Fantasy Faction

Fantasy Faction => Fantasy Book & Author Discussion => Topic started by: Dan D Jones on July 22, 2011, 01:28:53 AM

Title: Some comments on GRRM's sluggardly pace...
Post by: Dan D Jones on July 22, 2011, 01:28:53 AM
http://whatever.scalzi.com/2011/07/17/a-small-observation-regarding-words-and-releases/ (http://whatever.scalzi.com/2011/07/17/a-small-observation-regarding-words-and-releases/)
Title: Re: Some comments on GRRM's sluggardly pace...
Post by: missoularedhead on July 22, 2011, 10:41:24 AM
Also,

http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2009/05/entitlement-issues.html (http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2009/05/entitlement-issues.html)

...doesn't mean I can't say I don't like it, though.
Title: Re: Some comments on GRRM's sluggardly pace...
Post by: Overlord on July 22, 2011, 11:00:49 AM
Yeah, I think the only time authors get problems is when they say: "I will finish by xxxxxxx" and then they don't.

I mean... at the end of FFC there is a page saying 'you can read about the rest of the characters next year!' (2005).

Rothfuss had the same problem because he made a similar comment about his book being out within a year.
Title: Re: Some comments on GRRM's sluggardly pace...
Post by: Cheerwell on July 22, 2011, 11:12:42 AM
I think it's easy to forget that Martin also does a lot of other things outside of ASoIaF. He has Wild Cards, for example, and he's also often an editor and/or contributor to anthologies or collections, such as the recent Warriors.

I personally don't have any problems with Martin as such, but I think he doesn't help himself sometimes. There's plenty of authors who reliably deliver on a yearly basis, perhaps even more frequently, and they should be commended for that, but it's easy to 'attack' someone who is less consistent. I do think that those who complained a lot, and made some of the more vitriolic comments, should really get a grip. He's an organic writer, and he has a lot on his plate. His books aren't going to take a year to write. There's plenty of works out there that you can busy yourself with whilst waiting for the next release.
Title: Re: Some comments on GRRM's sluggardly pace...
Post by: Nighteyes on July 22, 2011, 12:04:39 PM
Seriously though, 11 years wait to read further about Tyrion, Daenys, Jon and the Onion Knight.  That's pretty ridiculous! 

Though I supposed Robert Jordan would be a good counterpoint.  Perhaps WOT could have been much better if he had taken 11 years to write books 5, 6 and 7 after The Shadow Rising, setting things up for Memory of Light, rather than churning out 7 rather slow volumes....
Title: Re: Some comments on GRRM's sluggardly pace...
Post by: pornokitsch on July 22, 2011, 12:06:12 PM
I agree with all the above.

However, I also agree that he doesn't help himself sometimes.

First, I don't think you can ever complain about your fans. In any way.

Second, I believe that ASOIAF owes a lot of its success due to its ground-breaking maturity and gutsy, gritty themes. He's still an amazing writer, but the delays have allowed others to sneak into the marketplace. A lot of fantasy writers (Abercrombie, Brett, Weeks, Lynch and Rothfuss for example) who have had their entire careers since the last book. If you're starting out as a fantasy reader, why would you pick up ASOIAF instead of one of them? ASOIAF isn't the only GRRM-like series on the market any more - he's inspired his own competition.

Three, it also inflates his readers' expectations. If the book sucks, it means that readers are waiting until the next one (another 4 years? 6 years?) to get back on track. If I dislike an Abercrombie, I wait a year. If I dislike a GRRM, I've not just waited 6 years for the opportunity to be disappointed, I'm stuck waiting another 4 before it gets back on track. I don't think this is entirely unfair, either. If an author says "this is a book that takes six years to write", the reader should expect six years of quality.

Four, delays don't help concerns about the series as a whole. It was initially a trilogy. Books got split into multiple books. Books are longer than intended. Books are later than intended. The pace has slowed (considerably). The quality hasn't dropped off (he's an amazing writer), but meta-writing incidents all add up to concerns that the series might be out of control.

Five, finally, I think there's a wee bit of arrogance involved. 95% of writers don't get to do it as their full time job. And even if they do, they're struggling to make it work in a crowded, vicious, painful market. The "I'll deliver when I want to deliver" power is something that only belongs to a  very, very, very small minority. For most authors, a delay like this would be the end of their contract - if not their career.

I don't agree with all the concerns above, but I can see the arguments for any one of them!


