Several months ago, I ran into a problem with writing the sequel to The Dark Thorn, The Everwinter Wraith.
It was a simple problem with a simple solution that I thought was complex. The Everwinter Wraith takes place five years after the events in The Dark Thorn and much has changed in Annwn. A devastating winter grips the land, the result of the Cailleach’s centuries-long perpetual war summer, and Annwn is trying to balance what has been unbalanced for so long.
There are any number of entities in Annwn that want to take advantage of the Everwinter at the detriment of others. I knew I would introduce one of them, the major antagonist for the third book, in The Everwinter Wraith. But I quickly ran into a problem.
I didn’t know that antagonist. Not at all really. Oh, sure, I knew his basic plan but I didn’t know him, his motivations, his origin story.
The Everwinter Wraith has been outlined for over a year and, as usual, I started writing linearly from the beginning. Several months ago, I finished Chapter 6 and I looked forward to Chapter 7. It’s a great scene. And I hit a wall. Because that is the chapter that features that antagonist, Tathal Ennis.
Those of you who are astute will recognize that name. Tathal Ennis is mentioned one time in The Dark Thorn. He is a wizard, like Merle, but he makes far more selfish choices. I didn’t know why he made those choices. For three months, I struggled with not knowing Tathal Ennis. To write Chapter 7, I had to know him. It is a pivotable moment and it had be written correctly for the set-up to work for The Splintered King. But due to the success of The Dark Thorn and Unfettered, I had several other short stories to write for other editors. I jumped into those short stories, hoping an answer would come concerning Tathal Ennis.
It did. Finally. Grim Oak Press will be publishing an anthology this November/December titled Neverland’s Shadow. It is an anthology filled with stories told from the point of view of the antagonist / bad guy / villain. I wrote 9000 words about Tathal Ennis and his trip to the village of South Cadbury, England—nd I discovered everything I needed to know about him and more in The Dead’s Revenant.
But it got me thinking. I have these other short stories that I’ve written. The Twilight Dragon. The White Rose Thief. The Unfettered Knight. And an idea for one more featuring a Druid named Aengus Doughal. What if I wrote one more and then packaged all four? And all four would be preludes to The Everwinter Wraith?
I asked readers on Facebook if they would buy such a book. They liked the idea. Now I think I am going to do it. And I will publish four or five short stories that lead into The Splintered King as well when it becomes time.
Feel free to comment below. The word count for the book will be about a third of a normal Annwn Cycle novel. I’d produce a limited hardcover with Todd Lockwood artwork as well as an ebook.
I’m happy I know Tathal Ennis now. Time to get back to writing The Everwinter Wraith!
More news soon!
12 thoughts on “The Twilight Dragon: And Other Tales of Annwn”
I have to admit, Shawn, I’m a bit confused. Are you saying you needed to write a “prequel” in order to develop characters to be used in “The Dark Thorn” sequel? This will be entitled “Neverland’s Shadow” and will be a collection of short stories.
Chronologically, “The Everwinter Wraith” occurs after “The Dark Thorn” and “Neverland’s Shadow” before. Then, what are “The Twlight Dragon” and “The Splintered King?”
Could you lay this out chronologically both in terms of story sequence and anticipated publishing order?
Obviously, I wasn’t too clear.
I’m writing the sequel to The Dark Thorn right now. That book is titled The Everwinter Wraith. I got stuck writing it because I didn’t know a character enough that will be used in the second and third book. I decided to use Neverland’s Shadow — an anthology filled with some bestselling writers that has nothing to do with my work — and write a short story to explore that villain in more details. That short story is done. So now I’ve returned to work on The Everwinter Wraith.
The chronology will go this way:
The collection of short stories goes between the novels and features lead-in stories for the next book. I hope that makes it more clear. 🙂
Will both of the Annwn short story collections also be offered as Signed, Limited editions matching The Dark Thorn?
Indeed they will be. 🙂
I would absolutely get a hardcover of such a book! I really enjoyed the world of Annwn presented in the Dark Thorn novel and think it offers lots of great stories to be told.
The cover is absolutely wonderful – me and dragons get along! I’ve not actually read The Dark Thorn, but this blog post has me wanting to check it out. Thanks for giving us an insight into your processes, Shawn 🙂
No problem! Glad you stopped by! I’m super excited about this collection. Writing the last short story now.
I am truly glad you are finally able to get your work out there. It has been a long road and a long time coming. I thoroughly enjoyed The Dark Thorn and cannot wait for the short stories and next novel. Hopefully your works get the credit they deserve. I look forward to reading your stories for the next 40 years cuz that means I’ll make it to almost 90.
I enjoyed The Dark Thorn tremendously & I love the idea of The Twilight Dragon! Is this still in the works? How is it going with the Everwinter Wraith?
The Dark Thorn was fantastic and I’m very much looking forward to the next installment of the story!
Thanks, Vostod! The Twilight Dragon is coming! It will release as an ebook on Christmas day if all goes right. The pre-order period will begin on Cyber Monday. 🙂
And The Everwinter Wraith is coming along. I’m really happy with it so far. Still have half the book to write but I think I will be getting a great push through December and January. Hope to have it out in late Spring 2015. And if you want to read an early preview of the book, the first three chapters of Wraith will be in The Twilight Dragon.
Is the The Everwinter Wraith.out and if so, where might I buy a copy (hard back, paperback or Kindle).
It is not out. I’m writing it right now.