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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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slojae
Feb. 20th, 2009 11:14 am (UTC)
hey man
all this has done has given me time to get this super hot chick (who's into books) hooked on your crack (and that's what it is)

I love the series, and while you haven't passed out the next rock, i don't want it to be chalk... i want the 100% pure you've passed out for a while..

I came across your first book by accident... and it took so long for the second i forgot about it for two years...

i picked it up and went out and whoa... two AND three

if i told you that the only reason I'm still alive was to see the end you'd never finish without a guilty consious...
okay i'm not really planning on killing myself either...

but it did get at least two more people hooked on your drug... and yeh you have a life...

and so do the rest of us... those who dont want you to live it don't have one, they probably sit in thier basement playing WOW with some script that shows a pop up ech time your journals updted
nuchtchas
Feb. 20th, 2009 11:14 am (UTC)
I know this comment will be lost among the many comments but I feel I must say while I am jonsing like an addict for the next installment of A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE I don't want it to be anything but what the next book is supposed to be. Rushing it won't make the read good, stopping everything else in your life won't make the read good either. What made the rest of the series so good has everything to do with everything you have going on in your life. Your other projects, your traveling, your goofing off, things that we fans have no idea about, everything. It is what makes you who you are and helps the ideas of you the writer flow.

I'm a big fan and alight friend of another author, Horror novelist Scott Sigler, he too is a huge football fan, he claims the superbowl is a national holiday in his eyes. While his writing normally has nothing to do with football and I am not a fan of it I know that if he didn't watch it, talk about it and get as excited as he does about it as he does, his books would suck. They would lose the energy that he as a writer has, and I need that, as a reader I need that.

I need your passion for football, I need your passion for other projects I need your passion for everything that is important, because that is what makes the world of Westeros so freaking compelling to read.

I'm antsy for the next book, but I don't want it to come to me till it is done, and it is done right, only you will know when that is.

(Just like, I don't want to push an airline to fly if they think my flight should be delayed, I would rather land safly then not land well)
kyaraelf
Feb. 20th, 2009 11:21 am (UTC)
Thank you.

I remain waiting patiently.
doctorphilgood
Feb. 20th, 2009 11:50 am (UTC)
No NFL blog for the last few days... this is an outrage, an atrocity!

Dont let the haters get you down George. Santa Claus is fat and 60 something and he's doing alright for himself isnt he?! If I got comments like that I'd nearly scrap the whole Ice and Fire thing altogether... Here's hoping you don't though!!

Keep on truckin'
atlasimpure
Feb. 20th, 2009 12:01 pm (UTC)
"It's done when it's done."

I work for a gaming company that has risen to being the most popular developer in the world by virtue of sticking to that philosophy. It worked for them and it worked for all the great work you brought us before today, so why change it?
intothenite
Feb. 20th, 2009 12:05 pm (UTC)
I think it's unfortunate the lack of support you have been getting from your fan base. Your not a machine who can pump out novels on a routine and regular basis. You *gasp* have a life, other interests and then there's the actual writing of the book.

I'd be willing to wait for a very very long time for your next book. The quality of your writing, depth of your characters and the compelling twists and turns make it worth it :)

Ignore the hate and know there are others out there who are patiently waiting. Besides, in the meantime you can reread the series, or *cough* experience other authors' works!
alaynepiedra
Feb. 20th, 2009 12:13 pm (UTC)
Dont't worry and take your time!! If don't, it won't be what you want it to be and that's the most important point.
mmc12
Feb. 20th, 2009 12:20 pm (UTC)
All that I want, as a reader, is for the book to be what you want it to be. However long it takes, I'm fine with. (I will be dancing when I show up to pick up my copy.)

Thank you for talking with and listening to your readers, even if some need to learn to wait more politely.

My husband won't even start the series till he has all the books in hand. I have repeatedly told him he's crazy!
nekochan369
Feb. 20th, 2009 12:24 pm (UTC)
You are an amazing writer and I know that you will be done when you are done. I am looking forward to it, I cannot deny that, but I know that I have to be patient. It does give me a chance to reread the other books and see nuances that were missed the first couple of times around. Frankly, that makes me love the series more.
cygnusdk
Feb. 20th, 2009 12:46 pm (UTC)
Live, love, and be well...
We buy your books, not pieces of you. It may be argued that every artist instills a piece of himself in each work...and thereby we get a piece of you. But that piece is given, not owed, and certainly not bought.

So. You are human. Live your life and earn your bread. I want the next installment as much as anyone and more than most, but not at the cost of trying to turn another entity into a slave for my amusement. When the book is done, I'll be happy. Until then, be well and enjoy life, as we are all meant to do.

Thanks,
Kim
lannie
Feb. 20th, 2009 12:48 pm (UTC)
Just so you know, I've immensely enjoyed your other projects (most notably Wild Cards) as well. I am sad that my new ASOIAF fix is taking a long time, but I know how the writing process goes... sometimes there's just not any words to write with. Art can be a bitch that way.

And for fuck's sake, of course you're allowed to have a life outside of writing. It's your JOB for crying out loud! It must be immensely frustrating for you :(
mlnsdj
Feb. 20th, 2009 12:49 pm (UTC)
The one that brought you
To the assistant: I know this will probably be deleted, but it's not meant to be mean or negative. If you do delete, please at least pass on the sentiments to George.

Okay George. We get it. Well, maybe some of us don't. I won't apologize for those who are mean or spiteful, but neither will I be either of those. You've been very successful, and that's a good thing. You've earned the success. I think the biggest problem I have is not that it's taking a long time to finish Dance, but that it's not been worked on much. You've mentioned how difficult it is to put together the mosaic novels, and yet as difficult as that is you've put out three since the last "Ice and Fire" book, even though half of the next book was already written. I think Wildcards is cool. I liked Hunter's Run. I like Tuf, loved Dreamsongs, and think it's good for you to merchandise in areas you are interested in. I'm glad you travel and enjoy your success with others in your field at various cons etc... I just wonder what would happen if Dance was your primary focus every working day for just a few months. I really think most people just want you to work on it. We understand you're not fast, and that this complicated work takes time. It's just hard to celebrate so many other accomplishments when we're waiting on you to "Dance" with the one that brought you. Thanks for the update.
nwhyte
Feb. 20th, 2009 12:52 pm (UTC)
Best of luck. Looking forward very much to the book when it appears.
cuthulu
Feb. 20th, 2009 12:54 pm (UTC)
I haven't read the comments, so if someone has already said this, well...it bears repeating.

Take your time, personally, I'd rather have a masterpiece that took four years to complete then a hack work that took one. Also, I've always assumed you were in semi-retirement so I always thought you were just taking your time enjoying your golden years and what not.
zollo_the_fat
Feb. 20th, 2009 12:58 pm (UTC)
Just keep on trucking and try and ignore the moron horde. Good luck.
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