Archive for November 2nd, 2012

Nov 02 2012

What to Do When You Discover That Your Story Is No Longer Original

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

Did Hollywood or a well-known author just ruin your day by releasing a story that looks strikingly similar to something you’ve been independently developing for years? Here are some ways you can develop your story in a different direction.

 

1. Focus on unusual character traits. There have been a LOT of superheroes that are brilliant scientists, but Iron Man’s protagonist has a very unusual combination of traits. Whereas most scientist characters struggle with something like shyness, Tony Stark is hyper-charismatic and his main flaw is impulsiveness/recklessness.

 

2. Give the main characters unusual goals and/or motivations, preferably which tie into unusual decisions. For example, in most national security thrillers, if a character gets framed for a major crime, the character’s quest will center on proving his innocence and/or getting revenge on the people that have framed him. In contrast, Point of Impact’s protagonist is a backwoods hermit who responds to a framing in a very unusual way. His first move is to break into an FBI-guarded morgue to recover the corpse of his dog (who was killed at his house when the criminals were planting evidence against him). The protagonist’s sense of honor causes him to jeopardize his chances of succeeding at the main plot over a point of honor that wouldn’t matter much to most protagonists.

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