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Alyn Oakenfist

TWOW in July 2020 seems ever more likely

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27 minutes ago, Travis said:

I find it really funny that people know what George is doing with all of his time. Seriously, we know NOTHING about the man or what he does with his time, or how much he does/doesn't write, except for news about interviews (etc.) and stuff he shares on his Not A Blog.

I love it how we (yes, I'm including myself) think we actually know these celebrities we tend to worship, when we actually know nothing about them except for the books/movies/songs they produce and a few lines in an article here and there.

I'm not putting anybody down, because I do it myswlf.

Edit to add: @QhorinQuarterhand. I am not picking on you, so please forgive me. I am speaking in general. Your post was the most recent, and I did not necessarily need to quote it. Although I was reapknding to your post, it was not necessarily just your post, but to everyone (myself included) who thinks they have George's schedule nailed down, etc.

Someone who really wanted to could map out the vast majority of his days based on NotABlog and news articles. And he famously doesn't write on the road. Which is why there are people who do track his daily activities. Mayhaps I should see if any have posted a detailed calendar somewhere on the web. 

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2 minutes ago, QhorinQuarterhand said:

Someone who really wanted to could map out the vast majority of his days based on NotABlog and news articles. And he famously doesn't write on the road. Which is why there are people who do track his daily activities. Mayhaps I should see if any have posted a detailed calendar somewhere on the web. 

I guess what I am trying to say is this:

Just because he said something years ago (or even last month) doeant mean it is true today. Many times I think he just wants to give a satisfactory answer to a question asked him in an environment where many would consider it rude to simply not answer. That happens when you live your life in the public eye.

I am constantly getting "throw-backs" from what I said in the past on Facebook. Much of that was true when I wrote it, but not today. I can't tell you how many times I read these things I wrote (and I sincerely was being honest and beliwved them at the time) and have to admit how full of shit I was. Or, I wasn't necessarily full of shit, but things simply change.

That's all I'm saying. Sorry, I think I said too much. I already put my foot in my mouth, so I'll just leave it there.

Except to say, I'm just glad that we have a story that we are all just so passionate about. I'm just shy of 38, and the only other story I've ever been so passionate about is the Bible and Jurassic Park, lol.

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2 hours ago, QhorinQuarterhand said:

Sure it's a guess, but no it isn't based on nothing.

Next to nothing is about as generous as I can realistically be, I'm afraid.

2 hours ago, QhorinQuarterhand said:

The man can pump out a bunch of pages when he sits down to write

Eesh.

Sorry, but no. One point that all GRRM fans surely know, and that GRRM has been consistent on in interviews since before he even started writing AGOT, is that this is very much not the kind of writer he is. He has famously struggled with this issue throughout his career. The publication of ACOK and ASOS following AGOT actually represents pretty much the high point of GRRM's career in terms of 'pumping out pages', and @Werthead will tell you that even that tends to be overstated a bit in terms of speed of production.

I don't mean to pick on you, but if you're going to make a statement like that, it does tend to undermine your credibility a bit.

2 hours ago, Cas Stark said:

It seems pretty obvious to me that GRRM books 1-4 did not have anything close to the level of fame he did after GOT began airing, so it would seem impossible to me that the number of commitments and projects did not increase by a large amount....tremendously more media interest, numerous new projects like the theater, new TV scrips, many, many more things to take him away from writing than before the show.  

But on the other hand, and by the same token, at that time GRRM didn't have a personal assistant or other staff and handled pretty much everything personally - from taking meetings on merchandising deals to booking travel for conventions. Now, he has staff to handle most of his daily business.

He's also eliminated his other writing commitments completely (including scripts for the TV series) and reduced his editing commitments since then, all of which he did precisely to spend more time writing ASOIAF.

The idea that 'distractions' are the problem is somewhat naive, if appealing. It's a variation on the old 'lack of commitment' trope. The fact is, as unpalatable as it may be, he's spending plenty of time on writing: but sometimes as a writer, often of you're GRRM, time does not necessarily translate into progress. I wish it were not so, but I'm 100% certain that nobody wishes that more than GRRM himself.

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1 hour ago, mormont said:

But on the other hand, and by the same token, at that time GRRM didn't have a personal assistant or other staff and handled pretty much everything personally - from taking meetings on merchandising deals to booking travel for conventions. Now, he has staff to handle most of his daily business.

