Thursday, May 28, 2009

Copy Cat Syndrome

Do you ever get the feeling as you read a book that you've seen those words somewhere else before? That it feels very familiar?

I do. In fact, there have been a few instances now in different books, both adult and YA, where I feel like I am reading part of my own manuscript. It's the same, but not quite exactly the same. And I know that I am reading these books after I've already written similar parts in my own manuscript, but no one else knows this. So now I am paranoid. What if I start querying agents and they notice similarities too? Or what if I do get published (maybe I should rephrase that to when I do get published) what if readers have read those other books and see the similarities and think I'm a rip off. So, I've got Copy Cat Syndrome now. Great. As if writing isn't hard enough already!

I guess the good news is that the book I am currently reading is very enjoyable to me. So, maybe that is a positive thing. Maybe my book is also good and will be enjoyable to someone else one day. The problem is, I am a pessimist. It's hard for me to find the brighter side sometimes. But, I refuse to let this deter me in any way. I'm going to keep writing. I should probably quit reading the genre that I am writing in, so I won't see these similarities and get discouraged, other problem - I can't stop reading. I adore that genre. This is my dilema. What's a girl to do?

Do you other aspiring or established writers out there feel the same way sometimes?


  1. I'm gonna say yes, I've had that feeling, even in the book I'm reading now. But I keep reading and am loving it still. I think sometimes it is okay to be similar to others as long as it's in the author's style and not trying to copy the original idea. Meaning, the book I'm reading now, the author has her own style and sort of makes reference to a more popular series, but in a way that works for this story since probably most reading it have already read the big name series. I guess it is up to the author. I don't mind reading similar, but I do worry some like you mention, because I want to write original ideas, but when starting in a similar genre as I like to read I think that fear keeps me from moving forward, fear that it will just be the same and not better. But I have realized lately that I must overcome that and just start writing and keep writing! You know?

  2. Exactly! Dont give up! Thats the biggest hurdle to overcome. You may feel like it sometimes. That's how I feel on a regular basis. What if what I am writing is just absolute garbage? What if it seems to similar to other books? Etc...
    What's happening to me, since it is taking me FOREVER to write my first one, is that I read things like character descriptions or certain situations that are very similar to things that happen in my book. For example, on my secnodary project, I am writing about a young girl who, at the opening of the book, thinks she wants to commit suicide. (I know, you probably think I am crazy). Her mother is single, she's an alcoholic, she's done awful things to the girl. I thought one of those things would be that he mother burned her in one of her drunken stupors because her mother really is awful. The girl was going to have scars on her arm and abdomen that she was extremely self conscious about until she meets "the boy" who makes her feel beautiful no matter what. BUT - I am currently reading the Wake series by Lisa McMann. I'm on book 2, Fade, which is fabulous, but the girl's mother is an alcoholic AND the boy was burned by his father.
    Sooooo, now I cant possibly write my characters like that, because I feel like I am copying. Even though I know I wrote this BEFORE reading these one else knows this. Argh. So frustrating. But I think it is virtually impossible, with the amount of books and writers out there, to write something that is 100% unlike anything else.
    These arent the only examples, but all that I will blog on. :)
    But I refuse to let that bring me down. I am determined to finish my book and really hope to share it with the public one day.

  3. I didnt proof read before I posted that, so please forgive my to/too error and any others. Haha. I promise I can spell most of the time. I dont want to be an editors worst nightmare!