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Do we think George passed 1500 manuscript pages?


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59 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

You have no idea how the publishing industry works, do you?

I do not, nor did I claim that I did. I've published in professional anthropology and archaeology journals, but that's not remotely similar.

I do know a bit about meeting deadlines and expectations however. In most walks of life one can't redo things endlessly, ad nauseum, without consequences. Typically one has to produce a result at some stage. Martin is lucky he can take his time. His fans and loyal readers are not so lucky. Taking one's time and ensuring quality is great. I would never advocate otherwise, but 10 years. That's just self-indulgence.

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4 minutes ago, Lord of Blackhaven said:

I do not, nor did I claim that I did. I've published in professional anthropology and archaeology journals, but that's not remotely similar.

I do know a bit about meeting deadlines and expectations however. In most walks of life one can't redo things endlessly, ad nauseum, without consequences. Typically one has to produce a result at some stage. Martin is lucky he can take his time. His fans and loyal readers are not so lucky. Taking one's time and ensuring quality is great. I would never advocate otherwise, but 10 years. That's just self-indulgence.

Well, the creative writing is different than academics ;-). Every book contract is a gamble on part of the publisher, especially if they give you money in advance and buy a book that's not finished yet. The author could die before he finishes it, it couldn't meet your quality standards, etc. And if you invest in somebody and/or know that whatever he produces will be a success (which is the kind of thing that happens with established bestselling authors) then you do wait.

Newcomers are treated differently, of course.

But George wouldn't do redo things ad nauseam. I mean, some of his draft chapters are really bad, lacking in detail, telling not exactly that great or detailed a story.

There are some genius writers who can produce prose fit for publication in a first draft with very minor editing. But that's not exactly the rule. And George was never that kind of writer. He was always a slow writer. You could say that from an artistic point of view ASoIaF should never have been bought because they could have known the guy might not be able to finish such a big series ... but, then, it was a pretty big success already, never mind whether it is ever going to finished or not.

In fact, AGoT is the first work he sold before he finished it - his first three novels he sold only after finishing them. And it is not that he ever had any fixed deadline for AFfC/ADwD or now TWoW. The only deadline that were was for ADwD, and that he chose himself, sort of, when he claimed in AFfC that he hoped to publish the book the following year (2006).

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49 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

In fact, AGoT is the first work he sold before he finished it - his first three novels he sold only after finishing them. And it is not that he ever had any fixed deadline for AFfC/ADwD or now TWoW. The only deadline that were was for ADwD, and that he chose himself, sort of, when he claimed in AFfC that he hoped to publish the book the following year (2006).

Yea, I still wonder what went wrong with the writing of ADWD's, now that you bring it up again. GRRM thought he'd have that thing out in a year and stated "most of it was written" around the time AFFC was published in 2005..........................and then we all had to wait until 2011, lol

Man in hindsight, that wait seems like a joke compared to the wait for TWoW.

Edited by sifth
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the moment i gave up Winds of Winter will ever be published:

 

I will make no predictions on when I will finish.   Every time I do, assholes on the internet take that as a “promise,” and then wait eagerly to crucify me when I miss the deadline. 

 

People waith 10 year for the book, so they are assholes when they are disappointed you break your predictions again, and again, and again, and again, and again.... 

Right. its never going to be published. to bad, i was really looking forward to it.

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13 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

And if you had seen some drafts of George's or early versions of the chapters - which you can, if you search online - then you also know why constant rewriting is necessary. He isn't the kind of author who delivers great prose in a first or second draft.

Could you elaborate? I've never heard of this, unless you're referring to the Dance samples that were changed in the final product. 

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5 hours ago, HTN02 said:

the moment i gave up Winds of Winter will ever be published:

 

I will make no predictions on when I will finish.   Every time I do, assholes on the internet take that as a “promise,” and then wait eagerly to crucify me when I miss the deadline. 

 

People waith 10 year for the book, so they are assholes when they are disappointed you break your predictions again, and again, and again, and again, and again.... 