He's also eliminated his other writing commitments completely (including scripts for the TV series) and reduced his editing commitments since then, all of which he did precisely to spend more time writing ASOIAF.

The idea that 'distractions' are the problem is somewhat naive, if appealing. It's a variation on the old 'lack of commitment' trope. The fact is, as unpalatable as it may be, he's spending plenty of time on writing: but sometimes as a writer, often of you're GRRM, time does not necessarily translate into progress. I wish it were not so, but I'm 100% certain that nobody wishes that more than GRRM himself.

Be that as it may, the wait between books has gotten longer and longer.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/10/2020 at 1:06 AM, divica said:

From the logical pov I think it is very likely. He has always said that the last books will be longer than the previous ones and we have a bunch of stuff from adwd and affc moved to winds. If adwd was too big it doesn t make sense that winds won t be much bigger and not fit between covers. In adition, grrm didn t like to publish affc and adwd separatly so it is unlikely that he will ever do anything like that.

TWoW and ADoS are both intended to be around 1500 pages in manuscript, the same length as ASoS and ADWD, not significantly longer than the previous books. Given that restrictions and page restraints which were in force even for ADWD are no longer so, they could be actually longer, but certainly there's not been any kind of fixed plan for that to be the case.

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The chances he's working on two books at the same time are about zero, same with releasing two books at the same time, odds are zero of that happening.

He may be, but only in the same sense as every previous book in the series (bar ASoS): he's working on material now that he thinks will be in TWoW but in the final edit are moved to ADoS.

It is also possible that TWoW is too big to be one book (the 2018 split statement suggests this could be the case) and the publishers would be very happy to release it in two volumes, but the format would have to be massaged a bit. Something like the current Jim Butcher situation, where the latest book was too big so they split it into two volumes for release three months apart seems quite likely (Butcher re-edited the story to be two separate books, but GRRM doesn't need to do that, they can just be released as TWoW I and II,or perhaps with two names but made clearer that they are two halves of the same whole).

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Just because of Corona, an early 2021 release is looking more realistic. This would be a terrible time to release books...when there are tons of fans who literally don't have access to buying it.

Most booksellers have online ordering systems that are still operational and it's easier to run warehouses, shipping etc with social distancing, even if you don't want to order through Amazon. I don't see a major problem there. There's certainly no way whatsoever that they'd do a digital-only release. not with the ebook market share actually declining at present.

 

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Speaking of which, I don't really understand the whole "cabin in the mountains" situation. Supposedly, he only goes there when he is in the finishing stages of writing, but he has been there since November, long before the pandemic. Has he been trying to finish the book for that long? 

I think the cabin in the mountain thing has been a bit overstated. He does have one - he got it a few years ago apparently - but he goes up there for focused bursts of writing away from other distractions. He doesn't go up there just to finish a book, but to put in serious time on it. He can do that at home in his second office house, but I suspect he sometimes gets sidetracked by other work stuff (through the cinema or his art exhibition) so this arrangement was put in place to give him real focused writing time.

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Besides this it's difficult to place him in front of his computer for very long at all since he delivered Dance without also knowing that during that time he was editing or writing other books, doing a bunch of stuff for shows and other things and visiting his theatre when his calendar actually shows he was in Santa Fe. Between April 2011 and November 2019 I highly doubt we can reasonably say he was writing Winds for more than 10% of those days.

I think the thrust of this argument is sound but the details are highly speculative. He certainly was putting in the hours on WINDS between at least late 2012 (after the mammoth other-project writing burst that produced his material for WoIaF, most of Fire and Blood and Lands of Ice and Fire) and 2015-16, to the point where he thought the book could be completed in months. That suggests that he produced a substantial amount of material in that time, before he hit roadblocks leading to the current delays and the apparent decision to use the "mountain retreat" approach. What those roadblocks are is purely speculative at this point.

Something that is useful to note is that in the early part of his period he was also working as the main editor on Wild Cards and contributing more regularly to GoT; since 2015 almost all of the editing on Wild Cards has been done by Melinda Snodgrass and he ceased all work on GoT and has adopted a more hands-off role to the spin-off projects, so certainly the proportion of his workload he can put into TWoW has increased. It was also certainly never as low as 10%.

