Please, no more bitching. . .

Here is an excerpt from George R. R. Martin's website:


I finally finished A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, but my dog ate the manuscript and there was no copy, so I'm starting over.

What, you don't believe me?

Okay, okay. We don't have a dog at present, and A DANCE WITH DRAGONS is not done.

I'm still writing. Certain storylines are going well. Others, not so much, but that's what rewriting is for, yes?

I have to admit, these updates aren't working the way I hoped they would. I started them in the hopes that they would help stem the flood of emails asking about the next book. They haven't. I get just as many emails, only now they're asking about the next update. Yes, I know I said I'd have an update in "early January," and January came and went and there was no update. I can read a calendar too. The reason there was no update...

Well, the book's not done. And we've had home renovations. And the book's not done. And there's been work on other projects, on comics and The World of Ice & Fire and the games and the new Wild Cards book, Inside Straight. And there was football, and cons to attend, and a signing tour, and the holidays, and did I mention those home renovations?

The truth is, these updates do make me feel like a twelve-year old trying to explain to teacher why he isn't turning in his essay, and knowing she isn't going to buy the "dog ate my homework" ruse any more than you guys do.

The only update that I want to write is the one that says, "A DANCE WITH DRAGONS is done." That's the one you want, and that's the one that I want to write... but when the book isn't done, having to come online and say so every few months becomes a stressful and unpleasant task. I really do appreciate the fact that so many people are so eager to read the next installment in A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE and I wish I could get it to you right now, but you guys read a lot faster than I can write.

When A DANCE WITH DRAGONS is finished, I will post that news here. The moment I finish the book, I will log on and make the announcement. If this message is still here, that means the book is not done yet. Until such time as I can trumpet that news, however, this page will remain the same.

The next update will be the one that announces that the DANCE is done.

—George R.R. Martin, February 15, 2007

Already, on various message boards, people are moaning and whining, claiming that Martin is no longer into it, that he has lost heart and wishes to pursue other writing endeavors instead of finishing the series, yada yada yada. What a load of crap!

The funny thing is that the people who are clamoring that A Dance with Dragons might not be published in 2007 are likely the exact same people who were bitching about the fact that A Feast for Crows was not everything it was meant to be. Cut the man some slack, will you! A Song of Ice and Fire will most probably be considered one of the very best fantasy series ever written when all is said and done -- perhaps the very best. Do you believe that writing new installments to such a series gets easier with time? No way!

I know that A Feast for Crows was postponed several times, and fans ended up waiting for 5 years to get their hands on it. Such is not the case at the moment. Work is still progressing, even though some storylines are more difficult to write than others. Can anyone fault Martin for accepting to publish nothing but his best effort? Not I.

So please stop complaining. There is still a good chance that A Dance with Dragons will see the light before the year is out. And if it's not 2007, then it will hit the stores worldwide next year. There are enough great novels out there to keep everyone satisfied till then!

21 commentaires:

Anonymous said...

Well, I think the big problem is not that he needs so much time, but that again and again he implys he is nearly finished...and then says he needs more time (and Martin is good enough an author to KNOW the effects of what he's writing in those posts)

I guess people would be much more tolerant, if he would simply admit he is stuck, has problems and needs another year. But the way Martin handles the situation it's no wonder that the fans feel put on...

SuperwebG said...

Well, one has to admit to some disappointment that 'A Dance With Dragons' will probably not be coming out this year, but I think you;re spot on. More important than getting the book sooner, is getting a better book. So if he needs more time, fine - in the end its the readers who will benefit.

Anonymous said...

My only worry here is that Martin fans (myself included) are starting to move into that weird apologetic level of fandom along the lines of "Crossroads of Twilight is not a 800-page intermission. It's setting up the end battle! Can't you people see that?"

Martin's having trouble finishing the book that was almost done two years ago (when he split Feast for publication). For whatever reason. Creating insane reasons for the delay is silly, but so is excusing every projected deadline as ok because we're interested in quality over everything.

I agree. I'd rather wait for a good book than a bad one. Duh. But let's not become teh Guardians of Martin who dare anyone to soil his name in the Light. ;)

Anonymous Because I Can

Anonymous said...

Amen Brother. I was a bookseller for close to 12 years & I had heard one more person bitch about the lateness of Martin's books, I probably would have slapped them. The books will be done when they're done. Not a moment sooner. Martin has more than proved his stories are worth waiting for. And damn the naysayers that are whining when he doesn't update & moaning even more when he does.

Anonymous said...

