I've got an original fiction I'm writing with the concept of a multiverse where every story written or drawn in one version of modern earth generates attached universes. Everything from anime to movies screen plays, books etc. The MC of the story will be able to traverse various worlds. The starting world is a dystopian modern earth at the beginning stages of super-powered humans coming into being.

How far do I need to change an existing fictional world to prevent it from falling into fan fiction?

I don't plan to have any existing characters unless they fall into mythological beings like gods, heroes etc. But I do plan to copy the world mechanics, i.e. unique energy types, power systems, and some political elements. Any ideas for keeping it out of the realm of fan fic would be great.

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    I think this phrase "change an existing fictional world to prevent it from falling into fan fiction" is unclear. Can you expand on what it means for a story to fall into fan fiction? I think explaining that will help others provide substantial answers for you
    – EDL
    Commented May 26, 2023 at 2:41
  • 1
    Downvoted for: "How can I steal an idea without making it apparent that I'm stealing?" – Just come up with your own idea.
    – user55858
    Commented May 26, 2023 at 5:57
  • When I say change a fictional world. I'm talking about shifting to a world with different foundations. Examples strictly I. Anime would be how Naruto world uses an energy called Chakra and has developed an entire society geared around its use. Or how bleach has the entire soul based power system with spiritual energy as it's basis. Instead of creating 10 or more worlds from. Complete scratch to show a diverse multiverse I'd like to use existing systems politics and cultures already existing without stepping on toes. These won't be the main world just detours on a journey. Commented May 27, 2023 at 6:47

1 Answer 1


I'd advise looking into laws about copyright and fair use and derivative works. You're not the first person to make a homage character or a pastiche. I would advise setting a bunch of "show within show" style franchises within your own universe that can clearly take inspiration from another work but have their own in universe lore. For example, Marvel has a team of characters called "The Squadron Supreme" each with their own unique backstory... however, it doesn't take a lot to realize the characters analogs to DC Comics superhero line up "The Justice League" and the team exists so that the Avengers can "fight" the Justice League.

Another example comes from the Japanese show "Kamen Rider" and their season Ex-Aid which focus on a group of four doctors who are also superheroes. The villains of the season have created a biological disease that will allow video game bosses to manifest into the real world by using the infected subject's bodies, killing them in the process. The four heroes fight using a system that allows them to turn into a hero that uses abilities of different player characters from video games to combat the manifested monsters. All of the games are clearly Homages to real classic video games, but they are real games within the setting of the universe (The titular hero is an homage to various platforming games, with Mario being the most obvious.). Another hero is based on a line of Fantasy RPG games that have Legend of Zelda vibes. A Third is based on First person shooters and a fourth is based on racing games.

For a more English accessible event, the film Galaxy Quest doesn't even attempt to hide that the titular TV Show is clearly taking designing cues from Star Trek, but the show in question is a show in show... the film's central plot is that real aliens that had no concept of fiction and believed the show was historical documents... and have enlisted the actors who played the characters to help them in a real interstellar war with a real alien overlord. Similarly the real life sho "The Orville" would debut some decades later, which posited a universe similar to one of Star Trek... but the heroes we follow act and behave like they are in a workplace comedy... that just happens to be on a real space ship that runs into problems worthy of the U.S.S. Enterprise.

  • Thanks for that I will probably do spoof worlds or take the basic world concept and do a rebuild on it where non of the existing maps names or characters will be seen but the essence remains. Commented May 28, 2023 at 4:34

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