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Great story idea but don't know if I should continue writing so I need help

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Mari More, Mar 16, 2021.

  1. Mari More

    Mari More Minstrel

    Hi guys! I have this idea for my (future) work. The setting won't be in Earth, it'll be in entirely diff. world. I want both genders to have same standing in the society as much as possible but I don't want them to "mix" with each other. I want a prejudice or a clear divide on what each gender can do. The divide won't be as great as "men do the work, women stay at home" kind of of divide. More like "men use your bodies and be warriors, women use your brains and be gov't officials" or something. Like men do the hard labor: be knights, go to wars, and other physical activities while women do the thinking: fill the council, study accounting, medicine, and do paper works.

    Do you know any books (any kind) with this concept? Not that I don't want anyone to do what I'm thinking, just want to avoid altercation or lawsuits (if the book is already well known, i might get sued for i don't know... copyright or trademark?)
  2. Lynea

    Lynea Sage

    You can't copyright a society model, so don't worry about it.
  3. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Archmage

    The closest stories to that concept that I know of are in Ursula K. Leguin's Ekumen cycle, and they don't necessarily have complete gender equality in them. They play a lot with the concept of what is and isn't gender equality, and with gender itself, but they don't necessarily say everyone's equal. Some of the societies in those stories approach equality, some are completely unequal, and often, how equal they are or aren't is in the eye of the beholder.

    But the idea isn't copyright. You can certainly take it and run with it.

    Plenty of actual cultures have been built on that very concept. But then, again, the question can be raised as to how equal that really was.
  4. Snowpoint

    Snowpoint Sage

    Makes me wonder how often the genders see each other. What if they spent much of their time cloistered away from each other. Maybe they speak different languages.
    The best thing is to just start writing stuff. maybe do some monologues from different characters just to feel out ideas of day-to-day things they would experience.
  5. Chasejxyz

    Chasejxyz Inkling

    >both genders

    Well your society is going to have to have some sort of global culture that colonizes others and erases gender variance by force. There can be something interesting there, especially if your story focuses on noncisheteronormative characters fighting this system, but it has to be handled with care.

    You cannot copyright a trope or type of story. The omegaverse/abo lawsuit didn't go anywhere in court because it was tropes. If you could, then DC and Marvel would have ended the other in court. You can write a story about an orphan boy going to a magic boarding school and that's totally legal. But if you write a story about a space wizard named Hari Podder who fights space wizard hitler, well, good luck with that. Generally the things that are copyrighted are the proper nouns: Pokemon, Pikachu, The Wizarding World. You can't write a story about Pikachu, but you can write a story about kids collecting and battling monsters. You're more likely to run afoul of the copyright of a song or poem by including some lines in your text than you ever would for "stealing an idea."
    DracoNako likes this.
  6. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

    If you want to avoid lawsuits then it might be best if you don't know. If you can legally say that you've never read X or even heard of it then it helps show that any similarity is just a coincidence.
    Mari More likes this.
  7. Saigonnus

    Saigonnus Auror

    I have to express my dubiousness about a truly equal society where one gender would have political power over the other. Using the real world as an example, most governments are run by men, so women are less than equal. The same would probably be true if women ruled everything, even if it didn't start out that way. People tend to want to make things better for those like them, and would create policies that eventually would alienate the opposite gender. A perfect world is obviously impossible, you are dealing with people here, but you can remove some of the gender-bias if you delineated the governance as well... Perhaps 12 ministers covering the various facets of society, 6 males and 6 females. That way, you draw the lines as to what power they do have and what they have to defer to their opposites.

    For me, these lines would depend on how you want society to run. If you want a militaristic regime, then have men run the military, but if you would rather have a strong defensive strategy, then have a woman do the job. Obviously this system isn't perfect because people are people and you might get an aggressive, militaristic woman in charge or a restrained, defense-oriented man.

