1. Man in the Box

    Man in the Box Active Member

    Jun 21, 2011
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    Oh God, I think I'll have to scrap these characters altogether...

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Man in the Box, Jun 23, 2012.

    Basically there's a character in my story who's a very gossipy person who tries to ruin her neighbours' lives by spreading false rumours. She's relatively rich, but annoyed by the apparently angelical traits of her current neighbour, who's the mother of the protagonist. The gossipy woman has two sons, one she loves, the other she hates, because the hated one had a complicated delivery and she had to be operated afterwards and she can't have any more sons. She hates him also because she wanted a daughter and not a son.

    When I realised the hated son basically only needed to have magical powers and live in a wardrobe to become Harry Potter in disguise I was nearly shocked, because I really didn't mean to copy anything! This character is a very shy boy who realises from an early age he's unwanted at home and is sort of obsessed with the main character, who's a girl with powers. He himself lacks any power, he's weak physically and mentally, and the only thing that motivates him to change things is his sick, although pure, love for the protagonist.

    The gossipy woman also came to me as sort of a mix between Petunia Dursley and Rita Skeeter, which concerned me a lot. However, unlike those characters, she's meant to be a villain and not just annoying. Also, she's not a working class woman like Petunia, but a rather snotty middle class woman.

    I've written over 100 pages already and I don't want to lose my work because of those similarities... What should I do?
  2. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    May 19, 2007
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    Massachusetts, USA
    Ignore it. So you see a similarity between your character and someone else's. That is inevitable.

    Or keep looking until you find ten other popular characters he resembles. By then you'll realize how meaningless your concern is.
  3. Lucy Eisenberg

    Lucy Eisenberg New Member

    Jun 23, 2012
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    Don't scrap the character! Don't let the existence of a Petunia or Rita affect your writing at all. It's perfectly normal for your characters to end up slightly similar to some well-known character. Also, I am pretty sure there are a zillion gossipy, evil ladies in books just like there are a zillion underdog turned hero protags. If they are developed well enough, it's all good.
    Eg. If most sci-fi/fantasy writer scrapped their characters/plots because it reminded them of Tolkien's works, we would have no fantasy novels.
    So go ahead with it! It sounds lovely.
  4. Acanthophis

    Acanthophis ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) Contributor

    Feb 11, 2011
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    Rowling didn't exactly come up with the archetype in which Petunia and Rita fit in to - there are people like them in real life. Don't be concerned about it.

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