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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

( 612 comments )
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gryphonlsb
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:21 am (UTC)
I have total faith in you
I love these stories, even though or maybe because I cant all the characters to be alive by the next chapter. Keeps me aware

I cant wait for the next book but will be happy when its done to your satisfaction

Be well
tal125
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:25 am (UTC)
Mr. Martin -
It will be done when it is done. I await with eager patience to read the next installment. In the meantime ignore the detractors (they're not really who you're writing for anyway) and do what you need to do to be happy with the work.

-T
shieldhaven
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:25 am (UTC)
I am another grateful fan. If I had a quarter of your skill, I would be very, very happy in my own life as a writer. When the book is done, I'll be thrilled to read it. Just remember that for every lousy jerk with a bad attitude, there is a multitude of fans who are too shy to say much and don't want to disturb you, but think you're pretty much the best thing ever. So - thanks.
tonys_mac
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:26 am (UTC)
whew.....
honestly, GRRM, that's all I've been waiting for (besides the book) - an update. Don't care if you take a step forward, two steps back - just keep on keeping on with some tidbits o' info, ya know? It means you care as much as your rabid fans (yes count me among those) and that DwD is among your work priorities.
dustwing
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:26 am (UTC)
Patiently waiting :) dont let all the trolls get to you- and hey if being a writer is anything like being an illustrator, all those trips and relaxing watching your sport of choice got funneled right into your muse and filtered out into the fingers.
geordie2
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:26 am (UTC)
Take all the time you need
George, it's your damned book and in my opinion, you can do whatever the hell you want with it, including abandoning the whole series if you want to. Really! I love the books, I'd be devastated not to have any more to read - but I would not DREAM of telling any artist (and you are one) how or when or on what schedule to produce their art. I write myself, although academic stuff, not fiction, and I have a dim idea of what it must be like for you, trying your best to produce a GOOD book, not just a timely one. I'd rather wait a while longer to have a good one, so this is one fan who's got your back. All these critics - just back the hell off, the man is trying to live his life, not just write for YOU!
dark_majesty
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:26 am (UTC)
Mr. Martin, allow me to say that I, for one, am willing to wait however long it takes you to finish the book I will wait. I have never rushed you (even in my head) nor would I ever yell at an author to finish a story in progress. In all honesty, a story is something that can only reach it's true conclusion is by the author completing it in his own way. I would rather wait longer for the novel to see it be something great than to just be something, you know?

When I picked up A Game of Thrones, it was on a recommendation from a friend. I did so because I was looking to get immersed into a storyline, to lose myself in a world and truly enjoy a series for the first time in years. This series has done that for me in spades. Know that out here on Long Island, NY there is a whole group of people who wish you well and wait patiently for you (and you alone) to tell us it's done. We're behind you all the way. So take your time, enjoy your football, and spend time with Parris. We'll be here when the time is right.
newsbean
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:28 am (UTC)
I'm terribly happy that you have a life. That you have passions and things that make you happy. I can't imagine that being locked in a room with a computer would be conducive to writing such wonderful books. Paramount to writing about life is living life. And so, the posts that make me happy are you talking about football and travel and other things that you care about.

Continue living and being a person. The books will get done when they are done. Until then, your rabid fans will find other things to read. And hopefully they will learn patience. A useful skill.
olathewildcat
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:32 am (UTC)
It's your book, I am only a reader
As such, make it the way you want it. If you are not happy with the book then chances are we won't be either. Take the time to get it to be what you want it to be.
trillian4210
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:32 am (UTC)
This is in reply to your latest post too, and that is those who are rude, snarky, and disrespectful to you for the delay are, in a word, morons. It's as though they have separated the work from the creator; how can they adore and clamor (and bitch and whine) over something and then treat the person who is providing it to them so rudely?

I'm as eager as the next person, but for god's sake, people, have some respect.

And no, I don't want to hear any "he should respect us" bullshit. Get over your overblown sense of entitlement and be patient. Like the rest of the adults. /rant

Good luck, GRRM, and absolutely don't listen to anyone who says watching football is a waste of time! :)

Edited at 2009-02-20 04:32 am (UTC)
1eyedman
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:32 am (UTC)
Inspiration rather than pressure
Id rather you work on the story i love inspired rather than pressured and burdened, PLEASE take your time, and try to enjoy the process :) Im grateful for what you have graciously shared with me, I think it is a real asshole who'll take what is offered them (not owed)and then bitch for more. Anyway gl, you still have compassionate fans.
commissarred
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:34 am (UTC)
I would rather you take forever and the book be amazing than for you to push something out that you yourself weren't happy with. In any case, this gives people another change to read the other books, again, or explore some of your other work.
kiddofsteel
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:35 am (UTC)
Dance with Dragons
This is in response to your nest post. I don't leave comments here, because I think that usually your posts speak for themselves. But I wanted to say that I love your books. I love the story of the Stark family. I am looking forward to the next chapter of that family, and I trust that you are not releasing a book that does not meet your standards. You're going to deliver these books at some point, and while I froth and relish their deliverence, please, for those of us who love the books, take your time and make them as great as the previous chapters. Thanks.
ronin_lethe
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:38 am (UTC)
am i rotten for my gratitude; that it gives me the time i need to finish re-reading the first four?

i'll be rotten, then, and give you my honesty.

when i met you, years ago (i do not expect you would remember) someone asked you what would happen to the story if something should happen to you before you finished.
you replied with "will i guess you are all screwed" (or something to that effect).

my sister and i had never laughed so hard. in that moment you were no longer deity but simply human, honest, real. we have never forgotten it.

so thank you for that. and for all you have done, and all you have given, and all that you are.

please believe it does not go un-noticed, not for one second.
whatamiatailor
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:38 am (UTC)
We’re waiting anxiously, excitedly, patiently. If Dance takes 10 years I’ll still be there the day it’s released, eager to buy and hungry to devour it. The idea of writing a story so massive is staggering; no one should fault you for writing through your estimates. You'll be finished when you’re finished and I’m confident it will only be when the story lives up to your own high standards. Having seen the results those high standards in the works they’ve produced so far, I’m happy to wait. (Thanks for the update.)
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