Progress Report June ’19

June 30th, 2019

There have been various distractions over the last couple of months as we ramp up towards release of A Little Hatred in September.  The slow cycle of publicity beginning, some interviews to do, a tour to think about, and 5500 signature sheets to sign for US editions, among other things.  We’re also nearing the end of a long-overdue redesign of the website, which is looking grand and will hopefully be unleashed upon an unsuspecting world in the next couple of weeks.

But, of course, the main activity is writing those pesky books, specifically books 2 and 3 of the series, The Trouble with Peaceand The Beautiful Machine.  Book 2 was in reasonable 2nd draft shape and had been read and commented on by editors in UK and US, so leading on from proofreading the finished Book 1 the main task was to respond to edits and some concerns of my own, and then generally fettle, tighten, smooth out some character arcs and add some details that had occurred.  I guess we could call that a tight second draft, which has ended up a good deal longer than the first draft after expanding on a few things and adding some extra scenes – it went from 173,300 to 194,500 words even with some tightening.  For comparison that’s a sort of Before They Are Hanged or The Heroes kind of a length.  Book 2 is now in pretty good shape, I’d say, ready for the lighter, more specific rounds of revision I do with an eye on character voice, setting, and finally detail of language, then the final detailed edit.  Maybe 4-6 weeks work altogether, although editors may have some additional thoughts once they’ve considered the last book.

Book 3, meanwhile, was in some ways in rougher shape, as it had only been 1st drafted, but being the last book largely had the right bits in the right places, plus I’d rewritten and added to the last quarter a fair bit after finishing Book 1 and therefore knowing where I was going with the whole thing.  I’m now close to having gone through the first two parts (leaving only that vital final one for attention).  The first part of this final book, funnily enough, needed a bit of cutting down and smoothing off, while the middle part needed some building up with a bit more thought, characterisation and detail, and general attention to the movements and changes in the characters.  Now I’ve just got to tackle that last part, which may take a bit of refining, before I end up with a good 2nd draft of the final book too.  Then editorial comments and those 4-6 weeks of revision.

So there’s work to do, still, but in the main it’s the fine work on the detail, rather than big hacks and slashes or additions.  Feels very good to be finally bringing home such a massive project, one that I’ve spent close to four years writing, and have been thinking about for a lot longer than that.  Details of the UK tour in September are just being worked out and I’ll post the details when everything’s confirmed.

Oh god, soon it’ll be time to think about what comes next…

Posted in news, progress by Joe Abercrombie on June 30th, 2019.

38 comments so far

  • Liam says:

    Love it. Can’t wait…

  • Is there any chance of a U.S. tour? I’d go just about anywhere but the east coast would be great!

  • Keith says:

    Keeping my fingers crossed that you will make it over to the states, specifically Austin Texas, in your future tour plans. I’ll make sure we get some of that BBQ and Mexican food in your life. Can’t wait for the book (s).

  • Phil says:

    Thank you for the updste.

  • Christian says:

    Can’t wait. All much appreciated. Serious question, what is next ? A third trilogy ? Standalone? More YA? Love your short stories in 1st Law World. What about novellas highlighting different characters? No matter what , it’ll be gold to your readers ? Thanks for all your hard work

  • Mattias says:

    Thanks for your great updates on the books, and writing in general. 15 years ago I always thought; I want to see THIS, and THIS, and THAT in a fantasy book. That thinking stopped with The Blade Itself, which matched my criteria like a glove, and all the books after that too. Thanks in advance for the great reading experience on this upcoming trilogy! Most anticipated book in 2019 by a mile.

  • tom says:

    awesome as always! cannot wait to read it! (them!)

  • Marcel Baard says:

    Havent read fantasy before i was introduced to the first law by a friend. Just finished the audio books of the shattered sea. Traficjams are now just room for a nother chapter.Stil have some books to read by your hand before a little hatred comes out. Looking forward to enter the mind of Glokta’s doughter and all the new caracters mixt with the old. There will be surprices i am sure.

