When your WIP is someone else’s published work…

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Twice in the last year I have run across things that sound a lot like the book I’m writing.

(Briefly, this is the first book in a trilogy that is set in an alternate reality version of World War II where the colonists did NOT win independence from the British. There is magic, and automatons, and this guy named Otto Hitler who’s making zombie armies. The protagonist is a girl who learns she’s got the POWAH to stop Hitler and also do some other awesome things.)

I will swear to you, God, the Universe and everything that I had never seen anything like this before. Yet, in at least one book and one TV show, I see similar elements of what I’ve been working on for the better part of a year.

Does this mean that I am just a channel for the zeitgeist?

As a wannabe author, I spend a lot of time reading in my genre, reading about books, looking at Twitter, and so on. I know you shouldn’t write for the current market – no more Twilight books please! No more 50 Shades of Grey please! You should write what you want to write then try to find a home for it. 

I believe that there is someone who wants to read everything. At the very least, no matter how crappy that novel is, someone is going to pay $0.99 for it on Amazon. I’ve read some spectacularly crappy books in print (The book version of Stir of Echoes was hoooooorrrrrible but the film is pretty great). Unlike Amazon’s self-pub scheme, somebody greenlighted those print books.

I don’t know what I’m trying to say here. Maybe it’s that I will not stop writing my story because I like it and it would like to be told. I shopped my first manuscript around last year and didn’t find a home for it but I’m not going to rewrite it to suit the market. Some day it will find a warm reception.

I think this happens to a lot of writers unintentionally and probably a lot more totally intentionally. (“I am going to write Twilight ONLY BETTER. In mine, the WEREWOLVES sparkle, too!”)

 

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. Totally happened to me. I queried an agent and got a response to the effect of, “This sounds great, but I’m afraid it’s too similar my client X’s book.” She gave me the title. I bought the book and read in disbelief as I spotted similarities to my characters, my voice, my humor, my setting, etc. BUT as I kept reading, I figured out the plot was very different, and (ultimately) the main character was night and day from mine. Still… it’s kind of a kick in the gut to know someone wrote a book with so many similarities to my baby.

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