Saturday, June 19, 2010

Jealousy and inadequacy, fuel for the fire?

I'm not sure if the title completely captures my feelings on the following subject, but these were the first two words that seemed to come to mind.

My wife subscribes to Entertainment Weekly. She left a recent copy lying on my side of our bed, opened to a review of a new novel.
"What's this doing here?" I asked.
"I wanted you to read that," she said.
I picked up the foled magazine and read a review of The Passage. Now, I saw several mentions of this novel on some headlines feeds I subscribe to. The headlines I glanced at mentioned that this was a hot new book, a breakout hit, etc., but I thought nothing of it at the time. I mean, c'mon, there's always some breakout hits, right?

Well, I read the review, which also summarized the plot. At first, I felt jealous, and then I felt, maybe not inadequate, but defeated, as if I was late to the party or something. The reason I had this latter reaction was because this plot sounded similar to a novel plot I came up with a couple of months ago. I usually run all my story ideas by my wife who, as a college English professor and well-read individual, I listen to very closely.

She thought there was enough similarity in our plots that she wanted me to see this book's reception since it was released. The reception was obviously very good. I mean, when a relatively unknown author has a breakout book that receives a lot of positive praise and a seven-figure deal, well, who wouldn't be jealous, right? The defeat I felt was that his book began with some political overtones that captured the present, which is the same as my idea. However, in The Passage there is a span of time (said to be a century in the review) that elapses in the story. Mine doesn't have this.

Another similarity is that there are zombies. Well, maybe that's a vague term. In mine there are people that can be classified loosley as zombies based on something integral to the plot. In The Passage these creatures aren't necessarily zombies but "viral" vampires? Whatever that is, it sounds like it may be close to zombies and I've actually heard someone say the resemblance is close.

To get back on topic, I couldn't help but feel like someone had beaten me to the punch of what my story was about. Now, like I've said, I haven't read this book. And I probably won't as I don't want to take anything from it when I end up writing my own story. But, I fully intend to go ahead and write my story once I finish writing my southern gothic tale. The story I have in mind feels like something unique and very interesting, so I'd be a fool not to write it.

I'm just saddened that while I'm in the middle of writing one story and sitting on another great idea, another writer has stumbled upon some aspects of my plot and beaten me to the punch (or publisher) with it.

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