An Unmitigated Disaster

Philip HarrisChatter, WritingLeave a Comment

I’m now about 66,000 words into the final book in the Leah King trilogy, The Girl in the Machine, and I’ve reached the point where I’m convinced it’s an unmitigated disaster. My outline is in shreds. There’s dozens of plot holes in every chapter. The character arcs aren’t arcs, they’re circles. I’ve forgotten to tie up at least three loose ends and there’s two more that I opened in chapter three that go nowhere. The critical scene involving the aardvark and the pug is physically impossible, and I’m pretty sure several of my character’s names change halfway through the story. Twice. Basically, I want to delete everything relating to this book and take up something sane like juggling scorpions.

I’m not going to.

Partly because scorpions are mean and that would be dangerous, but mostly because I’ve been here before. ON EVERY SINGLE BOOK I’VE WRITTEN. The Girl in the City, Unseen Planet, The Girl in Wilderness, The Ghost Smuggler, Siren’s Call and both my (currently unpublished) zombie books all went through this same phase.

Experience has taught me that my mind is lying to me. I’m not writing in stone. Sure, I’ll have to go back and rewrite big chunks, fill in the holes, check names and facts, and generally just mess with the whole thing for a 20-30 hours before it’s in a decent shape. Then my beta readers and editors and proofreaders will go over it with a fine toothed comb, and after all that I’ll end up with something worth showing other people. Much as I’d love to be able to hurl perfectly crafted prose onto the page I can’t. This is my system and although I keep refining it, it’s working.

Still, those scorpions are looking pretty tempting at the moment.

There is one thing that counteracts those predatory arachnid related thoughts and that’s reviews. Particularly if they contain nice things like this:

The final third of the book, involving infiltrating a Transport facility, is the most riveting and gripping section, effortlessly combining the character work and the suspense, building tension up scene by scene to the point when it exploded into action, you feel relieved that the tension had finally burst. Of course, it’s pure adrenaline from there through the finale.

That’s from Chris F.’s review of The Girl in the Wilderness and you can read the whole thing right here.

Curfew also got a very nice review from book blogger, Karen Mossman. My favourite bit:

Sometimes stories stay with you for a long while after you have read it, and this one did with me.

You can check out the full review on her blog – Karen’s Book Buzz Blog.


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[Sold! – The Ride by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 29th October 2016]

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