I’m writing my extended project on how the Argonautica (the story of Jason and the Golden Fleece by Apollonius of Rhodes) has influenced modern day fantasy novels (like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings). It’s great fun, and has actually thrown up some rather interesting scenarios (I’ve also written a presentation on why Jason is an asshole. Take from that what you wish).
It’s obvious that books are influenced by others, and writers are influenced by others. She’s not published, but a lot of my friend’s writing is clearly influenced by Doctor Who’s characters and structure. My boyfriend’s is more influenced by comedy shows and books. Mine has influences from all over, because I write in a lot of different genres. But the point is, everyone is influenced in their writing. Even JK Rowling was influenced by JRR Tolkien (most fantasy has been) and Greek myth.
Some books, however, are more influenced than others. For example: 50 Shades of Grey, which was started as a Twilight fanfiction, and therefore directly influenced by this saga. Young Sherlock Holmes; directly influenced by its elder. Even books like Divergent could have been influenced by The Hunger Games, as they are incredibly similar.
The point of this being a discussion, however, is that I don’t always like these influences. More and more nowadays it’s becoming obvious that lots of books are nearing the same thing. There are dystopian novels, based around a strong female character; fantasy novels, with an epic quest and hero/ine; historical murder mystery novels, and so on and so forth. Some of these influences are so direct they’re getting repetitive, and it’s a breath of fresh air to read something completely and utterly new, like The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender.
But I want to know: what do you think? Are some books more influenced than others? At what point, for example, do we say it’s too similar? Are books getting repetitive? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