Progress Report February ’20

February 28th, 2020

Ah, the months march on, and so does the work. Had a great trip to Spain for the release of A Little Hatred over there, and did a whole lot of press. For some reason, though there are certainly places I sell more books, I’m more in demand for interviews in Spain than I am anywhere else, although the first question always seems to be – does it upset you that fantasy isn’t taken seriously in Spain, which is strange. Portugal next month, then France in May, if international travel is still an option, what with all that’s going on lately…

The Trouble With Peace, second book in The Age of Madness, has now been line edited – that’s where your editor goes through in detail and marks up the script, once upon a time on paper but these days via track changes on word, and I’ve also done my final pass through, tweaking the prose. The book’s been pretty heavily revised already though, so there wasn’t much to do – the odd word choice and a bit of re-writing here or there. I find it’s always like this with a book – after a first draft you can (and indeed need to) smash everything up, rewrite and cut heavily, add new scenes and rename characters. By this stage changing a word or cutting a line seems like a mighty effort. Next the book goes to the copy editor for its final tweaks. Publication set for September, a year after the last book.

It’s turned out at 195,300 words, compared to 177,800 for A Little Hatred. That’s about the same length as Before They are Hanged, for reference. It got about 20,000 longer from first to second drafts because I had to add a few significant scenes and develop a couple of others.

I’ve got some bits and pieces to write while I wait for the copy edit to come back – probably a ‘story so far’ kinda thing for the front of the book, and a short story for a Waterstones edition.  Cover copy’s done and covers for US and UK editions are pretty close to finished now. Final cover art for Subterranean Press’s limited edition of A Little Hatred just came through as well and is looking sweeeeeet. There’ll be a dozen internal illustrations – a mixture of black and white and colour – in this edition too so I expect it will come out quite excellent. More on all these things when the time is ripe.

Meanwhile the 3rd book has been edited and just needs its final passes through on character, setting, and prose, plus the Line Edit, then the Copy Edit. Couple of months work, maybe? I hope it’ll be entirely finished by the time The Trouble With Peace comes out in September, in plenty of time to be published the following September. I’m also thinking about changing the title of that book, but I’m letting it sit for now, seeing how I feel….

Posted in news, progress by Joe Abercrombie on February 28th, 2020.

27 comments so far

  • Steve says:

    Hope you do another visit to Waterstones Newcastle in September 2020 fella. Excellent Q&A last year

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Not sure yet whether I’ll be doing the same kind of bookshop tour as with A Little Hatred – sometimes a year apart can be a little soon to revisit the same places. But we’ll see…

  • Ian says:

    Would love it if you came to Shrewsbury with your next book hopefully we wont be underwater by then!

  • James Prigmore says:

    ‘A Little Hatred’ is a very, very good read. I found the themes to be pertinent for this day and age and the novel written in a modern and gloriously adult way. I hate to be babied with fantasy and I revelled in it. Thanks for the updates too, as a loyal reader, it’s nice to be considered re: your progress when investing in a series of books. Long may your writing continue.

  • Joe Waldron says:

    Feel free to come down to Exeter instead…

  • Joakim Lindell says:

    Slight off topic here but I wonder, considering how good “The first law”-trilogy is and how popular the fantasy genre in television is today, have you been approach by a studio yet to make a tv-series?

    Thanks for a steady delivery of great experiences

  • Filip Kostek says:

    I can’t seem to find any videos of your panels from the tour for “A Little Hatred”, don’t people record them? Also, kudos on the work ethic.

  • Jeremy Jeffery says:

    Would you ever consider coming down to the south east of England for a book signing or seminar?

  • Toliy P says:

    USA USA USA Chicago Specifically please! 🙂

  • Sean says:

    Looking forward to September, it’s like when you blast a Netflix series then have to wait precisely a year for the next one.
    Come to Derby’s Waterstones this year!

  • Mathieu says:

    Hi Joe.
    I can’t find any information on your France Tour.
    Is there a place where I can find out where you’ll be and if you’ll do any signing?


  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    I’m going to be at Imaginales in Epinal in May, then I think I’m doing an event in Paris on the way back – May 19th, maybe? But I don’t have all the details yet, I’m afraid…

  • Mathieu says:

    Thank you for the details.
    I’ll follow your facebook account in case you post any updates about your Paris visit.

