ADWD- October release?

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by Mithfânion, Jan 31, 2008.

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  1. Mithfânion

    Mithfânion Lord of the Wild Hunt

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    Molybdenum & Evil Agent

    You are mistaken. Who said this? Who says he posted the update in the wrong place? I'm happy he gave an update and I don't care one bit where he posts it. I'm just pointing out to Kat that she was wrong to judge people a few weeks ago by saying they should not be looking at Martin's BLOG for any updates on the release date. I mentioned at the time that that was false because Martin *does* speak about ADWD on his blog ( albeit very succinctly) and his actual "update" page is never updated, and with GRRM now updating us about ADWD on his blog, that is only further confirmed to be false. GRRM's done nothing wrong here, and I haven't seen anyone who has said he has.

    Please do distinguish between someone criticizing an author and someone who is disagreeing with a fellow poster's take. Yes it required that you actually read what people say before you lash out, but that should be an acceptable sacrifice.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2009
  2. Evil Agent

    Evil Agent Saturn Comes Back Around

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    I'm not quite sure why you brought me into this... I wasn't trying to debate anything, I was just randomly talking (semi-off-topic) about the large amount of complaining on the internet in general.

    But yes, I agree, Martin's blog (which he calls "not a blog") is basically his update page now, and his "official" update page is actually more of a "final announcement of completion" page.
     
  3. KatG

    KatG The Bony Hand of Death Staff Member

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    It's easy to go overboard. I think, for instance, that I didn't do right by Ray. I said he was now my favorite clueless ironist, which implies that I think he is a clueless person. I do not. I wasn't joking when I said that I hope he writes some novels. I feel his views on this particular subject are clueless and rather ironic, which is an entirely different thing. I explained why I thought so, but it is his views I'm arguing with, not the person.

    Mithfanion -- I did not judge people for going to Martin's blog. I said that if reading the blog upset them, it didn't make sense for them to read it because we'd been told that the official release date would be put on the Update page, not the blog. This was due to earlier info from several different sources, including this quote from Wert's blog, to which I was responding on the thread:

    “As GRRM himself has said, substantial news about ADWD will be posted on his website's Song of Ice and Fire update page, not on his blog.”

    To which I responded: "So apparently, Blackfish, you go to the Update section on the website, not Martin's blog. And if there's nothing there, you go fish."

    And which I later clarified: "I.e. tough luck. It's been officially announced and communicated to the official fansites that updates on the release date, when there are any, will be put on the Update page, which certainly makes sense. So you go there, and if there is nothing there, there is no update on the release date. Sounds simple to me. If you want to also go to his blog and hear about football, that's fine too, but the release update is on the Update page."

    Re-reading Martin's new blog entry now, I see that I missed the bit at the bottom where he said that he'd announce when he delivered the ms. to his publisher on his blog. (I suspect I was distracted by the cartoon.) That's not exactly the same as an official release date, but it is a promise of an update, unlike the blog entry itself, so essentially, Martin changed his mind because fans begged, seems like. But the information will also be put up on the Update page, according to Martin, so you can get it there too. And as I said in my previous post, you don't really have to go to either the Update page or the blog for the info, as it will be blasted all over the Web, possibly even before Martin puts any news up anywhere himself, I'd suspect.

    But when I made my original comments several weeks ago about this issue, I did not know that Martin would change his mind about updates in his blog, because I am not able to psychically read the future. People were complaining back then that the blog had no updates on the official release date. Martin said that information would be on the Update page. So if the blog pisses you off, you can just check the Update page until there's something on it. Again, I was simply pointing out that if the blog bothered you, you don't have to read it, since official info would be provided elsewhere. I have no earthly problem with anyone reading Martin's blog for crumbs about Dragons.

    So yes, I was wrong, as it turns out. But at the time, I was right because this is what we'd been told. You said that sometimes Martin mentions Dragons in his blog, yes, but that you hadn't found it very helpful or believable. Others complained that it was a waste of time and that he was a very bad person for not putting updates on the release date on his blog.

    So I suggested you stop reading the blog and just check in with the Update page. Again, this was an attempt to help you all reduce frustration, not an attempt to keep any of you from reading Martin's blog. Please, read Martin's blog. Read it several times a day, if you like. Let me know what Martin thinks about basketball games. Let me know about the miniatures, because I would actually like to get some, if they aren't too expensive.

