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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

IWSG: My novel is now royally effed...

IWSG Post
 My first IWSG post couldn't have come at a better (or worse time).

I completed my rough draft of this novel in 2009 during my first NaNoWriMo. Years earlier I worked at a medical supply and I had to watch an employee safety video for home nurses and it was all about checking under your car and in your backseat before getting into the car. It was designed to create horror and paranoia. I scribbled on one of my many scraps of paper that it would be a funny idea if the person in the backseat were the victim and the driver was dangerous. That idea became my first novel, a romance about an accidental carjacking in Detroit.

It's my hook and it's a huge part of the entire novel. I worked very hard to come up with a believable premise as to why my hero would be in the backseat of his car. I have labored over every scene and built a friendship between unlikely characters.

Tonight (I'm writing this a hair before midnight) a friend of mine informed me that she saw a television show that had a romantic episode with my EXACT PREMISE. I do mean exact. The episode aired in 2012.

It's enough to make a writer reflux and cry, which is actually what I'm doing right now.

I've been tooling around with this novel for three and a half years. Eight months ago I finally started making headway on my editing and I've been rewriting like crazy. I really thought I had something unique and funny. And now I find out that my brilliant gem is going to look like costume jewelry from the dollar store.

I have no idea what to do or how to proceed. I'm so disgusted with myself for not getting on the ball and getting my novel ready to publish two years ago. Now no matter what, it will look like I stole my premise from the show.

My friend who dropped the bomb on me suggested I move on and work with the pieces. So easy. Just rewrite the thing you've bled over. I know it's a romance novel and not highfalutin' literature but it's my greatest achievement, something I dreamed of creating and putting out there since I was twelve years old. And now I just have to throw it out and start over.

My stomach is burning and in a big knot. I'm at a complete loss.

What the hell do I do now?




25 comments:

  1. I'll tell you exactly what you do now. Finish that book!

    I've been in your place before. It's tough when you realize your great idea has been done before, especially if you were this close to being first. But you can't beat yourself up over that kind of thing, because it's liable to happen again and again. The ugly truth is that good ideas are a dime a dozen, and damn near everything's been done already. But that doesn't mean you should abandon every good idea you get, because what truly makes a story yours is not the underlying premise. It's the way you tell it. It's the bits and pieces of yourself that you spread over each page and between each line. Plenty of people might be able to write the same premise, but no one will be able to write the same story. Because they aren't you.

    So finish that book. Don't be discouraged by a simple television episode. Finish what you started, then move on to the next one if you're so inclined. But it's not the end of the world, and it's definitely not the end of your novel, unless you let it be.

    Welcome to IWSG. :)

    J.W. Alden

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    1. Thank you for coming to visit my blog. I'm sorry it's currently in mourning.

      I don't want to be seen as some thief who can't think up ideas on their own. I'm no JK Rowling who can easily deflect that kind of criticism.

      I felt so completely confident that I had written something special that no one had done in romance and that it would sell really well once I finished shining it up. It's a big bucket of cold water on my head, finding out that I'm not special. I feel mediocre.

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  2. It sounds like you are doing your own editing. If this is the case, I suggest paying a few dollars and pay for an editor, at least for the first section and the hook. I'd be happy to recommend my editor. Best wishes to you!

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    1. Thank you for the advice. I'm rewriting my NaNoWriMo manuscript so it's written but it's not even good enough to give to an editor yet. I am/was getting there. I'll send you a line when I'm ready for an editor.

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  3. I have read and seen many stories with similar plots. I wouldn't worry that much about it and keep going with your book.
    Karen

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    1. Thank you for the kind reply. Yeah, I'm gonna take a break and come back to it with a fresh attitude.

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  5. There are no original ideas left. It's all in the way we tell our versions of these recycled ideas. I love your writing style and characters, and I have no doubt it's going to be all that you want it to be when you're finished. DO. NOT. GIVE. UP. I will probably kick you if you do. :)

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    1. Yes! Kick her if she gives up! I'll kick you, too!

      *high kicks*

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  6. No Meika, I don't wish to be kicked :D

    I'm trying to jumpstart my fragile ego but she's a-sputterin'.

    Jeannie seems confident that she has some ideas that could tell the story without the carjacking. We shall see.

