Progress Report February ’21

February 28th, 2021

In some ways a strange, slow period at the start of the year. As lockdown drags on into infinity, and with the kids at home all the time, I must admit it’s sometimes difficult to make headway. So it’s nice that The Age of Madness is very close to finished. The final instalment, The Wisdom of Crowds, is still with the copy editor and should be coming back to my waiting arms any day so I can make the final changes. I did a reading from it recently and found it wasn’t quite as tight as I’d have liked so I might also give it a quick read through and tweak if I get the time before consigning it to history. I’ve already written a little companion short story called The Point for a Waterstones special edition, like the other two books had (in fact those three short stories may end up collected, along with a new short story, into a novella from Subterranean Press next year). Then I just need to write a little Previously in… like the one I did for the Trouble With Peace. I’ve seen roughs of the covers for the US and UK and they’re progressing nicely, so hopefully there’s nothing standing in the way of the long aimed-for publication date in mid September.

A couple of months back it looked very unlikely that anyone would be doing traditional events and book tours by that stage, but I’ve had my first covid shot now, and the government are talking about everything being opened up by late July, so you never know, there may be some kind of events possible, at least in the UK. I’d certainly very much like to close this series out looking some readers in the eye. I was Guest of Honour at a virtual Boskone last month, and actually the online format works great, it was a lot of fun and it opens up events to people who’d never be able to make it in person – no doubt events of that kind will be part of the landscape in the future even when the pandemic is finally behind us – but it would be great to be back in a roomful of people as well.

There was a time, some time ago, when I’d just smashed my way through a rough first draft of the entire trilogy, and fondly imagined I could finish books 2 and 3 up not long after book 1 came out, and enjoy a colossal and leisurely head start on whatever came next. Didn’t quite happen, needless to say. Tasks of this kind have an unpleasant habit of inflating to fill the time available, and it can be tough to focus on something new while you’ve still got such an all-consuming project on the go. But I have now written the first part – maybe a quarter (35,000 words-ish) – of the book after The Wisdom of Crowds. The working title is The Devils. It’s an entirely new thing: new world, new characters, and my approach with this one is to be a bit less structured than I have been in the past. I wanted to just dive in and see how it felt in the writing, try some of the characters on for size, minimal world building, minimal effort to make sense of anything, focus on characters and feel for now then rewrite later, if need be. Now that I’m this far in I probably need to take some time to plan and structure a bit more, but I’m just going to let it grow and develop in its own time. We shall see how it progresses…

Posted in news, progress by Joe Abercrombie on February 28th, 2021.

33 comments so far

  • The Black Swordsman says:

    “The Devils” sounds interesting (although at first I thought it was a First Law novel because of the title). I wonder if this new world will be more magical than your past works. Will there be magic and monsters?

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    The Black Swordsman,
    LOADS of magic and monsters. It’s magic and monsters all the way down.

  • Sam G says:

    New book you say?

    Wisdom of crowds is not out yet and already you are teasing us with something else.

    Say one thing for Joe Abercrombie you can say he is a tease.

  • Randy Thompson says:

    I really enjoyed the first parts and look forward to the next. The Devils sound intriguing.

  • Ryan Cowell says:

    Great stuff Joe. Excited to hear about the new world and characters!

  • Russell Ikasalo says:

    Yes! Joe I would love to see a new work from you yearly, no pressure! Great stuff so far. Cheers.

  • Hossein says:

    The Devils then. Sounds like a bad-guys’-pov kind of story to me 😕
    I’m wondering how you’re new world will differ from your last 2 projects. More radical story and bold characters, I daresay?
    Whatever the results be, I’m going to love whatever you write! Keep up the great work Joe. 🙂

  • Harman says:

    I’d like to be the first one notified of that Subterranean Press short story collection bcuz I seem to always be late/miss out on the preorders. Thanks. Anyways, looking forward to what the devil your working on after Wisdom!

  • Ryan says:

    Ooh, new world. Do you see it being a one shot or a series?

  • White Dow says:

    Glad things are going smoothly, Joe. “The Devils” has got me excited. Is it also Fantasy or something new?

  • Nick says:

    I hope that, in this new world, people will continue not to have happy lives. Cause, you know, contentment is not really all that entertaining. 😉

  • Darren says:

    Great news.
    Although I’ve loved the moving into advanced weaponry elements to the trouble with peace, I’m pleased the next story will be a return to monsters and magic.
    Is it a stand alone book or are we looking at hopefully the start of a new saga?

  • Chris says:

    Hey Joe, love your work, and appreciate the updates!

  • Matthew says:

    “But I have now written the first part – maybe a quarter (35,000 words-ish) – of the book after The Wisdom of Crowds.”

