Progress Report November ’22

November 30th, 2022

I blink and it’s been 5 months since I did a progress report, god damn it, so HERE IS ONE.

I’ve finally finished part 3 of The Devils, and sent it off to my editors. We shall see how they respond. Hated it while I was writing it, which isn’t entirely unusual, but somehow always comes as a surprise. I’m feeling reasonably pleased now I’ve given it a savage and unsentimental edit, though. The first draft of this part was an overweight 76,000 words, and I’ve ended up cutting it down to 63,000, which is a lot better, but still makes it the longest part of the three I’ve written. I was aiming at 150-175k for length overall when I started, and it looks like the book’ll be more like 220-240k, which puts it on a par with some of my longest – Last Argument of Kings and Best Served Cold.

Next I’ve gotta plan out the final part and write it – the idea with this book was to freewheel a little bit, feel my way through it, take my time and experiment, so I’ve probably got a less firm grip on how the end will work than I have with any book I’ve written. Bit of a planning task to do therefore, followed by a lot of a writing task, and then there’ll be a major editing task, because getting an end in mind will settle a lot of questions about how the rest of the book needs to be, which will then need a fairly thorough prune and rewrite. I want to take a while to revise it too, work on the detail and the character voices. I think I’m generally more an architect than a gardener if that oversimplified distinction really means anything. We’ll see in the long run whether this slightly more garden-y approach produces a decent book, but as far as the process goes I think it’s probably made it feel like harder work – though first books in a new world generally are tougher than entries in an established series.

Over the last few years I’ve tended to post here less and less, and turn more and more to the quick gratification of twitter. Who knows what’ll happen to that site over the coming months, I very much doubt it’ll vanish entirely, but it may well become a less useful and appealing place to be. For now I don’t really see any compelling alternative on the social media side, but I may well dust off some of the cobwebs over here and post a bit more. The audience is smaller, but I very much doubt the place will be bought up by any mercurial billionaires (though hey, if any are reading, I am open to offers).

And, for the time being, that is all…

Posted in news, progress by Joe Abercrombie on November 30th, 2022.

48 comments so far

  • Cody H says:

    Thanks for the update Joe! Love the little insights into your process for the new book. Let us know if you find any other appealing social media sites. Twitters not looking too good, but as they say, “A man lost in the desert…”

    Hope you have a great new year.

  • Phil M. says:

    Thank you for the update 🙂

  • Max K says:

    Keep up the great work, Mr. Abercrombie!

  • Cam says:

    I can’t properly explain how exciting it is to hear the next book is in the works. The characters you created for this series are some of my favorite that I have encountered of any book I have read. I have a feeling Devils will be a wild ride and I personally feel I almost can’t wait.

  • Jes says:

    You can never be active on too many social media sites, mr. Abercrombie.
    You have to be realistic about these things.

  • Luis Ramirez says:

    I’ve recently read the first law trilogy and you’ve become one of my favorite writers, really excited to get more into the first law world and excited for this new world you’re creating.
    Say one thing about Joe Abercrombie, say he is a fantastic writer.

  • Derek Sabbag says:

    You’re fucking brilliant.

  • Zach S says:

    Could always go full Brandon and produce weekly videos.

    Cheers on the update. Honestly didn’t know you did these over here.

  • Roy Hall says:

    Thanks for updating here! Some of us don’t ‘Twitter’ so it’s much appreciated.
    Have a wonderful Holiday Season!

  • Will L says:

    I’ll buy the platform, turns out I just came into some money. A lot of money. I’ve got a rich suitor or two (or three, depending on who you ask).

  • Jon says:

    I haven’t noticed any changes on Twitter this far, so I suspect it’s much ado about nothing.

  • Joseph Luna says:

    Can’t wait to see the new book. I know it’s way way too early to say, but then I don’t know how these things work. On the audio side of it, do you have an idea of who may be narrating the book? Do you get to choose the narrator or is that something out of your control?

  • Anthony Kostal-Vazqu says:

    Thanks for the update! Please know that your books are so dear to me and I can’t wait to read your next one. You are truly improving the life’s of many with your books!!!

  • Keith Halpin says:

    Just starting to read Best Served Cold, and am exited for all the books yet to be read. The insight into your process is fascinating. Has I spired me to write a short story or two in the fantasy realm.

