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I've been planning out a novel for a while and the main concept is that the main character is Elf/human/robot hybrid with superpowers and is set to defeat an opposing Elf when she arrives in her world. My main issue with this at the moment is I don't it want to read as a Tolkien book or something, not that it's bad. I just don't want it to seem fake having at least three different species in one book all at once, or that I took deep inspiration from other fantasy books (which I haven't, as I haven't read many fantasy books, to be honest). I think I might be overthinking this since this tends to happen when I become invested in a story.

Edit: I should have added more details to my original question, but I guess they're not really Elves, but very similar. Also, the robots don't really contain any powers, think like the Androids from Detriot: Become Human, but more robot in appearance. Also, the Elves aren't from the same world as the robots; kind of like alternate realities sorta thing. I just don't know whether it's too outlandish to do this because of the alternate realities and fantasy elements interacting with the more sci-fi world. Both species aren't overpowered and most of their power comes from weaponry, so it's evenish

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    Hi Kyl! This question may be slightly too opinion-based to answer the way it is written, would it be okay if you edited it to clarify the question in a way that can be answered concretely? i.e. are you asking whether a lot of existing works of literature use this concept? – Sciborg Aug 17 at 5:40
  • A side-note: Reading widely in a genre can actually make your work LESS derivative, because you have a better picture of what everyone else has done already. – Chris Sunami supports Monica Aug 17 at 15:39
  • Well, with this "hybrid", why aren't you afraid that you book's theme would be too similar to Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein"? ;) – Alexander Aug 17 at 17:08
  • @Sciborg I edited it just now based on a comment I left yesterday. I think I'm going to continue with my idea for now as I'm interested to see how it'll play out in the long run, but feel free to continue offering advice if you have anything to say !! I always welcome free advice aha. – Kyl Aug 19 at 0:43
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There are three costs associated with adding extra fantasy or science-fiction elements to a narrative.

  1. It increases the necessary suspension of disbelief. Readers have to let go of a certain amount of "realist" expectations to enjoy even a realistic story, and that burden is bigger for fantasy work. SF & F readers enjoy doing this, but it does make it harder when they have to swallow multiple different elements that aren't related to each other. A world with both elves and robots is a big ask, from this point of view.

  2. It involves more worldbuilding/exposition. Unlike a realist story, a fantasy story must introduce the basic rules of the way the world works, so it involves more effort to make the setting seem real and three-dimensional. With a hybrid story, there can be just too much worldbuilding to fit into the book, so the writer is forced to rely on readers' already established notions of "elf" and "robot", which is what makes a book feel derivative and lazy.

  3. It can easily lead to overpowered situations. A danger for books with fantasy elements is that characters can easily be depicted as so powerful that it's tough to believe they have any problems they can't just magic their way out of. Someone who is both an elf and a robot is probably pretty tough and powerful. Is the reader really going to be invested in her journey? Or scared for her when she's "in danger"?

None of this is a reason to NOT do it. And in fact, the concept sounds pretty intriguing. But it would take a lot of work and skill to pull it off successfully. This isn't an easy idea to make believable.

On the other hand, maybe "believable" isn't your goal. In that case, maybe this idea isn't really a novel --maybe it would be better as a script for a ultra-cool superhero comic, or animated series.

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  • I should have added more details to my original question, but I guess they're not really Elves, but very similar. Also, the robots don't really contain any powers, think like the Androids from Detriot: Become Human, but more robot in appearance. Also, the Elves aren't from the same world as the robots; kind of like alternate realities sorta thing. I just don't know whether it's too outlandish to do this because of the alternate realities and fantasy elements interacting with the more sci-fi world. Both species aren't overpowered and most of their power comes from weaponry, so it's evenish – Kyl Aug 18 at 2:27

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