Philip HarrisMetricsLeave a Comment

Yesterday marked the 50th day of my current writing streak. During that time I’ve written 37,950 words, mostly on The Ghost Smuggler. Still a long way to go to beat my 197 day streak I hit back in 2010 but I’m pretty sure it’s the longest streak since then. After a couple of strong weeks, my weekly word count dropped off to 3,196 words – the lowest for eight weeks. That’s not really surprising and I’m expecting the next few weeks to be lower than average. Given that I’m working on short stories at the moment, I’m going to be doing plenty of revising. I don’t have a reliable way of counting the words I’m adding during the revision process so that time will show up as 0 word days. If I’m revising in Google Docs, I may be able to use Jamie Todd Rubin’s scripts to get me part of the way there and then process them myself to get the revision stats. I might try that this week and see how I get on. My OCD gets all twitchy when I ‘lose’ data on my writing. [50 by Philip Harris was first posted on Solitary Mindset on 19th August … Read More

Inbetween Days

Philip HarrisWriting, Writing ProcessLeave a Comment

So, with first draft of The Ghost Smuggler written and filed away for a few weeks before I start revising it, what’s next? Well, first up, I don’t want to stop writing. Partly because I’ve got a nice writing streak going (49 days so far) but more importantly because I’m enjoying the writing so much at the moment. The good news is, Ethel the Muse has been busy and I have a whole raft of ideas. First up, there’s three potential Ghost Smuggler related projects: The sequel novel A prequel novella called The Ghostwalker Edicts A parallel novella that tells the story of one of the secondary characters from the novel Then there’s a some other novels: A YA urban fantasy filled with freaks and the monsters who hunt them A YA urban fantasy about a girl who can create magical worlds A science fiction serial that started off as a throwaway idea but has grown into something a lot more substantial And some short stories: A psychological horror story called The Bone Boy  A  science fiction story about the skull of a military robot A horror-ish story about an ice creature and the girl she befriends Two novellas based in the world … Read More

“My only friend, the end”

Philip HarrisThe Ghost Smuggler, WritingLeave a Comment

At 9:14pm today, I wrapped up the first draft of The Ghost Smuggler. I’ve edited out some of the notes I’ve been keeping and cleaned up a few stray blocks of text and this draft comes in at 73,936 words. There are still some notes in there so the actual word count is a bit less.  Of those words, 17,514 were reclaimed which leaves 56,422 new words. I started this rewrite on 4th February 2013 and it took me 96 hours and 41 minutes, spread out over 198 writing sessions (covering 188 days of writing). That’s an average of  584 words an hour. I did actually write more than that (64,169 words in fact) but the rest (7,747 words) got deleted before the draft was finished. If I include the deleted words as well, I averaged 664 words an hour. Of course, there’s still a lot of work to be done before this is even close to being a real book so the final length is yet to be determined. But before any of that work starts, the book has to sit and fester for a few weeks – to make sure those really flaws stand out when I start revising. [“My only … Read More

Wise Words from Delilah S. Dawson

Philip HarrisWriting, Writing AdviceLeave a Comment

I think I’ve mentioned Chuck Wendig’s fantastic blog before (and if I haven’t I should have) but yesterday’s guest post by paranormal author, Delilah S. Dawson is fantastic so I’m going to link to it repeatedly. It’s called 25 STEPS TO BEING A TRADITIONALLY PUBLISHED AUTHOR: LAZY BASTARD EDITION and it’s both funny and useful which in my book is a winning combination. Here’s a quote (that happens to be very timely for me) “Any author who says their first drafts are fantastic is either lying or highly delusional or John Scalzi, who is neither. A first draft is meant to be a malleable chunk of clay that you barf out onto the worktable. If you keep reworking that first sentence, first page, first chapter, you’ll never get to the end. So just barf it all up. Without judging yourself. Without showing anyone. Without rereading it. Without thinking of genre or sellability or trends. Tell your story in any way you can, in whatever way feels best. Does it change POV or tense in the middle? Do aliens land in your historical romance? WHO CARES? KEEP WRITING. Don’t look back. You can fix it later.” There’s a whole host of … Read More

