Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Avoiding associations with other stories or fandoms

In my last post I mentioned how I didn't want people to think I was taking a technique from Naruto. This led me to thinking about other things I might want to include in a story and how I would not want it associated with other stories, particularly stories I dislike. People would associate things with other things regardless of how I portray it but I'm wondering if there are some writing techniques I do not know in which to make people not think the idea was taken from somewhere else.

I don't really like Harry Potter all that much but there are things I would use in a story that people who like Harry Potter a lot would think I got the idea from. For example how could I include Ranma visiting an apothecary, using potions with ingredients such as mandrake root or Orachi/dragon blood, and magic items without people thinking of Harry Potter. Pink or Link had mandrake, there were potions such as Happosai's rejuvenation potion, lots of magic items like the semi-sentient fire breathing staff, Ranma bought the girl repellent from and was going to get the memory restoring Shampoo from an apothecary in China, etc.

Another example: If Ranma hunts and kills/traps various Kami/Yokai how to make it so people don't think that it is from one of the various series such as Inuyasha that does that and if Ranma then uses them in a fight how to make people not think of Dragon Quest Monsters or Pokemon? Hunting and trapping creatures was in the manga for example the oni.

At the moment the only way I can think of to get people to not associate it with other stories is to remind the readers that the action or a similar one happened in the source material and that the other more popular or at least more saturated series having them is just coincidental.

1 comment:

Muphrid said...

I think pointing out how an action or idea is an extension of something that happened in canon is a good start and should make it clear that, even if the idea seems similar to something in another series, you're still grounded in the Ranma universe.

Beyond that, I'm not sure if you can avoid association altogether. Perhaps it would be useful to preempt the association and explicitly or subtly point out how the action is similar or different. More likely the more different it is the better, so you can emphasize originality. Conversely, you can make a joke of the association or even a subtle jab at some nonsensical aspect of the series you want to distance yourself from.

I suppose that, with as much fiction as is made out there, it's hard to prove the genealogy of any idea, but if the unique aspects of an idea are emphasized (the aspects that make that idea unique to Ranma or you, the author), that may be the best thing to do, whether you choose to confront association or ignore it.