I'm insulted by your post. I fork out my hard earned cash purchasing said books, and certainly don't appreciate being told I can't even vent my frustrations at the continuing delays (and unlike yourself, Pat, I've been reading these books longer than 6 months and have shown immense patience, especially during the dark days of 'Feasts' delay).

Ignore, for the moment, that Martin ditched the '5 year gap' and look at his progress with AFfC. Each of the preceeding three novels took approx. 2 years to complete. 'Feast', even without the added year due to re-writes, took double that.

Frankly, I feel fans have every reason to bitch and moan. If Martin had had a firm vision for where he wanted the story to go, said re-writes would've never been necessary and we'd be eagerly awaiting the next book. But his cast continued to grow until HE could no longer keep track of what parts of the story NEEDED telling.

And now 'Dragons' is still incomplete despite claims it would be released before the end of LAST YEAR (and seriously, the claim that it was half-finished was either the biggest load of BS or Martin simply deluding himself).

I know that A Feast for Crows was postponed several times, and fans ended up waiting for 5 years to get their hands on it. Such is not the case at the moment.

It is EXACTLY the case at the moment. 'Dragons' was supposedly slated for release late '06. Now we're being told possibly not '07 at all. How is it any different?

Don't get me wrong, I love GRRM's work. I understand that as the series progresses later volumes will warrant more time for completion due to the intricacies of the many, many plots. But it's obvious to anyone with a brain that he let his series spiral out of his own control and that now he's doing all he can simply to retain hold of the pieces.

In conclusion, as a fan who suffered through the agonizing wait for 'Feast' (unlike, say, a particular blog owner who only started the series 6 months ago) I will continue to voice my displeasure at the seemingly endless delays.

Anonymous said...

Well, I think the major issue that seems to have cropped up is that the story going round for the delay of aFfC was that is was due to the 5 year gap and the upside being that he'd already written half of aDwD at the same time. He seems to be falling into the Jordan trap and introducing more and more side characters and giving then more and more air time over the main character (starks, lannisters, targyryens). Yes, his writing is still godd, but the host of unimportant characters will ead to greater tedium (required to tie up all threads), and ultimately lead to what's occuring now - more delays, re-writes, etc to fit everything in. I wonder how much of these new chacters are an indulgence resuilting from greater interaction with adoring fans, and the wish to provide "fan service" so to speak. It's an interesting topic to ponder - how the interaction with fans does affect the authors perspective/preparation for a novel. Obviously, like Jordan, GRRM would be quite chuffed with the level his fans interact and imerse themselves into his world. Giving them more information and exposing them to more of it becomes a greater requirement, simple to supply what the market (the fans) would demand. He has reached a celebrity status with the SFF community and boast an amazingly loyal and involved fan base. How far can an author afford to pander to this? I guess this brings us back somewhat to the comments of M John Harrison a few weeks back.

I know that writers write at different paces, but in the time GRRM has completed 1.5 books, SE has completed 6 (no including GotM). I believe it comes back to deviating from the original plan/framework to further explore the world of ice and fire. I'm very much a fan of his work, but I agree that he should just say that it'll be completed in a year due to changes in the plot and leave it at that. He puts unnecessary pressure by continually dangling these dates and "I'm almost finished" messages. Perhaps, like his stories, he likes to keep people hanging, but if you do it enough times, you get what he's experiencing now.

Race said...

Alrin, Dance was never slated for 2006 release. It would have to be.. you know finished first.

George will finish when he finishes. I'm sure he would like to be done with it. I can't imagine he gets a lot of satisfaction when his attempts to organize a pizza crawl with his fans devolves into a buncha wankers bitching at him and telling him to order dominos and get back to writing, because they own him dammit.

The man is having some difficulty finishing the book, it happens. He's not shoveling out mediocre crap just to get your $24.95.

Stormrider81 said...

I have two main problems here.

First is the fact that he spent 5 years writing, then rewriting what would be AFFC/ADWD. He finished AFFC and did a lot of work on ADWD. We were told he had a lot of ADWD done and it would only be a short time until it was published - 2007 was the expected timeframe. The problem is that was one of the lines used to ease the dropoff in quality (not surprising given it was split) of AFFC was that it was half the story and the other half would be forthcoming soon. Well, if it is indeed pushed back until 2008, then it will be around 2 and a half years from AFFC to ADWD. That isn't an issue with a sequel book, but for a concurrent book that is supposed to make AFFC more complete that is a very long time, especially since he had so much of it supposedly done when AFFC was sent in.