  • Thomas says:

    Just finished all 9 First Law books and currently on the Shattered Sea trilogy, so to know there’s another new Abercrombie on the horizon is very pleasing to read! Also, fuck Twitter before and after the billionaire took over, this site is a much more cozy corner of the internet.

  • Joe Langdale says:

    Thanks for the update, I am super excited for the devils it sounds awesome! I loved the shattered sea trilogy but that does feel now upon second read close to the first law world and the devils sounds very different which I am excited for (Although I hope you go back to the first law world again one day) but if not the devils sounds like exactly what I need.

  • Joe Langdale says:

    P.s you and Brandon Sanderson are my favourite authors, but I own 12 books of yours and only three of his if that makes the dark lord of grimdark pleased.

  • Sadiqua Fatima says:

    I love your work.

  • Darren says:

    Great as always to hear the updates and will look forward to your end of your one.
    Twitter won’t change regardless of who owns it, it’s what people post that matters, not the owners.

    Keep up the hard work

  • Richard says:

    Thank you for the update! Given the wide variety in how they’re depicted, I’m incredibly curious to see what your take on Elves is! Also, I saw that you were in Los Angeles. I really hope that means that a First Law adaptation is in the works. If any series deserves a television show, it’s that one!

  • Andrew says:

    Seeing a notification of a new post here always gives me a little spark of joy. Bits of extended process talk, big picture summaries of where things are at, they’re all much appreciated. I miss you talking about what video games you’re playing, and what tv you’ve been watching, but I guess that’s what Twitter is for (though I dipped out of there about 5 years ago). There’s something that feels a little more real and considered about these posts. This and Nick Cave’s Red Hand Files are my favourite bits of blogging I still follow. Perhaps you should consider taking open questions from alienated people wondering what art means in the face of devastation and mortal decay?

  • James says:

    Nice to hear an update Joe. Looking forward to your end of year update to hear what games you have been playing.

  • Richard Thomas says:

    The best part about this update, is I can hear it in your sultry voice, Mr. Abercrombie. Love that copy of Swarbeck’s novel you narrated

  • D says:

    Excited to read this once it comes out. I’m about to buy the Shattered Sea books (try and use my local library but they seem to be always backlogged, which must be a good thing!) and have those finished before this drops.

    As for Twitter, it’s probably not a place a lot of sane people are going to want to be for much longer unless something changes drastically, but Mastodon is a nice alternative where you can be a lot more selective about the folks around you while still reaching a ton of people (if they want to see you that is.)

    Good luck with getting this wrapped up!

  • Harman says:

    If I was a billionaire, I’d buy the shit out of this site and elevate to the glorious standard that is twitter.

  • Jack says:

    Any news on when to expect The Great Change (and Other Lies)?

  • Jerad says:

    Moar First Law content!!! Me hungry!

  • Nick Hoekstra says:

    Thanks for the update! I’ve studiously avoided Twitter for the past 10 years, so keep the old-fashioned blog posts comin’

  • Alex L says:

    A satisfying deep-cut edit always helps bring the work together, painful though the ‘gluing-the-pieces’ process may be. Congratulations on the milestone, best of luck on the journey ahead.

  • Alex P. says:

    Got to grab the chagga for this one, bring out those dim spirts and have them dance around the fire – a celebration is in order. I’ll be honest, after finishing ‘The Wisdom of Crowds’, I’m once again a wandering nomad in the sea of lackluster fantasy. Where do we go from here? I suppose all there is to do is wait.

    In my non-billionaire opinion, these blog post are far superior to breaking through the noise of twitter. Keep em’ rolling Mr. Abercrombie.

  • Jesse Y says:

    What’s the issue with twitter? I for one find free speech is far better than woke censorship. Not to be political, but all politicians are crooks in someway. We know Hunter’s a crook. We know that it was bullshit to censor free speech. Musk is no hero, and for sure a capitalist. Do you not want to know all that was censored ?

  • Wombat of Hoskopp says:

    Thanks for the update, Joe. Looking forward to The Devils, and interesting that you think architecture is easier than gardening. There’s a serendipity to the latter that can’t be beat. But then again you’re the one with the publishing contracts, one book a year tally, and gazillion fans…

    @Jesse Y: I don’t hold with woke-ful repression either, but for every truth told on what post-Musk should be called ‘twatter’, there will be a thousand lies about deep state takeovers and bollocks about curing covid by sleeping with crystals down your undies. Plus, anyone who turns up telling folk to work long hours or leave (family? mental health? work-life balance? tcha!) is obviously an utter fucking scumbag – it’s 2022, not 1822.