    John Scalzi weighs in. Like most veteran authors, he's on Martin's side:

    http://whatever.scalzi.com/
     
  4. PeterWilliam

    PeterWilliam Omnibus Prime

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    Scalzi has a rather convincing perspective. It might be easy for the extremely interested fan to dismiss Scalzi by marginalizing his experience as nothing more the anecdotal evidence, but it is the perspective from where GRRM sits and, so, is insightful.

    This is another race I have no horse in. I have, in the past, been somewhat concerned about the passage of time, wondering if this will be an unfinished series (a tragedy, for certain). However, with things like the perspective of Scalzi, and others (some here at sffworld), I am more confident than ever that the book will be; 1.) finished when it should be and 2.) will be high in quality.
     
  5. Mithfânion

    Mithfânion Lord of the Wild Hunt

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    Re; Scalzi

    Indeed, as most authors do, or have done, he picks up the gauntlet for Martin. This is understandable, he is a writer and is likely to feel more kin to a fellow well-known writer than to the audience that buys the books. I'll go into some of the things he says, because while I do get why he would relate more to Martin here than to the people who pay for the writing, he does sometimes seem to miss in his examples what differentiates ASOIAF from his own work.

    And the reason those people are enraged is for one thing that this series, unlike Scalzi's own SF series set in the same world, is heavily dependent upon the next book, to the point that virtually no single storyline is resolved from a main character, until the next book.

    To draw an analogy, this is like showing episode 19 of Battlestar Galactica season 4, and then have people wait 5 years for the final episode. Waiting for the next Scalzi is more like showing the 4th season and then maybe someday, there will be a 5th one. It would be nice if more came because you enjoyed the show, but it's not essential that more follows.

    Here again the hyperbole from someone who just hasn't been following this story for the last few years and just wades in.

    I think pretty much everyone would like GRRM to feel comfortable doing his job. Citing the example of trying Martin to his computer is an oft used example to drawn people who think Martin should be more focused into a light of ridicule. Though if you read the many interviews with various authors it is clear that for most writers, writing comes down to discipline a lot. Write every day. Write more. Revise and work hard. Write every day of the week, or for some, every night of the week.

    I would say to Scalzi, surely fans would not be complaining if Martin delivered in something even remotely resembling a timely manner. Nobody should expect the man to be tied to his computer and let's not make Martin the bullied schoolboy here: it's clear from every angle that Martin does exactly what he wants, and takes on as many projects as he wants, visits as many conventions as he wants, takes on as many licensing projects as he wants and then proceeds to be heavily involved in them, edits anthologies and generally does loads of things that distract and take time away from him. That is his choice, his life, but I understand that people would take issue with a man who seems to lack dedication to the only work among all of those that they actually care about: A Dance with Dragons. If he could do all of that stuff on the side and produce ADWD, would anyone complain? I for one doubt it. But since he has proven he can't, and that the writig pace of the series has gone down dramatically, it's natural for fans to question if all the other stuff should not be ditched to some extent in favour of more focus on ADWD.

    It's sometimes forgotten that Martin is the big name he is now because of ASOIAF and that many of his fans are not Martin fans, but Song of Ice and Fire fans. They are not at all interested in all the stuff he's been editing or peddling their way. And that is why people keep harping on about the progress of the book of course; they feel that among all the other stuff that he's doing, the continued absence of ADWD means it might have been buried beneath everything else.

    I would also say to Scalzi, Martin has said in the past after AFFC he would focus exclusively on ADWD. He didn't do this. He also said multiple times that he cannot write away from home, so being out a lot on various holiday trips means no writing. He's also taken on many other projects that require intensive work, which he has to juggle next to ADWD. Seeing that, I just don't see how you can blame people for thinking Martin's not giving it his all for ADWD. People think, "man with all the other stuff you are taking on, next to the fact that you are already a slow writer, who cannot write a word away from home, this is going to take years". And indeed it does. Is it his choice to write in this manner? Yes it is. But I fully understand that people waiting for the next book in a cliffhanger series are annoyed by this and that they question, unlike Scalze, Martin's dedication and work ethic.

    I think at the core, he assumes that all of these side projects and many distractions that GRRM chooses to engage himself into, are good for the writing of ADWD. Others look at the past decade, look at AFFC compared to the previous books, look at the empty space reserved on the shelf for ADWD for the last 4 years, and think, well, maybe not so good :)

    And what some do is that they try to put pressure on the author because they feel he's not upto much.

