is the draft, National signing day, free agency!!! football never ends. haha.

ANd the fact that people just want to read ASoIF, really people try martin's other works. They are excellent. Tuff is great and I really got into a couple of wild card short stories. SO stick in there and come up with the best quality work...nay EXPERIENCE that you possibly can.

THanks again for being my favorite author of all time keep it up
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:14 am (UTC)
You're writing one of the best works of fiction ever (no pressure :) ).

So it might take some time, and where you are right now (the middle) has got to be one of the hardest spots to work on because you need to keep track of everything that has been happening, as well as plotting the way to the end.

Keep your spirits up and enjoy your work whenever you can. And thank you.
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:15 am (UTC)
I don't understand people who annoy you about Dance with Dragons. I would rather that stop happening than you finishing the book quickly.
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:18 am (UTC)
You write some of the best fiction I have had the privilege to read. So it's a long time coming? I'd rather wait for you to finish a jewel of a novel than churn out crap bang-bang-bang.

And as someone whose brain does bad things that keep her from writing more often than she likes, I hear you on personal matters. Life is not exactly kind when we need it to be, eh?

Best of luck, good sir.
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George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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