View Full Version : Too...Little Mermaid?

Kyla Laufreyson
08-02-2011, 02:41 AM
I'm working on outlining my future novel Seahome, which is actually kind of tied to the Tchaikovsky version of Sleeping Beauty. The only thing is, I seem to be unintentionally putting in similarities to the Disney version of Little Mermaid. Really, it's not on purpose, it just seems to be happening.

The novel is going to open up with my main character and his best friend going to explore a shipwreck. Now, it's not like they pull a direct Ariel and Flounder and get chased off by a large Great White shark. Not at all. Instead they meet up with one of my primary antagonists, who is prince of the finfolk...the finfolk happen to eat dead humans, so they're there to collect the corpses and take them home for dinner and other disturbing things like that. The prince orders my main character to leave.

Then, on the way home, they get lost and come across the island where they meet the love interest, who is the actual kind of Princess Aurora figure. I wanted my main character to be guided to him by the sound of singing, since one of the gifts from the fairies was the gift of song.

I'm just wondering, is having the shipwreck + the singing way too Little Mermaid? Or will people probably not really notice that? It'd be easy enough to change the singing part; I'm just torn.


08-02-2011, 02:55 AM
Is the MC a human and the Princess Aurora figure a mermaid (can't tell if finfolk=mermaid so forgive me if it's a dumb question)? If the shipwreck and the singing are the only things it has in common with TLM, then I wouldn't worry too much. Mermaids have to happen near water and shipwrecks are a common event in novels set on the sea or near water. So mermaids+shipwreck=not at all unusual and neither is mermaid+singing.

Now, if it continued to match plot points, I'd try to stray farther, but just based on what you're saying, I wouldn't worry.

08-02-2011, 02:56 AM
An off-the-topic comment . . .

There is a real "yuck!" factor to having the finfolks eating corpses. Strangely enough, I don't get the same "yuck" if they were just capturing and eating humans. It kind of like the difference between eating fish, and eating a fish you're found floating in the water.

If you hadn't mentioned The Little Mermaid, I might have first seen some similarities to The Odyssey (possibility because I've never watching all of The Little Mermaid, although I'm familiar with it, of course).

If you didn't want to include the singing, you could use something like a flute-like musical instrument or even something visual rather than musical. For example only, perhaps the fairies gave them the power to change the color of the sky (something like that can then be used in the plot; it's a "dark and stormy night" but the antagonist has changed the color of the sky to a beautiful blue in order to lure someone to their death). Again, just a example.

Kyla Laufreyson
08-02-2011, 03:19 AM
(I don't want to take up a bunch of space by quoting people, so...)

@Hbooks: The main character is actually a male siren, because I got bored and was like, "Hmmm....I wonder..." Finfolk are a lot like mermaids, but more evil, basically. At least, according to what I've read about them. Based on what you just said, I think I'm safe as of now, as long as I steer myself 100% away from TLM for the rest of the novel...

@alleycat: Totally aiming for the "yuck" factor. Success! :D

The other stuff you said was tremendously creative and I love you for it. I'm not going to run off with that idea, I don't think, but it did give me a few inspirations for other gifts my dear love interest can have instead...

08-02-2011, 03:22 AM
I wondered about that since you mentioned "other disturbing things".

Adding to the possible yucks: serving a bowl of eyeballs for dinner. "Are these fresh, or frozen eyeballs? I prefer organic eyeballs myself." ;-)

Purple Rose
08-02-2011, 12:12 PM
Eyeballs?? AC is the wicked kee kat on any page, any thread. Wicked and clever ;)

08-02-2011, 06:43 PM
Doesn't sound like Little Mermaid at all. Don't get too wrapped up if something in your book sounds sort of similar to something else. You're allowed to write a book about a boy going to wizard school. You can even call him Harry. You know you're going too far when they start saying the same things, and you can identify every character.

Eating corpses and singing a song doesn't warrant enough similarities.

08-06-2011, 11:57 PM
I don't know how much validity this has, but there's a rule that states readers want 90% of the same stuff and 10% new.

Just look at how many vampire novels are out there...

08-07-2011, 12:07 AM
I like the idea so far. As someone that grew up reading the old fairy tales, I think you captured the feeling of those dark stories pretty well. Particularly with the corpse-eating bit. I like that a lot.

So long as you're doing any story involving fish-people, you'll get inevitable comparisons to Disney's version of The Little Mermaid. Don't let it bother you. Go further in the plot and see where it takes you. I'm interested.

I like your avatar, by the way. Cold-emort is funny.

08-07-2011, 04:51 AM
Wow, a fairy-tale retelling where the MC is a guy! I'd say 'Finally!', but there is probably another one out there, somewhere.
And, things that live in the sea eat dead people. If you don't learn that from cop shows, you learn that from fishermen. It's the part of the Great Circle of Life that doesn't get a lot of publicity. Nice touch.

Lady MacBeth
08-07-2011, 05:15 AM
Sounds like an interesting story to me. I can't see Disney including any corpse-eating characters so I wouldn't worry too much.

08-07-2011, 05:21 AM
Don't worry too much.

I think you are fine. I don't get a LM vibe at all. The only part I dislike is the juxtaposition of siren/finfolk. It's a closeness that some fantasy readers will gripe and moan about and others won't. Mostly I still think you're copacetic, but if you have a different name for the siren-like chick it would be a safer bet still. Faerie is fine, since you're going with some fresh adaptation of that.

But all this is, of course, JMO. Take it or leave it.

Grody corpse-eating is fine by me BTW. My mermaid chica is a serial killer.