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It seems pretty obvious to me that GRRM books 1-4 did not have anything close to the level of fame he did after GOT began airing, so it would seem impossible to me that the number of commitments and projects did not increase by a large amount....tremendously more media interest, numerous new projects like the theater, new TV scrips, many, many more things to take him away from writing than before the show.  

This is true to a certain degree. There is more media interest and he certainly went through phases of doing press and interviews, especially when a new season was starting and when it was on the air, as he felt he had a professional obligation - or at least courtesy - to HBO to do those things to help keep up interest, although he did reduce that after Season 5 when he stopped writing for the show directly. He does have his cinema and other Santa Fe projects, but those are also things where he mostly provides the money, lets others manage them for him and might occasionally show up to do a talk or something. I think he also saw the theatre and bookshop project as a way of getting the mountain to come to Muhammad, so he could host events in Santa Fe that people could travel to instead of him travelling to other events halfway across the country, which is much more ruinous for his work output: previously he might have been invited to travel 400 miles to do a Neil Gaiman event, which would likely cost him 3 days lost on TWoW, whilst this way he can write all day, go down to the theatre in the evening to do something and not lose any writing time at all.

On the other hand, in terms of active writing projects, GRRM's workload has substantially decreased. Some of the things he did whilst writing ADWD - like working on short story anthologies with Gardener Dozois - are no longer a thing (in that case because Dozois sadly passed away and George didn't want to carry on alone) and Melinda Snodgrass has taken a stronger role on the last few Wild Cards books, whilst George was much more the main editor on the books that came out whilst ADWD was underway. As noted before, he completed his writing for WoIaF and most of Fire and Blood back in 2012, and only needed a few weeks' work to get Fire and Blood ready for publication in 2018. His workload for HBO seems to have been more in the mould of writing bibles and outlines and firing them off for other people (Jane Goldman and now Ryan Condal) to work on, then do a few meetings about tone and ideas. It's not as hands-on as it was for GoT itself.

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Be that as it may, the wait between books has gotten longer and longer.

This is correct, although it does not conclusively translate to a loss of productivity until we get the final skinny on TWoW. If it comes out and it's literally twice the size of ADWD and fills two books the same size (a vanishingly unlikely prospect), then his productivity would have actually substantially increased over ADWD. If the book is 50% longer (altogether more possible) and he finishes it this year, then he'd had have produced it in the same time per page as ADWD and AFFC. Given his greater age, even a slightly longer production time would be understandable.

My feeling is that those possibilities are not in play, and what actually happened is that George actually did produce a huge amount of material up to around 2015/16 and ran into Meereenese Knot-level problems which have necessitated substantial rewrites. It's worth noting that around the same time that George was musing that he thought he could finish the book in 6 months he was also saying he hadn't really done any rewrites at all, which was enough to make everyone familiar with his work process go, "Uh-oh."

Edited by Werthead

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Takiedevushkikakzvezdy said:

Be that as it may, the wait between books has gotten longer and longer.

Since neither of us is holding a copy of the latest book, I did actually realise that.

My point is that when AFFC was late, people clamoured for GRRM to drop Wild Cards writing. He did - he hasn't written for WC since around 2007 (though he continues to co-edit). When ADWD was late, people clamoured for him to drop writing duties for the show. He did. He's dropped numerous other commitments to work on the books, and yet, as you say, the wait has grown longer, not shorter. So what does that tell us? Not, I would suggest, that his other commitments are the real issue.

Edited by mormont

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I personally believe that the biggest problem is Mr. Martin attempting to fit square pegs into round sockets, or more aptly, nonagonal pegs into heptagonal sockets. In order to satisfactorily conclude Act II of A Song of Ice and Fire and to cover all of Act III -- which is to say, retaining literary merit, especially in maintaining quality and thematic cohesion; addressing all major character development organically; passing through all major and a sufficient amount of minor plot points using what was seeded; specifically transitioning into and ultimately out of winter and the Long Night, as well as ensuring Daenerys logically and suitably makes her way to Westeros after receiving the opportunity to leave Essos; and so forth -- a minimum of another three books of at least the length of A Storm of Swords seems necessary.