    Why does Scalzi assume this though? Since he has not investigated the matter, how does he know GRRM has not lost his dedication or interest in writing the series? What he does is that he simply assumes everything is ok, that Martin is giving it his all and that people should simply wait because in the meantime their author is giving it his all to bring the next book out. Thing is, some fans who have been following these ongoing delays for the last 9 years now and who haven't just jumped into this like Scalzi, have some doubts about that, given all that they witnessed statements wise, behaviour wise and release date wise.

    Anyway, I'm happy that GRRM made an update, next to actually completing the book that's the most one can ask for in my opinion. I'm not mad at Martin, I'm not critical of Martin, my Martin mood is very positive. So please note my reply is specifically to Scalzi's blog post, which is heartwarming for a fellow author I'm sure, but it's not one that looks at the issue from both sides, and as such, rather lazy and unbalanced.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2009
  6. Werthead

    Werthead Registered User

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    I think you have a point Mith, especially about people who haven't followed the situation in detail wading in without reading up on the facts, but I think Scalzi also cuts right through to the heart of the matter:

    Do we want a book released fast or one that is of decent quality? The two are indeed not mutually exclusive and it is correct that the book that was written the fastest in this series - ASoS - was also the best whilst the one that took the longest to be released - AFFC - was the weakest. However, the mixed reception to AFFC may have been counter-productive from a speed point of view in that it may have made GRRM much more careful about quality control on ADWD.

    A comparison I had not considered before was raised on an Erikson discussion. It is not commonly known that, having just signed the biggest fantasy advance in history on the basis of the then-eight-years-old Gardens of the Moon manuscript, Erikson started work on its direct sequel, Memories of Ice. He got about a third of the way into the book, between 300 and 400 pages in, and lost the whole thing in a hard drive failure :eek: The loss of this material was massively demoralising and Erikson was not able to immediately rewrite the book as it was just too painful. With the publishers clamouring for the second volume Erikson chose to write a new book set on a new continent with new characters: Deadhouse Gates. He had a great time writing that book and it fired up new ideas, so when he returned to writing Memories of Ice it turned out much stronger than it would have done originally.

    Personally, I think a lot of the rewriting and quality control issues in AFFC and the writing of ADWD stem from that decision in late 2001 to ditch 18 months' work and hundreds upon hundreds of pages of the original Book 4 and start writing again from scratch, and not just having to rewrite the book but also restructure the whole series to account for the lost five-year gap and then encountering myriad unforseen obstacles along the way. I think that was somewhat demoralising and has taken the series way off course from where it was supposed to go. Course-correcting from that event has taken a lot of time and effort and energy. I do know that one of the many objectives of ADWD is to get the series back on track and heading for where it was supposed to be going originally, and we will only see if that has been successful when the book comes out.

    The only thing we can do right now is look at the evidence, and based on that evidence the version of ADWD that GRRM was in a position to release in 2006/07 would have been very weak indeed. Looking at those rewritten chapters that have been released (particularly the prologue and Jon's first two chapters) the improvement in quality is impressive, and that to me says the extra time was well spent.

    Or to put it another way, even if A Memory of Light, Volume I and II are the best epic fantasy novels ever released in the history of everything, that won't stop Crossroads of Twilight being one of the worst, and when people are talking about the completed series five or ten or twenty years from now, they'll still say it was rubbish. You only get one shot in the writing process before the book comes out to make sure it's great, and if it isn't it could haunt you and the series for a long time to come.
     
  7. molybdenum

    molybdenum Analyze That

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    Sorry if I seemingly bundled you up in a group I didn't mean to bundle you up in Mith, but this is the post I was referring to. There's no mention of correcting Kat here, it just seems to me like a shot at the author for not having more on his updates page. To me, this seems like an attack about nothing. Others may not see it this way, it may not have been intended in this way. If that is the case I apologize.

    And before I get grouped up in the Defenders for attacking the attackers, I agree Martins a slow writer. I even agree that he's slowing down. I do think he owes his readers a finish to the series.

    However, I also think it is his right as an author to take his time if it's going to produce a better quality novel. I believe there is a good chance the series will be finished, (realistically he only has to live for another 10 years at the absolute most) but time and chance happen to everyone.