Secondly, as someone else stated, we keep hearing things from him saying he is almost done, how much he is getting done, and then find out later that he needs more time. We are seeing delays. We've seen these before from George, and it is disturbing. It makes people worry if he still has control of his story. We've seen what happens when the story takes over and I desperately don't want to see the finest series in fantasy suffer that fate. Most people just want to believe that George can still pump these suckers out and get the job done.

I'll also add this - George has a lot of apoligists all over the net. Take a rest folks. Whether it is people on the message boards saying crap like 'he is a fanboy, he likes conventions, he is opened to fans, yadda yadda yadda' or the bloggers saying 'it will be done when it will be done', it bugs me. Nobody is calling for George's head on a pike. Legitimate concerns are being voiced and answering those concerns are a list of excuses and apologies for George. The quality of the work he has put out doesn't put him above criticism.

Patrick said...

Don't get me wrong. Fans have every right to be frustrated and disappointed by the news that A DANCE WITH DRAGONS is not yet finished. It's the fact that they question the author's integrity, heart and work ethic that irks me.

No number 1 NYT bestselling writer is closer to his fans than GRRM. No one can deny this. He wasn't pleased the way A FEAST FOR CROWS turned out, and I'm persuaded that he understands why some fans weren't satisfied with the book. And if there's anyone who doesn't want history to repeat itself, it's GRRM.

Fans wanted a sourcebook, and now they'll get it. So why complain when GRRM works on it? Ran can't possibly do everything on his own. Fans wanted a movie or a tv series, and now it will happen. But these things don't spring out of thin air, and yes GRRM needed to be involved in the process. No other "high profile" author spends as much time attending cons to meet his readers than GRRM. And yet, others will whine because doing that keeps him from working on the next novel. Hearing some people complain, it seems that GRRM can't do anything right...

Alrin, you speak of hard-earned money and I'm with you 100%. So would you rather get another FEAST by the end of the year, or wait till next winter to potentially get another STORM?

I believe that Martin has a firm vision of where he's going with ASoIaF. Do you have any idea of the number of plotlines and loose ends the man must work with. And working with disparate POV characters the way he does only makes that endeavor more difficult and time-consuming. The middle volumes of a series are always more tricky, for the author must ascertain himself that everything is consistent with what has gone before, all the while making sure that he sets the table for what will come later. When you have as many marbles in the air as Martin, Jordan and Erikson do, working on subsequent volumes only gets harder. One should not fault Martin for wanting to get the job done as best he can.

Contrary to popular belief (amazon pub dates and such), there was NEVER an official release date for A DANCE WITH DRAGONS. Bantam Dell and Voyager weren't going to make the same error again. Any mention of anything even remotely close to a date was tentative at best. So in that respect, Martin is not "late." He's behind the time table he has set for himself, perhaps, but the book was never officially promised at a certain date.

I know how waiting can be a drag. I've been waiting for 16 years for Jordan to finish the WoT. And I've been waiting for Katherine Kurtz to complete the Deryni saga for longer than that.

If we're still debating this at the same time next year, then I'll say people have a right to wonder what is going on. As things stand, GRRM appears to be having problems with a few storylines, which shouldn't be a major roadblock. I don't understand why people are claiming that he's lost track of the story, that the series has grown beyond his control, etc.

In any event, if the series wasn't this deep and complex, would it be ASoIaF? No. GRRM is not writing a Forgotten Realms book, guys. Look at Jordan, Williams, Kay, Stephenson, etc, and the delay between each book is always about 2 years. So let's not get into "panic mode" just yet.

As I said at the beginning, I do understand the fans' disappointment. Yes, the wait is killing them. But there's no reason to doubt Martin's dedication to his craft and his resolve to complete this series. As I mentioned, if there's anyone out there who doesn't want the FEAST debacle to occur once again, it's George R. R. Martin.

Have a little faith...:-)

Stormrider81 said...

I'm not saying he has lost control of his story, I'm saying that they are concerns out there that it might be the case. The longer this thing goes without being published the more those concerns spread and gain ground.

Anonymous said...

Contrary to popular belief (amazon pub dates and such), there was NEVER an official release date for A DANCE WITH DRAGONS. Bantam Dell and Voyager weren't going to make the same error again. Any mention of anything even remotely close to a date was tentative at best. So in that respect, Martin is not "late." He's behind the time table he has set for himself, perhaps, but the book was never officially promised at a certain date.
As I said before, Martin is a good writer, he knows what effect certain wordings have since that is his job.
So if to most readers his posts convey the impression, that his book is nearly finished and that it is only a matter of 2 or 3 months until he sends the script to his publishers, then that is the case because he wants them to think that.
So basically he tells us, that it is only a matter of months without exactly saying so (meaning you cannot nail him down on it).
And since he does this again and again people feel let down and get annoyed.

