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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 06:00 am (UTC)
its all good
don't let 'em get you down
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:01 am (UTC)
Please, take your time, yo. It's going to be a masterpiece, and that kind of genius takes thought and time! Good luck! :)
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:01 am (UTC)
I'm sorry that people on the internet are asses. It's easy to say harsh things to people from the safety of relative anonymity, I highly doubt they'd say such things to your face.

It is hard to be patient when you're eagerly awaiting something, but creativity can't be rushed. If your critics truly understood they wouldn't begrudge you the activities and projects that keep your creative well full. They'll get a better story from it.

It may be better to ignore them than let them know they're getting to you. Internet jerks feed on that stuff, they're rarely sympathetic or empathetic. I wish you luck and a thick skin, I appreciate your posts, even if I personally don't understand the interest in football, but that's me. It's cool that you do it even with the internet piranhas out there.
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:01 am (UTC)
take your own time martin....i am with you....just dissapointed that there is no sansa in ADWD.........

Feb. 20th, 2009 06:03 am (UTC)
Mr. Martin, I must admit, I was introduced to the fantasy genre by my friend back in Charlotte, NC when I was 14 with Terry Goodkind's "Sword of Truth" series. I was quite sad when "Confessor" was released as the ending to that series and was wondering how I would be able to fill the void in my reading hobby. It just so happens that a co-worker of mine reads the same genre as I do and let me borrow "A Game of Thrones". I'll admit, I was skeptical about how you organized your chapters at first, but you create such a vivid world and develop your characters perfectly. I am addicted now and have even forgone sleep to read "just one more chapter" (which turns into 8). As to your detractors, say what Ser Gregor would say to them and tell them to kiss your arse, good books are worth waiting for.

Feb. 20th, 2009 06:05 am (UTC)
I'd personally like your usually quality as opposed to some cranked out drivel that some authors under pressure from fans put out *cough* potter *cough*

did I miss your Superbowl Post?
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:08 am (UTC)
I don't understand why so many people actually verbally attack you about ADWD, George. There's no way anyone could be more disappointed about your struggles with finishing it than you yourself, I'm sure. It also amazes me that people would be angry with you for following the NFL, or engaging in other hobbies that interest you. I guess they'd really only be happy if you were chained to your chair 24/7 and forced to do nothing but work on ADWD.

Me, I'll partake in any number of other things that interest me, and when ADWD is eventually released, I'll enjoy the continuation of my favorite series of books ever. Take your time, George, and make sure you put out the book YOU want to put out, however long it takes.
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:20 am (UTC)
I wanted to let you know that I made an account on here just so I could comment.

I've loved your books since I started reading them in my freshman year of high school. I've gotten many of my friends and family members to start reading them since then as well.

I don't care how long it takes, I'll wait for a quality product and then be first in line to get it when it's released.
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:27 am (UTC)
Take your tine, George! Whatever time it takes, better later and good then now and unfinished.

Greetings from Russia!
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:29 am (UTC)
What a thrill, just seeing the cover! It's so exciting to hear about - but nothing compared with the joy of what's already written. Thanks for the update, and I hope the knuckleheads don't get you down!

From time to time the subject of when it's going to come out comes up here in L.A. and I'm always the one that gets the call (as if I have some secret knowledge) - I always point out what a huge and intricate work you've created, and how each added layer adds to the complexity, and probably adds to the difficulty of getting back up to speed in "writing mode". All are sympathetic, most are patient, and universally, we are just grateful the work exists to be excited about.

We're watching a masterpiece unfold. Let the master work at his own pace!
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:32 am (UTC)
Write, man. All of the haters can go out...and get a life
My subject heading is slightly ironic: I check your updates about twice a week, and have every week since '07 - so how much of a life do I have? I also own a replica of Longclaw - a Christmas gift from my wife that actually scared the hell out of my inlaws and made my old college buddies call me in concern. Yeah, maybe I'm a little into the series.

Despite all of that, "quality" is what made your series so popular, and I am willing to wait for quality in order to advance that series. At times the waiting does sucks because I would love to reconnect with characters that I have followed since early college, but that is the price paid for genius and a great story.

All those who complain can find something else to do - like get a life. Keep writing, whatever you choose and at your own pace. I'll buy the book when it is ready.
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:33 am (UTC)
for god's sake, George
How much money have you made as a writer? How much adulation have you received for your work? You chose to become a public figure when you published your first work and you've stayed at it despite all of the pitfalls of being in the public eye.

Quit letting all these prepubescent whiners get to you and write the damned book. Or eat a couple of chili dogs and watch the game. Or go to Tokyo. Or whatever floats your boat. It's you life, and they matter not a whit unless you allow them to.

Just quit crying about how all mean all these little kids (and the adults who act like little kids) are and how they're all gonna regret it and miss you when you die!

There are plenty of us who know what it's like and while we wish you'd get the damned thing done, it's not like anything we say or do will help you get it worked out. And if you pay attention to all the cheeseheads, the only thing they're gonna do for you is give you yet another excuse to hide from it, and feel guilty about it, and wish it would go away. Suck it up and move on, George. ;)
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:35 am (UTC)
I, for one, would rather the book be well written, than quickly written. Take as long as you need.
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:39 am (UTC)
Dance of Dragons and Timing
Much happier for you to take the time you believe you need to complete the book the way you feel it it needs to be done. We have come this far on the journey together - we can wait. Why should anyone encourage you to go for second best?
Feb. 20th, 2009 06:39 am (UTC)
Thank YOU for your patience.

You probably don't have the time to read every single comment, but I hope this one joins all the supportive ones, and you feel just a tiny little bit more of good thoughts and support from all around you. October would be truly lovely. And if it's not, it will come out whenever it comes out. We'll wait.
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George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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