September in October

Philip HarrisBooks, Chatter, Metrics, Movies0 Comments

Wow, it’s almost the middle of October and I haven’t posted an update. I’m going to blame the fact I was at a writing retreat in Colorado at the end of September. And my book release, yes, that too. The Colorado trip was excellent. Great company, some drinking, good food, good conversation and a big chunk of writing. And this guy: Apart from the writing retreat, it was a pretty light month – 12,412 words in total. Most of my time was spent revising the third zombie book. It’s now going through a second pass with my editor and should be wrapped up pretty quickly. Now I’m working on what was supposed to be a prequel novella for my next series. However, I’m already 17,000 words in which should be around the halfway point. It’s more like a quarter of the way through the story. I may have to rethink this plan. I’m really enjoying writing it though, it’s got the same sort of geeky humour I sprinkled throughout Unseen Planet which makes it a lot of fun to write (and hopefully read). My September reading was mostly dominated by one book – Clive Barker’s Coldheart Canyon and I still … Read More

“The odd uneven time”

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August was vacation month for my wife and me. We spent three weeks back in the UK, visiting family, Cardiff, and London. We normally go back at Christmas so this was the first time we’d been back in the summer for something like seven years. Of course, the weather didn’t cooperate. It didn’t rain all the time, there were some very sunny days, but as the photos show, it was fairly grey for our trip to London. We had a good time though. I’ll probably post more photos from the trip (including a visit to The Doctor Who Experience) in future. There was writing, of course. Total word count for August was 17,038 which is the lowest word count since March. Most of that time was spent on random scenes for a possible urban fantasy series. They were a lot of fun and I may well try writing a novella to see how it goes. I did finish a new short story that I wrote specifically for a very cool anthology. I submitted it a couple of days ago so now I have my fingers and toes crossed that the editor likes it. Time will tell. Talking of short stories… my … Read More

Zombie Novel Three, Draft One, Complete

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July was a good writing month – 34,092 words in total, mostly on the third novel in the zombie series. That’s slightly less productive than June but it’s entirely down to the fact that I spent most of the month revising rather than writing new words. More important than the raw word count, I completed the first draft. I read through the entirety of the first, “zero”, draft and fixed the structural and continuity errors (and tweaked a lot of the sentence and word level stuff as well). Before After This is the part of the writing process  that I a) like the least and b) find the most difficult. It’s a relief to get that draft zero cleaned up. Even better, it seems like a good book. There’s still at least two more drafts to go before I send it off to my editor, but those are more about refining the book rather than ripping out chunks and replacing them. I did write the first draft of a new story, tentatively called The Last Soul Diver. My process for this one was a bit different – I dictated it using Dragon Dictate. It’s the first time I’ve used dictation … Read More

“I know well that the June rains just fall”

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Not a lot of rain in Vancouver at the moment (bizarrely) but it’s time for my June update anyway. First up, writing. Most of the time was spent working on the latest zombie novel and I had a fantastic month. Total word count was 40,682 which is definitely the most successful month I’ve had so far this year and probably one of the best months since I started tracking (I need to go back and get my monthly data organised to check that). I finished draft zero of the novel a couple of days ago. Still plenty of work to do on it, but I’m very happy with how things are so far. I also outlined a new novella I’ll be writing in August. I’m really excited about this one so I’m keen to get the zombie novel out of the way so that I can start on it. The end of June also marks the fourth year of my writing streak. I’ve written fiction every single day for over 1,460 days. Now, writing every day certainly isn’t essential in order to be a successful writer, but it creating a writing habit can help a lot. My writing productivity has definitely … Read More

The Ides of May

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No, that title doesn’t make sense. So, May wrapped up a few days ago, so it must be time for a quick progress update. First up, writing. The entire month was spent working on the fourth of my zombie books. I wrote 27,411 words and it felt good. I love writing first drafts. The editing process is slow and painful for me and I spent a lot of time editing the previous books in the series this year so it’s been good to just sit down and blast through the story. I haven’t got summaries to compare word count from previous years but May was definitely my most productive month of 2017. So far. June is already shaping up to be even better. It was an urban fantasy sort of month for reading. I read all three Eric Carter books by Stephen Blackmoore and continued my audio re-listen of Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden series with Grave Peril and Summer Knight. All five books were good, not the best I’ve ever read but still well worth checking out if you like a bit of fantasy in your urban. I’m behind on my Pinterest page on the movies I’ve watched this year (too … Read More

