Story similarities.

by Peter

Obviously I don't have the time to look through every story revolving around alternate universes to see whether my storyline is similar to another, but as of late I've been really concerned about whether I am doing one similar to a story done before.

"Angra Mainyu destroyed the modern world in ten days leaving only a few hundred humans and mortal gods, who are both mortal and powerless, alive. However now Angra Mainyu sets his sights on an alternate world, a world that his brother will not let him destroy. From both sides of the two earth's, the heroes fight separate battles for survival. It's two worlds against one enemy."

That's a brief outline of my storyline. Should I continue worrying or just plow through on with writing?

Many thanks.

Answer: See below, but definitely keep writing. If you make your story the best it can be, it will be unique, and any similarities will be only on a structural level, not an illustration level. For instance, there are lots of stories about someone shipwrecked on an island. But all of them are different and nothing stops anyone from writing another shipwreck story.

Click here to post comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Plot Invite.

Plot question.


Question: "My plot revolves around a villain that discovers the secrets of traveling between alternate universes but is sent through by an invader from the opposing universe who wants to spread anarchy and evil to feed his power. With time running out, Seth must find a way to save his world whilst trapped in another. With allies on both worlds, it's two worlds against one enemy."

That's a vague outline of my story, it's more character driven then story. However I'm worried that a book out there may have something similar, of course I do not have time to look through every book and film to see if it's okay to write but should I just continue writing and not stress myself out? I am fairly confident it's an original storyline. Any help would be appreciated.


Answer: There are very few wholly original ideas, which is why ideas cannot be copyrighted.

However, give twenty writers the same initial idea and they will create twenty different books.

This is especially true if you are writing a strongly character-driven book. If the characters are original and the style is uniquely yours, that counts for a lot.

Also, even if the general structure or pattern of your plot is similar to other stories, you will be fine if the way you illustrate this structure--the specific events, settings, etc.--is uniquely yours.

Just as Harry Potter and Star Wars share many similarities, yet are quite different stories, any number of unique stories can follow similar plot structures.

You probably shouldn't worry too much about trying to discover if there are any stories similar to yours. It would be a lot of work. Besides, if you find one, that will only increase the chances that you might accidentally borrow from it. Just focus on writing your story, and then you will have to rely on your own imagination.

Comments for Plot question.

Click here to add your own comments

Apr 17, 2014
Re: Plot Question
by: Todd Rogers

There is a saying that everything that can be invented has been invented; which just means you will likely never invent anything that's not either already been patented or in the very least conceptualized.

Thank goodness ideas cannot be copyrighted, just characters, names of things like weapons or races of alien cultures can be for the most part.

For instance, I am writing a trilogy. Started nearly 30 years ago when I was but 15.

One part of the trilogy had a new propulsion system being tested, which was then sabotaged and then my characters were flung to the ends of the universe and nearly destroyed in the process.

They had to find their way home and it took them 35 years to do it.

The story is still unpublished, however, in January 1995, just 10 years after the basis of my story ideas was put to paper in note form, a premiered on UPN called..oh I dunno if you've ever heard of it...STAR TREK: VOYAGER? LMAO! (Whose ever heard of that show? *scoffs!*)

I (including me).

It seems to me that your story plot mimicks the Star Trek: Mirror Universe books and TV shows.

You can find a couple of Mirror Universe episodes in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, The Original Series, as well as a few books on the subject that I am sure you can download in electronic book or audiobook format using a Kindle/iPad.

Apr 17, 2014
To Todd
by: Glen

I would also add that the idea for "Star Trek: Voyager" goes back to Homer's "Odyssey," written 2,800 years ago, which is the story of a ship that goes off course and visits many strange worlds while trying to find its way home. Of course, Janeway is more successful than Odysseus, in that most of her crew survive. (For that matter, let's not forget the TV series "Lost in Space.")

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Plot Invite.

 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook

NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles

"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards

"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero