I was having a discussion about my novel with a critique partner, and she pointed out this utterly simple idea, but it was something that had never once crossed my mind. I'm not sure if this just happens to me, but it turned out my plot and characters were so out-there that it was hard for her to relate to them. Here's what she suggested:
You know how Harry Potter was a world immersed in magic (once he went to Hogwarts), and yet he had some of the same trials of us normal people. People thinking him and Hermione are a thing, his best friends arguing with each other and putting him in the middle, his best friend being jealous of his popularity, getting good grades, getting up the nerve to ask for a date, etc. There just isn't anything like that in Guardians to ground us readers who are a little more speculative to worlds that aren't our norm.
It's something as simple as a character's flip-flop tearing up. Readers can be like: That's happened to me/my friend/my sister. And there's more sympathy there as well as a "real" feel to it.
So if you have a really out-there and fantastical plot, don't forget to make characters face those everyday trials and issues. That'll help the readers relate more to fantasy worlds and species. When the characters experience some of the same tiny details as we do, no matter how weird or psychotic the world and plot is, you'll still be able to connect with the readers on a personal level, and that will make them more interested in the story as a whole.
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