So far, the forum has produced a “field guide” to the various types of Martin defenders and how they may be refuted; a pseudo-legal brief titled “The People Against George R. R. Martin”; detailed charts attempting to expose how few hours Martin has devoted to writing “A Dance with Dragons” per year, based on his blog postings; and a three-hundred-page “Encyclopedia GRRuMbliana,” which includes a spirited history of the forum.
Kevin J Anderson: Well, I know a lot of other authors who seem to think deadlines are a suggestion instead of a contract. [...] Well, I grew up that you are a person of your word. If you said you were going to do it by a certain day, you do it by a certain day.
When I was in college, and I had a deadline for a term paper, my professor didn't want me to turn it in a month late. It was on time. But I worked so hard to become an author, that when I finally became a professional author, there was no way I was going to blow it by just not fulfilling my responsibilities. It's a contract, it's a legal contract with the publisher, and you sign your name on the bottom of it that says I promise I will turn in this book by this date.
I take it seriously. I think the readers were reading a series because they want to read the next book in... oh, say, The Wheel of Time series or something like that. They want to know that it comes out when they're expecting it. I've done the Saga of Seven Suns which was seven volumes long, 700 page books. I turned those in every year on time, and they came out every year on time. People could rely on that.
I think that writers... too many writers don't treat their job as a writer is a job. It's a job. Most people have to go to a job at eight o'clock in the morning, they have to clock in, they have to work a certain number of hours before they get to go home. For writers, they don't get a pass on that. That... if you're a lawyer, you're expected to be in so many hours per day. If you're a doctor, you put in so many hours per day. If you are managing a restaurant... if anybody you know... any of you know people who manage a restaurant, that person's they are like from the early morning until midnight when the restaurant closes. Being a writer... a successful writer is no different from that. You should put in your time, do your work, and meet your deadlines.
Brandon Sanderson: I do want to say one thing to close out this podcast. The reason I called it what I did, Author's Responsibility to the Reader, is because... a lot has been written about this. I don't want to contradict any other authors. Everyone has their own way of thinking about it and way of talking. Neil Gaiman has a very long, brilliant post regarding author's responsibility and reader responsibility to authors. But I've always looked at this as I am making a contract with my readers. When I say I'm going to release a series of books, I believe that I have an obligation to continue that series and put them out in a timely manner, because when you buy the first one to support the project, you are buying into my offer of a contract to you. Now, different authors approach things different ways. But I really want to say to you, listeners, try and think of it more that way. Think about the privilege it is to actually be writing these stories and sharing them with people. Treat it like a responsibility.
Howard Taylor: I think the duality you're looking for here, Brandon, is the difference between the writer's attitude and the reader's attitude. If you are just a reader listening to this podcast, please don't talk to your favorite writers and say, "You have a responsibility to me. Sit down and write a book." Just... why don't you just go and enjoy some books that have been written, and just keep reading? Writers? Know that there are readers out there who are sitting on their hands quietly expecting you to be more responsible than you are and get to work.
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