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

Building the Apocalypse – So Close

Philip HarrisApocalypse Weird, MetricsLeave a Comment

Time for another update on progress on my Apocalypse Weird novel, Siren’s Call (working title). I had hoped this post would be a celebratory “I’ve finished the first draft of Siren’s Call” post but it wasn’t to be. Total word count was 5,002 for the week. As you can see, I switched into revision mode for some of that. As I’m working through a first draft I will often make notes in the text (I surround them with [ ] so that I can find them quickly). Before the first draft is complete I need to go back and either turn them into revision notes for the second draft or (more likely) fix them there and then. There were also a couple of places where I’d strayed off the plot a little and ended up in the weeds. I recovered but I left those diversions in the text so I’ve spent the last couple of days going back over them, removing the broken pieces and patching up what was left. I think in future, I’ll do that at the point I realise I’ve gone off track. It will probably be easier that way. I’ve also realised there’s a missing chapter. At one point, … 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 – 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

Metrics Monday – 15th September 2014

Philip HarrisMetrics, WritingLeave a Comment

My mildly obsessive nature came in very handy this week. At least as far as my writing goes. On Sunday afternoon I found myself a few words (5 to be exact) short of hitting the 1,000 word mark for the day. So, I went back to the keyboard with the intention of writing a couple of paragraphs to hit that nice round 1,000 word number. I ended up writing for about half an hour. That brought me to within 100 words or so of the 45,000 word mark on The Zombie Book (working title). I then decided to make another little push to hit that milestone. Having done that, I found myself just shy of 9,000 words for the week. Obviously, I couldn’t ignore that so I carried on writing. In the end, I managed 9,053 words for the week which, while not an actual word count record, is certainly in the top three. All those words were on the untitled Zombie Book. The outlining was where I sorted out the second half of the book, smoothing over the cracks created by me veering off the outline during the first half. There’s still one subplot that doesn’t flow quite as neatly as I’d like but I’ll deal with that once … Read More

Metrics Monday – 8th September 2014

Philip HarrisMetrics, WritingLeave a Comment

Another stellar week – 7,441 words in total. Inspired by Mary Robinette Kowal’s short story course and a couple of extra days off work, I was able to make a big dent in The Zombie Book, pushing past the halfway point. I also did a revision pass on the first fifty pages or so and they’re ready to go off to an editor for some feedback. So, that’s three weeks in a row that I’ve broken the 7,000 word mark. We’ll see whether I can maintain that this week. [Metrics Monday – 8th September 2014 by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 8th September 2014]