Progress Report April ’23

May 2nd, 2023

A busy bank holiday weekend followed by a rush to get a contract signed has meant that I’m just a couple o’ days late for my April progress report, so here it is at the very start of May…

The good news is I’ve finished a draft of the last part of The Devils and delivered it to my editors! According to my notes the first draft of the book is a bit under 220,000 words. Normally I cut quite a bit in the editing and revision but I also end up adding about as much so books stay about the same length. That’d make this the longest book I’ve written since Best Served Cold, with only that and Last Argument of Kings being longer. Wasn’t the plan but, you know, once you’ve started writing the thing you have to let it more or less be the length it wants to be.

The bad news is as a book it’s nowhere near finished. There’s a fair bit to do the other three parts just to get them to match the last one, and give me a coherent second draft, but I’m also not really happy with some of the character voices yet. I just need to spend some time sitting in front of it and making it better, working on the detail. It does feel good to have the bones of the story and setting in place, though. Picking at the carcass is the bit I generally enjoy. As it stands it doesn’t look like I’ll have anything close to actually finished until the end of the year, even though the WGA strike has brought all US film and TV projects to a screeching halt, which may well give me a fair bit more time on the books over the next few months…

Posted in news, progress by Joe Abercrombie on May 2nd, 2023.

34 comments so far

  • Alexandra says:

    I love reading these reports, Mr Abercrombie. As a writer ‘in training’ (does it ever end?), I appreciate seeing how a professional deals with the actual task of writing and the trials and tribulations therein. It gives me some sense of proportion when chopping up my own work or having to do a rewrite. Many thanks for sharing.

  • Richard Allen says:

    That’s awesome that a draft, however rough, is finished! By saying that the WGA strike gives you more time to work on the book, does that mean that you were working on scripts for American television? A First Law adaptation perhaps?!

  • Wayne Lee says:

    Hello, I’m just a random reader, that stumble across your books after reading all of George RR Martin’s books.. and I just started re-listening the first law book again. Which brought me here to see if there was an update on the new series. Your writing with the narrators voice is so masterful i would go as far as to say i enjoy them more than any other author i have read.. its the brutal yet subtle humor for me! Looking forward to these

  • Logan’s Lost Finger says:

    Ok, I appreciate the update.
    But. Just. Get. The. Book. Finished.

  • Lukas says:

    Thanks for all the great work you do with these books. I discovered First Law series last year, got them all, and today I began reading the Wisdom of Crowds. I’m very pleased that there will be more to read from you.

    Kind regards!

  • Michael says:

    As a relatively new reader who started reading The blade itself roughly this time last year, and am now halfway through The wisdom of crowds, I find it infuriating and unacceptable that I will soon be forced to wait for an Abercrombie book. Make haste Mr. Abercrombie, time is of the essence.

  • Simon Barnett says:

    Impacted by strike action in Hollywood? Now I’m interested. Is Logan 9 Fingers the Movie en route?

  • Glama Golden says:

    Can someone tell me about the Devils? Does it take place in the world of The First Law?

  • Wombat of Hoskopp says:

    Jab, jab, Mr Abercrombie. Jab, jab. Best of luck picking over that carcass.

  • Rob says:

    Can’t wait for the new incredible characters that will be centre stage in the near future!

    A new sharp Glokta, perhaps a warrio of a Dogman? or someone compassionate as Vic?

  • Matell says:

    Oh yes, can’t wait for this. I love your style (Age of Madness was especially great)
    Is this going to be a stand-alone novel, or another full series?

  • Celerystalks says:

    This makes me want to weep with happiness…. An amazing fantasy author that updates fans, turns out books and isn’t 10 years past deadlines?! You spoil us mr. Abercrombie!! Am reading my first book by your good self and for the first time in many years I hid in work to get an extra 30 mins read in. I am also basking in the fact that you have many more books I will look forward to reading

  • An ambivalent fan says:

    Thanks for the update. As a solo developer of a prose-heavy indie RPG who has players screaming at him to publish an update already, I get a sort of a morale boost from reading how real writers do their work and how much work it is to write something good.

  • Adam sage says:

    You’d better get a shift on or the AI chatbot will surpass you and complete all of the story before you’ve edited it! Chin up chap everyone will be replaced in the end 🙂

  • StrangeComeTikTok'in says:

    Some strange comments on here this month, people must be confusing this space for Reddit.

