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

Back From The Dead

Philip HarrisBooks, Chatter, Events, Movies, Music, StoriesLeave a Comment

Time flies when you’re living in a self-imposed creative wasteland. It’s been three months since my last real update and since then I’ve been to several plays including two musicals, seen a couple of fantastic musicians live listened to a lot of great new music, backed loads of kickstarter projects, watched some hockey but not as much as I would have liked, eaten in some nice restaurants, injured my foot, run a marathon and signed up for a second one, watched some really good films (and awesome videos), seen the batmobile, read some great books and a lot of short stories but written nothing. The Evil Dead Claim Another Victim*  However, a couple of weeks ago we went away to Desolation Sound for a short break to recharge and I ended up writing the first drafts of a couple of new stories – This is Not the Apocalypse You’re Looking For and Artificial Wife. Desolation Sound  That burst of creativity (and the amazing location) swept away the cobwebs and since then I’ve been masterminding a plan to get writing back into my regular schedule. The first step was to clear out all my almost finished stories so I’ve spent the last few days revising Origami Man, Rainshine and … Read More

One Week Down

Philip HarrisChatter, Running, The Ghost Smuggler1 Comment

So, one week into 2012 already. We started Marathon training this week with a 6km tempo run on Tuesday, a 10km tempo on Wednesday and a 10km slow run this morning – which was a shock to the system. Our instructor seemed like a nice guy, but we discovered this morning that he quit and it’s not clear who is going to lead the group now. They didn’t say why, so perhaps he has a good reason but it was very sudden and it’s left the shop scrambling to find a replacement. I spent yesterday taking the next step in an ongoing attempt at making space on our bookshelves by moving our DVD collection into binders. Over Christmas I did the same with my videogame collection and it’s tedious but does free up a lot of space. Yesterday, I covered all the TV DVDs, mostly Buffy, Farscape, The X-Files, Millenium and The Simpsons plus a selection of newer stuff like Dexter and The Big Bang Theory. That little lot came in at three binders (350+ discs). Not the most inspiring way to spend the afternoon but still, it’s good to have a bit of empty space on the bookshelves. Of course, a friend at … Read More

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

87000

Philip HarrisThe Ghost SmugglerLeave a Comment

It turns out I was actually working on Draft Number Ten of The Ghost Smuggler, not number nine as I originally thought. Whichever number it was, I finished it yesterday morning after a final check of a couple of chapters I’d reworked – just to check flow and continuity. Some stats about Draft Number Ten. The manuscript is now 169 pages long (single spaced) and comes in at 87,000 words. Yes, exactly 87,000 – weird huh? The double spaced manuscript clocks in at 390 pages. Editing Draft Number Ten took 774 minutes (give or take an hour or so for random digressions onto the Internet) and overall I removed 447 words from the story. That’s probably a good thing. Next step is to send it off to Jeff VanderMeer who offers a critique service. I’m a fan of Jeff’s writing (in particular the ridiculously inventive Finch) so the opportunity for him to cast a critical eye over my manuscript was too good to pass up. I was a little concerned that my aging LaserJet would collapse under the strain of printing out the whole manuscript so I batched up the printing to make sure it survived. And survive it did, although I almost ran … Read More

Page 153

Philip HarrisNovel Number 2, The Ghost SmugglerLeave a Comment

More edits to The Ghost Smuggler yesterday and I reached page 153 out of what has now become 170 manuscript pages (I’ve been cutting a few extraneous bits and pieces). I’m hoping to finish off the final revisions tonight but it’s also training night so that may be a stretch. Particularly as there’s a section I want to remove and that means reconnecting the story either side and rereading relevant chapters to make sure I haven’t introduced any continuity errors. Then I’ll be printing it out and sending it off for a critique. I need to do that by Thursday at the latest so training may have to wait. I’ve also been chatting about the new book with Ethel the Muse and we may have come up with a title – I just need to let it roll around in my head and see if it sticks. I also reached the conclusion that I’m going to need to do some planning of the main characters for this one. Most of them will appear in the first few scenes of the book so it will be difficult to add new and interesting characters as I think of them while I’m writing. I need to … Read More

Monday Monday

Philip HarrisChatter, The Ghost SmugglerLeave a Comment

I’ve had a somewhat cultural few days. Friday evening saw another gig – this time Feist. She brought with her the holder of the world record for longest piano concert and a self-proclaimed musical genius – Chilly Gonzales. This is the third time we’ve seen Feist, and the second time we’ve seen Chilly and they didn’t disappoint. Great fun. On Saturday we went to see a production of the British musical – Blood Brothers. Not a happy go lucky tale but very enjoyable nonetheless. I spent Sunday revising The Ghost Smuggler getting to page 119 of 173 (that’s manuscript pages, not finished book pages). I’m making changes on pretty much every page and I think it’s definitely improving the book. The goal is to finish the entire manuscript by end of day Wednesday so that I can get it sent off for a critique. I also picked up a parcel from the post office – my copies of Two Worlds and in Between, the new Caitlin R Kiernan short story collection from Subterranean Press. More on that later.    

Draft Number Nine

Philip HarrisThe Ghost SmugglerLeave a Comment

So, change of plan yesterday. What was going to be a start-a-new-story session turned into start-a-new-draft session. More specifically, start the ninth draft of The Ghost Smuggler. That’s not to suggest that each draft is a full-on heavy rewrite, the last few have been fairly minor tweaks and corrections. This time round I’m looking at the story again after several months away from it to see if there’s any more tweaks I want based on the things I’ve learned over the course of the year before I start sending it out. I’m also investigating the possibility of a professional critique so I want to make sure I have the cleanest manuscript I can for that. The problem is, I can always find something to change. I covered the first twenty one pages last night and made a fair number of revisions. Some of them were definitely improvements and fixes for typos – some of them…I’m not so sure. Overall, though, I think I’m making it better. Time will tell…  

A Visit From Ethel

Philip HarrisNovel Number 2Leave a Comment

Our normal weekend schedule has been disrupted this week because Sunday will be a very special day. To make room for that very special day we moved our long Sunday run to the Saturday instead. To my surprise, my muse, Ethel, turned up a couple of kilometers into the run and proceeded to feed me a very tempting idea for my next novel. She spent the next half hour helping me nudge the idea around my head until she realised there was still 12km left to run and disappeared into a darkened room to think about death. I was originally planning on starting a new novel in the New Year but I’m intrigued by this new idea and I have the opening few chapters pretty clear in my head so I may well start sooner. Of course, I need to do one more pass on The Ghost Smuggler and send that out into the wild first. Oh, and I need a title. The downside with moving our long run to Saturday was that I didn’t get as much writing done as I would have liked. I did write 876 more words of Rainshine bringing the total length to 2404 words. Clearly, I … Read More