The End

November 1st, 2010

So my read-through of the page proofs of The Heroes is complete, and my accompanying short story also first drafted, which means from my point of view the text of the book is categorically and completely DONE.  As if to prove it, US Advanced Reader Copies have recently gone out, and here’s one of mine:

Handsome, is it not?  A more “promotional materials” style approach than the UK one, which aims to look as much like the finished book as possible.  The sharp-eyed among you will also notice a startling discrepancy in heft.  Yes, it is exactly the same book, but due to the vagaries of printing and paper stock the US proof is some 150 pages shorter and only a little more than half the thickness.  Despite the monstrousness of the UK spine, it is in fact my shortest book for a while – about the same length as Before They are Hanged and a good 10-15% shorter than Last Argument of Kings or Best Served Cold.

You might think I would feel an overwhelming sense of self-satisfaction on the completion of this long and involved project (well, a sense of self-satisfaction even greater than my usual one), but in fact I find you don’t tend to get that as a writer.  No moment of typing “THE END” on your clackety-clackety typewriter then perhaps flinging the final sheet away like Stephen J. Cannell used to at the end of his TV shows.  Finishing the first draft segues rapidly into revision and editing, the editing process is naturally spread out and winds down through various stages, each with less impact on the final result than the one before.  Writing a book peters out rather than ends with a sharp bang in the way the reading of a book does.  And of course over the next few months people begin to read the book, and respond to it, and so it is very much still in your thoughts.  Plus the nebulous end of the writing process for one book dissolves naturally into the nebulous start of the process for the next.  Tis a strange business, all in all.

Looking back at my blog, I note in passing for any that might be interested, that I finished reviewing the page proofs of Best Served Cold back in April 2009, and although I’d already made a start on The Heroes at that point, it means that it’s taken me around about 19 months to write, 13 in the drafting and about 6 in the editing and reviewing.  Given I had another child, moved at least twice and have planned and overseen a comprehensive building project in the same period, I’m pretty pleased with that.  I mean, it’s no Brandon Sanderson level of productivity, but it’s ticking over.  It also means, for those of an extrapolatory frame of mind, that predicting the same workrate, you can expect my next book to be hitting the shelves somewhere around the end of August 2012.  Man, I can hardly WAIT to read it.

In other news, thanks largely to YOUR support, Bethod’s indestructible champion, Fenris the Feared, overcame and destroyed The Mule from Asimov’s Foundation series over at Suvudu’s cage match.  I told you no small horse was going to get in his way.  Alas, he now faces no less a villainous adversary than Lord Soth from Dragonlance.  To be honest, I really can’t see the circumstances under which these two would fight, as I reckon they would have loads in common and really have a lot to talk about.  Still, by all means vote if you’re keen to see Fenris take on either a Terminator or Eric Cartman.  Man, you couldn’t make this up…

Posted in process by Joe Abercrombie on November 1st, 2010.

24 comments so far

  • Troy says:

    I like that ps3 controller sitting there! Is that a hint to the future The blade itself video game 😀 hey one can dream cant he??

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Normally I play games in the living room, but the conking out of our main tv has driven fallout:new vegas into the study. Bonus points to anyone who can identify what the PS3 controller is sitting ON.

  • Dan says:

    Is that high school musical 3? Anyway, congrats Joe. Any idea when you might let us know what the next book or series will be about? Hoping for more Logan and dogman, of course:).

  • Eddwigg says:

    Or you could read it here… for a mere 75 quid
    And guess what, they just sold one for £45.00.
    Personally I will wait till next year… but it hurts so bad to wait… Damn you Joe, nearly two years for your next book… sigh!

  • Doug says:

    I am quite excited by the book. The Feared better watch out for Cartman, though. That kid is pure evil.

  • Elfy says:

    Ah more Joe Abercrombie goodness to look forward to. Seriously, mate, you’re a legend.

  • J.M. Martin says:

    Joe, I can’t wait until HEROES hits the States. Just thinking about when I get that book in hand gives me the same giddiness I felt as a lad on Christmas morning.

  • Skout says:

    Yeah, that’s definitely Joe’s coveted version of not just HSM3, but the whole High School Musical trilogy, if I’m not mistaken. Like this copy right here:

    I’m not sure that I want the offered bonus points, unless they come in a “signed by Joe Abercrombie” version, though…

  • ColinJ says:

    I want a Monza Murcatto video game where you travel about slaying fools and generally being awesome.

    ust get Noomi Rapace to do the performance capture and I’ll be the happiest man in my pants.

  • Andy says:

    Congrats Joe! Quick question; do you write your books using a typewritter, or do you use Microsoft word?

  • Eddwigg says:

    Hey Skout I reckon you are spot on, OMG!! Heroes the Musical. No Joe Please Nooooooooooooooooo

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Word all the way. Those typewriters are weak on the cut and paste function.

    Correct, and bonus points to you. I like to start every day with at least one of the High School Musical trilogy. It makes me feel bubbly and optimistic for at least five minutes afterwards. And that Zac Efron – he’s a dreamboat!

  • barfly says:

    hey, a Pukka Pad too! got one on my desk here. wonder if you can use inanimate objects in the 6 Degrees game? 😉

  • Mike says:

    Got that right def a dreamboat, now if only we could get him to just sail away!

  • Chris Upton says:

    If this Stephen J Cannell kept throwing away his final page how the bloody hell did he finsh anything? It would be like a kind of limbo.
    Always freaked me out as a kid that.

  • Phil N says:

    Fenris is doing well, 167 votes (51.86%) to 155 votes (48.14%).

    Is that what the US cover is going to look like? Me no like if it is I prefer the parchment version.

  • Murray says:

    Yeah I agree the UK covers are excellent and look great on my bookshelf. Will the initial Hardback release be a genuine Hardback, so to speak, or a large edition Paperback? I’ve always preferred the large edition Paperbacks. Easier to handle on the train.

  • So what was on the plate that has now been reduced to a smattering of crumbs? I love the photo. Not only do we get a glimpse at the US Proof we also get a peek at Joe’s day-to-day life. 🙂

    UK cover owns – US cover leaves something to be desired. I’m sure they will ramp it up for release.

  • Skout says:

    While I’m certain that you’re jesting, it’s still absolutely frightening. If this is where you’re getting all your skullduggery research, I guess I need to lower my expectations for The Heroes a notch or two… 😉

  • Elena Nola says:

    My favorite quote about finishing a book (well, I apply it to writing projects, but the actual quote is more generic): “A piece of art is never completed, only abandoned.” Something along those lines, anyway. It seems apt for your process description. 🙂

  • mdlachlan says:

    I’m a fan of turgid, bloodless fantasy. Will your book suit me, do you think?

  • ogbebaba says:

    The Feared is loosing badly to the terminator…

    “This aggression will not stand man”

    are we going to let this happen?

  • Sven says:

    Hello Joe,

    how & when can we get our paws on the “accompanying short story” you mention?

    Kindest regards from Belgium 😉

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