Progress Update: The Core

IMG_5963Happy New Year!

Have I missed my window to say that? Probably, but it’s my first personal blog post of the year. I would make a new year’s resolution to write more of them, but in order to make a resolution you need resolve, and my resolve is to spend as much of my writing time as possible on The Core. If you want a real Peephole in My Skull, follow me on twitter @PVBrett. In the meantime, Karen has been doing a bang up job of turning my social media stream of consciousness into coherent blog posts.

The Core will be the fifth and final installment in the Demon Cycle series. There has been a lot of confusion on this point, so let me be clear: When I originally sold the Demon Cycle, I submitted it as a five book series. I provided a completed first book, a half-written and intricately plotted sequel, stepsheets for books three and four, and notes for the conclusion in book five.

Random House bought the first three books, not unwisely hedging their bet in case the series did not sell well. So I had sold three books of a five book series. And I wasn’t stupid. If the sales writing was on the wall, I would have to wrap in three. I made a secret emergency plan in case that happened. A version that would have basically cut all the Krasian POVs other than Jardir. That is a version of the series I never wanted to write, and would only have done under personal duress.

This hedging led SF news blogs to report the Demon Cycle selling as a trilogy instead of a quintet. When international publishers saw the initial buzz and made their own offers, many of them did so under the same misconception. The misinformation snowballed.

While some parts have grown and others shrunk in the telling, the five book series you have been reading still follows my original outline quite closely. It is the series as I originally envisioned it, wrapping up all the major storylines, one way or another.

If you like my books, fear not! I will continue writing in the Demon Cycle world for the foreseeable future. I have plans for several novellas, a couple of stand-alone novels, and—the thing I am most excited about—a new demon cycle series.

The new series will be a fresh start in a lot of ways, sifting the things I love about the setting away from much of the accumulated baggage of the original series. I’ll get to explore new characters, expand the borders of the map, and put a welcome mat out to new readers who haven’t read the original series. There’s a teaser for the new series out now. More on that in a bit.

No matter which POV you love, you will see them carrying the story forward in The Core. No more flashbacks. The POV characters from the novels and novellas are all properly spread and moving in sync now, as I had planned all along. They will pass the baton back and forth smoothly as things race toward the series climax.

When will that be?

Well, here’s the thing. In order to do all of the above, The Core needs to be a pretty big book. To do it in a way that is satisfying and I take pride in, it needs to be even bigger. The Core stepsheet alone is 120 pages, and some parts of it are still rough.

2015 was not my best writing year. I was doing a lot of touring early in the year to promote the launch of The Skull Throne, and have learned that I cannot write effectively while on tour. The love/hate relationship I have with travel and public speaking is in full force, draining the emotional energy I normally channel into my books. I took the time instead to read other people’s books, which was a delight.

So didn’t begin The Core in earnest until mid-year, and even then there was monthly travel, throwing off my rhythm. I also had a lot of big-picture problems to solve before I could move ahead planning some sections and storylines. This used a lot of time and mental processing power while adding minimal word count. All in all I wrote an average of 2,776 words a week. I also didn’t get to the gym enough, ate too much travel food, and gained back some of the weight I worked so hard to lose.

But this, too, is a pattern, and one I planned for. The same thing happened after my tour in 2013, leading me to shed 23 lbs and write an average of 5,148 words a week in 2014. That is my plan for 2016, as well.

But when I look back at the results of those 2,776 words a week, I am really happy with how The Core is progressing. At 52,637 words, I have 10 completed chapters—including the prologue—out of a planned 31. Most of the major story knots are untied. I know whose POV to use and what needs to happen in each chapter from now until the end. I am confident the climax will stick the landing.

But there obviously remains a lot of writing to do. By way of comparison:

The Warded Man: 163,589 words.

The Desert Spear: 236,228 words.

The Daylight War: 257,612 words.

The Skull Throne: 236,217 words.

The Core: X words, where X > any of the above.

How much > ?



In the end, the story works that out for itself. Still, 2017 publication seems likely. I would prefer early in the year, but I can’t guarantee it. This is the last book in the series and there may be unforeseen complications as I try to wrap everything up.

Many eager readers offer to beta-read for me, in hopes of a sneak peek. I appreciate the sentiment, but I play these things pretty close to the cuff, especially with the final book. No one beta reads until the first draft of a book is done, and even then only the handful of people on an absolute need-to-know basis (this includes you, mom). I don’t like people’s fingers in my soup.

