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MattTaz

GRRM slow writing pace

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I saw this on another site and thought I'd ask the question here as Westeros is a pretty tight run ship if you know what I mean.

Its not so much a GRRM bash - well a little - but it does raise a valid question in regards to up and coming authors who want to write

a fantasy series with a number of books

 

 

"I copied and pasted these quotes from other sites, but it is interesting how many times you do hear 'i'm not reading this series until its finished" Believe it or not i'm actually doing this for Patrick Rothfuss who i've been told has written 2 good books, but i'm NOT going to read them until its finished because i'm tired of neverending fantasy series :(

 

Author Alan Baxter

 

Readers and authors are entering into unwritten contracts with each other. The author says, “I’ll write this series.” The reader says, “Cool, I’ll buy it and read it. I might even like it and give you a positive review and tell my friends about it.” It’s a symbiotic relationship.

 

The author doesn’t have to finish that series. There’s no legally binding contract, no demon’s blood on the page to force the magic out. But, should they not see through that originally stated obligation, they are letting the readers down. We all f..k up sometimes, we all get distracted by life and things that happen which are beyond our control. We all let people down sometimes, however much we may wish and try not to. But we should also own up to that let down. “Sorry, folks, I let you down” is lot more conducive to an ongoing relationship than, “F.you, I’m not your b..ch!”

 

Author Brent Weeks

 

Part of what entices us to buy a book is the promise conveyed in the title. “Gragnar’s Epic Magical Dragon Quest Trilogy: Book 1” promises there will be two more books. Whether through the title, or interviews, or through a note to readers at the end of a book that says the next book will be out in a year, when an author makes that kind of commitment, maybe technically there’s no contract, but there is an obligation.

 

And do you know who’s hurt when that obligation is broken? Not the multimillionaire authors, but the mid-listers who are in the middle of a series, barely making it, who hear readers say, “I don’t start a series anymore until all the books are finished. I’ve been burned too many times.” (...) GRRM promised something he didn’t deliver. If he were better at PR, he might have defused a great deal of the anger, but he can get away with it because he’s a towering talent with millions of fans. (...) So, Mr Gaiman, that “GRRM is not your b.tch” is trivially true, but I’m not sure it’s something we should cheer. We can fail to fulfill our obligations for many good reasons. However, when we do, it behooves us to apologize, not to pretend that readers are the ones acting entitled. (...) Regardless of their success, writers have obligations to readers because readers pay us to do what we love. Readers don’t understand how hard writing can be, but many of us don’t understand how hard it is to work at McDonald’s, or a post office, or a sales desk.

Edited by MattTaz

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Wrote something but got pretty off tangent, anyway, I think GRRM has done a lot more to promote the Epic Fantasy Genre than to discourage it. Everytime he spends five years to complete a novel there will be an army of adolescent fantasy readers with a hole in their hearts that needs to be filled with something... I've just picked up ASoIaF so I haven't suffered from it but I've read WoT since the mid nineties so I think I'm entitled to an opinion ;)

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When adult authors are commenting on it i think there must be something more than people just having a whinge

Your lucky though, Mr Jordan - god bless him - always was no longer than 2 years between books.

Can you imagine the sh1t storm if Crossroads came out 5 years after Winters Heart then Knife of Dreams 6 years later. Bloody hell :D

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The Alan Baxter quote can't really be attributed to GRRM. It was his fans and Gaiman who said "GRRM is not your bitch," not Martin. All Martin ever said from 2005 onward, every single year, was "Sorry the book's not finished," "Sorry I'm still working on it," "I really wanted it to be out this year, but it's not going to be," "Sorry" "Sorry" "Sorry," Until finally around '09 he started to say things more like "I'm not going to comment on it, but you WILL know the second this book is done," because he was sick of people asking and not accepting that obviously the book wasn't done, as it wasn't out yet.

 

As for Weeks, he has something of a point, but it's not like Martin really got distracted from ADwD or anything. He worked on it continuously for six years, he's not off writing other series, he didn't stop writing ASoIaF to publish another trilogy of something and leave it unfinished, he's been working on it steadily for 6 years. Yes, he had other projects, none of which were as time consuming. It takes a lot of time to write a 1500 page tome, especially if it's going to be any good. Readers who refuse to start series because they're not finished will still buy the books, maybe, when they are finished. You can't point to Martin, Jordan, Erikson, Williams, and every other big author in the genre and say "He's the reason my books are failing because a small fringe section of the fandom won't buy a series until they're finished!" If that's your problem, a) don't write series, stick to stand alone novels until you build a fandom, b) write a GOOD series! If a series is GOOD then people will read it, even part of that group who say they won't, will. Plenty of people said they'd never read ADwD until the series was finished, and then read the book anyway. Plenty of people have said they won't start an unfinished series and then started Stormlight Archives, or A Song of Ice and Fire, or Malazan back before it finished. If you write a GOOD book that gets the kind of fan and critic attention that warrants it being a hit, it'll be a hit. It might not start out at number 1, but word of mouth will get around to the point that the sequel could easily be.

