41 Days Later…

Philip HarrisMetrics, Writing0 Comments

My original plan this year was to post a monthly update on how my writing is going. That hasn’t worked out too well so far. The January update was late and thanks to an unexpected and extended trip back to the UK the February/March updates have been MIA… until now! First up, February. It was a moderately productive month on the writing front – 18,210 words spread across a couple of projects. The first was book two of my zombie project. I wrapped up the first draft and it clocked in at 95,296 words which is a) longer than the first book and b) longer than I expected. I suspect it will drop a bit during revisions but it’s a very healthy first draft. I’m very happy with how the book turned out. Sadly, the first book is stuck in editor limbo and I’ve just heard it’s going to be delayed even longer. Needless to say, I’ve got a different editor lined up for the rest of the books. Once Project Zombie Book 2 was out of the way, I wrote a new short story. I’m not talking about this one much at the moment, but I will say it’s destined for a very … Read More

1,000

Philip HarrisMetrics, Writing0 Comments

On the 30th of June, 2013, I decided that I would start writing fiction every day. I haven’t missed a day since. The goal of starting the streak was to help motivate me to keep writing, even on days when Ethel the  Muse was absent or the whole idea of writing seemed like a colossal waste of time. It worked. There were a couple of close calls, and some very short writing sessions, but overall it’s been relatively painless. During that time I’ve written 725,072 words (510,217 of which were on new writing, 175,076 on revising and 39,779 on outlines). That doesn’t include time spent blogging which is another significant chunk of words. All that writing took up 49 days, 20 hours of my life which actually doesn’t sound that much to me. That’s less than 5% of the total time. Clearly, I’ve been slacking. If I wasn’t writing, I’d probably have frittered that time away. Or maybe watched 1595 episodes of awesome TV. Here’s how those words break down on a monthly basis. (This is calendar month and I started on a random date so the first and last months aren’t a full 31 days). The best month was August 2014 at 33,637. At that … Read More

The Unbearable Lateness of Being

Philip HarrisMetrics, Writing2 Comments

So, yeah… I was planning on doing a monthly update on writing type stuff but it seems February has kind of gotten away from me. Of course, the obsessive compulsive part of my psyche won’t let me get away with not posting a January round up so if everyone could just pretend this is being posted at the beginning of February rather than the middle, I’d appreciate it. Thanks. January was pretty well dominated by my day job. We’re just finishing up a new game and we’ve reached the part of the project where we try to squish all the bugs. This is the point in development where all the dumb mistakes you made a year ago come back to bite you in the life-work balance. So, my days have been filled with seemingly endless bug reports and requests for “one last change”. We’re nearly done, at least with that bit, so with luck things will ease up for the next couple of months. Despite that, I managed to maintain my writing streak and hit 946 days at the end of January. I’m in full on editing mode at the moment but still managed to reach 17,971 words for the month which puts me ahead of last year’s January total of 15,720. … Read More

Two Years of Writing

Philip HarrisMetrics, Writing0 Comments

It’s been a while since I made a pure metrics post, I’ve been focusing on writing and editing, rather than writing about writing and editing, but I recently passed a milestone that I thought was worth talking about. On 30th June 2013, I sat down and decided I would write every day, and I haven’t missed a day since – which means a couple of weeks ago I hit the two year mark of my writing streak. So, what does 2 years of writing look like? (Click to enlarge) To save you getting your calculators out, all those spiky lines add up to 535,588 words (366,065 of which were shiny new stuff, the rest were revisions). I spent 37 days, 14 hours, 56 minutes of my life writing those words. That’s 593 words per hour overall but that rate increases to 790 words per hour when I’m writing something new. This graph shows how I split my time between outlining, writing new words, rewriting old work or revising. (Click to largify) It’s pretty clear from that what I’ve been doing for the last few weeks – revising. That’s good though, one of my goals for this year has been to revise the almost finished stories and novels I have kicking … Read More

Building the Apocalypse – The Beginning of the End

Philip HarrisApocalypse Weird, Metrics, Writing0 Comments

My Apocalypse Weird novel, Siren’s Call is done. I wrapped up the draft on Saturday evening (inspired, perhaps, by going to see Mad Max Fury Road earlier in the day). This is what the final week’s writing looked like. That’s 4,647 words (in the end this draft was 68,162 words long). In reality, the actual Siren’s Call word count was a bit less than that because I also started playing with a new idea and wrote 1,361 words  on a different novel, most of it on Sunday. I won’t be working on that novel properly for a while (probably not until next year), but I wasn’t ready to start editing Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet which is what I should really be doing. So, I did a little bit of “filler” writing, just playing with the concept, trying out the voice and putting down the initial ideas I had for the opening scene. I quite often do this sort of experimentation as a quick rest between projects. I write every single day (currently my streak is at 688 days) but sometimes I’m not quite ready to work on the next project. Maybe I don’t have an idea yet, or it’s not fleshed out enough, or I … Read More

Building the Apocalypse – So Close

Philip HarrisApocalypse Weird, Metrics0 Comments

Time for another update on progress on my Apocalypse Weird novel, Siren’s Call (working title). I had hoped this post would be a celebratory “I’ve finished the first draft of Siren’s Call” post but it wasn’t to be. Total word count was 5,002 for the week. As you can see, I switched into revision mode for some of that. As I’m working through a first draft I will often make notes in the text (I surround them with [ ] so that I can find them quickly). Before the first draft is complete I need to go back and either turn them into revision notes for the second draft or (more likely) fix them there and then. There were also a couple of places where I’d strayed off the plot a little and ended up in the weeds. I recovered but I left those diversions in the text so I’ve spent the last couple of days going back over them, removing the broken pieces and patching up what was left. I think in future, I’ll do that at the point I realise I’ve gone off track. It will probably be easier that way. I’ve also realised there’s a missing chapter. At one point, … Read More

Building the Apocalypse – Why London?

Philip HarrisApocalypse Weird, Metrics0 Comments

Every Apocalypse Weird novel is set in a different part of the world. Nick Cole’s The Red King takes place in Southern California, Hoodoopocalypse is set in New Orleans while Immunity throws New Mexico into the mix. When it came to picking a place to destroy with my particular apocalypse, London was the obvious choice, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I know London pretty well, at least the central touristy bits. My wife and I used to spend weekends there regularly, watching plays and the odd movie. We even spent our honeymoon there (and ended up at a horror film festival on our first night but that’s a story for a different day). That knowledge of the layout of London made it easy to envisage a demonic creature wreaking havoc there. Especially when you add in the second reason – London is old. Really old. And it’s built on top of things. Not just the London Underground (where some of the story takes place), but other, darker, more sinister things. Everything from underground rivers to cemeteries to errm… restaurants. I’ll be posting more about the hidden depths beneath London and how they influenced the story but suffice to say, there’s plenty of inspiration in London’s history. And when I started … Read More

Building the Apocalypse – 27 April 2015

Philip HarrisApocalypse Weird, Metrics, Writing0 Comments

It’s a super special double Apocalypse Weird update this week thanks to my Internet free vacation in Boston last week. First up, 13th-19th April. Bonus points for spotting the unexpected trip to watch the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup playoffs (205 words in 7 minutes), the day we flew to Boston (2,396 words in 178 minutes) and the day my wife spent resting up ready for the race (2,202 days also in 178 minutes). And here’s the graph for last week. More bonus points for guessing which day we flew back from Boston (2,865 words in 194 minutes). Over the two weeks, I wrote 14,005 words, just over 10,000 of which were written on the trip. I’m very happy with that. Total word count at the end of Sunday was 57,703. There’s some outline notes and a few bits and pieces in there that will deleted before the first draft is complete but it looks like the book will end up within the 55-75,000 word count goal I’ve been given. That’s a good thing. I’m just hitting the finale of the book. Stories (good ones at least), are made up of peaks of action and troughs of (relative) down time. The closer you get … Read More

Building the Apocalypse – 13 April 2015

Philip HarrisApocalypse Weird, Metrics, Writing0 Comments

Sunday marked the 652nd day of my unbroken writing streak. Meaning, I’d written some sort of fiction every day for 652 days in a row (and counting). During that time, I’ve written a total of 485,205 words. 150,728 words of that was either revisions (94,334), Rewrites (35,293) or outlines (21,101). The remaining 333,513 words were first draft writing. A fair amount of that will have been deleted but I’ve still got a significant chunk of completed material. The daily and weekly charts are getting a bit too big to be useful now, but here’s the monthly breakdown (bearing in mind the first and last months are not full months). My best full month was 33,637 words while the worst was 14,784. My best week was earlier this year when I hit 12,997 words. My worst weekly total was a feeble 1,608 words although low weeks tend to happen when I’m revising so that’s a bit misleading. These are the projects I’ve worked on during that time (in chronological order). The Ghost Smuggler (Novel Rewrite) 12 Things you Need to Know About Merfolk (Short Story) Finished Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet (Novel) The Princess (Short Story) Finished* The Mirror (Short Story) Finished* Lifeboat (Short Story) Finished* The Bone Boy … Read More

Building the Apocalypse – 6 April 2015

Philip HarrisApocalypse Weird, Metrics, Writing1 Comment

Another week of working on my Apocalypse Weird novel, working title Siren’s Call. And a very successful week it was too. That’s a total of 6,370 words bringing my overall total at the end of the week to 36,654. One of the things that’s a little bit different about this book, compared to the ones I’ve been writing recently is that it’s very clearly set in England. In London to be exact. One of the unexpected issues I’ve run into with my writing over the last few years is what language to write in. I don’t mean English, French, Chinese or whatever, I write in English, but the question is exactly which flavour (or flavor) of English to use. I grew up in England, writing and speaking British English but about ten years ago I moved to Canada. Canadian English is, for the most part, British English but a lot of the television we watch and the books I read are from the US and use American English. The company I work for is international so emails and documents can be in American or British English, and I work with people from all around the world, all of them using their native variation of English. And it’s not just the spelling … Read More