Today George R.R. Martin announced that The Winds of Winter will not be released in time for the start of Game of Thrones' sixth season. For the uninitiated, The Winds of Winter is scheduled to be book number six (of seven) in the A Song of Ice and Fire series upon which Game of Thrones is based.
Martin says that several hundred pages have been written, but the book is not complete. He missed an October deadline and another end-of-year deadline.
I cannot pretend to understand the pressure he's under, and I do appreciate his candor in this blog post. He's someone who has written in relative obscurity for most of his career. He's always been a cult favorite, but he became a bonafide celebrity author once the HBO show based on his books became a hit. Four ASOIAF books were in the can before the show aired. A Dance With Dragons (which is really the "rest of" the fourth book, A Feast for Crows) had been finished for a while even though it wasn't published until after the premiere season.
He promised us two more books. We've been waiting since 2012.
As a fan, I'm sad. I worry, like everyone else, if we'll ever see GRRM's vision for the end of the series or if, by default, the fates of Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister will be left to Benioff and Weiss. Assuming he does finish the books, I wonder if his version will be affected by what we'll have already seen on TV. I don't mind the show being "spoiled" for me on account of the books, but I don't want the books spoiled because of the show.
As a novelist, I admit it, I feel some sour grapes.
Here is a man who has hit the stratosphere to which most of us aspire. He is the 1%, writer-wise. He's probably more like the 0.001%. And he can't hit his deadlines. He can't finish the damn book.
He admits that he's always had trouble hitting his deadlines, since he was in his twenties. So I can't blame him entirely. The system failed him. The system of "Okay, sir, that's fine. Turn it in later" failed him. And this notion of "I just can't/the words won't come" perpetuates the myth that writing requires some kind of fairy dust to make the magic happen.
Writers write. It's that simple. Bakers bake. Teachers teach. Lawyers law...or whatever. You have a job; you get up and do it. People are counting on you. Your fans are counting on you. The show is counting on you. Your publisher is counting on you.
I'm probably just feeling bitter at the moment. I don't have the luxury of "process." I started writing books during my kids' nap times. Now I write when they're at school or if my mom will take them for a few hours when they're off. Right now I'm sitting on my couch trying to type up this post while being barked at and asked for help with a Star Wars Lego set. I have line edits for two different manuscripts sitting in my inbox right now, one of them due January 12.
Barring some horrible tragedy (*spits on ground*), I will hit the deadline. And I don't get paid NEAR the amount GRRM does for his work. If I divided the number of hours I've worked on The Sound of Us by the amount money I received as an advance, you'd cry for me. You'd literally cry, and then, hopefully, you'd start a Go Fund Me page in my honor. Thanks in advance.
If someone wanted to pay me millions of dollars to write a book, you'd better believe I'd hit those deadlines so fast your head would spin. I'd be a writing machine.
You have my permission, however, to pull this post out and wave it in my face when I am making a ton of money, and my books have been turned into a show, and I've left you waiting too long for the next book in the series.
I'll chuff your arm, say, "You got me," and laugh all the way to my luxury skybox at the United Center.
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