Following my exams at the end of second year, I began to look seriously at getting published, with In the Shadow of the Storm in mind specifically. One of the first things I read however, was that as a debut author, I stood a far better chance of making my way through the process with a standalone book. As established in one of the prior posts, the sheer size of The War of the Ancients story arc meant that it would near 600,000 words in size by the time it was finished.
As such, I began looking at ways in which I could write a story set in the world I had established, so I wouldn’t have to start completely from scratch. With this in mind, I began to plan my standalone, tentatively titled The Twilight Empire. A premise which had been hinted at in the first book, combined with the use of the Jesterka, a simple, reptilian race I had created gave me a story.
By stark contrast to In the Shadow of the Storm, I put extensive planning into The Twilight Empire, structuring chapter outlines and properly developing characters before I even started writing. It was a technique I had used through my second year at university to write my historical fiction essays, with the result that once I finished the planning stages of the novel, I was able to actually write the novel relatively quickly (given I was still working the same 9-5 job as I had the last summer). The first draft, of some 65,000 words, was completed in less than 3 months.