  • Jon says:

    Thanks for keeping us up to date, Joe. Can’t wait to read them.

    As far as what’s next, I’m sure most of us wouldn’t say no to some more stand-alone First Law novels or short fiction based in whichever subgenre is currently tickling your fancy…

  • Finn says:

    Hi Joe! Thanks for updating can’t wait for September! Just a bit curious, would the new trilogy have any new LGBTQ+ characters? Love Ganmark so the ask.

  • James says:

    Will Black Calder make an appearance in any of the three novels?

  • Mark says:

    Oh yes, very excited, cant wait and thank you for the detailed update.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Bonnie, Keith,
    Honestly, US dates don’t look likely this time around – very tough to justify the expense of getting an author over and flying them around these days. Still hope to manage it for one of the books in the trilogy, but can’t promise anything, I’m afraid.

    The next thing probably won’t be first law or shattered sea but something else. Longer term, well, I did a trilogy then three standalones, so maybe another three First Law standalones in the fullness of time…?

    Yes would be the easy answer. Elaborating any more might get spoiler-y…


  • Twerker says:

    Another three FL standalones would be absolutely ACE. And, once again, thanx for the updates.

  • Dennis Henley says:

    Really looking forward to the new books. Any interest from Amazon, Netflix or HBO to do a First Law series?

  • PSG says:

    Will we see the Dogman again in any of the three books?

  • Thomas says:

    Where can we get a signed US Orbit edition?

  • Roger says:

    Great to know that you are moving forward with books 2 and 3!

    I was thinking that a great way to publicize the upcoming redesign of the site may be to have a new post revealing the names of ALH’s three still unknown POVs, or perhaps a few of the opening paragraphs… 🙂

  • Michael Alexander says:

    A few months ago I got back into D&D tabletop, and I have to admit something…

    I’m running a campaign where I uhh … borrowed a few of your Characters for my NPCs. The kids I’m running it for (highschool students with our school’s FRC robotics team) absolutely LOVE your characters. They are begging me to tell them where I borrowed them from. From the beginning I told them these are not my creation they should read the books after the campaign is over.

    I have this NPC “dozen” with Craw as the chief. Jolly Yon, Cracknut Whirrun, Forley the Weakest, Corporal Tunny and last Ferro Maljinn (totally out of character to hang around anyone, but hey, she’s too cool not to incorporate.) My PCs are new ‘recruits’ for this dozen, and as you might suspect, the NPCs are not all that kind to my PCs at first, but might be earning a little bit of respect.

    Other’s involved…. Sgt Friendly, Dab Sweet, and some very interesting run ins with Javre.

    Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for making so many just down right amazing characters. Makes for absolutely great reading and lots of fun interactions at the gaming table.

  • Div says:

    For sure write more standalones in The First Law world. The story and style variations between Best Served Cold, The Heroes, and Red Country were amazing, and felt very fresh and unique for each one.
    I just want to know one thing – Will Khalul and/or some of his “hungry” disciples make an appearance in this approaching trilogy? The only acceptable answer is – yes.

  • James Darling says:

    Thanks for the update and for your work ethic, I think I can survive my 9 and 11 year old until then but please don’t delay, I may not make it!

  • Pedro Del Mar says:

    The tour in September! Yes!

    Look forward to hearing about it in due course

    Good luck with the remaining work on books 2 and 3

  • Nogen Linefingers says:

    Hi! Any news on release dates in some other European countries or is it to early to tell?

  • Aaron says:

    Boy, I would KILL to see Logen Ninefingers in this series. I hope he makes an appearance! Or at the very least more backstory…

    After reading the final chapter on Logen in Sharp Ends, it made me wonder. It seems very important that Yoru Sulfur shows up just before Logen goes Bloody Nine on the prisoner. Does this imply Bayaz is meddling with Logen to achieve his political agenda?

    Anyway, great work and can’t wait for the new trilogy!

  • Maridass Balasubramanian says:

    Can’t wait to get a copy. Very excited that atleast i get to finish the trilogy in a couple of years. Looking forward to see Midderland series in Netflix/Hulu/Amazon..

