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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.


Feb. 20th, 2009 05:49 am (UTC)
Hi Martin!
I'm not a regular commenter here, but have been following your not-a-blog for quite some time. But this time I think I should say something.

You have already given us four of the greatest novels ever. Honestly. I first read A Game of Thrones in Spring 2007, and have since re-read the whole series a couple of times. They are still as good as (and sometimes even better than) the first time I went maniacally page after page - night after night of late reading, weeks of drowsy mornings - but Westeros couldn't wait, I just had to know what happened next...

I suppose that is one of the reasons why so many people are so anxious about DANCE... we are all here dying to know more about Tyrion, Danny, Aria, John, and I can understand - and I know you also can - how some of the fans feel about it.

What some fans tend to forget - and this is a side effect of the great shield of impersonal electronic communication - is that at the other side of the screen there is a person, just like them, with a personal life, goals, hobbies, family and friends. People on the net tend to regress to their thirteens, and think all the world has to go around them. An unfortunate fact, but a fact nonetheless... just try and don't let yourself be affected by it.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is, take your time with DANCE and the following books in the ASOIAF series. Write whenever inspiration comes, and I'm sure the book(s) will come out with the same quality as the previous ones. Listen and learn from constructive criticism, of course, but ignore the tantrums thrown in by egoistic infantile people. As they say, don't feed the trolls and they'll go away.

I wish you luck, health and inspiration.
All the best,
(A Brazilian living in northern Japan - very, very close to The Wall)
Feb. 20th, 2009 02:52 pm (UTC)
Since '07?
I'm very glad you're now a fan. I've bought at least a dozen copies of "A Game of Thrones" and given them away in order to create new fans. That being said, your inability to understand the impatience by some fans stems from the fact that you've not been waiting long. Some of us started this in the mid-late 90's.

Since 2000's "Storm", there has been one half of one book published. Almost 9 years. Now, I'm not a "detractor". I'm neither mean nor pissed off. But I am ready for the next chapter, and I do understand the frustration of three mosaic novels being published since the last book. I want George to write the quality he wants and at his preferred pace, but I do want him to write "Dance". I think that's the issue.

I love George's work, and am so glad he's successful. I like Tuf, loved Dreamsongs, enjoyed Hunter's Run. I want to read Wildcards. But I love Westeros the most. It's where most of us found George. I want him to watch the G-Men, go to cons, and enjoy his money and fame. He deserves it. But I also want him to write consistently, and "Dance" with the one that brought him.


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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