1. Shaezy

    Shaezy Member

    Jun 11, 2011
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    Sydney, Australia

    That sinking feeling when...

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Shaezy, Nov 29, 2011.

    ...you realise the characters you are growing to love in your story are actually a bit too similar to characters you've read in other stories you love.

    I've been enjoying planning a new storyline recently that I already know has elements of other favourite novels, and that's ok because I really enjoy the genre and writers' styles. But up until last night I felt they were sufficiently different - more cliche than copied for lack of a better description! They DO have their own personalities and I don't feel as though they are completely predictable or stereotypical. The characters work well together and I feel are terrific for my plot and subplots.

    However last night I realised that at least three of my characters are probably too similar to the other authors' characters, although I didn't consciously create them as such. The more I thought about my guys, the more I felt sick that they were pretty much just the original characters who jumped into my story, even though I *feel* like I have created them differently. I can see the differences, but I know if I was reading my novel and had read the other authors' novels I would probably draw comparisons.

    How do you determine if your characters (or plot etc) are too close for comfort to another text or world? Where is the line between allowing your world to be its own, or being stuck in Copy Land? Is it just a case of "write it" or should I attempt to alter things?

    What would you do?
  2. Ocean Seven

    Ocean Seven New Member

    Nov 25, 2011
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    It would probably depend on reader's PoV whether or not they would see them as the OCs of another author, but if you haven't progressed too too far, you could always take a look at them and tweak them further. I am absolutely horrible at making names, and so almost every one of my main characters has a name identical or similar to a character or real life person. (If not, it's usually a weird mismash of foreign names, such as Iliya Kretchovski. I know Iliya is a real word, but his (yes, a he) last name is just something I pulled out of thin air combining my love of '-ski' and '-ov' with my love of their parent language, Russian.)

    Usually I try to avoid making it very obvious. I'd considered Makarov for a few characters, but I never once failed to see Makarov from Modern Gear Solid 3 (injoke referring to how we troll people on Modern Warfare 2 by just creeping around the map prone doing nothing) and thus never had the guts to use it as my own for fear of similar reactions.

    One of my characters, Ahsuna, is almost a direct copy of Asuna from Negima! Magister Negi Magi. In my case, a little tweaking brought me out of the blatant copying into a safer zone, and further tweaking as my story underwent some massive changes left her only similarities the name, the fact she can use magic, and her attitude to a degree. (Although she isn't such a hardcore tsundere, but is naturally very angry, exasperated by the fact that Blaze keeps trying to have his way with her. Very rare softer side, but it isn't anywhere near Asuna's. I hope I don't piss anyone off by saying this, but for a main character, she's more comic relief with regards to her and Blaze than anything else. (Also the second rarest main character I have, the rarest being Setus who only appeared in the very old comic format, and in a failed concept that would have explained the link between Snpr and Ocean Seven much better- had One Man War Saga been a more Fantasy-based story.)

    So really, I would really just tweak the characters a little more to be on the safe side. if you have thought of publishing it sometime, an agent would probably be a better person to ask to see if the similarity is acceptable or not, and what to do in the event it's a little too close. If you just write as a hobby, go ahead and use them! There's nothing stopping you as far as I know.

    One last thing, it's probably all right if you can spot the differences. I've read a few books where characters seemed similar, but as long as you can swap characters out and it isn't a perfect fit, I'd think you're good to go.

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