  • Schaper says:

    that sounds great and i looking forward. And looking back the way: what was the most exhausting part in the progress and what was the most fun?


  • 806D2701 says:

    Preordered. GL HF

  • Jovi says:

    Can’t wait for the book to release, Joe! Eagerly awaiting September.

    I have a small question. Will Conthus appear in the upcoming trilogy? Ever since the end of Red Country I have been excited for her to turn away, and sending her off at the end with (1) a rebellion to run, and (2) Ashranc’s riches, seems to me to be a big promise of things to come. Especially in light of the fact that the new trilogy will have a certain revolutionary bent to it.

    Cheers, and good luck writing.


  • Gareth says:

    Question regarding the book tour – Waterstones are already publishing dates, some are before the launch date of A Little Hatred. If I go to the signing in Cardiff on the 16th September(assuming its legit) will I be able to buy it then?

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    If there’s ever anything that can be announced in the film and tv line, I will announce it, believe me.


    You’ll have trouble getting an unsigned one if those boxes of sig sheets are anything to go by.

    There’ll be some extracts coming leading up to publication. As for the other three PoVs: Gunnar Broad, Vick dan Teufel, and Jonas Clover.


    No specific dates yet. Some of the translations are underway.

    Exhausting? Well, the writing. Fun? The finishing.

    Not in person.

    I’ll announce all the tour dates once everything’s firmed up, but yes, some of the waterstones stores are already taking bookings. Tours generally take place the week before official publication but, yes, they will have books (kinda pointless otherwise). So you can get em a few days early….

  • Steve Hick says:

    Above you hint that you might be doing something unrelated to your two extant milieus. Something completely different, as in not fantasy? Or something different within that framework? Hopefully you have already started nursing ideas or had material more or less ready for an interim work, another n year hiatus between works would be daunting.

  • Scott says:

    For managing rewrites, do you use any indexing methods worth discussing, or do you mainly rely on chapter headings and word search?

  • Sean Fear says:

    I am hugely looking forward to the new trilogy.

  • Cameron says:

    Joe, thank you so much for the masterpieces of modern literature that you’ve given us. I’m not being dramatic at all here, I believe your books are every bit as defining and revolutionary as other big names out there like George RR Martin, and I personally enjoy them even more. I’d love to see your work come alive on screen. However, I don’t think modern television could ever give it the proper adaption that it deserves. I’d REALLY love to see a FromSoft game set in the First Law world. Dark Souls/First Law? Yes please!

    Anyway, without giving any spoilers (which of course I know you can’t and wouldn’t want to) is there ANY chance we may see Caul Shivers appear in any of the three new books coming out? Also, is there any special/limited edition versions of the book that are available to pre-order? Thanks again for the books, they’ve been such an inspiration to me and provided me with hundreds and hundreds of hours of unforgettable memories.

  • David P Benson says:

    I’d love to see you dip your toe into another genre, like SF or Horror. Any thought or interest in that?

  • Wolfheart says:

    Did a re-read of Best Served Cold after many years. What a damned entertaining book. Amazing characters, excellent pacing, superb dialogue, it’s almost pitch perfect. I love the western vibes of the three stand alones. So I just had to let my ridiculously huge to read pile wait a little longer and start a re-read of The Heroes. That first chapter with Craw is pure gold.
    Can’t wait to see what the new trilogy has to offer. I’m secretly hoping for more Cosca, and secretly grieving for Morveer..kind of. And I can’t believe we don’t have movies or TV shows yet, these books are perfect for it. Thank you Joe, your hard work is very inspiring and it’s such a hoot coming back to your, let’s call them classics.

  • Zach Twydell says:

    If you had to build a DnD style group using one character from each of your favorite contemporaries stories and one of your own (5 characters) who would you team up together, could they pull off saving the world against “insurmountable” evil?

    Love your books man. Genre defining imo! Thanks!!

  • Kerry says:

    Come visit ‘down under’
    Glokta has to be my favourite character, hearing his voice on Audible is an absolute treat.

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