Wait, but that was my idea…!

Do you ever find yourself saying this? You read a jacket flap in the bookstore and think, wait a second, that sounds suspiciously like my book… Or you see the name of something in your book in the real world, used for something else, and feel kind of cheated on.

My answer is yes. One time, I had this random idea for a novel with MCs named Aislynn and Seth. And then, like six months later, I read about this brand new book called Wicked Lovely, by Melissa Marr, whose MCs were also named Aislynn and Seth.

Then, just recently, I saw a blurb in the paper about this new band called The Inbetweens. What? Really?

Basically this is bound to happen to everyone at some point. It’s frustrating but — it happens. Most ideas really aren’t that new.

Main question is this (two parts): (a) Has this happened to you? and (b) What do you do when it happens — switch things up or ignore it?

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Wait, but that was my idea…!

  1. Great post! Hey, maybe The Inbetweens saw your book title and stole it… not much better, but you could say it’s flattering (; I have this “get upset” impulse whenever I see a YA book about a dead boyfriend. LOL. The sad thing is, if I wasn’t writing a YA book about a dead boyfriend, I know without a doubt that I’d be complaining about how many YA books there are about dead boyfriends. BUT. The impulse wears off, and I realize I’m okay because goddamnit, my dead boyfriend is sending texts. (Or something. *vague*)

  2. Yes!
    this defiantly happened to me once.
    but bear with me, the period button is stuck so it’s going to be grammatically incorrect
    try not to let your soul get eaten
    and this happened when I was ten, but it very legitimate to your post, so I thought I would put it out there anyway
    so I made up this character named Jenna. She had classy short brown hair and played the flute.
    A couple months later, I got an American Girl Catalog and happened to flip to the book section.
    and there on a cover was a girl with classy short brown hair. Playing a flute.
    her name was Jenna.
    I didn’t even feel cheated. It was just weird.
    but it was okay, becuase, at 10, I had no interest in writing a conherant plotline.
    So basically, another author wrote my character’s story. Oddly convenient at that age…

  3. Jessi

    Yes, this totally happened to me and I left it but got in touch with the writer, who I thought would think I was crazy. Instead, we’ve become great corresponding pals.

    My MC: Anna Ryan
    Hers: Anna Riley

    Both: take place on the beach, have a sea glass theme running through them, with one red piece being super-important, and both have to do with grief and redemption. Her characters visit a ‘Smoothie Shack’; mine a ‘Shake Shack’. (Hers are a little healthier, I think)

    The only thing I thouhgt about changing was the name. When I wrote to Sarah to tell her how much I loved the book and how eerily similar some of our elements are, she just said that nothing is new and we all tell it differently. It’s all in the voice and your spin on the story.

    I tell myself that now when I come up with ideas and go to scratch them immediately because something’s been done.

  4. I have a theory that all artists are on some sort of frequency. This would explain trends – like all of a sudden everyone is writing about angels, or vampires, or mermaids, or… you get the idea. šŸ˜›

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