The Ghost Smuggler Rewrite Week One

Philip HarrisThe Ghost Smuggler, WritingLeave a Comment

Okay, where were we? Oh, yes. Tuesday was the first big test of the new writing regime – a full day of work plus running plus writing – and from a pure word count it was pretty successful. I added another 1200 words (679 of which were salvage) which took the manuscript up to 4599 words and pushed me over the 5% point. Wednesday was a day off – both from running and from writing. Instead, I spent the evening on a ‘team building event’ at the brewery where Granville Island Brewing create their limited edition beers followed by a meal at The Sandbar. Delicious fun, but not conducive to writing. Thursday was equally unproductive, at least from a writing point of view but this time without the convenient excuse. I did go running but by the time we got back I was too tired to face the keyboard. I did decide to change my writing regime, though. The original plan was to go to the gym in the mornings, then work, then run and write in the evenings. I decided on Thursday that was a bit too optimistic. For some reason it’s a lot easier to get up and … Read More

Was It Something I Ate?

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

Not an enjoyable day yesterday – let’s leave it at that. I forgot to mention yesterday that we went to see Prometheus on Sunday. I won’t join the hordes of people reviewing the film but I will say that while it’s not the best movie I’ve ever seen, I did enjoy it. It’s not Alien and it’s not Aliens but it’s still worth seeing. Despite the distraction I alluded to earlier, I did manage to find some time to write another 1337 words on The Ghost Smuggler – which is nice – and only 196 of those words were directly salvaged from the original draft which is also nice. I’m not completely happy with what I have so far, although it does feel a lot tighter than the original so that’s a step in the right direction. Of course, I don’t know if that’s because I’m over analyzing or if there’s still work to be done. I’m going to press on and see how things shape up.

The Beginning

Philip HarrisThe Ghost Smuggler, WritingLeave a Comment

Yesterday I successfully kicked off the rewrite of The Ghost Smuggler and wrote the first 2062 words. In the interest of honesty, 896 words of that were a direct copy of a piece from the original draft but with the notable exception of one other section, that won’t be happening very often. The reason is simple, I’ve decided to switch the book from third person to first person. If you’re thinking that sounds like a big change, it is, but it was something Jeff VanderMeer suggested when he critiqued my manuscript. At first I was very skeptical that it would work – not to mention reluctant to force myself into such a dramatic rewrite. However, the more I thought about it, the more I rolled the plot around in my head, the more comfortable I became with the idea. All that rolling knocked some of the rough edges off the story and the pieces seemed to slot into place a lot more cleanly. Interestingly, some of the original ideas I had for the book, ideas that had dropped by the wayside during those early drafts, re-established themselves and I found myself getting more and more excited about the direction the book was taking. Somewhere … Read More

One Week Down

Philip HarrisChatter, Running, The Ghost Smuggler1 Comment

So, one week into 2012 already. We started Marathon training this week with a 6km tempo run on Tuesday, a 10km tempo on Wednesday and a 10km slow run this morning – which was a shock to the system. Our instructor seemed like a nice guy, but we discovered this morning that he quit and it’s not clear who is going to lead the group now. They didn’t say why, so perhaps he has a good reason but it was very sudden and it’s left the shop scrambling to find a replacement. I spent yesterday taking the next step in an ongoing attempt at making space on our bookshelves by moving our DVD collection into binders. Over Christmas I did the same with my videogame collection and it’s tedious but does free up a lot of space. Yesterday, I covered all the TV DVDs, mostly Buffy, Farscape, The X-Files, Millenium and The Simpsons plus a selection of newer stuff like Dexter and The Big Bang Theory. That little lot came in at three binders (350+ discs). Not the most inspiring way to spend the afternoon but still, it’s good to have a bit of empty space on the bookshelves. Of course, a friend at … Read More