    Perhaps it could even shift back and forth with each election; but the one thing that must always be true; there is to be 6 female ministers and 6 male ones.
  8. TJPoldervaart

    TJPoldervaart Minstrel

    The Alethi society in the Stormlight Archive (Brandon Sanderson) is very close to this. In this society, men are the leaders and warriors, while women are the scholars and artists, and it is actually shameful for men to be able to read.
    Cady and Vaporo like this.
  9. Mari More

    Mari More Minstrel

    Oh :( it's basically what I'm thinking of. PLEASE TELL ME IF THE BOOK YOU'VE READ IS SIMILAR TO THIS LITTLE CONCEPT OF MINE. Though I've said that both genders are equal, it is only equal in terms of:
    -both have voices in society
    -both serve the kingdom directly (as a military man and as an official)
    -both are learned (in weaponry and in knowledge/academic)
    -both are respected in society
    -both can have reputations of their own (in respective fields) and won't be hindered just because the other is a man or a woman
    -no "discrimination" since both are equal and both have opportunities.

    So the "equality" is so ideal when you think of it that way but when you really look into it, people are not equal. The "equality" of having both sex have roles in society is actually a "divide" and "segregation"
    -women are in offices, men can't do anything without the women's go signal. men might lose their jobs if women do some "under the table" since women are the real law while men only do what they're commanded to do
    -women are learned so they're more intelligent. they know how to read and write because it's basic skill needed for gov't posts
    -women gives birth to heirs so they have higher position that men. because if the women don't want to get pregnant, their husbands can't do anything about it. so the women call the shot in terms of child rearing.
    -since women are learned, they certainly will have power in their house and land. Although some might still be arranged, once they enter their husband's house their husband won't be able to control them that much. They won't be seen as tools for procreation or tools to continue the family lineage. they'll be seen as something more than that.

    I've thought of this idea when I read this cool webtoon online where women are superior and men are inferior. I super liked it since I'm into femdom and reverse harem so even if I find some of the female lead's choices dumb, I still continue reading and supporting it. However, as the story progresses I realized how the webtoon isn't really female "domination" but a role reversal (I don't know the term). The author literally, and I mean literally, exchanged the pronouns of each sex and called it done!
    Like, for example. (not a real word per word section in books of virtue but this is the gist)
    "Women should only stay at home and take care of their husbands. Learn cooking, embroidery, and the art of bed to satisfy and serve their husbands."
    And put it in their webtoon as:
    "Men should only stay at home and take care of their wives. Learn cooking, embroidery, and the art of bed to satisfy and serve their wives."
    Also, women tend to be the aggressive "I'm the ML" kind of character who pins the male lead on the wall while the latter gets trapped under her SMALLER stature.
    It's so irritating thinking that the author just change the genitals of these people! So...
    I thought of a concept where "women are superior and men are inferior" phrase can be used in a more "accurate" and "realistic" way.
    In reality, women have more power than men. Although the society isn't technically a matriarchal one, it's definitely not a patriarchal one.
    The segregation and divide among sex are (in our world, although it diminished there's still people who think that...) men should work and do physical labor while women should stay in the kitchen and take care of kids. I made that into men should work and do physical labor while women should address the country's concerns. I gave the men the "manly men" work they wanted and I gave the women something more.
  10. TJPoldervaart

    TJPoldervaart Minstrel

    The Stormlight Archive is similar, but not the same. I would say the biggest difference is that in the Stormlight Archive, most power lays with the men, while in your idea, most power lays with women. They are similar in the idea that men are warriors/workers and women are scholars/caretakers, but the execution of both ideas seems to be different.

