Sunday, September 16, 2012

Oooh, writing!

[Rant. You have been warned.]

Yes, finally an update for those of curious how fares the health of The Winds of Winter! You might say that it's a bit early what with A Dance with Dragons being only, what, one year and two-three months old, but I for my part am so used to waiting for this story to get somewhere that it's more out of custom that I check the master's website to glean information on the next book.

So when there's a large "Still Writing!" post up at his Not-a-Blog, I am immediately intrigued even though I really should know better. Of course, this post is also not about The Winds of Winter. It's about his "fake history", that is, background information to be used in the upcoming The World of Ice and Fire book, a book I could have been interested in five years ago. 

We all know how long the last novel took.

Well, it's nice to see that admittance although...you know, that just reinforces the hope that this post is about the next novel.

And now I am writing the "sidebar" (hoo hah) about the first Dance of the Dragons, the fratricidal civil war between King Aegon II and his half-sister Rhaenyra, for THE WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE, and it's turned into a monster too.

Looks like everything Martin touches, turns into a monster. A monster of solid gold and stuffed with dollars, I'd think. Is he complaining here, or is this sneaky publicity for the world book? I guess the latter.

As of today, I have a hundred and three bloody manuscript pages (some VERY bloody) and still no end at hand. I had hoped to finish this one today, but... no, not even close. Lots more to write.

Hundred-and-three manuscript pages? Wow! That's like thrice the size of the manuscript pages of The Winds of Winter. I understand there are contracts and all but seriously. I am sad.

I think there's some good stuff here, and judging by the reception my reading got at Chicon, most of you seem to like the fake history too. But DAMN, there a lot of it.

There's probably good stuff there. I'm not complaining when I read a Dunk & Egg story. And I assume there are many rabid fans eager to devour this background material. I'd just love to hear a word or two about the main project once in a while. But DAMN, there not a lot of it.

Sigh.

Maybe I'd buy the World of Ice and Fire book if those eggheads (or dunkheads, if you prefer) from Westeros.org weren't involved. They are more ruinous to my enjoyment of Martin's books than the long waits, in fact. Civil wars in the distant Westerosi past is okay, but imagine all those manuscript pages going forward, as in being hours spent working on The Winds of Winter

Hey, looks like I've skipped a couple of Not A Blog posts. Let's see. Another damn calendar. "Birthday books". Would you look at that, those prices are almost as cheap as wherever else you can buy them. But of course, from George you get an autograph (maybe) so that probably drives the value up. Is there anyone remotely interested in Westeros who doesn't have it by now? I mean, even I, the annoying and hideously evil detractor, has one. Or two, I don't recall if the scribble in GRRM: A RRetrospective is his actual scrawl or just a copy. He did sign a copy of a Game of Thrones: The Collectible Card Game for me, though. Slashed right across Cersei Lannister's teats. Ah, at least Martin gets himself rid of publishers' excess stock. Wonder how many Wild Cards books actually live inside his palace. 

And then there are several sports posts again. Those I don't read. And I am honestly not requiring his every post to be something I want to read. By all means, let the man enjoy his sports commentary dreams.

I feel better now. That is all. 

Every writer, at some point in her or his career, becomes aware (like a creeping doom) of a growing burden of expectation on them. Based on previous works, with fans identifying themselves and defining themselves around those previous works, we become aware of a pressure to conform. And in the lauding of those ‘favourite’ elements of our canon, fans often express, whether directly or indirectly, a desire for more of the same. To compound matters, there is something both simple and inviting to the writer in question, to acquiesce to those expectations, and to deliver just that: more of the same, each and every time, and many do so, and occasionally with great (continued) success, and as a consequence they find contentment in their efforts.

(Steven Erikson, @ An Introduction to Forge of Darkness)

1 comment:

  1. To be honest, I cooled down significantly from Song of Ice and Fire. I haven't re-read any of the books in a while and I'm not obsessively checking has GRRM posted an update. I'll still watch the show and read the books when they are published but I focus more on so many books that are finished and which I haven't read yet.

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