However, if you’re interested, I have posted the completed Chapter 1 of The Core on the Excisions page. As I hinted earlier, it provides a touch of insight into what will come afterward:

Thanks to everyone for reading and for all the incredible support over the years. You are my true friends, honest word.

We’ll be running some warding and fan art contests in the coming weeks, so I have an excuse to send out signed books and other goodies. There are a LOT of exciting Demon Cycle media announcements to come in 2016, so stay tuned.

I’m traveling less this year, but there are still some cool appearances coming up, including Germany, Poland, Estonia and Australia. You can find details here:

Looking forward to a great year.

Posted on January 5, 2016 at 3:00 pm by PeatB
Filed under Craft, Excisions, Fans, Germany, Interviews, Life, Poland, The Core, Uncategorized, Warded Man, Writing

47 responses to “Progress Update: The Core”

  1. While I am truly excited and saddened about finding out what happens with the demon cycle and having it come to an end I am over the moon, jumping up and down excited for the “new demon cycle.”

    It is really hard to imagine the story of Arlen and Jardir coming to a close. I really enjoy your books and look forward to seeing how you bring it to a close.

    Please tell me there is the possibility of a movie or t.v. series.

    Posted by Joel Owens, on January 5th, 2016 at 8:45 pm
  2. […] V. Brett has published a blog post today that will delight his fans. I recommend you check the whole blog post out, it outlines […]

    Posted by Peter V. Brett confirms more books | Fantasy-Faction, on January 6th, 2016 at 7:11 am
  3. Just recently re-read THE WARDED MAN and have just finished reading THE DESERT SPEAR. I am currently reading THE DAYLIGHT WAR with SKULL THRONE to follow.

    Am very pleased to hear this news on the progress on the final novel! Interested to hear also about moving forward with no flashbacks! Sweet mother of pearl!

    Cheers and thanks for all your hard work!

    Posted by David, on January 7th, 2016 at 4:19 pm
  4. One more book or two more, take however many more you need. Absolutely love the story. No need to apologize for story being longer. Just all the better!
    Read the first chapter of the core and as usual, you were able to completely surprise me. Will preorder it for my Kindle as soon as book become available!

    Posted by Jack Knight-Scott, on March 27th, 2016 at 1:17 am
  5. My father, youngest brother and myself love this series and can’t wait until the final chapter is available, though it is very sad that the story is coming to it’s end.

    Posted by Julie, on March 30th, 2016 at 3:55 am
  6. Thanks for the update. Every good thing takes time. Do it right (but not as George Martin)

    Posted by Matthew, on April 6th, 2016 at 9:47 am
  7. I love your world and I cannot wait for more

    Posted by nelson, on April 6th, 2016 at 4:33 pm
  8. Found out about the series 2 weeks ago and I am just starting book 4. You have made something special. Characters are strong. Pacing is solid. Deserves its own HBO or AMC show. Movies never do a fatty book justice. Look forward to future works. You sir are the Deliver.

    Posted by TFranks, on April 15th, 2016 at 9:04 pm
  9. An amazing series. Your books embody the human emotion of fear and force the characters into horrifying and often times paradigm changing events. This emotion, in the real world, has served as a catalyst for immense change in our evolution. From a character development standpoint, you give even the most minor of characters a chance to help advance the overall arc of the mains. From creating a leviathon that all of the characters, despite having radically different ideologies, can come to terms with AND having this amazing enveloped world that is much a main character as Arlen or Jardir. I highly recommend this series, if not for the world you created, for just a wonderful representation of human emotion that is given and how its evolution occurs within the characters. Thank you Mr. Brett.

    Posted by James, on April 29th, 2016 at 2:09 pm
  10. As a new reader to the series and a fellow writing enthusiast, Mr Brett, you, sir, are officially awesome. The cultural and spiritual blend along side the medieval setting and an Atlantis-esque history make the Demon Cycle World a very interesting and complicated place. Personally my favourite character so far is still Hag Bruna. I think you must have met my grandmother – haha! I’m finding Briar a very intriguing character and I have a feeling there’s more of a role for him to play. However that does not excuse killing off Rojer – which has been the sole lone point of the series aside from the edge-of-your-seat final line of each book. I appreciate a cliffhanger as much as the next wannabe bestselling author but I actually found myself screaming in frustration! To be able to control the reaction of your readers is a rare thing and you are extremely talented. I cannot wait for The Core – I reckon Leesha is having a boy and you’ll find a loophole to bring Rojer back 🙂 And as always, have fun writing!
    — Riley A McCabe

    Posted by RA McCabe, on May 9th, 2016 at 5:11 pm
  11. Love your books 🙂 it’s a same time travel has not yet been invented so i can read ‘The Core’ now!

