Leap Year

February 29th, 2012

Ah, February the 29th, and I must say that this has been an excellent month for writing, round my way.  A grand total of 25,000 words extruded, and even partially reviewed as I’ve finished each chapter so they shouldn’t need a massive amount of work to sharpen up.  I mean to say, it ain’t no Brandon Sanderson level of productivity but for me it’s pretty darned good.  Certainly the best month I’ve had on this book, which has been something of a grind at times, I must admit.  If every month had been as good as this one I’d have finished in October.  But it wasn’t, and I didn’t.  Still, I’ve just three chapters left to finish my first draft, the last of which is already half written.  Well, actually I’ve got an additional chapter to write and two others near the start that need rewriting so heavily I might as well be starting from scratch but, hey, can we just worry about those later, please?


Posted in progress by Joe Abercrombie on February 29th, 2012.

45 comments so far

  • James says:


    *cracks whip*

  • Niklas says:

    Nicely done. Take your time. I’ve just finished The Heroes (superb).

    Being short on anything else to read I’ve started reading the Aubrey/Maturin series and those 21 books should be read through in November. A new book from you by then would suit me just fine.

    BTW will there be a bit more frowning in the next one? There wasn’t a single frown in The Heroes. I kind of miss them.

  • AntMac says:

    You are a prince amoung men. Just keep it in the front of your mind how much pleasure you are giving us, you really do you know. Some other age, there would be statuary in the making!.

    Now, nose, grindstone.

  • Sir Chauncy says:

    Bad James! Back in your Box!

    I’m so sorry about that Joe, sometimes he gets out without his grammar medicine and uses multiple exclamation marks like a crazy person.

    The whip idea he had though… has merit

  • Bob says:

    Thank god its going well. I have been reduced to reading a David Gemmel book and frankly if I’d wanted my balls sucking that hard I’d grow a moustache and throw my self into the New York bath house scene. Hugs.

  • Steve says:

    Odd. Whenever a fan tells a writer to get back to work , I picture Antonio Salieri leaning over a near-dead Mozart as he tries to complete Requiem.

    Nice month, Joe. One virtual pastrami, gherkin and mustard headed your way.

  • Yulwei says:

    The word extruded sounds very vulgar. I think I’ll start using it in my conversations.

    So long as the book is out this year I’m happy

  • peter says:

    earlier part of this year would be better,but hey in time for christmas will do

  • FlyMonkey says:

    the whip idea has definite merit guys! nah i’m kiddin Joe, so long as there is another book at some point in the future then waiting is not an issue. more disregard for “Fantasy Fiction standard protocols would be good as well 🙂

  • Glad to hear the month went well for you! Really excited for Red Country but for the love of anything good, man, don’t murder yourself. You could always do the Stephen King thing, finish the first draft and let it cool off for a while well you work on other stuff that isn’t the psychological equivalent to a crucifixion.

    If your worried about rabid fans during the little sabbatical you could always pretend you’re making progress. Fudge the numbers. It’s a corporate American thing that we’re quite fond of.

  • Jacob says:


    Thanks for showing us the human, less heard of side of being an author. It inspires me to keep writing. It really, really does. It shows that all the elite authors aren’t infact these godlike machines that can churn out endless words and pages without rewrites, heavy editing, the thesaurus method…

    Makes me feel like tackling that novella I have begun without giving a damn about a single issue…

  • SwindonNick says:

    I note that Amazon has both “Red Country” and “A Red Country” available to pre-order. Two different dates and two different prices! Are you trying to sucker us into buying them ‘both’? Because I’m dumb enough to do it….

  • michael says:

    Not been a bad Feb for me either. Welcomed daughter number two to the world, although my suggestion of Monza for a name was ignored. And I finished listening to BSC from audible, which was truly amazing.

    Whilst on paternity leave, trying to feed a hungry baby in the wee small hours, I devoted some several minutes to trying to find a link between the names of Lamb and Logen to help see if the fully aroused members of the bloody nine fanclub truly did have something to rejoice about in your next literary adventure.

    There is someone posting photographs on photobucket using the name logen-lamb, and your better half does this preofessionally doesn’t she?

    And in The Blade Itself, when Logen brings Quai back to Bayaz at the beginning of the book, Bayaz states “And you have brought our missing lamb back to the fold”.

