Books by Tom Reeve

Deleted Scenes: The Dreaded Infodump

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In my early drafts of Full Coverage (before meeting my awesome editor!) I fell into the same trap that many indie writers do. I described things in way too much detail and let the world building kill the pacing and drag the story down. In this Deleted Scene, we will go over one of the most egregious instances of this and what I did to fix it. 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 was the original beginning of the book. Kyle has been captured by the Latin Yakuza boss he was hired to kill and is chained the floor of the “event” cell with a machete stuck in his enhanced arm. In the final version of the book these events take place in Chapter 2, but this was the original start of the book until Rev 08. For comparison, the final released version of the book is Rev 10.

Why It Was Cut

Below are the first 952 words of Rev 05 of Full Coverage, which was the first version of the completed book that I felt comfortable sending out the friends to beta test back in October 2015. Right off the bat, I get sucked into over-describing everything. It takes 874 words before the first action by a person occurs and even that is just wiggling a machete by an unnamed character. All of it is just super in depth description of everything in the current scene down to minute details like the color of the pills Kyle is taking. It takes 1,599 words before anyone says anything and 1,708 words before our main character does anything. This is not a gripping way to begin an “action” novel for a reader who has never heard of you.  Would you stay with a book that takes nearly 7 pages before the main character does anything? It’s all world building and it totally drags.

What Was Changed?

Unlike the previous deleted scene, most of what is in this one actually made it to the final book in some form. The pills and enhancements Kyle has all stayed and the plot of this scene remained pretty much intact. The big change was in not dumping a ton of info to describe every odd/new/weird thing that is present in the scene all at once. Instead, I moved those descriptions to places in the story where they actually affect the plot and trimmed down on the length of time spent describing them. The reinforced eardrums for example, are now described when an explosion goes off next to Kyle instead of just being dumped into the middle of scene. His plasticized skin is mentioned when he gets stabbed and so on.

The other big change was in moving this from the very beginning to Chapter 2. That way instead of just hearing about all the destruction and havoc Kyle caused we can actually see it and his flaw (lazy approach to his work) first hand.

The Deleted Scene

Below is the original opening to Rev 05 of Full Coverage up until the first character action (the drop of sweat doesn’t count as a character). Please learn from my example of what not to do and do not start any book with an infodump like this:

A single drop of sweat formed on the brow of Kyle Soliano’s head just below his neatly trimmed, lightly gelled, short spiky black hair. The drop of sweat then started its journey down his forehead, sliding over his perfectly tanned skin. Unlike a natural skin tan, this not the result of careless UV exposure, but was instead caused by pills designed to increase the melanin in one’s skin without the need for risking cancer. These pills were dark brown.

          The drop of sweat curved around Kyle’s eyebrows and orbited around one his new eyes. Both of them had been recently replaced after he lost his previous ones during an ill-fated bout with a flamethrower. He had decided to try green this time.

          These new eyes had not been transplanted from anybody else, living or dead. Instead, they had been custom made for Kyle using a bio-printer, a type of 3D printer capable of printing human tissue. The model that had printed these new eyes for Kyle had been a very high-end version that was also capable of printing electrical circuits at the same time. Each eye featured a printed in antenna, camera and screen that provided an internal heads up display that only Kyle could see linked to his phone.

          Kyle’s head jerked back and the drop of sweat rolled towards his ears. The reinforced eardrums inside his ears could withstand a grenade going off at close range, standing next to a jet engine at full blast or an indie bass player’s devastating eight minute long feedback solo. The pills that provided this effect were pearly white.

          Gravity pulled the drop of sweat down over Kyle’s neck. If his captors had not removed his shirt, the drop’s journey would have ended there as it was absorbed and dissipated into the atmosphere by the sweat wicking and bullet resistant fabric. Fortunately for the drop of sweat, that shirt was lying in the far corner of the twenty by twenty event cell that Kyle now found himself chained to the floor of. The shirt was covered in a small amount of Kyle’s blood and a substantial amount of blood from the first five people who had tried to capture him. The sole survivor of that group now stood to the side of the shirt glaring at Kyle, clutching at an arm that had managed to stay attached despite Kyle’s best efforts.

          The drop of sweat slid across Kyle’s chest towards his left arm. Plasticizers in his skin served as a slide for the sweat and as an additional barrier against the occasional knife, all while giving Kyle’s chest that extra bit of shine. The pills that replenished this armor coating as it was gradually shed off were clear.

          As the drop of sweat continued down Kyle’s arm it did not encounter a single body hair. Just like all people who could afford it, Kyle took pills to prevent unwanted body hair from growing in the first place. A special accessory cream was required in any areas where hair was still desired, like the top of Kyle’s head, but full Chihuahua looks on new users who skimped on the accessories were still commonly seen in public. Those pills were purple.

          The drop of sweat ran down Kyle’s shoulder and over his enormous bicep. The rock hard muscles in Kyle’s body were not the product of a dedicated workout regimen. In fact, Kyle hated going to the gym and had not been inside one in years. The muscles bugling underneath his skin were the result of his favorite pills, which were loaded with enzymes to convert fat into muscle. Gyms were for hippies and poor people who couldn’t afford the good drugs. Kyle loved cheeseburgers and he was always too lazy to go to the gym consistently. One little pill took care of both problems as it allowed him to get ripped from eating cheeseburgers without needing to lift weights like a chump. These pills were dark green.

          Enzymes that convert excess fat into muscle are not naturally occurring in humans, so Kyle had to take the cheeseburger pills  every other week to replace the ones that were flushed out of his system. If he didn’t take any of his pills on the prescribed schedule, the effects of all of them would eventually wear off. The more unnatural a modification, the more often the pills had to be taken. The most unnatural pills came in suppository form to allow for better absorption into the bloodstream through the intestinal tract. Kyle did not take any of those pills.

          The drop of sweat continued down past Kyle’s elbow where it ended it’s journey as it mixed in with the blood seeping out from the wound surrounding the sword stuck in his arm. His blood was dark and thick, like red syrup, fueled by pills that made it extra dense and oxygen rich for better athletic performance and increased diving depth. These pills were black and had to be taken in conjunction with the cheeseburger pills since a normal human heart would not be able to pump the sap-like fluid through a person’s veins, much less a six-foot-five Samoan who was on his knees with a sword stuck in his arm.

          The owner of the sword wiggled it around again but it remained stuck in one of Kyle’s silicate reinforced bones like a knife stuck in a brick during a failed infomercial. When Kyle got new limbs printed, he always opted for the silicate reinforcement for his bones in addition to the plasticized reinforcing for his skin. Gray pills had to be taken once a month to keep the amount of silicate in his bones at optimal performance levels.

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