If he would simply say, that he needs another year or two, I guess it would be okay with most people since we all would rather have a good book than another AFfC

Anonymous said...

Race, I wasn't simply sprouting make-believe gibberish. Word from the horse's mouth back in 2005 upon the release of AFfC was that he hoped to have 'Dragons' finished for a late '06 release. I understand he never explicitly said "it WILL be released in '06" but that was his plan.

Furthermore, I don't claim to "own" the man. I do, however, claim to have $200 and alot of time invested in his works. As a fan, I feel I have a right to vent my frustration at the continuing delays regarding his works. (Take note that I said frustration with the delays, not the quality of his work. And further note: If he'd never said himself he hoped for a 2006 release, I wouldn't be disappointed that it's '07 and we have no book. For that reason, I have to agree with those voicing their displeasure at his repeated claims of being "almost done".)

As I said previously, I understand that his series is truly a work of epic proportions. I also understand that as the series progresses each subsequent book will take longer to write as a result of the massive amount of characters and plot. I do understand and accept these things. But I also understand that if the man himself says he plans to be done by "this time" and continually fails to deliver, people are bound to be disappointed. And I see no reason why those people should have to bite thier tongues at the risk of offending Martin's overzealous fans.

And finally, people seem to feel umbrage at my claim that Martin lost his way. I don't see how anybody can think that's not the case? If he hadn't, why the re-writes on 'Feast'? Heck, why didn't the series end as a trilogy as originally envisioned? It's obvious the story grew to become a monster that George had never intended. It's simply the mark of his quality and capability as an author that he can retain the reins and continue to produce a quality story from the multitude of pieces.

Anonymous said...

As I stated over on ASOIAF board, Martin needs to stop being so accessible by the fandom. The only folks who deserve updates on his progress are his publisher, editors, and publicist.

Putting out blogs, updates, teaser chapters, only builds expectation that puts pressure on GRRM's shoulders to just 'get it done.' That's not how it should be.

It should get done, but should get done RIGHT. It seems GRRM is finally realizing he can't be accommodating to all e-mails, requests, etc. He needs to ignore the public e-mail address for a while.

Hopefully the Pizza Crawl will inspire him and fill him with enough fan adoration to last until the signing tour for ADWD.

Good luck, George. And everyone else... chill out and read some other authors for a while.

Race said...

As fans of course you have a right to be disapointed its not done yet.
Did George expect to have dance finished in 2006? I'm sure he did. I was there in Kansas City when he announced feast was finished. I expected that Dance would be done by now too. But I am not upset that its not. I've spent hundreds of dollars on ASOIAF merchandice as well, and Its all money well spent no matter when the next volume comes out.

Its not those people who are frustrated at the delays that bother me, its those who presume to tell George how he should live his life, that he owes them. That he should stop going to cons, and watching football, and collection toy soldiers. That he shoule be stuck in his office 14 hours a day writing. Frankly I understand it if finshing Dance as fast as humanly possible isnt his top priority in life, I just wish that more people did.

Anonymous said...

Hey misanthrope, are you also at dailykos? anyway, if so, hi from a fellow kossack.

I'd be less annoyed at Martin if it seemed like it were story issues and not other business ventures. maing money to spend it on renovations...

I don't fault him at all for making money, it's just a poor excuse.


Anonymous said...

I've waited almost three years between the time I finished STORM and FEAST was released. It was a long time, but I use it to read many other good books (discovering Cook and Erikson by the way).
And I'm not that disappointed to wait a few more before reading DRAGONS. In a way I feel as the more I wait the book the more I appreciate it when it's published. And I prefer far more to wait a year more and have a really good book rather than having it sooner but find it just an average one.
Yes, there's writers who publish faster. And some others not. And what the point ? Peoples are differents.
Some time I even thanks Martin to haven't yet finished with DRAGONS, having still a pile taller than myself of good books to read. :-)

Adam Whitehead said...

It's a tricky situation that George had landed himself in. If he says nothing, he gets criticised for not keeping the fans informed. If he says something, he gets moaned at if it isn't the "It's Done!" message. He seems to have tried to keep both camps happy but it's not working, and frankly he should have adopted the "It'll be done when it's done," approach and not given any dates at all, like he did for AFFC. Ironically, given that the wait for that book was much, much longer (more than twice the wait so far for ADWD), there was nowhere near the amount of criticism that's going on now. This is almost certainly because George has made himself more reachable via his blog and other channels. Sadly, I foresee that during the writing of The Winds of Winter, George may shut himself off a bit more from his audience so he can get on and write the book at his own pace without this kind of commentary on every single thing he says.

