Building the Apocalypse – 30 March 2015

Philip HarrisApocalypse Weird, Metrics, WritingLeave a Comment

Yes, I’ve already missed my self-imposed goal of posting these on Mondays but The Walking Dead Season Finale trumped writing the blog yesterday. It’s worked out for the best anyway, you’re getting something more than a few word count metrics. I’m going to talk a little bit about the writing tool I use for my fiction – Scrivener. For those of you who haven’t heard of it before, Scrivener is a custom word processor designed for writers of all types.  There’s a couple of big differences between Scrivener and something like Microsoft Word. First up, it organises your project into folders, sub-folders and files, like you would on a hard drive. At the most basic level, you might have something like a manuscript folder with one sub-folder for each chapter beneath that and then one text file for each scene in each chapter. Something like this: That nested structure makes it very easy to jump around. Rather than having to remember page numbers or scroll endlessly through a single 300 page document, you can just jump to the right chapter or scene. You can also move pieces around very quickly, something that can be very handy if your book has multiple plot threads. Scrivener also provides … Read More

A Year in Writing – 2014

Philip HarrisMetricsLeave a Comment

As is traditional, it’s time for a few end of year posts, and as is traditional (for me), I’ve left them until the beginning of January when the year is actually complete and everyone is fed up with end of year round-ups. But hey, I’m a unique and special snowflake so I don’t care. First up, writing… Here’s the stats for last year (numbers in brackets are for 2013) Stories published: 3 plus 1 reprint (7) Writing time:  458.5 hours (265.5) Total word count :  275,872 (169,080) Average words per hour:  602 (726) Days of writing:  365 (251) Average words per day:  756  (674) First drafts completed: Short Stories 6 (16) First drafts completed: Novels 1 (2) Final drafts completed: Short Stories 3 (14) New submissions: 23 (64) New markets submitted to: 11 (33) Submissions still outstanding: 4 (5) Blog posts:  174 (107) 2014 was the first year I wrote every day so it’s no surprise that the overall word count is up from last year – 275,872 words compared to 169,080 in 2013. That’s a bit short of the 300,000 words I predicted a full year of writing would get me – maybe next year. Incidentally, that’s about the same number of words as … Read More

500 Days of Writing

Philip HarrisMetrics, WritingLeave a Comment

Holy carp! Yesterday marked the 500th day of my writing streak! That’s hard to believe. On 30th June 2013, I sat down and decided I would write every day. I haven’t missed a day since. Over those 500 days I’ve spent 24 days 14 hours and 19 minutes writing a total of 380,033 words of fiction – 643 words per hour. This is how those words racked up. (Click for a version you can actually read) Lots of spikiness but there’s a definite lull in the middle where I was revising The Ghost Smuggler and an increase in word count over the last 100 days where I was finishing The Zombie Book. I don’t have a daily word count target but I’m averaging a fairly respectable 760 words a day. I spend 71 minutes a day writing. This is the weekly breakdown of word count (the thin line is the 8 week rolling average). (Click to bigify) This graph is slightly different to the Monday Metrics graph in that it starts on the first day of the streak. I did manage to squeak over the 10,000 word mark once, thanks to a big push on Leah but I’m generally pretty consistently in the 4-6,000 word range which isn’t bad … Read More

Metrics Monday – 10th November 2014

Philip HarrisMetrics, WritingLeave a Comment

Deep into revisions this week which means a lower word count – 4,051 words. That sounds pretty good but I spent over 14 hours writing to get that. The beginning of the week was spent getting Leah ready for a second trip to an editor. The first round of editing was a high level, development, edit focusing on big picture issues. This week was spent addressing those and making a few last minute tweaks. The second edit is a copy edit and is focused on grammar, spulling, etc. Once I’ve gone through that feedback and made the appropriate changes there’ll be a couple of rounds of proofreading and then the story will be ready for release. More on that next week – including the reveal of the final title of the story. With Leah out of the way I made a last ditch attempt at avoiding working on the Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet edits by starting a sequel to Leah (Friday) and doing some more work on Reg vs the Martians (Saturday), a story I started at Mary Robinette Kowal’s short story workshop. Saturday’s writing didn’t go that well (mostly because I was hungry and couldn’t get to the kitchen to graze) so on Sunday, I finally gave in and pulled … Read More

Metrics Monday – 3rd November 2014

Philip HarrisMetrics, WritingLeave a Comment

Two updates this week as I missed last week due to my trip to The Stanley Hotel. First up, October 20th-26th A slow start to the week and then the retreat really kicks in on Friday. Apart from the outlining on the Sunday, all of this work was revising. When I’m working on a story I leave myself little notes on things that need to be fixed later – usually because I don’t want to break up my flow but sometimes because I have no idea what to write at that point. I wrapped up most of the first draft of The Zombie Book on the 19th, leaving just those notes to deal with. I originally thought I could do that pretty quickly and then spend the retreat working on something else. It didn’t work out that way. As I went through the draft, I found a lot more of the notes than I’d expected. Including some things like [Something should happen here]. Fixing them took a lot longer than I’d expected but after a big push on Friday, I wrapped up the first draft of The Zombie Book at 7:36pm on 25th October 2014. Final word count was a very respectable 77,296 although I’m expecting that to go down by 3-4,000 … Read More

