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The story takes place in a fictional country I created. There are 6 main characters, 3 girls and 3 boys. They are all "gifted" which are people with special abilities. There are 3 types of gifted, which have names. One can detect when you are lying, one can move objects with their minds, and one can control fire and water. They go to a day school for gifteds in their country.

You start learning and using your powers in the upper school which is 7th-12th grade. Which might be like Hogwarts since it's a school for wizards. The school also has math, science, history, and english. The characters learn about something called the book of destiny which basically the whole plot of this book is them trying to find it. Which is like the Philosophers stone.

This isn't final, but I am planning that when they find the book of destiny they go through this room and they have to complete a series of tasks that take them through different rooms until they ultimately end up finding it and destroying it themselves. Which kind of reminds me of the trap door.

There is a group of 3 sort of mean girls. There is also a mean boy who might make people think of Draco. They call normal people a name just like the wizards call them muggles. The characters are about a year older than Harry and his friends, but I plan on making it a series, and following them year by year until their last.

There are also many differences, but are they too similar? I worked so hard on building the world and everything and just realized. How can I make it less similar?

closed as off-topic by Mark Baker, Ajnatorix Zersolar, JP Chapleau, Ken Mohnkern, Ash Jun 28 '18 at 16:03

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  • 4
    Keep two things in mind: 1: Ideas are bulletproof and cannot be copyrighted (a school for gifted people), only names can be copyrighted in the case of books. 2: Regardless, people will bash on you twice as much if your writing is bad and not original. They won't if it's similar, but in a logical and consequential way (cause and effect), and the elements work well together, in one word: the story doesn't suck. – Mephistopheles Jun 28 '18 at 10:27
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    What does this "Book of Destiny" do? Why is the villain after it? If it grants you immortality, people will be a lot more likely to compare it to Philosopher's Stone than if it, for example, allows you to rewrite history. – F1Krazy Jun 28 '18 at 10:34
  • A little tip about markdown: you need to hit Enter twice for a paragraph or have two spaces before hitting Enter once for a soft linebreak. There is a little help bar at the top of where you type that can help you with markdown. – Secespitus Jun 28 '18 at 11:58
  • Man, people draw similarities between Wheel of Time and Game of Thrones. Don't worry about people doing it, just write well and don't be hopelessly derivative of other works. – Adonalsium Jun 28 '18 at 13:41
  • My first reaction was "that sounds far more like an Age of Misrule clone." Second reaction: "A bit like Sense 8 too.". Given that, I think you are safe. – T.E.D. Jun 28 '18 at 17:03
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TL;DR: Your story will inevitably be compared to Harry Potter purely because of how iconic and influential it is within the "magical school" genre, but I definitely wouldn't say it's too similar.


The story takes place in a fictional country I created.

Harry Potter takes place in England. So that's a big difference right off the bat.

There are 6 main characters, 3 girls and 3 boys.

Harry Potter has three main characters. You're fine there.

They are all "gifted" which are people with special abilities. There are 3 types of gifted, which have names. One can detect when you are lying, one can move objects with their minds, and one can control fire and water.

That's nothing like the Harry Potter magic system. You're fine there.

They go to a day school for gifteds in their country. You start learning and using your powers in the upper school which is 7th-12th grade. Which might be like Hogwarts since it's a school for wizards.

This is probably the thing that will generate the most Harry Potter comparisons. Mind you, "school for people with magical abilities" wasn't the most original concept even before JK Rowling did it. I'd say you'll be fine here as long as your school doesn't have too many obvious similarities to Hogwarts (moving staircases, talking portraits, surrounded by a forest full of centaurs, etc.)

The characters learn about something called the book of destiny which basically the whole plot of this book is them trying to find it. Which is like the Philosophers stone.

I'd say this is actually the complete opposite of Philosopher's Stone. In Philosopher's Stone, they know where the MacGuffin is (in the forbidden third-floor corridor, guarded by Fluffy), but they don't know what it is until the start of the climax. In your story, it sounds like the protagonists know what the MacGuffin is (the Book of Destiny) quite early on, but don't know where it is until the climax. You're fine here... but I await your clarification about what the Book of Destiny actually does.

This isn't final, but I am planning that when they find the book of destiny they go through this room and they have to complete a series of tasks that take them through different rooms until they ultimately end up finding it and destroying it themselves.

Again, this might generate some comparisons to Philosopher's Stone, but again, "having to complete a series of tasks to get to the MacGuffin" is hardly an original concept. As long as the tasks are different to the ones in Philosopher's Stone, you'll be fine.

