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BryndenBFish

The Complete Winds of Winter Resource

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[mod] Guys, this is an information thread, not a discussion of the release date thread. [/mod]

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[mod] Guys, this is an information thread, not a discussion of the release date thread. [/mod]

Whoops, sort-of slipped there. My bad.

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Is there a place to discuss the release date on an ongoing basis? It seems like all of those threads get locked.


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Is there a place to discuss the release date on an ongoing basis?

No.

Threads are started when there is actual solid news on the release date, to discuss that news. Discussion of the release date on an 'ongoing basis', ie when there is nothing to actually discuss, tend to go very badly, based on our past experience (going back several years, before AFFC, even). They tend to devolve into bickering and, well, there's no actual point to them.

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Has GRRM mentioned in any recent interviews how many manuscript pages he's written now?

To the best of my knowledge, no. The last thing he said on the matter was at his appearance at the Game of Thrones S03 premier in March 2013 where he said he has "about a quarter of the way done." For a 1500 page book, that would be somewhere in the ballpark of between 400-500 pages. Previously, in June 2012, he reported that he had 200 polished MS pages & 200 MS pages in roughs/partials. So that lines up with the "quarter of the way estimate." No mentions of page count/progress since March 2013, though one can make an educated guess that GRRM is further along in January 2015 than he was in March 2013.

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Nice work! What's with the three chapters in a box in Texas?

That is an outstanding question! So, the 3 chapters in questions are unknown. The chapters were cut in April 2011 from ADWD, meaning that they're not the Sansa, Damphair or Arianne chapters from TWOW as these 4 chapters were cut in 2010. (Sources for when these were cut are in the blogpost itself.) So what could they be? Well, it could be:

  • Barristan I & II

Theon I

Tyrion I & II

Mercy

Victarion I

Or more intriguingly, they could be something new that no one besides George & his editors have seen. The cool thing about the Deeper than Swords exhibit is that this information is available to the public as long as you have a government-issued ID. The Winds chapters are in Box 158 of the A Dance with Dragons manuscript. So, if any enterprising Westeros members are near Texas A&M, they can look at look at the materials and report back here or elsewhere on what they find. A man could make a friend.

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That is an outstanding question! So, the 3 chapters in questions are unknown. The chapters were cut in April 2011 from ADWD, meaning that they're not the Sansa, Damphair or Arianne chapters from TWOW as these 4 chapters were cut in 2010. (Sources for when these were cut are in the blogpost itself.) So what could they be? Well, it could be:

  • Barristan I & II

Theon I

Tyrion I & II

Mercy

Victarion I

Or more intriguingly, they could be something new that no one besides George & his editors have seen. The cool thing about the Deeper than Swords exhibit is that this information is available to the public as long as you have a government-issued ID. The Winds chapters are in Box 158 of the A Dance with Dragons manuscript. So, if any enterprising Westeros members are near Texas A&M, they can look at look at the materials and report back here or elsewhere on what they find. A man could make a friend.

I think we can probably rule out Tyrion II considering that he didn't include it in the 168 pages he submitted to his publisher. Mercy can be ruled out too, because GRRM mentions pushing back an Arya chapter at the same time he mentions pushing back one Sansa and two Arianne chapters.

Unsurprisingly, the chapters are probably going to be from the battles (which we know were the last parts of the story to be pushed back into TWoW).

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I think we can probably rule out Tyrion II considering that he didn't include it in the 168 pages he submitted to his publisher. Mercy can be ruled out too, because GRRM mentions pushing back an Arya chapter at the same time he mentions pushing back one Sansa and two Arianne chapters.

Unsurprisingly, the chapters are probably going to be from the battles (which we know were the last parts of the story to be pushed back into TWoW).

Agreed. I'd go on to say that it's probably from the Battle of Fire. My guesses: Barristan I, Tyrion I & Victarion I, but hey maybe there's a Victarion II or maybe GRRM has Theon I or Theon II in there.

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to recall GRRM stating that he sent various partial manuscripts to his editors from 2006 onwards. And this is a trend that GRRM seems to have continued for TWOW as he sent Anne Groell a 168 page partial in Feburary 2013.

I'll try not to go off-topic here, as working out George's writing modus operandi is useful to know. It also shows why it's very difficult for anyone, even George, to know exactly how much more work needs to be done.

First off, we need to remember that George does not have a hard outline of ASoIaF. He has the shape of the story in his head and some specific incidents, along with an old (and apparently very rough and general) written outline from somewere around the time A Clash of Kings came out and is probably long supersceded. So he himself doesn't know how many chapters he has to write in the last two books in the series, or even if he can get to the end in two volumes. Every volume in the series, except ASoS, was ended when the book got too long or when he reached a natural breaking-off point in the narrative, not because of some pre-planned masterplan. This makes estimating things for George much more difficult. For release dates, sometimes this is bad (as with ADWD always being "a few months" from completion right from 2006 onwards) and sometimes it's good (when he completed AFFC much more quickly than expected when he decided to do the split).

GRRM's writing style is to write material which is then divided (not formally, but on an ad hoc basis) into categories: drafts are chapters which are more or less written to completion, but in rough form perhaps lacking fleshed-out description or really strong dialogue. This is material which needs to be reworked into a final form. Partials and fragments are individual chunks which GRRM seems to write when ideas take hold before he can lose them, and are then expanded into chapters (or retrofitted into existing ones) later on. ASoIaF itself sprung from a fragment idea that George had whilst writing a completely different SF novel, which grew into Bran's first chapter in AGoT. Finalised chapters are chapters that have not only been completed, polished and editing by George himself, but have been vetted and edited by his editor Anne Groell as well. Finalised chapters - in theory - are ready to go into the final book without any further work, bar fixing typos. They're in the bank, if you like.

