Have you ever thought to yourself:
This is it! The perfect story! My new plot has it all:
A polar bear
A palm tree
A romantic fireplace
A lovesick couple
Triplet toddlers in need of a stable home
Then another writer breezily posts on a loop:
Hey, you guys, I just added a polar bear and a palm tree to my snowstorm story about Bixby, Alexa, Snappy the Hound Dog, and the Bibble infant twins! Nestle Chocolates and Pampers are going to endorse it! And so will Fireplaces Unlimited! My editor is sure to buy it now!
That sinking feeling …
“I could have sworn I talked about my book on this loop just last month!” You mentally kick yourself. Could she have stolen your idea? Dare you mention your concerns to anyone?
On a similar note, have you ever been to a conference ready to pitch your incredible time-slip novel only to discover five other writers are pitching time-slip novels? Or ten others are pitching devotional collections on grieving? Are all these authors copying each other?
I admit, when I was writing books for publication, I had that sinking feeling myself from time to time. Not that an author had copied me, but that maybe my idea was too close to someone else’s book that had been released the previous month. It’s a terrible feeling to have, but let it pass. And then know …
You Can Write Your Book and Be a Success!
Why? Most writers agree that only a few basic plots exist (some say nine, others say seven). Click here for a second article with a great list and other helps for writers.
So that means you can take one of the plots and create your masterpiece, using your words.
Otherwise, writers could sue each other for using the same plot. Because we all do that!
What we cannot do legally is cut and paste someone else’s words and insert them into our books as if we wrote those words ourselves.
But apparently some creatives do, and did. As a point of interest, people accused of plagiarism cut a wide swath, as you can see in this linked article.
What We Can Do
We can read great authors, absorbing technique and storytelling craft. Then we can run away with our ideas, as long as we use our own words to express those ideas. Because they will be like no one else’s in the world.
See if you can write a sales hook or plot blurb using one or all of the elements in the first list. Or even the popular author’s list she posted to the loop. Have fun!