    EDIT: I hope not too many people see series as crap because of one bad book. I'm on a re-read of A Shadow Rising and Jordan's world-building amazes me. I'm putting him only behind Bakker and Tolkien in that department. Now I'm going to run before the Martineers come after me for saying that.

    Now I'm going to slowly back away from the thread, before I get more people questioning my intelligence.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2009
  8. DailyRich

    DailyRich Damn fool idealist

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    That wasn't even close to an "attack," it was trying to explain why people are frustrated with being told that the only thing that's going to appear on an Update page is a release date. "Update" implies a constant stream of new information, not "Okay, it's done." Not using the update page for its intended purpose and then getting upset at people asking for it to be used that way is just adding to the frustration.
     
  9. dsw13

    dsw13 Registered User

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    Or, you could argue that those who haven't read up on the "facts" can actually be a bit more objective. I'll admit that although, as a fan of the books, I was aware that ADWD was taking longer than I'd like to come out, it's only through reading this thread the past couple of months (and the opinion pieces that have been referenced therein) that I'd seen the "facts" so clearly laid out. Although I'm no longer unaware of the lengthy history of this issue, I still consider myself objective in that I haven't been embroiled in the matter for any significant period of time.

    Mith probably lays out the reasons for some fan's dissatisfaction as logically as one could hope for given the sometimes heated nature of these discussions. That said, I 100% agree with the recent blogging of Jon Scalzi. Martin writes how he writes, and if I'm going to read his books, that's just something that I not only have to accept, but should strive to respect. Sure, I'd love for more updates like the one he just posted, but it seems that doing so has brought him grief in the past, so I understand his reluctance to post anything substantial more frequently. It seems to me that in the past, when the updates were more frequent, he did his best to give accurate estimates, but simply turned out to be wrong. I don't fault him for that. From what I've been reading, it would seem that his writing style doesn't really lend itself to making accurate predictions of finality. Having thrown caution to the wind and making many incorrect predictions so often in the past, and being insulted relentlessly for the effort, I can certainly understand why he'd be a little gun shy about making any more guesses as to completion. I concede, however, that by stopping the updates, GRRM is allowing a few bad apples to ruin it for the more undertanding fans who aren't likely to bitch and moan, but just want to be assured every now and then that progress is being made. It seems to me that this is probably Mith's greatest beef with Martin, and I can understand it.

    I think the most annoying arguments revolve around GRRM's other interests and his insistence in only writing under certain specific conditions (at home in a ceratin chair and what have you). Get over it. The man writes how he writes. There has been some discussion as to whether the first three books were actually written in a much quicker manner. According to Wert, this isn't necessarily true. However, even accepting that the first books were written at a faster pace doesn't change the fact that he writes how he writes. Did GRRM only recently fall in love with the NFL? I suspect that he spent just as much time watching and talking about football while working on AGOT, ACOK, and ASOS as he does now. The same goes for his other activities, whatever they may be. For whatever reason, he was still able to produce those books at a faster pace than ADWD. Sucks for us, sucks more for him, but it is what it is. He's tried cutting back on other interests in order to focus on writing, and appararently he's decided that it didn't make enough of a difference to the end result to justify putting all of his other interests on hold. That's his perogative. He's allowed to have a life. Sure it's frustrating to be left on a cliffhanger, but unless an author promises that a series will be published and completed in x amount of years, being left hanging about storylines you care about is what you sign up for when you first start an incomplete series.

    I guess I could more easily appreciate the arguments of those criticizing Martin if he was completely ignoring the book. It would seem, however, that he actually writes quite a bit, but just winds up making many revisions, scrapping chapters by the score, or saving alot of material for the last two books. Clearly, he's not being lazy, he's just being selective as to what will make the final cut of ADWD. Again, he writes how he writes. Nobody, with the possible exception of his publisher, has the right to suggest he change that process. Shame on anyone who tries.

    That last line is not directed at any poster in this thread, but more to the guy with a blog who has the nerve to criticize the writing process of the author of what is arguably the defining fantasy series of our generation (to be consistent with Kat, I'll call him Ray). Ray apparently thinks he's qualified to share his criticizms because several years ago he took a few writing classes before deciding to become a teacher. I'd think it out of line if Stephen fricking King, perhaps the most successful and prolific author of our time, took another successful author to task for his or her writing process. I lack the vocabulary skills to convey how ridiculous I think it is that Ray would stand on a soapbox and tell Mr. Martin how to do his job. Although, ironist that I am, I'll still thank Ray for an interesting read. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2009
  10. Po6oT

    Po6oT Registered User

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    I always assumed it was taking so long was because Martin couldn't decide what new mental deviancy and physical imperfections to give to the new PoV character.
     
