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Monday, June 10, 2013

When Someone Else Has Your Great Idea

Ever had someone steal your idea before you thought of it?

What I mean is that you come up with a great idea for a story, start planning, even start writing, and then you find an eerily similar idea in a pitch contest. Or on the shelves of Barnes & Noble. Or on Tor's blog.

Guess your story wasn't so unique after all. :(

I had a scare like this the other day when I saw a Tweet from Tor depicting a book that sounded an awful lot like the epic fantasy I'm planning. My stomach sunk, and then my Internet went out, so I had to ask Juliana to scope it out for me while I chewed my nails to stubs.

Fortunately, it seems the two books are very different, so I'm safe. What a relief!

Not too long ago a friend of mine told me about a magic system in a new novel incredibly similar to what I have in CIRCUS SOUL HEIRESS. Guess I won't be rewriting that book anytime soon.

Have you ever had an idea swiped out from under you, or actually stolen? What did you do?

14 comments:

  1. No, I've never had that happen. But maybe if you find a book published similar to yours, you could try to think of a fresh spin on yours. I might try that.

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  2. I haven't but I know others who have. It's hard, but it's part of the writing life.

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  3. I think a lot of ideas and concepts can sound similar, but when you dig into the voice and the style and how it's all handled it's maybe not so similar after all. Fingers crossed. :)

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  4. I've never had an idea stolen or been exactly the same. Consider, even if two writers started off with the exact same plot idea and plot elements (such as magic system), would the stories end up identical, or even close to the same? Very, very...very unlikely.

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  5. That sounds a lot like my entire life during grad school.

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  6. I have had this happen a few times, but I resist the urge to read any books I find until I finish drafting the book, so I am not influenced by the other author's content. Every time I read afterward, I see the idea may be the same but the book's focus is completely different. ;)

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  7. Heh. I nearly had this happen twice with the Inkspell books by Cornelia Funke. First with the first book, then a different concept with the second book. But, like you, they turned out to be quite different once I read the books.

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  8. It's such a scary concept! Because we put SO MUCH into our stories... and then if it sells before yours, you're screwed... :/

    I've heard horror stories like this. And seen it happen to close friends. But I guess all we can do is work, keep working, and PRAY that it doesn't happen to us!

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  9. It hasn't happened yet, but I'm sure that's just because I haven't read the right books. It's not something you can avoid, but like you said, usually the actual stories are very different. Bad timing for your internet to go down!

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  10. Oh I hate that...I guess there really aren't any new ideas left. :)

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  11. It's tough when you see someone else come up with an idea similar to yours. You just have to move on.

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  12. I think it would be even worse to discover a striking similarity AFTER you've finished the book. Some of it just can't be helped though. Even with similarities, each author's voice and spin provides a unique twist.

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  13. True Story: The crystals/corruption from Effulgent Corruption were stolen from Circus Soul Heiress (yes, your book!). As you can see now from what you've read, what they ended up being was almost completely different, but hey...you inspired something.

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