    Congrats on the first draft, as much as I’d just love to head back to visit Rikki in the North, I am very excited to taste this new direction. And please post if your going to be attending any events in London, i’m sure there is more than a few of us who will love to swing it for a chance to meet you

  • Arch Lector Sult says:

    If you wanted quicker results Abercrombie, you would have went directly to George R.R. Martin to get the job done. Now we have to wait til the end of the year. Enough with these games. High Justice Marovia is laughing at our faces, our faces Abercrombie and Fitch. I’m going to give you one more chance to deliver Joe. Or Sand dan Glotka going to pay you a visit on New Year’s Day.

  • Van says:

    Always appreciate the updates!! Your humor, honesty, and deep characterizations have made your writing my decided favorite, and I’m excited for more!

  • Ryder says:

    Wanted it this year, of course, but we’re being realistic. Pick at that carcass and can’t wait to see what’s left when you’re finished!

  • Tammy says:

    I’m so excited. I was sitting here thinking I haven’t read a book that really absorbed me in so long and went looking to see if you had anything new. I am really looking forward to this one.

    What’s this?: “…the WGA strike has brought all US film and TV projects to a screeching halt, which may well give me a fair bit more time on the books over the next few months…” Are we going to see some Abercrombie characters on screen? I hope if it’s on a streaming service it’s with Netflix! Amazon destroys fantasy (e.g Amazon Wheel of Time= hot garbage, destroyed everything meaningful about the characters).

  • Bloody Fine says:

    Your stories are, oddly enough, a joy to read. Can’t wait!

  • Anna says:

    Great to have that update from you, mr Abercrombie. Discovered your books couple of years ago and finished all of them, so indeed please have that new book of yours finished sometimes soon.

  • Marc says:

    Great news on the draft finishing up! Congratulations

  • Benjamin says:

    This is exciting news… but having just finished both “The First Law” and “Age of Madness” trilogies back to back via Audible… I can’t help but wondering about the next saga in that universe, and this wonderful new series will undoubtly pause any further development

  • Marcel M du Plessis says:

    I am reading all your books again. You are a genius, sir! Take as long as you need with your current project.

    Hope to get your signature one day!

  • Milko Camellini says:

    Very excited for the book draft!
    I’m at the third listening of all the First Lawerse audiobooks, I hope that by the end of the fourth The Devils will be out!

  • AYAAKI says:

    Some very reddit-ish comments in here indeed StrangeComeTikTok’in.

    Glad to hear you are impacted by the Hollywood strike. That’s very promising. Hope you’re doing more Love Death Robots and if you’re doing something larger I hope to fuck it’s not in the hands of anyone from Rings of Power or Wheel of Time.

    Years ago when I was broke I pirated all your books and read them many times.
    Now I own all the kindles but moved into a new place so I just re-ordered all the paperbacks I’m missing. I hope the money is pouring in and the ideas are pouring out Joe.

    Keep them coming, appreciate the updates.

  • Artie says:

    The original First Law trilogy was fantastic as were the 3 follow-ons. The recent trilogy lost focus, humor and richness of characters. So take your time Joe. Appreciate the updates. You’ve got to be realistic about these things after all

  • Katarzyna says:

    Lovely to hear that:)

  • Jackie Thomas says:

    10 years ago next month my son had an accident that left him paralysed from the shoulders down with no function in his legs, arms and hands. He turned into “A GLOTKA” and it broke my heart. Then I discovered the “REAL GLOTKA” and the rest of the characters in your books Joe. They have kept me company on some dark days…and made me laugh on good ones. I just wanted you to know….. and to say thank you.

  • Waylander says:

    Keep plugging away Joe xx

  • D says:

    Thank you, I deeply appreciate your time and High Art in this work, I wish you success and good health for you and your loved ones.

  • Daniel Bean says:


    Great to hear this is in the works. I’m genuinely excited as I haven’t checked in a while. Having read listened to hundreds of fantasy novels the First Law series is my favorite. Keep the quality work coming!

    All the best,

  • Archie says:

    Love your books, just wanted to say if you want input on how you describe archery in your books let me know. You get a fair bit wrong 😉

  • Lorna says:

    Thanks for this update – I’ve loved every book you’ve written and I can’t wait to love this next one!! But I will, patiently.

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