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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

kawika
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.

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George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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