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  7. I'm curious about Jeannie's ideas, though I'm maintaining that you don't need to remove that element. It's a tiny scene in a sea of scenes that make up this TV series, and years from now, when your book is published, I don't think anyone will even remember this particular scene in this show.

    Either way, you rock -- don't forget it!

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  8. Mencara, I don't think you have anything to worry about. Even if there is a show with the same premise you have to know two things:
    1. It will be totally different from yours because you are writing your novel with a totally different perspective and a different set of experiences than the writers of that movie so the story will be uniquely yours.
    2. There is nothing new under the sun. Pick a topic and someone has already done it, so you can't let that stop you from telling your stories, which most definitely deserve to be told.
    You and I could write a story with the same premise and they would be world's apart. And you know what else? We could both probably find two totally separate audiences that would love both. Please don't give up on your novel! You've worked so hard. Besides, you never know just who your particular story may inspire.

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    1. Awww you are so sweet! Thank you for your kindness. I have worked very hard and I think it's salvageable.

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  9. Just write it anyway. Put your own twist to it. Don't worry about the ones that are similar. Good luck with your writing. :)

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  10. Finish that book - there are NO original ideas just original deliveries and fresh engaging characters. So go for it and don't stop. How many times has the tale of Romeo and Juliet been re-told? West Side Story much? Yet, time and again we love the star crossed lovers and we are drawn to the new worlds, new faces, new deliveries.

    Tell your story with all the passion ans emotion in you and then let the chips fall where they may.

    From one #IWSG member to another :)

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    1. Majk thank you for your pep talk. You are right. I just gotta get my bearings and then get back in the computer chair.

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  11. Mencara, don't be so hard on yourself. And, there really aren't that many absolutely original ideas in this world and an audience for TV is very different then the audience for books. You still might have a viable book idea. I would never give up the opportunity to read a book on a subject for a 30 minute sitcom. Totally different experience. And, after putting so much time into, don't give up on it, yet. Get it in the hands of other and see what they think. Good luck.

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    1. Thank you for that. You are absolutely right. I had some time to digest it and it's not so dire. I can make it work.

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  12. Oh, wow, Mencara. I must say, that is sad. However, I agree with others. Finish your book. And if it's any consolation to you, I have worked on a manuscript for four years. It has gone through four agent-requested revisions and several close calls (i.e., I really had a hard time passing on this type rejections). However, the other day, I deleted all copies of that manuscript so I can rewrite it from scratch. The old story just wasn't working for me. Same characters, new premise, new story. Many writers do it. So don't be afraid to start over with a new premise for those same characters if you feel compelled to do so. Hope this helps.

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    1. Oh wow it must have hurt like an injury to delete those copies! It's true that sometimes you work on an idea too long and you change and the idea doesn't and you end up stuck.

      I might do the same. I don't know yet.

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  13. Don't you dare trash the idea. O_O No way! First, I have no idea which show you're talking about, which means a heck of a lot of people haven't seen it either. Besides, it takes a good while to get a novel printed, so you're good!! I love the concept, btw. Sound hilarious! Welcome to the IWSG, and I look forward to seeing you around! Signed up to follow. :)

    **Don't know if someone else mentioned it above, but your word-verification (automatic on blogger) is turned on. Some may not comment due to the hassle. :))

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    1. LOL I won't dare. I'm gonna do something with it. I don't know what yet. Thank you for the welcome. I turned off the word verification. I've turned it off three times. I don't know what I'm doing wrong but it seems to be gone now. Thanks for letting me know!

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  14. "My friend who dropped the bomb on me suggested I move on and work with the pieces. So easy. Just rewrite the thing you've bled over."

    Funny that I said that and you blew me off, but people on the internet tell you to keep going and you agree with them...maybe it's because you've had some time to digest it, who knows.

    We always listen to others more than the people who have told us the same damn thing since day one, you taught me that.

    Your ideas don't cease to be great just because it was on a show, the characters are phenom, you need to brush your shoulders off, pull out the salvageable (PLENTY) and get some band-aids and buck up, you're gonna bleed a lot more for this thing and I will be here with you to give you my feedback.


    YOU'RE WELCOME IN ADVANCE!

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