  11. KatG

    KatG The Bony Hand of Death Staff Member

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    Yes, I’m well aware that readers care about stories rather than authors, which is why I’ve been explaining this to readers and to aspiring writers for years. Any author who’s had two books or more published is also well aware of this, such as Scalzi and Martin. That doesn’t mean, however, that it would hurt readers to listen to what authors have to say about writing. Or rather, to not listen selectively only to the things authors say that readers feel fits their confirmation bias while vigorously and repeatedly ignoring those things that authors say that do not.

    For instance, believing Martin when he moans about troubles he is having with his writing – the same sort of aggravation and depression that strikes all writers, who tend to hate their ms. many times in the writing process, especially when a book is harder than expected, and when he says he has trouble writing away from home and prefers not to do it, but refusing to believe him when he also says that he is working on the ms., that he is dedicated to the project, wants to finish it but get it right for him, is writing regularly, etc.

    Or accepting when authors tell aspiring writers that they need to write often, preferably every day, and have some discipline to it, but refusing to believe every author who explains that dedication and discipline, while important, are not the only or even the main factor in wrestling with a story, that writers have to get the story out of their heads in a way that works for them, and that this is often a more complicated matter than just writing pages, than, as Scalzi says, an author being a black box into which you put certain things and the ms. pops out.

    Scalzi knows Martin, has interacted with Martin, and is familiar with what is going on with Martin. More, he and other authors – such as our new member Liane -- understand Martin’s situation because they’ve gone through it, if not to the extent and exact situation that Martin is experiencing on Dragons. They know that Martin is working on the book, what the hold-up is and how he has to work through it. So when Scalzi brings up tying Martin to a chair, or I do, it’s not a matter of trying to ridicule upset fans, but instead trying to explain to those fans a literal truth – force Martin to write in a room, etc., and the book will still not come out of the man’s brain as it ought, because he has to work through it and that involves more than just writing pages.

    Again, Martin has no problem writing pages. He wrote hundreds of pages for the book, he threw out hundreds of pages and wrote them again. Getting him in a room to write is not the problem. The book is the problem, and it is not an unsolvable one, but Martin has to solve it. This is not an artsy-fartsy mystic thing; it’s as much a matter of craft as anything else.

    Forget the issue of quality. Quality is subjective, and just as we have different reactions to Crows, so too will we to Dragons. Martin knows this, that he can’t please all his fans or write to their dictates, and so his Ricky Nelson please myself reference, while said with some anger, is not a flip-off to fans, as some may take it. He can only please himself, get the book right for himself, do what he needs to do on the book and elsewhere, and do so because he respects the people who bought his book, not in spite of them. Authors have been explaining this for decades. It is a truth they are stuck with.

    The Criticizers routinely accuse the Defenders of being outraged that anyone criticize Martin at all. But criticizing authors is a grand SFF tradition. What the majority of the Defenders, including the authors, object to is not Martin being criticized, but that we see the focus of the criticisms as off-base. I’m truly glad, Mith, if you are now happy with Martin when you’d been so unhappy with him before, though I’m rather puzzled that a blog entry that essentially repeats what Martin has said before would do that. Let’s see how it goes in June.
     
  12. phil_geo

    phil_geo Rat Thing

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    What frustrates me is how long Martin is taking to write the next book.
     
  13. KatG

    KatG The Bony Hand of Death Staff Member

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    It frustrates Martin too. Lots of discussion going on re this topic. John Scalzi follows up his article on Martin with one about 10 Things About Authors, which is much better than the first article and reiterates some of the things I've been arguing for weeks on this thread: http://whatever.scalzi.com/

    Charlie Stross also weighs in. Like Sean, I think Stross is trying too hard to put authors into strict classifications, but nonetheless, some decent points: http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2009/02/the_art_of_being_late.html

    And most recently, Patrick Rothfuss, who gives you both entertaining cartoons and an explanation for his delay of his second novel that echos exactly what Martin and other authors have been saying: http://www.patrickrothfuss.com/blog/2009/02/concerning-release-of-book-two.html
     
  14. Boiler

    Boiler Registered User

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    i think it's a joke that you mention patrick rothfuss' blog to' defend' grrm.

    what rothufuss did is exactly what many people wanted grrm to do.
     
