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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 03:59 am (UTC)
I don't usually comment on these types of blogs because I'm generally one in several hundred. But I can't help myself.

My heart goes out to you. Seriously. I would have gone into hermitude by now.
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:59 am (UTC)
Dear George, I'm quite happily getting my fix from your other work when the darn person in the bookclub returns your short story collection so that I can have my turn with it! GRRRRR!

You have my unending support. Just be glad you don't have daily deadlines like us peeps in newspaper publishing.

(who runs on coffee to see the light at the end of the tunnel)
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:03 am (UTC)
A patient reader
I just wanted to send a quick note to let you know that I will wait as long as necessary to read a quality book. I sincerely enjoy the series, and will take them as they come. Good luck keeping the tide at bay, enjoy football, life, and everything that comes with it.


Mike Mattner
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:08 am (UTC)
I think you're fabulous, and I really enjoy that you share yourself with us here on LJ. People seem to forget that writing is an art. Stories are things to be treasured and appreciated. One doesn't demand that an imagination crank things out like a trained monkey.

People have become too impatient, too demanding and too full of entitlement. I'd much rather wait longer and read a book that the author feels is exactly the story they want to tell than be given something sub-par that was delivered only to quiet the malcontent.
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:09 am (UTC)
I'm not interested in many of your other projects, but that doesn't mean they're not dynamite work. And the Dying Earth anthology makes me phenomenally happy. So forget the negative comments and keep on working on stuff that interests you. Nothing produces good prose like a passion for the subject.
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:13 am (UTC)
Kudos to you!
I look forward to the next book and have great patience for it. The people who are being so mean and callous do not deserve to read what you have written and will write.

Genius and art take time. I bet if you had rushed it they would complain how you should have spent more time on it. Those type of people will never be happy.

Good luck and I very much look forward to DWD, maybe my boyfriend and I can exchange them to each other as Christmas or anniversary presents this year. If not there is always next year. ^_^
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:14 am (UTC)
after reading
Dont listen to the naysayers. Just probably some punk adolecents whos parents never taught them the value of Patience. Sure I get frustrated...not being able to find books that even compare to ASoIF takes its toll after awhile, but SoS I would say was the best in the series and am I wrong in remembering that it took you the longest to write? Just take your time. I can wait. Besides if your as rabid a football fan as I am...nothing gets done between august and january. and then there is the draft, National signing day, free agency!!! football never ends. haha.

ANd the fact that people just want to read ASoIF, really people try martin's other works. They are excellent. Tuff is great and I really got into a couple of wild card short stories. SO stick in there and come up with the best quality work...nay EXPERIENCE that you possibly can.

THanks again for being my favorite author of all time keep it up
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:14 am (UTC)
You're writing one of the best works of fiction ever (no pressure :) ).

So it might take some time, and where you are right now (the middle) has got to be one of the hardest spots to work on because you need to keep track of everything that has been happening, as well as plotting the way to the end.

Keep your spirits up and enjoy your work whenever you can. And thank you.
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:15 am (UTC)
I don't understand people who annoy you about Dance with Dragons. I would rather that stop happening than you finishing the book quickly.
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:18 am (UTC)
You write some of the best fiction I have had the privilege to read. So it's a long time coming? I'd rather wait for you to finish a jewel of a novel than churn out crap bang-bang-bang.

And as someone whose brain does bad things that keep her from writing more often than she likes, I hear you on personal matters. Life is not exactly kind when we need it to be, eh?

Best of luck, good sir.
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:19 am (UTC)
Don't Let The Bastards Get You Down

You have provided with me with hours of enjoyment and merely for theprice of $11.95 (Canadian) per novel. I am sincerely gratefule for this.

To all George's detractors:

Until you have walked in this man's shoes, you do not know the pressures, stresses, personal issues, or any other burdens this man carries. He has provided us with hours of entertainment and he continues to labour over the series. I work in a job that requires deadlines are met, but sometimes there are circumstances that prevent that from happening. Life carries on for those that have to wait so deal with it.

It is very selfish of you to post negative comments. Obviously, your primary concern is to bully, hurt, and antagonize George so that you can try to feel better about the delay of the next book. We are fortunate that George attends conventions and engages with his fanbase as there are other authors who could care less about their readership.

I don't know anyone that has the desire to work 24/7 without any breaks. The guy has a right to partake of events like football games (which are not everyday), weddings, funerals, and the like. I would go bonkers if I didn't get any time away from work to spend with my wife and son or watch a movie. His work would suffer if he didn't take any time to himself.

As for insults: Does it feel good when someone insults you? No. It doesn't. It makes you and the offended feel bad. In fact, the more you insult George, the more bad he feels and I am sure his work suffers because of it. So stop whining, offer support or don't comment at all. If we want DoD to be the best damn book it can be, offer him infinite encouragement and support.
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:19 am (UTC)
I'll buy the book whether its published this year, or next or the year after that.

But, as a conservative, I have to point out that you've been exposed to a small taste of George Bush' life. Its claimed that he lied to get us into Iraq. Its far more likely, considering all our other elected leaders were on the same page, that he was *wrong* based on faulty intelligence.

I couldn't resist. And I agree, Bush was still a lousy president.
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:21 am (UTC)
Take your time.
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:21 am (UTC)
Screw what anyone says. Don't finish it until you think it is the best it can be. I for one am happy to wait. Moreover, I get a kick out of watching others grumble.
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:21 am (UTC)
Take all the time you need, George. I'm willing to wait--for Dance, Winds of Winter, and A Dream of Spring. I'd much rather see you take all the time you need to make them as great as you possibly can, than to have you rush out something of less quality because the fans want them now. You do good work. Stay strong.
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George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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