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  #1  
Old 05-14-2009, 12:50 PM
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Default George R.R. Martin is not your bitch

http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2009/0...nt-issues.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil Gaiman
Hi Neil,

I've recently subscribed to George RR Martin's blog (http://grrm.livejournal.com/) in the hopes of getting some inside information regarding when the next "Song of Ice and Fire" book is due to be released. I love the series but since subscribing to the blog I've become increasingly frustrated with Martin's lack of communication on the next novel's publication date. In fact, it's almost as though he is doing everything in his power to avoid working on his latest novel. Which poses a few questions:

1. With blogs and twitter and other forms of social media do you think the audience has too much input when it comes to scrutinising the actions of an artist? If you had announced a new book two years ago and were yet to deliver do you think avoiding the topic on your blog would lead readers to believe you were being "slack"? By blogging about your work and life do you have more of a responsibility to deliver on your commitments?

2. When writing a series of books, like Martin is with "A Song of Ice and Fire" what responsibility does he have to finish the story? Is it unrealistic to think that by not writing the next chapter Martin is letting me down, even though if and when the book gets written is completely up to him?

Would be very interested in your insight.

Cheers
Gareth

My opinion....

1) No.

2) Yes, it's unrealistic of you to think George is "letting you down".

Look, this may not be palatable, Gareth, and I keep trying to come up with a better way to put it, but the simplicity of things, at least from my perspective is this:

George R.R. Martin is not your bitch.

This is a useful thing to know, perhaps a useful thing to point out when you find yourself thinking that possibly George is, indeed, your bitch, and should be out there typing what you want to read right now.

People are not machines. Writers and artists aren't machines.

You're complaining about George doing other things than writing the books you want to read as if your buying the first book in the series was a contract with him: that you would pay over your ten dollars, and George for his part would spend every waking hour until the series was done, writing the rest of the books for you.

No such contract existed. You were paying your ten dollars for the book you were reading, and I assume that you enjoyed it because you want to know what happens next.

It seems to me that the biggest problem with series books is that either readers complain that the books used to be good but that somewhere in the effort to get out a book every year the quality has fallen off, or they complain that the books, although maintaining quality, aren't coming out on time.

Both of these things make me glad that I am not currently writing a series, and make me even gladder that the decade that I did write series things, in Sandman, I was young, driven, a borderline workaholic, and very fortunate. (and even then, towards the end, I was taking five weeks to write a monthly comic, with all the knock-on problems in deadlines that you would expect from that).

For me, I would rather read a good book, from a contented author. I don't really care what it takes to produce that.

Some writers need a while to charge their batteries, and then write their books very rapidly. Some writers write a page or so every day, rain or shine. Some writers run out of steam, and need to do whatever it is they happen to do until they're ready to write again. Sometimes writers haven't quite got the next book in a series ready in their heads, but they have something else all ready instead, so they write the thing that's ready to go, prompting cries of outrage from people who want to know why the author could possibly write Book X while the fans were waiting for Book Y.

I remember hearing an upset comics editor telling a roomful of other editors about a comics artist who had taken a few weeks off to paint his house. The editor pointed out, repeatedly, that for the money the artist would have been paid for those weeks' work he could easily have afforded to hire someone to paint his house, and made money too. And I thought, but did not say, “But what if he wanted to paint his house?”

I blew a deadline recently. Terminally blew it. First time in 25 years I've sighed and said, “I can't do this, and you won't get your story.” It was already late, I was under a bunch of deadline pressure, my father died, and suddenly the story, too, was dead on the page. I liked the voice it was in, but it wasn't working, and eventually, rather than drive the editors and publishers mad waiting for a story that wasn't going to come, I gave up on it and apologised, worried that I could no longer write fiction.

I turned my attention to the next deadline waiting – a script. It flowed easily and delightfully, was the most fun I've had writing anything in ages, all the characters did exactly what I had hoped they would do, and the story was better than I had dared to hope.

Sometimes it happens like that. You don't choose what will work. You simply do the best you can each time. And you try to do what you can to increase the likelihood that good art will be created.

And sometimes, and it's as true of authors as it is of readers, you have a life. People in your world get sick or die. You fall in love, or out of love. You move house. Your aunt comes to stay. You agreed to give a talk half-way around the world five years ago, and suddenly you realise that that talk is due now. Your last book comes out and the critics vociferously hated it and now you simply don't feel like writing another. Your cat learns to levitate and the matter must be properly documented and investigated. There are deer in the apple orchard. A thunderstorm fries your hard disk and fries the backup drive as well...

