What To Do When You Realize Your Idea Isn’t Original Part II

Blog 1

A long, long time ago when I was working on the first book in The Girl In Between series I came across a newly released traditionally published book that shared several similarities with my novel. Of course, I completely panicked and started rethinking everything to the point of almost driving myself mad.

And then I came to the realization that lots of books have things in common–characters, setting, plot, conflict. There will always be an aspect of one of my stories that someone else has attempted to explore before. The difference? Well, the explorer, of course.

No one else has lived my life and therefore no one else has my same experiences to draw on for inspiration. No one has my voice or my perspective. No one is me. And that is how I was able to push through and continue with that series.

But then disaster struck again, only this time my WIP didn’t just share similarities with the traditionally published book I came across. The synopsis for both were practically identical.

Here, I’ll show you…

Rough synopsis for my WIP, which I used to teach my students about stakes & inciting incident during the outlining process:

Maite has just lost her twin brother in a tragic accident. His organs are donated, saving several lives. One of them is Phoenix who’s been waiting for a heart transplant for almost six months. He wants more than anything to meet the family of his organ donor and thank them for their son’s amazing gift but Maite and her parents are still in the midst of their grief and can’t imagine anything more final than hearing their son’s heart beating in someone else’s chest.

Even though they denied a meeting with him, Phoenix manages to find out the identities of his organ donor’s family. He learns that Maite is in his freshmen photography class and even though he knows he should keep his distance, something else, something stronger keeps pulling him in her direction. After partnering up for a semester-long project Maite and Phoenix slowly begin to develop feelings for one another.

Shortly after discovering that she is in love with Phoenix, Maite also discovers his true identity and realizes that he’s been keeping his connection to her twin brother a secret. Feeling betrayed and confused Maite is faced with the decision to forgive her soul mate or lose him forever.

And here’s the synopsis for Tamsyn Murray’s new novel, Instructions for a Secondhand Heart:

Jonny knows better than anyone that life is full of cruel ironies. He’s spent every day in a hospital hooked up to machines to keep his heart ticking. Then when a donor match is found for Jonny’s heart, that turns out to be the cruelest irony of all. Because for Jonny’s life to finally start, someone else’s had to end.

That someone turns out to be Neve’s twin brother, Leo. When Leo was alive, all Neve wanted was for him (and all his glorious, overshadowing perfection) to leave. Now that Leo’s actually gone forever, Neve has no idea how to move forward. Then Jonny walks into her life looking for answers, her brother’s heart beating in his chest, and everything starts to change.

Together, Neve and Jonny will have to face the future, no matter how frightening it is, while also learning to heal their hearts, no matter how much it hurts.

And cue mental breakdown…now.

I was absolutely gutted.

This…this was SO MUCH worse than the first time I discovered another book similar to my own. Because this book is practically identical!

FGHSHSGSNUDH!!!

That’s how I felt in that moment because what choice did I have but to shelve my novel? After having already spent years daydreaming about these characters and learning what makes them tick. After grieving the loss of Maite’s brother right alongside her. After diving deep into existential questions with Phoenix. Like…why do some people get to live while others don’t? And what is our responsibility to those who’ve passed on too soon?

And why, oh, why did the universe plant this story seed inside me if another writer was about the publish the exact same thing?

Did I mention how crushed I was?

But worse than that…I was confused.

I’m a very intuitive person. I’m a strict student of Fate and constantly in pursuit of my purpose. I look for signs everywhere and I usually follow them. So far, I’ve felt like Fate and I have pretty much been on the same page. But now I find myself knee deep in a very emotionally taxing project, which I now have to abandon because someone else has reached the finish line first.

And my only recourse is to CHOOSE to see it as another sign. Maybe that sign is that the next book in my queue, the one I’ve decided to query, MUST be written now. It can’t wait. And the universe had to practically shout it at me before I finally noticed.

So Fate never abandoned me. And just because I’m abandoning this story doesn’t mean I won’t be able to tell it eventually. Because even though it seems identical on the surface, below that surface is an ocean, the depths of which only I can explore.

Advertisements

WIP Wednesday

Yes, it’s March, and yes this is technically my first WIP post of the year. Luckily, no one missed much as I’ve been working on this last line edit for book 3 in the TGIB series for…oh…three months now. I don’t know what it’s like for other writers, but there is no stage of my writing process quite as treacherous as that final line edit.

WIP-OOP-060113

I’ve gotten really good at not editing as I go, simply for the sake of finishing. If I read each draft the way I do the final one, I’d never get anything done. But once it’s time for me to strap on my editor hat for that final line edit, it’s like I get sucked into a black hole. I’ll glance at the clock and realize that I just spent half an hour on one paragraph or that an entire day has gone by and I’ve only completed one chapter. It’s tedious and heart wrenching but it’s also necessary. I just wish I could find a more streamlined way of tackling it, or better yet, maybe the universe could just add a few more hours in the day. Once this is finished, which I pray will be in the next few weeks, I will no doubt emerge looking like a zombie, probably smelling like one too. But who has time to bathe when there are words to be sliced and sentences to be diced?

WIP-BG-02-05-13

Once book 3 in the series is finished, and it WILL be finished this month, I will move on to the fourth and final book in the series, which has been patiently waiting for my attention since…oh, jesus, November. I plan on taking things at a slower pace with this novel because I really want to get it right. That means it probably won’t be done until the end of the year. But the good news is I’ll be alternating drafts with my contemporary romance novel that’s also been shelved for far too long and then…once all that is done I will finally be able to start something new. It’s been an entire year since I started a new project. For the past twelve months I’ve either been editing or picking up where I left off on abandoned drafts. By the time I start book #9 (yes, NINE!) it’ll likely have been two years since I’ve started something new. And I can’t freaking wait.

