Anonymous asked: I have a story that I was happily working on until a friend pointed me to this thing called ‘The Host.’ I never heard from it (probably because it’s by S. Meyer) but I read a couple of summaries and… Well it’s quite similiar to my idea. The story isn’t the same, but the concept of host bodies and the human retaining control over the body and two minds sharing one host and… Yeah. I’m really discouraged, but also worried. Should I even continue with this story? Thank you in advance. :)
Write your story anyway. There are plenty of stories out there (the popular one to compare right now is The Hunger Games and Battle Royale) that share similar themes, character types, and other ideas. These similar ideas may actually be tropes, or conventions in writing that most authors are completely unconscious of using.
Don’t believe me? Check out all the tropes listed for just The Host on TVTropes.com. The big ones that apply to you may be Body and Host, Sharing a Body, and Puppeteer Parasites. If you spend enough time on TVTropes, you’ll realize that you’ve never had a single original idea in your life. It’s depressing and liberating at the same time.
Don’t worry about what Stephanie Meyer or anyone else is writing or has written. Worry about what you’re writing. Since you’re not Stephanie Meyer and your story isn’t The Host fan fiction, there will certainly be enough differences between your story and Meyer’s to set it apart as its own body of work.
Seriously, try not to be discouraged. We trust that your story will stand up on its own against any other book, not just The Host.
For more on similarities in book ideas, check out these links:
Below are some very useful additional comments made on this post by keyboardsmashwriters. With their permission, we have added their comments to our post:
Great advice, of course — it’s not about what you’re writing, it’s about how you’re writing it. If you look hard enough, you will find all of the elements from your story already in novels presently sitting on bookshelves.
But what you have to do is use these elements in a way that is new and unusual. After the influx of dystopian novels such as “The Hunger Games”, as an example, literary agents became inundated with dystopian submissions, and consequently sick of them.
BUT. If you have a dystopian that’s unlike any other dystopian, if it’s a strong book with an original premise and a fantastic combination of elements, then it doesn’t matter if it’s a dystopian or fantasy or paranormal romance. A good book is a good book, and what literary agents are looking for is something that will sell.
Write your book, this is what should always come first. After, have people read your book. Make changes to your book and perfect it until it sparkles. Then see if the publishing world is interested.
Remember that no one can tell your story like you can.
Thank you for your question!