(A) Red Country

Posted on August 15th, 2011 in announcements, news, progress

So I’ve finished the first draft of the second part of my latest masterwork, workingly titled, ‘A Red Country,’ or possibly just, ‘Red Country,’ we will see on that score.  For those who have failed to follow this blog religiously for the past few months (shame on you faithless scum), it is another semi-standalone set in the world of The First Law, and fusing fantasy elements with western elements, in the same way that The Heroes was a fantasy/war story and Best Served Cold fantasy/thriller-ish.  That puts me about 40% of the way through a first draft, though I suspect there’ll be a fair bit of work to do once the first draft is complete.  Isn’t there always?  Now the terrifying wait for feedback from my editor and readers while I try and sort out what exactly I’m going to do with my next part.  I guess one could say that if Part I was a little bit Searchers then Part II rolled into Lonesome Dove territory and Part III has something of a Deadwood/Fistful of Dollars motif.

I feel a fair bit more comfortable with this second part than I did with the first, as you’d expect or at least hope.  One generally aims to get a better and better handle on the plot, settings and characters as one goes through a draft, until by the time you’re finishing your first draft you know pretty much exactly what you’re aiming at, and editing becomes largely a case of bringing earlier parts into line with that final one.

I’ve made quite a significant change to the personality of one of my two central characters – or perhaps not a change but a clarification, a shift of emphasis and a refinement of style – and he seems to be working quite a bit better now.  In essence, I’ve made him a bit more of a shit than he was before, which tends to be a fruitful direction for me to go in with characters on the whole.  Who knew?

It’s taken me a little longer to get this part together than I’d hoped, what with one thing and another, but if I can up the pace a little from here on in we should still be looking at delivery early next year and publication somewhere around late summer early autumn 2012.  Such is the hope.  But you know what they say about hopes.

Don’t make a parachute out of ’em.


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  1. I am a big David Gemmel fan and since he died i have really missed his stories.Druss is my favourite character(closely followed by Ayra Stark) but, The Bloody Nine, has captivated me.He couldn’t be more different from Druss (he even kills children!!!)and yet there is something about him… Thanks Joe for giving me that feeling of anticipation for an author again. Keep up the good work and i can’t wait for your next book!Whatever it’s called!

  2. Page 299 heroes. 2 boys and a women for company. Chronicles of Whirrun. The story of Yoru Sulfer. 2 books that love to read!

  3. David Gemmel was my favourite author and so glad some1 took his place if not better. I see your good friends Brent weeks. Black Prism how disappointing it’s like a documentary until 300 pages in. I couldn’t put his previous books down. No pressure on Peter Brett for last in trilogy it’s got to be good take this long. Keep it gritty absolutely loved Best Served Cold

  4. yo Joe, just literally finished the last page of heroes! and it was awesome!! started reading these when i was 17 and i still love them, shivers and Glokta are my favorite characters from the books so far and it looks like black Calder is to become an awesome figure. Cant wait for the next one! and bring back the bloody nine!!!!!!!!! :D:D:D

  5. I looooooved Whirrun of Bligh!!! He was the ultimate mystic Warrior and funny ^^ Too bad he got back to the mud after battle. Such a great story with that sacred Father of Swords, yet ended!? Your characters are the best I know, all so different. Cruel, scheming, coward, shy, conceited, … They reveal the true hidden feelings of us humans under the masquerade of society like they are and with which we were born. This is so rare, keep it up!!! Did you see the movie Carnage (2011)? THAT’s what I’m talking about 😉

    I really don’t like to read books, never did, but when I started with The Blade Itself, chosen because of the bloodsplattered cover with sword ;), it caught me right up from the very start on. The Blade Itself was the first book I read twice!!! It was always senseless for me to read a book twice, because you know whats going to happen, but when I picked it up some time ago, I couldn’t let go of it, the atmosphere with these unique characters is just so great. I now read every book from Joe and can’t wait to read Red Country.

    I will play Diablo 3 and will give my characters your fantasies names 😀 e.g. The Barbarian will be Whirrun of Bligh ;D

  6. Inspiring. Seriously. When I finished reading ASOIAF, I thourght GRRM was the king, and that nothing could ever live up to the epicness of his dragons.

    And then, boom! Heroes!

    The first one I read was Best Served Cold. Didn’t like the plot at all, but loved the style, so I got Heroes on audiobook. Best thing ever! Better than the fourth Harry Potter. Better than LOTR. No dragons, not magic, but still absolutely stellar.


    Still making my way through the first law, but it’s hard, given that it’s following the perfection of HEROES.

    Yay for Black Calder the ruthless coward. Excellent character!

    If I ever manage to finish one of the legions of projects I’ve started, you’d get a shout out on my acknowledgements page.

    Write a thousand more books and make them as perfect as Heroes. Please.
    Seriously, please.

  7. I want a book focused around the hundred words, I’m sure they would have quite the interesting story to tell….

  8. I want to see 9-fingers again :(

  9. I am very excited about the new book being published in October. I love Joe’s work and I’m looking forward to him taking me on other journey. I would love to see Inquisitor Gloka make an apprearance down the road. Keep up the great writing Joe!

  10. I love all your books! The First Law Series is my favorite. Such an abundance of great characters. My favorites were Ferro & the Northmen. I think a prequal to that series featuring how all the Northmen came together would be awesome. Bethod & Ninefingers rise to power. Anything with Logan in it would be great. He’s right up at the top of my list of all-time favorite characters, along with Fitz Farseer, The Fool, Gaius Octavian, Drizzt Do’Urdan, Rand, Mat, Perrin, Vin & Kelsier.

    When i first read about Lamb & his bloody past i was really hoping that he would turn out to be the Bloody Nine.

    Keep up the great work!

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