    I look over to my manuscript which is only just 34.5k words as of last night. It’s taken me months to get this far. It would be nice to not have to work full-time as a programmer. If I could spend every day focused on writing, I would probably have the draft done by now.

  • Tom Phillips says:

    I loved this quote: “I wanted to just dive in and see how it felt in the writing…”

    Good on you! I’m glad you have the opportunity to flex your creativity and your process a bit more with your next project. I’m sure, in a sense, it must feel a little like therapy (at least until the “rewrites” stage!). And what writer doesn’t need therapy?

    Looking forward to reading more, Joe!

  • Susanne Groenendijk says:

    Nice! I’m eagerly awaiting the release of The Wisdom of Crowds, and I’m very excited to know you’re already working on your next book. More magic & monsters? Sign me up for sure!

  • Brother Northwind says:

    > my approach with this one is to be a bit less structured than I have been in the past. I wanted to just dive in and see how it felt in the writing

    Sounds amazing, but that “gardener” approach to writing can be a dangerous game to play 🙂

  • Christopher Sykora says:

    You have a website! It’s delightful to stumble onto this. I just discovered your work recently and I’ve been sincerely enjoying it. I’ve only read the First Law trilogy and Shattered Sea trilogy thus far, but I loved both of them. Can’t wait to dive into your other books, and read the entire Age of Madness trilogy when the third entry releases. Happy writing!

  • Daniel Scott says:

    New stuff? Awesome! Thanks Joe.
    Whirrun of Bligh was one of my favourite characters, so The Black Swordsman sounds amazing. Can’t wait.
    Also, can you recommend some more fantasy books to read?
    The last few fantasy books I have tried to read have paled in comparison to your works, so I need the top shelf stuff. (I can recommend the Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch if you haven’t already indulged (Harry Potter joins The Bill. Different enough I don’t draw as many comparisons)
    Thanks in advance

    PS. Do you rpg at all these days? Or just electronic gaming? (I do miss your “I am reading/playing” review blog entries)

  • Daniel Acee says:

    You and Steven Pacey are two sides of my favorite coin. Appreciate you Joey Bear

  • Stephen listed Hick says:

    The Devil(s) you say! Sounds like we needn’t worry, likely starts in hell and then… look forward to it.

  • Tom Oosterbroek says:

    I’m already sad that I have to wait a while for more First Law after the TWoC.

    I’m also already excited for your new world!

  • Kirstie says:

    I absolutely adore your books. They are addictive. I have read the First Law trilogy twice. I feel robbed as the level of detail, amazing plot and beautiful character depth should surely have lead to a TV series by now…maybe in the future

    Just preordered ‘The trouble with peace’ really looking forward to escaping back to Adua

  • Keith Dulak says:

    You inadvertently answered a question I asked on a past progress update, so that’s great. I’m thinking hearing about a new Joe Abercrombie novel is the flush at the end of this long shit tunnel. I’m also thinking about the details, like The Devils. Also, just finished TTwP and it was a grand read!

  • mark davies says:

    Just looked at my book shelf with the line of Abercombie’s, recently freshly re-read. Can’t wait till lockdown over and a new book to read. Actually just realised I need to re-read Sharp Ends ! Get on it tonight 🙂

  • Neil M says:

    It would be good to have in person stuff again.

  • Gerald All Fingers says:

    You’re an ass.

    If you have left Ferro hanging to go work on some crap. You’re an ass. Like you’re mentor. He-who-finishes-nothing GRRM.

    Please don’t be an ass.

  • Dries Proost says:

    Monsters, fantasy and magic is what drew me into the fantasy genre.
    Your witty writing style and interesting characters is what made me stay.
    Hearing that you might be combining those in ‘The Devils’ is almost too good for words! You’re by far my favorite author, Joe!

    Keep up the good work!

  • […] I thought a good place to start would be monthly updates. At the start of each month I aim to write an informal post about the kind of things I’ve been working on for the previous 28/30/31 days — inspired by Joe Abercrombie’s progress reports. […]

  • Mario says:

    Your last books are fantastic work, absolutely outstanding. And I really look forward to seeing a new book in the more “classic” style of Sword and Sorcery!

  • The Bloody Eleven says:

    I just finished The Wisdom of Crowds and I cannot exaggerate how much I’ve enjoyed this latest installment in such an incredible series. I eagerly await the chance to read The Devils as much as I hope you one day find your way back to the world of Bayaz. It would be great to see Logen make another appearance but, as I’ve heard, you have to be realistic about these things.

  • John Brown says:

    I’ve just finished reading The Wisdom Of Crowds. Like everything you’ve given us so far, it’s brilliant.
    I’m really looking to your next Novel.


  • Tim Wilson says:

    Have loved everything Joe Abercrombie writes. Eagerly awaiting this new series!!!!

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