I don't have the answer. This is a pondering out loud thread. Feel free to ponder with me, read my ramblings or ignore the thread as you please. So I look at my book and I'm very happy it's coming together quite nicely. I think it is definitely better than a lot of stuff I've read. I'm not worried about that part. But then GoodReads sends me the monthly YA news letter with book after book of popular works that are getting good reviews. It changes the game. Now I find myself looking at a sea of good books. Not a sea of best sellers, but a sea of books that are interesting and fairly well written. So my Universe contemplating is currently moving into, how do I make my good book stand out against a sea of good books? One thing I think does make my book different is, for better or worse, there are no mythical creatures, no magic powers, no big war or battles, no quests for power or other mystical thing, and while there is romance, it's not the focus of the story. So I have to spice my story up with other things that will make it stand out, make it a fun exciting world to delve into. When and how much should I exaggerate, and when should I stick with realism? You want the reader to feel the impact or your words. But you don't want them to balk because you stepped too far. I'm not a fan of Divergent. Those dystopias which give human beings a culture I cannot see evolution ever taking us don't appeal to me. Yet Hunger Games exaggerated class divides and that didn't bother me, perhaps because it wasn't a stretch.