Is winter ever coming?

“And yes, before someone asks, I AM STILL WORKING ON WINDS OF WINTER and will continue working on it until it’s done. I will confess, I do wish I could clone myself, or find a way to squeeze more hours into the day, or a way to go without sleep. But this is what it is, so I keep on juggling. Winds of Winter, five successor shows, Fire and Blood (that’s the GRRMarillion, remember?), four new Wild Cards books, some things I can’t tell you about yet… it’s a good thing I love my work.”

Dear me George. You may love your work, but fans do not love waiting 6 plus years for the next instalment of a book series. Especially after waiting 5 years for the last one. And especially considering the first book was published over 20 years ago.

The news that George RR Martin is now working with HBO on no less than five spin off shows to Game of Thrones will do doubt thrill and dismay his fans in equal measure. I myself have kind of given up on reading the books, which is a shame, particularly considering I absolutely loved Storm of Swords and would rate it as one of my top ever books. But Winds of Winter is seemingly still a long way off, and the high quality TV series has clearly far overtaken the books anyway. Is it bad to say that it would appear that Martin simply isn’t investing any of his time in his reading audience in comparison to his TV audience? The readers are his original fans, and they are being very patient. Or perhaps they aren’t. Perhaps, like me, they’ve given up on the idea of ever reading Winds of Winter, and unless they avoid spoilers for the next 5-10 years, they’ll probably find out what happens in the end as the show reaches its climax.

In my mind, Winds of Winter is either going to be the best bloody book ever written in the history of everything, or the complete opposite. Writing is a delicate balance – characters can form in your mind, but if you ignore them, they go stale and whither and become almost like shadows of the people they once were. They can become like old friends you haven’t seen for many years, whose names you remember, but you can’t quite recall how you know them or why you made friends with them in the first place. The longer you leave it before you try and pick up the thread of a story, the harder it gets, and the worse the staleness of the characters become. I have abandoned stories I have been writing for this very reason. I couldn’t decide what would happen next, I left it too long, and the characters lost their sparkle.

With any luck Martin will prove me wrong. His next novel might be taking almost a decade to complete because it really is that unbelievably amazing. But I’m not convinced…


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