With the end of my first year exams in mid-May, I continued to write my first attempt at a novel, In the Shadow of the Storm. At this point, a very limited amount of planning had gone into the structure of the book. Initially I had thought to fit the entire story-line of the planned series, now called The War of the Ancients, into a single book, but as I began to write, it became increasingly clear that this would be difficult at best. I decided early on to write each character as a separate story, before cutting them together once they were all completed.
Such an approach has had both pros and cons. The obvious pros are that it aids in a smoother character development, as I did not have to jump in and out of one particular point of view. The greatest con I’ve encountered, particularly since trying to work out an order for the narrative, is a certain ‘disjointed’ quality to the book.
Much of the development of the specific story-line of the book, as well as the addition of a few more characters and cultures continued alongside its writing. As such, there were more than a few inconsistencies between the start of the book, and its conclusion, inconsistencies which are making editing the first draft a very long and painful task.
The extra point-of-view characters added included a variety of diverse points of view. Kendryek I added for a Laternae perspective, with the aim of making the reader empathise with Laternas, at least for certain members of the faction. I had a very specific story-line in mind, which relied on another character, who I ended up naming Qira, with the basis for much of her appearance and personality being on one of the many new people I met during my first year at university. Similarly, I added Markus with a very specific opening scene in mind, which then went on, over the course of the summer, to develop into a full-length narrative.
The development of these characters and cultures happened largely out of the need to keep myself entertained on my total hour and a half commute every day. With a simple 9-5 data entry job, I was able to continue developing the world my novels were to be set in while doing my work.
In its most raw form, I finished In the Shadow of the Storm in early September, shortly before I returned to Nottingham to start my second year. The first draft was 120,000 words, though I realised very early that it was very raw.