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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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chern_greenhilt
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:19 am (UTC)
Don't Let The Bastards Get You Down
George:

You have provided with me with hours of enjoyment and merely for theprice of $11.95 (Canadian) per novel. I am sincerely gratefule for this.

To all George's detractors:

Until you have walked in this man's shoes, you do not know the pressures, stresses, personal issues, or any other burdens this man carries. He has provided us with hours of entertainment and he continues to labour over the series. I work in a job that requires deadlines are met, but sometimes there are circumstances that prevent that from happening. Life carries on for those that have to wait so deal with it.

It is very selfish of you to post negative comments. Obviously, your primary concern is to bully, hurt, and antagonize George so that you can try to feel better about the delay of the next book. We are fortunate that George attends conventions and engages with his fanbase as there are other authors who could care less about their readership.

I don't know anyone that has the desire to work 24/7 without any breaks. The guy has a right to partake of events like football games (which are not everyday), weddings, funerals, and the like. I would go bonkers if I didn't get any time away from work to spend with my wife and son or watch a movie. His work would suffer if he didn't take any time to himself.

As for insults: Does it feel good when someone insults you? No. It doesn't. It makes you and the offended feel bad. In fact, the more you insult George, the more bad he feels and I am sure his work suffers because of it. So stop whining, offer support or don't comment at all. If we want DoD to be the best damn book it can be, offer him infinite encouragement and support.
stevem65
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:19 am (UTC)
Lying
I'll buy the book whether its published this year, or next or the year after that.

But, as a conservative, I have to point out that you've been exposed to a small taste of George Bush' life. Its claimed that he lied to get us into Iraq. Its far more likely, considering all our other elected leaders were on the same page, that he was *wrong* based on faulty intelligence.

I couldn't resist. And I agree, Bush was still a lousy president.
gillan
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:21 am (UTC)
Take your time.
gesellschaft
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:21 am (UTC)
Screw what anyone says. Don't finish it until you think it is the best it can be. I for one am happy to wait. Moreover, I get a kick out of watching others grumble.
jacobford
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:21 am (UTC)
Take all the time you need, George. I'm willing to wait--for Dance, Winds of Winter, and A Dream of Spring. I'd much rather see you take all the time you need to make them as great as you possibly can, than to have you rush out something of less quality because the fans want them now. You do good work. Stay strong.
gryphonlsb
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:21 am (UTC)
I have total faith in you
I love these stories, even though or maybe because I cant all the characters to be alive by the next chapter. Keeps me aware

I cant wait for the next book but will be happy when its done to your satisfaction

Be well
tal125
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:25 am (UTC)
Mr. Martin -
It will be done when it is done. I await with eager patience to read the next installment. In the meantime ignore the detractors (they're not really who you're writing for anyway) and do what you need to do to be happy with the work.

-T
shieldhaven
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:25 am (UTC)
I am another grateful fan. If I had a quarter of your skill, I would be very, very happy in my own life as a writer. When the book is done, I'll be thrilled to read it. Just remember that for every lousy jerk with a bad attitude, there is a multitude of fans who are too shy to say much and don't want to disturb you, but think you're pretty much the best thing ever. So - thanks.
tonys_mac
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:26 am (UTC)
whew.....
honestly, GRRM, that's all I've been waiting for (besides the book) - an update. Don't care if you take a step forward, two steps back - just keep on keeping on with some tidbits o' info, ya know? It means you care as much as your rabid fans (yes count me among those) and that DwD is among your work priorities.
dustwing
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:26 am (UTC)
Patiently waiting :) dont let all the trolls get to you- and hey if being a writer is anything like being an illustrator, all those trips and relaxing watching your sport of choice got funneled right into your muse and filtered out into the fingers.
geordie2
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:26 am (UTC)
Take all the time you need
George, it's your damned book and in my opinion, you can do whatever the hell you want with it, including abandoning the whole series if you want to. Really! I love the books, I'd be devastated not to have any more to read - but I would not DREAM of telling any artist (and you are one) how or when or on what schedule to produce their art. I write myself, although academic stuff, not fiction, and I have a dim idea of what it must be like for you, trying your best to produce a GOOD book, not just a timely one. I'd rather wait a while longer to have a good one, so this is one fan who's got your back. All these critics - just back the hell off, the man is trying to live his life, not just write for YOU!
dark_majesty
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:26 am (UTC)
Mr. Martin, allow me to say that I, for one, am willing to wait however long it takes you to finish the book I will wait. I have never rushed you (even in my head) nor would I ever yell at an author to finish a story in progress. In all honesty, a story is something that can only reach it's true conclusion is by the author completing it in his own way. I would rather wait longer for the novel to see it be something great than to just be something, you know?

