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How to make a story that's not too similar to Harry Potter?

I don't know about the Earthsea thing (only because I never read that series) but I read a lot of Enid Blyton as a kid. I would agree with you about Harry Potter being nothing more than a British boarding school story with fantasy elements tossed in.
I'd say its the other way around. Fantasy with a boarding school as a background. After all, the magical elements are way more important to the plot then the boarding school is.


I think that a fresh take on a "magical school" setting would be one where the school was an inner-city public school, sorta like St. Clortho's in that one Jordan and Peele skit.

For one, it's always bothered me how magic schools always have to be boarding schools, because it neglects the fact that maybe a lot of students can't afford to leave home to learn magic, because of their financial, familiar ect. situations. I know if I were a wizard and got accepted to Hogwarts, my mom would never let me attend because she's one of those parents who believe that success in practical academics is better than the extracurricular hogwash that both magical and "normie" schools are promoting as their main focus nowadays. Also, I don't believe that it's possible for any kind of government (even those who can conjure gold from lead) to provide full need-based boarding school scholarships for every student that needs them, because corruption and government stinginess is a problem everywhere.

Magical public schools allow for more in-depth worldbuilding due to the setting is not a self-contained bubble setting like a boarding school. Parent-Magical teacher relationships can be more fleshed out, as the parents can now easily contact the faculty and chew them out for things (like physical abuse/breaches of safety) that would've been unreported in boarding schools. Students now have a life outside of school, which allows them to have part-time jobs and hang out in places like paintball arenas opening more ways for your characters to use their magic in non-life and limb situations. Competitiveness in magical studies can also be elaborated on, as the existence of magical public schools implies that no one institution holds the monopoly of education in a region, meaning you can show what a bad magic school looks like.

Lastly, magical public school allows more chances for comedy than a boarding school as a concept, because humor is often based on relatability and there are much more of us out there who has experienced public-school nonsense rather than boarding school nonsense.


Whoops, sorry about that. I'm really bad with names and it's been a long, long time since I've watched their stuff. Thanks for correcting me.

Miles Lacey

Hmmm... avoiding the similarities could be as easy as moving the boarding school to the Caribbean. In the boarding school there could be a mixture of African, European and Mulatto (mixed race) students which reflects the population of the Caribbean country it's located in. The boarding school could be caught up in a conflict between traditional African and European magic on the one side and a more modern magic created from a fusion of traditional African and European magic on the other.

The same basic flavour of Harry Potter can still be kept but with so many different potential sources of conflict between teachers, students and parents - as well as the wider community - there could potentially be several books that could come out of that setting.