A Feast For Crows is finished!

Talan

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http://georgerrmartin.com/nextbook.html

No, I haven't finished writing everything I wanted to include in A FEAST FOR CROWS. I have wrapped up a whole bunch of characters and storylines since the last update in January, but "a whole bunch" does not equate to "all."

And I was facing another problem as well: the sheer size of the book.

All of the books in this series have been big, mind you. A GAME OF THRONES weighed in at 1088 pages in manuscript, not counting the appendices. A CLASH OF KINGS was even longer at 1184 pages, not counting the appendices. And A STORM OF SWORDS measured a gargantuan 1521 pages in manuscript, not counting the (etc).

Any publisher will tell you that a book as big as A STORM OF SWORDS is a production nightmare, and STORM did indeed cause problems for many of my publishers around the world. In some languages it was divided into two, three, or even four volumes. Bantam published STORM in a single volume in the United States, but not without difficulty. Pretty much everyone agreed that it would be a really good thing if the fourth volume in the series came in somewhat shorter than STORM, so I set out with the idea of delivering a FEAST closer in length to A CLASH OF KINGS.

Alas for good intentions. In hindsight, I should have known better. The story makes its own demands, as Tolkien once said, and my story kept demanding to get bigger and more complicated.

I passed A CLASH OF KINGS last year, and still had plenty more to write. By January, I had more than 1300 pages, and still had storylines unfinished. About three weeks ago I hit 1527 pages of final draft, surpassing A STORM OF SWORDS... but I also had another hundred or so pages of roughs and incomplete chapters, as well as other chapters sketched out but entirely unwritten. That was when I realized that the light I'd seen at the end of the tunnel was actually the headlight of an onrushing locomotive.

And that's why my publishers and I, after much discussion and weighing of alternatives, have decided to split the narrative into two books (printing in microtype on onion skin paper and giving each reader a magnifying glass was not considered feasible, and I was reluctant to make the sort of deep cuts that would have been necessary to get the book down to a more publishable length, which I felt would have compromised the story).

The first plan was simply to lop the text in half. In that scenario, I would finish the last few chapters in as short a length (and time) as possible. That would have produced a story of maybe 1650 to 1700 pages in manuscript, which we would simply have broken into two chunks of roughly equal length and published as A FEAST FOR CROWS, Part One and A FEAST FOR CROWS, Part Two.

We decided not to do that. It was my feeling -- and I pushed hard for this, so if you don't like the solution, blame me, not my publishers -- that we were better off telling all the story for half the characters, rather than half the story for all the characters. Cutting the novel in half would have produced two half-novels; our approach will produce two novels taking place simultaneously, but set hundreds or even thousands of miles apart, and involving different casts of characters (with some overlap).

The division has been done, and it think it works quite well. The upshot is, A FEAST FOR CROWS is now moving into production. It is still a long book, but not too long; about the same size as A GAME OF THRONES. The focus in FEAST will be on Westeros, King's Landing, the riverlands, Dorne, and the Iron Islands. More than that I won't say.

Meanwhile, all the characters and stories removed from FEAST are moving right into A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, which will focus on events in the east and north. All the chapters I have not yet finished and/or begun are moving into DANCE. I think this is very good, if truth be told, since it will give me the room to complete those arcs as I had originally intended, rather than trying to tie them up quickly in a chapter or two so I could deliver the massively late Big FEAST.

So there it is. I know some of you may be disappointed, especially when you buy A FEAST FOR CROWS and discover that your favorite character does not appear, but given the realities I think this was the best solution... and the more I look at it, the more convinced I am that these two parallel novels, when taken together, will actually tell the story better than one big book.

And if there are those who don't agree, and still want their Big FEAST with all the trimmings set out on one huge table... well, there's an easy fix. Get both books, razor the pages out with an Exacto knife, interleave the chapters as you think best, and bring the towering stack of text that results to your favorite bookbinder... and presto, chango the Big FEAST will live again.

As for me, I am getting back to work. There's good news on that front too -- A DANCE WITH DRAGONS is half-done!!!

(And before anyone asks, yes indeed, this development means that Parris was right all along. It will now probably require seven books to complete the story).

—George R.R. Martin, May 29, 2005
 

Elan Morin Tedronai

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Damn, that sounds kinda annoying to tell half the story in two seperate books. But Martin is the man, and I really don't care what he does. Im guessing AFFC is still good for a July 26 release then ? And a Dance With Dragons half done ? Incrediable !
 
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Talan

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Yes, I'm a little pissed about not being able to read Jon and Tyrion chapters for a while, but oh well. The Dany invasion should be awesome in ADWD.
 

Falagar

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Yay! :D Been waiting a long time for this day. I don't care what he's done to it, as long as it gets here asap.
 

shirefolk42

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I haven't decided what I feel. The decision makes sense, but i don't want to have to wait another year or two for him to now finish DwD and find out what's going on with half the characters, but I'm happy to have this book out soon.
 

