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I'm asking this question on the behalf of my friend.

So, recently, my friend's story seemed remarkably similar to a published story(FYI, my friend's story is still in the drafting stage, I'm just helping her with suggestions and a bit of editing). A similar plot, with similar character names. She's not plagiarising the text; it's just the concept of the story that is so similar.

Now, I know that my friend will never intentionally copy someone else's story, so I believe that it's just a coincidence.

Similarities:

  • Has a character named Frosten
  • Both Frostens are playful and carefree
  • Both can fly
  • Frosten has a best friend
  • Frosten is captured by a group or someone in both stories
  • Frosten and another character from the original both have a bit of a hard time fitting in
  • Both Frostens have been betrayed to the group by someone from their own tribe or herd
  • Becoming captured resulted in a personality change(both became less playful and carefree afterward)
  • Many similar character names between the two stories(e.g. Morningwind from the original and Morningcloud from my friend's draft)
  • Similar plots around the beginning to climax

Differences:

  • Frosten in my friend's draft is the main character, while the Frosten in the original is not the main character
  • Frosten is a boy in my friend's story, a girl in the original
  • The two Frostens are different species of mythical creatures
  • Very different plots towards the end

(Disclaimer: Frosten was not actually a character in the original story)

Are the two books too similar? FYI, I never read the original book, but I saw a Wiki on it. What can I suggest to my friend to make these two stories less identical?

Note: My friend is just writing her book for fun, but I'm still going to try to convince her to change her story up so that she can get it published.

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    I'll admit, the name is very obscure. It's a little weird to have similar stories with SUCH odd and specific names. I'd advise a name change at least, unless there is a historical/mythical common source, in which case BOTH stories are imitating an original (and that is an entirely different question). Doing stories based on mythology is acceptable (like two people doing remakes of Hamlet). – DWKraus Jan 9 at 19:33
  • @Nai45, no, my friend did not plagiarize. I confronted her about it after I finished reading the original. She said that she did take inspiration from the original story, which explained the similar plot and characters, but she's not planning on publishing it, just writing the book for fun. – Alexandrang Jan 19 at 21:37
  • @Alexandrang Could you clarify that in the question? Or post an answer to your question giving the update that your friend was just writing for fun. However, you should have asked your friend first if she planned on publishing because hszmv wrote a thoughtful answer to a question that didn't need to be asked. – Nai45 Jan 19 at 21:42
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Probably the best suggestion is to change the name (it would be one thing if both characters were "Jesse" and helpful if both were spelt differently "Jesse/Jessie" but Frosten is quite uncommon (This is the first time I've heard it). That might not be the same but it combined with other similarities would make a case. No one thing would be a copyright infringement (Plagerisim is not legally wrong... just morally wrong... the equivelent in law would be copyright infringement... Even then, Plagerism should maybe be direct copying others work and selling it as your own. Copyright Infringement is using another's ideas in a way that would impact the sale of their own ideas to others.).

Two things with similar premises can exist. Consider the animated tv-show about alien robots that turn into vehicles and are locked in a perpetual war of good and evil on their own planet, that exists soley to sell toys to kids. No, not the Transformers, the Go-Bots... which actually came first (Transformers won out due to better character designs and centering the story on the front of the war that took place on Earth so that a human sidekick could serve as an audience surrogate. Go-Bots kept their war on their home planet.).

Don't forget the live action show about some teens who are given a magical transformation device that turns them into a spandex wearing champions who must stop an evil plot to take over the world and will get power upgrades as the show progresses... no not Power Rangers, Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight (trick their, the source material is held by the same company.).

What about that Japanese show that became popular in the 90s about a group of kids who travel a fantastic world with intelligent monsters and work with said monsters to fight other monsters and fight off threats to both monsters and humans alike. No, not Pokemon, Digimon.

In all these cases the premise of the work is summed up in a way to highlight the slimilarities but in all three examples, the more obscure one pre-dated the more popular one by a few years (in the case of Pokemon/Digimon, I am old enough to remember when Digimon was annouced as a new show in the midst of the Pokemon craze and the play ground talking heads all said it was an obvious Pokemon rip off... almost everyone who watched the show however could tell from episode 1 of Digimon that the only thing it had in common with Pokemon was the suffex -mon. The two were quite dissimilar in almost every other aspect, from how they evolved to the stories the series told.

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