Right, this year we shall have 10 year anniversary of the last book! Shouldn't we have some sort of celebration in the fandom? Dunno, some contests with signed copies of "Wild Cards" as prizes, stuff like that? ;)

Edited by Ferocious Veldt Roarer
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15 hours ago, sifth said:

Yea, I still wonder what went wrong with the writing of ADWD's, now that you bring it up again. GRRM thought he'd have that thing out in a year and stated "most of it was written" around the time AFFC was published in 2005..........................and then we all had to wait until 2011, lol

Man in hindsight, that wait seems like a joke compared to the wait for TWoW.

Honestly, I find the wait for TWoW much more pleasant that that for ADwD. AFfC wasn't a complete story and a lot of crucial bits were lacking. ADwD completed the story and we can now reasonably guess where most of the plots are headed, making the wait more bearable than the last time around. At least for me.

The ADwD problem was the Meereenese Knot thing - the sequence of events in Meereen in the second half of the book - as well as the problems in Tyrion's plot - the Shrouded Lord stuff which was eventually cut as well as the Aegon plot (Jon Connington was a rather late addition as a POV; originally Tyrion was present at the Golden Company council and seems to have made his speech about going west instead of east there).

George also seemed to have severe problems with the Jon Snow chapters of ADwD, massively rewriting them, but we don't really know what the issues there were.

4 hours ago, Jekse said:

Could you elaborate? I've never heard of this, unless you're referring to the Dance samples that were changed in the final product. 

Well, you can look at the original outline's AGoT plot for Daenerys and compare it to the finished version. Another big hint is the report about the early Russian edition of AFfC which include an earlier version of Brienne's final chapter(s). And then there are the changes between unfinished chapters read at conventions and the final versions.

Also, you can read up on the production process of George's great novellas like 'The Skin Trade', 'Meathouse Man', and others which went through multiple drafts and involved a lot of rewriting.

He also has gone on record saying that, at times, he needs a long time to come up with a clever line to give to Tyrion or another smart and witty character.

Basically, he isn't the kind of writer who very easily can translate mental images into great prose.

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22 hours ago, Lord of Blackhaven said:

Does any other author (other than maybe Robert Caro) in the world get indulged by his publisher like Martin does? How many times has the man just completely deleted hundreds (thousands?) of pages of work? He has missed so many deadlines it beggars belief.

Editing and rewriting are part of the process, but c'mon man. Martin takes fastidious writing to the absolute extreme.

His publishers need to stop indulging him and hold his feet to the fire.

Ol' George has fooled us before with these sorts of blog posts. I won't get my hopes up.

Yes, many. Whenever an author gains the ascendancy in the relationship, because they sell millions of books, the ability of the publisher or editor to control them effectively ends. They can publish the book as agreed, or they can refuse, get sued for breach of contract, and the author can take their book to another publisher who'll be very happy to pay out vastly more money to get their hands on the book (and possibly previous books as well).

Editors are not like directors in films. They are, at best, advisors, and their advice can usually be completely ignored without any consequences whatsoever. They can't hold George's feet to the fire because they have no leverage and they have no power in the relationship apart from the power to terminate it, doing themselves out of millions in the process.

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This is a unique situation.  His publishers have already lost millions in sales due to the fact he failed to get the book(s) out during the run of GOT.  And while I'm sure Winds will still be a bestseller, I can't believe that it wouldn't have been a stratospheric 'best of the decade' level bestseller if he had hit his deadline of Christmas season 2015.  So, possibly more than some strong words was in order here.  

GRRM's publishers paid him advances for the series back in 1995 (fairly steep ones; his UK advance was almost half a million pounds by itself) and the series has outsold that so many times over it's ridiculous. Random House and HarperCollins have certainly been sitting there thinking, "Man, if we got The Winds of Winter now it'd be sweet for our annual profit statement," but they've also been thinking, "Why are people still buying A Game of Thrones in its thousands every single month two years after the TV show ended? Oh well, ker-ching."

Between 2011 and now, ASoIaF has sold over 80 million copies and probably now closer to 90 million copies. Virtually no-one sells that many books. Amongst living authors, only Stephanie Meyer, Anne Rice, Stephen King and J.K. Rowling are above the sales category that Martin is in. Martin's back catalogue sells more copies every year than 99% of published authors will sell in their lifetimes. Which is all great for both Martin and his publishers.

The publisher doesn't really have any power to force George to do anything, apart from breaking their contract with him which would cost them millions. 

