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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

( 627 comments )
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bakeme
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:42 am (UTC)
i, too, am a writer. worse, i'm an unpublished writer.

don't be depressed. as for all those assholes out there spewing vitriol all over your attempts to make them happy: fuck 'em.

repeat: fuck 'em.

don't release it until it's done. because i don't want to read it until it's done.
goodtimenation
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:46 am (UTC)
It discourages me a lot to know that your fans are giving you such grief over this. I am waiting just as much as they are, but I understand where you're coming from. I am an artist myself, and I know the kind of time and effort it takes to make something what it needs to be. It seriously disgusts me that they would rather berate you over and over again for "missing deadlines" and clearly rather have an unfinished book, than just wait and have the story as it is meant to be told.

Cheer up. :) Not all of us are assholes.
zwemgek
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:46 am (UTC)
Thank you!
You don't know me from Adam (Eve?), but I still wanted to say thanks for what you've written. Your books are some of my favorites of all time. I'd much rather have a long-delayed, outstanding piece of work than an on-time, lousy piece of work. If it's good, it's worth waiting for!
baalin
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:48 am (UTC)
I grew up use to John Carmack's and Blizzard's software engineering process of "it's done when it's done" and both of them have turned out some very good video games. You seem to take writing a book the same way and have turned out some very good books that I cannot read in a normal day (ie if I sleep I cannot finish them in a day).
I am just hoping and praying that you are not hit by a bus or anything like that before you finish the series. Though I hope nothing like that happens afterwards as well and that you will continue having ideas for books and stories after A Song of Ice and Fire (ie please do not get burned out).

So here's wishing you good health and safety!
(Deleted comment)
joecv103
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:49 am (UTC)
Don't worry about it. There's tons of other things people can be reading out there as they wait. I've been waiting with everyone else. I wonder how trivial these individuals day-to-day life must be to send angry e-mails about the publication of a book.

If it makes you feel better, you've written a tale that has driven people to the verge of madness with longing. I don't know if that is any sort of consolation though.
sistercrow
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:52 am (UTC)
Thanks
for all your hard work. And for posting that Ricky Nelson video of Garden Party - I haven't heard that in years! I'll bet they didn't give JRR Tolkien this kind of shit!

To love, strength, and pleasing yourself!

*Kathleen Reeves
princess_vernie
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:53 am (UTC)
I'm so sorry to read both of these posts (this and the one you posted after). I want to read DWD, too, but I think people forget that you are a person and not just a writer, and that the books don't write themselves, no matter how amazing they are. Of course you have your life and your hobbies, and everyone needs downtime. It's unfair and well, silly to expect you to do nothing but write the book. People have been rude, but I hope you know that not all nor even the majority of your fans feels that way. Your fans should be supporting you, rather than making you feel worse. Nothing in the caliber of your writing could be done quickly. DWD is going to be worth the wait, especially if you don't rush it. I wish you the best of luck on your goal of finishing by June, but if you don't, well you don't and that's ok.

PS: How 'bout cheering on the Saints this year? They NEED to WIN a Super Bowl! :-D

the_lost_collar
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:53 am (UTC)
It's awesome to hear something about the book, even that it is just coming along slowly!

It will be an awesome book whenever it comes out... happy to wait, also happy to have an update!
empressvv
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:56 am (UTC)
given the length and detail and breadth of your books, i think taking 10 years to write it would still have me sweating. don't worry about it!
nycfalcon
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:56 am (UTC)
You don't need for me to say it, but you know me. I am compelled to add my 2 cents.

I feel fortunate to you for entertaining me with what you have written so far. If you were to swear off writing forever a la Beverly Sills and singing, I would still feel fortunate having read your work. And, from time to time, re-read the old books.

Had I paid you an advance, then of course I'd want a refund. But, I haven't.

So, thanks for the hours and hours of wonderful story telling.
dgsiii
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:56 am (UTC)
Don't be depressed. You should take a vacation. You just delivered a book, there is no football for a few months and your fans can wait a little longer. Besides, a change of pace might be just what you need. Get lost on a beach somewhere. We'll be here when you get back!
leftclaw94
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:00 am (UTC)
Don't worry about us. Worry about your own creative process. Everyone is different. And it would be a tragedy for the Fantasy world if you were rushed and shared the same literary fate as J.K. Rowling.

But you are a much better writer and that will never happen.

