Jul 082012

Question by Taleweaver: Long! How exactly do I handle this? My story VS Harry Potter?
I’ve been writing a story set in a institute for slayers of supernatural beings (run by a shady organization). It’s in a walled fortress, so there’s a town inside and — at the very middle — the fotress itself, which has tonnes of towers and walkways cut into the walls. There are also magic portals and locks with eyes.

It used to be owned by a wizard, who was a massive problem for the slayers until they managed to kill him. Since he did all sorts of horrible experiments the graveyard is full of tortured souls and there are twisted creatures in the tunnels and dungeons underneath the fortress. Lots of it is also unexplored because he set up all sorts of traps and curses to kill anyone who broke in. But the slayers use it, because its concealed from regular people*. The pupils are just told to stick to the paths that have already been mapped out.

My problem is Hogwarts. I definitely, definitely am not copying Hogwarts, as I have no attachment to HP whatsoever. My reasons for having a old fashioned, grim setting are of D. Gray Man and Soul Eater — anyone who’s read/watched them will understand. They’re what inspired my writing (I actually began writing because I can’t draw). I like things that are grim and dangerous, and I love it when anything can go wrong at any time. Here I have monsters, undead and tonnes of locations, and its the natural setting for my story. I’ve been layering on magic and mystery to make it more interesting, since (in my story) pretty much everything exists.

Still, I don’t want people thinking its derivative of Harry Potter, which did the dark-building setting first. Normally it wouldn’t bother me, but Harry Potter is popular, and by the time I finish this book the second Harry Potter hype-wave will be beginning (because of the movies).

So… should I just write the story I want to write, and not give a damn about what people might think? Or should I care?

PS: Note that my storyline isn’t about a boy destined to kill some evil villain. Also they live houses in the town, and only go into the fortress for their lessons, kind of like Shibusen from Soul Eater. The fortress is more like a uni campus, not a boarding school, with rooms converted to lecture halls as well as smaller classrooms.

PSS: I’m asking this question since most of you ar Harry Potter fans, I’d like to see what you guys think.

*It’s set in London, in a pocket of space isolated from the rest of the world. It’s all old-fashioned because its been isolated for centuries. But the fortress has been updated by the slayers and has electrical plugs, toilets and lights.

Best answer:

Answer by Secret Passion
write it
it doesn’t sound anything like HP so it shouldn’t matter
i like the idea of this so you should definitely write it =)

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

  6 Responses to “Long! How exactly do I handle this? My story VS Harry Potter?”

  1. It does have a familiar sound to it – but honestly, it’s all in the writing. Romeo and Juliette and West Side Story are identical plots – but handled very differently. If you can keep your writing fresh and original, your story won’t be regarded as a copy of Harry Potter.

  2. I don’t think it sounds much like Harry Potter. Unfortunately, you will find that a lot of people think that Harry Potter is the standard by which they judge other magic stories, so if something has magic and students in it, the first thing they will think is HP. It’s just like vampire love stories. Even though the genre was around long before Twilight, people usually always tend to think that Twilight set the standard for it and in a lot of cases it is because they don’t even know any better and are ignorant of the fact.

    Dumbledore looks a lot like Gandalf, but does that mean HP copied LOTR? Not at all. Don’t let it get you down if people start saying your work is a HP rip off because it isnt. I personally think it sounds fairly original.

  3. even if it is a bit like harry potter, don’t worry…once the twilight movies were out, and there was that big craze, sales of vampire books skyorcketed. If if your book is similar to harry potter it should sell well. BTW I think the storyline is really cool!! I’d buy it.

  4. To be honest I think your problem is that you don’t read enough.

    If you’d read any number of fantasy novels _at all_, you’d know that a special school to train your invented profession is completely, utterly standard – I’m honestly struggling with a modern fantasy novel that _doesn’t_ have one. Earthsea does. The Valdemar novels do. Raymond E Feist’s Magician novels do. Harry Potter has one because it’s a standard trope.

    If the only novel you have read with a magic / fighting / special skills school in it is Harry Potter, then put your pen down, go to the library, get out five random fantasy books, take them home, and read them. Repeat weekly for the next couple of months. Then try writing fantasy again.

  5. I don’t get the sense that this copies Harry Potter at all and the story is different enough for me to not notice.

    Just go ahead and write it. It sounds fun and interesting.

  6. There are a lot of fantasy books with an institution or school ministry in it, a lot of books with boys destined to kill some evil villain. It won’t be any different plot-wise from others like it, including Harry Potter.
    Mention the name of the fortress in the plot summary on the back cover if you’re that concerned. Hogwart’s wizards aren’t trained in physical combat. If it’s in London, it can’t be Hogwarts. Wizards have to take a train from London to Hogwarts, leading me at least, to assume that Hogwarts is not located in London.

    This would be an interesting read. I am particularily intrigued by the gravyard of restless souls. That would be a great place to find action, more characters, side stories and other adventures.

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