When I picked up A Game of Thrones, it was on a recommendation from a friend. I did so because I was looking to get immersed into a storyline, to lose myself in a world and truly enjoy a series for the first time in years. This series has done that for me in spades. Know that out here on Long Island, NY there is a whole group of people who wish you well and wait patiently for you (and you alone) to tell us it's done. We're behind you all the way. So take your time, enjoy your football, and spend time with Parris. We'll be here when the time is right.
newsbean
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:28 am (UTC)
I'm terribly happy that you have a life. That you have passions and things that make you happy. I can't imagine that being locked in a room with a computer would be conducive to writing such wonderful books. Paramount to writing about life is living life. And so, the posts that make me happy are you talking about football and travel and other things that you care about.

Continue living and being a person. The books will get done when they are done. Until then, your rabid fans will find other things to read. And hopefully they will learn patience. A useful skill.
olathewildcat
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:32 am (UTC)
It's your book, I am only a reader
As such, make it the way you want it. If you are not happy with the book then chances are we won't be either. Take the time to get it to be what you want it to be.
trillian4210
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:32 am (UTC)
This is in reply to your latest post too, and that is those who are rude, snarky, and disrespectful to you for the delay are, in a word, morons. It's as though they have separated the work from the creator; how can they adore and clamor (and bitch and whine) over something and then treat the person who is providing it to them so rudely?

I'm as eager as the next person, but for god's sake, people, have some respect.

And no, I don't want to hear any "he should respect us" bullshit. Get over your overblown sense of entitlement and be patient. Like the rest of the adults. /rant

Good luck, GRRM, and absolutely don't listen to anyone who says watching football is a waste of time! :)

Edited at 2009-02-20 04:32 am (UTC)
1eyedman
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:32 am (UTC)
Inspiration rather than pressure
Id rather you work on the story i love inspired rather than pressured and burdened, PLEASE take your time, and try to enjoy the process :) Im grateful for what you have graciously shared with me, I think it is a real asshole who'll take what is offered them (not owed)and then bitch for more. Anyway gl, you still have compassionate fans.
commissarred
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:34 am (UTC)
I would rather you take forever and the book be amazing than for you to push something out that you yourself weren't happy with. In any case, this gives people another change to read the other books, again, or explore some of your other work.
kiddofsteel
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:35 am (UTC)
Dance with Dragons
This is in response to your nest post. I don't leave comments here, because I think that usually your posts speak for themselves. But I wanted to say that I love your books. I love the story of the Stark family. I am looking forward to the next chapter of that family, and I trust that you are not releasing a book that does not meet your standards. You're going to deliver these books at some point, and while I froth and relish their deliverence, please, for those of us who love the books, take your time and make them as great as the previous chapters. Thanks.
ronin_lethe
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:38 am (UTC)
am i rotten for my gratitude; that it gives me the time i need to finish re-reading the first four?

i'll be rotten, then, and give you my honesty.

when i met you, years ago (i do not expect you would remember) someone asked you what would happen to the story if something should happen to you before you finished.
you replied with "will i guess you are all screwed" (or something to that effect).

my sister and i had never laughed so hard. in that moment you were no longer deity but simply human, honest, real. we have never forgotten it.

so thank you for that. and for all you have done, and all you have given, and all that you are.

please believe it does not go un-noticed, not for one second.
whatamiatailor
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:38 am (UTC)
We’re waiting anxiously, excitedly, patiently. If Dance takes 10 years I’ll still be there the day it’s released, eager to buy and hungry to devour it. The idea of writing a story so massive is staggering; no one should fault you for writing through your estimates. You'll be finished when you’re finished and I’m confident it will only be when the story lives up to your own high standards. Having seen the results those high standards in the works they’ve produced so far, I’m happy to wait. (Thanks for the update.)
auricandrax
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:39 am (UTC)
Keep on writing
Dear Mr.Martin,
As a fan of your work, I have to say, I enjoy your writing. In my 30+ years on this earth, I have read many books, and I came by A Song of Ice and Fire purely on chance. At the time, I was reading alot of horror, mainly Stephen King, and Richard Laymon, and what not. But I was getting tired of the genre, and wanted something different. So I went into a book store, went to the fantasy section and grabbed the thickest book i could find, and what did i grab, A Game of Thrones, and right next to it, a Clash of Kings, so i snagged that one on top of it. I went home, started reading, and I was hooked, and the rest as they say is history.
While like alot of your fans, I am eager to see your next book. But I also have no problem with waiting, I rather would wait five, six, seven years between books if i knew the book will be well worth the wait, which i am sure that it is in this case. There are plenty of other books out there to read to keep me entertained until then. Besides, i can always pick up my copy of a Game of Thrones and visit all my favorite(and some not so favorite) characters. You are in my honest opinion one of the greatest writers out there. So take your time with writing A Dance with Dragons. I would rather see a well written book that was carefully written, than get one that wasnt, because it was rushed. I'll still be there to pick it up when it comes out.
BTW, for which I am sure you probably know, Stephen King went through the same thing with his Dark Tower Series, so you're not the only one.
One last thing, when ever i meet someone who enjoys fantasy, but hasnt heard, or read anything of yours, i give them a copy of a Game of Thrones. So far i have yet to hear any disappointments from those people. I call it Spreading the Word of Martin, and i will continue to do so.

Keep writing my friend.
SRM
narfboy
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:40 am (UTC)
Hang in there George!

As one of your biggest fans, I can't believe the amount of guff you are getting from your detractors!!! Their harsh words, I think are a symptom of our 'I want it now, I can get it now' world we seem to have come into.
And it's sad really, shows just how selfish and childish some can be.

I personally like learning more about you than just SoIF. I've enjoyed the miniatures and learning about your other endeavors.

Like so many of your supporters, I look forward to DWD no matter how long it takes. I love your work! Because you take your time, I know that I'm going to get a great read from first time through to the fifth. Your work will always be in my library and I will recommend your books at the drop of a hat (and I have!) You are a Master and art can not be rushed.

May the Muse sing for you always!

Summer will come again!
mishakle
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:41 am (UTC)
Try not to let all the whiners out there get to you. It may seem like your fan base is at your throat, but those are only the vocal, impatient, no-life, minorities. Yes, I can't wait for your new book. But I know I'll be just as pleased with it as I have been the with your past books. So I don't bother to be vocal. I just wait patiently and get on with my life. I just wanted to tell you that I will go buy (and enjoy)"A Dance With Dragons" the day it comes out, whether it is next November, or ten years from now. Happy writing!
erdedrache
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:41 am (UTC)
Not a friend, just a fan...
... but for my own part, I'd rather you take your time. If it making the book what you want it to be takes a bit longer than expected, I don't see this as a bad thing. It'll come out, and most of your fans really have no cause to be impatient. They'll get to read it eventually. Really, what's another six months? Or a year? That amount of time passes faster than anyone thinks.

You have plenty of fans who are patiently waiting, and who aren't in a rush. We know that it'll be done when it's done, and whining won't make it get done any faster.
american_knight
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:42 am (UTC)
Mr. Martin,

Personally, knowing this is art, I would rather you finish the book when you feel it is done. Not before. I honestly do not care how long it takes to come out. You COULD write something else and I would not care. It is art. You have to go where the muse takes you.

So please.

Take your time.

Finish it when you finish it.

When you do. I will read it. I will enjoy it. I will smile.

I can wait.

We all can.
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