Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Two Cent Tuesday: Is it just me?

Or do you sometimes feel like your some kind of jedi-plagarizer? I've been listening to E. Lockheart's Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, and it's fantastic. Since I've had so little time to read lately with all of the editing and such, I've been checking books on CD out from the library.

Here's where it gets weird. There are four or five very small details in her book that also play a role in our book. Now, I've never read any of her other books and I'd never even read a blurb about Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks until I started listening to the book last week. The only reason I even checked the audio version out of the library is because I read that few bloggers had listed it as one of their fave YA books of 2008, so I figured I should give it a read (or in my case, a listen).

Do you think it's possible that she's our long lost sister or something? Or maybe I can just read her mind? Or maybe I've subconciously read all of her books and sent her fan mail in my sleep? I guess the good news is that so far, the similarities don't really add up to much, they're really just little details that no one else would notice except me, but in my mind that almost makes it more weird. I mean, how could she have had the exact same random thoughts as us only a few years earlier? And if there are little similarities between our book and another book, who's to say that there aren't MAJOR similarities between our book and some other book that I've never even heard of? Or maybe hasn't even been published yet? It's terrifying, I tell you.

Anyways, my big question of the day is as follows: Does this ever happen to you as a writer? Do you ever put something as random as pineapple pizza in your book and then find that another author has done the very same thing BEFORE you and BETTER than you?

And look, for the record, pineapple pizza is only in the book because it's my favorite pizza topping of all time and Ken never lets me order it. He read the book and his first critique was, "Pineapple pizza, seriously? That's going to gross people out." Thank you, Ken for that insightful feedback.

I'm really interested to hear what you guys have to say on this one.

15 comments:

PurpleClover said...

This actually happened to me this week! The first book I've picked up in ages was James Rollins The Black Order and there were certain aspects that mimicked my own WIP. It was disconcerting to say the least. I have only read one or two of his novels which were no where close to what I'm writing and yet this novel had a few things in it that I was like "Crap"! I don't want someone to read my novel and think ...oh she's just borrowing ideas.

I've had this happen with other things...where I'll think about something and resolve an idea and then read the same resolution later. I'm always wondering...did I hear this subconsciously without realizing?? So frustrating!

So now when I write...I just better make sure I do it better than Rollins. ;) lol. yeeaahhhh.

Katie said...

This theory TERRIFIES me! Yesterday Elana said, "Do you frequent Agent Query (or some such place) because I remember reading a pitch similar to yours a while back..

HUH??? CHOKE?! VOMIT!

I had to calmly write her back and say, "Uh no..."

But maybe this is like the time I invented clear mascara when I was like 12 and a mere 5 years later Max FActor was making millions off of MY idea! Dangit! I should have patented it!

Does this comment even apply to the post? I may need to re-read - I just saw that Jo commented on your last post and said, "Loved Katie's pitch." And therefore I can't think straight yet :-) Goodness gracious, I hope she loves the actual book!

Litgirl01 said...

YES...this does happen to me! I read A LOT and write as well, so I am often coming across things that I shake my head and think..."hmmmm...." I think it's just that we are all human and we all share in the human experience. So, of course we will feel like we are plagiarizing from each other! The creative writing field pulls from life experience. We are plagiarzing life more than anything....this is good because it's what our readers are looking for! Something they can relate to or bond with! ;-)

slhastings said...

Pineapple pizza is very popular in London along with the addition of corn. Yum.

Anyway, yes, themes will overlap. Yes, ideas overlap. Seriously. Look at how many Vampire stories are out there. Some of the vamps can be wounded with garlic, some not. Some go out during the day, some not. Holy water? Bring it on.

I think it all boils to down the story and the way it's told.

Lisa and Laura said...

I'm so glad to hear that you guys have all experienced this too. I was actually hesitant to post anything about this because my biggest fear in life is being accused of plagarism. Can you imagine!? Awful.

But LitGirl, I'm with you. I read a lot and watch WAY too much television, so I'm sure that I've internalized a lot of that. But I love the idea that I'm taking lots of other people's thoughts, ideas and really just life in general and making them my own. I guess that's what it's all about, right?

And Sam, I had no idea that pineapple pizza was a Brit thing. I feel like such an anglophile! Who knew?

Thanks for taking the time to comment ladies, you've made me feel so much better about this.

sraasch said...

I'm a firm believer in the "There's nothing new under the sun" philosophy, which means we're all working with the same material. Similarities are bound to turn up, and when they do they either make me smile and go "I'll use that in a trivia contest someday!" or frown and go "Cheater. Plagiarizer. How'd they know?" I usually aim for the former reaction though :)

And barbecue chicken pizza kicks pineapple pizza's sauce.

Litgirl01 said...

Check this out! :-)

http://nathanbransford.blogspot.com/2009/04/on-concepts.html

We must all be on the same wavelenght. LOL

PurpleClover said...

i actually just posted a comment referring to your blog.

Weird.

Also, someone else just wrote on "write what you know" that I'm pretty sure didn't read my blog...at least not that i'm aware of? Double weird.

We MUST share wavelengths...

PurpleClover said...

and i meant i made that comment ON Nathan's blog post...referenced above on "Concepts"

Lisa and Laura said...

OMG - I am the master Jedi-Plagarizer. Now I'm even plagarizing poor Nathan BEFORE he even has the chance to post it.

Hilarious! Thanks for the heads up LitGirl!

P-Clo - I sent you the link to the QueryTracker blog post too. It was an interesting take on that old piece of writerly advice, no?

Nikki Hensley said...

Someone told me that my first book is very similar to something I hadn't heard of... so I ran out and bought it, but I'm too afraid to read it now. I'm terrified I'll open it up and it'll be the same characters, only much cooler and with much better writing. Yikes.

But I could totally go for some pineapple pizza now. Thanks a lot.

PurpleClover said...

YOu sent me the link??

I didn't get an email?

I did like the post though. But I was like..."Hey! Where's my link back?!" lol.

Lisa and Laura said...

Nikki - I had no idea there were so many pineapple pizza fans out there! Love it. And yeah, I'd be terrified to read the book too. I guess you just have to hope that your voice and style are different enough.

P-Clo - I sent the link to the e-mail address on your blog. Just thought it was funny that they nailed the topic that you had blogged about just a few days ago. More jedi-plagarism?

Little Ms J said...

I am so sad that I can't comment until I get home at night. I feel like I totally miss out on all of these great conversations!

I was beside myself when I saw that a girl with a similar history wrote a memoir and is a comic in NYC. She was published in March and I wanted to sleep for a week, order pizza and cry into stacks of manuscript, but instead I read her book. Polar opposites and I'm waaaay funnier. Just sayin'.

Solvang Sherrie said...

How funny!

I just wrote a post about a very similar thing. Maybe I am your long lost sister?! Only I wrote it today. Before I read your post from yesterday. Did that make sense?

It's not plagarism. It's great minds thinking similar thoughts!