The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Written

*To celebrate my two-year blogging anniversary, I’ll be re-blogging some of my favorite posts from 2014 throughout the month of December*

Laekan Zea Kemp

Lately it feels like that’s what this current WIP is turning out to be. I wrote the other day about how I had my first good writing day in a while but something I didn’t quite clarify was that “good” wasn’t necessarily referring to the actual writing itself. Yes, I gained clarity and yes, the words were flowing but that didn’t mean they weren’t garbage. They were and they are and the more I write the more I dread revisions because this puppy is going to need a lot of work. But what I’ve come to realize in my quest to write a first draft without obsessing over every word is that it’s not the words that matter. What matters is the story. And not whether or not it’s good but whether or not it’s there.

Through five books I’ve been the type of writer who would rather sit and…

View original post 298 more words

WIP Wednesday

It’s the final WIP check-in of the year and even though I’m drowning in revisions right now, I’m still trying to absorb the fact that I’ve published two novels in the past three months and there’s still one more on the way before the year is up! Everything but the last chapter, which I’m still tweaking, of book 3 in the TGIB series has been sent to my final beta reader, which means that the FINAL draft will soon be complete (hopefully mid-December) and then I’ll just need one more line edit before this novel will be officially done!

WP-OOP-050113

The first draft of this novel practically fell out of me and it had been smooth sailing through most of the revisions but now that I’m nearing the final draft, those doubts I’d managed to stave off for so long are finally starting to rear their ugly heads. This happens every time I near the end of a project but since the writing of this novel wasn’t as tumultuous as the others, I find myself questioning whether or not that’s a bad sign. Writing should be difficult, and writing this novel was difficult, but not as difficult as the others. I’m not sure if that’s just a result from my recent growth as a writer or if it’s a sign that I didn’t grow enough during the writing of this book, but I’m hoping to take some time away from it before my final revisions so I can get some clarity and see it more objectively.

WIP-BG-02-05-13

Book 4 in the series will still be my main focus this spring but now that I’ve started a new job I’m probably going to spend most of the next couple of months trying to work out a new routine. For me it’s an essential part of my creative process and I just can’t be productive unless I have some kind of itinerary.

I’m absolutely loving my new job but I can also sense myself using it as an escape. My writing has been my sole focus for so long but mentally I’m just so drained from this series that I can’t wait to take a small break from it at the start of the new year. I put so much pressure on myself these last two years that I think I deserve to live in the here and now for a little while instead of constantly planning the next chapter or book or release date. I still want to be a full time author but after getting this new job, it’s also nice to know that I can do something else and actually be good at it. I’m a creative person and that creativity isn’t bound to words or a certain medium or occupation. That creativity is boundless and powerful and I can fulfill my purpose as an artist no matter where I am.

WIP Wednesday

This past Friday I celebrated the release of The Boy In Her Dreams and while I was able to upload that novel a month early, making it available for pre-order, these last two months of finalizing book three in the series are going to have me cutting it dangerously close. I still have my fingers crossed for a December 31st publication date but it will require laser focus and absolutely NO unexpected setbacks. So, yeah, not a very solid plan but like I said, I still have hope. I was heads down all October long trying to get the third draft of this novel finished and as of today at 2:00PM I only have thirty pages left to edit!!!! I would be jumping for joy right now if I didn’t already know that those last thirty pages are absolutely terrible and probably need to be re-written from scratch. I’m giving myself a Sunday night deadline and then I’ll dive straight into the fourth draft since I’ve already been passing along chapters to my beta reader as I go along.

WIP-OOP-02-05-13

Book 3 is probably going to be my main focus right up until December 31st but as soon as the new year hits, it’s going to be all about crafting the proper farewell to this series. Book 4 is a monster and as of now the first draft is still sitting at about 50K. Hopefully I’ll be able to spend the entire month of January on getting a good solid draft and then I’m just going to keep chipping away at revisions for as long as it takes. I don’t want to set a deadline for myself right now, even a tentative one, because I really just want to focus on making this story great. I’ve never written a series before, and certainly never a finale like this, and even though I have no idea what kind of pressure I may get from readers or if this series will even attract any readers at all, I want to be totally conscious and committed to finishing this story the right way and not the fast way.

WIP-BG-02-05-13

Since I’m having to push back finishing the first draft for book four, my NA contemporary romance is still on the back burner as well but I hope to return to it sometime this spring. More HUGE NEWS, after a relentless campaign, Amazon has finally price-matched The Girl In Between, which is currently FREE at all major online retailers! Check out my BOOK page for more info on links to where you can download your copy! As for the blog tour, so far everyone’s posts have been going up without a hitch and the series has been getting some stellar reviews. It took a lot of time and effort to put everything together but as more sales and reviews start to trickle in I’m beginning to see the fruits of my labor and it’s just such an incredible feeling! Some more MAJOR NEWS…I daydreamed in my previous WIP Wednesday about someday only having to work one job instead of two and I am thrilled to say that day has finally come! There are just so many wonderful things in motion right now and I’m so incredibly grateful for not only these recent opportunities but for the amazing lessons in patience and perseverance I learned when I thought they’d never come.