There is a group of 3 sort of mean girls.

Don't recall anything of the sort in Harry Potter.

There is also a mean boy who might make people think of Draco.

Probably. People are always going to compare your characters to other, vaguely-similar characters. I make a game out of it when I'm watching anime - "hey look, it's [my character] but shorter". Like with your school, as long as your mean boy isn't a blatant Draco rip-off, you should be fine.

They call normal people a name just like the wizards call them muggles.

As long as the word itself isn't "muggle", I see no problem here.


I think your story, by its very nature, is always going to face comparisons to Harry Potter. When you say "young teens attending a magic school", people will think "Harry Potter", because it's just that famous and iconic.

However, it looks like you've already gone into quite a bit of detail in building your world, and particularly, in differentiating it from the Potterverse. You're also aware that people will be looking for similarities, which means you can consciously try and avoid them, to whatever extent you can without detracting from the story. So I think you'll be just fine.

I'll finish my answer by repeating something that Mephistopheles said earlier in the comments, and which you'll see over and over again on this site: if your story is good enough, nobody will care how original it is or not.

  • Your're right, it's not Harry Potter. I see more similarities with X-Men :) – Erbureth Jun 29 '18 at 7:54
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"I am writing a story about a boy and a girl who are in love, but can't be together. Is my story too similar to Romeo and Juliet?" See what I mean?

Many stories share similarities. If one story is about a school, it doesn't mean that no story ever again can be about a school. If one story is about magic, it doesn't mean that other stories can't also be about magic. Michael Ende had a story about a school of magic before Rowling did. Janusz Korczak had a book about a boy and a girl with magic powers fighting an evil wizard. Again, way before Rowling.

So your story happens to share some elements with another story. It can't ever be otherwise. What makes your story different is how those elements combine, who the characters are (not whether one of them is an orphan, but what kind of people they are), characters' goals, story beats, underlying ideas...

One chef takes flour and eggs, bakes bread. Another makes pancakes. Is bread the same as pancakes? Did one of them steal from another the idea of using flour and eggs?

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To me, this story is more like X-Men than Harry Potter. But there are lots of stories about schools for children with extraordinary abilities, so I wouldn't sweat it.

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From the description you've given, I don't think your book is really all that similar to Harry Potter. Sure, they have some elements in common, but you have a lot of differences as well. However I want to point this out to anyone else who has a similar "Is my writing too similar to X?" question.

Please don't change your story just because you think it sounds like something that already exists. When you are writing, you are putting your thoughts and feelings into the page and creating something completely original. Unless you are intentionally plagiarizing someone else's work, your writing will always be unique to you, no matter how many concepts it has in common with another work.

Now, if you start calling the school in your story Hogwarts, or your character can cast "Avada Kedavra", or you have your characters meet Draco Malfoy in a dark alley, then... you probably should change those details, as now your writing is taking place in the Harry Potter universe, which would be appropriate in a fan-fic but not in a published book, as there could be legal repercussions to using other author's characters and places if they come from a book written since 1923 like Harry Potter.

However if you have a school for witchcraft and wizardry with a caring headmaster, or if you have a villain who was thought to be dead, or if the students participate in a tournament with other schools, or if the main character has a family member who was falsely imprisoned and escapes, or if your characters eat chocolate to feel better, or if the two best friends of the main character fall in love, or if prophecies are taken down and kept in some place...

All of these and more are elements used in Harry Potter, nevertheless you can make a completely original story, and if it happens to include any or all of the preceding concepts, that's wonderful! You've written your story, and you have a lot of interesting concepts to present to the reader in your own way. You won't end up writing another Harry Potter, you will have written your own story. So again: Please don't change your story just because you think it sounds like something that already exists. Your writing is yours alone, and the way you tell your story will be unique.

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You can make your tale less similar by changing the characters, plot, location and/or theme but please don't. The world needs more Harry Potter (HP) type books where good triumphs over evil over a long period of time and I hope yours will continue this hallowed tradition.

Just about every kind of story has been told in one way or another but this should not (and does not) make other authors give up writing. Rewriting HP as a Space Opera with giant ants, or Romeo and Juliet as a Vampire Tail (with top-hat and tales), or Moby Dick as a Sado-Masochisticically inclined Romantic Comedy is perfectly acceptable so long as you do not use names and other identifiable characteristics that are still copyrighted.

Everyone's free to reinvent anything and everything and there's absolutely no reason for you to decline your pre-reserved seat at the top table. Sit down, tuck in, enjoy!

And good luck with your project.

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