    Posted by Nick, on May 28th, 2016 at 7:38 am
  12. I’m almost done book 4. I had heard there were 5 books in this series so I was ready to buy the next one…

    Now I don’t know what to do with my life but wait.

    Can’t wait to see what happens. 🙂

    Posted by Tiffany Melanson, on June 1st, 2016 at 2:15 pm
  13. Love the honesty of what you have been doing, your emotions, and what you plan on doing. Very refreshing! Can’t wait for the core! Rock on…

    Posted by Matthew Legg, on June 23rd, 2016 at 8:30 pm
  14. I like your books, but your site is kind of bad. Extremely bad. Graphics, layout, …

    I hope you arent the designer 🙂

    No intention to be rude. Sorry if thats the interpretation.

    Could not get when book five will be published.

    I hope a new GRRM is not borning.

    Posted by Cenas, on June 25th, 2016 at 5:59 pm
  15. Walked into a book store with no idea what to buy. Man who worked there asked me what I liked so I started listing my favourite books. He said “I know exactly what to give you” and handed over the first book of your series.
    He said when I bought it that if I did not enjoy it he would ‘eat his own fist’.
    Three days I returned to buy the next one….

    Keep up the amazing work <3

    Posted by Sam, on July 9th, 2016 at 7:56 pm
  16. I am so excited to see that you will be going forward with the Demon Cycle world in your writing in the future. I didn’t find The Warded Man until I listened to it while I was working (I’m a glass maker and books while I’m at the torch are essential) and I could not stop listening to it or the subsequent three books. I have gone back more times than I can count to listen again to favorite sections. You are an amazing writer. Thank you for sharing your world with me.

    Posted by Astrid Boyce, on July 12th, 2016 at 9:13 pm
  17. Really looking forward to the fifth book in the series and even more ecstatic to hear of further developments in the Demon Cycle! I’ve recently started reading Peter’s work and just don’t know what I was doing before The Warded Man..

    Posted by Zachary Spencer, on August 11th, 2016 at 10:00 pm
  18. I’ve never been able to finish any of the books I’ve tried to read in my whole life that was til a friend ßàid to give the warded man a chance i read the blerbbon it i thought cant hurt to read a cpl of pages because I like thès kìnda story’s,so I began reading after a few paragraph’s i found myself really enjoying it by bedtime I found it rather actually nearly impossible to put the book down im proud to say that I not only read the full book but couldn’t wait to find out what happened in the end then whilst reading book 4 my partner asked what was wrong n i said why he replied y he told me told that i looked sad n i said i was both really happy and sad 1=happy and 1=happy to be tying up loose ends but I also felt extremely sad to be coming up to the very end o the series & i didn’t not want it to end no at al not even a tiny bit i was loving it my bf then says hun you’ve still got another 2 decent size thickness of books to read thru yet totally happy as i didnt even know that my bf i thought I read somewhere on the cover that it was a trilogy so i assumed 3books mu bf explained book 4 to me &said book5 wasnt due til nèxt year sometime so i took my time finishing book4 now im just waiting i must say that you have set the bar pretty bloody high for me to be able to finish any other books I þry to read seems I’d never finished 1til I read yours gotta say most brilliant book ever recommend it. anyone if this is the way books make you feel like my fod i wish other books could grab n keep hold of me the way yours did that would be absolutely frigging awesome m? Peter Brett best author ever and im as fussy as fussy could possibly be not kidding at all ?ll!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted by Berlinda Hudson, on August 22nd, 2016 at 5:18 am
  19. I just love this books and i hope the ending book will be in 2 parts i don’t want this to end with “they killed all demons and they lived happily ever after”… i just must to know what happened after they save the world…the story is amazing i can’t wait for Laguna to translate next book asap..I hope next 5 books will be story 5300 years in past or after they save the world of demons…
    And i just dont understand why didn’t Roger go to live in that big hidden house of Arlen where they took all the weapons and books to give to the villagers?

