Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Hey, that's my story!

     So, you may know that I'm writing a book. A good one, I hope. Anyway, I've been working on this novel for over a year now, and I'm allllmost nearing the finish. It's very exciting, and a very fulfilling feeling to be so close to completing something I've invested so much of myself into!

     But anyway, that's not what I'm talking about right now. This morning I was on Goodreads, and I noticed an add for a new book that's just come out -- Go Away Home. The title intrigued me, and I LOVED the cover, so I clicked on it and read the synopsis. And then I gasped because....

     People, this is MY story. Not exactly, of course; but it's pretty darn close.
    



     Okay, here's the synopsis:

     For an Iowa farm girl in 1913, Liddie Treadway has big dreams. She yearns to move to town, learn a trade, and live on her own. With encouragement from career-minded Aunt Kate, her goals seem within reach—until her unmarried sister is sent away for becoming pregnant and her father dies in a tragic accident. Now the family needs Liddie more than ever, and she’s certain she’ll be trapped on the farm for good.

The Treadways’ hired man, Joe Bauer, has dreams of his own: to marry and settle down. So when a woman he’s been courting breaks his heart, he leaves Iowa to start over, just as Liddie finally gets her chance to take a seamstress apprenticeship in town…

Though they’re separated by miles, Liddie’s friendship with Joe grows as they write to each other about their new lives. But when Joe returns, will Liddie have to choose between worldly independence and the conventional path of love and family? Or can she have it all?

     What?! No! I read through that and just sat there for a minute catching fruit flies in my mouth. It's so close to the premise of my novel. I have a young farm girl with big dreams of moving to a city and being rich. I have a career-minded Aunt who heavily influences her. The themes presented here are so similar to mine: 'worldly independence', the 'conventional path of love and family'? Um, Mrs. Bodensteiner? excuse me, ma'am, but have you been rifling through my desk when I wasn't looking????

     Now, it's not exactly the same. In my novel, Addie's father doesn't die and her sister isn't sent away for becoming pregnant. But still. I was pretty taken aback by how similar this book looks to what I'm writing. Now I really want to get my hands on a copy and read it -- because it does look super good. And I want to know just HOW close to my story it is. Because if there's anything else besides what's in the synopsis, that'd make me mad.

     Just, weird.

     Writer friends, has this ever happened to you?

13 comments:

  1. Oh my...that would be scary and irritating and so many other things. I'm really curious to hear what your thoughts on the book are. I hope you can read it soon!
    But, just remember, stories with similar plots can be soooo drastically different because of your own unique words and characters. So I hope this doesn't discourage you! I'm sure your story is a positive gem and unlike anything that was ever written! That is the nice thing about writing. Even if it's super similar to something someone else has done it's still DIFFERENT and never written quite like that before.
    Oh, and while I've never found a story so similar to any of mine, I did watch a movie that had the same general plot, character names and a few other things as a story I started a long while ago. I never finished it (and don't plan to, heh) but it was still funny seeing how much the movie was like my story! :D

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    1. Yeah....it was weird, to say the least. I'm not really worried, because like you said, stories with similar premises, ect. can be so very different based on the author's perspective and style. I'm pretty confident that my characters are unique. :-) Thanks so much for your encouraging words!

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  2. Yes, this has totally happened to me. Several times. I generally get the book that sounds "just like my book," read it, and discover that nope, it's totally different.

    Like Natalie said, no one is going to write exactly the same book as you, unless one of you is deliberately copying the other. We all bring our own unique ideas, thoughts, views, and style to the table, so we all write our own things.

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    1. Oh, and Emma, I've awarded you the Liebster Award. Details here :-)

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  3. I think since the written word has been around for such a long time, it's very rare to find something that is completely unique. There will always be similar characters and themes, especially within the same genre. What's important is that there are unique twists and differences. Don't be discouraged! I'm sure the books will still turn out to be much different! If I were you, I wouldn't read the other one until you're finished writing yours, to make sure that it doesn't influence your writing in any way.

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  4. Eeeeeeek!!! That's happend to mum too! (She's an Author/Illustrator).. it's pretty terrifying but it happens...occasionally.. :-) Keep up your story though I'm sure it will be wonderful!

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  5. Not exactly, probably because I'm only on my first novel, heh, heh. BUT I did stumble upon a novel that has exactly the same title as what I'm planning to use for mine--namely, "Scarlet Ribbons"--which freaked me out until I realized the stories were totally different. So . . . I decided not to worry about it.

    I agree with what everyone has said above--don't worry that your story will turn out the same. You're an unique writer and you will say whatever you have to say in your OWN way. You know they say, "There are only ten plots in the world," and that may be true--but it doesn't stop each individual writer from doing something special with one of those ten plots.

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  6. Oh, that's kind of funny. I have something similar happen to me once. =)

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    1. Faith, yeah, it is kind of funny. After you get over the initial shock, that is. ;-P

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  7. Emma,
    Oh, I know! This can be so provoking! I had exactly the same thing happen with a medieval story I'm "dreaming" about and it was most disturbing. But then I discovered that this other story while "medieval" was set in a fantasy world, whereas mine is VERY historic. The other hero is a rough soldier and my hero is honorable to a fault... etc, etc. So in other words I found out exactly what Natalie said -- only YOU can see the colors of the world in the way you do! It's like something I read once about drawing: put twenty different artists in a room and have them draw one chair, what do you get? Twenty very different chairs! I had actually rather forgot about that quote until I read this post, and I'm so glad it made me remember it! Anyways, I really enjoyed hearing that we writers meet a lot of the same problems. It's a nice cozy thing to know. :)

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    1. That's a great quote. Yes, I'm finding this out. :-) It is a cozy thing to know that we writers often share the same struggles!

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  8. Yikes! I think I've heard of this happening before (hasn't to me, but that's partially because I can never stay with a story plot long enough), and it must be kinda scary! Never fear, I'm fairly sure we'd all rather read YOUR story:)

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