Oh man! I have to start off this post with some fan-art of awesomeness!!!
The first one is from Laurelle_DaVinchi on the Wingsfansite forums who put together all of my covers including an old fan cover that the lovely Saundra Mitchell made for me. Check this out!!
Thank you, Laurelle!! I love it!!!
The next one is one from a few weeks back that I have been trying to remember to post, but the link is on my phone and I blog on my computer so . . . . anyway, here, you go, from Katie at SophistiKatied!
Isn't that so made of awesome! Please for visit Katie at her blog, she does Fan Art Fridays and really good reviews of lots of YA books. It's a new favorite of mine! Thank you, Katie!!
Okay, so something I often hear from other authors, established or aspiring, is being concerned when they hear about someone else writing the same basic storyline as their WIP. Everyone worries about it--especially if you have a particularly brilliant idea.
But you know what? You may be worrying too much. Editors often say it's all about the execution, and in the area of storylines, that hold true. A couple of examples (please excuse the weird, trying-not-to-be-gender-specific syntax):
"Protagonist A and Protagonist B meet and experience a sudden and deep connection. But can their love survive when Protagonist A wars between loving Protag B and the desire to kill them?"
Think you know what book I'm talking about?
Suuuuure you do.
I'm talking about Evernight, by Claudia Gray, Lament by Maggie Stiefvater, The Dark Divine, by Bree Despain, and the absolutely incredible upcoming Mistwood by Leah Cypess.
Vampires, faeries, werewolves, shifters, they all fit that storyline.
But let's get more specific:
A small town is surrounded by an invisible, impenetrable sphere. The residents must find a way to survive not only their new isolation, but the terrors that they themselves are becoming.
Now do you think you know which book I'm talking about? Because that storyline is pretty dang specific. Do you?
Because it could be Under The Dome, by Stephen King, or it could be Gone, by Michael Grant. Both very good and successful books by NYT Bestselling authors. Totally different books.
I've actually received email from people who are aspiring faerie authors who were like, "I was so worried! I thought your book was just like my book!!" One went so far as to worry if she could be sued for copyright infringement! (No, btw.) But without fail, these authors all commented that within fifty pages it became clear that I was telling a different story than them.
A lot of people say ideas are a dime a dozen. I don't quite agree with that. Some ideas are just freakin' brilliant and are totally worth their proverbial weight in gold. But most? It's about the execution.
To kind of illustrate what I mean, I have this video of total win by a group called the Axis of Awesome. This video is a bunch (I believe thirty-six?? Read that somewhere) of songs that can all be sung to the same four chord set. It is fascinating. He just plays the same four chords on the keyboard and keeps singing all these songs! Totally different songs. As different as the examples I've sited above (moreso in a lot of cases!!) but they all can be sung to the same accompaniment. (Language warning: there is some language in the middle of this number--you've been warned.:D)
This really can be applied to idea. They say there is nothing new under the sun. Chances are you fall under one of those "nothing new" categories.
And that's okay! That doesn't mean you can't make it your own! That you can't add remarkable characters and surprising twists and inimatable plot elements! Every idea can be done a different way. A better way, even.
This isn't to say that you can write your novel about Larry Blotter who goes to a sorcery school and makes friends with Hepsabah and Raul. That's not going to fly.
I'm not saying copy. Please, please, please, don't copy!! But of you are in the process of writing the story you love and you discover that some big-wig author wrote a story with a similar plot? It's probably very different from yours. Don't stop working on your story just because of that. There are too many books coming out every year for yours to truly be the only book like it. If you start trying to do that, you are never going to reach more than the halfway point on your WIP. (I know I wouldn't.)
Now, do pay attention. For example, I had Laurel and David meet in Biology class because they were sophomores, and I love Biology! But if I had thought about that famous scene in Twilight, I probably would have changed that particular class to something else. in fact, I have sometimes wondered how cool it would have been if they had met in music class. Wouldn't have changed the story a lot, and I would have avoided a lot of Twi-comparisons.
Did I copy her? Contrary to what some people think, no.:D Should I have thought about that and changed it for the sake of the market? Yeah, probably. But regardless, it's okay.
Do your thing. Do it your way. And I think you'll find that you really do have something unique and original.
As long as you're not writing about Belinda and Edwin who are fighting for their doomed love. Stay away from that one.:D