Sometimes the Words Just Appear

Philip HarrisRunning, WritingLeave a Comment

Sometimes the words just appear on the page, seemingly from nowhere. Yesterday was one of those days. It started off with our usual long run. We opted for a doozy of a 24km run that travels from downtown Vancouver, up to the forest trails at the University of British Columbia and then down to Spanish Banks for a nice run alongside the ocean. We don’t get to run this route very often because it’s a bit long and it’s tough – there’s a lot of elevation gain (that’s hills to all you non-runners). So it was nice to run it yesterday, at least until the thunderstorm hit. We ended up literally squelching our way over the last couple of km. After lunch at Milestones and some half-hearted napping I decided it was time to try and chip away at The Ghost Smuggler. Because I’m rewriting some old chapters I really need to be working with my master Word document which means sitting in the oven I call an office. The heat had already kicked my butt on Saturday and I’d ended up sitting next to the air conditioner in the living room, working on my new merfolk story. I didn’t want to do … Read More

“Fevered. Feeling hot, hot hot”

Philip HarrisThe Ghost Smuggler, WritingLeave a Comment

Vancouver’s glorious summer continues which means our apartment continues to try to roast us alive. Yesterday was the last day of my four day “writing weekend” and despite the heat I managed to get almost two thousand words added to The Ghost Smuggler and complete the second exercise for the brevity workshop. It was tough going though. Even my usual trick of sitting in the bedroom with my Chromebook didn’t help for long. I managed to make it to 4:30 but then gave up and went and bought far too many Angry Robot books (21 to be exact). Overall, my writing weekend was a success, despite the heat, and I ended up writing a total of 7,688 words. For a lot of people that’s not particularly impressive but for me, that’s good. I’m usually looking to average 500 words a day when I’m training for a marathon. Friday’s day off also helped me set a new weekly record last week – 8,871 words. That’s just over 2,500 words more than my previous best and it’s really down to how much I’ve been focusing on my writing recently. I’ve got my writing head on at the moment and more and more I’m … Read More

THE END (Sort of)

Philip HarrisThe Ghost Smuggler, WritingLeave a Comment

I wrote the last chapter of The Ghost Smuggler yesterday. It was a lot shorter than I’d expected but it ties nicely with the opening chapter and although the actual content is quite different to what I’d originally planned the overall tone is the same. I like it. Of course, the book isn’t actually finished yet. I finished off an earlier chapter this morning and then, as I mentioned yesterday, I’ve got two chapters to replace completely. I think there’s a new chapter to add as well. Once I’ve written those, then the first draft will be done. I fully expect that to happen this week. I don’t normally skip around like this but I’ve been using my Chromebook for writing a lot and because it’s not really practical to have the whole manuscript on Google Docs, it’s a bit harder to jump back and rewrite/fix the earlier sections of the book. Instead, I left them as is until I’d finished off the rest of the book and knew exactly what I needed to do with them. I also started a new story yesterday. I’m not even remotely ready to start writing it properly but I’m excited about the idea and what … Read More

Forward Progress

Philip HarrisThe Ghost Smuggler, WritingLeave a Comment

When we left our hero (that’s me), he was knocking on the door of the 70,000 word mark of his novel, The Ghost Smuggler. Yesterday, after some back and forth as I deleted and rewrote chunks of the book, I reached 70,310 words. The scene I wrote was a big showdown between Kaei and one of the protagonists and I think it turned out pretty well. There’ll be more work to do during the revision stage but I’m happy with it as a first draft. I’ve been targeting 80,000 words for this draft which is about 30,000 words less than my original first draft and a nice length for a first novel. Based on where I am now it’s going to come in pretty close to that number. Kaei has dealt with one of the main protagonists and is just about to deal with the other, then there’ll be a brief closing scene and I’ll reach The End. The first draft won’t quite be finished at that point. I still need to go back and replace a couple of chapters to tighten up the story and fill in some plot holes. I think that’s going to get me pretty close to … Read More

Writing Day Down

Philip HarrisMovies, The Ghost Smuggler, WritingLeave a Comment

My first “writing day” of the year was a reasonable success – 2,295 words added to The Ghost Smuggler. That’s not great but I enjoyed myself. I also spent some time posting the first exercise for the brevity workshop and critiquing some of the other students’ work which chewed up some of the writing time. And I got a free cookie from Subway. I was hoping to hit the 70,000 word mark yesterday but I found that by about 4pm I was getting tired and distracted. When I wrote a chapter that could be accurately summed up as “I walked to the top of hill, there was nothing there so I went somewhere else”, I decided I should stop and go for a run. The good news is that on the run I worked out what to really do with that chapter and in the process filled in a small plot hole I’d be studiously ignoring for some time. Unfortunately, this morning I realised there’s some inconsistency in the way I’m getting characters in and out of the spiritworld that I can’t ignore. As Brandon Sanderson is fond of saying, I can “fix it in post” and I think that fix … Read More