I agree that some of the reaction is understandable. After the black hole of AFFC, George wanted to be a lot more positive about ADWD and this has led to the feeling that the book was perhaps closer to completion than it actually was. An understandable position for him to take, but I think this may merely reinforces his determination to keep the fans at more of an arm's length in the future.

Tamu said...

I used to work in a science fiction bookstore in the 90s, and the only possible reason I could be relieved it isn't around now, is I don't have to hear another person ask about this series or Robert Jordan before it. This is true: Every single day I worked there, I was asked a variation of this question, "When is the next Robert Jordan coming out?" That includes the days that a new one everyone was waiting for arrived. So some people are also working themselves up for no reason.

It is a novel, not a business plan. If it comes out late, the economy will not freeze to a halt, buildings will not crumble.

I know what it is like to wait with anticipation for a book too, but people need a little perspective. Use the opportunity to go discover a new author or catch up on your backlist.

I'd rather read a book when it is ready, not when it needs to be out to fit marketing schedules.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why you are all being such apologists. The reality is this: The man is a writer. That is his profession. If he wanted to be a football commentator, or a comic book artist, or a huge convention nerd (which he apparently does), he should have just been those things. His behavior is tantamount to me showing up for work once a month and being incensed about my boss not liking it.

Go home and write. The rest of the crap you say is holding you up is not important.

Anonymous said...

I am with Alrin, stormrider81 and the anonymous poster before me.

I mean come on, ADWD is the second half of a book we were supposed to get a long time ago! He needed over 5 years for presenting us with half a book which even was a real drop in quality in comparison to the first three. And now he is already "working" on the second half over a year. And now all the fanboys GRRM has tell me "I'd rather have another 5 years going by for another book with high quality...". Yeah! I say noone can fault the fans if they bitch an moan...they have every right to, concerning how the author treats them.
Don't get me wrong, his books are a really good read...even AFfC is still better than 99% of the other books in this genre...but GRRM's professional attitude reeeally sucks.
Stopt the excuses, write the damn book!

Anonymous said...

I get that we're all eager for "what happens next" and anxiousness is introduced, but for all the rest ... c'mon!

Writing is Mr. Martin's chosen profession because he enjoys it, not because he volunteered for a life of slavery in attempting to live up to every fan-induced deadline. It's a ridiculous fallacy to suggest he or any other author is obliged to release books at regular intervals simply because they're successful and in demand. If you didn't get your money's worth of entertainment for each book you bought and only view it as an investment towards the completed series, then two questions: why do you care when the next one comes (since you're obviously not enjoying the journey to get there), and why did you start reading a series that was unfinished? Because there's no requirement on George's part to meet your expectations of when he'll publish the final word. Frankly, he's not even obligated to continue writing the series at all. Show me the legal grounds for suing him if one day he says "heck with this" and chooses otherwise.

He's blogging about other aspects of his life for the same reason everybody else does - because he HAS a life. Anyone who just lives for their job with no outside interests constitutes a terribly uninteresting, narrow-minded class of people who are incapable of writing with the talent and worldliness of Mr. Martin. Furthermore, it's ridiculous to suggest he's somehow being distracted from ADWD by side projets 'for the money'. If money was his goal, he'd have ADWD finished today in whatever form it is, confident of sales based on his name. All we need to do is look at his neighbours on store shelves (you pick the names) who write volume after empty volume following a fascinating series opener, and the fans hang on in hopes that maybe, just maybe, the series will be salvaged before it ends. Mr. Martin could easily hang his hat on that bet at this point, but clearly he's making every effort for quality over deadlines to produce something he can take pride in. Emptying your wallet is only incidental to his agenda, and no one asked you to open it.

Now that we're talking sense and viewing him as a human being again, instead of a fanboy's slave: there's an excellent reason why publishers are far more gentle in their manner of pressing authors for deadlines than these 'fans' are behaving. The hardest part of writing anything of this length is for the author to maintain that sense of excitement and enthusiasm with which it began. How conducive to its maintenance on Mr. Martin's part is all this angry nonsense? I fully applaud his recent decision to delete/ban the trolls on his blog and to cease with updating us on the next book's progress. I don't blame him if he removes himself from blogging altogether, if he has to put up with any more of this nonsense. I for one fear for the undue stress it places him under, and I sincerely hope he takes steps to shield himself from it to whatever degree he feels is required.

We ought to coin a new name for these types of 'fans' and their harassment; "troll" doesn't cover it.