Is my book too similar to Harry Potter? How can I make it less similar?

Reply Thu 28 Jun, 2018 03:57 am
Here are the details of my story

-The story takes place in a fictional country I created
-There are 6 main characters, 3 girls and 3 boys.
-They are all "gifted" which are people with special abilities.
-There are 3 types of gifted, which have names. One can detect when you are lying, one can move objects with their minds, and one can control fire and water.
-They go to a day school for gifteds in their country.
-You start learning and using your powers in the upper school which is 7th-12th grade. Which might be like Hogwarts since it's a school for wizards
-The school also has math, science, history, and english.
-The characters learn about something called the book of destiny which basically the whole plot of this book is them trying to find it. Which is like the Philosophers stone.
-When they find the book of destiny they go through this room and they have to complete a series of tasks that take them through different rooms until they ultimately end up finding it and destroying it themselves. Which kind of reminds me of the trap door.
-There is a group of 3 sort of mean girls. There is also a mean boy who might make people think of Draco.
-They call normal people a name just like the wizards call them muggles.
-The characters are about a year older than Harry and his friends, but I plan on making it a series, and following them year by year until their last.

There is also many difference but are they too similar? I worked so hard on building the world and everything and just realized.
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Reply Thu 28 Jun, 2018 05:56 am
There are similarities and it might be too many. Better that you realize now rather than later.

Note: I am a lawyer (retired) but I'm not your lawyer. So if you want a confirmation of my advice and to get better protection against a potential copyright case, please consult with a competent legal professional in your area.

A mean boy in a teen situation is one of what's called scènes à faire. The concept is that some scenes or scenarios or characters are so standard in a particular genre that they are expected by the reader/viewer and cannot be copyrighted. Such as a kiss in a romance (or an elopement, an objecting parent or friend, an ex, etc.), a gunfight in a western (or a posse, a hanging, a saloon, etc.), or a ray gun or something like it in space opera-style science fiction (or a space ship of some sort). So I'd say you're okay with him but make his name as far away from Draco as possible. Not Dan, Dave, Don, etc. More like Zach or Luis or the like.

A magic school isn't so much a scène à faire but you are probably okay as it's been used in other places than Harry Potter (it was a big plot point in some of the middle seasons of the Charmed TV show). But you might want to expand it and refer to it more as a magic school than a school specifically for wizards.

The book of destiny is a pretty standard fantasy trope. Harry Potter had the philosopher's stone; Charmed had the book of shadows. Same diff. So you're probably okay so long as you don't copy whole swaths out of either.

The name for the normal folks is probably okay but again keep the sound far away from the word muggle.

Best of luck with your writing! Smile
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Reply Thu 28 Jun, 2018 05:57 am
Your book in no more similar to HP than any number of YA fiction series. Both HP and your outlined series use common tropes of adolescent life, schools, bullies, etc. It's no big deal. I remember when my wife was reading the first Twilight book. I asked her when the werewolves were coming because just about every series with vampires in it introduces werewolves as a foil. Sure enough, here comes the werewolves. It's part of the genre.
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