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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.

Comments

pigeonoverlord
Feb. 20th, 2009 05:40 pm (UTC)
In response to your other entry because you don't allow comments there:

I don't care what you do with your free time. I agree with you; you have a life and you have other demands on your time. My problem comes from the fact that it seems like you are doing everything EXCEPT for writing Dance. The fact that you update about everything EXCEPT for Dance leads me to believe that you have no news because you've done no work. I'm not asking for a minute by minute report, but it would be great if you took a few seconds to let us know that you're still plugging away at it.

I want you to take your time. I want Dance to be a fantastic book. But I want to feel like one of my favorite authors cares enough about his readers to acknowledge our concerns (namely that very little work is being done). Why do you think we're frustrated? All you have to do is say 'hey, I finished a chapter today'. I think if you did that you'd find a lot of the angry would dissipate; I know mine would.

This is a suggestion that you've heard many times before I'm sure, but I ask you to take it to heart. I'm not saying tell us that book will be done tomorrow. I'm not asking for the day when I will be reading it. I'm asking you to let us know that we haven't misplaced our faith and that the man who writes such wonderful books is actually writing something.

Another problem is your refusal to allow anyone to question you. Why must you delete the comment of a frustrated reader? That makes me feel like you haven't written anything and are ashamed of it.

I won't pretend that I know what you do with your time (other than what you post here), but I wish that you'd give us a little more insight and a little more credit. We're the reason you have a job. We buy your books and your merchandise (although I now refuse to), why do you treat us this way?

That's my two cents on the matter.

Edited at 2009-02-20 05:43 pm (UTC)

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George R.R. Martin
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