I have no doubt that Anne Groell has been asking him fairly frequently when he thinks he might be done, but I also have no doubt that she's been receiving portions of the book as it's been completed (as she has for all the books in the series), so she's had a much closer look on the status of the book and what's going on than anyone else bar GRRM. That's the one benefit of the Martin situation over Rothfuss (who has apparently not shown his editor anything of Book 3 since 2011 and apparently not even confirmed to her that he's worked on the book at all since 2014).

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People waith 10 year for the book, so they are assholes when they are disappointed you break your predictions again, and again, and again, and again, and again.... 

That's not what he said, and a rather exceptional flex to make it sound like he said that. He was referring to those people who act like assholes whenever he talks about the book online (i.e. immediately saying he's going to die without finishing it, angrily ranting at him whenever he talks about anything else, invading his social media space to scream at him where the book is when he's talking about a friend who's just died), not every single reader including those who've been waiting patiently.

Edited by Werthead
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I think it's looking increasingly likely that the magic 1500 MP limit may not actually be a limit anymore. He said in his last update that he still needs to write more pages until he reaches a satisfactory conclusion, which can be interpreted as him telling us that he has, or at least plans to have more than 1500 MPs before the book is done. He certainly isn't going to make the same mistakes that he did in 2011 with ADWD, when he cut large sequences and many chapters because the book "couldn't fit" with more than 1500 pages. He is going to write until he reaches that satisfactory conclusion, and if it comes after 1800 or even 2000+ pages, then so be it. If he keeps giving more indications that he's going in that direction, I think we're in for a two-volumes TWOW. 

Edited by The Winged Griffin
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On 2/7/2021 at 9:03 AM, The Winged Griffin said:

I think it's looking increasingly likely that the magic 1500 MP limit may not actually be a limit anymore. He said in his last update that he still needs to write more pages until he reaches a satisfactory conclusion, which can be interpreted as him telling us that he has, or at least plans to have more than 1500 MPs before the book is done. He certainly isn't going to make the same mistakes that he did in 2011 with ADWD, when he cut large sequences and many chapters because the book "couldn't fit" with more than 1500 pages. He is going to write until he reaches that satisfactory conclusion, and if it comes after 1800 or even 2000+ pages, then so be it. If he keeps giving more indications that he's going in that direction, I think we're in for a two-volumes TWOW. 

I agree and I wouldn't have no problem with it.

The bigger question is if he will give the first (or second) half of the two-parter The Winds of Winter a different title. Will it be The Winds of Winter, Parts One and Two or will it be A Time for Wolves and The Winds of Winter?

The key here is that, as of right now, he is not satisfied with the conclusion of Winds as it is shaping up. And there's also the implication that he was not truly satisfied with the conclusion of Dance either as it were...which makes sense. Even though Dance was very good, it should've ended with:

  • Tyrion meeting Dany before she leaves on dragonback
  • the Battle of Meereen: either find a stopping point or end the book with the the opening salvos of the battle being a cliffhanger
  • Arianne either deciding to go meet Aegon (Arianne II) or actually coming face-to-face with Aegon (which will undoubtedly be Arianne III or IV)

The Cersei, Jaime and Areo chapters should've been kept in A Feast for Crows. The Greyjoys should've been the only crossover POVs between Feast and Dance

 

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8 minutes ago, BlackLightning said:

I agree and I wouldn't have no problem with it.

The bigger question is if he will give the first (or second) half of the two-parter The Winds of Winter a different title. Will it be The Winds of Winter, Parts One and Two or will it be A Time for Wolves and The Winds of Winter?

If he takes more time to deliver a book that would be around 1.5-2x larger than expected, that would definitely be a good surprise imo. If it takes only a few more months, then it's clearly bearable compared to the ten freaking years some fans have spent waiting. 

