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Monkeys on My Back

This is for those who complain I never blog about my work. (I do, but not often. I prefer to announce when something is finally done, rather just endless reiterations of "I am working on X, I am working on Z," and I am never going to be one of those "I wrote three pages today" writers. Sorry, that's not how I roll).

One little monkey off my back:

THE LANDS OF ICE AND FIRE -- also known as "the map book" -- is now DONE AND DELIVERED, and scheduled for publication at year's end.

Monkeys remaining on my back? Lots o' them:

THE WINDS OF WINTER. Also known as "Son of Kong." Working on it. Lots to do.

THE WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE. The concordance. Elio and Linda are my partners on this one, a compendium of the history and legends of the world of Westeros. A coffee table book, lots of gorgeous art from such talents as Ted Nasmith, Justin Sweet, and others. Making good progress on this one of late, lots of great historical stuff that I think my readers will enjoy. Never before revealed details of Aegon's Conquest, the War With the Faith, The Dance of the Dragons, the Paramours of Aegon the Unworthy, etc.

Poul Anderson story. An original short story for the Poul Anderson tribute anthology. Way, way overdue, but I am getting to it.

Dunk & Egg #4, An original novella of Dunk & Egg. Working on it. Hope to have it done by worldcon. It's scheduled to be published in

DANGEROUS WOMEN. A huge crossgenre anthology that Gardner Dozois and I are doing for Tor. Largely complete, except for Dunk & Egg. Well, we're waiting for three rewrites, but my own story will likely be the last one in, then we can move this one to "done and delivered."

LOWBALL. Volume twenty-two in the Wild Cards series. Working on that one with Melinda Snodgrass, my co-editor. Late, but almost done, a few last sections remain to be completed.

OLD MARS. Original anthology for Bantam, coedited with Gardner Dozois. Three-quarters done, a few stories still due in, three or four rewrites in progress. Not due quite yet.

OLD VENUS. The sequel to Old Mars. Well back in the pipeline, not due for a year.

ROGUES. Big crossgenre anthology I am doing with Gardner Dozois. One story already in, several in progress, but there's lots of time on this one too.

So there we are...

No more monkeys, please. Don't write to me with any tempting offers or cool new projects. I am practicing saying No.

No, no, no, no, no. Sorry, can't, pass, no way, count me out, too busy, no, no, no, thanks but no thanks, no thanks, no thanks.

I love my monkeys, but I have enough.


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Jun. 27th, 2012 02:05 pm (UTC)
how much work is editing anthologies?
Do you do the same things that regular editors who work for publishing companies do when you edit anthologies? Out of curiosity, what attracts you to editing short stories? My understanding is that editing and writing are two very different skill sets. I have seen writers mention that in other blogs.

Anyway you can blog about how you divide up your work day? A few authors have done that. I think it is interesting. What they seem to say in common is I generally can write for a certain number of hours(and this varies), then the well runs dry and I just can't get anything else done. So I switch and do some editing. So do you work on writing in the morning and then switch over to editing, etc... in the afternoons? I find the creative process very interesting. I have a hunch a number of your fans would like this.

btw, I am listening to the audio of Dance with Dragons. The audio books are done very well.

oh and if any member of the Patriots (after the Jay Ballard incident) comes to your book signing, you should be like the Soup Nazi and go 'No Book for You!'
Jun. 27th, 2012 04:20 pm (UTC)
Re: how much work is editing anthologies?
Editing anthologies... well, there are many different sorts of anthologies, and some are more work than other.

Reprint anthologies are the easiest. Pick a theme, assemble some good stories that fit said theme, write an intro and some story notes, and there you are. Pretty easy. The exception here being the various BEST OF THE YEAR anthologies like the one my pal Gardner Dozois edits. If you're doing that right, you need to read ALL the SF and fantasy published that year. No thanks. (The easiest editing gig of all is the annual Nebula Awards anthology, FWIW.)

Original anthologies by-invitation-only are more work than reprint anthologies. You need to pick your authors, assemble your ToC, wait for the stories to come in... and some will not be as good as you had hoped, which means giving the writers editorial notes and waiting for the second draft. Plus story notes, intro, etc. Anthologies like WARRIORS and OLD MARS and the Vance book fit into this category.

Original anthologies open to general submission... meaning, you don't invite authors, you just announce the book and wait for submissions... include all that and a LOT more. Those are more like editing a magazine, and editing a magazine is a full time job. Suddenly instead of just reading and editing twenty stories, you have two hundred flooding in, many of them awful. Those need to be read, rejected, and returned. In the abstract, I like the idea of opening my anthologies to unknowns, new writers, and the like, but the reality is that I just don't have the time or energy to deal with that workload. Nor do much other anthologists, which is why the magazines like F&SF and ASIMOV'S remain the best place for new writers to make their bones.

Which leaves shared world anthologies, like WILD CARDS. Those are the toughest gig of all, in some ways. Well, they're invitation only, so you don't have to deal with a slush pile... on the other hand, you have to edit for continuity as well as quality, fitting all the stories together so the whole is more than the sum of its parts, eliminating contradictions and duplications, and that usually requires several rounds of rewrites.

All of these anthology types require writing proposals, dealing with contracts, bookkeeping, writing checks, keeping track of sales and royalties, distributing author's copies, and so on.

Fortunately, I do not have to do all of this alone. Gardner Dozois has been my partner on the theme anthologies I've been doing these past few years, and Melinda Snodgrass assists me with Wild Cards.

The money... well, there is money, but not much, especially on Wild Cards... these books are largely labors of love for me. Yes, I DO enjoy working with other writers, finding good work and making it better, and I like to think I'm a pretty good editor.

