As some of you might know from my other question, I'm writing a middle-grade book (hopefully the first in a series). In the setting of the series, a very small percentage of the population are born with genes that enable them to develop powers after exposure to a solar eclipse. The gene, while having existed for a long time, has only started affecting people ten years ago (the story is set in 2020), and people with the gene are only eligible to get a power if they are exposed to an eclipse between the ages of 3 and 18. The heroes of the books aren't really going around saving people (they leave that to the authorities); they are mostly trying to remain undetected, contact others like them (known as Eclipsed), and stand against a much larger group of Eclipsed who believes that they have been chosen to "fix" the world.

When I asked a question about something related to this, I was told that an NBC series called Heroes has a similar premise. For those who are familiar with these series, do you think I need to make some changes to be less similar to this show?

2 Answers 2


Having similar ideas to someone else is not plagiarism. For example, if I describe to you a book about an 11 year old boy with a name beginning with "H" and a mark on his face going to a boarding school for wizards where all of the paintings move where it turns out that there's an evil former pupil plotting revenge in the school and an attack by a beast as part of that evil wizard's plot, you'd think I was describing Harry Potter, but you'd be wrong: that is, in fact, a summary of Wizard's Hall, which came out six years earlier.

That wasn't plagiarism, and neither is your story. There really is nothing new under the sun.


I would watch the series just to be sure as the use of the Eclipse in Heroes was never really explained how it mechanically syncs with empowerment as most of the characters with powers have them prior to the first in series eclipse (late in episode one, which by then a few characters exhibited powers on screen and more would be linked to powers previous to the episode). It's use was more symbolic of the shows general theme of inter-connectivity of people from all over the world (at least in season one. From season two onwards, the show's mythology was less fleshed out and the writers were just trying to recapture the season one magic.).

That said, it should be noted Eclipses being associated with supernatural powers is not something Heroes invented and is a memes myth dating back to early human mythology around the world. In fact, Heroes was evoking the Eclipse in part because comic book superheroes often have ties to similar cosmic phenomena (i.e. they were delibertly homaging comic book origins with it.). I would recommend making sure your characters powers and personalities don't line up with Heroes characters all that much and make sure that the eclipse doesn't work mechanically (one oddity is that in Heroes, the entire world experiences a total eclipse at the same time that is observable from Tokyo, Las Vegas, Texas, and New York City. Eclipses do not work that way(!) which indicates that something special with this specific event... or writers who don't know jack about astronomy... and a later episode repeats the problem despite the internet mocking this... and goes for broke and makes the total eclipse last for nearly two hours.). Suffice to say, sticking with real mechanics of eclipses can easily avert this, as can not making your characters have the same powers as the show's characters (at least, not universally) and of course making a plot where the fate of the world doesn't hinge on the life of one cheerleader.

One other exception is that Heroes characters had no age limit on when they could develop powers, with several not having them until well into adulthood (most in fact, were not aware of any powers until their 20s, 30s, or 40s. As indicated by some of the character's jobs (one character is a U.S. senator, meaning he's at least 30 years old, and is depicted as likely being President in five years... in all reality he's probably closer to 40s as the youngest President was either 42 or 43 depending on how you count the matter (Kennedy was youngest elected, at 43, but Teddy Roosevelt was youngest inaugurated, having been a 42 year old Vice President when he had to do the only job the office is legally required to do).). This contrasts with your story, which explicitly says you need to see an eclipse after 3 years but no later than 18 years.

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