Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Lucy E., May 25, 2008.
The only ridiculous thing about it is calling a species the Anti-something else. Give them a proper name. Other than that it sounds like a great idea. The only two things to bear in mind are why do they suspect Ascandra, and make sure that Sharon Pratt is a part of the story from early on otherwise it will jar dramatically. For example, in HP and the PS Snape is established as the villain and then at the last minute JKR pulls a fast one and reveals that its actually Quirrel, but Quirrel has been involved in the story since the beginning. If she had revealed that the villain was not Snape but an unknown character only introduced at the last minute then that wouldn't have gone down so well.
It does not sound too ridiculous, but it does sound very derivative of work by a certain Mrs Rowling, as I'm sure you are aware. Then again, she plagiarised a lot of stuff, so I don't see why she shouldn't get a taste of her own Quidditch. However, it will be seen as derivative, there's no escaping that. Neither does it sound too unbelievable, unless you make it so by writing it in an unconvincing manner. So, two challenges await you on a blank page.
Also, I notice you are in the UK, so be careful about writing a story set in a location with which you may not be familiar, that's a potential minefield.
Incidentally, you have been working on a novel for the past three or four months. They would only be the last three or four months if you were expecting to die, or for the world to end, or you did not intend to work on it any longer.
How is that plot anything like what JK Rowling wrote? Her MC is an English schoolboy who finds out that he is a wizard, attends a magical school and tries to defeat the wizard who killed his parents. My MC is an Obsessive-Compulsive New Yorker who, along with his parents, tries to rid New York City of an antagonistic newsreader and her elfin posse. I'd appreciate it if you could explain how Ms. Rowling's plot and my own are even remotely similar.
Incidentally, 'past three or four months' makes no grammatical sense where I live.
I did not say the plot was anything like that which JK Rowling wrote, I said it was derivative of her work. But as such, they are not remotely similar, they are very similar.
To compare: Both main protagonists are in the same age range, both have wizard skills, which in both cases are hereditary, both are targetting the same age group in terms of readership, both have an opposite sex, similarly-aged companion, with similar abilities, who is also a love interest, which facilitates focusing on teenage problems, both are bullied, both have to battle evil, both have a subordinate character later revealed to be one of the main rivals, both have an initial rival who becomes an ally. Ad infinitum...
I realise that you may be unhappy at someone suggesting your idea might not be completely original Lucy, but that is no reason to take a condescending tone, particularly on a thread in which you asked for opinions. It's not a flattering persona to adopt, and if you note my closing comment on this post, it would be worthwhile you doing so.
In fairness, your age does explain the why of why you are writing about a thirteen year-old, but it does not alter what the reader sees on the page - a thirteen year-old boy who is a wizard. Mention that to anyone even vaguely aware of literature, and you know what they will say, to think otherwise is merely to fool yourself, and you are clearly no fool, as evidenced by your command of English.
Similarly-stanced repudiations of observations regarding inherent similarities, do not alter the fact that they are nonetheless similarities. Likewise, splitting hairs about whom is the bully or abuser of your protagonist does not alter the fact that they are put upon, and in a comparable vein, a love interest does not have to come to fruition to be a love interest.
Unrequited love is one of the major literary devices of a great deal of fiction, and Rowling's characters are no exception to that. When fictional character pairings are of opposite sexes, and particularly when they are going through puberty, there is always an element of gender politics or tension there. JK Rowling knew this when she chose to create the characters she did; for an author who has amassed a personal fortune of over 250 million quid from writing, it's stretches credibility to breaking point to imagine she was not using such literary devices, especially in view of the target readership. She is on record as having stated one of the main characters in her tales was homosexual too, despite this never having been anything other than a sub text in the tale, and it is not the only sub text of a sexual nature in the tale by any means. You might have missed it, but I can assure you that it was in there.
The chronological placement of events in your tale may differ, but if the events are the same, then they are the same. Simple as that. And whether characters team up or not, if they fight the same enemy, they are by definition allies in the context of the tale.
There are only seven types of story in the world, so there's little need to get defensive if yours has similarities to others, but blindly gainsaying comparisons and cloaking yourself in denials is not the same as striving to avoid them.
Why would I be clutching at straws? What do I have to lose that would make me clutch at straws?
Really, it makes no difference to me whether your tale is either entirely different or a carbon copy; but you asked for an opinion and you got one. I merely offered some help by replying to the request you made on the opening post of the thread. And if you cannot see that explaining sarcasm (which it wasn't by the way - look it up) is condescending, not to mention patronising, particularly to someone who replies to your request, then that's unfortunate.
An accusation may be unfounded, but fact is a fact, and the fact is that your premise does resemble JK Rowling's work. You'll note that I wasn't the only one to make the connection too. That's it, no straw clutching, it does.
I'm sorry if you are upset, but at no point did you mention that your work was a cathartic process, you merely asked for opinions, and that is what you got. You'll also note that you got some helpful advice too on my first reply.
I never at any point expressed an opinion that your work was a 'pile of trash' (read through my posts if you don't believe me, I've never said that to anyone, nor would I). I've not read it, so how could I possibly know one way ot the other? In point of fact, you might have noticed I said the complete opposite, when I stated that you were clearly no fool and had a good command of the English language (go ahead, check, that's what I said).
