Friday, May 06, 2011

How Original IS Your Idea?

Hi Everyone! I hope you all had a great week ;o)

My little sis is graduating from college on Saturday so it's a surreal weekend for me. *sniff* I watched her grow up and now she is all growed up. SURREAL, I tell you!  I'm also road tripping with the awesome and talented Carolina Valdez Miller (who I adore and I'm uber-excited to meet) to the amazing and gifted author Veronica Roth's book launch for DIVERGENT! Ahhhh! Let the squeeing commence!

So that's my weekend ;o) What about you 

Okay, I'll get to the point of the post ;o) 


They come from anywhere in any shape. They haunt your showers, dreams and drives. So what happens when someone has the same one? Or something similar?

Do you runaway screaming "I'm a hack!"? What if the book is published and successful?

I've read a lot of books this year. All fantastic. Seriously. There was at least one that had a similar aspect to the one I'm revising. Okay... okay. It was kind of eerily similar. 

So I had to think... Strange, I know.

Should I give up on my story because someone has something similar? That is IF this story ever makes it to publication years from now... I'll admit. I really did have a moment of... "Well that's it. I'm done, onto my next great idea".  And this particular author executed the idea well and the writing was so much better than mine. Different. Different than mine. Let's stay positive right ;o) Well, I didn't run away screaming. At least not yet. Ha. 

The thing is, no matter what idea is out there, and there will be someone who has something similar. What really sets YOU apart is your VOICE. The words you choose, your CHARACTERS, your STYLE. It won't be the same. It just won't. Even though, I could have tucked my non-existent tail between my legs, I didn't. And I'm going to finish this revision and I'm going to query it. I just maybe will have to mark that author's agent off my list. Or not. I don't know. Maybe there's room for two ;o) 

So I ask you, bloggy friends. What would you do if this happened to you? Has it happened to you?

Have a wonderful weekend full of surprises and candy and cookies and malts and fries... 

Not to self: Never blog when you're hungry ;o

<3 Er

erica m. chapman is a YA writer by night, workin' for the cause by day. Fan of football, especially Lions and Michigan. She loves alternative music, Foo Fighters, animals, reading, golf and playing her guitar. She resides in Michigan where she sits quietly typing her next story on her macbook in her Detroit Lions Snuggie. You can also find her at

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  1. I love this post. I've definitely had the same thought about ideas - wait, if I love it this much, is someone else thinking of it?

    Yay for meeting Carolina and Veronica! Have so much fun!

  2. Pretty much every great idea I have, I later come across a summary that shows something similar... I just have to keep telling myself that "there is nothing new under the sun." Even a very similar story will be different if told by someone else, with different parts being focused on... If I didn't tell myself that all the time, my dreams would be dead.

  3. It's happened to me before and while it can be frustrating, execution is everything. I try not to get down about it.

  4. Penelope, Totally! Thanks, it was a blast ;o)

    Jessi, Seriously, that's great advice!

    Linda, Execution is what matters. We're all different ;o)

  5. I hope you had fun on your road trip. I've seen similar ideas out there while reading published novels and critiquing manuscripts, but usually there is something completely different between the two comparable themes and that would be the voice and characters. So, I think if you write the story in you, and keep it true to your style, it's all good. Great post! :D

  6. This has happened to me, more than once. I actually have some books on my shelf that I refuse to finish until I've finished writing my own just because it depressed me to think that someone else "had the idea first". Of course my novel is not going to be excatly alike any out there - the story as well as the voice, which I *hope* is strong and unique LOL - but still, I need all the motivation I can get to finish my revisions. So anything that de-motivates me, crushes my *high*, I tend to shy away from!

  7. B - I had a blast! Thank you ;o)Sounds good to me. That's exactly what I'm going to do!

    Roberta - I'm sorry you've had to go through that too. Voice is such a big part of the story, I'm sure it's plenty different ;o) YES, motivation!