Last Words

March 13th, 2012

Finished the first draft of A Red Country today.  Well, kind of finished.  Any of you who’ve been through this process with me before will remember that there is a lot of work to do between writing the final words and seeing the book on the shelves.  Some of the most important work.  But also some of the most satisfying.  This is the part I really enjoy, cutting, refining, seeing the poor parts chopped away and the good parts refined and the whole hopefully coming into shape.  This week I’ll look over and tidy up this last part before sending it off to my editor, and then it’s a quick read through to see what I’ve got, some additions and heavy rewriting of one of the two central characters.  But hey, it’s a step in the right direction.  I can remember finishing the first chapter and thinking, bloody hell, there’s a long way to go, and before you know it, here you are.  171,000 words at the moment.  I have a considerable chapter to add, but some heavy cutting to do in other areas, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up somewhere in that region, which will make it my shortest book by some considerable margin.  The Blade Itself was somewhere around 190,000, as I recall.  Last Argument of Kings the longest at about 230,000, in case you were wondering.  Oh, US publication looks like November 20th this year, UK publication will be a little before that, precise date to be announced, but probably somewhere in September/October.

Posted in progress by Joe Abercrombie on March 13th, 2012.

53 comments so far

  • Brian Evinou says:

    Congrats Sir! Looking forward to spending Christmas with the colorful bastards you create.

  • Adam says:

    You magnificent bastard. Well done.

  • FlyMonkey says:

    Great news Joe!

  • peter says:

    yahoo looking forward to it already

  • Coggie says:

    whoooo hoooo! Come on Joe nearly there!!!

  • Karen says:

    Excellent work, mister! Autumn is looking good then 🙂

  • Thaddeus says:

    Good to hear the first draft’s done, and the approximate target for publication.

    It’s also interesting that you like redrafting. Do you usually need to make major changes (either axing sections or adding lots more), or is this the first book you’ve had to redraft/edit so much?

    I remember reading that Chris Wooding substantially altered The Iron Jackal (the first chapter in the book was going to be some way into it originally), and that was very enjoyable to read.

  • Excellent news! Will the audiobook be published the same day do you know?

  • Njord says:

    I’m only 10,000 words into mine and have been worrying about trying to cram 30 years of history and maybe 10 novels of story into 120,000 words. Thank fcuk I keep reading your site, because it gives me a little bit of faith that I will get there eventually. Cheers Joe!

  • Sketch says:

    Woop! This’ll be the first of your books I’ll have followed through the writing process from start to finish via the insights here on your blog. Fascinating to watch and it certainly does ratchett up the anticipation.

    Can I ask what your weapon of choice for the front cover is? Assuming it’s going to follow the style of your other standalones of course and be another masterpiece by Graffet of course. Hunting bow and some arrows given the Western theme?

    Again, nice work!

  • Paolo D. says:

    Great to read about your writing process and congrats on reaching the finish line. I am an Italian aspiring to be a fantasy writer (first novel published last year) and, ever since I finished your First Law trilogy, I have been a great fan of yours. Looking forward to read the latest work!

  • Dyrewulf says:

    Thanks for the update!

  • Khaldun says:

    Was at the GRRM signing in Toronto today and was telling everyone to read your stuff once they’ve finished Dance with Dragons and need new books to read!
    Thanks for the update.

  • Pallav says:

    Godspeed, Joe 🙂

  • DrGonzo says:

    Thanks for the update. Great news.

  • JenMo says:

    And next? The ever controversial US cover art! We all love the UK parchmenty covers, so no controversy there to sink our teeth into.

  • Gary says:

    That’s great news Joe!

    It is so good that you can give everyone an honest account of the writing process. The best books are only as good as they are through lots of edits and rewrites and as a budding fantasist myself I now know not to be too disheartened by my first draft.

    Thank you ever so much for your brilliant books and another thank you for your honesty and openess in the book writing process, it is truly inspiring.

  • Michael says:

    This is joyous news indeed, congratulations to you.

    Will now defer listening to my Steven Pacey version of The Heroes until October just to get myself in the mood.

  • Phil Norris says:

    I notice the A is no longer bracketed? First time you’ve done this, does this mean you’ve now settled on the title?

  • JamesM says:

    ‘which will make it my shortest book’


  • Yojimboo says:

    Fantastic Expectations, Amazing Revelations!

  • Phil Norris says:

    @ JamesM

    Size isn’t everything.