    Posted by Spaske, on August 24th, 2016 at 9:20 am
  20. I love these book and I wait the five book with impatience. but the author lies a bit: “No matter which POV you love, you will see them carrying the story forward in The Core”. Roger is dead and this was the pov i loved the most but he will not be in the final book evidently :/.

    Posted by ferreira, on August 31st, 2016 at 9:29 am
  21. Waiting and waiting and waiting
    Why start a series and don’t finish it
    Your a amazing writer
    I’ll just stay with RA Salvaltori
    ( come on let’s get book five out

    Posted by Gar, on August 31st, 2016 at 10:22 pm
  22. Just finished re-listening to the series, and I had forgotten how dark the ending of TST was. Looking forward to The Core, trying to resist reading the first chapter.

    Posted by Matthew, on September 4th, 2016 at 3:03 am
  23. After reading all of my favorite authors books. I find myself rereading all of your books over and over again. And can never stop. Soon i will be reading them to my kids.

    Posted by Andrew paul, on September 7th, 2016 at 9:17 am
  24. We definitely appreciate your effort to get the book out in early 2017! Thank you for aiding in my alternate reality (aka books in general), and I can’t wait to read what’s to come. You’re a scholar, a gentleman, and a dang good author


    Posted by Trey Allred, on September 11th, 2016 at 12:13 am
  25. Once again you DELIVERED Mr. Brett! I discovered the Demon Cycle series a bit late, but once I did, I flew through the first three books in just a few short weeks. I remembered my horror at learning from you that it would be a couple of years before the next installment, but definitely wrote to thank you for what you do for us fans and to let you know that of course we understood that your daughter comes first in all things!
    With life’s trials passing by, I lost track of you again, and only this past Saturday realized that you had finished The Skull Throne. I flew through that book in three days!! Waiting for more Sir!

    Posted by Konnie Jackson, on September 20th, 2016 at 9:28 pm
  26. I can’t frikkin wait for the new book to come out and am sad to learn its the last in this particular series as I love all the characters so much! But heyho I love the idea of lots of other books set in the same world.

    Take as long as you need to write it, better have it right than try to rush it:o) I promote your books to everybody I meet and The Painted Man is probably my number 1 book of all time, I cannot believe more people have not read the series. Fab story indeed:o)

    Posted by Lisa Corken, on October 1st, 2016 at 7:40 pm
  27. Most of all I want to say that your commitment to communicating with the community to the point that you are monitoring your word-count (as if that gives us a precise time of when this will be published) is amazing. Please continue writing and do not think I expect you to produce the best piece of writing ever put on paper. Moreover I would just like some conclusion to why you even made Rojer a character in book 1!!!! Jesus christ man. ROJER IS DEAD?!!?! fuck me. PS I am kidding. and I love your books. I need some unpredictability like that.

    Posted by Justin Reynolds, on October 17th, 2016 at 7:17 am
  28. While I absolutely abhor waiting for the final book in a series, the time in between has given me a chance to read a lot of other authors books as well. I would love to know which books you’ve been reading and what stories inspired you to become a writer. I recommend your series to everyone I discuss books with and I highly recommend The Dawn of Wonder by Johnathan Renshaw. It reminds me of the excitement I felt reading the first book in the Demon Cycle series. Thank you so much for the world you have created! Arlen is one of my all time favorite literary characters.

    Posted by Morgan Hargett, on November 3rd, 2016 at 6:31 pm
  29. I have just this morning finished book 4 of the Demon series and realised when I went to purchase book 5 it is not yet available. I have loved the storyline so far, having a great time with the characters. My only criticism is – how could you kill Roger and Thomas? My heart is broken.

    Posted by Vicki Bray, on November 13th, 2016 at 3:07 am
  30. You have created such a compelling world with The Demon Cycle. I’m both impatient for the last book in the series and anxious for the experience not to come to an end. So I’m very excited to know that there will be more. I have read each book more than once and I know that this story will stay with me a long time. Thank you for your inspiration – keep writing!

    Posted by Becky Farrell, on November 13th, 2016 at 5:53 am
  31. Is there an official date that this will be released? A ballpark? I need something here. I finished the Skull Throne like 2 days after it came out in Graphic Audio and have been anxiously waiting for this book since then.

