Saturday, January 22, 2011

This book sounds familiar. Did I write this?

I was browsing through some blogs recently when I found a couple of reviews for Brenna Yovanoff's The Replacement. That one got my attention because I just so happen to have a short story with the same name. So I thought, huh, that's interesting. Similar titles are bound to come up every once in awhile, right? But after I read the reviews I found something a little more concerning. The expert sounds a lot like my plot.

No, as fun as it sounds, I'm not trying to come up with some crazy conspiracy theory about how Yovanoff sent ninja spys into my notebook to steal my plots. I am, however, presented with my first problem. Do I read this book or not? If I read it and I decide that I want to put some more work into my short than will everything I write suddenly sound like Yovanoff's? If I don't read it than I'll forever wonder if we two great minds that think a like.

Here's the second question. Will having a similar plot lower my chances of getting that story published? I don't believe that short of mine was ever meant to go anywhere but I've been told that if I were to expand it than it could be a really good book. Does it make any difference to agents or publishers if they've heard of something similar?

Well, I've decided I'd read The Replacement because it sounds like a pretty cool book. In fact, I've just started it and it seems to be a little more fantasy whereas mine is pretty realistic. I may do a review on it when I'm done.

What's your opinion? Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever seen a book that was close to something you wrote before?



  1. There's some famous quote about there being no original art, everything is stolen or borrowed from another artist. Now, I know you didn't steal anyone's story, but my point in this is that there are lots of similar concepts within art. Think about movies and TV shows and how many times the same storylines come up. Your story is different from the novel, so keep working on it. I'll leave you with this quote from Stephen Sondheim's Pulitzer winning musical "Sunday in the Park with George":

    Anything you do / Let it come from you / Then it will be new

  2. I've heard of something like that before I think. Something about there only being a few basic storylines that everyone follows. I've never seen something that came so close though. Kinda freaked me out. Lol. I like that quote too. I'll have to try to remember that one.