    And finally there was a particularly poor alliterative effort incorporating the words lamb and logen into a popular type of curry dish. I know I am stretching this a bit thin, but you left us at the back of the coach on the edge of the cliff in the Italian Job.

    Here’s to March being great too.

  • Ed Knight says:

    Your February was clearly much more productive than mine, for which I’m glad! Apparently slacking off for the entire month on the grounds that you’re excited about the leap year doesn’t fly well in the face of business demands. Who knew? Anyway, keep up the good work, we’ll all be here to line your pockets with our not-really-that-hard-earned cash whenever it’s released!

  • Jens says:

    …and “Mass Effect 3” is just around the corner…

    Looking forward to reading “(A)Red Country”, especially now that I’ve read Andrzej Sapkowski’s “Witcher novels”. There are a few scenes in it that remind me of “Westerns” – and they work very well in a Fantasy-setting.
    As far as I know, those novels aren’t published in English, which is a shame, because I think you (Joe) and most of your readers would enjoy them very much.

  • valmorgo says:

    Oh! don´t worry.. I can wait; The Heroes has not yet been translated into Spanish….ja,ja.. (I can´t read it in english, sorry)

  • A-drain says:

    A-drain is happy for Joe but happier for himself as Joe’s next book is but right around the corner.

  • Nekro-kun says:

    I agree with Jens about Andrzej Sapkowski. The first two books of ‘The Witcher’ series (compilatioons of short stories) a pretty original and high quality fantasy (not sword&sorcery).

    It is something like Jack Vance’s first two books of ‘Dying Earth’ series. There are many things that I don’t like in Witcher, but, certanly, there are no lack of ideas and imagination. Maybe even Joe could get something from it.

  • Adam says:

    YES BUT…

    have you yet worked on a pop-out topgographical map of the area, with little characitures of pro/antagonists and color plates every 8th chapter? Because if you haven’t put the time in for these yet, you’re nowhere close to being done.

  • Shroom says:

    Hey Joe did you find yourself “Grinding” through any of the other books? Just curious I know when I used to have to write research papers in college when it felt like a g”grind” the quality was kind of lacking is all. You’ve hit 5 home runs so far really hope 36 is no different.

  • Shroom says:


  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Not a pop-up, but there is a map. It’s with the artist currently, being beautified.

    If only it were 36. I could take a break while they leaked those other 30 into the marketplace. I think there’s a degree to which everything feels like a grind while you’re doing it, then when it (hopefully) comes together in the first big round of reviewing and editing you look back on it with rose-tinted specs to some degree. But my feeling is the first law went pretty smoothly, especially Last Argument of Kings, Best Served Cold was very hard work and I felt very unconfident about it for a large part of the drafting. The Heroes was a fair bit easier, though not without its sticky moments.

  • Aidan says:

    I notice you mentioned an “additional chapter” as if it were somehow seperate to the others. Is this some kind of a bonus chapter similar to the one at the end of The Heroes (Waterstones edition)?

  • Iangr says:

    Would it be too much to hope to read the book with the sound of waves,resting lazily on a very still,very hot August afternoon?

    A man will always glimpse at other temptations (brilliant Stephen Deas series!) but will always go back to his only,true love!!

  • Roger says:

    I wonder why there’s this “additional chapter” that hasn’t been started yet. Why would Joe skip one chapter?

    GRRM said that he left the chapter with the Red Wedding for the last because it was so emotionally hard for him to write it. But I don’t think that’s the situation here. Joe would enjoy writting tragic outcomes and gruesome deaths!!

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Aidan, Roger,
    There probably will be a short story-ish thing in one or other edition, but this is more a chapter I’ve decided needs to go in to the book. About half way through I decided I needed to change my approach slightly and now need to apply that approach to the first half of the book. I’ll probably talk about it a bit in the next couple of weeks when I reach that point…

  • Thaddeus says:

    Glad to hear you’re making good progress.

    Bit surprised to hear there’s a map. I take it the map will just be of the general area of A Red Country rather than the entire world?

