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Question for Monday

Tell me this happens to you, too:

You write something that, to you, is unique. You’re careful not to use wizards going off to wizard school, dumbass girls falling in love with stalker vampires, or teenagers being all hungry and having to kill each other in a game of some sort*. You reject your muse’s first offer (and second, and third) to try to make everything unique.

You write. You revise.

And then you read new books that have elements that are similar to yours. Not the core concept (at least for me, not yet, knock on wood), but a setting, a situation, a character’s background. Frenemies trapped in a tight space while bad guys lurk outside. A guy who lost his mom young, who was forced to not show feelings, who effing hates his dad.

It’s not that I expect my ideas to be completely unique; I truly believe it’s all been done, and will be again in new ways. And these are small things, and the way they come into my story is nothing like how they show up anywhere else.

But it makes me want to go scream to the world that I thought of it before I read it in someone else’s book. That I’m willing to share, but I didn’t copy off of another student’s paper.

It’s just me being silly, but that’s my question to writer types. Has this ever happened to you? I’m on number 3, which probably isn’t too bad for minor issues… Did you just shrug and go, “eh, whatever,” or did you immediately think that you’ll be accused of lifting other people’s ideas? Do you burn books and curse authors when they [retell the fairy tale you’re retelling, have a similar love story concept, use a name you really wanted]? Change your story? Let it be, secure in the knowledge you’ve done nothing wrong?

I’m not so much asking for advice here; I already know what I’m doing about it. I’m just wondering about times when this has happened to any of you, and whether you changed your own work in response, decided that you’re the only one who would notice anyway and left it, screamed and cried and threw your manuscript (or computer) out the window, stalked the other author and demanded to know how they got into your head… story time!

(For the record, I am changing one name after finding out that my brother and sister duo’s names are the same as a romantically linked couple in a popular YA series I haven’t read yet, but the other stuff is staying.)

*Crap, there goes my idea for “Starvation Backgammon” 😦


I’ve Been Bitten

Oh help.

I knew it was a bad idea to let that new idea start to come out, especially when I’m supposed to be editing something else. But I needed a break, and it seemed so innocent. Just put a little taste down for WIPpet Wednesday, then go back to the other stuff.

It’s not that I’ve lost interest in editing, though a vacation might be nice. I still love that story and those characters, I believe in them and want them to be the best it can be.

But I’ve discovered why so many people write vampires. I said I was never going to do it. It’s overdone, right? But then one of mine tapped me on the shoulder on Easter Sunday and said, “Well, why not? We’ll have fun.”

And darn it, she was right. I just wrote my first bite scene, and IT WAS FANTASTIC. The world and the story are coming together faster than I can get the words out. It’s exciting, it’s new, it’s different from what I’ve been doing for the past few years.

I can’t let it go now.

What do you think? I know some of you work on two or three projects at a time. Do you find it makes you lose focus, or does a little time “cheating” on your main project refresh you and let you come back looking at things in a new way? Do you tend to work on things that are similar, or very different from each other? I know I could never write two at the same time, but maybe I could write in between rounds of editing… or maybe I’m just rationalizing so I can get my fix.

2,000 words today, and it’s only 1:00. I think I’m going to see where this is headed.

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