Liadan

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Hehe, looking forward to this! Although yes it does suck that there won't be Jon chapters or Tyrion chapters... or Dany chapters... :(

Out of curiosity, which book would Arya end up in? I'm not really good with maps, so I haven't the slightest clue... ;)
 
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Talan

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I think she's heading to Braavos or some other free city so probably A Dance With Dragons.
 

Liadan

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Awwwwww... that sucks....

What about Catelyn or Sansa?
 
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Talan

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Both should be in. I think this is taking place mostly in Dorne, King's Landing, The Iron Isles, the Vale and probably will have some POVs in the Brotherhood Without Banners. Dany, Tyrion, Arya, and the Wall Chapters will be excluded.
 

Liadan

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Awwwww... anyway, thanks for answering my questions! :)
 
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Talan

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Ok, *SPOILERS*

Jamie, Arya, Sansa, Sam (Jon will be in the first Sam chapter), the Iron Isles, Dorne, mystery POV (we don't know who the mystery POV is yet!). Asha will be in AFFC, in fact, all the chapters in Arms of the Kraken will show up in AFFC.

The following will show up in ADwD:

Arya, Bran, Jon, Dany, Tyrion, and Asha (she will be in both books, as she gets involved in affairs of the North)

Other tidbits: [Note: Spoiler POV redacted] has the most number of chapters in AFFC, while Dany has the most in ADwD. Also, the number of Tyrion chapters is going up from 4 to 7 in ADwD (his storyline is basically beinbg expanded).

I'm glad that people are delighted that the next book is on the way overall. GRRM and Parris themselves were worried about the reaction on the board. GRRM even mentioned yesterday that he heard that people weren't happy here. But flicking through a couple of threads I think that, ignoring a few, people are just glad that the new book is finally on the way. :D

GRRM will tell you himself its not an ideal situation. But its definitely the best way to go IMHO. (The ideal situation is that he spends years working on the whole series until it is completed. And not be pressured by publisher and fans' demands. Because of course he feels a certain obligation to his fans. :)

Just to cover a few things that I saw mentioned...

The focus in FEAST will be on Westeros, King's Landing, the riverlands, Dorne, and the Iron Islands.

GRRM said he is unsure why he has kept the Mystery POV hidden all these years but he isn't going to reveal it now. ;) But i'm thinking we don't have a POV directly set in the Riverlands so the quote above may be a hint. Of course, Sansa, Jaime and [Note: Redacted spoiler POV] can give us info on those areas. But we can assume that it is a southern POV anyhow (It isn't Theon for example but definitely could be Brienne or Sandor).

AFAICT the only Iron Islands chapters in aFfC will be the Arms of the Kraken story. Asha will feature in at least one chapter in aDwD (which is already written).

Arya will have 3 or 4 chapters (I can't remember exactly) in aFfC. But she will be one of the characters that will also feature in aDwD. We don't know how many chapters because he hasn't written them.

He says he has currently 600 pages written for aDwD. He is expecting a 1100 page book. (All in manuscript pages.) Which is just over the size of aGoT. He probably is underestimating again. But that gives you an idea. Tyrion's story arc required 4 chapters but he thinks with another 3 chapters he can have a far more satisfying story. In other words, he is just continuing the existing story.

Other POVs characters may also feature in both books. I get the impression he doesn't want to give away too much info about aDwD or he will end up feeling straitjacketed again. That he wants to avoid feeling he has to do something because he has already commented on it. Thus he is mainly commenting on what is already written.

This is actually one of the potential benefits of the books being done this way, but because it wasn't planned this way from the beginning, I'm not sure how much he can take advantage of it

GRRM himself stated this is an advantage of this book. That we will get some hints of what is going on in the North and East but we wouldn't know what is true and what not. We may learn that Stannis is killed for example but that could easily be a red herring. :p Look how Varys often manipulated the truth.

I asked GRRM about the title no longer referring to the Nights Watch and as people explained already, the title always had multiple meanings. So it merely loses one level of significance. And when I think about it, the Crows on the Nights Watch are unlikely to have much of a feast. Except of death. :p

GRRM did mention late September/October as a publishing date but nothing has been finalised. He has to meet his publishers. I think he is doing so this week in NYC. It sounds like they are trying to publish asap. His editor has read the new version of aFfC and has not come across anything obviously wrong with the new format but is currently rereading to make sure nothing is missed. GRRM did admit that a few lines may require tweaking to ensure he doesn't give away too much.

...

He has suggested there will be 3 or so extra Tyrion chapters, a couple of Bran chapters (he originally wasn’t going to appear in the old version of aFfC) and a few more Arya chapters (to go alongside those that will appear in the new version of aFfC). They are not going to add up to 500 pages. He could be expanding a few other POVs that we know will be appearing in aDwD. Or perhaps others from aFfC will be appearing. I wouldn’t be surprised if GRRM isn’t sure himself yet. He probably has a few ideas but isn’t ready to commit publicly.
 

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