Looking Forward, 2017

Philip HarrisChatter, Indie Publishing, RunningLeave a Comment

After posting my belated end of year wrap up, I figured I’d better also look forward to what’s ahead in 2017… I talked about setting goals on New Year’s Day and mentioned my big personal goal – running a marathon in under four hours. That goal has actually been in the back of my mind for a few years but 2017 is the year I’m really going to focus on my speed and fitness (and weight) and try to hit that. My wife and I recently worked out which races we’re going to take part in this year and it’s a fairly long list, but a lot of them will be used as training runs for my main goal of that sub-four hour marathon. Time will tell whether it will pan out but I’m looking forward to trying. I’ll probably make the odd post here about my progress for those who are interested in how a moderately unfit, middle aged guy prepares for a marathon. I also mentioned my eight book publishing schedule. That’s pretty aggressive, even though I have a couple of the books complete and two more in draft form. I’ve laid out the schedule for the first half of the year and this is what it … 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

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

I admit it. I don’t like editing.

Philip HarrisWritingLeave a Comment

I finally started going through my editor’s changes to Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet today. Basically, I couldn’t think of an excuse not to. Leah (working title) has gone to its editor, the Glitch cover is progressing nicely (and looking really good) and I’m waiting for editor feedback on the first fifty pages of The Zombie Book. Yesterday, I delayed things by working on the short story I started at Mary Robinette Kowal’s short story workshop – Reg vs The Martians but it didn’t go that well and I need to mull over the plot a bit more. That really only left Glitch. I got through two chapters, about 7,238 words out of 60,823 before I gave up. It turns out I really don’t like going through edits. I had to resort to Bob the Bahamas cat to get myself going again. It’s a holiday here in Canada on Tuesday so I’m taking Monday off and one of my tasks will be to get through at least three more chapters. We’ll see how that goes. [“I admit it. I don’t like editing.” by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 9th November 2014]

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

The Stanley Hotel Writers Retreat

Philip HarrisChatter, EventsLeave a Comment

In a few hours , I’ll be flying to The Stanley Hotel in Colorado for a five day horror writing retreat. The Stanley is the hotel that inspired Stephen King to write a little book called The Shining, hence its choice as the location for the retreat. In case you’re wondering, no it’s not the hotel that features in the Stanley Kubrick film. For me, it looks like it’s going to be more of an editing retreat. I have Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet, Leah, a new short story and The Zombie Book, all ready to be revised. I find revision a lot harder than writing fresh words (which is probably why I have the backlog) so I’ll probably add another writing project or two in there as well. Maybe a short story, maybe a sequel to one of the novels or Leah. There are some events planned as well, readings and panels at the Estes Park Library, some trips out for the attendees, a haunted hotel tour etc. But my main goal is try to finish a couple of those projects, starting with Leah which I’m hoping to self-publish by the end of November. [“The Stanley Hotel Writers … 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

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