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I won't get into all the details, but my book is about four characters that realise that the universe isn't what it seems. They fight for power against someone who has held a long-standing dictatorship ... much like Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games. I think one of my main characters is too similar to Hermoine Granger and Katniss Everdeen. My plotline is similar to that of the Forest Of Hands And Teeth by Carrie Ryan and my fantasy world is too much like Matched by Allie Condie. How can I make my book different and stand out from the others on the shelf? I'm afraid I may be called out for plagiarism.

marked as duplicate by Galastel, Sweet_Cherry, Thomo, Arcanist Lupus, Ash Nov 26 '18 at 13:05

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  • I agree it probably fits into the linked question. It feels different to me though because this questioner notices the echoes of at least 4 other books. As opposed to the usual question where one or more elements come from one work. – Cyn Nov 26 '18 at 3:39
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Welcome, Avocado.

I'd say find the items within your writing--the passages and turns of phrase and characterizations--that feel uniquely your own, and play those up throughout the story.

Another possibility is to identify why your character feels like Hermione and Katniss. I assume you wrote a girl who is very bookish and good with a weapon? If this is the case, add another minor character better with that weapon, or another minor character better with books. Something like this. Katniss is "the best" with a bow and Hermione is "the smartest" in her class.

But your hero doesn't need to be. She can be bookish, sure, so is Violet (and Klaus) from Lemony Snicket. But she doesn't have to be the smartest, and certainly not the best with a weapon. You can have other characters that outshine her in any particular category.

The combination of smart and good-with-a-weapon should lead to some details that are neither like Hermione nor Katniss.

And lastly, I think as you work more and more with your characters, you will see more and more of their individuality. It may simply be that you are using templates and have not yet developed your story and world to the point at which it stands on your own. If that rings true, then simply keep at it. Work back through your novel. Ask what the character motivations are for your heroes, how those motivations will manifest in unique ways. Keep at it.

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I'm not familiar with every book you list, and of course I haven't read your manuscript. A lot of the themes of novels, and a lot of characters as well, are fairly universal. Or at least common. It's a lot more of a problem when you're finding your plot, your world, and your characters all seem to come from the same book (or series or author).

Plagiarism involves lifting passages from a book and calling it your own. Intellectual theft would be stealing the ideas. It's unclear to me that you've hit these levels at all. But certainly be cautious about it.

On the flip side is homage. Where you recreate a scene or character from something you loved. It needs to be subtle and your own. Some homages are explicitly credited ("with thanks to..." etc). With others, if the reader is familiar with the work you're referencing, s/he will understand what you're doing. Homage is not accidental or hidden.

In-between is just, well boring. If your work is too much like other stuff out there, it may not be legally an issue, but it won't resonate with your readers as much as a truly original work (or maybe it will...some readers really go for repetitive themes).

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