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So I recently had a discussion with a reader and who pointed out a significant flaw in my work that I hadn't seen.

When I first started writing my series, I had a trilogy in mind - based on exploring an alien species and the world they live on as well as our cultural imperialism over them. Think Avatar but WAY more in depth and critical of humanity's flaws. Each was supposed to explore the culture, mores and point of view of one of the subspecies. Decent idea, right? Especially if I could tie a narrative together that, hey, they know a lot of things that we don't and maybe they don't like us treating them like savage animals.

The thing is, readers don't care about non-human perspectives, so the first book left the realm of exploring a culture and entered humanity's situation on their new world. And that's entirely what it is. The story is compelling enough, the themes strong and the characters are developing nicely.

The problem comes in the fact that it IS going to be a series and a totally human-centered book leading off a series about aliens (even if it is from the viewpoint of these human characters) seems... hokey. It seems as though I will be forcing a story into a spot where it is unnecessary.

Thus I hit my conundrum. Do I try to meld this story, powerful and complete as it is, with the first culture, thus touching off the entire quadrilogy, now trilogy's, narrative? Or is there not space in a single book for that? Do I risk losing people with an over-complicated book? Can two entire objectives exist in a single narrative?

TL;DR Halp please. I'm lost and frightened.

  • Hi Gaius, welcome to Writers. As a Q/A site, we require a definite question to which we can give a definite answer. So far you have described a problem with your work and asked for help. That is really not definite enough for this format. Can you edit this into one (or more) definite question(s). As a hint, the title of your question should match the substance of your question. That is, the title should be a question. For a better idea of how things work here, please see writers.stackexchange.com/tour – user16226 Sep 26 '17 at 1:56
  • Hi Gaius. Your question is an important one, but only to you. It's the kind of thing which only affects your work, and can only be answered by someone who has read it. This is unfortunately not on-topic for us. – Lauren-Reinstate-Monica-Ipsum Oct 3 '17 at 17:05
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Why not write this as you have done, but add in a very compelling minor character from the alien species - one who is almost human enough to be relatable. When you've hooked us, with this 'prequel,' you start your trilogy with that character. You then have three books in the quadrilogy?, forming what we think of as a trilogy?

I'm starting a trilogy as well, but all the advice I have received to date is to make book one stand alone. (So I am passing that on to you.) I'm working on that angle, book one is stand-alone, BUT can be built off of. Several authors found success this way, and were able to build their worlds after a beginning stand-alone story on that world. Websites can be useful to help build worlds too.

btw yes, great idea, love when worlds are built out, don't give up.

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The thing is, readers don't care about non-human perspectives,

If you believe that, then why in the world would they buy your next three books? You have essentially told us that, you believe so strongly that you can't write a compelling story from an alien perspective, that you wrote an entire book from the human perspective instead!

The story you are "forcing" is the non-human stories you had hoped to write, but don't really believe in enough to write.

I suggest if you do anything other than publish the book you HAVE written, you revise it to maintain the human point of view but make the aliens more activist and prominent and rebelling. The civil rights of 1960's America, the taking of Native lands, with protests, strikes, brutality, imprisonments, despair, arson and rebellion.

Make your humans do what we assholes do, dehumanize people and treat them like garbage usually for exploitation and money and stealing their assets. And like we humans do, have some enlightened characters that can see that injustice and despair over their lack of power to stop it.

Except we have FTL spaceships and teleporters and replicators! (That's how Star Trek did the same thing, on many episodes.)

Your suggestions for alteration sound like messing up a good book. Learn the lesson you yourself wrote: Readers don't care about non-human perspectives. At least you couldn't get them to care, and that is all that counts. Accept it and figure out how to make your criticisms with a human perspective.

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