 

So is George hurting the sales of other authors? If he is, I doubt it's by much. If GRRM isn't the readers bitch, then he certainly isn't other authors bitch. Especially when he's become such a magnet to get people back into the genre. It just looks like picking on the popular kid on the team for bringing more fans to the game. If Weeks wrote a book half as good as A Game of Thrones, he'd have no reason to complain.

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Guest PiotrekS

I agree that saying that because of GRRM's slow writing process some less popular authors can't sell their books is quite absurd. Even if any such effect existed in reality, it would be far outweighed by the number of readers writers such as GRRM bring into the fanasy market.

 

Still, I don't agree completely with Mr Gaiman's quote. He is generally right of course, but it is also true that when the writer expects the readers to buy the first tome of his series, it is only fair of him to deliver next tomes in some reasonable time. The relationship between the author and the readers is pretty symbiotic, both sides benefit from it and should treat each other well. We wouldn't like it if we bought, let's say thirteen tomes of the series and then the author would say: "I'm tired of it, I'm not writing a final volume". It would not be fair. So I think there are circumstances when the readers can expect the author to write a book, based on his implicit promise to do so stemming from the very idea of the series.

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re: I'm not going to buy/read X until it's finished because I don't want to start a neverending series

 

I think it's important to note that not everyone who chooses to wait does so simply because they don't want to start something that "will never finish"

personally I like to watch shows and read book series that are complete

I don't like to wait for the next episode/volume to come out

I want to experience the story as it's meant to be presented, as one continuous piece

 

sometimes something is so good that I am willing to suffer the wait just to experience it piece by piece

but in other cases I'm choosing to wait

a good example of this is Brandon Sanderson's Way of Kings

I have it but I'm not going to read it

I've read everything else by Sanderson (excluding Alloy of Law which is waiting for me to read it and his YA series) and they were excellent

I have no doubt Way of Kings is a damn good novel as well

however it is something I want to experience altogether

I probably wont wait for the series to be complete but it's likely I'm not going to pick up way of kings until the third or fourth book is out

 

on the subject of GRRM and the relationship between an author and his fanbase

I agree with Gaiman

GRRM is not beholden to you

this is his series

the same goes with any author and their works

I think many fantasy readers are spoiled by the plethora of talented writers out there right now that are able to turn out a book every year or two

that's amazing and great and those authors deserve a lot of respect but I don't feel that it's fair to hold everyone up to those same standards

this isn't the movie or music industry

yes many books are made purely to entertain but for a lot of authors it's also a work of love

they don't want to release something they aren't proud of

if it's not ready it's not ready

yeah it sucks if it takes 4 or 5 years instead of 1 or 2 but I'd much rather read a better product that the author is proud to call complete than something that was rushed to appease angry fans who have no right to be angry in the first place

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The current high profile and success of ASoIaF is bringing vast numbers of readers to the fantasy genre who'd previously written it off as lame and trite. They're coming in and finding ASoIaF and then being directed to Abercrombie, Lynch, Rothfuss, Sanderson, Erikson, Abraham, Bakker, Weeks and, indeed, Jordan. Sales across the entire epic fantasy genre are up, and certainly the ASoIaF/GoT-on-HBO effect is one of the reasons for that. That radically outclasses the number of people who have vowed to swear off series until they are done.

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I also feel that fantasy fans by and large, are pretty patient when it comes to waiting for the next book. I certainly don't mind waiting a few years for the next installment of a good story. I can always re-read if I want to visit those characters again and there are plenty of other books I can read in the meantime. A good story takes time to tell properly and I'm willing to wait for quality.

 

The only author who I will not read her books unless the series is complete now is Melanie Rawn. I understand that she has her reasons for working on other books and not the final installment of the EXILES trilogy, and I wish her the best in dealing with her mental health issues, but I'm not touching her books until she finishes what she started.

