Thursday, September 1, 2011

It's All Been Done Before

Over the summer, I’ve been catching up on my reading. I’ve read some good ones and some not so good ones. I’ve also read some that are, GASP!, just like the book I’m writing. Only better. And already out on the shelves.

Whenever I come across a book like this, I get nervous. I mean, I’ve been pouring my heart and soul into my current WIP for two years, and now another book is out with a similar premise!

There are a few things I do when I find myself in this situation:
  1. I panic and stop reading the book because I hate how much better it is at doing what I’m trying to do.
  2. I come to my senses and finish reading said book.
  3. As I read, I try to remind myself that even if I have a MC with something in common with this book’s MC, they’re still not the same.
  4. When I’m done reading, I try to figure out what the author did well, and places where they made a wrong turn. I note the missteps and try to make sure I don’t have anything similar in my WIP.
  5. Finally, I take a deep sigh of relief and remind myself that nothing is 100% original. Each of us just has to put our own unique spin on our story. I mean, how many times has a good girl met a mysterious boy, only to find out he’s a vampire/werewolf/fairy/angel/devil/troll?
What do you do when you find yourself reading a book that’s a lot like yours?


  1. Hate when this happens! But you definitely have the right idea--read it through and learn from it. And now I definitely have to write a book about a girl who meets a troll... :)

  2. At first I feel bad my idea wasn't original but then there are only so many plots and themes to write about, so I learn how that author tackled the issues like plot and character and conflict etc.

    It's certainly a learning experience and I don't let it get me down. Providing you can add a different element or put your own slant on the story it's all good.

  3. Ugh, this is so frustrating. I try to remind myself that even if two people started with the same plot and characters, the result would still be totally different.

  4. Honestly, I have to stop reading the book first. It just arms my inner editor/critic more slings and arrows.

    Then I try to focus on my WIP and finish it.

    Once I'm done with my revisions, edits, etc., I can go back to the book. It's only then that I can see where things are very different, too the same, or slightly similar to my own piece.

    Nice to see you back online.