Repetition in plot with a Upper MG series?

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The Second Moon

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I really want to write this Upper MG series where the plot for each book is kind of similar. All the main antagonists will be the planets personified. Basically, they hatched out of the planets as if the planets were eggs.


Each book will feature a different monster who hatched out of one of the seven planets (excluding Earth). I'm worried though, that this will get too repetitive. Like the readers will already know what's going to happen in each book. I think that in Lower MG you can do this, make the plots similar, but can you do this for sure in Upper MG without it getting repetitive?
 

Kat M

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I tend to read lower middle-grade, but my gut is telling me you're right, that's way too repetitive. I'm thinking of two books my sister and I loved as children. We each took one when we moved out because the books were pretty much THE SAME STORY.

It used to drive me nuts as a kid, but I think many writers start with a repetitive premise and then throw monkeywrenches in it to make the story interesting. This early in the morning, the only title I could think of was T.A. Barron's The Seven Songs of Merlin. The main character starts out with a straightforward task: learn seven magical skills and restore health to the island. It even levels up like a video game every time he gets a magical skill. But life—and the character—keep interrupting this task. He takes a detour to show off his magic and almost kills his mother, he has to go on side quests to heal his mother, he tries to skip steps with disastrous results, etc. And that's one book in the series. If you look at the whole series, you have a very similar premise for each book (it's a quintet): Magical island is threatened. Wizard boy/chosen one is the only one who can stop it. He has to conquer his hubris to successfully save the world. But the threats are many and varied and every single time the MC learns a devastating lesson which makes him far more palatable of a character in the next book. (I love the series, which is well-written, but am not a fan of the MC, sorry for the snark.)

So what I'm suggesting is, you could start out with your premise (which, as usual, is incredibly creative—seriously, how do you come up with this stuff?!), but then interrupt it and vary it up to make it interesting.
 

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