I'm really struggling with making my world, so I thought I would make it broad.

Is it necessary to invent an entirely new galactic system for the sake of originality, or is it acceptable to write about an already existing galaxy, but make minor tweaks to it's color or shape as to not stealing the universe's idea?

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding SE. We generally discourage broad questions as our forum is dedicated to speculation that helps refine detail rather than set scenes, if you will. That said, I suspect that your question is better re-worded as 'can I use someone else's story universe and tweak it to be original, or do I need to start from scratch?' If that's the case, this question could be seen as opinion based and the answer will rely on the degree of modification you intend to apply. A helpful maxim however; to steal from one source is plagiarism. To steal from many is research. $\endgroup$ – Tim B II Feb 28 '18 at 23:01
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    $\begingroup$ What do you mean by "already existing galaxy"? $\endgroup$ – Sasha Feb 28 '18 at 23:01
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    $\begingroup$ If you're talking about using actual locations (e.g. the Andromeda galaxy) then go for it. The universe doesn't care. $\endgroup$ – Jakob Lovern Feb 28 '18 at 23:03
  • $\begingroup$ @TimBII I meant the universe that we live in. There are many many multi-verses, but I was referring to the place that we live. $\endgroup$ – Aspen the Artist and Author Feb 28 '18 at 23:03
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    $\begingroup$ stealing the universe's idea ... LMAO $\endgroup$ – ArtisticPhoenix Mar 1 '18 at 1:22

When you talk about a galaxy, do you talk about the political/social setting or the shape of the spiral arms? Copying the shape of the spiral arms is no problem at all.

When you talk about acceptable, what is the context? Things that might be entirely OK when you play a pen-and-paper roleplaying game with a couple of friends would be unacceptable when you try to write and then publish a novel.

  • Generally speaking, when you do not publish just about anything goes.
  • Copying distinctive names is a bad idea. Copying general concepts is OK. You can probably have a distant galaxy where the emperor uses armored troops to fight a rebellion. Calling the deputy archvillain Darth is a bad idea. Calling him Darth Vader is a very bad idea.
  • $\begingroup$ The phisical/color scheme of the galaxy is what I was looking for, I guess. $\endgroup$ – Aspen the Artist and Author Mar 1 '18 at 19:00

It's completely acceptable!

We regularly create...

  • Fictional companies within existing Earth cities.
  • Fictional cities within existing Earth countries.
  • Fictional countries on Earth, which I propose exists.citation needed
  • Fictional stars, planets, and locations within the Milky Way.

In fact, it's often much simpler to start with something that exists and modify it to meet your needs. New authors are often caught up in the details, not yet having learned when focus is needed and when it's not. Inventing an entire galaxy, for example, just to tell a story on one world (where all you may need is to define some constellations for that world), is a ton of work without value — unless you intend to write a slew of stories within that galaxy.

But even then, it's frequently better to invent it on the go. Terry Pratchett's Discworld was invented that way — and sometimes he changed the rules. The Discworld of his early stories is not in every detail the same as in his last.

So, modify away. Build only as much as you need and move forward with your story.

One last point. While I wouldn't be at all surprised for an enterprising lawyer to step up and claim to represent the Universe's best interests. I suspect you might not have deep enough pockets for one to be well enough motivated — and I'm fairly sure the Universe, itself, won't mind too much if you copy its structure for the sake of your story. :-)


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