Sunday, April 4, 2010

Crazy Coincidences

Two books recently got me thinking about the odd coincidences and similarities you sometimes find in different books or even between published books and...gulp...YOUR book! And I'm not just talking about big ideas here like angels, or secret schools of magic, or a story about a girl who is the supernatural creature--not the boy.

I mean discover that important information in your story is conveyed through a stained glass window and then you see important information is conveyed through a stained glass window in another book and you are pretty darn sure that the whole important information conveyed through a stained glass window thing was your idea...but there it another book! What? How? Huh?

What about that guy who wears a watch on his right hand and has two ear piercings in his left ear? Or the fact that your two characters have their first kiss in the boys bathroom after a fight? How many times have you come across a seriously odd, specific characterization/plot twist/plot element/name/backstory/etc and realized...crap, maybe my idea isn't as original as I thought it was?

Sometimes I wonder about books that many people deem as "copy cats" or when writers try and accuse others of plagiarism when really the supposed "copy cat" book was written before the other more popular book and the plagiarism case is just...ridiculous.

It's kind of fascinating to me how ideas work and how certain ideas can show up in more than one place at the same time--even with big things like angels --seriously there's no CEO of publishing who had a board meeting and decided...Angels...yes Angels...are the next big thing--everybody write about angels. Writers just were doing it...on their own...and around the same time...

So what do you think?

And what's the craziest thing from your own writing that you found somewhere else?


  1. I chalk the coincidence thingy up to zeitgeist. Mainly because I like excuses to use the word zeitgeist.

  2. oooh yes! I just watched a movie that had almost the same lines as my book had at one point. I was horrified. I'd never seen the movie before and my man turned to me and said, hey! Is this where you got it from?
    I think you just have to let stuff like that go.

  3. I actually had a two-part blog post on this because I ran into this problem (the solution to which still eludes me). In my novel I created a shape-shifting species of dragon called the Drakon, and their main challenge, as a species, is a lack of female members (making the survival of the species at risk). Then I read a book (which I had never seen before) about a shape-shifting species of dragons called the Drakon, whose main challenge was the lack of female members. I was pretty much devastated for about a week. At least the other book was adult paranormal historical and mine is young adult paranormal contemporary...

  4. It's funny because I was begging to talk about BEFORE I FALL and my husband was the only person around (my daughter listens, but it's just not the same). Anyways, as his eyes were glazing over, he was like, "wait, that sounds just like Ground Hog's Day." I then explained the whole 7 original ideas concept. I think as long as you have an original twist, you're golden.


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