  • Nick H says:

    Really cool to hear from you! Love your work

  • Rob Armstrong says:

    Thanks for the update. it’s fine to catch a glimpse of the chef making cookies. Have a good holiday season.

  • Damien Kennedy says:

    Cant wait for the new book. Thank you for everything you have given to us. Brilliant
    Have faith in Twitter.
    Many of us are very pleased the authoritarian censorious mob are no longer in charge. I wish the new owner all the best in his efforts to open the town square to all.

  • Rick says:

    I was wondering if you’d be able to reveal any character names for The Devils soon? Super excited!

  • Antonio Díaz says:

    Joe, we love you. You keep doing your work, experiment as you feel and deliver books whenever you are ready. We’ll read them with a savage smile in our faces.

    I hope to see you in Avilés this year.

  • Vedran Mavrović says:

    Please don’t shut down this site (or leave it to fade).
    Social media’s are a social prostitution, and having your own site is something that brings that feeling of “old times” of Internet. I always like to visit your site from time to time, catch the new updates that I know are solid (another thing with SM that is not so reliable). But… nevertheless this is your site. 🙂
    Thank you for the update, and thank you for the great books.
    All the best.

  • Seth says:

    We want Whiskey Death Match!

  • Alex says:

    I daresay we – your readers – also enjoy your reading your blog posts. So by all means, if you can spare the time…
    I for one would check in often should you post more frequently.

  • Adam sage says:

    Heeeeyyyyyy Joe, where you going with that pen in your hand? Top notch world you’ve created for me, thanks.


  • Dawn says:

    Dying for more ! I’ve tried every author google has recommended like Abercrombie. None pull me in . Thank you for that magnificent imagination. Would love to see HBO make a series – plenty of material here. Keep on keepin on!

  • Devanthar says:

    Less useful and appealing as what? A leftist echo chamber?

  • Josè Marceca says:

    Se c’è un autore che mi ha veramente stravolto in questo 2022 che ci stiamo lasciando alle spalle, beh, quello è lei, Mr. Abercrombie! Sono rimasto totalmente affascinato e rapito dal Mondo della Prima Legge, e dopo aver letto la trilogia, non ho potuto fare a meno di acquistare anche i romanzi singoli legati al mondo della prima legge (tranne The Heroes, che non si trova più qui in Italia, purtroppo) e naturalmente l’ultima trilogia L’Età della Follia: che romanzi, mi hanno letteralmente rapito! Quando appare Glokta (che personaggio, davvero incredibile, uno dei miei preferiti fin dalla sua apparizione), mi sono venuti i brividi.
    In poche parole, Joe, sei un vero fuoriclasse, amo la tua produzione letteraria, e spero di leggere presto tuoi nuovi romanzi.
    Sinceri complimenti e grazie, grazie, grazie per le incredibili emozioni che i tuoi personaggi sanno regalare.
    Chiunque dovrebbe leggere i libri di Joe Abercrombie….

  • Benjamin says:

    First time here but wanted to say I’ve thoroughly enjoyed everything you’ve written and am eager to see what’s coming next! I don’t think being either an architect or a gardner is better than the other per se because I think that designed and constructed style helps give you such immaculate worlds, though I’m curious to see how a more organic approach will reveal new facets of that as well. No matter what comes of it I’m sure I’ll enjoy it and can’t wait to hear more.

  • MinaithOnehorn says:

    David Gemmell used to be my no1 choice for fantasy reading. But no king can stay forever on his throne.
    It will take something beyond imagination however to topple Joe Abercrombie. Cannot wait for what you have lined up with your new campaign. Keep it up.

  • Nigel P says:

    I loaned a book from shattered sea series. The 2nd book. It was different and I liked it. I couldn’t find rest of books in library or charity shops so unusual for me went on to buy all the books up to wisdom of crowds. Excellent and individual style of which I want more. Thanks.

  • TheChosenShield says:

    We are a small group of fans but we are here for you, Joe. Just finished the final book, Wisdom of Crowds. I have never changed my opinion of characters like I did whilst reading those books. Oh and Judge seriously gave me the ick… vile creature. Utterly amazing writing! I will post a review on Amazon. Thank you for the weirdness and can’t wait for more!

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