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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 05:16 am (UTC)
You know, I'm sure that these folks who are rabidly impatient don't remember when they were in High School and how long it took them to get an eight page research paper done. And I'm SURE they worked on it 24/7 until it was done -- I'm absolutely sure.
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:19 am (UTC)
I'm sorry that some people don't know when to keep their mouths shut. They can think whatever they want about your progress or leisure activities, but how is it even slightly productive to express these opinions to you?

-- a supportive and patient reader
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:20 am (UTC)
Dance With Dragons
Every word, every sentence, every paragraph is treasured by us, your noble (and not so noble) readers. We know how much time and energy goes into every word. Keep it up. I'll keep painting my visions of ASOIAF and re-reading all your books.
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:24 am (UTC)
As Shigeru Miyamoto once said, "a delayed game is eventually good, a bad game is bad forever." Can't force the process.
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:24 am (UTC)
Your work is a gift to us. If some people out there want to act like petulant children because they don't get their pressie RIGHT NOW...

Well, I have several creative suggestions for them.
Tell them to "Go forth, be fruitful, and multiply." But feel free to use more Anglo-saxon vocabulary.
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:25 am (UTC)
My husband is an aspiring writer. I'm very familiar with the act of creation with respect to writing. It's not like your normal job. It happens when it happens. So you get it done on your timetable, not anyone elses. Good things take time to create.
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:25 am (UTC)
As a writer, I understand entirely. I'd never want to publish something I thought was unfinished, and I'm glad you feel the same way. The effort is duly appreciated.

Deadlines are evil and sadistic.

Feb. 20th, 2009 05:28 am (UTC)
It makes me angry and frustrated to hear that people can be so, quite frankly, *abusive* to you over what you're working on. This isn't a 7" below the fold movie review. It's a NOVEL. I hate being pressured to finish my work. It almost makes me want to *not* write just to prove a point. :S

I hope you have at least *some* forums- whether online, at cons, whatever- where you feel like you're surrounded by people who really don't give a shit when you do or don't finish any given thing and are just happy to see that you're happy doing whatever it is you're up to that day. Through the distance of the internet it's so easy to overlook the humanity of artists and just demand demand demand, which is bullshit.

Sorry people are such jerks sometimes. But I guess if they weren't assholes on occasion we wouldn't be able to identify with and loathe your baddies as much as we do. Got to base 'em in some kind o' realism, right? *evil smirk*
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:32 am (UTC)
Wild Cards is great, and more is even better, so thanks!
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:33 am (UTC)
Good luck.
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:34 am (UTC)
I know that people jumping all over you for not being able to complete DWD yet can be extremely frustrating. I also know, from experience, that people do not express their anger and frustration in the most helpful of ways. This goes especially for so many people who seem to practice recreational outrage these days.

However, I also see the passion as a sign. Of course you're not doing this on purpose. It's simply silly of people to accuse you of this sort of thing. What I see, though it's difficult to hang on to this when you're bombarded by negativity, is that people are so wrapped up in the world you've created that they're clamoring for the next installment.

I've also been to the point of giving up on a project due to negativity being spewed in my direction. Hell, I HAVE given up on projects just for that reason, as the participation in said project just wasn't worth the aggravation it was causing me. I continue to hope that this won't be the same for you and I don't think it will because of your underlying passion to finish this tale. For people to say they're concerned about you "pulling a Robert Jordan" is just insensitive, juvenile, and out and out lame. As if he dragged things out to the point where he couldn't finish the last book on purpose.

I read your not-a-blog and don't respond a lot of the time because I like the Seahawks, but work football six days a week, so I don't even watch it on Sundays, and because I know that even when I get frustrated seeing other projects of yours coming out while DWD seems to languish, I know you want to get that sucker done and out just as badly, if not more, than I want to read it. So, George, I wish you much luck with the new timetable and hopefully the muses will favor us all this time. If not, we'll still wait and be thankful when the next installment arrives in our greedy lil hands.
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:36 am (UTC)
Keep up the good work George and do what you have to do to stay healthy and productive.

I am in no rush to read "Dance with Dragons" and greatly enjoy your work no matter what form it takes be it writing, editing and blogging.

If I get to see you in person again I would most like to talk about what life was like in Bayonne NJ the city my grandfather who raised me grew up in before World War I.
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:37 am (UTC)
Even if A Dance With Dragons never ever happened, I would still be delirious with the pleasure that the first four books provided me. Anyone who says that their personal happiness is dependent upon a work of fiction provided by another human being should probably find another source of happiness (and a life!). You are a genius, a human genius, and you are doing all you can. I thank you from the depths of my heart for all that you have already accomplished. You will never be another Robert Jordan - the quality of your work has not suffered due to such pressure. You do not owe anyone anything.

(this may be the first comment I have ever left for you, and it's either the rum or the human empathy that has given me the courage to speak my mind. namaste!)
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:49 am (UTC)
Hi Martin!
I'm not a regular commenter here, but have been following your not-a-blog for quite some time. But this time I think I should say something.

You have already given us four of the greatest novels ever. Honestly. I first read A Game of Thrones in Spring 2007, and have since re-read the whole series a couple of times. They are still as good as (and sometimes even better than) the first time I went maniacally page after page - night after night of late reading, weeks of drowsy mornings - but Westeros couldn't wait, I just had to know what happened next...

