dealing with potentially genre breaking transitions
So I am rewriting a novel mostly because I was very sloppy at the beginning before and did not flesh out my main character well in fact I did a piss poor job of it
what I had for what would be book 1 is now book 2 so I know the major plot points I want to hit later
but this is about what is now book one (which was previously a three-chapter prologue) that I am extending into a full book.
big problem here is that (new) book 1 takes place entirely on earth the protag knows very little at first but learns enough to get by about the supernatural/extradimensional elements of earth (think hidden magic underworld that the government and powerful people know about but the general populace is not privy to)
anyway, things are mostly peaceful, and not that much happens. not much action in the first book aside from some scuffles and major plot points, I'm thinking of adding some filler fights/ chapters to pad out the book and give room for development (I like the idea of introducing cryptids, not hunted for public safety but more for secrecy)
I have 3 major problems I need to solve:
1. Genre shift of mystery to adventure and all of the supporting characters from before are made irrelevant no way to get in contact with them
2. book 2 flips the table, stomps on it, and then sets everything on fire from book 1, its a new world and it is not playing by the same rules
3. both books are focused on training and character development involving a lot of the same skills and some new ones and I fear things getting to repetitive. The mc has to work hard and for a long time to get the skills, he has, in book 1 he is a certified badass, in book 2 he finds out that he was just a big fish in a VERY small pond and those skills of his are not up to par.
My main concern here is alienating readers with the genre and world shift, when my MC gets death yeeted by this novels equivalent of truck-kun at the end of book 1
also any tip on balancing power systems so I don't Gary Stu my protagonist, I want to keep my character grounded in what we would call the "early game" of cultivation novels so any tips that keep that from getting stale are welcome.
Basically put, you will need to pander to them if you want those specific people to stay. If you don't, you may read ahead.
There are two ways I will recommend to go about making this twist help your story. One, you can turn this realization into something that changes the tone, shocking the reader with some sort of twist, but don't forget to build some suspense as the reader learns more about the outside world before that twist!
This is the most difficult choice and requires much care to get done right. While it may get the readers invested, it has a high risk of alienating your audience if done wrong.
Then, there is getting your readers excited for the dive into a new world. Sure, they are losing a lot in the process, but if you give them a good reason to stay invested in the main character and their journey, they'll stick to it. Even better, if you're looking to keep the power fantasy readers, give the protagonist something to give them an edge, kickstarting and enhancing their progression.
While I said earlier that some readers will leave, that isn't assured. Keep the readers invested, and they will grow to either like what you've written, despite their qualms, or choose to leave, understanding your story is no longer for them.
a quick breakdown of book 1
prologue is a Classic start at the end start. it opens with the protag dying, (and he actually dies, but gets transmigrated to book 2 and beyond) and then we rewind to the event that kicks everything off
Tragic event kickstarts book 1 and makes mc hit rock bottom followed with a sense of being watched by an apathetic god
Very short time skip like sequence of MC descending into alcoholism and paranoia
general char development and slow reveal of information
circumstances behind tragedy and the method it was carried out is revealed (but with a twist)
Info causes protag to join a cause
Book 2 explains the who/what is behind the tragedy in book 1 fairly early on and makes it clear that earth and the MC aren't jack shit in the grand scheme of things and that the MC is being forced to take part in a grand cosmic game of sorts due to certain mechanisms of how the world works
Lets just say that there are in world explanations for how a lot of the normal narrative devices work
the short and sweet of it is that every sentient being possesses a record (akashic record) and people who have a certain amount of potential (hero's villains etc) act like a magnet pulling bad and or good things there way in order to achieve growth (which is the goal of the akashic records) be it through tragedy or something else.
The MC is being forced to take the hero's journey, and he does not want to. His goal is to escape it as soon as he becomes aware of this fact. after all who likes pain and suffering.
Mc if forced to keep moving along the path because he is not strong enough to defy the forces keeping him on it. so he is trying to find some way to escape them and just survive, which means chasing down leads and getting stronger.
these themes pretty much define book 2 onwards
I think book 2 on will be easy to write, but I need advice on how to handle that massive transition.
Yeah, then you're fine. If your first story's inciting incident connects really well with this change, the readers should stay invested for the most part.
Your protagonist may not have agency, though, which could be an issue. As long as the audience likes the guy, they should like the story. That's my take.
how should I put this, the basis of a lot of my worldbuilding is that the characters are somewhat cognizant of common elements in writing
the idea of record more or less encompasses how plot armor works and explains why some people (protagonists) always find themselves getting into trouble. except for the fact that people In the world know that it exists. so if someone goes and does something incredibly stupid and survives by some miracle, the person on the other side is going to kill that person, burn the body, and destroy the soul because they are NOT going to entertain plot armor shenanigans.
the whole book is meant to I guess knock on the fourth wall, not to break it but more to confirm that it's there. there are lots of things in the world of the book that represents elements behind the fourth wall.
I don't like overpowered protagonists, I like the ones that work through the blood and the grit to earn the power they have. and I honestly like the idea of a protag that wants to rebel against the author
its basically one big fat thought experiment rolled into a novel.