  15. phil_geo

    phil_geo Rat Thing

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    By the way, I was just joking with my last post. I think I'm funny.
     
  16. Mithfânion

    Mithfânion Lord of the Wild Hunt

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    Stross weighs in. He agrees with Martin. Scalzi weighs in. He agrees with Martin. Even Joshua Palmatier has weighed in. He agrees with Martin. One wonders what all of these people have in common and what makes them high five each other so much. Oh wait, that's actually an easy one to figure out.

    Like the cashiers at the bank register saying to each other that people shouldn't complain so much about the slow service, they're all talking from the same perspective and nodding vehemently in agreement.

    Sorry, I like objectivity, I'm just that sort of person.

    There are certainly similarities between tRothfuss and Martin in the past. For instance, both Martin and Rothfuss have made false promises ( or estimates if you like) as to when the book will be out. Similarly, both authors have had phases where they totally refuse to communicate about the very thing a lot of people were interested in, ignoring specific questions about that book etc. People had been asking Rothfuss for a long time abouyt an update. Now he's done it and people have been informed. Issue's done. Makes one wonder why he didn't do it sooner. I would have. Exact same story as Martin.

    It looks like fans who kept clamoring for some information have been right to do so, because in both cases the author's willingly admit that the constant questions and ongoing pressure from fans, be they vehement or entirely mild and well-intended, has led to them to post an update at all.

    If less pressure had been applied no update would have been posted. You need another example?

    www.jvj.com, the journal. Jones updates on Watcher of the Dead, which she does not like doing, because of the ongoing stream of questions about the 4th book in the series.

    I see authors updating their readers as simple customer service. They're not required to do so by law, but communication between the two parties becomes easier and more pleasant especially in the case of authors who write series and are delaying. Customer Service. Something very common in most other lines of work. Time for everyone in the book industry to keep up.

    Kat

    I'm not sure how you can fail to understand why his blog post would make me pleased, unless you were being cynical. People have been asking for an update. It's been more than a year and the book actually missed scheduled release dates in that timeframe. Martin has now given an update. Why would that make anyone displeased, or me? Really it does not strike me as hard to figure out why I would be pleased that Martin's finally given an update, when I have been one of those asking for it, when Martin has refused to talk about the book at all for so long a time.

    I don't think Martin moans Kat, that's rather harsh of you towards GRRM. Personally I believe him when he says he has trouble writing the book. Why wouldn't I? After all, everthing we see bears out the truth of it.

    I think when people start to think every statement Martin makes about his books is a lie, you stop being a fan don't you? You have to treat new statements with some credit. He's an intelligent adult man after all, and I refuse to believe he is totally incompetent when it comes to his own work progress. I may be wrong, but I have to think he has to be given some credit when he speaks abouyt his own work.

    I believe him when he says he cannot write away from home. Have I ever said I did not? There is no hypocrisy here on the fans part Kat, or on mine. What people have suggested if that you cannot write a word away from home, you might consider ditching so many of the trips you choose to go to, and stay home so you can actually write. That's fair isn't it?

    If a carpenter can't build his house because he's away to Carpenter Conventions all the time, is it unfair for people to suggest he stays home and actually works on his house?

    I disagree with your take on Scalzi here. Scalzi does not know what the hold-up is. Scalzi also does not "know what is going on with Martin". What happens is that Scalzi has a blog, reads Martin's blog post complaining about his fans, does not investigate the matter further to any sort of depth, like for instance looking what arguments the complainers have, and then proceeds to write a post in which he basically assumes that everything is ok, people should just assume, like he does, that Martin is doing all he can to to finish the book. But many people who have criticiized Martin have followed this for 9 years now don't agree that that seems to be the case. Scalzi's comparisons to his own series of standalone books in the same world show to me how he fails to see how heavily interdependent the books in ASOIAF are, and why people find the indeterminate wait harder and why people question whether there is a good reason for those continious delays. You see, Scalzi also seems to be strikingly unaware of the statements made by Martin in the past which leads to him having no sympathy for Martin's fans. It's not a blog post that even tries to be evenhanded, is it? It's simply one author defending another because he can't stand to see him criticized.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2009
  17. KatG

    KatG The Bony Hand of Death Staff Member

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    You're funny, phil. :)