I suppose that is one of the reasons why so many people are so anxious about DANCE... we are all here dying to know more about Tyrion, Danny, Aria, John, and I can understand - and I know you also can - how some of the fans feel about it.

What some fans tend to forget - and this is a side effect of the great shield of impersonal electronic communication - is that at the other side of the screen there is a person, just like them, with a personal life, goals, hobbies, family and friends. People on the net tend to regress to their thirteens, and think all the world has to go around them. An unfortunate fact, but a fact nonetheless... just try and don't let yourself be affected by it.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is, take your time with DANCE and the following books in the ASOIAF series. Write whenever inspiration comes, and I'm sure the book(s) will come out with the same quality as the previous ones. Listen and learn from constructive criticism, of course, but ignore the tantrums thrown in by egoistic infantile people. As they say, don't feed the trolls and they'll go away.

I wish you luck, health and inspiration.
All the best,
(A Brazilian living in northern Japan - very, very close to The Wall)
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:52 pm (UTC)
Since '07?
I'm very glad you're now a fan. I've bought at least a dozen copies of "A Game of Thrones" and given them away in order to create new fans. That being said, your inability to understand the impatience by some fans stems from the fact that you've not been waiting long. Some of us started this in the mid-late 90's.

Since 2000's "Storm", there has been one half of one book published. Almost 9 years. Now, I'm not a "detractor". I'm neither mean nor pissed off. But I am ready for the next chapter, and I do understand the frustration of three mosaic novels being published since the last book. I want George to write the quality he wants and at his preferred pace, but I do want him to write "Dance". I think that's the issue.

I love George's work, and am so glad he's successful. I like Tuf, loved Dreamsongs, enjoyed Hunter's Run. I want to read Wildcards. But I love Westeros the most. It's where most of us found George. I want him to watch the G-Men, go to cons, and enjoy his money and fame. He deserves it. But I also want him to write consistently, and "Dance" with the one that brought him.
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:52 am (UTC)
off topic
it is off topic when i ask for the release date of TWOW?

i know some of us are ingrates,but,ey the show must go on!!
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:57 am (UTC)
Good vibes
SUPPORT!!! Thanks for everything, and here's to hoping all your monkeys behave. :)
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:59 am (UTC)
dear mr. martin,

i have never taken advantage of the opportunity to post comments here, although I have been reading your blog for some time now. I wanted to mention how much i enjoy the human-ness of it all, football blogs and writing updates alike. Updates on a Song of Ice and Fire brought me here, but your anecdotes, triumphs, and set backs, and the honesty with which you share them, have kept me reading. thank you, for every thing, and all my best. writing is a double edged career choice, and i think you balance well.

a sincere fan and friend (and fellow writer)
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:00 am (UTC)
its all good
don't let 'em get you down
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:01 am (UTC)
Please, take your time, yo. It's going to be a masterpiece, and that kind of genius takes thought and time! Good luck! :)
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:01 am (UTC)
I'm sorry that people on the internet are asses. It's easy to say harsh things to people from the safety of relative anonymity, I highly doubt they'd say such things to your face.

It is hard to be patient when you're eagerly awaiting something, but creativity can't be rushed. If your critics truly understood they wouldn't begrudge you the activities and projects that keep your creative well full. They'll get a better story from it.

It may be better to ignore them than let them know they're getting to you. Internet jerks feed on that stuff, they're rarely sympathetic or empathetic. I wish you luck and a thick skin, I appreciate your posts, even if I personally don't understand the interest in football, but that's me. It's cool that you do it even with the internet piranhas out there.
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:01 am (UTC)
take your own time martin....i am with you....just dissapointed that there is no sansa in ADWD.........

Feb. 20th, 2009 06:03 am (UTC)
Mr. Martin, I must admit, I was introduced to the fantasy genre by my friend back in Charlotte, NC when I was 14 with Terry Goodkind's "Sword of Truth" series. I was quite sad when "Confessor" was released as the ending to that series and was wondering how I would be able to fill the void in my reading hobby. It just so happens that a co-worker of mine reads the same genre as I do and let me borrow "A Game of Thrones". I'll admit, I was skeptical about how you organized your chapters at first, but you create such a vivid world and develop your characters perfectly. I am addicted now and have even forgone sleep to read "just one more chapter" (which turns into 8). As to your detractors, say what Ser Gregor would say to them and tell them to kiss your arse, good books are worth waiting for.

Feb. 20th, 2009 06:05 am (UTC)
I'd personally like your usually quality as opposed to some cranked out drivel that some authors under pressure from fans put out *cough* potter *cough*

did I miss your Superbowl Post?
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:08 am (UTC)
I don't understand why so many people actually verbally attack you about ADWD, George. There's no way anyone could be more disappointed about your struggles with finishing it than you yourself, I'm sure. It also amazes me that people would be angry with you for following the NFL, or engaging in other hobbies that interest you. I guess they'd really only be happy if you were chained to your chair 24/7 and forced to do nothing but work on ADWD.

Me, I'll partake in any number of other things that interest me, and when ADWD is eventually released, I'll enjoy the continuation of my favorite series of books ever. Take your time, George, and make sure you put out the book YOU want to put out, however long it takes.
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:20 am (UTC)
I wanted to let you know that I made an account on here just so I could comment.

I've loved your books since I started reading them in my freshman year of high school. I've gotten many of my friends and family members to start reading them since then as well.

I don't care how long it takes, I'll wait for a quality product and then be first in line to get it when it's released.
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George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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