I received an email confirmation from Lulu concerning the review for Lifeline. The story’s content was indeed reviewed and compared to other, popular authors but not the way I originally believed. It was more a diagnosis of writing style versus the quality of the story itself (as far as grammatical, plot and characterization went). Here’s how they described Lifeline:
Unfortunately, I deleted the rest of the PDF file they sent me by mistake. While it described the plot as something that could be found in a sci-fi thriller, I did like that the program was able to accurately define the story’s makeup. Was this information enough for me to pay $50 to Helix to get the more in-depth review (which included finding an audience for the book)? Not really. The story isn’t completed yet. It’s a long way off from publishing. But Lulu is still accepting manuscripts for free review until the 31st. I submitted my YA fantasy, just to see how it stacks against Lifeline
, style-wise. Since I’m not locked into a particular genre, I find that my style changes according to the story I’m writing.
Which brings me to another subject: that of writing serial books. Renegade is part of a three book trilogy, The Shadow Conflict is comprised of two, and Lifeline has a high chance of being the first book in a series. I don’t actively set out to create multiple books in the same universe. They tend to come about depending on story progression. That’s most likely due to my pantser take on writing versus straight up plotting. I know other writers have divided opinions on those approaches. On the other hand, writing is a unique experience for all of us. Whether we spend months creating outlines, spreadsheets, character histories or write by the roll of the dice, the end result is the same: creation of something that wasn’t there before. I like to think of myself as an equal opportunity plotter/pantser. I lay enough groundwork to build on, and go from there. Sometimes this works in my favor, while other times it blows up in my face. Several stories have undergone countless rewrites because of complete character revamps. The Shadow Conflict is infamous for it. I can’t tell you how often I’ve changed things since its inception.
Renegade was originally intended to be a one-and-done book. A fun, fast-paced science fiction action/adventure that would give readers a movie-going experience. All that changed, of course. I found I really liked Simon’s character, so I went back in, rewrote the story, included some important plot points/characters and bam- suddenly Simon’s characterization is spread among three books. I don’t regret the decision; in fact, Exile and Savior take what I introduced in Renegade and make it better. The world these characters live in deserves to be fleshed out more. I’m lucky I haven’t let its size overwhelm the characters. I’ve written stories where the world was more of a character than those inhabiting it. That’s almost certainly a death sentence unless things change.
I’ve also decided to go back into Renegade to do more edits. I read it over recently, and gods are there so many clumsy sentences I overlooked. Once I’ve uploaded the new content, I will provide links for the updated release. Stylistically, Lifeline is a smoother read than Renegade. Can’t expect potential readers to pay for a shoddy example of my writing.