Martin has broken the silence and released a new update on the progress of A Dance with Dragons on his 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.
I have made a lot of progress on the book since August 2007, but this part hasn’t changed:
Thanks for your continued support… and for your patience.
I’m thrilled to hear that the book is progressing, and my anticipation continues to build. Despite what anyone might say, A Song of Ice and Fire is not something that’s going to fall in place overnight. I wish George the best of luck in finishing the novel and making it the best he can. I sure as hell wouldn’t want him to rush it for the sake of his ‘fans’.
What’s more unsettling is his response to the recent blog posts concerning him and A Dance with Dragons:
I have to admit, the rising tide of venom about the lateness of A DANCE WITH DRAGONS has gotten pretty discouraging. Emails, message boards, blogs, LJ comments, everywhere I look (and lots of places where I don’t), people seem to be attacking me, defending me, using me as a bad example of something or other, whatever.
I can and do avoid most of the online discussions, although I do regularly get emails from people eager to point out the latest URL where DANCE and I are being hashed over. I can do that, and I can screen the trollish comments here on LJ, but there’s no avoiding the emails.
Some of you are angry about the miniatures, the swords, the resin busts, the games. You don’t want me “wasting time” on those, or talking about them here.
Some of you are angry that I watch football during the fall. You don’t want me “wasting time” on the NFL, or talking about it here.
Some of you hate my other projects. You don’t want me co-editing WARRIORS or the Vance anthology or STAR-CROSSED LOVERS or any of the other projects I’m doing with my old friend Gardner Dozois, and you get angry when I post about them here. For reasons I don’t quite comprehend, the people who hate those projects seem to hate WILD CARDS even more. You really don’t want me working on that, “wasting time” on that, and posting about it here.
Some of you don’t want me attending conventions, teaching workshops, touring and doing promo, or visiting places like Spain and Portugal (last year) or Finland (this year). More wasting time, when I should be home working on A DANCE WITH DRAGONS.
After all, as some of you like to point out in your emails, I am sixty years old and fat, and you don’t want me to “pull a Robert Jordan” on you and deny you your book.
Okay, I’ve got the message. You don’t want me doing anything except A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE. Ever. (Well, maybe it’s okay if I take a leak once in a while?)
What makes me a little ashamed, though, is how heavily the venomous response of his ‘fanbase’ is wearing down on him – it’s frustrating that Martin’s so-called ‘fans’, the people who he’s writing for, are causing so much stress on the man. For A Song of Ice and Fire, and the fanbase it’s accrued, to be anything but a glowingly positive experience in Martin’s life is just wrong. I just hope that he knows that there are many of us out there willing to wait patiently as he takes the time to finish the novel.