As many others in this thread have suggested, it is likely that Mr. Martin has rewritten many chapters and indeed sections of the next book multiple times, and probably primarily because of his attempt to rush the remainder of the story. I do not know why; it appears to me that it would serve both himself and the readers best if he allowed himself at least one additional book in the series. After all, the original "trilogy" has long since ceased to be one. While I understand the appeal of seven books for Seven Kingdoms, the name is a misnomer, and the mild symbolism with this and the Faith of the Seven is not worth what this arbitrary limit would detract from the narrative. Furthermore, whilst I can relate to the desire to establish a limit lest he continues expanding the series, something more sensible like three books apiece for each of the three acts would be a superior choice for such a constraint.

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21 hours ago, Werthead said:

My feeling is that those possibilities are not in play, and what actually happened is that George actually did produce a huge amount of material up to around 2015/16 and ran into Meereenese Knot-level problems which have necessitated substantial rewrites. 

Yeah, I think that's the only reasonable explanation.

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Posted (edited)

Having read through pretty much all of George's work in the last months, and knowing all the essays from Dreamsongs, it is clearly not an issue with the material - although that's grown very complex indeed - that George writes as slowly as he does. He was never a fast writer. He effectively continued none of his many started short story cycles (and some of them, like 'The Skin Trade', are actually marred by the notion that the story was to be the first in a series - although that is definitely one of his finest novellas) and could only finish single volume novels.

Even the Haviland Tuf stories - which sort of are a proper series - lack an ending.

If I had known how hard writing is for him, I'd have likely never started reading this series fifteen years ago, because I'd have known then that the chances that he would finish it are not that high - not because of issues with health and mortality but simply because it is very difficult for him to finish a multi-volume/multi-stories project. I'd have waited until this series was finished or would have never picked it up at all.

This had never anything to do with him having other projects or doing other things - it might even be that doing other things helped him work - it is just the way he writes and rewrites. And that is not going to change now, nor should it. Because the sad fact is that a not properly rewritten book by George R. R. Martin is not likely going to be a very good book. You can see how ASoIaF changed from that original outline. And what little we know about the writing process from the ASoIaF novels indicates that similar things happened there, too. Just think how much better Theon and Ramsay taking Winterfell is to Tyrion doing that, how much better the Red Wedding is than the idea that Robb would have been slain in battle by Joffrey, how much better Littlefinger is as a schemer than Jaime would have been, etc. The Meereen plot we got in ADwD is much better than the earlier version were Dany left the place in her fourth chapter or so.

George isn't a good natural writer in the sense he produces great prose in the first or second draft. Writing is very hard for him, and if you bother to check how long it took him to write some of his better pieces - like 'The Skin Trade' I mentioned above, or older pieces like 'Meathouse Man', then you realize that he wasn't one to meet deadlines or finish a shorter story very quickly. It was always a long and tedious process for him. He had very few bouts of creativity very early in his career where he wrote five or so stories during spring and summer, but those were very rare instances.

And endings were always very hard. I'd say the only novel of his which has a proper ending is The Armageddon Rag. That is his best book before AGoT, and considering the subject matter more sophisticated literature than ASoIaF. Fevre Dream has a decent enough Epilogue but hardly a great second half/last third. And Dying of the Light has no proper ending at all. It is clearly the first novel of an author who didn't know how to properly end a novel. It would have worked if it had been a novella or short story, but you can expect that a novel tries to give an ending to all characters, not just the main protagonist (and he only gets 'sort of an ending').

We either get pretty good books, or we won't get any. And if you talk about the quality of prose then ASoS and AFfC/ADwD combined definitely are much better than ACoK and AGoT. 'The Captain of Guards' is one of his best chapters, Septon Meribald's speech is his best social commentary on war, the first Cersei chapter is a great depiction of a woman under strain who starts to break, and everything Victarion is a great rendering of a brutal and stupid man in a realistic manner. It is pretty hard for a smart writer put a reader into the shoes of a moron.

Edited by Lord Varys

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On 5/16/2020 at 4:14 PM, Lord Varys said:

It is pretty hard for a smart writer put a reader into the shoes of a moron.

I tend to agree with this sentiment. Well, this specific sentiment, and the sentiment of the Eunuch's entire post. Although, I wonder, if it isn't colored with dour tones because of the time that we are living in. In any case, I retain hope. Winds should be finish-able, which will at least end the second act. The third may have to be written in our minds. 

 

I also choose to reject D&D's ending's quality, while retaining some of the plot points. 

