Books by Tom Reeve

Another Year Another Book: The Gray Shift Plan v1

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Well it’s new years resolution time and what better way to kick off the new year than to start on a new book. I haven’t really done much writing wise since I stopped running the Facebook Ads for Full Coverage. My goal this year is to self publish at least one more book. Sorry this won’t be a sequel to Full Coverage (though I am collecting ideas for that right now and if all goes to plan that will be the 4th book I self publish), but this will instead be something completely different. I haven’t quite nailed down the tone I want yet but it will be called The Gray Shift and will be a Dr. Strangelove meets 24 dark satirical thriller sort of thing. It’s always tricky explaining how the various bits of my books come together (Well, you see there’s assassins and bioprinting and health insurance and they all go together in a way that makes sense. Wait, where are you going?) especially when I haven’t even finished the outline yet.

I work best off a checklist since checking boxes makes me happy, so I went back and looked at how long the various steps of Full Coverage took and put together what seems like a realistic timeline for starting, editing, finishing and publishing my next book before the end of the year while still working a more than full time engineering job. Most of these things are linear and have to be done in order. I shouldn’t write the book before I outline it since that will take longer overall. I can’t send it out for edits before I finish it, etc. I can however, do things like the cover art (I do all my own) and Facebook ads pretty much anytime I want but I find the dead time while my work is out for editing is the best time to work on those since it gives me a nice alternative creative break between long periods of pure writing.

This is a “realistic” schedule and I tried to give myself aggressive, but still realistic goals. I assumed the book would come out to ~75,000 words and that I could average out 7,000 words per week during the first draft and first post-edit pass, which is only 1,000 words a day or about an hour per day per week. That means it would take about 11 weeks to get a first draft done at that rate. If I can go faster on the writing then that will pull the schedule in a bit. The other critical path item is the outline, which I can’t send out to my awesome editor until I am happy with it. Since this will be a completely different genre and tone from my last book, I gave myself two months to get it to the point where I would be comfortable sending it out for feedback, but if I can pull that in then everything else will speed up too.

You’ll notice that I have multiple passes planned for both the outline and the drafts themselves. I found while writing Full Coverage that I write best doing 3 chapters at a time and then going back and doing 3 passes on those 3 chapters for edits before moving on to the next 3. If I follow this plan I will have rewritten the outline 6 times and the book itself 8 times. It’s not quite 10 drafts, but it’s very close and if I do drastic edits it may go up to 10. The hope is that all those passes will help with catching bugs in the story and the text and result in the best story I can write in the most efficient way. We’ll see how this goes once the plan collides with reality.

Below you’ll find version 1 of my plan for writing The Gray Shift in 13 not so easy steps in under a year.

the gray shift plan v1

For those of you wondering when the next Kyle Soliano book will hit, my current publishing plans are:

  1. The Gray Shift
  2. Sequel to The Gray Shift
  3. Sequel to Full Coverage

I already have names picked for # 2 and # 3, but I don’t want to spoil the surprises just yet 🙂

Tune in next time when I go over how I’m outlining this thing!

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