Only finalised chapters are ever included in one of GRRM's page counts. This is pretty critical, as people see "375 pages done after two years" and freak out and think the book is ten years away from completion, which is not the case as he may have a lot more material ready in a draft format which just needs a quick pass to be finalised (or it may need to be rewritten altogether, hence why it's not counted).

George's writing process up to ADWD was to write a chapter, rework and edit it, fire it off to New York to be edited, declare it done, add to his page tally and be done with it. This resulted in a steadily rising page count, which he sometimes shared with us in the form of updates. For each book, George would start with a ton of draft chapters and some fragments (and sometimes finalised chapters left over from the previous novel in the series), and then gradually finalise them, this gathering pace as the book neared completion. This, by the way, is the source of the widely-perpetuated myth that George doesn't do any writing for the first few years of each book and then scrambles when his publishers and fans get irate with him, as the page count for the book rises with extreme rapidity in the final months of writing. This isn't because GRRM is writing all of that material from scratch, but because he is gradually building up the material through drafts and then only declares them done when they have passed a final editing pass with himself and his editor, and that happens more towards the end of the process.

Unfortunately ADWD blew up this process. Because of the immense structural problems he was facing with regards to Meereen and the climax, the value of 'finalised' chapters was lost. Sometimes he would finalise a chapter, only to have changes made in another chapter require him to go back and rewrite that other 'finalised' chapter so it fit in better. Whilst on a very minor scale this had always happened, with ADWD it went a bit crazy. Entire finished chapters and storylines were thrown out (like Tyrion's extended stay in Chroyane with the Shrouded Lord after falling overboard), other stuff was reworked (at one point GRRM rewrote Jon Snow's entire storyline when it was already apparently half or more finished) and so on.

As a result of that, he seems to have decided not to follow his usual reporting process for TWoW. Since finalised stuff for ADWD turned out not to be finalised and then announced, finished page counts turned out to be inaccurate, he's not doing that this time around. He's even not sending stuff to his editor in New York as often as he used to. Whilst it seems he used to do it every year or every few months, he now hasn't done it for two years. When he does next feel comfortable sending that material in to be edited and finalised, we may get another page count update. Or we may not hear anything at all more about the book until George abruptly tells us it's done.

It's also worth remembering that Martin does not write the books in the linear order the chapters appear in the novels. He will get into one character's headspace and stay there for weeks, writing a whole series of chapters from their POV before switching to another. This sometimes results in timeline issues as he has to juggle the chapters around and rewrite them to match what's going on in other chapters (Daenerys's chapters in ADWD were particularly nightmarish in this area, apparently even before the Knot). It also can result in writing too much material: he wrote apparently the majority or all of Tyrion's chapters for ASoS during the writing of ACoK, and then broke them off at the point where it most made sense: apparently he went back and forth on ending ACoK with Tyrion's fate being unrevealed, the next chapter - which he did use - or the chapter after that at the start of ASoS where he recovers.

When does a book usually end up on a publishers publishing schedule? 2-4 months before its release?

This varies on the priorities assigned to the book. As mentioned above, this is a significant release that will sell, at a rough estimate, 5 million copies or more in its first twelve months on sale, enough to make significant differences to the publisher's profit margins. On that basis, the publisher will move heaven and earth to get it out as soon as possible whilst also allowing a significant lead to allow for marketing (so non-hardcore fans know it's coming out). The UK publisher can get the book out faster because it has a smaller print run, but from ADWD onwards apparently there will be a worldwide release date for the English-language editions (the American and British/Commonwealth editions) for all the books, so that advantage is gone.

Turn-around for the previous books was three months for ASoS (handed in in April 2000, published in July 2000), five months for AFFC (May to October 2005) and two months for ADWD (May to July 2011), although the latter was a special case due to the unusual amount of pre-proofing that had been done, with a lot of editing and changing going on on the fly before the MS itself was finalised. It was a lot more intense than these things usually are, mainly because they announced the release date before the final draft was 100% done and then had to scramble to meet it.

Has GRRM mentioned in any recent interviews how many manuscript pages he's written now?

As said above, the last hard info we had was approximately one-quarter of the book (375 MS pages on a 1500 MS page book, which translates into a 1,000-odd page hardcover like ASoS and ADWD) in April 2013. That was only 'finalised' material, however, not including further drafts and partial fragments.

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Wert, thanks for detailed breakdown. If you don't mind, I'd like to share some of your insights over on /r/asoiaf to clear the misconceptions over there as well as eat some crow RE: the 168 page count & why GRRM hasn't submitted any additional MS pages to his editors.


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Wert, did Tyrion's extended stay mean that the Shrouded Lord was real (possibly linked to the Others), or merely something Tyrion experienced while unconscious?


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Wert, did Tyrion's extended stay mean that the Shrouded Lord was real (possibly linked to the Others), or merely something Tyrion experienced while unconscious?

You'd have to ask GRRM. From what he said it sounded like Tyrion falls overboard, has some encounter with the Lord and then presumably escapes to rejoin the ship and the rest of the story. Based on that, it could have been framed as a real event or a dream sequence or something more ambiguous. Probably outside the scope of this thread as well :)

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