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On 5/17/2020 at 1:14 AM, Lord Varys said:

If I had known how hard writing is for him, I'd have likely never started reading this series fifteen years ago, because I'd have known then that the chances that he would finish it are not that high - not because of issues with health and mortality but simply because it is very difficult for him to finish a multi-volume/multi-stories project. I'd have waited until this series was finished or would have never picked it up at all.

ASOIAF is still worth reading, though. Even unfinished. :)

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7 hours ago, Winter'sHerald said:

I tend to agree with this sentiment. Well, this specific sentiment, and the sentiment of the Eunuch's entire post. Although, I wonder, if it isn't colored with dour tones because of the time that we are living in. In any case, I retain hope. Winds should be finish-able, which will at least end the second act. The third may have to be written in our minds. 

I'm pretty confident that we are definitely going to get TWoW, and perhaps even the next book after that, although I doubt it is going to be the one which finishes the series.

3 hours ago, Takiedevushkikakzvezdy said:

ASOIAF is still worth reading, though. Even unfinished. :)

Yeah, but I'm not sure if I had picked it up had I known how long to wait for the ending. Perhaps the show would have caused me to read it if I had found it interesting (which I guess I'd have, at least with the first season). But ASoIaF taught me to not pick up authors writing series which aren't finished yet.

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2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I'm pretty confident that we are definitely going to get TWoW, and perhaps even the next book after that, although I doubt it is going to be the one which finishes the series.

Yeah, but I'm not sure if I had picked it up had I known how long to wait for the ending. Perhaps the show would have caused me to read it if I had found it interesting (which I guess I'd have, at least with the first season). But ASoIaF taught me to not pick up authors writing series which aren't finished yet.

The show is actually what led me to the books. I accidentally stumbled upon Season 1 several weeks before Season 2 started. I was intrigued by the first episode, so I binged it. Once I was done with Season 1, I staryed digging around for information about Season 2 and found out GOT was based off a series of books. I'm a reader, and while I love film, I would almost always rather read the books the series/movie is based. So I read the first two books before Season 2 started and finished the book series by the end of Season 2.

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3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

But ASoIaF taught me to not pick up authors writing series which aren't finished yet.

Yeah, for me the same thing. I never pick up unfinished series anymore. And gotta be honest it has improved my reading experience a lot. I hadn't even noticed how often I had tended to pick up new releases and how very much it's not my thing to have to wait even only two years for the next book. 

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On 5/15/2020 at 3:54 PM, mormont said:

Eesh.

Sorry, but no. One point that all GRRM fans surely know, and that GRRM has been consistent on in interviews since before he even started writing AGOT, is that this is very much not the kind of writer he is. He has famously struggled with this issue throughout his career. The publication of ACOK and ASOS following AGOT actually represents pretty much the high point of GRRM's career in terms of 'pumping out pages', and @Werthead will tell you that even that tends to be overstated a bit in terms of speed of production.

lol, I kinda disagree on this one. He *has* been pumping out pages/chapters/sections like crazy, the only problem is, it very often is the same page/chapter/section per... "sitting". Had each of those been spent writing out different parts, who knows, he might have spewed out the entire encyclopædia britannica 10 times over already*. Wait..... did you mean finished pages? Oh well. :-)

*Official page count as of 2010 is, according to the high wisdom of Google, 32640.

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On 5/23/2020 at 6:30 PM, Takiedevushkikakzvezdy said:

Anyway, the latest word from GRRM is that he hopes to finish TWoW before Worldcon. So we have two more months before we can officially cry out in frustration. 

When did he say this? Or is this from last year

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Posted (edited)
On 5/23/2020 at 9:30 AM, Takiedevushkikakzvezdy said:

Anyway, the latest word from GRRM is that he hopes to finish TWoW before Worldcon. So we have two more months before we can officially cry out in frustration. 

That was the catalyst of this thread. 

 

The following was posted on NAB yesterday:

 

We hope to keep adding content to the JCC… including new book events… once we reopen.

Current Mood: satisfied satisfied

Edited by Winter'sHerald
A reason to celebrate, perhaps.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Winter'sHerald said:

including new book events

as much as I'd hope he meant Winds when he wrote this, the JCC often has book events for re-releases of volumes in the asoiaf series, among

other things. Doesn't necessarily mean it's the Winds he's talking about :/

Edited by Jekse
I dont know what made the formatting so strange

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