Too similar to another story

by Marissa
(Cincinnati)

Question: Ok so I got an idea for a book after reading Vampire Academy and that's about a girl who's a guardian and they are half vampire and half human and they're meant to protect the mortal vampires from the evil immortal vampires and she's her best friend's guardian and she's in love with her mentor.


The idea I have for my book is about people called protectors and they aren't half vampire they're just special and they protect the world from all supernatural creatures and they have an alliance with the mortal vampires and they have to fight the immortal vampires but there are also other supernatural creatures like werewolves, witches, and a few others and it's not about romance or anything like Vampire Academy but I think it might be way too similar and I have an idea and if I do it it will change it a lot and it definitely wouldn't be that similar so my question is do you think they sound too similar and I should change the idea?

Answer: First, you should know that ideas cannot be copyrighted, only the expression of those ideas. Many story ideas have been used again and again.

Also, if you were to give ten writers the same idea and tell them to write a story based on it, you would get ten stories that are vastly different from each other.

That said, if you are working with an idea that is similar to a popular story, it is often good to dress the idea in new clothes. By that, I mean you can keep the core of the story idea, but create original characters and settings. (For instance, do you have to use the word "vampires"? Would another supernatural creature do, maybe one that's your own creation?)

Along the same lines, you can take a basic idea and create twists on it that make the story original and all your own. For instance, Harry Potter was a twist on the boarding school story (combining it with an old revenge plot idea). I haven't read Vampire Diaries, but for all I know the author might have begun with the idea of doing a Harry Potter-like story, but with vampires instead of wizards and with a girl protagonist. Another example is the City of Bones series, which began as Harry Potter fan fiction. Doing twists on an existing idea is a great way to create a story that appeals to fans of a popular book without looking like a cheap knock-off.

You can go a long way towards finding good twists by just asking yourself a lot of "what if" questions about a popular idea to discover new possibilities.

Best of luck.

Comments for Too similar to another story

Click here to add your own comments

Feb 26, 2014
Re:
by: Marissa

Thank you. That really helped because when I come up with an idea I always feels it's to similar to another.

Jul 05, 2016
Great Article
by: Anonymous

Thanks so much for this! Really helped me loads. Appreciate it :):)

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 Questions About Novel Writing.