Title: Re: Some comments on GRRM's sluggardly pace...
Post by: missoularedhead on July 22, 2011, 08:13:33 PM
And I guess, for me, with Rothfuss & GRRM in particular, is that while I am more than willing to wait, there is the issue of saying it'll be put out in X year, no, wait, the year after, no, no, the year after that...I remember pre-ordering ADWD on Amazon some 3 years before it finally came out.  That's where my complaint comes in.  At least Martin sort of acknowledged that in his forward to this book.

I know authors aren't beholden to me, and I know they aren't (unless they're a certain kind of writer...I'm looking at YOU, Raymond Feist) churning out whaever.  But at least be honest about it. 
Title: Re: Some comments on GRRM's sluggardly pace...
Post by: rocktopusjones on July 22, 2011, 10:44:08 PM
And I guess, for me, with Rothfuss & GRRM in particular, is that while I am more than willing to wait, there is the issue of saying it'll be put out in X year, no, wait, the year after, no, no, the year after that...I remember pre-ordering ADWD on Amazon some 3 years before it finally came out.  That's where my complaint comes in.  At least Martin sort of acknowledged that in his forward to this book.

I agree.  I'm happy waiting for an excellent book to be finished, than getting a sub-par book right away.  But changing the date up time and time again just disappoints the readers.  Most people are loyal to authors and will gladly stick through till the end, 7 year wait time or no, but not everyone.
Title: Re: Some comments on GRRM's sluggardly pace...
Post by: Khaldun on July 23, 2011, 01:13:46 AM
1st I think one should just try to ignore the fans that are the most vocal and annoyed about the delays. It's your book. You need to decide when its ready. GRRM has rightly noted that these fans are a small minority.
2nd, GRRM probably doesn't care that others have snuck into the marketplace. Obviously he is earning enough money to survive, otherwise he'd be writing a heck of a lot faster (quality be damned). He HAS inspired his own competition, but I still don't think there is anything nearly as good as ASOIAF out there yet. Good, fun reads, sure. Complex reads, yup. But books that tie it all together so well? Not yet...
3 If he has written four good books beforehand there is no reason to expect that he won't deliver something of similar quality now.
4 GRRM has stated he knows the endgame of the series, and constantly uses the whole "tale grew in the telling" bit to legitimize the length of his books. The pace HAS slowed, but who in god's name could seriously expect an author to deliver an 800k novel in a year or even two or three years. Each one of his novels would be an octology (if that's even a word) if it was by a different author.
5 For most authors delays like this would end their contract or career. GRRM is not most authors. Publishers are obviously happy with what he's done up to this point and are willing to wait if they know it will lead to more money down the road.

Lastly, I'd just like to add one final comment. I'm not sure where I read it, possibly an interview, but his editor mentioned that even with the massively long delay he was basically writing at a pace of 80k/year, which isn't really that shabby (having also noted that he wrote another 80k a year that has been cut or deleted or replaced). That doesn't sound sluggish at all. It's no Sanderson pace, but its still pretty good.

If the books are good enough, people will wait. I reread the entire series three times waiting for DwD, and am I disappointed? Absolutely not. Every time I've done a read through I've noticed something new and rediscovered some incredibly scenes that I'd forgotten about. /end babbling

I agree with all the above.
However, I also agree that he doesn't help himself sometimes.
First, I don't think you can ever complain about your fans. In any way.
Second, I believe that ASOIAF owes a lot of its success due to its ground-breaking maturity and gutsy, gritty themes. He's still an amazing writer, but the delays have allowed others to sneak into the marketplace. A lot of fantasy writers (Abercrombie, Brett, Weeks, Lynch and Rothfuss for example) who have had their entire careers since the last book. If you're starting out as a fantasy reader, why would you pick up ASOIAF instead of one of them? ASOIAF isn't the only GRRM-like series on the market any more - he's inspired his own competition.
Three, it also inflates his readers' expectations. If the book sucks, it means that readers are waiting until the next one (another 4 years? 6 years?) to get back on track. If I dislike an Abercrombie, I wait a year. If I dislike a GRRM, I've not just waited 6 years for the opportunity to be disappointed, I'm stuck waiting another 4 before it gets back on track. I don't think this is entirely unfair, either. If an author says "this is a book that takes six years to write", the reader should expect six years of quality.
Four, delays don't help concerns about the series as a whole. It was initially a trilogy. Books got split into multiple books. Books are longer than intended. Books are later than intended. The pace has slowed (considerably). The quality hasn't dropped off (he's an amazing writer), but meta-writing incidents all add up to concerns that the series might be out of control.
Five, finally, I think there's a wee bit of arrogance involved. 95% of writers don't get to do it as their full time job. And even if they do, they're struggling to make it work in a crowded, vicious, painful market. The "I'll deliver when I want to deliver" power is something that only belongs to a  very, very, very small minority. For most authors, a delay like this would be the end of their contract - if not their career.
I don't agree with all the concerns above, but I can see the arguments for any one of them!

