I have some stories planned but I have found that a bunch of them revolve around giant monsters and 1 or 2 similar characters. I don't really want to combine them, but I fear that I'll will be a hack or one trick pony if I make both. Is it bad to have similar stories?
3I'd say if you want to write both, then write both. Whether you should publish both, that's the real question. You won't know how good or different they are until they're written.– user54131Mar 10, 2022 at 6:23
4Just consider the number of people who made good money out of a stream of similar books. Too many to name.– ChenmunkaMar 10, 2022 at 7:39
3Plenty of authors do this. I would go ahead and write them: You learn by doing. Once you write first drafts, you will likely see how to improve them afterwards.– veryverdeMar 10, 2022 at 7:41
It really depends on how similar they are. Stephen King writes horror stories, with quite a few evil monsters in various books. His heroes are generally similar, regular good folk that get stuck in a bad situation.
But his monsters are different, and his characters are not identical even if they have similar personalities.
If your characters are too similar and your monsters are too similar, and the plot and how they defeat the monster are too similar, then yes, that is bad.
If I read the first story, and then immediately read the second story and it seems like just a rewrite of the first, then I am a disappointed reader. I was looking for something new, not just another take or another angle on the same story.
You do need to bring something original to every story you write, and chances are if you think the new story is just a rehash of the first story without any major innovation to make it different, you are right.
Come up with a new monster, and new heroes, and intentionally make them distinctly different from your first heroes. Make the guys girls, and vice versa. Change their strong suits, change their weaknesses. When that causes story problem, good. Work through them, and you'll have a new story.
I think there are two main points to consider when approaching this issue and an additional consideration: 1: Monster/Hero details, 2: What the story is about, and 3: a possible connection between the stories.
There have been made some comments about how authors have often made multiple similar stories with great success. It seems like something very standard to the profession, but I believe some basic factors must be considered in order for it to make sense for you.
1: Monster/hero differences I'm curious about how similar these "giant monsters" are. Are the challenges for the characters/heroes (between the stories) different in any ways or are they very similar?
I'd try to be very conscious of how they differ, since, as I see it, if people enjoy reading one of your stories, they are probably quite likely to enjoy another one of your stories if it is similar. That being said, the second story should probably stand out from the first in some way. This could be done in almost infinite ways, but if your premise "giant monsters vs a small crew" remains the same, you can cosider the following:
- Different strengths/weaknesses assigned to the heroes (and their relations/collaborations)
- Different challenges associated with the monsters; What are the monsters actually like, but also; how do the competences/skills of the heroes come into play with this.
- Are there certain challenges associated with the environments? Either in a way that gives the monsters an advantage (home field/arena) or that are especially challenging to the heroes (or the other way around?)
These are just SOME things you could consider to make your stories different.
2: What is/are the story/stories actually about?
A recurring point being made on this site (and probably in many other places) is that your story isn't really about 'factual details' about the world/characters of your story (which we, as authors, can be very focused on), but rather that it's about characters and what they go through.
Regarding your question of similar stories, perhaps the two stories have different characters going through the same things, and then perhaps a way to make them unique would be to focus on differences like the ones exemplified above. If you can hide the similarities to a decent degree, maybe that's all you need. However, you may realise that your two stories in fact revolve around different issues, and if this is the case, you may easierly 'get away with the similarities'...
3: A possible connection between the stories
Could both of your stories be taking place in the same universe? Could one story be a sequel to the other, either with the same characters or different ones?
If it involves the same characters, the two previous sections are still relevant. Perhaps following (some of) the same characters will make part of work of creating the second story easier, but not necessarily. If you enjoy creating new characters - which has great impact on what makes sense in terms of development in your story, unless they're basically identical - then the story more easily includes different challenges, unless the challenges have nothing to do with/aren't affected be the strengths and weaknesses of your characters, which would be... unnatural, I think.
All in all, it seems to me that what seems similar to you may simply be what could be considered a genre og a setting. The stories could still be very different experiences to read, if you put in just a bit of work and stay true to how the differences would impact the events naturally.
No. Most of the time, every newbie writer would feel either one of these things, either their story will look like a plagiarized one of the stories they read, or like you said, revolve around the same plot or same kind of characters. But don't stop writing. Write as much you can, tear as much pages you want, your ideas and writing and the words you use will improve depending on the time you spend writing and the words and emotions you try to pour in your stories. Eventually you will be good, and won't feel this scenario.
Go through with it, and write both. Then pick the one you prefer, in order to publish.
I've had the same problem a few times. Naturally, your best bet is to work on them all to start, then slowly narrow the number down as you go. This only really works for discovery writers, like me, but someone could probably find a similar idea for a plotter.
A second option is to write other stuff intermittently, and then it won't look as if you're a one trick pony.