Contrived Everything + a Headdesk or two

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    So one of my recently finished projects is the first book in a trilogy. I spent only two weeks planning it (Bc I’m lazy like that) and wrote those 81,000 words in three months. My point being, I’m starting to plan the second book in the trilogy, but everything feelzzz …. contrived.

    Any tips on how I can avoid that and maybe add a bit more natural content (that actually sounds creative and exciting) to my characters and plot?

    Should I write a different story and come back? Should I brainstorm more? Should I do something that I’ve completely forgotten about???

    @kate @ethryndal @gabrielle-pollack ( I promise I’ll remember your tags eventually)


    *melts chair*

    The Fledgling Artist

    (Stalking this for advice relevant to my own project. 😜)

    "Though I'm not yet who I will be, I'm no longer who I was."

    Daeus Lamb

    Hey @snapper! Cool to see you again!

    I’m sure there’s something you can do to fix it. First of all, it might be fun to get a friend to read it and hear what they think, because they might really like it or parts of it. …And if they just say it feels contrived, well then, it won’t be a surprise.

    Personally, I’m wondering why you think it feels contrived? Does it maybe feel too stereotypical? Or does the style feel off? Maybe your characters lack believability?

    πŸ‘– 🐒🐒🐒🐒🐒


    @daeus-lamb Good to see you too! πŸ˜›

    Well, I haven’t exactly written anything for this book yet. Mainly, I’m trying to figure out why it feels contrived before I write it.

    My problem child right now is the villain. Because I didn’t thoroughly plan his motivations in the first book, he’s coming across as flat in the second book. So, I did a ton of brainstorming around his backstory and motivations and why this and why that and what he wants in the future.

    It all comes down to war.

    And I guess war felt contrived to me. Idk why it just seems to foolish for him toΒ justΒ want war.

    So I guess the answer to your question’s’ πŸ˜› is that it feels stereotypicalΒ andΒ that my villain lacks believability.

    *melts chair*

    Rachel Rogers

    My general approach to this sort of problem is to channel my inner two-year-old and ask “But why?” until something clicks. Follow the trail of whys and *eventually* you’ll have enough information and it won’t feel flat anymore OR you’ll realize that you’re headed down a dead-end and need to adjust something farther up.

    For instance…

    I have a supervillain in a story series I haven’t gotten around to writing yet. His name is Hemlock. He’s a June bug.

    What does he want? He wants to build a beetle army and take over the world.

    Why? Because beetles are better than everybody.

    Why? Because they don’t step on other animals and leave them for dead. (A vicious beetle-hater named Rachel stepped on him in the past and now he’s deformed.)

    But why take over the world??? Because…

    Etc. Etc. Etc.

    If you run into circular reasoning, where you end up going round and round, repeating your answers and getting nowhere, that’s also a sign that you need to adjust the story somewhere, or you need to dig into the backstory for more information.

    I hope that helps!

    Ambiverted INFP. Scribbles all the words. Names the plant friends. Secretly Edna the Piguirrel.

    Daeus Lamb

    @snapper Using Rachel’s process, you could probably make some good headway.

    I’m also willing to help. If you’d like, you could list how you’ve developed the villain so far and maybe those finer details will help me understand what type of potential he has.

    πŸ‘– 🐒🐒🐒🐒🐒

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