It has been a solid last month for George R. R. Martin.
After returning from the HBO pilot shoot for A Game of Thrones, which took several weeks away from his writing in late October/November as he visited the set and actors, it seems George delved right into A Dance With Dragons with a slashing sword of work ethic. He has posted more updates in the last three weeks than he has in the last three years, and each update contains information that he has finished another chapter in a book that everyone and their grandmother are waiting for.
I will try to put this in a bit of perspective though. No reason to get super excited yet. In late July 2009, Anne Groell shared with me that George had passed the 1000 manuscript page mark. George later confirmed this as well. On October 6th, George shared via his blog that he had passed the 1100 page manuscript mark. It took him 2 months to write and wrap up 100 pages.
Then from October 22nd – November 24th he was out of the country and away from his computer—non-writing time. Then the holidays. The New Year.
Today he announced that he has passed 1205 manuscript pages.
These are finished manuscript pages, according to George. He also has various excerpts, unfinished chapters, and additional material that he is not pleased with yet but which exist. That means it took him roughly 3 months, give or take a week, to wrap up another 100 pages. Two chapters of those 100 pages are that Meereneese Knot problem he has been working at since 2006.
Say what you want, naysayers: George has been on a roll.
Now, this is history and probably has no bearing on the reality of the current version of A Dance With Dragons, but in 2006 George thought the book would come in around 1200-1300 manuscript pages. As a reference, A Game of Thrones is 1088 manuscript pages, A Clash of Kings is 1184 manuscript pages, and A Storm of Swords is 1521 manuscript pages.
Right now A Dance With Dragons will be the second longest book in the series.
How much does George have left? Only he and his editor know. The book very well could be 1500 manuscript pages, which would give George at least another nine months minimum to complete. If he is still gunning for his 1300 page guess from four years ago, he could be close to completion.
We’ll have to wait and see. It is really nice to see how open he has been about the completion of certain chapters. It means he is hard at work and, like most writers, making progress on a book usually leads to more progress.
When on a roll… keeping rollin’…