Friday, 9 September 2011

Losing the Plot

Have you ever been mid-project and picked up a book in the shops, glanced at the blurb and thought it sounded familiar?

This happened to me earlier in the year with my previous Current Project. I'd been plodding along with my book until a trip to Asda when I'd stopped by the books section (which should be a rule of food shopping).

I slected a book, flipped it over and there was my plot; similar main character in the same marital situation, embarking on the same career change that my main character was. I couldn't believe it.

Now, I know there are only so many situations to write about and so some points will always be covered but this was ridiculous in the amount of similarity. It was practically the same book.

I was a bit gutted. There was no way I could continue without looking like a copy cat but do you know what the worse bit was? It had the perfect title, which I had been struggling with. It was simple and yet suited the story down to the ground. Why hadn't I thought of it?

I left it a couple of days, dusted myself down and got on with my current Current Project.

Has this ever happened to anybody else?


  1. Yes, it has happened to me before. I had a brilliant idea (so I thought anyway!) and had written down a rough plot. I was all ready to go hell for leather into it and then a film came out at the cinema which sounded very similar! I was gutted. I lost all enthusiasm for that idea and embarked on something different, but I haven't actually watched that film... so it might be I pick up the idea again, watch the film, and see if it really is as similar as it sounded. It might be I only have to change a couple of things and the story is mine again. :)

    But yes, I can imagine too well how you felt on seeing that book. Can you change parts of your idea to make it unique again? And remember that the way you write will be completely different to that other author, so your slant on the tale might end up with a totally different story anyway.

  2. I'm not sure I could change it enough to still be 'my' book but not identical the published one.

    But all is not lost. I started my current project afterwards and I think (pray, more like) that it is better than my previous effort. My writing seems much better with this one so maybe I was supposed to pick that book up and start again. Not sure I believe in that kind of thing but it sounds good :-D


Please feel free to leave a comment. I appreciate them all. Apart from spam, obviously.