We Have Winners

Philip HarrisAcceptances, The Ghost Smuggler, WritingLeave a Comment

A couple of new acceptances to report – which makes me very happy. New magazine Ibexian has accepted my horror story, Night Man is Waiting for their inaugural issue and eHorror has accepted a horror-with-a-dash-of-science-fiction-tale called Happin3ss101.com. There’s been a bunch of rejections alongside those acceptances of course and somehow I managed to forget I’d received a rejection from one of my favourite magazines so when I found it again I got to experience the disappointment for a second time. Not ideal. Still, we’ll ignore the rejections for now (although I do have a post about rejection to make at some point). I managed to squeak out 759 words of The Ghost Smuggler on Sunday which was actually pretty good – for some reason I was extremely tired. I also revised my Valentine’s Day story, The Ordeal (Season One, Episode Thirteen) and I think it’s pretty close to being ready to send out. Tonight I’m planning on spending some more quality time with The Ghost Smuggler, I’ve already come up with some revisions to my rewrite that I think will make things even tighter. Thanks to Writing Excuses for keeping me focused on “in early, out late”. At the very least, I want to get past the 4,000 … Read More

Only Three Days?

Philip HarrisChatter, Movies, Running, The Ghost Smuggler, WritingLeave a Comment

My wife and I went out for our first long run in a couple of weeks yesterday – a “short” 18km route to ease us back into things. It was a fantastic day, cool with clear blue skies. We ran along the English Bay seawall, round Lost Lagoon, through Stanley Park along Pipeline to the east seawall, then right along the seawall to “Mile Zero” before cutting back to Lost Lagoon and English Bay seawall to run home. It’s a route we use a lot – it’s flat, there’s a decent amount of variety, a few places to get water and you can double up the middle 6km to get some extra distance. I felt good during the run but an hour or so afterwards I was feeling pretty beaten up. My calves were very tight and there was a little ball of pain half way down my back. It was at this point that Ann mentioned that it only takes 3 days for running fitness to start dropping off. And I’d missed over two weeks. Thinking about it today, I think it had more to do with the fact that I wore my “race shoes” – a pair of … Read More

Six Sleeps to Go

Philip HarrisChatter, The Ghost SmugglerLeave a Comment

There’s only six sleeps to go until my wife and I run the Victoria Marathon. Or to put it another way, there’s only six sleeps to go until I no longer have an excuse not to be working on The Ghost Smuggler. I have been thinking about the book though and I did manage to find a way to plug a very minor plot hole that’s been kicking around since the first draft. It was never really clear how my protagonist earned a living. It’s pretty clear how he spends his money – drinking and gambling – and he’s bad enough at it that he’s run up a not insignificant amount of debt but he still needs a way to pay rent etc. There was also the slightly incongruous fact that he lived above a bakery – for no particular reason. I’ve now decided to solve two problems with one stone (or something). He’ll now be living about a junk shop and spend what little time he isn’t drinking, gambling or wallowing in self pity scavenging for junk to trade for a little bit of money and a place to live. It’s a small point, doesn’t really factor into the story (at … Read More

Whatever Happened To…

Philip HarrisChatter, Photos, The Ghost Smuggler, WritingLeave a Comment

Apparently this is my one hundredth post – in just under eleven months. Well I never. You may be wondering what happened to my rewrite of The Ghost Smuggler. Well…it kind of <cough> stalled. It turns out that training for a marathon takes up a lot of time and what free time remains is spent wondering how much longer before it’s okay to go to bed. You’d have thought I’d learned my lesson the first time but apparently not. We also had my parents over for a couple of weeks at the beginning of September which was fun but not conducive to the crafting of fiction. So, The Ghost Smuggler has been languishing on my hard drive. I have been thinking about it, so it’s not all bad. I did submit a story (Only Friends) last night and was rewarded with what has to be the fastest response I’ve ever had – six hours according to GMail. It was a rejection unfortunately, but still, that’s pretty impressive. Now I have to resist the urge to bombard the editor with every other story I’ve got in a desperate attempt to find one they like. That would be rude. I have a day off today … Read More

Too Much Fun with Writing

Philip HarrisThe Ghost Smuggler, Writing, Writing AdviceLeave a Comment

The new draft of The Ghost Smuggler that I’m writing at the moment is definitely a very different beast – hopefully a better beast. There’s the switch from third person to first person which is obviously a significant change but there’s other things as well. There’s less traveling for a start. I noticed during the first draft (and this was reinforced by some of Jeff VanderMeer’s feedback) that I have a tendency to fill in all the gaps in a timeline. If characters need to get from A to B, well, I need to talk about that and all that travelling gets boring very quickly. That’s not happening any more. I’ve also moved some of the scenes to different locations so that there isn’t any travelling in the first place. In the book, our hero, Kaei, is hired to find someone in the mines under the desert city of Karabar. Originally Kaei travelled across the city to accept the job, then travelled to meet another character that was going to help him, then walked back across the city again to get to the mines. Now, everyone meets up in one place and heads out to the mines from there. Much better. The … Read More

