Two Hundred Submissions

Philip HarrisChatter, The Ghost Smuggler, WritingLeave a Comment

Not a big writing day yesterday, unfortunately. I did manage to scrape together another 404 words on The Ghost Smuggler but that took me to the end of a chapter and I didn’t want to start another one. I’m going to struggle to find time to do any writing today – I have an early dentist appointment and the first night of our Marathon clinic this evening. I’m still on track for a a 2,500 word week though, thanks to the good start I got on Sunday. I did make my 200th submission last night – This Is Not the Apocalypse You’re Looking For to Clarkesworld – plus a couple more bringing this year’s total submissions to 27. It looks like I’ll easily break last year’s submission tally of 36. Yes, I track all that stuff. The increase in submissions is partly due to me sticking to Heinlein’s Fifth Rule but also because there’s a decent number of good quality markets that measure their response times in weeks or even days rather than months. It’s a lot easier to send a lot of stories out if it doesn’t take long for the rejections to come back. One day I’ll post some stats on … Read More

The Ghost Smuggler Rewrite Week One

Philip HarrisThe Ghost Smuggler, WritingLeave a Comment

Okay, where were we? Oh, yes. Tuesday was the first big test of the new writing regime – a full day of work plus running plus writing – and from a pure word count it was pretty successful. I added another 1200 words (679 of which were salvage) which took the manuscript up to 4599 words and pushed me over the 5% point. Wednesday was a day off – both from running and from writing. Instead, I spent the evening on a ‘team building event’ at the brewery where Granville Island Brewing create their limited edition beers followed by a meal at The Sandbar. Delicious fun, but not conducive to writing. Thursday was equally unproductive, at least from a writing point of view but this time without the convenient excuse. I did go running but by the time we got back I was too tired to face the keyboard. I did decide to change my writing regime, though. The original plan was to go to the gym in the mornings, then work, then run and write in the evenings. I decided on Thursday that was a bit too optimistic. For some reason it’s a lot easier to get up and … Read More

Was It Something I Ate?

Philip HarrisChatter, Movies, The Ghost Smuggler, WritingLeave a Comment

Not an enjoyable day yesterday – let’s leave it at that. I forgot to mention yesterday that we went to see Prometheus on Sunday. I won’t join the hordes of people reviewing the film but I will say that while it’s not the best movie I’ve ever seen, I did enjoy it. It’s not Alien and it’s not Aliens but it’s still worth seeing. Despite the distraction I alluded to earlier, I did manage to find some time to write another 1337 words on The Ghost Smuggler – which is nice – and only 196 of those words were directly salvaged from the original draft which is also nice. I’m not completely happy with what I have so far, although it does feel a lot tighter than the original so that’s a step in the right direction. Of course, I don’t know if that’s because I’m over analyzing or if there’s still work to be done. I’m going to press on and see how things shape up.

The Beginning

Philip HarrisThe Ghost Smuggler, WritingLeave a Comment

Yesterday I successfully kicked off the rewrite of The Ghost Smuggler and wrote the first 2062 words. In the interest of honesty, 896 words of that were a direct copy of a piece from the original draft but with the notable exception of one other section, that won’t be happening very often. The reason is simple, I’ve decided to switch the book from third person to first person. If you’re thinking that sounds like a big change, it is, but it was something Jeff VanderMeer suggested when he critiqued my manuscript. At first I was very skeptical that it would work – not to mention reluctant to force myself into such a dramatic rewrite. However, the more I thought about it, the more I rolled the plot around in my head, the more comfortable I became with the idea. All that rolling knocked some of the rough edges off the story and the pieces seemed to slot into place a lot more cleanly. Interestingly, some of the original ideas I had for the book, ideas that had dropped by the wayside during those early drafts, re-established themselves and I found myself getting more and more excited about the direction the book was taking. Somewhere … Read More

