Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Superbad -- Eve

Have you ever started writing a book that’s so wonderfully innovative and profound that you just can’t wait to finish it and get it out into the world? Like it’s so perfect that you start believing you were born to write this book. And then you think, “I can’t believe no one has done this yet. It’s such a great idea. I’m freaking brilliant!”

And then has your friend, Jay, ever called you when you’re halfway through writing this book to say, “Hey, y’know that wonderfully innovative/profound/perfect YA book that you’ve spent almost a year working on? Well, check out Joe Schmoe’s website that features the synopsis and reviews of his new book. It’s the exact same premise as your book. Isn’t that weird?”

And then have you ever looked up Joe Schmoe’s website to see that not only has he come up with the exact same idea, but he uses similar obscure references and plot twists? Oh, gets better. Not only is Joe Schmoe an amazing, award winning, prolific author, but reviewers are calling this latest diddy his best yet…his masterpiece to end all masterpieces!

Uh-huh. Oh yeah. And then…and then, they called it the bawl-fest of the century. And what did I intend for my book to be? You guessed it. Bawl-a-palooza. Are you kidding me with this? My horoscope predicted that this month would bring an abrupt ending to a major labor of love project. Uh, yeah. This day just keeps getting better and better. On the bright side, I can always go back to writing that fantasy novel about a boy wizard who goes away to boarding school and fights evil and comes of age and stuff. I’m pretty sure that’s an original idea.

- Eve

(The artist formerly referred to as Joe Schmoe is not actually named Joe Schmoe. He who shall not be named shall not be named because I’m still upset with him for taking my idea. Even if it was telepathically. And by accident. Get outta my head Joe Schmoe!)


Jen said...

Yep. I wrote Margery Cuyler's FROM HERE TO THERE several years after she did. To this day I haven't read her version, but one of my critique partners has. She advised me to put that manuscript away and forget about it.

I haven't forgotten, but I did put it away. I can't imagine putting away a whole novel.

Katie said...

I am cracking up! I live in constant fear of this. I even check amazon sometimes for my title as if it has been done before...? crazy. I am sorry...I loved your little bit at the end about being telepathic.

Brenda Ferber said...

That's heartbreaking!

tammi said...


That HAS happened to me with a pb.

An editor at one imprint LOVED LOVED LOVED the ms, shared it with her colleagues, then learned another imprint was publishing a funny pb with too similar of a setting and that author was a rock star author. Sooo...the editor had to turn down my ms. Mourning commenced as did lots of therapy with my man Dr. Pepper.

Here you go.

*passes Eve a box of Kleenex*


SilberBook-Blog said...

Eve - oh, how I share your pain! I have been "scooped" too often and the words, "but it validates that you had a great idea" mean squat when chocolate will do you so much better!


Becky Levine said...

Okay, hang on. Step back. Breathe. Think about the publishing cycle. You're not finished with your book yet. Once you're done, you'll revise. Then you'll look for a publisher. Then they'll ask you to edit some more.

So your book will come out...what, maybe 2009, if you're a speed writer? Usually, sure, this is depressing, but it'll be a whole 'nother world of books out there by then.

Buy the book. DON'T read it. Ask Jay and Robin to. Then as you write and they critique, if there's a detail that's identical, they can tell you and you can work with it.

Your book is NOT the same as Schmoe's. It can't be. You're two different people with different lives, experiences, and writing voices. Think about HOW many books/series would sound awfully familir to Harry Potter if you just looked at a blurb and a few details. And look how many of them sold, are selling, and are being loved.

You're fine. Don't panic. Keep writing.

Colorado Writer said...

NO! Keep writing. It's your book and only you can write it!

Anonymous said...

Dude, that SUCKS. Maybe I shouldn't have been talking about your new manuscript really loud on a plane while sitting next to Joe Schmoe!!!! You must call me and give me more details, on my cell. Or, you can call my little cousin Darryl and he'll call my mama and she knows how to get a hold of me and I'll call you back, on his cell phone. Lamy

Social Butterfly Events said...