…Previously on Solitary Mindset

Philip HarrisChatter, The Ghost Smuggler, WritingLeave a Comment

My last post ended with a bit of a cliffhanger. I was 17,720 words into the rewrite of The Ghost Smuggler and had just convinced myself it was all a waste of time. This week, I’m 20,702 words into the rewrite (just over a quarter of the way through) and I’m still not completely happy with it but I’m pushing on. Most of those words came on Saturday afternoon which was a bit of a surprise as we spent the morning on a jetski tour which was very exciting, but also very tiring. Great fun though, highly recommended. Last week was also the second week of the Clarion Write-a-Thon and I’m on track for hitting my 15,000 word target. No writing so far this week but I have been sending out a few submissions – thirty eight so far this year (that’s already the most I’ve sent out in a single year).

Deep Fried Twinkies

Philip HarrisChatter, The Ghost Smuggler, WritingLeave a Comment

I ate deep fried Twinkies last week. Three of them. I wish I could blame alcohol for my momentary lapse of common sense but unfortunately I was alcohol free at the time. The only consolation is that I wasn’t the only person. Two other people ordered the same dish (although one of them had the sense to only eat half of a Twinkie, not all three). Ah well, I pushed myself a bit harder on my run yesterday, maybe that will make up for it. I spent two days in Orlando last week (that’s where the Twinkies were (but they weren’t the reason I was there)) which meant two days of travelling. I didn’t even get to enjoy the sun, tropical storm Debby meant it was wet, windy and very humid for my trip. Thankfully, she didn’t interfere with the flights, other than a bit of turbulence on the way in. I did a lot of reading during the flights, finishing off Caitlin R Kiernan’s The Drowning Girl and reading most of Mistification by Kaaron Warren. The former I enjoyed, the latter not so much. There was also lots of good food and some pretty productive day job time. It was also … Read More

Write-a-Thon Day One

Philip HarrisChatter, The Ghost Smuggler, WritingLeave a Comment

It’s day one of the Clarion Write-a-Thon today and the day of our latest half-marathon – the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon. I got a new personal best of 2:00:18 which is good but not as good as breaking the 2 hour mark (which my wife did do with a time of 1:59:45). After the race, we spent the afternoon watching England lose to Italy in the European Cup and a very interesting Formula One race. Then it was out to Max’s Burgers for some very delicious food. After all that, it took a great deal of effort to drag myself to the keyboard but drag myself I did and I managed to write another 819 words of The Ghost Smuggler which brings the total word count to 10,731; not a bad start to the week. Incidentally, last week’s total was 3,111 words which was pretty good for five days of writing – at least for me. I’m heading down to Florida for some business meetings tomorrow which is going to make writing a little bit tricky but we’ll see. It will definitely mean no blog posts for a few days.

On Surprises and Commitments

Philip HarrisThe Ghost Smuggler, WritingLeave a Comment

I had a surprisingly productive evening writing yesterday. I wasn’t planning on doing any writing to be honest. I was planning on spending a quiet evening lying on the sofa catching up on some gaming. Or reading some more of The Drowning Girl (I’m travelling next week and want to get it finished so that I can return to my Kindle for the trip). Or just sleeping. I was not planning on adding another 1051 words to The Ghost Smuggler. Still, that’s what I did and I’m glad. I’m reasonably happy with progress although there are a few tweaks I want to make today. I also signed up for Kat Howard’s Intro to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction course at LitReactor. I debated whether it was a good idea for quite a while but I really enjoyed the first course I took part in (Jeremy C. Shipp’s) and it definitely gave me a creative boost. Hopefully I’ll get the same thing from Kat’s. I’ve also signed up for the Clarion Write-a-thon a six week writing fundraiser that runs alongside the Clarion workshop – you can sponsor me through that page if you’re feeling so inclined. My goal is to add another 15,000 words … Read More

Two Hundred Submissions

Philip HarrisChatter, The Ghost Smuggler, WritingLeave a Comment

Not a big writing day yesterday, unfortunately. I did manage to scrape together another 404 words on The Ghost Smuggler but that took me to the end of a chapter and I didn’t want to start another one. I’m going to struggle to find time to do any writing today – I have an early dentist appointment and the first night of our Marathon clinic this evening. I’m still on track for a a 2,500 word week though, thanks to the good start I got on Sunday. I did make my 200th submission last night – This Is Not the Apocalypse You’re Looking For to Clarkesworld – plus a couple more bringing this year’s total submissions to 27. It looks like I’ll easily break last year’s submission tally of 36. Yes, I track all that stuff. The increase in submissions is partly due to me sticking to Heinlein’s Fifth Rule but also because there’s a decent number of good quality markets that measure their response times in weeks or even days rather than months. It’s a lot easier to send a lot of stories out if it doesn’t take long for the rejections to come back. One day I’ll post some stats on … Read More