    Mith, you clearly didn't read Scalzi's 10 Things About Authors, or if you did, you don't buy it. It's not anger at being criticized. It's that you're criticizing things that can't be helped or aren't really wrong, just part of the process of trying to write fiction. There is frustration there, certainly, but it's frustration that people don't believe them when they're talking about writing. Author after author is going to agree with Martin not to protect Martin but because they're trying to communicate a fundamental truth about fiction writing that you don't want to listen to. Scalzi knows what is going on with Martin because Scalzi writes fiction and goes through the same sort of thing, if not on the same scale. Scalzi and the others are also responding to criticisms that are different from yours and a lot more virulent, including calling everything Martin says a lie.

    You have in the past, though, said that you didn't believe things Martin said, so saying you do now, that's what surprised me. But if you do, that's great. The reason I was surprised that you were happy about Martin's blog entry is that it offers no new information, and so really isn't an up-date. He just says he's still working on the book, which we already knew, and that the October release date on Amazon was not the official date, which we also already knew. So I guess it's just the sheer fact that he communicated at all that appealed? Again, if so, I'm glad for it.

    Even so, I think you missed the point:

    This is, in my opinion, the exact opposite of what happened. If less pressure had been applied, you'd have gotten more updates sooner because Martin would have been a lot more comfortable talking to you about his ups and downs in writing Dragons. It was the difficulty of trying to communicate with angry fans that shut Martin and Rothfuss up. Martin spent the last year silent because that was the only way he thought he could deal with you all -- as he says in his blog.

    If you look at Rothfuss' cartoons, you'll see him dealing with angry (plus sad) communications from fans, trying to come up with a response and giving up in frustration and staying silent. It is the last cartoon in which he gets a reasonable request just asking how he is doing that causes him to decide to respond with an update that says he is still working on the book (which we already knew.) And he tells fans that he will not allow comments in his blog, because he can't deal with venting fans who are screaming at him about the delay. Go vent somewhere else, he asks.

    If you want them to talk, you have to show them that you're willing to listen. A lot of the upset fans aren't doing that, so they don't talk, at least not until they think they have something to placate the angry masses. The more pressure, the less communication -- it's a simple equation.

    As for the notion that the author has a customer service requirement, that works only if you view fiction authors as manufacturers. Scalzi, like many authors, tries to explain that the amount of time spent working on a fiction project does not equal productivity -- a reality which you have claimed in past posts not to accept and which many upset fans don't accept. (If you did accept it, you wouldn't bring up Martin going away on trips.) You want regular updates, and if that works for you, great, but for many fans that's not sufficient, especially when the update is -- as these were -- just an I'm still working on it shout-out.

    If you want Martin to tell you every three months that he's still working on the novel, and later on, the next novel, and that will do it, well, maybe someone will convey that idea to him and maybe he'll try it. But with sites like Finish the Book George and others on-going, I doubt others would be satisfied with that, and I doubt Martin wants to risk dealing with them on such a frequent basis -- and being depressed by it, as he stated his mood was, which I'm sure doesn't help with the writing. Some authors thrive on arguing with their fans; Martin isn't one of them.

    So if you want him, or any other author to talk to you more, try honey, not vinegar. And believe them when they tell you what goes into fiction writing. And if you want to claim that vinegar or no, they have to talk to you, good luck with that.
     
  18. Werthead

    Werthead Registered User

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    I think you hit the nail on the head here: the whole argument boils down to people who are not writers trying to tell them how to do their job and, in the case of GRRM, how he has done a job that he's been doing for over 40 years and has proven very successful for him.

    That said, the whole update thing is a different and difficult discussion to get into. GRRM is certainly inconsistent: he gave very regular updates on AFFC, even delving into how many pages were completed, how many more he needed, which POVs he'd been working on and so on. Then with ADWD he chose not to do that, except in the most general terms. Then, as the hate mail started rolling in, he shut up altogether (I remember one of his posts where he said, "I'm not a performing monkey," to one detractor, and this was way back in 2006 or 2007, long before the problems really got going).

    The problem is that by updating now, GRRM makes it appear that his prior commitment to not updating has now been discarded, and he will update more regularly. And of course he probably won't say anything until/unless he misses the June self-set deadline (or even then), and in 3-4 months time we'll be doing the merry-go-round one more time.
     
