With The Twilight Empire finished, I put it aside for a few weeks before looking at it again. What happened was that I found myself bored on my commutes to and from work. While reading in the mornings, by the evenings I was more interested in brainstorming, and so returned my attention to The War of the Ancients, planning out the storyboard of the second in the series, The Storm Unleashed. By the time I returned to Nottingham for Rugby League pre-season, I had finished writing the story arcs of three of the four POV characters, to a total of about 70,000 words.
Upon the resumption of my studies, I enjoyed a few weeks of laziness in September and early October, in which I finished a second draft of The Twilight Empire, bringing the total up from 65,000 to about 75,000 words.
Once my studies continued in earnest however, I was forced to devote all my attention to writing non-fiction essays, or researching my dissertation. In the first semester, I wrote essays on JFK and the withdrawal thesis, and the opening of Japan in 1853, which took me in a different direction to my previous studies. The shift from medieval history to modern was not a welcome one, which prompted my choice of dissertation.
Over the Christmas of 2013, I struggled to narrow the focus of my dissertation sufficiently, going through five different ideas in as many days. By the time I returned to university in January, I had settled on one which had promise however, the one which developed into my eventual dissertation.
Over the next two terms, I wrote an essay on Japanese foreign policy in the 1870s, as well as something far more familiar, in the form of an essay about the reign of William I of England (better known as ‘the Conqueror’). My dissertation, with the title: ‘Salvation and Damnation: an analysis and comparison of Japanese and European warrior ethics’ was finished by the beginning of May, in time for my finals.
Since the end of my undergraduate degree, The Storm Unleashed has been completed, coming in at roughly 100,000 words, although with a lot of need for additions and revisions. The Twilight Empire has also been through its third draft, and then renamed The Shadow’s Herald, once the connotations of using the words ‘Twilight’ and ‘fantasy’ in the same sentence were pointed out to me.
Due to the fact of my current unemployment, I’ve been able to get The Shadow’s Herald into a state such that I’ve sent it out to 5 literary agencies. In the last month, I have received 3 replies, including 2 form rejections. The one non-form rejection I got however was very encouraging, with the writing itself being praised, if not the total length, and the less than amazing explanation of the synopsis.