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John Scalzi on George R.R. Martin's "A Dance with Dragons"

John Scalzi:

A Small Observation Regarding Words and Releases « Whatever: I’ve written roughly 440,000 words worth of novels since 2005. A Dance With Dragons, so I am told, clocks in at 416,000 words. So, in terms of total novel words written for publication since 2005 (and omitting excised material), there’s a 5.5% difference between the amount that I have written for novels and what Martin has. If we’re talking about the actual words published, written since 2005, there’s a 13.5% difference — in Martin’s favor, because my 2012 novel won’t be published until, well, 2012.

Shorter version: During those years the unsocialized were snarling at Martin for being lazy or procrastinating or indolent or whatever, he wrote about as many words for novels as I had. By this superficial but easy-to-quantify metric, on the novel front he was as productive as I was, and most people seem to agree that I’ve been pretty productive these last six years. I just spread my words around five novels while he poured all of his into one.

Yes, but — some of you are about to say. To which I say, yes but what?

Here is what:

Suppose that last week Martin had stood up and said:

I am actually releasing the 'The Winds of Winter' now, the next volume after 'A Dance with Dragons'--that is what I have been working on for the past six years.

Really, only three important things happened during 'A Dance with Dragons'--Gljva'f oebgure Xrina gevrf gb ubyq gur Ynaavfgre snpgvba gbtrgure ohg trgf nffnffvangrq ol Inelf. N arj Gnetnelra cergraqre fhccbfrq gb or Cevapr Nrtba nccrnef. Wba Fabj nggrzcgf gb gnxr gur Jngpu fbhgu naq trgf nffnffvangrq. The rest you can quickly pick up from context as you read 'The Winds of Winter'. You won't miss it. Let's get on with the story.

I think we would all be a lot happier now.

I know I would be.

I think Scalzi proably would be.

And I suspect Martin would be.

Books--especially 1000 page books--should advance the story, not just tread water.

The Aristotelian Unities: They are not just a good idea, they are the law...