  • Darren says:

    Thanks for the update, I’ve not missed a book signing of yours in Leeds since Sharp Ends.
    I know you can’t say what you’re thinking of changing the book title to, but I wondered on your reasons for why? The trouble with peace sounded a great title to me.

  • Adam says:

    Ohh, i really like the title ‘The Beautyful Machine’. So if you change it, you gotta do something more catchy.

  • Catherine says:

    Nooooo!! The Beautiful Machine was such a good title!

  • Henrique says:

    Do you have any specifics on your visit to Portugal?

  • Zach says:

    I will be relying on such blogs to stay up to date now!

    Eager for the next instalment, have no doubts it won’t disappoint.

  • Wilfred Berkhof says:

    Hi Joe,

    Will those extra short stories in the Waterstones versions be published somewhere else as well?

  • Tony says:

    Please come to the US! You have so many fans here that love your work!!

  • Steve Hick says:

    I second “USA USA USA” but I’m in the DC Area. But maybe save it for the last book…..given….

  • John Carriger says:

    Any chance of a trip to Cslifornia?? You know the old saying…
    You’ve seen the rest,
    Now see the best!!!
    Loved the book.

  • Sylvain says:

    I came accross the First Law trilogy by pure chance a couple of years agao, and devoured the books. I promplty read everything else available from Joe and, ever since then, I have been in that desperate state of not finding any book quite as good as those. Everything I read wasn’t anywhere near as captivating and entertaining. I pounced on The Age of Madness when it came out, loved very words of the first chapter so much that I decided to take a break in order to re-read all the previous books before jumping back into the new trilogy 🙂

  • Brandon says:

    Can we get some ages?
    Specifically jezal, glokta, ninefingers, bayaz, sulphur….

  • Dumond says:

    Hey Brandon, unsure how long the chemical element Sulphur can “live” for, but I do like how it took me THIS LONG to make the connection in pronunciation between “Sulfur” and Sulphur/the element Sulfur.

    His name stinks of eggs and brimstone! Shoulda known he couldn’t be trusted.

    …but yeah as far as ages are concerned, most of it is guesswork and approximation, but I figure you can get a pretty decent idea with simple logic:

    Bayaz, the oldest of the bunch, is probably at least over 1,000 years of age, since that’s roughly the time that has passed since the end of the Age of Magic (or just the deaths of the sons of Euz) and the start of the Age of Reason. Or something along those lines.

    Yoru could be anywhere between a couple hundred years old and closer to 1,000 then, since he’s never mentioned along with the Magi and big-shots from the old days. I think.

    As far as everybody else…add about what, 25 years to what their age used to be, in the First Law trilogy?

    So Jezal was probably in his late 40’s / early 50’s by the end of A Little Hatred, since he was fairly young when we first met him. Glokta’s definitely in his late 50’s / early 60’s, but having been…well, hacked to pieces by the Gurkish in his youth, you might as well add another 25 years to that (which sucks, but is sorta inevitable; I think we’d all like for Glokta to cheat death forever but that wouldn’t be his style anyways. Maybe if he kept up the internal monologue, “Body found floating by the docks”? That tends to extend his life by a few days, each time).

    I felt like Ninefingers was in his late 30s – early 40s in the First Law era; not a young man, but not old yet. And we then see him as a (very fit / tough) aging maniac in Red Country. So IF he’s alive (and you never know, with that guy), he’s probably in the same group as Glokta.

    And then of course, if you’re talking about the old crowd, there’s always Ferro. But who can tell what she’s up to, or if she’s back to the mud? Time will tell, hopefully.

  • The Hairy Bear says:

    @Brandon @Dumond:

    Glokta says he is 35 in The Blade Itself, so he would be 64 in A Little Hatred.

    Also in TBI Logen says that he “has been in the world for more than 30 years”, so he should not be much older than that. I would guess she was around 32.

    We have very little explicit info on Jezal. He says that he “was little more than a child” when Varuz returned from the war in Gurkhul seven years ago, but that could mean anywhere from 8 to 14 years old. It would be great if Joe could clarify that one.

  • Ulf the Ill says:

    Hi Joe,

    I do love the title “The Beautiful Machine” for the 3rd book! For me it evokes a certain “Kanedias”/making vibe which I liked a lot in the first trilogy. It is also somehwat different to the other two titles but for me that is something good.

    I am curious why you want to change the title – but I guess you cannot really tell 🙂

    Is it because you mean something entirely different with the title (such as the state/politics as a machine) and don’t want to disappoint readers who associate in the direction I mentioned above?

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