Wednesday, 19 August 2015


I'm very glad to tell that the first draft of Wild Children, my YA dystopian novel, is complete at 96K words. With my 1,000 words a day work method, you can easily calculate it took 96 (say, a 100) days of sitting down and writing 1K words. Since I take weekends off, let's say it's 20 work days a month, and a round 5 months of completing the first draft. I did take a few months off, first because of home renovations, then because we added a new baby to our family. All things considered, I believe one year to complete a first draft is a very reasonable period at my time of life.

Obviously, now we come to editing. The novel has 25 chapters; if I edit one chapter a day, weekends off, it would mean just over a month until it's done. Let's say two months, because some chapters are longer than others and I'm also working on other projects.

Speaking of which, I'm now actively editing Warriors of the Realm, the sequel to Paths of the Shadow. The book will be available for sale on Amazon Kindle soon, and it will also, like the first part of the trilogy, be serialized on Wattpad. I'm not sure which will happen first.

Warriors of the Realm is different from Paths of the Shadow in many ways. It is less dark and more adventurous and, though not a vampire novel in the classical sense, I'd define it as epic fantasy with vampire touches.

Here is just a taste from one of the first chapters:


"Your father told my mother to give me fresh chicken blood," said Lily in a tone of forced calm, though she couldn't keep a quiver out of her voice.

Septimus looked at her, not knowing whether he is supposed to laugh. Lily's face, however, was deadly serious, an expression that instantly became mirrored on his own face.

"Chicken blood?" he repeated, not knowing what else to say. "Why would you want chicken blood?"

"To drink it," said Lily.

He looked at her as though he didn't know whether he ought to believe his ears, whether this isn't some sort of very unfortunate joke. "To drink it?"

"I felt better when I did," said Lily.

All of a sudden, Septimus thought he knew where this was going, but this was so ludicrous, so unbelievable, surely she couldn't mean

"I'm a vampire, Septimus," she finally said and burst into tears. She cried for a long time, while he started into space, dumbstruck, not knowing what to say. When she finally looked at him again, her face was glazed with tears, and something painful was obscuring Septimus's throat.

A vampire. Hoping against hope, he wondered whether this cannot be some kind of grotesque prank. He knew his father was deadly serious about different sorts of medieval tales, and often pointed out to his wife and children how many things in the folklore could not be satisfactorily explained by modern science. And then there was this experience his father had many years ago, the evidence he presented to Septimus when he first told him about it – but it didn't matter right now, not when Lily

"This cannot be," he shook his head. "This… Lily, I can't believe this, there must be some other explanation…"

"I said so too, at first," Lily told him, "I told Professor Swift I can't believe something so – so far-fetched. But the fact remained that I had all the symptoms he told me vampires have, and even though now I can eat, you know, normal food, my hunger and thirst can't be really quenched by anything other than blood.

"So what is going to happen now?" asked Septimus in a hushed voice, finally realizing this isn't a joke.

"Well, obviously, I won't go back to school," said Lily in a matter-of-fact voice, and from how she said it, Septimus knew she probably recited it numerous times as she prepared to tell him, "I will always feel the need for fresh blood, I would be a danger to the other students. So I'm going to stay home."

"But…" Septimus's voice trailed off as he realized, with a horrible sinking feeling, that she is right – if – if this unbelievable hypothesis is correct. "Alright, forget about school. What is going to happen to you, Lily? Is there no cure?"

"There is no cure that we know of," said Lily, "though Professor Swift promised he would put his best efforts into searching old scrolls and books, our hopes aren't high. We know, however, that I can be kept alive and well by drinking very fresh human blood. I refused to do that, of course," she hastily added when Septimus looked at her in horror, "I will never harm others, even if it means I'm going to die."

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Choosing between different types of social media

I truly marvel at the energetic writers who really know how to put themselves out there - they have a Facebook account and a Twitter account, a YouTube channel where they update v-logs and trailers, a blog and a website, and they are actively networking with all these resources. They also hang out a lot on writers' forums and on Wattpad, check out other writers' works and review them, and participate in contests. 

I admit that I only do a fraction of all that, and if I tried to do more I would probably end up with no time to do any actual writing. So far, I haven't been able to get a lot of exposure - but from what I've been able to judge, a relatively high percentage of those who started reading Paths of the Shadow like the book, which is encouraging.

What do you do if you have only a little time to invest in social media, and you're trying to make the most of it?

My answer is simple: choose what you like and what doesn't feel like a chore to keep up with. For me, right now, it's primarily:

- this blog
- Wattpad's forums
- Inkitt

I do have to say I really love Inkitt. The discussions there are really insightful and intelligent - I feel I'm growing personally and professionally just by setting aside a few minutes each day to catch up with what's going on in the groups. Wattpad, on the other hand, has a lot of ridiculous threads that look as though they had been started by bored teenagers ("i wanna write a story but dunno what to write, PLS HELP!).


On another note: I'm happy to tell that my latest novel, Wild Children, is really coming together and the first draft will probably be completed next week with a little under 100K words. I'm also progressing with editing book 2 in the Quest of the Messenger series, Warriors of the Realm.