by Noah Trevor

Question: I'm trying to write a book like Game of Thrones, but don't want to copy it, any advice?

Answer: Yes. Don't copy it.

Okay, let me be a little more helpful.

Ask yourself what it is you like about Game of Thrones. Is it the journey of a particular character or characters? Is it the fantasy world, including the setting, the technology (e.g. swordplay), the magic system, the power politics, etc.? Is it the scale of the story? Is it the theme? The plot?

Once you know what you like, you can design a story that may be similar on an abstract level, but also different.

For example, when The Lord of the Rings was published, it began a wave of interest in high fantasy stories set in worlds where magic and mythological creatures existed and technology was similar to the Bronze Age. GoT owes something to Tolkein's legacy.

While you can say all these stories fall into the same genre, all of them are unique.

For instance, some fantasy writers just wanted to write about swordplay and fights involving rogues (like Aragorn) and evil wizards (like Saruman). This led to the subgenre Sword & Sorcery.

Others were interested in the power struggles between various kingdoms and peoples (e.g. Gondor vs. Mordor), so a lot of fantasy books focus on the politics. They also drew upon medieval romance literature for this.

Others were interested
in the hero's journey (e.g. Frodo) so they created stories about innocent nobodies becoming heroes.

Some people who like the exploration of underground catacombs (e.g. Moria or the Lonely Mountain) created the game Dungeons and Dragons, and many other similar role-playing games.

Others were fascinated by magic and invented complex fantasy magic systems.

You have to decide what interests you.

At the same time, ask yourself what you don't like about GoT. What improvements would you like to have made? Maybe a little less of X and a little more of Y?

When you know what kind of story you want to write, what the most essential elements you want to include, what you feel most passionate and inspired to write about, change everything else. Change the stuff you didn't like and the stuff you feel indifferent to.

If the world is what you care about, replace all the names. Replace everything in that world with things that have a similar essence (the essence that you care about) but are externally different (and better).

Then change the characters, the plot, the story problem. Replace them with ones that excite or interest you even more.

Keep doing this until you have a story that still has the essence of what excited you about GoT, but is now totally different -- and even more exciting.

This may take a lot of thought and time, but the result will be well worthwhile.

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