Trust me, I’m a Writer

Philip HarrisThe Ghost Smuggler, Writing, Writing AdviceLeave a Comment

I’ve taken a couple of online writing courses and had the original version of my novel, The Ghost Smuggler, critiqued and I’ve learnt a lot from those experiences. I’ve also learnt to trust my instincts. I got a lot of good feedback from those courses and especially from Jeff VanderMeer’s critique and my writing has definitely improved as a result. What I noticed though, was that at least 50% of that feedback related to writing that I wasn’t happy with. There was something missing or something “off” about that part of the story that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I knew it was weak in some way, I just wasn’t sure why. Or, it was part of the story I didn’t like, I just hadn’t been able to come up with anything better. Having a third party read the story and point out, not only that the writing was weak, but why was invaluable but it also showed that my instincts weren’t completely out of whack. I just needed to persevere and keep refining the story until it worked. Which brings me to The Ghost Smuggler. There’s a point in the novel where our hero gets captured by a bad guy and, … Read More


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