Over the past few days, I suddenly came to realize that the primary conworld I'm constructing, or at least the plot that basically takes place there, eerily resembles the standard plot of young adult dystopian bookfilms, sans a number of de rigeur
tropes. We have a band of protagonists with questionable goals (the closest thing to an actual hero in the story is the main protagonist himself, Finbar, which was done on purpose), a wide-spanning authoritarian government with a choke-hold over the protagonists' home, and a setting heavily outright stated to be in the distant future. Essentially, all the basic cliches are in place to make Sweatshirt Brigade and its universe the next target of a ripoff accusation.
Kidding aside, I will hence be describing dystopian teen fiction as its own genre instead of calling "cliche" like a bad hipster fan. This in itself isn't a bad thing, come to think of it, though given that I devised the world and its plots in the time when these things are saturating the market, this might have implications should my work ever prove to be more popular than expected. While I wrote the basic pitch and premises over the course of three years and have, in all honesty, never read that many pieces of dystopian fiction (my knowledge of the Hunger Games is limited to the movies and Wiki while all I know of Battle Royale is that it's what hipsters accuse Hunger Games of blatant plagiarism, and let's not get started on Divergent), what little information I do incorporate into the conworld I use as a deliberate shout-out. In fact, if I turn this into a web series, this will most likely be an affectionate parody of the genre altogether.
I once more maintain that Sweatshirt Brigade had its origins from a what-if scenario where, in an action adventure hero story,e both the bad guy and the good guy read their respective to-do lists
and tried to beat each other through intelligence or negate their actions through fantastic and realistic plot devices, and the world kind of grew to fill in the gaps (and then some). Key differences with my work and contemporary teen-oriented dystopian fiction are plentiful. For starters, the dystopian government is clearly not the sole operating government (fun fact: I actually made TWO dystopian authoritarian regimes in the conworld, the actual bad guy country being slightly less evil but a lot more liable to swing its weight around). There are only two definite teenage protagonists (Finbar, *the* central protagonist, is 18 at the story's start, a legal adult in many countries), with the others being in their 20s or are middle aged enough to have twentysomething kids of their own. There might or might not be any unique gimmick related to exactly how the Meridian Empire oppresses its people.
If anything, the direction of the Sweaterverse might be oriented toward Discworld (I've yet to read any of the books but am familiar with it through Wikiwalking, again). From the little I have read, the humor and tone of my possible serial is right around Discworld's alley, only with lost technology instead of deities and magic and a conventionally round planet, in that the story is just as much about the setting as it is about the characters that have to live there.
On one hand, I could try to differentiate my work from all those others and retool elements to make it less like this genre. On the other, I could aim for the more farcical aspects of the premise and roll with as a dystopian teen fiction that's a deconstructive parody of other dystopian teen fiction. Or I could stay true to its roots and make it into the witty action adventure I always thought it could be.