Saturday, February 3, 2007

Hey, That Was My Idea!

Interestingly enough, just after I wrote my Write On Wednesday post about writers and their special friendships with other writers, I ran across a blurb in Orpah magazine about a new book called The Company They Kept: Writer's On Unforgettable Friendships, a collection of essays written by writer's regarding their writer friends. This isn't the first time I've had an idea about something and then seen it show up in published form somewhere else.

It started way back in the day when I was writing children's stories. The idea was for a picture book about two little boys who are friends, and all the things they liked to do together. Until one day, one of them does something the other one didn't like. So they storm off, mad at one another, only to realize how much they miss sharing all those things they liked to do together. I shopped the story around to different magazines, but it really needed illustrations to make it. And one day, in the bookstore, I saw a picture book by a very well known children's author with the exact same premise~on reading it, it was pretty much my story, too. Hmmm.

Not too long ago, I had an idea for a story or novel centered around a wedding dress that gets handed down through the generations of a family, and all the women who wear it. Lo and behold, I find a non-fiction book in the library called "My Life in Clothes," or something to that effect, which wasn't exactly the same idea, but close. It was a memoir centered about the author's wardrobe, and how it reflected her life through the years.

I suppose at least I can feel as if I have good instincts about ideas and what's "writable." But it's probably an indication that when I have an idea, I should get up off my butt and do something about it, because, if I don't, somebody else probably will.


Julie said...

This just makes me laugh, Becca. Think of all the movies that center on the underdog who finally makes good or all the songs that have been written about love.

Just because you find other authors who have similar ideas, it does not mean that you should not pursue a storyline or topic. You will have your own unique angle from which to tackle it.

I received an e-mail from another blogger friend today. In it she told me she had signed on to do a blog-along on Julia Cameron's newest book. I immediately went out to investigate to see if it might be interesting to me. As I was reading the "real people" reviews of her new book on a popular site, one of them gave it low marks because she felt that it was more or less a reworking of the material she has covered in the first two books of the Artist's Way trilogy.

I can see both sides in that particuclar case--who wants to spend more money for the same nuts and bolts--but if you found the first and/or second books inspiring and need to find your way out of a slump (which I believe is the basic starting point in this particular book), this would likely be just the book to fill your need.

Put the words on the page and let the editors/publishers decide if the market will not bear another book on a particular topic.

Meg said...

Thanks for your kind comment over at my blog :) I think that's an excellent idea for writing... and even if it's been sort of written, maybe you could do it better! After all, everything pretty much has been written... but I think it's the different writers and styles and perspectives and the whole gamut of things that make them re-writable as a totally new and fresh piece of work.