Wednesday, January 26, 2011

But I thought of that FIRST!

That ever happen to you? As writers I'm sure it has -- often! (Or perhaps you only ever have super-original ideas and so you've never experienced the stomach-twisting-in-intense-annoyance-and-disappointment feeling. Lucky you!)

Seriously, though, you'll be reading a book or a review and one of the following things will happen:

  • The completely unique name you spent hours coming up with and have never seen anywhere else before -- is now on the page in front of you.
  • That awesome idea you came up with last night/last month/five years ago is unfolding before your eyes -- in someone else's story.
  • The amazing title you have finally, finally hit upon for your WIP (the title everyone is going to be talking about) is advertised as being released this year -- and you're not the author.
  • The incredible cover art you've always imagined for your epic masterpiece is now gracing someone else's book -- because that someone else used mind control and pinched it from your totally awesome brain!


So what do you do then? Give up? Or ignore it and carry on? (My Twilight is totally gonna be better than her Twilight... They'll all love mine when it's finally finished...) A number of times I've seen an idea in another book that I've already written into my WIP and I get bummed, but then I think of it like this: I've used ideas here and there that are similar to ideas in other already-published stories, but when I put all those ideas together in my story, it's different.

Right now my biggest worry is this: I've finally decided on a title that I really like (and then saw that a forthcoming book has a title that's almost like an exact opposite! That was my Damn, are you serious? moment!) and now I'm just hoping that someone doesn't "pinch" my title and publish it before I do!

What about you? Have you had one of these moments? What did you do?


17 comments:

Su said...

That little girl is unbearably cute, even if she is pouting!

It happens to me all the time, and I usually just mutter and keep going. As you say, no one else tells the story quite like I do... but sometimes I have to pull out the Plan B.

Jennifer Hoffine said...

Yes, I've been there...even lost out on a sale because of a book too similar to mine:( But it can work in your favor too. Trends do matter...if it's a trend and not a completely "unique" premise idea, I'd say put your own spin on things and go for it.

With titles though, I'd definitely try something new.

gideon 86 said...

It happens to me, too. But remember we do put our own spin on things. As for titles, there are times that the same book title is out there from two published authors but they are very different books. So don't worry do your writing and go for whatever title/idea you have.


Michael

Elena Solodow said...

A title or character name would never bother me. Even if it would hurt to change it at first, eventually you'd get used to the new one. If someone had my exact idea - that might be depressing. But as always, gotta keep going.

Demitria said...

That's happened to me for sure. You just have to take a deep breath, be upset for a second, then move on and think of something (hopefully) better. :)

demitrialunetta.blogspot.com

Julie Hedlund said...

Definitely happened to me. I try to think of it as proof that I'm onto something with my ideas. Then I sit down and make sure my book/idea/title is different enough from what's out there. It also lights a fire under my feet to GET MOVING! The sooner my work is out there, I figure, the sooner it's someone else having that experience instead of me.

The Sisterhood said...

I'd say the upside to all of this is that you have a novel to compare your work to, which is what a lot of agents want to know. At least you know that this idea/title/characters are going to sell (or not, depending on the one that's already on the shelves). Title-wise, I tend to get attached once I've settled on one I like, so I could see the disappointment there.

♥ Mary Mary

Carol Riggs said...

Ha, great little pout on the girl photo! Yes, I've been bummed by ideas I THOUGHT were original, and then saw them somewhere else. But you're right--only you can tell it in your own specific way.

Titles? Hmm, I suppose an agent or publisher may have you change a title if it's too similar to another one out there. Yes, as Julie H says, above--get on it and get yours published first! LOL

Kittie Howard said...

Love the photo! Yep, I've felt bummed at times. I tell myself that imitation is the highest form of flattery, as if these people know me, LOL!

Kari Marie said...

This just happened to me with a movie and a blog post! Gah. The blog post I can live with but the movie? Not so sure. I spent days wracking my brain wondering if I had seen something about the movie first. I decided not because when I tuned into the film, I was curious to see the storyline because I was writing my WIP. I'm glad I saw it though. It helped me tweak a couple scenes to be more unique to me.

Jenn said...

Yep! I wrote a story a few years ago that I thought was incredibly fictional, but has happened in real life.

And the title I thought was absolutely perfect for my YA WIP is taken by an erotic romance novel that came out a few months ago. Totally don't want my teen readers (should I ever have any!) get their hands on the wrong book. ;)

Dan said...

That happens to me all the time. This past NaNo, I very excitedly told my partner at work about my book, a brand new take on zombies. She very excitedly told me it was just like something she'd seen two years ago. Grr.

Dan

Melissa said...

I had a moment like this with one of my MC's name. It wasn't exactly the same as another authors but their was only one letter difference in the last name. It was really frustrating but I'm not changing it....

Len said...

Haha! It happened to me many times, Rach. Just before I finished first draft of my first novel, I came across a book series with the same character as mine! I almost burst into tears! Then while doing the 2nd draft, I changed some names of places, etc, and found out that some of the names had already been used in another novel! Arrrrgh. I almost gave up. But I just carried on. That first novel may not see the light of day but it's okay. I'm still writing and my story is still different than all the other stories :)

Jen Daiker said...

I drink.

Just kidding. I suck it up and begin again. Though I think my idea was the better once (since it was first) there is nothing I can do to change it now. If it makes one feel better most of the time the novels titles you see on the shelves aren't originally what they had in mind. Stephenie Meyer wanted to call it Forks. They thought of something better.

That being said it still blows so I normally eat a cookie to ease the pain.

Hart Johnson said...

I've never had it happen with anything central, but with details it happens. I figure surrounded in the rest of the stuff that nobody else put it in, it's okay. With my current ABNA entry, I've been a little more worried. It is the first book where the IDEA is even bigger than the execution.

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

I had two similar experiences. I wrote a fantasy adventure for children that involved a little old lady who could grant wishes. And then I read a book for teens that involved a little old lady who could grant wishes. Reading it, though, I realized they were such different books, it didn't matter. The second experience: I had a great title to capture the theme and one of the characters of a new book. And then I came a cross a book with the exact same title. Since I haven't finished the one I thought of, I figure by the time I do, there will be a whole new audience out there, and the good news is that there is no copyright restrictions for titles. I guess we writers just have to be philosophical.