Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Turn on King of the Hill voice... "Dang it Dale!"... Turn off Hank Hill voice....

So, I mentioned in my Barbara Cartland wannabe post that I was working on a short story that I liked. A story whose characters made me smile.

Well, I'll be darned if I didn' t come across an email ad today from a publisher offering a story almost exactly like mine. The age difference between the characters was even the same! (Older woman/younger man) Actually, it was like mine only flipped - she works for him, instead of he works for her; she's domineering instead of timid. Just different enough to make it look like I'd tried to copy hers without completely plagiarizing it.

Hmph and double hmph. I've had that happen before too. I get an idea for a story, only to go to the bookstore and find it on the shelf already.

Has that happened to you? I was almost put off finishing the story, but after reading an excerpt from the one advertised, I felt our "voices" were so different that even though there are many similarities, they will still be two distinct stories.

Still... I'm going to sit here and pout a while. You all go on and have fun without me.


  1. Actually, it's not simply having fun. It's running around in tighty whities while waving scissors through the air and making unsettling guttural sounds by quickly sucking in and blowing out my cheeks. Oh yeah.

  2. Oh, dear. I may not be able to sleep tonight, Stewart. Thanks a lot.

    I do hope Mrs. Stew keeps the tranquilizers handy.

  3. Isn't that frustrating? I had the same thing happen with my first spy novel, LOL. Haven't been able to make the damn thing work, since.

    There's a name for that, older woman/younger man. Tiger or something? Gosh, can't remember it. Cracked me up when I found out!

  4. Practically the same thing happened to me, except mine was a TV movie. The plot was almost exactly like mine. I hadn't written it yet, and after that I never did. But you go for it! I agree that different voices make it a different story. My case was different because it was on TV.

  5. LOL, Spy - I believe the word you're searching for is "cougar." I wonder who came up with that?

    Edie,how upsetting. On the other hand, many TV viewers *don't* read, so maybe they'd never know. :)

  6. Once upon a time, chasing an assistant professor's half-baked assignment, I went pouring through volumes of Steinbeck's letters in search of a factoid.

    In the process I ran across an exchange in which an editor pointed out to him that the ending of "The Grapes of Wrath" was similar to a scene in a story by Somerset Maugham.

    Steinbeck's answer to that was: "There are no new stories and I don't think I'd be interested in reading them if there were." or to paraphrase: "Screw it, I never read that story anyway. I'm keeping my ending."

    I'd say finish your story and see if it sticks somewhere.

  7. That's a great story, Sid. Thanks for sharing. Nice to know it happens throughout history. :)

    Before I went to bed last night, I was wondering if the story I was working on was too dull. I wasn't sure what to do about it. Then one of the characters came to me in a dream and said (talking about himself and the other character in third person) "Send them on a quest. They have to *do* something, search for something, even if you just send them to the grocery store. They need to be looking for something."

    Hmm.... Maybe he was telling me they lacked goals, motivation and conflict?

  8. Kate, this happened to me yesterday! There I was, looking up agents on agentquery, and went to the clients page of one, where they describe this one client's story which they're shopping around, and my jaw dropped. Did this woman cyber break in to my Writing file and take my book? LOL, I hope she sells it, its a huge hit, and there's a rush for similar stories, and there will be little old me with a completed ms ready to hand :) .

  9. Oh, Michelle - how frustrating. Of course, you do have a point about being there "waiting in the wings." :)

    I hope you get a chance to swoop down and become the next big thing! :)

  10. It's like that book Eclipse which came out a month or so ago. I've been working on an Eclipse off-and-on ("off" being the key part of that phrase :-\) since April! Completely different characters, plot, etc. but still bothersome.


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