The End of the Apocalypse

Philip HarrisApocalypse WeirdLeave a Comment

Some bad news surfaced a couple of days ago. After 13 books, the Apocalypse Weird – the multi-author, shared world publishing project from Wonderment – is no more. For those unfamiliar with the project, the goal was to publish a series of interconnected books written by some of the hottest indie authors out there. Each author would create their own series and would wreak havoc on one part of the world – Texas or California or New Orleans for example. Each series would be tied together by some common elements. Over time the various series would come together into one big climactic event. Sadly, it’s not to be. Apocalypse Weird was an ambitious, exciting, some might say crazy, idea. Over the last nine months or so the Wonderment team have released 13 well written, entertaining, professionally produced books (including a cook book!). I haven’t read them all but the ones I have were fantastic and I was looking forward to reading the sequels. Unfortunately, publishing isn’t cheap. The cost of professional covers, professional editing, professional formatting quickly adds up, and that’s before you get to marketing. Wonderment just weren’t seeing the return on the books to cover the costs and were forced to make the painful decision to shutter the company. The … Read More

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

Building the Apocalypse – The Middle of the End

Philip HarrisApocalypse Weird, WritingLeave a Comment

After three rounds of my own revisions, my Apocalypse Weird novel, tentatively titled Siren’s Call, has gone off to Wonderment Media’s editor, Ellen Campbell. Now the waiting begins as Ellen reads through the draft and tracks down any issues – not just bad grammar and spilling mistales but also parts of the story that are too slow or don’t make sense or just basically need to be improved. A lot of writers find this bit of the process very nerve-racking, and to some extent I do too. But I also enjoy making the book better and getting other people’s perspective is a key part of that. I’ve used editors on all my indie books and that won’t ever change – I just can’t bring myself to put a book out there until it’s run past several fresh pairs of eyes to catch as many issues as humanly possible. By the time it’s finished, Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet will have been through five different editors and proofreaders (as well as one or two beta readers). There’ll still be issues, I’m sure (even the big publishers miss things), but I’ll have done everything I can to get it as close to perfect as possible. An editor can really make or break a project. Thankfully, … 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

Siren’s Call is Finished…Sort Of

Philip HarrisApocalypse Weird, WritingLeave a Comment

I just finished the final tweaks to the first draft of my Apocalypse Weird novel, Siren’s Call. The final word count came in at 68,162. Still lots of work to do, but I’m very happy with how it’s turned out so far. Now it sits on my hard drive for a couple of weeks or so to fester. Then I’ll come back to it for a fresh look and two more revision passes before it goes to Ellen Campbell, the Apocalypse Weird editor. Don’t forget, the team at Wonderment Media (the masterminds behind the Apocalypse Weird project) are running an IndieGoGo campaign. There’s lots of cool stuff there, including signed books, limited edition hard covers, manuscript critiques and a lifetime subscription to Apocalypse Weird (which would include my book so it’s worth the money just for that. Maybe). Get a FREE copy of my short story, Only Friends by subscribing to my newsletter. [Siren’s Call is Finished…Sort Of by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 16th May 2015]

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

Building the Apocalypse – Why London?

Philip HarrisApocalypse Weird, MetricsLeave a Comment

Every Apocalypse Weird novel is set in a different part of the world. Nick Cole’s The Red King takes place in Southern California, Hoodoopocalypse is set in New Orleans while Immunity throws New Mexico into the mix. When it came to picking a place to destroy with my particular apocalypse, London was the obvious choice, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I know London pretty well, at least the central touristy bits. My wife and I used to spend weekends there regularly, watching plays and the odd movie. We even spent our honeymoon there (and ended up at a horror film festival on our first night but that’s a story for a different day). That knowledge of the layout of London made it easy to envisage a demonic creature wreaking havoc there. Especially when you add in the second reason – London is old. Really old. And it’s built on top of things. Not just the London Underground (where some of the story takes place), but other, darker, more sinister things. Everything from underground rivers to cemeteries to errm… restaurants. I’ll be posting more about the hidden depths beneath London and how they influenced the story but suffice to say, there’s plenty of inspiration in London’s history. And when I started … Read More

Building the Apocalypse – 27 April 2015

Philip HarrisApocalypse Weird, Metrics, WritingLeave a Comment

It’s a super special double Apocalypse Weird update this week thanks to my Internet free vacation in Boston last week. First up, 13th-19th April. Bonus points for spotting the unexpected trip to watch the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup playoffs (205 words in 7 minutes), the day we flew to Boston (2,396 words in 178 minutes) and the day my wife spent resting up ready for the race (2,202 days also in 178 minutes). And here’s the graph for last week. More bonus points for guessing which day we flew back from Boston (2,865 words in 194 minutes). Over the two weeks, I wrote 14,005 words, just over 10,000 of which were written on the trip. I’m very happy with that. Total word count at the end of Sunday was 57,703. There’s some outline notes and a few bits and pieces in there that will deleted before the first draft is complete but it looks like the book will end up within the 55-75,000 word count goal I’ve been given. That’s a good thing. I’m just hitting the finale of the book. Stories (good ones at least), are made up of peaks of action and troughs of (relative) down time. The closer you get … Read More

Building the Apocalypse – 13 April 2015

Philip HarrisApocalypse Weird, Metrics, WritingLeave a Comment

Sunday marked the 652nd day of my unbroken writing streak. Meaning, I’d written some sort of fiction every day for 652 days in a row (and counting). During that time, I’ve written a total of 485,205 words. 150,728 words of that was either revisions (94,334), Rewrites (35,293) or outlines (21,101). The remaining 333,513 words were first draft writing. A fair amount of that will have been deleted but I’ve still got a significant chunk of completed material. The daily and weekly charts are getting a bit too big to be useful now, but here’s the monthly breakdown (bearing in mind the first and last months are not full months). My best full month was 33,637 words while the worst was 14,784. My best week was earlier this year when I hit 12,997 words. My worst weekly total was a feeble 1,608 words although low weeks tend to happen when I’m revising so that’s a bit misleading. These are the projects I’ve worked on during that time (in chronological order). The Ghost Smuggler (Novel Rewrite) 12 Things you Need to Know About Merfolk (Short Story) Finished Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet (Novel) The Princess (Short Story) Finished* The Mirror (Short Story) Finished* Lifeboat (Short Story) Finished* The Bone Boy … Read More