Again you misinterpret my comments. Read what I actually stated, not what you think I said. So, I stated that JK Rowling herself had plagiarised work, and that maybe she would deserve to have the same thing happen to her, not that you had done so. All I suggested in my original comparison was that it was derivative. Look that one up too whilst you have your dictionary out, it does not mean copied, it means derived from, as in inspired by. There is nothing wrong with being inspired by something, we would be pretty short of ideas around here if that didn't happen.
If you ask for opinions, you should not be surprised when you get them, and should be resilient enough to take ones which you do not like. I can promise that any opinions I offer will never be intended to belittle someone, or their work, but only to offer assistance. Sometimes that advice is not palatable when relating to something someone calls their own, but it is offered in the spirit of trying to help. When it is met with condescention and sarcasm, who should feel hurt? you, or I?
I hope you don't quit the forums, you clearly have ability, but sometimes a writer has to have a thick skin too.
Incidentally, the people who are giving you a hard time; don't give them the satisfaction of being upset by their mean and frankly disgraceful behaviour. I'm willing to bet that most of them do it to divert attention away from their own inadequacies. So just think about how tragic that makes them when they try and put you down, and hang tough, you are worth ten of them, and they probably know it.
Please do make the truce. Oh, and Lucy, I have advice for you! I'm 14 years old, and when I started writing it was very derivative at first (I'm not saying your work is derivative, in fact it is quite interesting). However, I kept writing and reading, and my plot-creation skills and writing skills developed at a fast pace. I'm not saying I'm an expert, every writer will learn new things with the pass of time.
What I'm saying is go on with your story. Write it.
And if other people make you feel like a freak, I have advice for you (wether it works or not I cannot tell, as I have not passed through that.):
-If that's in school, tell you parents you want to change to another school.
-You're not the only one with the interests you have. Always be with your friends in this kind of moments, they will encourage you and help you.
And lastly, this forums do have encouraging opinions. Mine counts as one, as I hope I'm encouraging you.
Hey Lucy, we don't need a truce, we were never at war. And don't you apologise for a thing, I'd rather someone was passionate about their writing than prepared to just roll over and take it!
Anyone that passionate about what they write, can hardly fail to end up good at it. So you keep fighting, but not against me, you're a bit too good at that too for my liking! (Al takes off his tin hat).
the kid's only twelve, al, so i don't see that nit-picking at her poor choice of expressions and words is going to get you anywhere, or do any good... and since there's little chance of what she's writing [at that young age] being published, it's all moot, anyway, innit? ;-)
i think what al's trying to do is introduce you to the harsh, cruel world of literary critics, which you'll have to deal with eventually, if you hope to be a published author some day... you might as well learn early, to save you a bruised ego later on... lashing out at those who are trying to be helpful won't do you any good or get you anywhere... it'll just get you a rep for being 'difficult' and 'arrogant'... not an image any professional writer would strive for...
now, kiss and make up, you two... and stop that squabbling! ;-)
love and hugs, 'mamma'maia
You've written five novels already? Christ. I'm twenty and I've only written two. Excluding the one I'm working on now.
Now I'm the one who feels inadequate.
I didn't really see anything derivative from Harry Potter in there at all, apart from the whole Child Wizard Saves World thing, and to be honest that ain't Harry Potter, that's Young Adult Fantasy full stop.
Write your story, I'd love to see some of it in the review section.
There are four Rambo films and there's one Casablanca. Think about it.
Wow. The last 3 pages were interesting.
The story itself doesn't sound ridiculous to me. It doesn't seem like something I would personally be interested in, but then again I'm not in the age group you're intending.
Lucy, you have a very extensive knowledge of english, and because of that I don't see why you should sell yourself short claiming that you cannot write for an older age group. Yeah, you may not have the experiences of being an adult and being able to relate to that, but you can definitely write in that age group. It's all about what kind of story you tell.
Most adults probably don't want to read about two kids that can spit fireballs going after an evil being, but that's fine. Keep rolling with your idea. I'm personally surprised you would ask the question of whether it sounds ridiculous when you are clearly so passionate about it. Isn't that what the purpose of writing is? If we can't be passionate about what we're writing then why are we doing it? I personally don't want to write about what someone else thinks is the bees knees. I want to write about my interests.
All that being said, you have a fine story here with lots of potential and you're very smart so you'll pull it off just fine. Good luck
Lucy, I didn't think your story resembled JKR to any degree that mattered. I mean, we could look at nearly everyone's work and say it was derived of someone elses. I think you touched on that in one of your posts. I think the story sounds interesting! And... as far as your age... One of my biggest pet peeves of all time was/is: Wait until you're such and such age... you will understand. I was told that in my teens. "Wait until you're 21... you'll see". 21 came and went with no difference to my life at all. Then it was "wait until you're 25...", "wait until you're 30...", and so on. Some of the most mature people I know are far younger than I am and some of the most immature people I know are far older than I am. What matters is you... and your choices in life. Not your age.
I know a lot of people will disagree, but I just wanted to encourage you. Nearly anything is possible if you fight and work hard. It might be hard and you will probably be rejected a lot along the way. Who cares about that though? That is life.
I think you are very smart and carry yourself with a lot of strength. You go girl! Keep up the good work!
Separate names with a comma.