 

51 minutes ago, BlackLightning said:

The key here is that, as of right now, he is not satisfied with the conclusion of Winds as it is shaping up. And there's also the implication that he was not truly satisfied with the conclusion of Dance either as it were...which makes sense. Even though Dance was very good, it should've ended with:

  • Tyrion meeting Dany before she leaves on dragonback
  • the Battle of Meereen: either find a stopping point or end the book with the the opening salvos of the battle being a cliffhanger
  • Arianne either deciding to go meet Aegon (Arianne II) or actually coming face-to-face with Aegon (which will undoubtedly be Arianne III or IV)

The Cersei, Jaime and Areo chapters should've been kept in A Feast for Crows. The Greyjoys should've been the only crossover POVs between Feast and Dance

That was my understanding of his last update as well: as long as he hasn't finished writing what he wanted to include in Winds, he won't publish anything and will just keep writing... And he still technically hasn't finished the Dance he envisioned when he finished Storm. Which means there's a good chance that the book is going to be so massive that it'll require to be cut and published in two separate parts. If Winds ends up being released in just one volume, I fear the story might feel a little rushed for the sake of fitting inside one single book, although I'm certain our author could manage that (he is after all the man who wrote ASOS).

WRT where Dance should've ended, I think cutting the battle of Meereen  in the middle would've been even worse than not including it. The battle of Fire was meant to be the payoff of an entire book of buildup, so it stands to reason that it should have been included at the end of the book, in its entirety. The same goes for the battle of Ice, which had the same amount of buildup in Dance. 

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2 hours ago, The Winged Griffin said:

WRT where Dance should've ended, I think cutting the battle of Meereen  in the middle would've been even worse than not including it. The battle of Fire was meant to be the payoff of an entire book of buildup, so it stands to reason that it should have been included at the end of the book, in its entirety. The same goes for the battle of Ice, which had the same amount of buildup in Dance. 

Well the problem is that I think GRRM wants Daenerys to show back up in Meereen atop Drogon with a Dothraki super-khalasar at her back. I don't whether he wanted Daenerys to show back up to pull off an eleventh hour rescue and end the Battle once and for all...or if he wanted Daenerys to show up for the immediate aftermath of the Battle of Meereen.

However, I think that the point was that you can't depict the entire Battle of Meereen and its aftermath without having Daenerys show back up at some point to either reassume control or end the fighting. And Daenerys can't return to Meereen until she has finished taking care of business with the Dothraki.

The Battle of Winterfell? Yeah, most of Dance was setting the stage for the Battle of Winterfell but you can squeeze it into The Winds of Winter without too much of a issue. Thematically, the Battle of Ice being depicted in a book called The Winds of Winter just works on so many levels. Narratively, we are still a ways away from the onset of the Battle of Ice. The Baratheon and Bolton armies have yet to even encounter each other yet because of the bad weather and the difficulties it creates has postponed open warfare.

The Battle of Meereen? Well, the book is called A Dance with Dragons and the Battle of Meereen is the Battle of Fire with a neat side feature of having the dragons being both loose cannons and targets.

Both battles needed to be in the book but if the book was too big, then you can leave out the Battle of Winterfell and truncate the Battle of Meereen with a cliffhanger.

For whatever reason, all of the plots of Dance was too much to put in one  book. It may be that GRRM split Feast and Dance wrong. Maybe Dance should have exclusively revolved around the POVs outside of Westeros and all the Westeros POVs should've been kept in Feast. Maybe GRRM should have put all the Ironborn and Dornish "where in the world is Daenerys Targaryen" plots into one smaller book in between Storm and Feast and then made Feast and Dance into full novels that incorporate the new characters in with the old.

All the evidence points to the fact the Battles of Ice and Fire were supposed to happen and be concluded in Dance. It's not up for debate. But then it begs the question of what was supposed to be purely exclusive to The Winds of Winter? Where did that leave Jon and Dany?

After all, it is strange how GRRM made them the narrative and thematic centerpieces of the Battles of Ice and Fire only to completely remove them from the situation just before the actual battles begin. What were they supposed to be doing during the fighting? Were we just not going to get another chapter from them until The Winds of Winter?

  • Dany is an easy enough explanation until you start actually trying to bring her back into the story. When you factor in how far away she is and the time it'll take for her and her new allies to get back even in the best of circumstances you run into problems. And on top of that, how long is it going to take for Dany to do whatever she is about to do? If it's too short, it will be implausible and everyone who reads it will groan and gouge out their eyes and set the books aflame. If it's too long she will show back up months (or half of a year or a whole year) after the Battle of Fire ended which will again make audiences groan and gouge out their eyes and burn the book literally or figuratively with scathing reviews. With Dany, it's an issue of location and time and how to not create plot holes and glaring inconsistencies by ignoring or minimizing them.
  • But then there is Jon who presents a large series of big problems. (1) Is he supposed to be dead the entire time or is he supposed to be living a second life in Ghost? (2) If he is stuck in Ghost, is he still at the Wall or has he left the Wall? (3) If GhostJon is still at the Wall, is he captive, free or hidden away by Melisandre (the latter option being mostly boring and pointless)? (4) If GhostJon has left the Wall, is he going beyond the Wall, south to get involved with the Battle of Winterfell or west to the Shadow Tower to do something else? (5) Even so, the Battle of Winterfell is too closely tied to what happens at the Wall. It is impossible to tell the story of the Battle of Winterfell without laying out what is happening at the Wall.