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I also feel that fantasy fans by and large, are pretty patient when it comes to waiting for the next book. I certainly don't mind waiting a few years for the next installment of a good story. I can always re-read if I want to visit those characters again and there are plenty of other books I can read in the meantime. A good story takes time to tell properly and I'm willing to wait for quality.

that's a good point

personally I have books I bought like two years ago I still haven't read

my backlog of things I want to read must be 25-45 books by now if not more

and if I ever get through that there's always classics I haven't read yet like Through The Looking Glass or The Three Musketeers or somesuch

In a way I really enjoy waiting for the next installment of a big fantasy series

it feels almost like a break that gives me the time I need to read other things that got pushed to the side

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The whole GRRM is not your bitch thing set me off. Yeah, he is not beholden to me, but it is a two way street and I am not his bitch either. The long delay for his last two books along with the decline in quality means, for me, GRRM will not get another cent of my money.

 

This has also changed my book buying habits. Now I only but a new release if the author has a track record of quality writing along with a history of putting out new material at a decent pace. A couple examples, Patrick Rothfus and Scott Lynch have not and will not get any of my money, whereas writers like Abercrombie, Bakker, and Sanderson will as soon as their books hit the shelf.

 

I borrowed and read Rothfus books and kind of enjoyed them, and have thoroughly enjoyed Lynch, but this business with GRRM has warned me off series with large delays. I do not need a new book immediately, but with a large series a new book every 2-3 years is not an unreasonable expectation.

 

Some people have tried to argue that art can not be rushed, what I have noticed is that books with longer delays tend to have more pacing problems than those that come out fairly quickly.

 

/rant

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Some people have tried to argue that art can not be rushed, what I have noticed is that books with longer delays tend to have more pacing problems than those that come out fairly quickly.

/rant

 

This statement correlating time spent on a book and pacing problems is patently false. Not sure how serious you were...

 

In regards to the first part it's not so much that art can't be rushed. I mean it is self evident that "good" art cant be rushed, there is no need to argue it. I think the point is more along the lines that authors all work at their own pace and should not be forced to put out a work until they are satisfied with it. You can't place a time period on that as things constantly change(Lynch mental health issues, GRRM scrapping large portions due to structural problems) and us as fans should have zero say in that process. This whole "book every year or two" concept is a very modern one and has done far more harm than good.

Edited by Suttree

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Yes and no, the whole process of writing and distributing a book, has also increased in pace. So a lot of what took extra time in the past, has been negated by improving the tools used.

 

There is a big difference in waiting 5 years and waiting 1-2 years. Especially when ending the books on cliffhangers, instead of ending 1 phase, getting ready to move on to the next. In general cliffhangers are a cheap way to keep the fans hooked, if it's truly good writing, it shouldn't be needed.

 

GRRM, has been quite slack with ADWD, and I didn't find the quality justified the wait.

 

Personally I've had the feeling he tried to fit too many secondary plotlines into the story, instead of simply lining up novels within the same universy, after he finishes his SOFAI.

 

I sucked in the first 4 books rather fast, and have had no trouble re-reading them. However ADWD I've not had the motivation to re-read as of yet. It just didn't hold the same gripping pace or interest in me. I find myself just wanting to get some resolution to the story.

 

Is that me being impatient as a fan? Maybe, I would be the wrong person to judge. All I can provide is my own view on the story, and I am almost sure the 7 book series is going to be extended to at least 8 books, and there will be more prolonging of the overall story, becuase stories that aren't relevant to his original idea are being shoved in. It adds to the world yes, but it could also be well left to another release without hurting the current story. And I think him trying to fit it all together is his main reason for being so slow.

 

/rant over and sorry if the grammar is rather poor, english isn't my main language.

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To me ADWD had one big problem, Dany and her storyline, except for that I enjoyed it.

 

I'd say that the jury is still out on whether he brought on too many characters, really depends on how he wraps it up in the last 2-3 books. If it just keeps on growing then I'm totally with you on that, but if they all (most) have a purpose then I'll be fine with it. Even though I didn't really care about Tyrion in a freakshow...

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It might be frustrating to readers to have to wait for the next book to be released, but let's face it - authors want to finish as well. It's not like delays are just a result of the authors trying to annoy us poor readers. There are many reasons why books might be delayed, and sometimes getting the book out "on time" and in a publishable state is just not possible. Not every author can churn out books on a conveyor belt. To some, this might be enough to convince them not to start unfinished series. Fine. They're a minority. If unfinished series are a problem for you, there are plenty of finished ones, not to mention standalones. I don't see it as being a big problem if GRRM takes his time to finish. I, like most readers, am more than capable of finding other books to keep me busy in the wait between releases by a particular author. I don't see the need to complain about how long it's taking or to swear off books by that author, or similar.

