1. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    Is my novel too similar to this novel I'm reading...

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Youniquee, Sep 7, 2013.

    Hello all :)

    I picked up a YA book a few weekends ago...I've been reading it and while I like it, I've starting to notice really big similarities between this novel and the one I'm currently writing. Yes, I know all ideas are taken and nothing is original...while I'm laughing at how similar it is, it's also a bit...concerning.

    Similarities:
    - Both written in first person, present tense
    - Both are males as the narrators
    - Both characters are quite witty and sarcastic
    - Both have issues with their dad
    - Both of their parents are divorced
    - Both of them live with their mother
    - Both find out that their dad does something, and gets upset over it
    - Both break down/spill said thing that gets them upset, to girl of interest.
    - Both set in Britain

    But thankfully there's differences~

    - My character is 16, while MC in the other novel is 14 (A year 9 compared to a Year 11 is quite different imo)
    - My character moves from Ireland to London, putting him in a whole new setting
    - The novel I'm reading mostly revolves around getting a girl, my novel has a romance aspect, but focuses on more than that
    - Story structure is completely different

    ...There's probably more but I've not finished reading the novel yet. I'm a bit concerned though...should I change some aspects of mine? Or am I just making a big deal out of those similarities.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If the similarities were limited to plot, I wouldn't worry about it. But you're saying your main character is similar to the one you're reading about - that concerns me more. I think readers respond to characters; strong characters are memorable and will be remembered long after details of plot are forgotten.

    I hope the tones and themes of the novels are entirely different. If they're not, then your story may be too similar to the one you're reading.
     
  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    As you've described the similarities, they are very generic and could probably apply to dozens of YA stories. A lot of us look the same at the backbone level, but quite differently fleshed out.
     
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  4. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Okay, not saying this is you but when I was younger and writing young adult stories a lot of my picks were not based on things I knew or could relate to but on current trends - divorced parents, rebellious mc's, ear piercings and wild clothes - it was the 80s - lol. My stories were definitely flimsy regurgitating only what I had read.
    I'm not saying that's you but if you recognise any hint of falling into this trap I definitely suggest changing some things.
     
  5. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    What GingerCoffee said. When I read your OP, I was like "ok, when do we get to the similarities I'd also be concerned about?"

    I had already conceived a female character when I started to read Patricia Briggs's Mercy Thompson -novels. Not only was my MC a colored young woman, a mechanic, has a passion to one single martial art and carries a pistol, but her ex-bf is called Sam and her current, while not Adam, has a surname, Adams. Oh, and her first name is also French. But you know, when you start really looking for similarities, they just keep popping up. I know my character has a ton of different qualities as well -- for one she isn't a coyote shapeshifter. And the story arc and execution are different too. Sometimes this happens. It's infuriating, yeah, but in your case at least, I don't really consider those similarities problematic.
     
  6. BritInFrance
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    BritInFrance Active Member

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    I agree with Ka Trian. Those are quite broad similarities.

    One thing you could do is stop reading the novel, and just write your story. Read something else. One piece of advice I had (which I don't always follow ;)) is to not read books that are in a similar genre to the story you are writing, e.g. if you are writing a horror story, read a thriller, if you are writing a thriller read Science Fiction, etc.
     
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  7. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I try not to read anything that is very similar to what I am writing at the moment. Quite unconsciously, one can begin to absorb and expropriate ideas.
     
  8. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    Ah, but then isn't reading in your genre beneficial because you can get an idea of how other writers do it? Hmm. Well, I do find the book to be a nice read so I'd be a shame to stop reading it just because it's similar :(

    I don't think I've unconsciously started to absorb ideas from this book in particular, considering I started this novel over two years ago and thought of the whole divorce thing a few months ago...but from other books or something else, probably.
     
  9. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I wouldn't worry too much about this. In fact, writing a book just like another book—as long as it's not direct plagiarism—is apparently the Simon Cowell method of getting published these days.

    Just approach the same agent/publisher this other novelist used, tell them you've written a book just like it ...and bingo, you're in like flynn. Worst thing you can do these days, apparently, is write something unique and totally UNLIKE anything else out there. Sure way to end up in the bin.
     
  10. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Best analogy evah! :cool:
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    give any dozen writers the same parameters and you'll end up with a dozen completely different novels... no two of us write in the same voice, or will come up with the same subplots, situations, scenes, etc...

    so stop agonizing over this and just write the book you have in your head and forget about the other one... if your story is marketable and your writing is professional quality, you'll have a decent chance to snag an agent with it... and that agent will have a good chance to snag a publisher for it...
     
  12. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Name me a book that's not written in either the third or first person, oh and a book where the MC is neither male nor female. Sure, such books do exist, but I'm sure you'll find that, er, nearly everybody uses these elements. It's like worrying you're plagiarising the phrase, "He ran away" because you saw this exact phrase in another book. Or perhaps a little like worrying about the fact that your murder mystery involves a murder because well, all the other murder mysteries also involve murders..... Do you get my point?

    In short, you're worrying over absolutely nothing. Go back to writing lol.
     
  13. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    Except for being set in Britain, those similarities pretty much plagiarized my life. :D
     
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