Metrics Monday – 20th October 2014

Philip HarrisMetrics, WritingLeave a Comment

A surprisingly good week… That’s 9,326 words – certainly one of my most productive weeks, despite the fact I wasn’t concentrating on word count. I made a big push over the weekend to finish The Zombie Book, got really wrapped up in the final few chapters and spent a lot more time writing than I would normally. They’re all finished now, I’m just doing a pass through to address a few notes I made as I wrote and then the first draft will be complete. Still lots of work to be done before the book is fit for (in)human consumption but I’m very happy with it so far. [Metrics Monday – 20th October 2014 by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 20th October 2014]

Metrics Monday – 13th October 2014

Philip HarrisMetrics, WritingLeave a Comment

This is the last week I’ll be trying to maintain my 1,000 words a day average.   I cranked out 7,020 words on The Zombie Book, which is good. But I find that when I start focusing on word counts too much, they become the most important part of the writing, instead of the story. When I come back to edit the writing, I discover rambling sections where I was writing to hit the word count, not to tell the story. It’s the reason I don’t set word count targets beyond writing something every day. For some people, that daily minimum word count is a good motivator to write fast and it doesn’t matter how bad the writing is, they’re happy to come back later and fix it up. But for me, the write every day edict is enough and I don’t like finding great swathes of directionless rambling in my manuscripts when I go back to edit them. I already know there’s several scenes that are going to be axed from The Zombie Book when I go back to revise it. In general that’s not an uncommon “problem” to have, but still, I’d like to do everything I can to avoid … Read More

Metrics Monday – 6th October 2014

Philip HarrisMetrics, WritingLeave a Comment

Time for another Metrics Monday Wednesday. I keep telling myself that I won’t be able to keep up my 1,000 words a day average and then I get so close that my stubborn streak kicks in and I make a final push past the 7,000 word total. Last week I made it to 7,044 words. Last week was a mix of The Zombie Book and a new short story that I can’t quite settle on a title for. The first draft is sort of finished but I’m going to spend some time on it this weekend to get to a real first draft. Then I’ll set it aside to fester, probably until I head off to the Stanley Hotel Writing Retreat at the end of the month. The Zombie Book is progressing nicely although the switch to the new short story did take away some of my momentum. I may take advantage of that and spend a few days wrapping up Leah so that my plate is clear and I can make a final push to complete the first draft of The Zombie Book. I’m hoping to do that, and outline and start a sequel by the end of the month. Yes, there will be more than one Zombie Book. … Read More

Metrics Monday – 29th September 2014

Philip HarrisMetricsLeave a Comment

Despite the work of launching my first indie release – Bottled Lightning – I averaged just over 1,000 words a day again last week. I resisted starting my new story so all 7,064 words were on The Zombie Book. A lot of that productivity comes from the fact that I’m reaching the end of the book and have a clear idea where I’m going. It’s also pretty much action all the way and I find those scenes a lot easier to write than exposition. This week I’m prepping my second indie release (check back on Thursday for information on that one) but the process should be a lot easier. I broke the 60,000 word mark on The Zombie Book last night but I really do need to write my new short story. I have a market in mind for  it and the deadline is the end of October. I’ve reached a convenient pausing point in The Zombie Book so, once I’ve finished this post, I’ll be getting going on the new short story with a view to finishing it by the weekend. At some point I also need to get back to Leah and write a second draft of that. And there’s the revisions to Glitch. Yes, I do have … Read More

Metrics Monday – 22nd September 2014

Philip HarrisMetricsLeave a Comment

Lots of writing this week, thanks to our trip to Seattle. Most of the writing was on The Zombie Book, pushing the total word count of the first draft past the 52,000 word mark, but I also outlined  a new story that I’m very excited about writing – tentatively titled The Last Book. I’ll probably take a quick break from The Zombie Book this weekend to write the first draft of that one. Assuming it’s not too hot in the apartment. The low-ish word count on Saturday was down to Cherie Priest. Or more specifically, her latest book – Maplecroft. I’ll be posting some more thoughts on it later this week but the short version is – very good. So, another week where I’ve averaged over 1,000 words a day and a week that pushed me past the 200,000 word mark for 2014. Which means, I’m already over 30,000 words ahead of last year’s total word count. In fact, I’m over the combined word count for 2012 and 2013. It’s a bit misleading because I wasn’t writing regularly during a lot of that time but still, it puts me well on track for a stellar year. No training this week, I’m recovering from the marathon, so … Read More