And life is a good thing for a writer. It's where we get our raw material, for a start. We quite like to stop and watch it.

The economics of scale for a writer mean that very few of us can afford to write 5,000 page books and then break them up and publish them annually once they are done. So writers with huge stories, or ones that, as Sandman did, grow in the telling, are going to write them and have them published as they go along.

And if you are waiting for a new book in a long ongoing series, whether from George or from Pat Rothfuss or from someone else...

Wait. Read the original book again. Read something else. Get on with your life. Hope that the author is writing the book you want to read, and not dying, or something equally as dramatic. And if he paints the house, that's fine.

And Gareth, in the future, when you see other people complaining that George R.R. Martin has been spotted doing something other than writing the book they are waiting for, explain to them, more politely than I did the first time, the simple and unanswerable truth: George R. R. Martin is not working for you.

Hope that helps.
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  #2  
Old 05-14-2009, 01:06 PM
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he better hurry up or I'll make him my bitch...and his little friend neil too...bwahahahaha
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  #3  
Old 05-14-2009, 01:10 PM
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Good luck with that Sei

I agree with Neil, and it is very well stated. Hard to argue.

That is why I will no longer read a series until it is completed. The author is not my bitch, but I don't like frustration and/or wasting my time. So I will just wait until SoIaF is done. And if it is never done, I will thank my lucky stars I didn't start it in the first place.

So, although I agree with Neil's assertions, if more readers decide, like me, to just wait until the series is done, that may change how authors view their commitment to their fans...they are not our bitch, but they do have to keep us a little happy or we end up not paying their bills.
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  #4  
Old 05-14-2009, 01:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sei'taer
he better hurry up or I'll make him my bitch...and his little friend neil too...bwahahahaha
Nice

Well said. Brandon Sanderson is not my bitch either.
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  #5  
Old 05-14-2009, 01:45 PM
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I feel there's a certain obligation from authors to provide for their fans -- the same way there's certain obligation for business owners to provide a quality product. Simple put, if they don't provide, the customers don't buy.

But at the same time, you know, it's his job, his choice. *shrug*
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  #6  
Old 05-14-2009, 02:48 PM
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His choice to not get paid, is what it boils down to. The advance from A Feast for Crows should be running out soon....
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Old 05-14-2009, 02:53 PM
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Yeah, but he's making money from all those other projects...

I agree with Neil. It's stupid to think that an author has an obligation to write more books for you. When you buy a book, you get what you pay for - that book.
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  #8  
Old 05-14-2009, 03:12 PM
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Incomplete series...

Dianne Duane wrote a book called "The Door Into Fire" in 1979. "The Door Into Shadow" was published in 1984. "The Door Into Sunset" came out in 1992. "The Door Into Starlight" is as yet unpublished... ("She's working on it" it says, here...)

I've been waiting a LONGGGGGGGGGGG time, now.
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  #9  
Old 05-14-2009, 03:21 PM
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Neil can kiss my arse...its that type of buttkissing that GRRM keeps hearing that makes him feel justified in doing Wild Cards #4,596 instead of even considering finishing the one series that actually made him real money in his life. a couple years is one thing...going on 4-5 years on a book that was supposedly almost finished...come on!
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Old 05-14-2009, 03:46 PM
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Actually both GRRM and Neil Gaiman are my bitch and everyone else's too. That is what providing a service in a service based economy is all about. It isn't true that all an author is selling is a book. They are also selling their good will, which is what repeat and continued sales are entirely based upon. Author's can't force people to buy more copies of books they liked or continue to buy their other works. They have to sell that with their current books just as hard as they are selling the content of the books themselves. By writing a book series and procrastinating on continuing it, that is damaging the good will they accumulated with the prior books and making it less likely they will generate future income from either the current books in the series or other non-related work.

EDIT because I didn't finish my point. To put it another way, if GRRM and Neil Gaiman want to continue to make a living off of writing, then they shouldn't piss off their fan base that is consuming what they are putting out. Gaimen made the point that there was no contract that comes with buying a book that states that the author will finish the series. There is also no contract that states we have to continue to buy their stuff. Thus they are my bitch.
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Last edited by Sinistrum; 05-14-2009 at 04:58 PM.
  #11  
Old 05-14-2009, 04:09 PM
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Yeah, but they know that. They know that they are making a sacrifice when they don't follow through with a series work. It's their choice - it's a gamble, but that's how capitalism works. They're not your bitch unless you assume that you are their only means of providing for themselves. GRRM has made enough already to retire in comfort, I think. His art won't be remembered well if he abandons it for something that's not as good or better, but it's his choice to make.
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  #12  
Old 05-14-2009, 06:00 PM
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My problem isn't necessarily how long it takes GRRM to write a book, it's his attitude about it.