    Posted by Ian Baker, on November 22nd, 2016 at 11:34 pm
  32. Mr. Brett….I recently discovered the world of Hora magic, of wards carved deep, and of music so pure a dark heart could be reignignited. Thank you very much for your work, have a good day.

    Posted by Elliott perez, on November 30th, 2016 at 11:45 pm
  33. Not Rojer Halfgrip ?? no words……

    Posted by steven mccrudden, on December 9th, 2016 at 8:20 am
  34. Cannot wait

    Posted by Anthony Adewumi, on December 16th, 2016 at 3:48 pm
  35. According to Locus “The Core” is due in Aug. Can’t wait to see how it all turns out

    Posted by Matthew, on December 22nd, 2016 at 5:50 am
  36. take your Time , this serie deserve a great ending.

    Posted by ju, on December 29th, 2016 at 11:18 am
  37. […] plotted out when he began the series back in 2008. This won’t be the end of the story, however: according to his blog, he’ll be starting up a new series set in the same world […]

  38. […] plotted out when he began the series back in 2008. This won’t be the end of the story, however: according to his blog, he’ll be starting up a new series set in the same world […]

  39. […] plotted out when he began the series back in 2008. This won’t be the end of the story, however: according to his blog, he’ll be starting up a new series set in the same world […]

  40. […] plotted out when he began the series back in 2008. This won’t be the end of the story, however: according to his blog, he’ll be starting up a new series set in the same world […]

  41. I picked up the first book in a truck stop. It was only intended to be a distraction to the long days spent in the vehicle (I of course was not driving). I could not at the time have imagined I would have found one of my most beloved series. You are an excellent writer and I wish you all the best in the upcoming sales. Your success will hopefully make true the next installment after the 5th book completes. Thank you again for creating such an excellent story.

    Posted by Darrick, on January 8th, 2017 at 12:45 pm
  42. You have a lot of common to George Martin. Game of thrones
    I loved your books
    However I’ve taken you off my reading list as I have George
    The CORE will never happen

    Posted by Gary, on January 19th, 2017 at 9:30 pm
  43. Posted by Peat, on January 31st, 2017 at 3:27 pm
  44. Peter i just wanted to say thank you for all your help in giving a 48yr old man on disability sense age 30 a true break from my true reality. Chronic back pain shut my life down @ 30 & for 5-7yrs i did nutn EVERY DAY ALL DAY BUT TRY KILLN MYSELF. Living a form of ground hog day this longs been a real mother forker cuz naturally im poor w nutn to do but mental stuff & it drives me insane. To the point ive concidered doing stuff to force death upon me. Im not sure how to say this part but getn to no arlon roger renna tanner rogers wives etc etc & there constant nonstop the world is stomping them into smithereens yet they keep getn up just 1more time has really helped me mentally w trying to overcome chronic pain or atleast deal w it much much better. Im gunnu miss my only friends. Thats a good way to help fig out if sumbodies lieing about CHRONIC BACK PAIN & thats to see what all they lost from pain. I lost my family my pride my voice my friends & for years the will to live. So with no friends in life its a few characters in a few audio books that fill so many voids & provide so much hope that tomorow will be the day i dreamed of yesterday. So in an odd way thanks for helpn me survive. Sense things got better i learned to listen to the books while stoned & its amazing how many times u can relisten to series & fall in luv all over again lol. Seriously tho keep on doing your thing & god willn they will make a GREAT TRILOGY on this series. Hint hint peter jackson lol. Anyway peace out from Texas

    Posted by paul honish jr, on March 13th, 2017 at 4:10 pm
  45. Book five. Warden man
    I’ll be dead before you’ll release it
    I’m 74
    Let’s get in gear

    Posted by Gary, on March 21st, 2017 at 11:25 pm
  46. I’m still here
    Thank the lord
    I have enjoyed your past books
    I’m loving Game of Throne also
    But I think he’ll die before he writes again
    But your young
    I need a new valve plus many other things at my age
    And please finish book 5
    You are a amazing writer

    Posted by Gary, on March 27th, 2017 at 9:48 pm
  47. OMG IM SO BLOODY HYPED FOR THIS BOOK!! I’ve waited a full year for this and I’m so revved to get this copy and fulfill my bookshelf’s last book slot

    Posted by Jacob, on March 29th, 2017 at 10:06 pm