Title: Re: Some comments on GRRM's sluggardly pace...
Post by: pornokitsch on July 25, 2011, 09:00:38 AM
I'm not saying I agreed with any of those arguments, but I do understand them. I don't think it is a one-sided issue. Just as GRRM isn't his readers' bitch, nor are they his.

It is an odd debate, but I can see both sides of it.
Title: Re: Some comments on GRRM's sluggardly pace...
Post by: Overlord on July 25, 2011, 11:16:51 AM
It must be very hard I guess. I hope he does try to get the next ones out quicker and just end the series... I think that as long as the series does come to an end and within 2-4 years per book people will be OK. I think it is such a huge investment reading a series though that is just 7-8 books and will effectively take 20-25 years from start to finish.
Title: Re: Some comments on GRRM's sluggardly pace...
Post by: Overlord on July 25, 2011, 12:07:44 PM
Comment here that was quite interesting:

MARTIN: There’s no denying that it’s taken me a real long time to write this last book, and the one before it, which actually began life as part of the same book. But, I haven’t always taken that long. The first three books in the series came out much more quickly, and I’m hoping that the troubles and difficulties that I’ve been going through are just difficulties affecting this particular volume and, once I’ve delivered it, I will pick up speed again. Hopefully, The Winds of Winter and The Dream of Spring – the last two books in the series – will go much more quickly. Although nothing has been decided, I think we will have a number of seasons to go. We’ve done Game of Thrones as 10 episodes, for this first season. With Clash of Kings for the second season, that’s a slightly longer book. I would love it, if we got 12 hours for that one, instead of 10, but we could probably do it in 10. Once you hit the third book, A Storm of Swords, it’s too big. It’s 500 manuscript pages bigger than the second book, which itself is 100 manuscript pages longer than the first book. There’s no way that they can do that in one season, so I think you would have to divide that one into two seasons. And then, when you hit the fourth and fifth books, which would have to be recombined, the fifth book is even longer than Storm of Swords, so that’s another two seasons, for three seasons total to cover those two books. So, I have a considerable head start. If I could just finish these next two books more quickly than I did the last two, I think I’ll be fine.
Title: Re: Some comments on GRRM's sluggardly pace...
Post by: lyrastern on July 25, 2011, 12:10:39 PM
haha I was just writing that with HBO on his ass he's going to be under more pressure to finish quickly, just as Overlord posted that last comment. So perhaps not....
Title: Re: Some comments on GRRM's sluggardly pace...
Post by: Nighteyes on July 25, 2011, 12:15:46 PM
I think Dance with Dragons and A Feast For Crows will be made into either one season or two smaller seasons. I cant see TV viewers enjoying those books being dragged out for 3or 4 seasons! But it is a valid point that the first three were written very quickly. Hopefully the last two can as well.
Title: Re: Some comments on GRRM's sluggardly pace...
Post by: Overlord on July 25, 2011, 02:17:58 PM
I think Dance with Dragons and A Feast For Crows will be made into either one season or two smaller seasons. I cant see TV viewers enjoying those books being dragged out for 3or 4 seasons! But it is a valid point that the first three were written very quickly. Hopefully the last two can as well.

three... he recently said the series will be 8 books now >.<
Title: Re: Some comments on GRRM's sluggardly pace...
Post by: Drying Ink on July 25, 2011, 04:28:08 PM
..Please tell me this is a joke. :P
Title: Re: Some comments on GRRM's sluggardly pace...
Post by: jdiddyesquire on July 25, 2011, 04:44:23 PM
..Please tell me this is a joke. :P

... do I hear 9 from anyone?
Title: Re: Some comments on GRRM's sluggardly pace...
Post by: Nighteyes on July 25, 2011, 04:51:16 PM
I heard he is considering introducing an inter dimension portal to allow his characters from Wild Cards to join the saga.
Title: Re: Some comments on GRRM's sluggardly pace...
Post by: jdiddyesquire on July 25, 2011, 05:26:23 PM
I heard he is considering introducing an inter dimension portal to allow his characters from Wild Cards to join the saga.


