The World in White

Something significant happened at 12.27 today; at about the same time as I was submitting my first assignment, in Feature Journalism, the thermometer rose to freezing point. It’s the first time in I’m not sure how many days that it’s shown positive.  It’s still bitterly cold, but at least now I can leave off tipping boiling water into the bird bath. (No, we’re not parboiling the local sparrows — within a few minutes it’s barely above freezing again, but at least it’s drinkable)

Kate took some pictures yesterday, which will illustrate our wintry world far better than I can.

And in the same way as there’s a sense that the world is thawing gradually, so I’ve finally started to feel as if I’m getting on top of things, for the first time in quite a while.

Partly that’s because I’m about two days away from finishing the revision of Ultramassive.  I have one more pass to do a light edit of certain passages, but I’ve used the time freed up from working at the BEH to target this.

And, as I blogged yesterday, Film is done and dusted for a few days. It’s now onto the nice part, the concept stages leading to a screenplay.  And tomorrow night our core lecture will take the form of a screening of the Swedish version of Let the Right One In. Must remember to pick up the popcorn on the way in…

• December 8th, 2010 • Posted in General, Other Colin Harvey Sites • Comments: 0

Interviews

One of the reasons why I’ve been realtively quiet lately is due to workload, as I’ve mentioned several times in posts elsewhere. This week particularly seems to be the week of the interview.

First of all, I’ve been interviewed in some depth by Irish magazine Albedo One in an e-mail interview (e-view?) which is on-going. Because of the magazine’s lead times, it’ll be some time before it sees the light of day.

However, an interview I gave Canadian fan Jessica Strider is now on-line. Jessica works for the World’s Greatest Bookstore, who have made me the Featured Author for December, and the interview has been typed up and posted in-store, but it’s now available on-line as well.

And sometime soon, I’ll be in the Angry Robot podcast for December. More on that nearer the time.

• December 4th, 2010 • Posted in General, Interviews, Other Colin Harvey Sites • Comments: 0

That Was The Month That Was

I’m spending a lot of time –so much time– analyzing and writing about the spreadsheet that I started to monitor my hours.

I spent a little under four hours a day on average on writing stories, blogging, reviewing and on ‘others.’ That excludes blogs and creative writing exercises for uni, such as the film blogs. So I wrote the first part of a horror piece in November, but because it was specifically for genre, I didn’t count it in this part.

I spent about three hours a day on specific uni work, and another hour a day reading.  That shouldn’t be work, but when it becomes the basis for other items, such as reviews, or is part of a set text, then it can’t be ignored.

Interestingly (at least to me!) was the revelation of how little actual fiction writing that I do, at least when the novel is at revision stage. As little as forty minutes a day, but it’s the crucial forty minutes — get that novel revision done, and I settle down; defer it, and I get twitchy.

There is also a reason for doing the revision in small, daily chunks; it allows my subconscious time to process, and enables me to really focus on the text in front of me. A friend of mine attempted a novel crit in one go and said;

Equally interesting is the split of academic subjects within a three hour day, but I’ll continue that over on the Film Making Mumblings blog, for those who are interested.

So what’s the point of all this navel-gazing?

The reason for all this analysis is that with such a scattered and diverse set of tasks to occupy me, it would be very easy to neglect one aspect of my work.  This way, if I’m spending too little time -say- networking (as if), I can rectify it.

I know that there’s a danger of going overboard on this, but I’ve decided to keep the sheet going, for that last reason. I just have to ensure that it doesn’t become an end in itself.

• December 3rd, 2010 • Posted in General, Other Colin Harvey Sites, Writing • Comments: 0

The Cruellest Month

Forget Jim Kelly‘s assertion that April is the cruellest month. It’s November, Jim, but not as we know it.

Last year my dipping a toe in the water of NaNoWriMo almost broke me (writing a novel in a month is one thing, writing it while doing a full-time course is another) but at least I proved to myself that it is possible, and that the quality isn’t necessarily awful.

This year it was the film project and working at the BEH for four or five weeks. That latter part was the back-breaker. I did an eleven hour day yesterday, but aside from three hours spent going in and out of Bath -during which time I worked on the bus anyway- I didn’t need to change gear in the same way.

