Thursday, April 11, 2013

Should you be wary of being too similar to a popular novel?

Should you be wary of being too similar to a popular novel?


I just finished The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau, a post apocalyptic dystopia and was struck by how many people compared it to The Hunger Games.

For the most part, I didn't see it. There were a few minor similarities - the overwhelming attractiveness of the main male character, for one - but most of the other likenesses were simply similarities of the genre. After all, it's a post apocalyptic dystopia involving intense government plans. There's bound to be some similar ground. But as a writer should you be concerned to tread such ground?

Maybe. Maybe not.

Are you worried that your manuscript might be too similar to a book already published?


To spin off my last post, pick it apart. Break the novel apart and look for the main themes and concepts. I'm talking more than just coming of age - that's a given in the genre.

If we're still talking Hunger Games, what would you consider to be the main concepts?

- A corrupt government ruthlessly using teens for sport and entertainment.
        - The suffering of others being entertainment for the elite.
- The sharp distinct between classes/monetary equality.
- A necessary fight to survive.
- Feeling tested and observed by the gamemakers.
- A love triangle.
        - If we break it down further, the love triangle represents her past and her future. Which will Katniss strive for?

How many of these themes could you have in your own novel without it being too reminiscent? Going off these, The Testing only has two of these in common which seems acceptable to me. How many would concern you in your own manuscript?

Oh - and in case you were curious, here's my review of The Testing.

1 comment:

  1. I love this post Kristen. You're so right. It bothers me sometimes how much people write something off as too similar to another series, when really it may have a few things in common.

    I think when something has like, 5 or 6 similarities, it gets to be too much. Otherwise, nothing wrong with having some similarities.

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