Progress Report April ’18

April 30th, 2018

Four months into 2018, and I suppose I can just about spare a few moments from playing God of War (which is magnificent) to tell you lot where I’ve got to. With my book, that is. Not God of War.

You can get more details of my current project in earlier progress reports, if you are among the pitiful damned who do not hang upon my every post. Essentially I’m writing a new trilogy in the First Law world, but writing it all in one go before I revise and refine each book for publication. Each one of these three books is in three parts, and I am currently writing the NINTH AND FINAL PART. Indeed I’m about 20,000 words into it, so some 40,000 words to go until a super-rough draft of the entire thing is FINISHED and I can begin the lengthy process of taking stock of where the whole thing is and polishing this unwieldy mass into a diamond.

Getting towards the end of such a massive project is a lovely feeling, I must say. I mean, there’s a huge amount of work in the editing and revision, but a lot less than the drafting, and generally I find that the fun part. Probably the work is getting sloppier and sloppier but the whole point is just to bosh it all down as quickly and roughly as possible so I can take stock of the shape, see what I need to change and refine, and begin to make it lovely (or as lovely as I can).  I’ve always felt this approach would prove worthwhile for a hefty series, but writing the final chapters I feel it’s really starting to pay off.  Being sure of how things end for a character really helps to crystallise what their story is about, and therefore where they need to start and what they need to be, the nature of their relationships with the secondary characters, their thoughts, feelings, concerns.

So it goes pretty well, in short, in spite of various real life distractions (not to mention God of War).  I very much hope that by early June I will be tapping out the final words and starting to take stock of the almighty task of revision and alteration. Though I’ll probably need to do a reread of all the other First Law books first, just to make sure there are no opportunities missed or history I’ve forgotten or messed up on.  Publication of Book 1, A Little Hatred, still looks good for late summer ’19.  But I, of course, make no promises…

Posted in progress by Joe Abercrombie on April 30th, 2018.

47 comments so far

  • Darren says:

    Great news Joe. Will you be doing a book signing across the UK with the release of A Little Hatred?

  • Twerker says:

    Oi mate, ace news there. Thank you so much for the update. And, speaking of “God of War”, I know this might sound like a lot, but I’m loving the bastard even more than Witcher 3.

  • Jon Eckrich says:

    “Being sure of how things end for a character really helps to crystallise what their story is about, and therefore where they need to start and what they need to be, the nature of their relationships with the secondary characters, their thoughts, feelings, concerns.”

    No wonder GRRM has such a difficult time with his story!

    Thanks for the update Mr. Abercrombie. Happy writing.

  • Trine Nielsen says:

    Looking forward to it! And to seeing you again at another signing! (there better be another signing..) <3

  • Feras B says:

    Great news, really excited for the series!
    Can we expect sample chapters anytime soon?

  • Jon says:

    Good Luck for your jon Joe

  • Jon Chase says:

    Blah blah blah, now how about a whiskey deathmatch?

  • John says:

    So looking forward to this… hoping to read about a grown up Isern, she has seen enough in LAoK (and more since then, out of our sight, I’m sure) to have a little hate. Hope you have some state side signings in the North East!

  • Al Hyde Page says:

    A lot of love for A Little Hatred. Exciting times Mr Abercrombie, all the best with the word wrangling!

  • Drew says:

    So stoked for this!!!!!!!

  • Anna says:

    Excellent news. I’ll be looking forward to it!

  • Adam says:

    I love First Law trilogy – i’m really exited about it

  • tom says:

    yes! very excited! question, will the naming convention for this new trilogy be somewhat connected like this first series? i mean, like how the first trilogy series titles were parts of famous (of just cool) quotes from historical figures/leaders/etc? because i have always thought that type of attention to detail in even the titles is so awesome.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Darren, Trine,
    Almost definite I’ll do some signings around the UK at least.

    Feras B,
    Sample chapters will probably be a fair bit nearer publication.

    Yes, the titles all come from quotes.

  • Roger says:

    Looking for quotes with “a little hatred”, Google suggests one from Jerry Spinelli:

    “A little hatred goes a long, long way. It grows and grows. And it’s hungry. You keep feeding it more and more people, and the more it gets, the more it wants. It’s never satisfied. And pretty soon it squeezes all the love out of your heart and all you’ll have left is a hateful heart.”

    Seems grimdark enough.

  • Georgia says:

    I am ridiculously excited for this! Congratulations on making such great progress :D.

    And I don’t know why, but now the weather’s clearing up (hopefully) and I’m beginning to search for a nice, light, summer read, my thoughts turn only towards the First Law… because of course brutal grimdark is best enjoyed while lying out on the grass on a warm, sunny afternoon.

    I can’t wait until we get some solid information as to the plot and characters. There’s so much to look forward to!

  • Hawkeyye says:

    Great news Joe! Any chance of some artwork in these books? I would really love to see an artist render every 100 pages or so.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    I wouldn’t have thought there’d be internal art in the standard editions. There’s every chance of limited editions with artwork in the fullness of time, though, as there have been with all the other First Law books.

  • Ryan says:

    I’d assume Subterranean Press will be working on the illustrated editions again. Raymond Swanland does a great job at interpreting the JA books into illustrations.

