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I am on the second draft of my book, and only now do I realize my main character has some extreme similarities to Katniss from the Hunger Games.

While there are differences, her backstory and personality crosses over with Katniss in many ways. Even the characters in her love triangle are similar to Gale and Peeta (Not extremely similar, but someone who is looking for it might see it). It’s also written in first person present tense just like the Hunger Games.

My story itself is nothing like the Hunger Games and is set in a high fantasy world.

Should I still change my MC to be less like Katniss or is it okay since the story is different?

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Give Your Character Some Unique Characteristics

Even if your character was a beat-for-beat recreation of Katniss, you could still make her more unique by adding traits you know the original never had.

As far as I know, Katniss never showed a love of science in the books. Perhaps, in contrast, your character loves the science of the time and wants to learn more about it. They might also be a book nerd.

I am assuming you have read the Hunger Games books or watched the movies at some point. Is there something about the original you did not like?

Did you think she was too impulsive? Then make your character more cautious and careful. Did you believe Katniss should have been more deeply involved with the plans unfolding around her? Make your character a cunning strategist who is always one step ahead of their enemies.

Rather than simply copying the original, you can improve upon the original. Learn what made Katniss work, and then think about what could have been done better.

Then add some unique quirks of your own so that you have some plausible deniability. Does Katniss know how to play the violin? No? Perhaps your character should pick it up and learn she's quite good at it. Katniss always seemed to hate all the fancy dresses the Capitol put her in. Maybe your character unironically likes getting dressed up for fancy events?

Katniss was a rebel and a survivalist. In contrast, your character would be a scholar, a musician, a scientist, a strategist, a magician, a soldier...

Honestly, one of the core traits of Katniss is that she is a rebel, so if you want to truly make this character the opposite, have them play everything by the book.

It's up to you, though. A unique trait can be almost anything, so go wild and you'll be surprised how unique your character will become.

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  • Thank you so much for this. Your suggestions are very helpful, and unintentionally, I’ve implemented a couple of them (like the one about getting dressed up). This is great!
    – greylark
    Commented Jun 2, 2022 at 16:13
  • Word choice can play a huge role in distinguishing characters, too. IIRC, Katniss mostly used simple, direct language. You could differentiate your character by sprinkling in a few "big words" (indicating more book-learning than Katniss had) or having them occasionally get lost down a garden-path sentence.
    – minnmass
    Commented Jun 2, 2022 at 16:38
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I wouldn't worry about it. There is a fine line between similar and TOO similar.

For example, if your character is a girl and shoots a bow and has Katniss's personality, I wouldn't worry about it too much. But if your character is a girl who shoots a bow and hates the leader of the country with a vengeance and has a little sister and has so many similar thoughts and characteristics...then I would change it.

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