Wet and Grey

Philip HarrisStories, The Ghost SmugglerLeave a Comment

It’s another very wet and grey day in Vancouver. I guess no snow is a good thing but still, I’ve had enough of the rain. So, what’s being going on. Ah yes, Tuesday was tying-up-loose-ends day. I finished the final drafts of a couple of stories – the horticultural science fiction tale, F Bomb, and a piece of flash fiction that could be a poem instead called On the Finding of the Body. Body as I like to call it, was actually written at some point last year and was inspired by Amanda Palmer’s Who Killed Amanda Palmer album. I think originally I was going to submit it to one of her websites but I never got round to it. Anyway, I tweaked it a little bit and moved it to the glorious Finished folder. Tuesday was also the day that the critique of The Ghost Smuggler arrived from Jeff VanderMeer. He’s provided lots of great feedback and some very insightful comments and suggestions. Now I just need to work out what to do with it all. In the evening submitted I four more stories including Body. F Bomb will go out later this week. Wednesday morning was mostly filled with writing but it was for my … Read More

87000

Philip HarrisThe Ghost SmugglerLeave a Comment

It turns out I was actually working on Draft Number Ten of The Ghost Smuggler, not number nine as I originally thought. Whichever number it was, I finished it yesterday morning after a final check of a couple of chapters I’d reworked – just to check flow and continuity. Some stats about Draft Number Ten. The manuscript is now 169 pages long (single spaced) and comes in at 87,000 words. Yes, exactly 87,000 – weird huh? The double spaced manuscript clocks in at 390 pages. Editing Draft Number Ten took 774 minutes (give or take an hour or so for random digressions onto the Internet) and overall I removed 447 words from the story. That’s probably a good thing. Next step is to send it off to Jeff VanderMeer who offers a critique service. I’m a fan of Jeff’s writing (in particular the ridiculously inventive Finch) so the opportunity for him to cast a critical eye over my manuscript was too good to pass up. I was a little concerned that my aging LaserJet would collapse under the strain of printing out the whole manuscript so I batched up the printing to make sure it survived. And survive it did, although I almost ran … Read More

Page 153

Philip HarrisNovel Number 2, The Ghost SmugglerLeave a Comment

More edits to The Ghost Smuggler yesterday and I reached page 153 out of what has now become 170 manuscript pages (I’ve been cutting a few extraneous bits and pieces). I’m hoping to finish off the final revisions tonight but it’s also training night so that may be a stretch. Particularly as there’s a section I want to remove and that means reconnecting the story either side and rereading relevant chapters to make sure I haven’t introduced any continuity errors. Then I’ll be printing it out and sending it off for a critique. I need to do that by Thursday at the latest so training may have to wait. I’ve also been chatting about the new book with Ethel the Muse and we may have come up with a title – I just need to let it roll around in my head and see if it sticks. I also reached the conclusion that I’m going to need to do some planning of the main characters for this one. Most of them will appear in the first few scenes of the book so it will be difficult to add new and interesting characters as I think of them while I’m writing. I need to … Read More

Monday Monday

Philip HarrisChatter, The Ghost SmugglerLeave a Comment

I’ve had a somewhat cultural few days. Friday evening saw another gig – this time Feist. She brought with her the holder of the world record for longest piano concert and a self-proclaimed musical genius – Chilly Gonzales. This is the third time we’ve seen Feist, and the second time we’ve seen Chilly and they didn’t disappoint. Great fun. On Saturday we went to see a production of the British musical – Blood Brothers. Not a happy go lucky tale but very enjoyable nonetheless. I spent Sunday revising The Ghost Smuggler getting to page 119 of 173 (that’s manuscript pages, not finished book pages). I’m making changes on pretty much every page and I think it’s definitely improving the book. The goal is to finish the entire manuscript by end of day Wednesday so that I can get it sent off for a critique. I also picked up a parcel from the post office – my copies of Two Worlds and in Between, the new Caitlin R Kiernan short story collection from Subterranean Press. More on that later.    

Draft Number Nine

Philip HarrisThe Ghost SmugglerLeave a Comment

So, change of plan yesterday. What was going to be a start-a-new-story session turned into start-a-new-draft session. More specifically, start the ninth draft of The Ghost Smuggler. That’s not to suggest that each draft is a full-on heavy rewrite, the last few have been fairly minor tweaks and corrections. This time round I’m looking at the story again after several months away from it to see if there’s any more tweaks I want based on the things I’ve learned over the course of the year before I start sending it out. I’m also investigating the possibility of a professional critique so I want to make sure I have the cleanest manuscript I can for that. The problem is, I can always find something to change. I covered the first twenty one pages last night and made a fair number of revisions. Some of them were definitely improvements and fixes for typos – some of them…I’m not so sure. Overall, though, I think I’m making it better. Time will tell…