NaNoWriMo – Half Full or Half Empty

Philip HarrisNaNoWriMo3 Comments

Okay, it’s the halfway point of NaNoWriMo, or thereabouts. How are you doing? By now you should be at about 25,000 words, give or take a few thousand. If you are, congratulations, keep up the good work. If not, don’t panic and certainly don’t give up. There’s still plenty of time. You’re obviously not writing now (after all, you’re reading my blog) so take a few minutes, step back and think about where you are – or aren’t. Assuming you really want to complete your novel…what’s stopping you? I don’t have time – What can you give up for the next fifteen days? Television? Movies? Shopping? Work? (Okay, maybe not that last one but if you’ve got spare vacation days perhaps now is the time to use them). How about sleep? Can you get up an hour earlier, go to bed an hour later? It’s always possible to find something to give up or postpone – if you really want to. It’s not good enough – Are you giving in to your internal editor? Are you spending too long crafting the perfect sentence? Don’t worry about quality yet. There’ll be time to revise and rewrite later, NaNoWriMo is an excuse to vomit whatever you can … Read More

New Robots

Philip HarrisNewsLeave a Comment

I’m a big fan of Angry Robot Books – Lauren Beukes’ Zoo City is one of my favourite books so far this year – so I was pleased to see their announcement of not one but two debut authors they discovered during the open door reading month, both of them signing two book deals. Casandra Rose Clarke gives an entertaining account of her reaction to the news that she’d sold her books to Angry Robot here and Lee Collins gives a less exuberant but no less entertaining account here (at least, the first part of it. Angry Robot received over 990 submissions during their open door month and are planning to repeat the exercise next year.  

Long Slow Distance

Philip HarrisRunning, TelevisionLeave a Comment

Sunday is Long Slow Distance day which also makes it not really do much else day. Yesterday was a 20km run – our longest before the race we’re doing at the end of November – which meant the rest of the day was given over to resting and a handful of random chores. We did watch the third episode of Grimm though and I’m still not sure whether I like it. I’m used to genre TV shows taking a while to get going (Battlestar Galactica being the notable exception) so I’m going to keep watching for a while longer but so far it seems like a fairly average show.  

Anonymous Driver Calling

Philip HarrisMoviesLeave a Comment

Movie day yesterday, three movies – two of them excellent. We started off with Roland Emmerich’s Anonymous – the story of the political and royal intrigue that forced a talented Elizabethan playwright to hide his identity behind that of an illiterate actor called William Shakespeare. Very entertaining, even if the theory that Shakespeare is not the real author of  Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet etc. is considered nonsense by most scholars. Next up was Drive. Based on the book by James Sallis, starring Ryan Gosling and directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, it’s a stylish thriller filled with meaningful silences and sudden bursts of graphic violence. Just my sort of film and I’ve just added the eBook to my wishlist. Last of all we watched Simon West’s remake of When A Stranger Calls. This was actually better than I expected and there were some genuinely creepy moments although advances in telephone technology rob it of some of its effectiveness. If you’re tempted, I recommend you watch the Fred Walton original from 1979 over the remake. Either way, if you’re not familiar with the twist that comes towards the end of the film, don’t watch the remake’s trailer – it includes a spoiler. Movie day took up … Read More

3362

Philip HarrisStories, TelevisionLeave a Comment

A good writing day yesterday. I clocked up nine hundred and fifty eight words and completed the first draft of the story currently known as Rainshine. The first draft wound up at 3362 words, a bit longer than I’d originally thought but pretty much an average length for me. I’m pretty happy with this one, now comes the time to put it aside and let it age for a couple of weeks. Hopefully that will give me a bit of distance so that I can come back with a fresh perspective when I come to revise it. Maybe I’ll also have my final title by then. After the I’d finished writing Rainshine, we caught up on the latest episode of Supernatural. [Slight spoiler ahead] I don’t watch a lot of TV – too many other things to do – but Supernatural is one of the few series that’s a must see. We’ve reached Season 7 though and its starting to feel like it might be time to wrap things up. I still enjoy it, although less so since we lost Castiel, but I’d rather it ended on a high rather than degenerate into mediocrity the way The X-Files did. This week we … Read More

The Z Word

Philip HarrisStoriesLeave a Comment

Very little writing so far this week (apart from the blog) and by that I mean no writing done so far this week (apart from the blog) but that’s about to change, at least that’s the theory. However, I did send off the contract for The Z Word – my contribution to Matt Nord’s So Long, and Thanks for All the Brains anthology. Cover for So Long, and Thanks for All the Brains I’m not a huge consumer of zombie books (although I did recently enjoy reading Ex-Patriots and Domain of the Dead) and The Z Word is the first real zombie story I’ve written. Even then it’s a lighthearted tale rather than a post-apocalyptic nightmare. I’m pleased with the story though and looking forward to seeing it in what looks like a very promising collection. You can find the official Table of Contents for the anthology on Matt Nord’s blog.

It’s Not Hard to Hang Around with Saints

Philip HarrisEventsLeave a Comment

Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer are the Sonny and Cher of our generation. But one’s a writer. Okay, maybe not Sonny and Cher. Bonnie and Clyde perhaps? Traveling the country robbing people’s hearts? No, given their sometimes morbid artistic sensibilities, dying in a hail of bullets might be an appropriate end to their careers but that would be a terrible waste. Sid and Nancy? Closer, but no. Mulder and Scully? No…William and Kate? No, definitely not. Brad and Ang…okay, this isn’t working. I’ll start again… I first discovered Neil Gaiman in the pages of the Sandman comics (thanks to my comic shop owning friend). From then on I was hooked and American Gods is still one of my favourite novels. Neil’s one of my literary heroes and I eagerly devour every book and every blog he writes. I was fortunate enough to see him when he visited Vancouver on his Anansi Boys tour. He was funny and entertaining and after I’d waited for two hours to get my books signed I couldn’t think of anything to say to him. I first discovered Amanda Palmer as one half of The Dresden Dolls (thanks to Caitlin R Kiernan’s blog). From then on I was hooked … Read More

A Visit From Ethel

Philip HarrisNovel Number 2Leave a Comment

Our normal weekend schedule has been disrupted this week because Sunday will be a very special day. To make room for that very special day we moved our long Sunday run to the Saturday instead. To my surprise, my muse, Ethel, turned up a couple of kilometers into the run and proceeded to feed me a very tempting idea for my next novel. She spent the next half hour helping me nudge the idea around my head until she realised there was still 12km left to run and disappeared into a darkened room to think about death. I was originally planning on starting a new novel in the New Year but I’m intrigued by this new idea and I have the opening few chapters pretty clear in my head so I may well start sooner. Of course, I need to do one more pass on The Ghost Smuggler and send that out into the wild first. Oh, and I need a title. The downside with moving our long run to Saturday was that I didn’t get as much writing done as I would have liked. I did write 876 more words of Rainshine bringing the total length to 2404 words. Clearly, I … Read More