Half the World, Finished! Not.

January 25th, 2014

Well, kind of. I’ve spoken before of how you (or at least I) never really get that moment of glorious satisfaction when you clack out the words THE END on your typewriter, whizz the final sheet from the drum, plonk it on top of the crisp heap of typescript and allow yourself that one cigarette a year.

For one thing, I rarely write stuff properly in sequence.  For another, finishing a draft is where some of the most important work begins – the revision.  In the case of Half the World I limped over the finish line late last night when I suddenly realised I’d closed up the last gap in the second-to-last chapter, the last one having been written a couple of days before.

I still need to do the most basic revision on the last of four parts, which is where I read each chapter, often for the first time, chop stuff around, cut stuff out, fix basic errors, and generally smooth it all off to the point that it’s at least readable, if not necessarily good.  That’ll probably take me most of next week, then the task of really going through and making the whole thing into a coherent, consistent book will happen in February and March.

So there’s a long way to go, a lot of things to add, a lot of things to cut, a lot of laborious filing and polishing and shaping, but it cannot be denied that I now have a complete draft of Half the World.  And, what’s more, it’s not even my next book.  Half a King is due out in July this year, and is completely finished, Advance Reader Copies going out to writers and reviewers even as we speak.  Half the World is due in February 2015.  Been a long, long time since I was a book ahead like this.  Still, the last book in this trilogy, Half a War, is currently loosely slated for July 2015, which means getting that finished by the end of this year.  No rest for the grimdark…

Posted in process, progress by Joe Abercrombie on January 25th, 2014.

16 comments so far

  • mathieu says:

    Great news, ever since Red Country I’ve been sitting on my hunger for eloquently explained carnage, lovely to see you have these books ready before the next one is even published.
    I saw an interview in which you said you tend to read the sort of books you’re about to write. What books did you read for these?

  • RAMSAY says:

    Cheers for that Joe, it’s always fascinating to read how these things work and to glean the amount of hard work and dedication that goes into shaping and refining the final product. Just out of interest, do you still have the four readers advising you, and at what stage do they come in and give their input?

  • Gary Moore says:

    Just read (for the 3rd time) Heroes and would like to ask one thing. You have a very visual writing style, which I believe comes from your film editing. You also seem to be able to take a genre of film and weave its staples wiyhin your own distinctive voice. Heroes remind me of those epic war films like the Longest Day, Band of Brothers or more accuratly a Bridge Too Far. Red Country is a love song dedicated to the spaghetti western. Best Served Cold is fantasys Usual Suspects. Is this sort thing intentional or just a result of your own immersion in the film industr

  • A Blackmore says:

    Very much so looking forward to the new books. Fun insight into the process as well, though I too would be interested to hear your answer to Ramsay’s question.

  • Dakota C says:

    How do I get on that early reader list???

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Viking books.

    They are still very much involved, though how has changed a bit. I’ll talk about that next week, probably…

    Gary, A Blackmore
    Yes. You might find some answers via this link:


    And an interview here that covers it:


    Become a prestigious reviewer, author or bookseller, I guess…

  • J. Edwards says:

    Sounds like it’s coming together nicely. I think I can speak for others when I say I appreciate these little glimpses into your creative process; we hopefuls do love a peek at the nuts-and-bolts of writing.

  • The GWD says:

    I’m a prestigious reviewer, author or bookseller. You can ask my ma. I’ll get ya my contact info soon. You know, after a few acclaimed reviews, writings and sellings.

  • Andy Aitken says:

    Can I say that I love the little insights into how the whole process works & would happily read a diary/book on the whole thing. Looking forward to July enormously.

  • Jim Watts says:

    Go Joe! I’m looking forward to picking it up when it is available Stateside.

    On a side note – I just picked up some 14 yr old Balvenie – the Caribbean Cask expression – finished in rum casks. I can’t remember if this one showed up in the Whisky Death Match, but it looked interesting. Time to crack it open to help me through the Windows to Mac migration this evening.

  • Dave says:

    Congratulations! Can’t wait.

    Stephen Pacey, please.


  • Patrick89 says:

    So you’re starting on the next first law book in early 2015? no rest for the grimdark… 😉

  • Ranma says:

    I’ve noticed that the “Vikings life and legend” exhibition is coming at the British Museum this Spring. Clearly they trying to jump on the Joe Abercrombie bandwagon here… and just before “Half a King” will be released!

  • Anglocon says:

    Can I echo Daves comment here, all pressure on Audible for Stephen Pacey please! Currently listening to the First Law trilogy for the third time or so on the way into work …

  • Matt says:

    Hey Joe,

    firstly thanks for your last reply on the blog where you showed off the book cover. I might have criticised it, but your hard covers join my small but well loved library no matter what the “look” like.

    I want to echoe the other readers here and say that I enjoy the insights into how you get you work done and how far ahead etc. I am really looking forward to July (and August because Robin Hobbs next one comes out a month after yours) so the middle of 2014 is going to be a joyous time for me!

    Two questions: Do you really only have one cigarette a year or was that just a joke?
    If you do really have only one cigarette a year, where do you buy the single cigarette packets from because i should get those instead of the ones with 20 in them!

    Take care mate and keep up the AWESOME work!


  • Steve says:

    Hi Joe,
    Fascinated to hear how you go off track in a non-linear way when writing a first draft. Is this something you have always done? Do you tend to write the ‘sweet’ scenes that got the juices flowing in the planning stage first? Do you find you add a lot off stuff to scenes in the second and subsequent drafts, or is it more the polish and take out school.
    Love your stuff by the way. Looking forward to the new one. Fascinating to see you take on ‘Abercrombie style’ YA material. The GCSE kids wont know what hit them.

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