    Having said that, if this is what you want to do, I say go for it! There are thousands of novels replicating feudal society, so why wouldn't there be multiple novels with a gender power-division like this? I'm sure the stories will be plenty different, so don't let a similar idea stop you. If you think about it, very few ideas are original (take, as an example, elemental magic, chosen ones, or even time-travel), but the way you give your own voice to those ideas is what will set your story apart.
    Vaporo likes this.
  11. Mari More

    Mari More Minstrel

    I'm only a small nobody author who has no reputation in the industry, I don't want to be sued. I don't know laws that protect authors and literary works so I want to be careful. :) I don't want to be "jkr-sued" because of copyright or trademark. and I don't want to read the book or search about it because it might bite on me in the future. just like Queshire said, being ignorant about it than knowing it then being told "why didn't you stop knowing your copying this book" blah blah.
  12. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

    There was an Ancient Greek play called the Assemblywoman which had a similar concept. So it’s an old idea that’s been used and tweaked through the centuries. Don’t worry about it being a rip-off.

    The main thing I want to point-out is that you didn’t pitch a story idea. Stories tend to have characters with motivations and goals.
    You pitched one aspect of a setting and settings are rarely interesting. Get a good story attached to a shallow, derivative setting and no one will care about the setting being a rip-off or whatever.

    Also, I guess I’ll point-out that “equal” is kind of a weirdly vague term and probably not the best way to start worldbuilding. Like, say I were to divide society into two equal spheres: public and private. Now let’s say I give men the public sphere: they’re the political officials, businessmen, law enforcement, etc.
    Now, in the interest of equality, I give women the private sphere. They run the household, raise the children (which basically give women control of the most valuable thing in any society: the next generation) and are excluded from risking their safety in war or the workforce.
    Oops - it looks like while setting-up an “divided but equal” society, I accidentally made a patriarchy.
    I think that if you want women to be the upper class - if that works better for your story - you should just ditch the “equality” angle and make a setting that works for the narrative.
  13. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Archmage

    Here's the real question: which gender has primary control over distribution of food?

    According to my anthropology professor back in college, that's the way societies determine which gender is in charge, so to speak. If it's a primarily hunting society, and men are the hunters, it's going to be patriarchal to some degree. If it's agricultural and women own the land, the women are going to have a lot more say and sway. If money is the primary resource that obtains food, whichever gender is the primary breadwinner will have more say. He/she who has the gold makes the rules.
  14. Mari More

    Mari More Minstrel

    I didn't include any characters yet because I only thought of the concept of the book: an "equal" society where men and women both have roles in society.

    I also stated that the "equal" is the ideal way people think of it. But in reality, nothing is equal. They might think that everyone has equal opportunities and everyone has the same role in society but they're actually wrong. If a person take their time to really look into and study the "equality" they're accustomed with, they'll realize that everyone isn't actually equal and equality is not existence. The ideal "equal society" that (probably) their ancestors thought of turned into segregation and divide among people. No one will ever be equal with one another, there will always be someone higher or lower than you.

    (Now that I'm writing this comment...) Maybe their ancestors think that everyone must be given equal chances and opportunities and it paid during their time but as time passes by their ancestors' ideas made a rift among the people. For example (not a great one but...) in A:TLA, Kyoshi created Dai Li thinking that it will protect the people of Earth Kingdom, and it did... during her time. But in it's Aang's generation (and Korra), Dai Li are far from "protector" of the Earth Kingdom. So, maybe, the law on "gender equality" was passed to give everyone a better life or something but as generations passed, things started to go wrong.

    One reason for this is:
    Maybe women think that there's no need for the law to change and shift the "real" meaning of the law to their advantage. And no man can oppose them or question them because if he did, he will be questioned how did he know the laws, did he secretly learn to read and right? unless some girl read to him the laws starting from the beginning and help him point out the wrongs and misuse of the said law. Questioning it might lead to the man's disadvantage so no man would dare to question the "laws". And only those "human rights activists" women will educate a man and teach him what he needs to learn to be able to realize how crooked the "equality" in their society really is.

    Or, the possible climax would be men will create a rebellion and kill those women and create a new language system for them. then create a new empire dominated by men. (but if i'm the author, i won't do this.)

