Too similar to another story?

by Uchiha Sasuke

Hi, I'm almost done with my novel (85,00 words, probably gonna end up being 95,000). In my novel, one of the main relationships is between two brothers. I recently discovered that Naruto, a popular manga, also has a relationship between two brothers.Now, my books relationship does not have the same story/plot as Naruto's, and the characters are not the same. But in both Naruto and my book, the younger brother thinks he has been betrayed but finds out with some twist that the older brother actually loved him. In Naruto, it's because the older brother made a huge sacrifice and gave up everything for the younger one. In my book, you realize that the older brother was having some pyschological problems that made him do something he later regretted Are people going to think I copied?


Answer: The short answer is no, for the following reasons...

1. People have been writing about relationships between brothers (often involving rivalry and betrayal) for thousands of years. The story of Cain and Abel in the Bible is but one example that later writers have drawn upon for their own stories. Before that, the ancient Sumerians were writing about rivalry between the brothers Enki and Enlil. Some story theorists, drawing upon Jungian psychology, see the relationship between almost every hero and villain as a symbol of sibling rivalry.

2. You cannot copyright ideas, only the expression of those ideas. Unless you're copying the actual words of another writer, you're not violating copyright.

The reason for this is that almost all stories and other works of art draw upon earlier works for inspiration. There are very few wholly original stories.

3. If, as you say, your plot and characters are your own creation, broad similarities are nothing to worry about. You are simply taking an classic situation and giving it your own unique treatment. Perfectly legit.

Of course, there are always some people who like to accuse others of copying, but these people are mostly uninformed.

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 Questions About Novel Writing.


 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