We as readers have the utmost faith in you. And faith requires patience.
xanath
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:01 am (UTC)
I'm working on the edits for my own manuscript, Mr. Martin. The book should have been published 3 years ago; I'm grateful my editor understands "real life has fucked me over but good," or else I'd be sitting on a half-revised manuscript.

I'll wait as long as necessary for Dance. Considering I came to your books with a cynical eye, I'm just happy they continue to be a treat every time I read them.
dkountz81
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:03 am (UTC)
you rock. we love you (and your unsung assistant). I want the book when it's done. Not a moment before. And please do more than just take the occasional leak, if anything's going to kill you it'll be not having a life.
smckeown
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:03 am (UTC)
To add a reply against your detractors: for every person angry or upset enough to write an email, there are a hundred happy people who didn't think to tell you just how pleased they were because of you.

I say, screw those trolls, we'll take whatever you give us with a happy, happy smile on our faces. If they don't understand that there are other projects or other joys in life, perhaps we should just feel sad for them, knowing they have no joy in their lives, and thus they simply do not understand.

And a good portion of those happy hundred have stompy boots. If you feel like sharing emails...
pleroma
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:03 am (UTC)
George,

Personally, I'm just glad you are working on it! Take as much time as you need to make the book you want to. The book you'll be proud of. The book you want it to be.

That's all I have to say on the matter. I have faith it'll kick serious ass and be the emotional rollercoaster we enjoy from your work.

Hang in there.
bojojoti
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:07 am (UTC)
Too many dancers spoil the broth. Or something like that.

I'm looking forward to reading ADwD when it is completed. I do have a life outside of ASoIaF, and I'm glad you do, too. Art requires injection of life, so enjoy yours to the fullest.
darkknightcyril
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:08 am (UTC)
I can say with a certainty that there are a good number of us in Fargo, ND awaiting the book.

With that said, take your time. I'd rather have to wait a few more months and have a book that you are happy with then a book you don't want to hear about anymore (despite how things are going right now, *chuckle*).

-Ben
idemandjustice
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:10 am (UTC)
I'd rather wait and have it be worth it then have you rush and slap together a shitty book.

I look forward to your book. But the wait has forced me to try new things and discover other new (to me) authors that I also find myself enjoying. So, I don't mind. I will be pre-ordering ADWD as soon as it's a possibility, of course. Keep up the good work, and try not to let us all drive you crazy.
esc_key
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:11 am (UTC)
Sorry people are getting on you, man. Art isn't like other jobs, where if you just put in the time, it'll get done. So if it's not done, it's not done. I wonder how those folks would like it if I showed up at their job and told them they ought to never go home at night or take a vacation or watch TV--ONLY WORK--and see how they like it.
pen_grunt
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:11 am (UTC)
I feel absolutely compelled to comment in support.

You're giving people the gift of your imagination, written down in exquisite form. It is a privilege to read, not a right. It is a beautiful series and one that I have greatly enjoyed (moreso than anything I've read in a while)--so thank you for it so far.

And, in my experience, creativity does not blossom amongst continual criticism. The internet makes it much easier to criticize behind the veil of anonymity--and it's a cowardly thing to do.

Best wishes and positive vibes. And, again, thank you for the great story that you've already given.
teaa
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:12 am (UTC)
I am really appalled that people think it's okay to beat up the artists they love. As if somehow producing an amazing product for the fans, now means they own you.

I love the Song of Ice and Fire series. I'm excited for more. But even if there never were any more, because you got involved with something else that held your passion, I would still have gotten to read some amazing books. Books that I will undoubtedly read countless times again.

Thank you for bringing me such incredible entertainment, and for giving us fans this journal. It's so personal, and I really appreciate the intimacy.
artistflop
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:14 am (UTC)
I hadn't started following your Not-a-Blog yet when you posted your last official Dance With Dragons update, so I do appreciate this enormously. Also, I hope you'll keep posting whatever you like here, it reassures us that you're still out there and still writing (unlike some other authors I've loved who seem to have dropped off the face of the earth with series unfinished....)
Take care.
tallanvor
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:15 am (UTC)
I'll be ready to buy it when it comes out (or, possibly, to have friends or relatives ship me a copy since I don't know when it will make it to Norway). Ignore the people who are harping about it - the majority of your readers have a life, and while we'd love to see the book sooner rather than later, our lives don't end just because you didn't finish when you thought you would.

Besides, if I can survive the untimely passing of Robert Jordan, and having his series finished by another author, I can survive waiting for Dances.
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