Books by Tom Reeve


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The Gray Shift Outline Edits Are Back

I got the edits back on the outline for The Gray Shift last week. Things are improved over the first draft but there’s still a lot of work to do. About 1/3rd of the story is good to go but I need to re-think the beginning and how things interconnect a bit. Progress is slowly inching forward but that’s what drafts are for and it gets better each time!

Part of the problem seems to be that I put too much into the outline so I’m going to try and limit myself to around 10,000 words on the next outline to make sure I get the core correct faster and move the details to a separate notes file on the side. That should help me tweak things faster.

I’m also about 2/3rd of the way through the first draft outline of The Unsettled Compromise. That’s on hold now but I’ll come back to it after finishing the rework on The Gray Shift so I can apply those learnings to this outline too!


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NaNoWriMo 2020 Results: The Gray Shift Outline is out for editing!

NaNoWriMo 2020 is over and I was very productive this past month. I completed the first draft and two edit passes of the new detailed outline for The Gray Shift and I sent it out to my amazing editor on Friday 12/4 for editing! I did take two days off from writing but the amount I got done on the other days made up for it. The totals are below:

  • Total Words Written from Scratch in November: 10,889
  • Total Words Edited in November: 82,210
  • Days Writing: 28/30 (93.3%)
  • Average Words Per Day: 3,325

Now, I edit a lot faster than I write. Looking at the whole outlining process, which started back on 9/13, here is how long everything took. You can see how my words per hour jumps up with every revision as the amount of changes gets smaller and smaller each time I go through it.

RevisionTime (Hours)Word CountAverage Words per Hour
6 (new revision from scratch)25.9234,7581,341
6.1 (editing pass 1)8.638,4334,469
6.2 (editing pass 2)4.0238,9789,696
Total38.5439,4551,024
My Nanowrimo 2020 Results

After editing pass 2 there were still 6 chapters that needed special attention so I just lumped in those final edits as part of the total since it wasn’t really a full pass. The revised outline wound up being 39,455 words and 48 chapters long. An average of 822 words per chapter, which is about what I was aiming for. It’s a bit long for an outline considering that I’m aiming for the final book to be around 80-90,000 words, but I added in a lot of detail and dialogue where I already had ideas for them. If anything, this should help me get better feedback from my editor and make writing the full book faster.

Next up, writing the outline for the sequel The Unsettled Compromise! I’m aiming to get that ready for editing by the end of the year.


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NaNoWriMo 2020: It doesn’t have to be good yet, you just have to do it so you can make it good.

It’s November so once again I’m doing my informal NaNoWriMo month. I started things off today with 1,063 words and I might do some more after writing this post. Right now I’m 69% done with the next revision of my detailed outline for my next book, with 32 out of 45 chapters and 24,932 words out of my target of 36,000 words done. I estimate it takes about 800 words per chapter to make my detailed outline and so far I’m holding pretty close to that with an average of 779 words per chapter. I’m aiming for about 80,000 words for the completed book so all major actions, discussions and actions scenes are covered by this outline.

I’ve got about 9 hours of writing time left to finish this revision so I should be able to finish that by the end of this week. Once the first pass is done I’ll revise it at least two times with a heavy emphasis on getting continuity and characters straightened out and choreographing all of the action scenes. Both of those should make for fun blog posts. Once that’s done, I’ll send it back to my awesome editor for her to read over.

While she’s reading it over, I’ll get to outlining the sequel. That’s right! This will be a two part series and my first time writing a sequel! I have a pretty good idea of what I want to have happen but I haven’t completely laid it all out yet.

And we’re off!


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Sometimes You Have to Burn it All Down, Again: My In Process Outlining Process

A lot of people view outlines as rigid, immovable objects that restrict their creative freedom or something to be afraid of. I take a much more fluid view of them. In my mind an outline is how things fit together, at the moment. They can and do change constantly whenever they need to, and that’s ok. Making changes to an existing outline has its limits though. Sometimes you need to just start a fresh outline from scratch so you can focus on picking out the good pieces from the previous version and adding in the new stuff without all the old stuff cluttering the space around it. That’s ok too. You know more now about your story now than you did when you started your previous outline. As you find out more about your story, your outline should change to reflect that new knowledge. This can be anything from adding or changing characters and events to a reordering of chapters. Each time you get closer to the final version.

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Deleted Scenes: Kira’s Original Intro

Not all of the parts that got edited out of Full Coverage were cut because they were bad. In this Deleted Scene, we will go over a scene that was cut to improve pacing and to change when a character introduction happened. There will be some mild spoilers involved in describing this scene, so if you haven’t read Full Coverage: An Action Comedy yet, please go and check it out on Kindle or paperback on Amazon first and then come back here.

The Scene

This scene is from the last third of Chapter 2 in Rev 07 of the book. This was the first full version I sent to my awesome editor for her to read over in May of 2016. The final version of the book is Rev 10 and the text for that was finished in March 2017. This scene would take place right after Chapter 5 in the final book, but as you are about to see, the timeline this scene existed in is very different from the final book.

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The Evolution of the Full Coverage Cover Art

One of the fun parts about self-publishing your own book is making your own cover art! I’ve dabbled in artsy stuff my whole life and my books are a fun way to go from amateur to semi-pro artist once in a while. The Full Coverage cover art changed pretty dramatically over the 6 months I was working on it. Below you can see a gallery of the evolution of the cover and if you click on each thumbnail you’ll see more info about each one. Enjoy!