Adventures in Sci Fi Publishing

Philip HarrisAuthors, Links, Podcasts, Writing, Writing AdviceLeave a Comment

I’ve been listening to the Adventures in Sci Fi Publishing podcast for quite a while now and it’s usually good but the latest episode (168) is one of their best and really struck a chord with me. The podcast covers a mix of publishing chatter and author interviews – they’ve had people like Michael Moorcock, Patrick Rothfuss and Elizabeth Bear on in the past and I’ve discovered a lot of good writers by listening to the show. Each episode is around an hour or so and will usually get me through a visit to the gym quite nicely. Episode 168 features an interview with Jennifer Brozek, Mark Teppo and Mary Robinette Kowal recorded by Sandra Wickham at the Rainforest Writer’s Retreat. There’s lots of talk about the process of writing and some excellent no nonsense advice and I found it very inspiring. Highly recommended.  

Playing with the Queen

Philip HarrisBooks, Stories, WritingLeave a Comment

Finally, a successful writing day. Yesterday I wrapped up the first draft of the story I started on Monday. It came in at 1,032 words and now has a title – The Queen’s Toys. There’s a good chance that will change by the time I revise it but I like it for the time being. I’m pretty happy with the story as well but as usual I’m going to let it stew for a week or two before I look at it again.

Winter Wonderland

Philip HarrisChatter, Stories, WritingLeave a Comment

Thankfully, the Arctic inspired storms that have engulfed Canada over the last week didn’t really hit Vancouver. It did get cold – down to -11c and not that much higher in the day. There were a couple of days of snow, just enough to cause chaos on the roads but it’s pretty much gone now. Plenty off snow on the mountains though, which makes the skiers and snow boarders happy As demonstrated by my lack of blogging, this week has been dedicated to day job work – we’re just wrapping up our latest project which means lots of planning for the next project. There was also two trips to the dentist (one aborted, one actual) and lots of running. I did manage to scrape together a spectacular 292 words on Monday though. Not an auspicious start to the writing year but still…better than nothing. That was my meager attempt at the story Ethel the Muse dropped into my lap a few days ago. I’m happy with those words though and the story is pretty short so I’m hoping to get the first draft wrapped up this weekend. No title yet though. Oh, and I fixed our bathroom tap.

Happy New Year 2012

Philip HarrisChatter, Writing2 Comments

So, here it is…2012. I’m a pretty goal oriented person so I don’t really focus on New Year as a specific time for resolutions (apart from a standing “eat better” directive) – I tend to set myself goals throughout the year. Of course, that doesn’t stop me taking a step back and thinking about what I want to achieve over the next twelve months. From a writing perspective, 2010 was the year when I finally focused on writing my first novel and the result was The Ghost Smuggler. Last year I neglected writing for the first six months but finished strongly with a bunch of new short stories and lots of submissions. For 2012, it’s back to long fiction. More specifically, I’m going to do a rewrite of The Ghost Smuggler and write the first draft of my second novel. I’d also like to beat last year’s submission count (36) although that will depend a lot on the response times from magazines. When I wrote The Ghost Smuggler I set myself a goal of writing at least five hundred words a day and that’s exactly what I did for 197 days until the first draft was finished. This year, my wife and I have signed … Read More

Vital Statistics 2011

Philip HarrisMetrics, WritingLeave a Comment

A good writing year this year, at least as far as completed short stories goes (values in brackets are the numbers from 2010) Stories sold: 1 (1) Writing time: 114.6 hours (149.2) Total word count : 24,418 (119,514) Average words per hour: 408 (877) Average words per day: 67 (327) Average words per day of writing: 207 (583) First drafts completed: 6 short stories (2 short stories, 1 novel) Final drafts completed: 5 short stories (0) New flash fiction stories completed: 3 (1) New submissions: 36 (23) New markets submitted to: 26 (14) Submissions still outstanding: 14 Writing blog posts: 53 (0) Day job blog posts: 12 (0) Overall I’m pretty happy with those numbers, bearing in mind that 2010 was focused on writing the first draft of The Ghost Smuggler, whereas this year was all about short fiction and even then, most of the writing took place in the last half of the year. I’ve also been very busy with my day job and my wife and I trained for, and ran, four half-marathons. So that wraps up 2011. Thanks for dropping by, I hope you all had a great year and that next year is even better.