So I will likely continue to do anthologies in the future... just not so many. Right now I am dealing with the consequences of taking on too many of these puppies.
Jun. 27th, 2012 11:07 pm (UTC)
Re: how much work is editing anthologies?
Well, I'm sorry that you're not making much cash on Wild Cards, but I just started on Book 1 and am truly enjoying it, and thank you for making it a labor of love. The consistency of character depiction is fantastic (as are the social/historical context in which the characters swim). Hopefully, the next 21 books in print will keep me occupied until the next installment of ASoFaI is ready to ship! I consider myself lucky that I've never had to wait for the "next book" until now, having only recently (sorry) become aware of your work.
Cameron Paterson
Jun. 27th, 2012 03:19 pm (UTC)
Interesting post. Yes, I can see that endless "I wrote three pages today" posts would get tedious very quickly but occasional posts on progress with your various projects will always be welcomed, I'm sure, by readers like me, waiting patiently for the next instalment in X years time. Occasional work posts would arguably also leave the so-called 'GRRMblers' with less fuel for their hysteria - some do read an awful lot (far too much) into this blog.
But of course, we all roll the way we roll :)
And as for your comment above about your plans for the Dunk & Egg series, all I've got to say is: !

Edited at 2012-06-27 04:03 pm (UTC)
Jun. 28th, 2012 01:21 pm (UTC)
As much as I adore the Ice and Fire books, I know that Winds will be here when it's here and no sooner. I've come to grips with that, it helps the sanity.

However, now I'm dying for these new anthologies and the concordance book! George, your anthologies are always top notch; I think I've read Songs of Dying Earth 3 times itself, a record for me reading an anthology.
Kristina Crawford Allen
Jun. 28th, 2012 04:27 pm (UTC)
Didn't know there was so much you were working on to look forward to! I am very excited for all of these!
Artem Prusayev
Jun. 28th, 2012 11:52 pm (UTC)
IMPATIENT...but at least there is news :)
I have read and reread the Song of Ice and Fire books over and over again. I have watched the Game of Thrones series loyally too..and now I have two things I must patiently wait for. Sadly I seem to lack this patience. Mr.Martin does write truly great stories. I am still amazed by Fevre Dream, I loved the vampires he created "TO THE GODDAMNED FEVRE DREAM!" Indeed...keep up the good work and I pray to the Seven I get my greedy impatient hands on Winds of Winter soon. I can't wait to see what happened to my favorites(and least favorites). Keep writing and keep doing the side projects sir..but please don't take too long on Winds of Winter the ending of the last book..well I need answers and confirmations!
Thomas Medley
Jun. 30th, 2012 04:05 am (UTC)
Speaking of Dunk & Egg...
I know you have enough with all these projects, but why was 'The Mystery Knight' never published as a graphic novel? The adaptation for the first two Dunk & Egg novellas were just awesome. Ben Avery and Mike Miller made a GREAT job with those. IMO, the drawings are better than the ones in A Game of Thrones comic's adaptation. Anyway, do you plan having all of the Tales of Dunk & Egg adapted to comic? It'd be sad if you don't!
Jun. 30th, 2012 03:18 pm (UTC)
Re: Speaking of Dunk & Egg...
We're working on that.

Problem with the graphic novels was the publisher(s). Dunk & Egg have led a vagabond life where publishers were concerned. Only fitting for Hedge Knights, I suppose, but they'd like a permanent home...
Jul. 1st, 2012 05:03 pm (UTC)
Hey George, I'm just getting into Wild Cards now (reading it in order, so haven't read any of the new volumes), and I'm delighted to hear that there's still new Wild Cards work in progress. For what it's worth, I'm as excited for Lowball now as I am for the Winds of Winter. I hope the Wild Cards monkey sticks around for a long time. Would be sad to see him go.
Jul. 14th, 2012 07:16 am (UTC)
Wow its great news. I am eagerly waiting to grab a copy of “THE LANDS OF ICE AND FIRE.” I know even this is going to be a marvelous one.
Alex Macdonald
Jul. 15th, 2012 04:23 am (UTC)
I remember the first time I read your work. I was on the hunt for fantasy to fill the void of work, life and play and I came across A Game of Thrones.

That was it though, my library stocked no more and I had no money.

I then, some years later discovered a book that seemed to lead on from something I had memory of from years ago. It happened to be storm of swords. So I sorted it all out and purchased the full series.

I am now totally immersed and I'm loving Tyrion. If nothing else, if you somehow fail to finish this epic, please don't kill the imp. He amuses me.
Nick Brochez
Jul. 16th, 2012 10:20 pm (UTC)
I can hardly wait for "The Winds of Winter"!! I just finished "A Dance With Dragons",somewhat reluctantly because now I have NOTHING to read,but it was an extraordinary adventure nonetheless.I will continue to support "A Song of Ice and Fire" in any way I can. I can't wait until the second season in the HBO series finally comes out! Good luck with the writing!
Aug. 20th, 2012 04:32 am (UTC)
I think the World of Ice and Fire will make Winds of Winter easier to write...since you will be able to tie in references to history, mythology and culture. and will hence have more filler. which can help.
Aug. 20th, 2012 06:19 am (UTC)
The last thing I want in any of my books is "filler."

Of course, having invented all these stories, histories and myths and backgrounds and the like, the temptation is always to put it in. That's a temptation one needs to resist. Tolkien had the right idea, about this as about so much else: put such material in an appendix.

In some sense, WORLD OF ICE & FIRE is like a giant appendix. Lavishly and beautifully illustrated and sold separately, but still...
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George R.R. Martin
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