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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 03:23 am (UTC)
I have been a reader of this blog for years yet I have never left a message 'til now. This message is in response to the following blog you just posted.

Do whatever you need to do to finish these books - if stepping away from a project to watch a football game, paint a mini or follow a necessary and historical election gives you time to reflect or a much needed break from the books - go for it! Who cares? Do it! and don't feel guilty about it. You deserve it. There is no time-line. Of course we all want the book(s) but we want them to be as good as they can be, and we need to have faith in your process. We are a very immediate society and sometimes we need to just chill the f*%k out.

After posting a few monologues online of your material - I get about 10 messages a week on my professional website telling me how 'shit' I am. And I'm sure I only get about 1/1000th the abuse you get online. I just hope you know that we are all rooting for you, eagerly awaiting the release of the next book and deeply love the monster you have created.

Thank you for these books that bring out the crazy in all of us
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:24 am (UTC)
Doesn't matter to me how long it takes. You wrote the thing in the first place, you should take as long as you like. Good writing can't be rushed. I'll just reread them until you finish!

And I enjoy the blog. Even if I don't watch football.
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:26 am (UTC)
Thank you for the update.

I say do what you need to do to stay happy. Don't let writing become just a job for you. I wouldn't ever want to think of you as some guy who dreads going to his keyboard and beats himself up trying to write those next 5000 words. Characters speak when they want to, and sometimes we need to do other things to distract us so we can hear them more clearly. As much as I'm desperate for this book, I'd rather see it delayed and know it's something you're proud of, than get it on the shelves as soon as possible and find out it was rushed and isn't at all what your vision was.
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:27 am (UTC)
Sir, for my part I'd rather you'd do it well then fast. There's enough to keep me occupied until then. Break a leg.
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:29 am (UTC)
may get deleted, may not. who knows
Do what you need to, relax, watch a golf game and post about it just to tick off those who will get ticked off over it, what ever you need to. People sometimes forget that there are other authors out there who are just as brilliant as you *I'll flog myself later for that *8^)* and need their works read. You only need to do three things; work hard, play hard, and relax hard.

On another note, That cover is absolute TITS.
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:30 am (UTC)
I've seen the comments pop up on completely unrelated posts berating you for not adhering to some demanding jerk's idea of when you should generate your art. I don't reply to them because I notice you delete them and I don't want to start or perpetuate drama, but their gall shocks me every time. You are giving us a previous gift with every book, and having the unmitigated nerve to scold you smacks of a spoiled child who demands a present of every adult visitor and pouts and throws a tantrum when denied. I hope you won't let these brats sour you on writing; due to industry issues Barry Hughart gave up writing and that's one of the biggest crimes in history. I'd be sad forever if you did, too.

My art is comedy, and I can't imagine sticking to a schedule. The muse visits when she's ready.
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:30 am (UTC)
Oh Mr. Martin!
Please don't let the bastards get you down! I am so grateful for the short stories and the books you have written already, and the money I have paid for those books doesn't begin to cover how much fun and joy you have provided. I know I sound all mushy and suck-uppy but I really mean what I say. You don't owe this reader anything. And if you never write another book because you don't want to, I will still be happy with all you have done.

There are so many readers of your work out here in the world, too shy to come up to you at cons and not given to bothering writers. Just quiet, grateful readers. For ever doofus who insults you there are a dozen like me who would be very happy to get another book from you but wouldn't think of bugging you about it.

I have noticed that, in SFF fandom, there are some messed up people who can't see anyone or anything beyond their own agenda. And they tend to push their way up front. But I promise you there are others of us who simply want you to be happy.

Here's hoping the Jets and the Giants do well in the NFL draft this year. I will root for them except when they play the Seahawks. ;-)

Feb. 20th, 2009 03:31 am (UTC)
Art cannot be rushed or created on an assembly line, and the experiences gained while away from the keyboard contribute to its richness. Do what ya gotta do. Feed the muse.
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:33 am (UTC)
Mr. George R R Martin, you are the awesomest dude and don't let the internets get you down. You are doing something that basically no one has the ability, inclination, or willpower to get done and for that you should be paraded down the streets! Also you should assume that the great majority of your fans are patient folks and wishing you the best that inspiration can offer, and are not bothering you so that you can focus and craft magnificent stories like you always do.

So best of luck! I hope everything gets better :D
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:38 am (UTC)
Hi George,

I'm sorry to hear about your detractors. If the Internet is good for one thing, it's to allow small-minded people to say cruel things in public. Sadly, there are too many people out there who only live to criticize. But please know that for every one of them, there are thousand(s) of others out here waiting quietly (and mostly patiently!) for "Dance" to come out.

Please, take your time and do it well.

Feb. 20th, 2009 03:40 am (UTC)
I just wanted to say, thanks for your work. As someone who's been anxiously awaiting the next installment since I picked up Game of Thrones in hardcovoer, yes, it can be frustrating to wait. But, I'd rather wait for a good book than get a mediocre book too soon.
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:41 am (UTC)
I'm still patiently waiting for the conclusion of a trilogy in which the second book was written in 1997. Compared to that, a few years between books is not a big deal, and in fact, gives me time to reread the preceding books.

As others have said, I'd rather wait a bit longer if the book isn't ready yet.
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:42 am (UTC)
FWIW, while I'm also a reader and very much looking forward to the book's release... I am a writer and understand quite well how pesky characters and plots can turn everything upside down and inside out. Add that to "real life" issues that have made it virtually impossible for me to write consistently the past two years...

I sympathize, and I hope that the book is less difficult.

It's sad to me that people are accusing you of lying about your situations. :(
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:42 am (UTC)
You're right!
*Sigh*....you are right. And I must say I apologize cuz I've had my moment of posting a "hurry up, man" comment among other positive comments. And that's not cool.

We are letting it get to us. You the man, George. Take your time- make it rock (as we know you can), and we'll wait for fall. Or later if need be.

Don't take any crap from us anymore. And thank you for this update.

Feb. 20th, 2009 03:43 am (UTC)
Your true fans love you George, and we appreciate everything you have given us. Ignore the haters.
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George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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