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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 03:38 pm (UTC)
It could always be worse
Before I start, I think I should add that I've posted on the blogs here maybe once or twice and emailed Martin about the same amount of times over the past 10 years or so.

The Website is georgerrmartin.com, not asongoficeandfire.com. That means, to me, it's about the author, not the series (though of course the site is largely devoted to the series, as it should be).

Having said that, when I surf to the site, I do so to find out the latest news on the Song's progress — whether it's calendars, games, miniatures, the HBO series and other things. Still, it's mostly to see how the next book's coming along. It's not that I have anything against the other works. I'm sure they're great, but going months without any word on the Song's progress can be frustrating. So, I can sympathize with some of the detractors — though they should keep the derogatory comments to themselves.

Personally, I don't see how Martin manages all the things that are going on. Seems like quite a headache. I think most of us have an idea of an author as someone who retreats into the mountains and stays in a log cabin — a virtual hermit who devotes ALL his time and energy to his work and doesn't emerge until it's done. That's a nice thought, but unrealistic. Just imagine all the good food you'd be missing out on.

Gotta take the good with the bad — that goes for all of us. One of the most ironic things I've found about writing is that a work that may take years for an author to create can take only a day for someone else to read. It takes me months to get through a book. I'm a very slow reader and don't mind taking my time enjoying the details...unless the details are entirely pointless and don't contribute to the work, but that's not been the case with Song for me.

I can't imagine what it must be like to have a popular series with legions of fans. I've got my own universe and story that's been developing over the past 25 years. But, frankly, the thought of sending any of the stories off to a publishing company scares the crap out of me. I'm never satisfied with what I've written. I don't know how it would affect me if the publisher/editor sent a story back to me with a red F on it (yeah, yeah, I know that's not how it works, but you get what I'm saying). And if it took off, I don't know how I'd handle people telling me what should happen and how I should write in MY universe. I guess you can call me selfish in that regard.

So, to the detractors — I sympathize with you, but get the f$#@ over it. It's not your damn story, and you should feel fortunate we even have such a fantastic series to read. And to Mr. Martin, take as much time to make the best damn novel you can, but please try and keep us updated with progress fairly regularly.

Good gawd, I'm long winded somtimes.

Peace to the brothas.


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

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