Those pesky successful authors can sometimes bring out a book which is very similar to the idea you have been working on for months. This situation is a hard one to recover from.
Here’s what to expect:
- Idea pride. You have an amazing idea for a book. It wakes you up in the small hours. Your excitement bubbles over and you tell your unconscious loved one all about it, speaking very fast and not taking a breath. They don’t share your enthusiasm and mutter something about it being 2.34 A.M. You know that this new book premise will be the making of you. Every time you think of it you get a burst of literary pride and feel the need to tweet stuff like ‘#amazingnewbookidea and #bookerprizedefo. It’s great to think that you came up with such a powerful and totally unique idea. Sigh!
- Exposure. You believe your story has literary potential, so you decide to limit the exposure of it, which means you don’t tell a soul….well almost. You limit the exposure of your story idea by only telling non-writing friends, trusted writing friends and family. Everyone thinks it’s a good idea. So you tell a few more trusted souls. Feeling uplifted you go stand in your favourite bookshop and in your head you tell those pesky successful authors at the top of the charts that they better watch out!
- The passing of time. You throw yourself into your story and set to work writing this literary masterpiece. Days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months as you try to write down the story idea in your head. It’s at this stage you start to wish you’d not come up with an idea requiring so much research. It really is back-breaking stuff. Plus you find yourself getting distracted with important stuff like a.) daydreaming about who will play the lead male / female role, when it is turned into a film and b.) thinking about whether you should give a literary agent an early warning email. A quick heads up to let them know you are working on something unique and ground breaking! Eventually your enthusiasm for your idea wears off. You decide to leave it partially finished and go off to do other meaningful things like spending hours on Twitter, taking extra long baths and sampling cheese from around the world.
- Shocking Discovery. One day, some time in the future, you are stood in your bookshop of choice gawping at the book charts. To your horror there is a book which is similar to your idea. Nooooooooo! Some pesky successful author has written a similar story! You cry out ‘but….but….I was going to write something like that!’ (Cue sobs)
- Acceptance. It is a tough one to accept. At the start of the acceptance process you have to endure your brain playing the ‘what if?’ game which is really helpful. Basically you spend a serious amount of time sat (staring into space) asking yourself ‘what if I had finished that draft and done something with it?’ Then you beat yourself up about what could have happened with that good idea if you had actually got off your lazy literary ass. After some solitary long walks in the rain, a few calls to your emotional support help line, hundreds of emails to your long-suffering writer friend and a heated discussion with your loved one (who said ‘you should have worked at it, finished it and sent it out! It’s your own fault!’) you decide to accept the situation. That pesky successful author probably had time on their hands to do all that research. Later on (after a soft egg and toast soldiers) you have a read again of your old draft. Your opening chapter sounds loads better than what that pesky successful author came up with! Huh!
This is a tough one writers so take care out there!
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