Face it, it's not like he takes breaks from working on the book to do things. He takes breaks from NFL / Being a Fat Douche / Etc to work on his book. You can't read blogs from authors who tell you what they've accomplished, what they haven't, why they haven't, etc etc, without realizing that Martin simply does not put in the effort they do. That's his choice, and for the most part, I'm okay with that.

But to then turn around and act insolent and amazed that the fans are upset that he's doing so, and try to defend his position that he's "in the right"? No, that's bullshit.

I don't expect him to give up his enjoyments in life. I don't expect him to stop being a freakish NFL fan, or to stop whoring out crap he wrote in the 70s and 80s based upon the popularity that aSoIaF gained him. But I do expect him to stop rubbing our faces in the fact that he will be doing it. It wouldn't hurt to give us some freakin hope that he's working on the new book, and it's progressing.

Jordan took a long time between books. It looks like Pat Rothfuss will (Name of the Wind is excellent, btw). I've read many book series with years between, and never felt bitter about it. But I do about Martin. Martin seems to hate the people who nag him about his next book - and yes, I realize he will get annoyed by them, and that they are nagging - but they are also the ones who helped pay him, who gave him the popularity he's selling now. And if is that disrespectful to them, and thus to me, then he can go to hell.

It's the same at any service industry. If your waiter ignores you at a restaurant, you give them no tip, a shitty tip (the 1 penny to let them know they sucked balls), or you dont go back. Just because he's not directly in my life, and sits behind a book, doesn't change that any.

I can guarantee you I won't buy his next book - and I own the first four in hardcover, and the first two in mass market from before I bought the hardcovers. When you're able to turn fans into people who despise you, then you have failed - as a writer, as a programmer, or as a McDonalds cook, it doesn't matter.
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  #13  
Old 05-14-2009, 06:02 PM
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Quote:
George R.R. Martin is not your bitch

You're right. He's not my bitch, and I wouldn't want him to be. He's just a bitch. A fat, lazy, unproductive bitch who won't see any more of my money.
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Old 05-14-2009, 06:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragon Thief
My problem isn't necessarily how long it takes GRRM to write a book, it's his attitude about it.
Dammit, Thief, stop summing up my opinions so precisely.

Martin isn't my bitch, but dear lord am I sick of his bitching.
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Old 05-14-2009, 07:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belazamon
Dammit, Thief, stop summing up my opinions so precisely.

Martin isn't my bitch, but dear lord am I sick of his bitching.
Yup.
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Old 05-14-2009, 07:41 PM
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*lol* Are you guys fans of "finish the book already george"?

I'm not sure how much I still care about Song, I just want my fucking WoT, and I'm getting one third of it in november.
  #17  
Old 05-14-2009, 07:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonai
*lol* Are you guys fans of "finish the book already george"?
Not really. I stopped caring about that series about 200 pages into the third book.
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Old 05-14-2009, 07:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belazamon
Not really. I stopped caring about that series about 200 pages into the third book.
Yep. Too many people die.

What you should all do is organize a big, collective market-place "fuck you." Send round a petition telling everyone to boycott every single GRRM story or comic or what have you. If he can't sell his other crap, he'll go back to aSoIaF right quick.
  #19  
Old 05-14-2009, 07:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belazamon
Not really. I stopped caring about that series about 200 pages into the third book.
Red Wedding?
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  #20  
Old 05-14-2009, 07:49 PM
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I think sales of Dance (if it ever comes out) will be way down...especially when it first comes out. Alot of fans have moved on and even diehard ones like me are annoyed as fuck with him...ban me from your blog, will you!!!
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Bonded to Brita

"We caught them in an alley on skid row in downtown Philly and brought them down with Uzi's and dogs. I beat the shit out of one of the guys for resisting arrest. After that, I went home, fried up some tofu with strawberry preserves and melon sticky rice, laid down on the couch with my snuggie and ate rose petals in sweet daisy wine sauce and watched Mamma Mia on DVD and then cried myself to sleep."

Theoryland: Just Some Crazy In A Pot
 


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