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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 02:52 am (UTC)
Good luck... I like not knowing when it'll be ready, it will make it that much more exciting to hear because we weren't expecting it!
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:54 am (UTC)
Thanks for the update.

Best of luck on all of your literary adventures this year!
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:55 am (UTC)
I agree, ignore the haters. As jojo_kun said, I await ADwD with both anticipation and patience. Take the time and definitely keep working on all those other wonderful projects! I love both ASOIAF and Wild Cards, and also own one of the Dany resins and a ton of the AGOT CCG. Those people are nuts for saying those things are a waste of time. Pah!

Feb. 20th, 2009 02:56 am (UTC)
Just today I was looking at your site wishing for another update. I know you hate giving them, but I can't tell you how much I appreciate them. Having some direct statement from you telling me that Dance is still on your mind everyday makes the waiting (for me at least) so much easier.
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:56 am (UTC)
*hugs* Don't let the assholes get you down! You are one of my all-time favourite authors (up there with Umberto Eco and Tamora Pierce), and whenever this book happens, I will buy it and read it and love it and re-read it, just like all the others. Don't let a few vocal jerks ruin the what should be the enjoyable experience of creating something fun, rich and wonderful.
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:56 am (UTC)
It's amazing to me that people have reproached your recent projects; art doesn't come after a set number of hours at the keyboard, and I doubt a life of asceticism will force literary conflicts to resolve.

While I will be excited to read A Dance with Dragons when it's finished, I am also happy you haven't compromised to fit time constraints. I am happy that you are doing it your way, because that's how I like it :)
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:58 am (UTC)
You can't rush art. Some people just don't get that. I know it's frustrating, but my mother always impressed upon me the value of ignoring idiots. Wise woman, that one :-)

If you ever need to decompress, find a convention with a good Barfleet party. We'll set you up with a drink and some good company, and all will be right with the world. Be well!
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:58 am (UTC)
its you're book, to finish when you finish it. I will read it when's its done, until then there's plenty of other things to do.

the fact you have to defend yourself is a joke, but thank you for taking the time to update you're fans.
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:59 am (UTC)
Take as long as you need. When you say the book is done, I'll be ready to read it.
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:00 am (UTC)
Don't you realize you were put on this early ONLY TO PROVIDE ENTERTAINMENT FOR PEOPLE? How dare you live your life for yourself!


Ok, I can't even continue past that. Obviously any detractor who denigrates your other accomplishments, pastimes, or hobbies has a serious misunderstanding of life. Take your time, as much as you need; we will still be here, ready to do silly things like order the hardcover from amazon.co.uk since it's out two weeks sooner overseas.
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:00 am (UTC)
I for one don't want to read a book that you don't feel is finished, so take your time sir and I look forward to the day that DoD is in my hands.

Besides, I am reading Anathem right now... I'll need a break from 20lbs novels when I finish it up ;)
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:00 am (UTC)
If the delays result in a book that is as well written as the Crusader chapter from Inside Straight, it will have been well worth the wait.

So in the words of my generation, "Stay up, playa."
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:00 am (UTC)
Good luck. :)

That gives me time to reread the books again ;)
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:00 am (UTC)
I'm so sorry you've received so many demoralizing emails. I don't understand why anyone who values your writing would be so critical. Even if their affection for the Ice & Fire series doesn't transfer over to you in the slightest (which I find strange), you would think that at least they'd realize that, practically speaking, badgering you about how long DWD is taking to write is not going to improve matters and could quite possibly make them worse. After all, if anything is a waste of your time, it's reading hostile emails from excessively entitled jerks.

I'm glad you're not chained to your computer 24 hours a day. You're a human being, not a novel-writing robot. One who is entitled to a varied, full life, including multiple projects to work on, and a bit of travel now and then, if that's what you're into. This is to say nothing of the right to address (in privacy) all the challenges and crises and irritations that come with being a non-robot. And I figure having a varied life and personal challenges can only contribute to the quality of your writing during the times when you're working on DWD.

Perhaps more to the point: let he who is capable of writing a series as complex and engaging as Song of Ice & Fire cast the first stone. Except anyone who had worked as hard on a story as you have on this one never would.
Feb. 20th, 2009 03:01 am (UTC)
I think it was JD Salinger who described blasphemy as a low form of prayer. That's what your complainers are basically up to - after all as you note, they have no constructive way of contributing to the writing process of a person they've never met.

No one would be complaining if the books you've written were not extremely compelling. Take them for the (backhanded) compliments they are, and then forget about them. They're not meant for you in the end anyway, but rather for the Unknown.
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George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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