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In this case with GRRM and the wait for ADWD, I think the main issue was that he himself said it would be out in a year.

 

That turned out to be 5...Now I do know he didn't prolong it on purpose, basicly he thought he had more than half the story written already, and turned out he had to rewrite the whole thing.

 

 

But then don't promise the book in a year in the first place, it's just inviting fans to grow impatient.

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But then don't promise the book in a year in the first place, it's just inviting fans to grow impatient.

 

I agree on this, that statement by GRRM (published in the back of the previous book itself, to compound the issue) was unwise and appeared to be so at the time, let alone with hindsight. At the same time, it was made with relief at completing AFFC after an extremely frustrating writing period (which wasn't as long as ADWD's, but arguably more frustrating as he had to dump 100-200 pages of completed material and rewrite from scratch, which is more serious than what happened with ADWD), so it's not entirely incomprehensible.

 

What is bizarre is that the publishers didn't remove the promise of the next book coming out in a year in later editions of AFFC, even those published years after the deadline had passed.

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"The only author who I will not read her books unless the series is complete now is Melanie Rawn. I understand that she has her reasons for working on other books and not the final installment of the EXILES trilogy, and I wish her the best in dealing with her mental health issues, but I'm not touching her books until she finishes what she started."

 

 

Agree 100% i will NEVER read anything she writes again until she finishes the EXILES series. Her mental health issues didnt stop her from writing how many other books before finishing this trilogy and now i believe she isnt able to finish it even if she desired to, hell she probably doesnt even remember the characters from the series!

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http://www.newyorkjets.com/media-lounge/videos/Author-George-RR-Martin-in-Attendance/67a88f80-6b55-475d-9328-757867602cba

 

"10 more years at least" to finish the series

 

I hope he was being sarcastic but it didnt look that way :(

 

GRRM has a - rather odd - belief that the TV series will take ten years to get to completion. He's said as much before, though it's rather unrealistic to expect the series to last that long in my view.

 

He envisages the last two books taking 3.5-4 years each though, so it'll likely not be far off ten years, especially if he has another year of promotion and work between Books 6 and 7 (and assuming the series doesn't expand again).

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http://www.newyorkje...28-757867602cba

 

"10 more years at least" to finish the series

 

I hope he was being sarcastic but it didnt look that way :(

 

GRRM has a - rather odd - belief that the TV series will take ten years to get to completion. He's said as much before, though it's rather unrealistic to expect the series to last that long in my view.

 

He envisages the last two books taking 3.5-4 years each though, so it'll likely not be far off ten years, especially if he has another year of promotion and work between Books 6 and 7 (and assuming the series doesn't expand again).

 

I think it's already been announced that ASoS will be split into two seasons, and stuff that is seeming to get omitted from season 2 has some fans speculating that some ACoK stuff will go in season 3. Assuming then that season 4 means the completion of the first three books, I don't think it's a stretch to believe AFfC and ADwD will also need two seasons each, given their size is comparable to ASoS. That would mean eight seasons just to cover the books that have already been published. By then, GRRM should have had enough time to have at least put out Book Six, and I'd guess he would be at least past the halfway point in Book Seven. We don't yet know if the last two books will be the same size, but if they are, then I'd calculate twelve seasons to finish adapting them all, unless HBO sees fit to order more episodes per season. All of this is assuming, for argument's sake, that the TV series does indeed last that long. However, I agree with your assessment that the series won't.

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HBO have apparently told - quite openly - the cast and crew of GAME OF THRONES that they will film 20 episodes next year, either to be filmed as a double-length third season incorporating all of A STORM OF SWORDS and the opening of A FEAST FOR CROWS and A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, or as standard-length third and fourth seasons which will be aired a few months apart rather than a full year.

 

Either way, that means going from having ADWD material in the fifth season (three years away) to potentially having it in the third (eighteen months away), which may be great from the POV of the viewer but probably terrifying for GRRM, as they'll need the sixth and seventh books much more quickly, especially if they do something similar the following year.

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makes sense to combined FoC's with DwD's imo; as both books follow the same time line. they'll just need a longer season is all.

 

 

either way, souds like HBP is once again heading in the right direction with this series :happy: so glad they got the series rather than Waner Bros *nods* i hope they get the rights to WoT as well.

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AFFC & ADWD would have to be combined into one season otherwise it would be just plain dull and be axed.

I'll call it now, if the TV series keeps going we will see the end of this series on a television rather than

a book.

sigh!!!! :(

Edited by MattTaz

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