  • Giasone says:

    Good to hear the writing is going well, but I think people shouldn’t add to the pressure, much as we look forward to a new tale. It’s more important to get it right than get it done quickly, and it wouldn’t hurt to take a leaf out of GRRM’s book, so to speak. In fact, having well and truly proven your mettle as a story-teller with the first five books, I think you can afford to take your time and mull over things a bit (though I suppose you’re under pressure from agent or publishers). In fact, I’d really be interested in seeing a larger, more detailed and intricate book, like the Song of Ice and Fire books, especially if you do another trilogy. Having read the other books I definitely think you’d be up to it, but it would be a matter of taking the time to build the narrative – prune and weed and cultivate the garden, to use Martin’s metaphor.

  • Vex says:

    As someone who liked Best Served Cold the most of your outstanding series, this bodes well.

    Just saying.

    Also, moar Monza!

  • AntMac says:

    It is kind of funny, reading that Best Served Cold was difficult for you.

    It reads as easy as one thing! smooth like cloth made from catipiller-bums. I loved it best, while I was reading it.

    Reading is not writing though, I guess. I wish somehow I could help . . . I promise to enjoy it more when I re-read it?.

    Are you ever coming down to New Zealand on a tour?.

  • Lazlo Woodbine says:

    I second a New Zealand tour. It’s only half a works away after all. 🙂

  • Mummi says:

    lol @ the Brandon Sanderson joke 😉

  • BC Woods says:

    You kick that book’s ass, Joe!

    You hear me?

    Treat it like you did those kids with the bannister!

  • Awesome news. I was just looking around to see if anything new had a release date. I am impatiently waiting for your next installment. I am cracking the whip along with James. 🙂

  • Wolf says:

    I did not even know you were working on another book. Man, I am glad to hear it. I started reading the first law a couple months ago and burned through it. I must say that is the best completed series of books I have ever read, although it does drive me crazy that I don’t know if Logan died or not. Still I loved it, keep writing, i’m looking forward to the next book!

  • LogansTenthFinger says:


    It seems you have no intention of telling us outright if Lamb is Logan. It makes me sad. But maybe you could give us some sort of elaborate series of clues that point to specific passages in your previous books that IN TURN lead us to more clues which FINALLY point us to the answer we crave!

  • Jay P says:

    Just finished up Heroes and LOVED it! I’ll avoid any spoiler(ing) but as usual with your books, fav characters fell only to be replaced by ones I love just as much if not more. Craw may have replaced Glotka as my favorite of your characters. Oh yeah speaking of, more Glotka please!!!


    Jay Tenfingers

  • Jacob says:


    Of maybe you could just wait until it’s released? I am glad Joe is being nimb on the answering of this. We don’t really need to know if it’s specifically Logan, since there are a grand amount of characters to choose from in terms of possibility.

    Let’s leave it at that.

  • Mark C says:

    I love it when Joe gets nimb. What’s nimb again?

    Joe, no matter who you put in the next one, I’m sure it’ll be another nimb-fest! Really looking forward to.

  • Jakub dan Worst says:

    So far, I’ve “extruded” 45,000 words of my M.A. thesis and it’s still not f…ing enough. Yep, the word “extrude” really does reflect the near physical pain I feel whenever I’m about to get down to finishing this monster off ;>

    As for the possibility of Logen’s return, I’m not sure if I want him to reappear. Don’t get me wrong, I loved him wholeheartedly, but sometimes, to quote Eva Hoffman (Lost in Translation), “the fantasy of fulfillment is better than the fulfillment of fantasy”: I’m a fan of open endings and unsolved mysteries (that’s right, I’m not normal, so please don’t criticize me too harshly for venturing an opinion about “The Logen Problem” that is so obviously unpopular ^^)

  • Sedulo says:

    I really liked the harmony between the Logen’s fate at the beginning and the end of The First Law Trilogy.

  • Sedulo says:

    However, I dislike when I cannot erase my post and rewrite it!

  • FlyMonkey says:

    “has short term loss of cynicism”
    Sounds epic! as much as i agree with your usual stance on maps Joe quote “On Maps” unquote after being able to see the changes around Osrung in The Heroes it’ll be cool to have somnething thats different agin. hmmmmmm…….. maps, murder, mayhem, it sure sounds like Logens involved somehow!

  • Patrick89 says:

    A map? Maybe a map to unfold? That would be too much, heh? 😉 take your time joe, then blast us away with your epicness!

  • Robb says:

    Joe, what is the word count for this new book?

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