Normal Service is Resumed

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That’s more like it – my monthly update is back to being a couple of weeks late. In my defence, I had a race last weekend and a cold has been interfering with my ability to string coherent thoughts together this week. Yes, that leaves a week or so unaccounted for but hey, I’m here and that’s all that matters. April was the month when I finally got back to writing new words – just about. The first twenty eight days were spent revising the second book in my zombie series and the short story collection I’m putting together. It’s an odd feeling, going back over old short stories but I’m happy with how they’ve turned out. The book is now with my editor and I’ve commissioned the cover so it should be good to go out to my newsletter subscribers in a couple of months and on to Amazon shortly after that. But, on April 29th, I kicked off the fourth book in the zombie series. I have a good outline and the joy of getting back to writing new words unleashed a torrent of productivity and I wrote 4,244 words that day. That was the most words I’d written since 27th October … Read More

Not An April Fool

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No, this isn’t a trick. I really am posting my monthly update on the first of the month. It wasn’t a particularly thrilling month as far as writing goes. I spent the whole month revising novels and short stories so my total count was a feeble 5,312 words. I haven’t checked but I suspect this is the least productive month I’ve had since I began my writing streak 1,372 days ago. I did squeeze in some outlining of the next zombie novel in there, plus a few paragraphs for an Urban Fantasy series I’m planning that I would love to be working on instead of all this revision. Most of the revisions were on the first two books in the zombie series, but I’ve also started compiling a collection of my short fiction. Which I guess is a sort of announcement (although if you’re on my mailing list you’ll already know about that). At the moment it looks like there’ll be about 22 stories and 85,000-ish words. There’s one more story I’m considering that would bump it closer to 100,000 but I’m undecided on that one. No title for the collection yet, but there’s three possibilities in the running at the moment. … Read More

F is for February (and Flu)

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It’s probably ironic or something that the first year I get a flu shot is also the first year I get the flu (although I may have had it 25 or so years ago, maybe). I don’t think those two things are related – the shot was months ago and isn’t 100% effective. It is something that makes me smile though. It’s a bitter smile, but a smile nonetheless. I’m just entering my third week of being ill. I’m past the sweating, fevering, coughing up bits of odd coloured gunk stage and into the annoying cough with a mild headache and bunged up ears stage that shows no sign of letting up. It’s no longer enough to stop me functioning at something close to my normal levels (such as they are) but it’s annoying. How anyone puts up with long term illness I have no idea. I was going stir crazy within a couple of days. The first thing being ill did was completely derail my writing plans. I kept up my writing streak but that was about it. I was planning on revising Zombie Book 2 and then starting Zombie Book 3. I did the revisions, very slowly, and a bit of … Read More

Three Years of Writing (Every Day)

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A few weeks ago I passed the three year mark of my writing streak – I’ve now written some sort of fiction every day for over 1100 days. That’s a lot of days. I don’t always write a lot, my lowest day is less than 100 words, but it’s the consistency that’s important. I read somewhere that it takes a couple of weeks for a habit to form and a couple of weeks after that it becomes so ingrained that missing it feels “wrong”. After three years, writing something is as much a part of my daily routine as showering or brushing my teeth. I’ve talked before about how I keep writing every day but it really boils down to one thing – after many years of not really committing to writing, the simple addition of a “Writing Streak” to my tracking spreadsheet has turned me from a “want-to” writer to a “need-to” writer. I know perfectly well I’m playing mental games with myself, using my addiction to that ever increasing number to make sure I get my writing done, but it works. In the past I’ve posted charts of my writing but there’s so much data they’ve become a bit pointless. I need to revamp them, but the monthly word count chart … Read More

April Update

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I remember a time when I used to post here pretty much every day. Good times. Talking of good times, the last couple of months have been less than stellar – too much sorrow, too much frustration. Hopefully May will be better, I’ve certainly got plans for it to be better. We’ll see how those work out. I did manage to keep up my writing streak though, although after March’s record breaking word count, April’s was a more typical 17,205 words split between a couple of projects. The bulk of my time was spent on the sequel to The Girl in the City – The Girl in the Wilderness. My original plan was the book would be a novella – about 25,000 words. I reached 42,000 words by the end of April with at least 10,000 to go which puts it well into short novel territory. Given that the point of writing this particular book was for a quick break between the full length zombie books I’ve kind of screwed things up. Never mind, it’s a good story. Apart from The Girl in the Wilderness, I put the finishing touches on a new short story and sent it off to the editor. It’s for a fantastic anthology so hopefully he’ll like it. More on that another … Read More