Progress Report October ’20

October 31st, 2020

So the Trouble With Peace is out. You think something’s so far off it’ll never happen, then before you know it, it’s fading rapidly into the past. Went well, overall, I think, given that Covid has rather messed up the normal operation of the book trade. We managed to do take some events online, which was great – and I’m sure the fact that anyone, anywhere can potentially tune into those will mean that they become part of the routine in future – but I must admit I did miss the sense of occasion you get from actually getting out on the road and into bookstores. The trains and the cars and the schlepping around can be a ball-ache but there’s no substitute for looking into the excited eyes of the little people, queueing up for days in their countless thousands merely to catch a glimpse of me.

One by-product of the Covid situation was that there was a real backlog of big books to be published, and hence that competition in that particular week of september was fierce. I think I sold better with this book in the UK than ever before but only just crept onto the Times bestseller list at number 10. Very pleased with that, testament to the hard work of the team etc. etc. I think for the first time also this book sold more in audiobook in both the UK and US than in hardcover, which is both a sign of the times in terms of the importance of that side of the market and a ringing endorsement of the prodigious reading talents of Steven Pacey.

I seem to believe that at one time my fond dream had been that I’d have had book 3 in the series, now titled The Wisdom of Crowds, more or less finished by the time the first book came out. Perhaps predictably, the project has expanded to fill the time available, and I’m still working on the bastard after the second one has greeted the public. Still, we’re very close now: I’ve been attending to the Line Edit – which is where my editor goes through the manuscript in detail – at one time with a pencil but these days using track changes on Word – and I find ways to do what they suggest slightly differently than they suggested so I can somehow make a pathetic bid at asserting my creative independence.

Three or four slightly bigger issues were thrown up by that edit to consider, mostly concentrated towards the end of the book but also some stuff to have an eye on as I make my (theoretically) final pass of revision. This is usually focussed on the prose, which is to say the detail of the writing, mostly word choice and rhythm and generally making things sound as good as they can. For this I zoom in and make the words real big on my screen, which both helps for bringing out the details (ridiculous I know, but somehow it does) and makes you feel like a really big man when you make changes in huge letters. I find it gets harder and harder to make significant changes the more passes of revision you do – the whole things seems to set like concrete after a while and even swapping a word can feel like a massive effort. Eventually the time comes when you have to say you’re just not making much progress any more, and hand it on…

So the book should go off for its copy edit well before Christmas, with any luck, and then we really will be close to done. I also wrote a short story called The Point to go with a special edition, as I have with the other two books, and we put the cover copy out a couple of weeks back. So there’s no doubt it’ll be out in mid September 2021, and I’ll actually have managed to stick to the original regular schedule of 1 book every 12 months, which is pleasing. Famous last words….

Posted in news, progress by Joe Abercrombie on October 31st, 2020.

17 comments so far

  • Trine says:

    As one of those countless thousands that have met and chatted with you, I would think it a terrible tragedy if that were to cease altogether 🙁 Hopefully when all this is said and done, we will be able to flood the bookstores and fight each other to meet with you again. Colchester, it better be Colchester.
    That said, how about doing a zoom meeting with a choice few? Or several zoom meetings so we have a better chance at getting a slot??

  • Sean says:

    Sounds on point! Very true comment on the ‘minor’ changes making massive efforts, I’ve felt that before in a short story so it must be a world ending feeling in trilogy novel situation, no doubt… Hopeful things might be cool in sept 2021 as got a book for you to sign 🙂
    Really enjoying the 2nd book btw but still reading as not commuting at the moment which really spoils my reading time!

  • Klemen Kekec says:

    What day is it? Let me check this calendar. Oh shit, it’s September 16th, 2021 – better press the big red Release button, Joe!

  • Harrison Lucero says:

    The best authors are never quite happy with their work, looking forward to seeing the final product! I just finished The Trouble With Peace, and I love how much the story moves, so much happens. Keep up the great work Joe you’re an inspiration.

  • Alex says:

    First time I’ve bought one of your audiobooks without reading it in print first. You’re spot on about Stephen Pacey, one of the best audiobook performers I’ve heard. Keep up the great work.

  • An Ambivalent Fan says:

    Why revise so many times? Why not write it properly in one go?

  • Chris says:

    After so many edits and revisions do you get sick of looking at it or desensitized to subtlety and nuance?

  • Steven says:

    Thank covid I found you. I’m a cardiac nurse from Chattanooga TN a rebel not a yank. To take my mind of all the crap covid has caused here I was in the market for a new author. I am so glad I found you by accident when they reopened the bookstores. I just finished a hardback signed version of The Trouble With Peace. You are the 21st century Roger Zelanzey.

  • Katy Ellis says:

    How do you know when that times comes to finally hand over the finished article?
    I can’t wait for the third book next year and hopefully we might have some semblance of normality. Having said that I was lucky enough to buy a personalised signed copy from Topping and Company of Bath and I love it, thank you!

  • Andrea Fachini says:

    Can’t wait to listen to it 😀 Clover is an utter badass and I can’t wait to see what new badassery he gets up to. He has stolen the show in my opinion.

  • Vedran says:

    Thank you very much for sharing the zoom in thingy, sounds pretty useful!

  • Tolmie Y Wright says:

    Once again you’ve knocked it out of the park with ‘The Trouble With Peace’. Although, I must admit, slightly more predictable plot points made a common appearance , which I will chalk up to an increased sense of foreshadowing in earlier chapters/books. That aside, the way action is written is unparalleled, as is tradition, and completely immersed me in the narrative that unfolded in tandem.

    Incredibly excited for the next installment in the trilogy (series? Saga?) and what twists and turns it may bring. Another glimpse of Bayaz, perhaps? Maybe some set-up for another book involving Mamun? Or another story implementing the unkown offspring of Logen Ninefingers, or the more absolute force of the Bloody Nine? Who knows?!

    Forever a fan of your body of work of betrayals and blood.

    – T. Wright

    P.S. Any signs of progress on a live-action/animated ‘First Law’ trilogy (and friends)? It’s one I would love to work on, or at the very least see come to fruition should fate decide it so!

  • Gary says:

    I’m right near the end of ‘The trouble with peace” audiobook version. I tried so hard not to start it too soon. Then I caved and started it, but tried hard not to listen to more than 30 minutes a day…. That was about 5 days ago.

    I honestly think Abercrombie prose with Mr Pacey’s voice talent is one of the greatest double acts in literature.

    That’s the trouble with great entertainment, it’s like great sex; a wonderful experience, but it is never enough, no matter how long it lasts!

  • Chris says:

    Glad to hear you are nearing the finishing line with The Wisdom of Crowds. Any hints in regard to future titles? Perhaps some more standalones focusing on individuals? One I’d like to see would cover Cosca’s early years in The Company of the Gracious Hand.

  • rachel webb says:

    “An Ambivalent Fan
    November 1, 2020 at 4:08 pm
    Why revise so many times? Why not write it properly in one go?”

    What a priceless comment! Not sure if this is a piss-take or someone who has never written anything…

  • alec keene says:

    Yes unexpected, good spin carry on

  • eric says:

    Just finished The Trouble With Peace a couple of minutes ago – I can’t believe how the 9th book in a series can be so emotionally impactful, but there it is. I feel as if Joe is improving as a writer. Either that, or now that he has established such a rich world, he has the freedom to play with abandon without having to spend time world building. Can’t wait for more!

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