  • Elif Kaya says:

    Great news, thank you for sharing.

    There is something lovely to know how a writer whose novels you devour (I think this is how I read them) is doing and I appreciate that this is possible. Middle age has its wonders too 🙂

  • A Different Tom says:

    Hey Joe,
    Where you going with that nearly finished trilogy in your hand ?

  • Koadah says:

    Great stuff!

    If you get some spare moments could you finish off SOIAF and King Killer for us?

  • Twerker says:

    Uberlulz @ Koadah.

  • Yuri says:

    Hi, Joe
    >the titles all come from quotes.
    Can you tell what quote will be for “А Little Hatred”? Because different quotes in Russian translation will make a different title…

  • Tyler H. says:

    Love these updates! Can’t wait for the new book(s).

  • Mark S says:

    Cannot wait Joe,

    Just one question, are we going to have nine fingers in the new Trilogi?

  • Jim says:

    Bless you, Mr. Abercrombie. This is the way fantasy series SHOULD be written… unlike the hot staggering mess that a couple of other writers with great beards but little story output have gotten themselves into.

  • Chris says:

    I swear, if you kill Nine Fingers with a gun I will burn all the books and never read anything you write again

  • Matthew Dowling says:

    I cannot wait to see where you are going with this world.
    Do you happen to come to the US at any point in your tours? I have given your books to friends as gifts, so I know there would be a group willing to stop by if you ever do.

  • Dumond says:


    It is a bit odd (and really cool) to hear that even the person who spawned this entire world and all of its characters…needs to periodically re-read his own work (the same way we do every year or so).

    Can’t tell you how excited we are Joe. Anyways, any chance of a book-tour in the States? Bit of a stretch, but maybe doable?

  • Jamie Hail says:

    Can’t wait!. severed heads never go out of fashion.

  • Aibell says:

    I’m so excited right now. I love the characters of The First Law trilogy and look forward to meet them again in your pages. You can just never have enough of these guys!
    I really hope I’ll read about our little grim Inquisitor. He is one of the best characters ever written and one of my favourites. I’d love to read more of his adventures before the first book. And after of course.

  • Michael says:

    (Deepest sigh….. aaaand inhale)
    The publication forecast could be worse 🙂
    Carry on Joe…

  • Colin says:

    Shoglig already told me the time and place of the publication, but it is not here and it is not now. So I’ll just wait.

  • Dave says:


    Thank you for the update. Also, thank you for the motivation to stay fit and healthy for the next year. And not to take any unnecessary risks. Perhaps I’ll just wait inside my house. That would be safest. Do you think having a few drinks is unhealthy?


  • Andreas says:

    Great work and looking forward to the new books!

    A bit curious on how you manage such a massive amount of text . What tools do you use, and how do you keep track of what happens to character X, should you go and change something vital in the start of the book, in your editing?

    Would be amazing if you felt like sharing a bit of this in an upcoming blog post. (Or if I’ve missed it, point to where you might have described it earlier :P)

  • Ned says:

    Chiming in to say I love your books, and agree on God of War, especially as a father of a “boy”, is greatness.

    I learned a lot about getting him to focus and letting him know what doesn’t matter.

  • Dan says:

    That is very good to hear, I am glad that the most tedious part is almost finished for you. Time to reread all the other books i suppose.

  • LordNogs says:

    Wow now this is how its supposed to be done. Love your work and the fact that you are actually doing more and telling us where you are at? You spoil us Joe.

  • misomiso says:

    I actually got a lot more emotionally out of God of War than I do from lots of films.

    Amazing game with and incredibly story that was very well told.

  • AliB says:

    I am so looking forward to the new trilogy,can we expect old characters to pop up?

  • Aaronk says:

    Hey Joe

    I really love the world you created and the characters that live in it! Can’t wait until you publish the next series. Also, I really appreciate the updates and the line of communication you establish with your fan-base.

  • Aj says:

    Thanks for the update! Can’t wait! Don’t understand why your stuff hasn’t caught the eye of any producers yet. But oh well I’ll keep spreading the word about how awesome your books are. If you do a book signing in Florida I’ll show up

  • Anthony S. says:

    Hey Joe, do you plan on doing any signings or attending the San Diego Comic-Con by chance?

  • Todd Frazie says:

    Awesome news!

    I really enjoyed God Of War. Great story telling. What has been your preferred equipment/fighting style so far on GoW?

  • Joel says:

    Hi Joe,

    Love your books, particularly your characters, it is quite astounding that you’ve made so many characters, and each one has felt completely unique, no matter how little page time they’ve received.

    I was wondering, as I’ve seen you mention video games a lot, whether you have played any of the Fable games and if you had any thoughts on a potential 4th that could potentially be happening. I see certain similarities between some of your characters, and the better written ones in those games. Might just be the Btishness of both. Anyway just curious. It would be an horrific understatement to say I’m mildly looking forward to your next First Law trilogy, the second Law trilogy, one might ignorantly suggest.

  • Hélcio S. says:

    If needed, I have a brand new AXE, and I could help you finding more time to dedicate just to writing.

    I’m kidding. Love your books and I’m really happy to learn that there will be more in the near future!

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