When bookstores steal your novels

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lightelement94
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When bookstores steal your novels

Post by lightelement94 » April 2nd, 2010, 11:42 pm

I can't be the only one who experiences this. There you are, soaking up the atmosphere of your favorite bookstore, browsing the shelves and taking in titles, when something catches your eye. The novel has an attractive cover, a title that fits snug as a bug in a rug when you glance at it. Your pulse quickens: this could be a good book. You flip that sucker over onto its back to dive into the synopsis--only to stumble back in horror, mouth agape, as you realize it sounds exactly like draft that has been slowly draining your soul for the last several months and is still locked away in your word processor.

I hate that feeling. This novel is already critically acclaimed--oh, look, the New York Times enjoyed it too--is your story even worth writing anymore? Obviously, you weren't as original as you thought you were, and just a little late too, because this author has gone and done far better than you would have, anyway. Of course, after you nearly rake out your eyeballs re-reading the blurb on the inside flap you've assured yourself that it really isn't all that much like your novel. It's only like your novel in reverse on a different continent, with a different theme, and...

Sorry, got a bit carried away, but who else has felt that God-awful deja vu whilst discovering the book you thought was a good book was your book?
Republic of Lions| bloody brilliant

wildheart
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Re: When bookstores steal your novels

Post by wildheart » April 3rd, 2010, 2:56 am

It is a bit frightening to realize there are published novels that are very much like our own. But we have to remember- there is nothing new under the sun. Sure, we can add different twists to novels that are already out there, sure we can tell a well known tale with a completely new voice...but...

You get what I'm saying right? We are bound to run into novels that resemble ones we have already written. Nothing that is out there is completely original anymore. At least, from what I see at least. Many books share common themes, common story arcs, common plots....it happens. Books have been around too long for it not to happen.

I hope I am making some sense.
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lightelement94
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Re: When bookstores steal your novels

Post by lightelement94 » April 3rd, 2010, 11:31 am

Oh yeah, of course. Don't worry, despite all hyperbole I'm totally understanding of that, but I'm sure I'm not the only one to walk into what seems like a better-written version of one's book.
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Quill
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Re: When bookstores steal your novels

Post by Quill » April 3rd, 2010, 12:10 pm

I get the opposite freaky feeling when I scan the bookshelves and see nothing like my WIP.

Either I am delusional thinking I'm writing something coherent and worthwhile, or I'm blind.

r louis scott
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Re: When bookstores steal your novels

Post by r louis scott » April 3rd, 2010, 1:49 pm

Now now now, they didn't steal those books, they bought them from a publisher who paid an author good money (maybe not much money, but money) for his efforts. And just because it sounds like your book doesn't mean it is your book. Your book is really probably nothing like that one in fact, it just bears a terrible resemblance to you because you have immersed yourself in it.

Have you ever considered buying a car, and all of a sudden you see that car everywhere? It's kind of like that :)

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Re: When bookstores steal your novels

Post by wildheart » April 3rd, 2010, 3:23 pm

I have run across books that made me wonder if they were just a better version of my story, but upon second glance I realized they were not as similar as I thought. Maybe because you are so into your book...the story seems the same when in fact there are only some common themes, plots, ect?

I wouldn't worry too much about this. Chances are the book is not as much like your own as you think. And if it is...? Write another book!

Quill- I have experienced that, hands down. I do think that as writers we should pay attention to the market to see what is popular and what is not, but I don't think we should follow what everyone else is doing. Just be aware that what we are writing may not sell very well. The thing is, we never know when something like our book may become popular, so we just have to keep moving and hope for the best.
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turtlesoupapples
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Re: When bookstores steal your novels

Post by turtlesoupapples » April 3rd, 2010, 6:09 pm

r louis scott wrote:Have you ever considered buying a car, and all of a sudden you see that car everywhere? It's kind of like that :)
That is absolutely true! When I finally got a car I DID see it everywhere!

I take it I'm not the only one who worries about having my idea "stolen" before I can get mine out there? (and by "stolen," I, of course, mean a similar one is released). Has anyone had this happen with movies? The day after I finished my first novel I heard that a movie is being released by Disney based on the same Grimm's Fairy Tale I was using. I know it's going to be a totally different story (and that it's been done before), but does anyone else experience that irrational anger that rises on such occasions? ("Hey! That's MY idea! They totally stole it! I can't believe it! Now everyone will think I'm copying off of THEM!" and so on and so forth.)

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Re: When bookstores steal your novels

Post by Aimée » April 4th, 2010, 2:06 pm

This actually happened to me before.
My aunt was moving so she sent me a box of books that she didn't want anymore. I was looking through them to see which ones I wanted to read, and there was a book whose synopsis read almost exactly like mine, only the setting was a little different. Even the character's occupation was the same! The main character's brother was a mental patient, his sister was in a strange family situation, and he was visiting his family after many years and now had to face what happened to him in his childhood.
I was excited to read it at first, but I haven't read it yet. Maybe I'm scared that it will be better than mine (it probably will be), but maybe it will be different enough that my story will be worth finishing and getting out there.

BlancheKing
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Re: When bookstores steal your novels

Post by BlancheKing » April 4th, 2010, 5:20 pm

It happens, but if you read the other book you'll probably notice it's nothing like the one you're writing. Make enough twists and turns, and people won't be able to compare. Besides, you can always change your book.
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wildheart
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Re: When bookstores steal your novels

Post by wildheart » April 4th, 2010, 7:58 pm

BlancheKing said it rather well I think. There is no way of knowing if the book is really like yours unless you read it. You may be surprised to find they are very different. Maybe certain situations start out the same, but the end result is different? Plus, I am sure you can create enough twists and turns to make yours unlike this authors anyway. And, if it really does bother you, you can start changing things about your story. The theme, the plot, the characters...until you can't see any resemblance to this other novel.

Honestly though...I wouldn't worry about it. I've seen books like stories I've done and things I've planned on doing, it will not stop me from writing what I love. It shouldn't stop any of you either. If worst comes to worst...we just write another book right?
http://wildheart90.blogspot.com/
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gonzo2802
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Re: When bookstores steal your novels

Post by gonzo2802 » April 5th, 2010, 1:31 pm

I haven't experienced it in a bookstore, but I have run into a poster here on Nathan's forums who had a story line that sounded a LOT like mine. We've just recently become beta readers for each other. Though we're in the early stages it's clear to see that we took a similar sounding idea and went two different ways with it. It was still a little WHOA at first.

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