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A thought about original characters...

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Previous Entry A thought about original characters... May. 6th, 2008 @ 06:07 am Next Entry
I'm starting to work on my next short story, and when I thought about the character design something struck me....

There is no way to be entirely positive that your character, or story, isn't the same, or at least pretty close, to someone's else. It's probably likely that someone has thought of something similar already! I've already seen that I'm not the only comic about talking food, but since the similarities end there I don't think I should worry?

The whole point is WHAT makes your character or story original! It's likely that your character looks like someone's else character, but it's unlikely that they act the same! It's likely that someone has had a similar story idea, but yours should be different in someway...

I'm hoping I'm being logical here, because spending hours searching on the Internet to see if someone has had the same idea... doesn't seem logical to me at all!
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From:poisonrational
Date:May 6th, 2008 04:55 am (UTC)
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I used to worry over the same things! You kind of just have to not worry about it.

It's like, Primary has a lot of elements as other comics: teen, queer, romance, growing up, child abuse, escort services, etc. But the story in and of itself is unique because the way these issues are addressed aren't exactly the same. Same themes, sure. But actually beat by beat story-telling? No way.
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From:tanukitsune
Date:May 6th, 2008 08:28 am (UTC)
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I tend to find most "life" comics unique, except some of the shojo ones which are a bit formulaic...

Those elements are just ingredients for a good comic, how you use them is what makes them unique, right?
From:poisonrational
Date:May 6th, 2008 08:31 am (UTC)
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Those elements are just ingredients for a good comic, how you use them is what makes them unique, right?

Exactly!
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From:cleanskies
Date:May 6th, 2008 07:47 am (UTC)
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There's a lot of stuff around about this. Traditional pitfalls include mary-sueing (probably not a problem with your strip) mosaicing (i.e. fairly obvious combinations of two other characters) and stick-on-heads (a lot of similar characters with different haircuts, e.g. -- particularly common with female characters). There's probably a chapter in most comics books on character generation but I don't know which might apply to your style of comics. Looking online will be hard, because "character" and "generation" are such multi-use search terms.

Many people choose just to ignore the issue, unless they get sued -- which is fine. The above "faults" can be found in much highly-regarded work, and could be argued to be an intrinsic, possibly crucial part of character generation.

The usual approach
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From:tanukitsune
Date:May 6th, 2008 08:54 am (UTC)
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Actually it's a bit more common to do the opposite of mary-sueing here in Spain, and we tend to make the heroes zeroes. You may of heard of Mort and Phil who are secret agents who are ugly, clumsy and either fail on the mission or succeed but someone make things worse.

I don't think the story has been done before, and I think the main character is original, but I'm not so sure about the rest... I'm just worried they might look like someone else's characters...^_^;
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From:cleanskies
Date:May 6th, 2008 12:41 pm (UTC)
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so the tendency is to make characters too hapless? That's great though...

Hmmm, I think that the thing you are looking for might be the new "image engine" that's being developed --

see some sample searches here

Which you should be able to feed an image into to look for similar. It's not even in beta yet, though. I think several people are racing to get it going, so maybe it'll be working within the year.

In the meantime, you could always say your character is a "subconscious homage" ;)
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From:tanukitsune
Date:May 6th, 2008 01:21 pm (UTC)
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Actually it gets pretty tiring, most comics is Spain are parodies of other comics where they just make the hero a loser...

I spent some time searching on DeviantArt for the animals I'm using as a reference and so far, it seems nobody is using it the way I want to, so I think I'm safe?
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From:shortstacksutin
Date:May 6th, 2008 12:56 pm (UTC)
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Trust me you are. Characters are no different than people you meet on the street-lots of them are very similar.
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From:tanukitsune
Date:May 6th, 2008 01:22 pm (UTC)
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And like people on the street, once you get to know them, you see that aren't that similar after all? :3
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