Someone else has written my novel.
This is not the blog post I had planned to write but the discovery at the weekend that someone had beaten me into print with my fantastic idea, was such a shock that I am compelled to share this experience with you.
I am always interested in what is being published, both as a reader and writer. A couple of days ago, I accidentally hit on a recent new title and read the blurb with something akin to horror. The novel is virtually identical to the one I have been penning these last weeks and months.
I feel as if I already know the main protagonist in this new book as she is the twin of the main character in my own unfinished tome. Not only that; the themes, subsidiary characters and storyline appear to be almost identical.
How can this have happened? Did I accidentally leave the synopsis on the train, divulge the details of the plot at a writing group or maybe the author hacked into my computer?
The truth is that simply that the author got there before me. There is no copyright on ideas and someone else has had the same thought processes as myself. The fact that this other writer also believed that this book was worth writing, makes me feel that the premise was a good one. It has to be said that if I had got on and penned the book when I first had the idea, I might well have been the first one into print.
I should also mention that the aforementioned book has been self published and without reading it, I have no idea if it is any good. It was suggested by a friend that I should carry on with my original project and look for a mainstream publisher but, for me, the damage has been done. The book is no longer my own and I have to start over.
Frustrating and disappointing as this setback is, there are some positives. Over the past few months I have developed the habit of writing every day (well nearly every day) and my fledgling novel has grown. If I can do it once, I can do it again. The prospect is not quite as daunting as it once would have been.
So, my existing 35,000 words are being set aside for the time being and I am developing a new idea. I may retain one or two of the original elements but in essence, it will be a completely different book.
So what have I learnt from this experience?
Simply to get on and do it – before someone else does!