  19. Seegee

    Seegee Registered User

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    Enjoying this discussion immensely. I'm with mith. I appreciated GRRM's update. I found it informative and worth reading as a fan of the books and I'm wondering why he never did it earlier as I believe he could have saved himself a lot of the criticism that he received. For quite some time Martin provided updates about the work on ADwD on his NAB, but then they just stopped and were largely replaced by a seemingly endless stream of advertisements for other products related to ASoIaF, but not anything to do with the awaited book. All discussion about ADwD was banned or deleted.
    I disagree with Kat's assertion that the update contained no new information.

    The reason I was surprised that you were happy about Martin's blog entry is that it offers no new information, and so really isn't an up-date. He just says he's still working on the book, which we already knew, and that the October release date on Amazon was not the official date, which we also already knew. So I guess it's just the sheer fact that he communicated at all that appealed? Sorry that doesn't look like a proper quote. I'm new to the posting on the site and can't work out how to do the quote thing yet.

    I read GRRM's update and got this from it:
    (That Sansa chapter I talked about finishing, for instance. It's still finished, but my editor and I decided it belongs in THE WINDS OF WINTER, not A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, so it's been moved into the next book. Sansa will not appear in DANCE.)

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but up until this point I had always believed that Sansa would appear as Alayne in ADwD. So I got from that part of the update that Sansa would not now be in ADwD (as I'm one of the very few readers who actually likes Sansa, I was not overjoyed by this news) and that GRRM was also already thinking ahead to TWoW and has even written a chapter that may possibly appear in the book.

    We used to get things like that all the time in the NAB and I have to admit I miss them.

    I'll buy ADwD when it finally makes it's long awaited appearance, but I don't hold out a lot of hope for the series being completed.

    I still read fantasy and I still somewhat stupidly start new unfinished series (I don't think I'll ever learn), but I have to admit the whole Martin experience and before that Jordan has made me a lot more wary these days.
     
  20. Mithfânion

    Mithfânion Lord of the Wild Hunt

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    Kat,

    I pretty much disagree with everything you’ve said in your last post. I’ll explain.

    For instance, you claim:

    Which is just so curious. Martin clearly provides information that we did not have yet. He updates us by saying he expects the book to be done by June, and foresees a September/October release date.

    This is new information Kat. Nobody knew this yet. And yet you are the one person who will claim that it is not new information at all. Sorry Kat, you’re simply wrong, no two ways about it. You’re wilfully ignoring the new info Martin gave so that you can uphold your argument that he gave no update.

    It’s every bit as curious as your backpeddling when I pointed out to you that you were wrong to berate people for checking out Martin’s blog in search of ADWD updates information. Martin actually proves my point by posting an update on his blog, rather than on his Update Page, the very page you said people should not check out for that sort of update info. And now that you were proven wrong about that, your next move is to claim it’s not really an update……

    The facts prove you wrong. GRRM, Rothfuss and JV Jones have gone without updating for a long time. Rothfuss has in fact never bothered to give an update when left to his own devices, not even when the book was twice delayed. In all 3 of these cases it is the pressure applied by fans that makes them update at all. The same with JV Jones, who admits as much on her journal. I don’t think you can maintain your position in the face of such clear and very recent examples.

    Your point that if people just lay down and never asked for any info, they would not only get it anyway, but even sooner, is proven false by reality.

    And again, the fault is not with people asking their author when they are finally going to deliver an already delayed book in a multivolume cliffhanger saga; it is the fault of authors not communicating in the 1st place. It’s clear that this sort of customer service, already prevalent in other branches of work, has yet to catch on with some authors. To be fair, other authors have no problems updating their readers, they see that as part of the job.

    It's clear that for authors doing this sort of series nowadays, the amount of info fans want and the amount of correspondence between authors and customer is likely to increase as the years move on. I would say, get with the program.

    Wrong. Customer service is for anyone who is producing a product and wants to sell it to customers. In other branches of work, including “artistic” ones, working with deadlines and communicating with the customer is part and parcel of what you do.

    Writers are not exempt from these rules. They are manufacturers. That’s not to say they are not human. They are not robots. They have great freedom in the way they choose to manufacture. But authors of series, and especially those of delayed series, can be expected to provide some update information to their fans I think. Customer service is not just for the manufacturer of mass production Kat.

    Some of these bears have proven quite unresponsive to the many pots of honey offered to them Kat.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2009
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