Two Years of Writing

Philip HarrisMetrics, WritingLeave a Comment

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

Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet Cover Reveal

Philip HarrisBooks, Glitch, Indie PublishingLeave a Comment

The exact release date for my science fiction novel, Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet is still undecided for now, but I figured it was time to unveil the cover anyway. Glitch started as a serial destined for the website but I enjoyed writing the project so much that it grew into a full length project. The novel my homage to the old Flash Gordon serials (I’m doing a rewatch of the 1936 Buster Crabbe series at the moment) so when it came to the cover, I really wanted to evoke the old Flash Gordon movie posters. About the time I was looking around for a cover artist, Hugh Howey mentioned the artist he’d started using, M.S. Corley. I really liked the look of his covers and ended up commissioning a custom cover for the Glitch. I’m really happy with how it turned out so, without further ado, here’s the cover for Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet. A huge amount of work went into the image and it fits the action packed nature of the book perfectly. So, a massive thank you to Mike for creating such an amazing cover. The book itself is finished and edited and is now sitting with the first of several proofreaders. Once the … Read More

Flash Gordon Rewatch

Philip HarrisFlash Gordon Rewatch, Glitch, Videos1 Comment

When I was growing up, one of the highlights of the summer and Christmas school holidays was the BBC’s children’s programming. Every morning they’d air a Tarzan movie and episodes of serials including a French series that I can’t remember the name of and the old black and white fiction serials from the 1930s – Zorro, The Lone Ranger and Buck Rogers. I enjoyed them all, but my favourite was Flash Gordon starring Larry “Buster” Crabbe. I’d eagerly sit down each morning to see how Flash, Dale and the Doc managed to get out of whatever pickle they’d got themselves into the day before. I don’t know how many times I watched each series (I remember them being shown every year for most of my childhood, although I doubt that’s actually true), but they stuck with me, and I’ve always had a soft spot in my nerdy heart for those serials (helped by the 1980 movie of course). A couple of years ago, before I started indie publishing, I was trying to think of a way to add more interesting content to my blog and post more regularly. I was also trying to think of a new writing project that I could use to fill the time … Read More

5 Things I’ve Done Since I Last Posted on My Blog

Philip HarrisChatter, WritingLeave a Comment

It’s been a while since I last posted here, over a month in fact. I’ve been very busy during that time, but here’s a few highlights to get me back on the blogging horse… 1 – Wrapped up Siren’s Call At least, I’ve wrapped up the fourth draft which is the last draft before I send it off to Ellen Campbell, the editor who’ll be whipping it into shape. I’m really happy with how the book turned out. It was great fun to write and feedback from the people who’ve read it so far has been excellent. I can’t confirm the release date just yet but you shouldn’t have too long to wait. 2 – Saw Kieran Strange and The Doubleclicks Perform Live Neither of us were familiar with Kieran Strange but we enjoyed her show. Anyone with a song called Merry Undead Christmas must be good. This was the first time we’d seen The Doubleclicks live and they were predictably awesome. Their brief rendition of the Doctor Who theme was worth the price of admission on its own. 3 – Watched Mad Max: Fury Road If I get some time, I’ll post my thoughts on the film but suffice to say, I loved it. So much that I’m tempted … Read More

Building the Apocalypse – The Beginning of the End

Philip HarrisApocalypse Weird, Metrics, WritingLeave a Comment

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

What I did on my Holiday – Part One

Philip HarrisChatterLeave a Comment

On Tuesday night, we arrived back in Vancouver after an action-packed 10 day trip to the UK. It had been close to five years since I’d been back so most of that time was spent catching up with family and it was great to see everyone again. Some people have changed a lot (one didn’t even exist last time I was there) and other people are just the same. I also made a couple of trips to my favourite comic shop – Comic Connections – to catch up with some friends (and reacquaint myself with Strongbow), and spent a bit of time wandering around the town. A few things have changed (the baked potato guy outside McDonalds wasn’t there and a few of the shops are different) but otherwise, my home town has stayed pretty much how it was last time I was there. We also ate some fantastic food. I can highly recommend The Three Pigeons. We had a Christmas lunch there and the food was delicious. The Three Pigeons was my “local” when I was younger, and my wife and I spent many an evening there when we first met so going back was a bit of a trip down memory lane. I can also recommend … Read More

Still Alive, Still Writing

Philip HarrisBooks, Chatter, Movies, WritingLeave a Comment

It’s been a while since my last post. I guess time flies when you’re having fun. Or in my case – time flies when you’re having a root canal retreatment. My day job, a running injury, the aforementioned root canal and a whole load of editing of Leah may have curtailed my blogging but the writing streak continues. Although my daily word count numbers have dropped significantly because I’ve been revising and editing, I’m currently at 533 days with no plans to stop. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve made the last few revisions to Leah, wrapped up the first draft of Reg vs the Martians and started a couple of new chapters that will replace a chapter in Glitch that I’ve never been happy with. I’m not convinced this new stuff is much of an improvement but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. I’ll probably rewrite it again next year. I also outlined the sequel to The Zombie Book (working title). I’m heading off to England next week and I had originally planned to spend some time on the final revisions of Glitch. But I’ve come to the conclusion that editing on the road doesn’t really work … Read More

Death of a Story

Philip HarrisWritingLeave a Comment

In the Hall of Rusted Widows is dead. It happens sometimes – a story I think is going to be great just doesn’t quite work. Sometimes it’s because I don’t really have a story, I just have an idea. Sometimes it’s because I’ve wandered too far off track, and I need to regroup and take another run at the story. Sometimes, frankly, I’m just not a good enough writer to pull off the story in my head. Of course, no story is ever as good as it started out in my head, but sometimes I just can’t find enough of the imagery to get anything close to the story I’m envisaging. In the case of Rusted Widows, it’s kind of a combination of all three. The 4,200 words I have now tell a different story to the one I outlined, there’s too much concept and not enough story, and I can’t really find the right words to get the emotional resonance I’d need for this story. At least not in its current form. So, In the Hall of Rusted Widows is going in the abandoned folder. I like the overall idea though, and I’ve got a feeling that part of the problem is that the story I outlined is … 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