Honestly, it makes the Meereenese Knot look like an open-and-shut case.

Edited by BlackLightning
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19 hours ago, BlackLightning said:

The bigger question is if he will give the first (or second) half of the two-parter The Winds of Winter a different title. Will it be The Winds of Winter, Parts One and Two or will it be A Time for Wolves and The Winds of Winter?

That's actually  cool idea ! It would allow him to bring back an old title that he abandoned for the (much better) A Dream of Spring, while avoiding the unartistic Volume 1&2 . And we've all seen with A Dance With Dragons that the titles don't really refer to the content of the book anymore.

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10 minutes ago, The Winged Griffin said:

And we've all seen with A Dance With Dragons that the titles don't really refer to the content of the book anymore.

The titles do refer to the content of the book.

People were "dancing" with Aegon, Daenerys and Jon inadvertently setting the three up for a big conflict, the dragons became major plot devices for the first time since their introduction and metaphorical dragons started to menace the other main characters and Westeros at large (i.e. the Faith Militant, the Brotherhood without Banners, the Ironborn, Varys, Bloodraven, etc.)

Sure, we definitely should've had the Arianne chapters be included in the book Aegon in the final chapters of this book and maybe see Rhaegal and Viserion wreak more havoc.

But overall, the book was on message.

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21 minutes ago, BlackLightning said:

The titles do refer to the content of the book.

People were "dancing" with Aegon, Daenerys and Jon inadvertently setting the three up for a big conflict, the dragons became major plot devices for the first time since their introduction and metaphorical dragons started to menace the other main characters and Westeros at large (i.e. the Faith Militant, the Brotherhood without Banners, the Ironborn, Varys, Bloodraven, etc.)

Sure, we definitely should've had the Arianne chapters be included in the book Aegon in the final chapters of this book and maybe see Rhaegal and Viserion wreak more havoc.

But overall, the book was on message.

No it wasn't.  Come on. 

Edited by Cas Stark
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5 minutes ago, BlackLightning said:

How was it not?

GRRM already told us that the first 'dance with dragons' was the Targ civil war, people riding dragons in a war.  Not metaphorical dragons, but dragons.  His title is out of sync because he overwrote the last two books and didn't get to the 'dance of dragons' he intended.

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On 2/11/2021 at 12:37 PM, Cas Stark said:

GRRM already told us that the first 'dance with dragons' was the Targ civil war, people riding dragons in a war.  Not metaphorical dragons, but dragons.  His title is out of sync because he overwrote the last two books and didn't get to the 'dance of dragons' he intended.

You were seriously expecting Dany and Aegon to meet each other, not get along and then have a whole war against each other in the span of one book?

We didn't even get that with A Game of Thrones and the Starks and Lannisters had known each other for years

Even if you didn't "overwrite," it's a massive stretch. Dany is in Meereen and Aegon is in Volantis and we know from the POVs of Tyrion, Quentyn and Victarion that the distance between Meereen and Volantis is great and dangerous.

Unless you had Dany just up and leaving Meereen (out of character) for Volantis the moment she hears about Aegon. Even then, Dany would be abandoning Meereen (out of character) because she wouldn't be able to go back to Meereen right away as Volantis has need of her. And it also takes Dany too far out of the Dothraki's reach and going back to Vaes Dothrak was the plan from the beginning.

Edited by BlackLightning
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A two volume Winds of Winter would be fine (awesome!) as long as they are published simultaneously or within 6 months of each other.

Martin chose poorly when he decided to end Dance without the battles of Ice and Fire. All that buildup for nothing.

He didn't do that with any other battle through the first four books and then he does it twice at the end of Dance? Lame.

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