An Unmitigated Disaster

Philip HarrisChatter, WritingLeave a Comment

I’m now about 66,000 words into the final book in the Leah King trilogy, The Girl in the Machine, and I’ve reached the point where I’m convinced it’s an unmitigated disaster. My outline is in shreds. There’s dozens of plot holes in every chapter. The character arcs aren’t arcs, they’re circles. I’ve forgotten to tie up at least three loose ends and there’s two more that I opened in chapter three that go nowhere. The critical scene involving the aardvark and the pug is physically impossible, and I’m pretty sure several of my character’s names change halfway through the story. Twice. Basically, I want to delete everything relating to this book and take up something sane like juggling scorpions. I’m not going to. Partly because scorpions are mean and that would be dangerous, but mostly because I’ve been here before. ON EVERY SINGLE BOOK I’VE WRITTEN. The Girl in the City, Unseen Planet, The Girl in Wilderness, The Ghost Smuggler, Siren’s Call and both my (currently unpublished) zombie books all went through this same phase. Experience has taught me that my mind is lying to me. I’m not writing in stone. Sure, I’ll have to go back and rewrite big chunks, fill in the holes, check names and facts, and generally … 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

On Genre

Philip HarrisIndie Publishing, Out Now, Writing1 Comment

My name is Philip Harris and I’m a genre hopper. More of a genre careener actually. One minute I’m writing a straight up horror story like The Bone Boy, the next my characters are discovering alien lifeforms on Mars, the next they’re talking to people made of newspaper. I’ve written horror, fantasy, urban fantasy, science fiction, science fiction horror, something that might actually be a fairy tale, and pretty much everything in between, Sometimes, I can’t even tell what genre I’m writing in. My story, Piece Number 7, (published in Garbled Transmissions) is about the profound effect music can have on a person. To me, there’s a speculative fiction element to the story but it’s firmly rooted in the real world. In the end I filed it under magical realism. Whatever that is. And don’t get me started on Only Friends, the ebook I give away here on the site. I have no clue what genre that is. Depending on how you interpret the story, there may actually be no speculative elements in that one at all. And it’s not just my short fiction. My novels are all over the place as well. The Ghost Smuggler, is science fiction with a … Read More

A Year of Writing

Philip HarrisMetrics, WritingLeave a Comment

It’s been said many times by many people much smarter than me that the secret to successful writing is to write every day. Even if it’s only for a few minutes, it exercises your writing muscles and makes them stronger. You get into a rhythm, you improve. With that in mind, on 29th June 2013, I set myself a challenge to write something, some piece of fiction, every single day. The last time I did was back in 2010 that I wrote every day for 197 days in a row before taking a break. As of Sunday, I’ve written every day for a full year and I’m a very happy bunny. As I’ve demonstrated previously, I’m pretty obsessive about tracking my writing so I have a fair amount of data on that one year writing streak. First off, I wrote 253,189 words. That’s an average of 694 words a day – a nice increase from the 665 words per day I managed over the first three hundred days so I’m pleased with that. Those words took me 16 days, 2 hours and 50 minutes to write, or 655 words per hour which is down from the 673 words per hour at the three hundred day mark. As you’ll see in a minute, … Read More

Metrics Monday – 26th May 2014

Philip HarrisMetricsLeave a Comment

Another week, another seven days added to the writing streak (330 days and counting). A real mix of stuff this week. Some revisions of Glitch, a trial chapter on the next novel I’ll be writing and revisions of a couple of short stories Saviour and The Face on Benefit Street. All in all, a total of 3,896 words which is a bit less than I’d have liked but our renovations had a bigger impact than I thought they would. This week will mostly be spent on Glitch. I’ve still got over a month to get it revised but I want to get back to The Ghost Smuggler and on to my next novel as soon as possible. [Metrics Monday – 26th May 2014 by Philip Harris was first posted on Solitary Mindset on 27th May 2014]

Metrics Monday – 12th May 2014

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Another very productive week – 6,324 words. The majority of that was working The Ghost Smuggler but I did also revise Immersion Therapy and outline a new story which doesn’t have a title yet. Unfortunately, The Ghost Smuggler isn’t finished and I need to move on so I’ve put it aside for (hopefully) a couple of weeks to work on the Glitch revisions. I’ve got some time off this week (including a Canadian long weekend) and I’m not back to a full training schedule yet so I’m hoping to make a big dent in it over the next few days. [Metrics Monday – 12th May 2014 by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 13th May 2014]

Metrics Monday – 28th April 2014

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A total of 3,506 words of fiction this week. I spent the whole week working on the second draft of The Ghost Smuggler – inching towards the end. I realised yesterday I need to add another chapter which isn’t helping with my pace but it will make it a better book. I will be very glad when this draft is finished, even though there’s still going to be plenty of work to do on it. [Metrics Monday – 28th April 2014 by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 28th April 2014]

Three Hundred Days of Writing

Philip HarrisMetrics, WritingLeave a Comment

Yesterday, I hit the three hundred day point in my writing streak –  breaking my previous record by one hundred and one days. I wish I could say I hit such a significant milestone with a spectacular flourish but this week’s word count has been pretty low so far and I limped across the line with a meagre 454 words. Here’s a graph of what those three hundred days look like. (Click for a bigger version) The blue line is the number of words per day. It’s a bit spikey so I’ve added a seven day rolling average (the red line) to give a better sense of my general productivity. There’s clearly 4-5 blocks of time where I increased my productivity and a patch around the middle of the streak where my daily word count was consistently low. The green line is the overall total number of words. I ended up writing 199,407 words. That comes to 665 words a day which is down slightly from the 150 day mark (681 words per day) and the 100 day point (737 words per day). That’s probably due to the fact that I’m spending a lot of time revising which doesn’t contribute a lot of words to the total. Had I known how close I was to … Read More

Metrics Monday – 21st April 2014

Philip HarrisMetrics, WritingLeave a Comment

I’m behind on The Ghost Smuggler. I really need to get this second draft complete by the end of the month and it’s looking increasingly unlikely. I figure I’m a couple of weeks away from finishing. It’s a deadline I set myself but there is an underlying reality to it. I need to move on to editing Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet and that really does have a deadline – I’m sending it to an editor at the beginning of July. Last week’s word count wasn’t too bad – 4,675 words although that does include Friday’s writing exercise and I spent some time revising Immersion Therapy. The reason I’m spending so much more time on The Ghost Smuggler is very simple. I’m still writing a lot of new chapters. Most of them are replacing the old ones and I’m far happier with the new story than I was with the first draft but it means it’s taking a lot longer than I’d originally hoped. Still, it will be worth it in the end. [Metrics Monday – 21st April 2014 by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 22nd April 2014]

Metrics Monday – 14th April 2014

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As expected, results last week were pretty mixed but I did manage 4,034 words. The big chunk of words on Monday was due to the flight to San Francisco and some downtime in my hotel. The rest of the week was pretty busy so I wasn’t able to repeat that stellar first day. Still, I did add 3,771 words to The Ghost Smuggler – mostly new scenes. I spent Sunday making some final revisions to Immersion Therapy. I tweaked the opening and expanded the ending and I’m a lot happier with it now. My wife will be proofreading it in the next day or two and then I’ll declare it done and start sending it out. I’m aiming to get The Ghost Smuggler revised by the end of April so that I can get back to Glitch so I’ll need to pick up the pace a bit this week. [Metrics Monday – 14th April 2014 by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 14th April 2014]