  • fbdbh says:

    Congratulations! I don’t mind the shortness. I like to read big books but not so many in a year, because they take the time from others. I already read Sanderson’s Way of Kings this year, so I’m looking forward to something more medium-sized. And westernish. Can’t wait!

  • Brian says:


    As long as it’s his most bestest, goodiest book ever it’ll be okay!

  • Adam T. Parkinson says:

    Looking forwards to this more than The Hobbit film!

  • Madman42 says:

    Yea! I can’t wait!

  • Gary says:

    @ JamesM

    Just because it’s smaller doesn’t mean it’ll be any less satisfying. Those are words most blokes should live by 🙂

  • RBWalker says:

    Cool. That means that it will published just after my second biannual reread of my gritty fantasy collection – you, Richard Morgan, Scott Lynch, and GRRM (a man who is definately more initialled than named). Congratulations on keeping up a better rate of ink-fire than the others – we all appreciate it. ;-D

  • A-drain says:

    Sweet! No really. This is friggin good news.

    I was just telling some co-worker yesterday to pick up The Blade Itself and was contemplating reading it again myself.

  • Katri says:

    Fantastic news!!

  • James says:

    Awesome news sport, can’t wait to read it.

    You said in an earlier post you felt it had been a bit of a grind in parts. Did that feeling stay the whole way through?

  • Mark C says:

    Great news and great insight, Joe! I’ll shift the books on the bookcases down one to make room. Its a real bugger your name begins with ‘A’. I’ve got a lot of books! 🙂

  • Erik says:

    great news. could you ask your friend GRRM to speed up his next book?

  • Andy says:

    Joe – well done chief, really looking forward to reading it. Glad this is the process that you enjoy most. Polish, refine, rewrite, unwrite & new-write to yours hearts content. In Joe I trust! Cheers

  • Conor says:

    Something to distract myself with while I’m settling in at uni, then. Joy of joys.

    Glad to hear it’s coming along so well. Keep at it, you industrious fiend.

  • Brendan says:

    You will kindle it yes? Love my kindle.

  • Joye says:

    I guess it would be stupid of me to say that Mass Effect 3 is fucking awsome.!

    Oops, my bad…

    Well finish the book in a jiffy then u can reward urself with some fantastic ME3 gametime!!

    Keep it up looking forward to the book!

  • Micah Martin says:

    I can’t wait for this!

  • nick says:

    Only 170,000 words? You vain, idle man. I demand a rewrite.

  • Philippe says:

    I really didn’t like ME3 – and precisely for all the reasons I love JA books: cheesy interactions (the child…Sigh), shallow characters and idiotic overused Hollywood plot.

    Give me dirty heroes with personal motives any day. Keep up the good work Joe!

  • Dave Wagner says:

    Joe, you = The Man. Can’t wait.

  • Luke Kidson says:

    Brilliant – roll on Sept/Oct!

    So, after the usual signing at Forbidden Planet in London, we arranging an after party this time? Beers, fans, favourite author, it’ll be great!

  • Iangr says:

    Grrrrrreat News!!

    Diablo 3 got a release and now Joe tells us,he’s got a draft!
    March is really brilliant!

  • Sedulo says:

    Was that whip cracking comment actually effective?

    I am very happy to read this news. Your book just overtook the other book I was looking forward to reading in November (the other one is a different genre…). I am resetting my anticipation countdown to November!

  • Sedulo says:

    Late November!

  • Hawkeye says:

    As my wife once said, I was hoping it would be bigger.

  • AntMac says:

    Thank you for the update Mr Abercrombie. I am re-reading the first trilogy. And I am getting a lot of pleasure out of that, I can tell you. My workmates voted that I not be allowed to enthuse at them about your work any more. Something about being a fanatic about the topic. bwahahaha.

  • Rio says:

    You, my friend, owe me a lot of money (given the fact that I have all your books AND based on the number of my friends who are now also buying your books).

    Can’t wait to give you even more of my hard earned money. Tell you what, if I enjoy it as much as I did “Best Served Cold”, we will call it even.

    Thanks Joe.

  • […] on the heels of his Last Words update last week – – Joe Abercrombie has posted another, more in-depth, update about the first rough draft of (A) […]

  • Bex says:

    Great news! Can’t wait to read this one as soon as it’s here, as with all the others. Thanks for posting and letting us know. At least there is light at the end of the tunnel for those of us waiting!

    Thanks Joe

  • Justin says:

    I don’t comment on these things. That being said, I can’t wait for it to come out.

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