  15. Mari More

    Mari More Minstrel

    Taking this into context, women would probably dominate the society and would be a matriarchal one (although not entirely). Since women are learned and know about the knowhows of land management, yeah. Also since, they will be in charge of granary, treasury, and other important things needed to run a house and the country itself, yeah women dominate the society. And if the ruler is a king, he's probably not the real figure head of the kingdom. He'll only be at the top so that men can see "Oh, the person I serve is a man" and sit on his throne when there's no wars.
    Cady and Rosemary Tea like this.
  16. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Archmage

    He might obtain his power through women. Maybe he's the son of a queen, or her nephew through her sister. Maybe he can only become king by marrying the hereditary queen. This could be a society where women hold the titles and men can only receive them through the women.

    Some Celtic tribes did it exactly that way. The Picts, for example. One well researched theory about King Arthur is that marriage to Guinevere was what got him recognized as high king. She was a Pictish queen, and her people only recognized kings by virtue of the queen. Meanwhile, some of the other tribes in Britain at the time were more patriarchal and recognized kings in the more usual way. That marriage unified those tribes with the Picts.

    The Welsh story of Lleu Llaw Gyffes is another example of that custom. His mother lays a curse on him: he'll never have a name, or weapons, or a wife. Those were the very things a boy needed to become a man (let alone a king), and the first two had to be given by his mother. His uncle, who raised him when his mother rejected him at birth, tricks her into giving him the first two and comes up with a creative loophole for the third. When Lleu is finally married, he has land, property, a castle... he's the king. (It doesn't really work out that well, in the end, but that's another story.)
  17. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

    So, is that idea that the setting isn’t “equal” in the ideal way and is instead a pretense of equality or that the virtue of “equality” is justification for the gender-stratified society?
    That seems to make sense if that’s what you’re going for.

    Also, should I take your previous post to mean that, so far, you just have this setting premise and not any actual story ironed-out yet? I mean, it’s fine if you don’t but if you do, it’d be good for the discussion if you share a bit of what you got so far. It’ll help us suggest where you might want to go from here.
  18. There's a lot to digest here. First of, if you want actual legal advise, don't ask it on a random forum on the internet. While some people here might be IP lawyers, they still wouldn't know the specific details of your story. And the rest of us are just using what we read somewhere and common sense.

    With that in mind, as others mentioned, you can't copyright or trademark an idea. Copyright applies to the specific text. You can write a story about a boy who goes to a wizarding school which is hidden from the real world and he battles an evil dark lord at the end of each school year, without violating any copyright. Of course, once you start adding in specifics from Harry Potter then you might get into trouble.

    Trademark is the protection of specific terms and names etc. You can't have Hobbits or Middle Earth or Hogwarts or anything like that in your story.

    The same applies to your story idea. Yes, people will have had it before. But then, there are only 3, 4, 7, 9 or 30 different stories out there anyway (depending on who you ask). So everything has been done before. It is how you weave it into a story and your specific writing style that matters, not the world itself. So, write your story. Unless you specifically set out to copy someone it's almost impossible to do so.

    If you want similar stories, the Stormlight Archive has already been mentioned (and I think it does a pretty good job of it). Another is The Wheel of Time, which creates the divide on women being able to do magic while men can't.
  19. Kittie Brandybuck

    Kittie Brandybuck Minstrel

    I haven't read any novels like this, but it does remind me of something. I have a 1970's dungeons and dragons monster manual, and in it it said that in mermaid societies, men and women live in different areas. However, I don't think it's too similar, so I think you should go for it.
  20. The Dark One

    The Dark One Auror

    I sincerely doubt you can be sued by a subculture (if I understand you correctly). Defamation is all about traducing individuals.

    If you're more worried about copyright, if you haven't read a particular book then the chances of you ripping it off to the extent required by the law are astronomical. So don't worry about it.

    As for your OP gender roles. Polynesian society was frequently matriarchal - not least because the male warriors didn't live long enough to take up administrative roles.

    Of course, like all general statements, that is a gross over-simplification.

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