Haha, that made my day.
Title: Re: Some comments on GRRM's sluggardly pace...
Post by: pornokitsch on July 25, 2011, 05:52:46 PM
Ha! Me too.
Title: Re: Some comments on GRRM's sluggardly pace...
Post by: Overlord on July 26, 2011, 08:57:44 AM
Seemed to me A Feast For Crows was a pointless addition to the series? I mean... the Brienne chapters especially could have been halved I am sure. Just seemed to me to slam the breaks onto things... the only big revelations really were the Greyjoys and the Dornish things being revealed - but other that that, the movement forward of the plot was very, very minor.

Well... I'm gonna take a month off before reading ADWD now :)
Title: Re: Some comments on GRRM's sluggardly pace...
Post by: Nighteyes on July 26, 2011, 09:25:57 AM
Seemed to me A Feast For Crows was a pointless addition to the series? I mean... the Brienne chapters especially could have been halved I am sure. Just seemed to me to slam the breaks onto things... the only big revelations really were the Greyjoys and the Dornish things being revealed - but other that that, the movement forward of the plot was very, very minor.

Well... I'm gonna take a month off before reading ADWD now :)

I think you have raced through the series way too fast, and have missed some important points - Littlefinger is crucial to the story.  I think alongside Varys and Illyrio Mopatis; these three are the most crucial antagonists, (also why we never get POVs from them!) as they have basically directed all the discord and disharmony taking place in Westoros, and have triggered all the important incidents. So that makes Sansa's POVs in AFFC very crucial to the ongoing plot - and Arya's growth and training is very important too.... And Brienne's POVs show us the state of the common people in Westeros ....

But yes, overall, he should have not cut the two books in half, and released them much quicker!!!
Title: Re: Some comments on GRRM's sluggardly pace...
Post by: Overlord on July 26, 2011, 10:14:49 AM
Seemed to me A Feast For Crows was a pointless addition to the series? I mean... the Brienne chapters especially could have been halved I am sure. Just seemed to me to slam the breaks onto things... the only big revelations really were the Greyjoys and the Dornish things being revealed - but other that that, the movement forward of the plot was very, very minor.

Well... I'm gonna take a month off before reading ADWD now :)

I think you have raced through the series way too fast, and have missed some important points - Littlefinger is crucial to the story.  I think alongside Varys and Illyrio Mopatis; these three are the most crucial antagonists, (also why we never get POVs from them!) as they have basically directed all the discord and disharmony taking place in Westoros, and have triggered all the important incidents. So that makes Sansa's POVs in AFFC very crucial to the ongoing plot - and Arya's growth and training is very important too.... And Brienne's POVs show us the state of the common people in Westeros ....

But yes, overall, he should have not cut the two books in half, and released them much quicker!!!

OK... going to try and respond to this in a spoiler free manner...

Not that fast... I read the four in about a month. I haven't missed Littlefinger's importance at all - however, I knew it in Game of Thrones when he did what he did. It has also been re-enforced in other books too. In fact, it was shown more in ASOS than it was in this book. Varys isn't even in AFFC by the way... the coin link is explained - but this could have been done fairly easy in a less lengthy volume. Again,  Illyrio Mopatis is mentioned more in other books - it is only the links between Dorne and XXX that were really important to me in this book really. Illyrio Mopatis is back mentioned early on in ADWD so I have heard.
Title: Re: Some comments on GRRM's sluggardly pace...
Post by: Nighteyes on July 26, 2011, 10:36:50 AM
Martin put a chapter online about 4 or 5 years ago from ADWD showing the meeting between Tyrion and Mopatis. A Feast for Crows is def the weakest volume, but there is a lot in there, but involves lots of detective work, and rereading the whole series again having read it. Arya's chapters are superb, and while Jamie and Brienne's chapters are Very longwinded they are beautiful pieces of descriptive writing. Cersai's descent into madness and the unleashing of the militant religious order(forgot their name!) Is superb. Add what you rightfully pointed out are the excellent Dorne and Greyjoy chapters, and you still got a fantasy book which is head and shoulders over most. Just overall, ASOIAF is a fine wine to be sipped and enjoyed not rushed down and mixed with other drinks. Though having said that I am powering through Wheel of Time and not allowing myself time to enjoy all the intricate plotlines and mysteries other readers have debated over the last two decades, so I am just as guilty! Wait till you read the posts of a Newbie powering through the Kingkiller Chronicles in 5years time to be up to date for the release of the final book and you will see what I mean!