My spreadsheet tells me that over the thirty days of November I worked for two hundred and forty hours – and a few tenths. Add in the forty-two hours spent in and travelling to and from the BEH, and that comes to a whisker over two hundred and eighty two hours. On a weekly basis, that amounts to a sixty-six hour week.

That’s do-able for a week. Maybe two. But toward the end of the month I began to struggle to remember what day it was, for the first several minutes of each day. I made no end of mistakes on tasks, and struggled to hold even simple conversations with people. I learned what my upper limit was, at least on a long-term basis.

I’ll break down the constituencies of those two hundred and forty hours tomorrow, and end this with the thought that next year, I’m going to try and keep November free.

Honest.

• December 2nd, 2010 • Posted in General, Other Colin Harvey Sites, Writing • Comments: 0

Miscellany

No blog yesterday, as it was Monday, although I did post a Film Making Mumblings which I’ll link to here.

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I was keeping a spreadsheet of the hours that I was working, and what activities I was allocating the time to; the categories were the four uni subjects that I’m studying, (Writer’s Workshop aka Core, Genre, Feature Journalism and Film Making, plus writing, blogging, reading and other. As it’s the end of the month today, I’ve begun to reflect on the results. I’ll post an analysis -probably tomorrow- but one of the things that’s come out of it is how hard it is to allocate time to a job that’s as complex as being a writer.

For example, your hard drive goes and you have to get a new one. Is that work? I think so. But where do you put it? In the end, I put it under ‘other.’ The problem is that I also put the time I spent at cons and meetings such as the BSFA interview under other as well, and as a result, a third of my time is spent under other. Perhaps if I do it again, I’ll put a column in for ‘networking.’

I have one activity that doesn’t count as work, which is to take the afternoon off, and to attend Kate’s choral performance of various pieces of music such as ‘Hiawatha’s Wedding March’ and ‘Oklahoma.’  The event is at The United Reformed Church in Bath, just over Poulteney Bridge at 3.45pm. Tea and cakes will be served by my fair hand.

Meanwhile, I’m December’s Featured Author in The World’s Biggest Bookstore in Toronto.  There’ll be an interview going up at some point, and I’ll link to it, but in the meantime here’s a rather nice shot of the gondola end with Winter Song and Damage Time  on.

And I continue to paddle frantically below the waterline on stuff that I can’t yet talk about; as soon as I can, I’ll stop with the mystery.

• November 30th, 2010 • Posted in Books, General, Other Colin Harvey Sites, Writing • Comments: 0

2009 Nebula Award Finalists

This morning’s blog is a straight list of the 2009 Nebula Award finalists. However, I couldn’t resist posting links to the stories I trumpeted when they first came out, which makes me look profoundly perspicacious. Of course, that ignores the finalists I initially rubbished, as well as all the other stories I backed which never made the final… :)

• February 22nd, 2010 • Posted in Awards, Books, Events, Other Colin Harvey Sites, Reviews, Writing • Comments: 0

The BSFA

Today’s blog is in appreciation of those splendid chaps and chappesses at the BSFA.

• April 17th, 2009 • Posted in Other Colin Harvey Sites • Comments: 0

Happiness

I’m happy for Mary Robinette Kowal, whose marvellous ‘Evil Robot Monkey’ is now on the Hugo ballot for Best Short Story, and deservedly so, and Aliette de Bodard, nominated for the John W. Campbell award for Best New Writer. Equally deserving.

But sad for my friend Ted Kosmatka, who wrote the wonderful ‘Divining Light’ and ‘The Art of Alchemy’ and hasn’t seen either of them get the appreciation that they deserve, and James Moran, whose ‘The Fires of Pompeii’ is IMHO the best ever Doctor Who episode.

Oh well, I’m sure that their reward will come in time.

• March 21st, 2009 • Posted in Events, General, Other Colin Harvey Sites • Comments: 0

New Blog Over at MySpace

I’ve posted a new blog over at MySpace on work, sport as the weather. Feel free to swing by.

• March 15th, 2009 • Posted in General, Other Colin Harvey Sites • Comments: 0

Main Review Site

As well as writing short stories and novels, I also review several of the major magazines such as Asimov’s and Interzone for Suite101.  I’ve just posted a review of the April-May issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction. The link is here – feel free to stop by and take a look.

More later.

Colin

• March 12th, 2009 • Posted in Other Colin Harvey Sites, Reviews • Comments: 0