Awww crumbs. Same thing happened to me, but it was the Flowbee. I thought I would revolutionize hairdressing by getting a vaccum involved, but no, some dirty rotten so and so beat me to it. ;)

Try not to feel defeated, next time you are in town, we'll meet at the lunch tree and brainstorm some new ideas. I will get Danny to come down and pick up trash around us while we do it. It will be just like old times!

Disco Mermaids said...

I'm rolling on the floor! C'heh, C'heh...that's me coughing up aspirated coffee. (Yes, it's 12:53pm and I'm still drinking my morning sue me!) Amy and two know me so well. I'm laughing so hard, it hurts!

Jen and Tammi, I'm sorry for your losses. Seriously, that sucks. Katie, Brenda, Alan, and CW...thanks so much for your support. I realize I could have worse problems, but...damn! This kinda blows.'re absolutely right. I hadn't thought of all those good points you brought up. Thanks! I'll keep writing. I promise.

Social Butterfly...Flowbee. HA! HAHAHAHAHA!! Thanks for the laugh.


Anonymous said...

See,.. that is why you have to work with an aluminum foil hat on your head so your ideas cannot be telepathically stolen!!!!

Anonymous said...


I am so, so, so sorry. What a rotten thing to happen.

When something lousy happens to me, I hate it when someone says "Oh, the same thing happened to me" but...the same thing happened to me. I was working on Absolutely, Positively Not, thinking "Hey! I'm going to write the breakthrough gay YA novel!" And then Rainbow Boys was published. And then Geography Club was published. And I thought to myself, "Why bother. I've just wasted years of my life, and someone has beaten me to writing the high school teenager coming out novel. Burn this manuscript now." But as other readers of your blog have wisely pointed out, even if you are writing about the same topic, you are going to write about it in a completely different way. It's going to be a book that only you can tell. Honest.

Even so, it was a rotten thing to happen. I'm sorry. May tomorrow bring you much, much better news.

David LaRochelle

Dot said...

Eve, UGH! I'm so sorry. Talk about a sick sinking feeling.

But I agree with Becky and Stephanie. Focus on what only YOU can bring to your writing. Even in this book--maybe tweak the plot or the structure too in order to make it more different, but remember what your own particular strengths as a writer are. No one else has the Eve-ness.

Disco Mermaids said...

Ah, yes, Dot...the "ness"...I love that saying. Thank you Laura (sorting through the junk drawer for that aluminum foil as we speak!).

Yes, David, I know you are correct. And very wise. And I'm sorry about your experience with A,P,N. But it's such a kick-ass book... thank goodness you didn't give up! (And just so you know, you are not the Joe Schmoe to which I was referring, so you can breathe a relief sigh. You are, however, brilliant and award winning and all the rest!)

Unfortunately, I may have to change some things...weird, eerily similar random details. And his book isn't even out yet, so I couldn't have stolen these ideas from him! I swear he's got little manuscript gnomes sneaking into my home at night to copy down my notes. Damn those ms gnomes!!


LindaBudz said...

You haven't been lending Robin your notebooks, have you?

Seriously, Eve, sorry to hear it, but you know what they say ... there are no original ideas, only original ways to present the idea. Write the best book you can and find an editor who will bawl over it. We're pulling for you!

Disco Mermaids said...

Between me losing my notebook and Eve losing her masterpiece of an idea, we've had a bumpy week!

(Good thing the three of us went out for pizza last night and pretended to celebrate anyway. I'm still not clear on what we thought we were celebrating.)

I hear your pain on this one, Evie. My unpublished book is already a TV series on Nickelodeon. Weird.

But like I said last night, your story is about love from a girl's perspective, and no Schmoe can write that like you can. (And that wasn't even the beer talking!!)

Love, Robin

Don Tate II said...

Yes, this has happened to me. Recently. : (

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry Eve. That sucks. The same exact thing happened to my aunt who was writing a screenplay about Wyatt Earp six-months before BOTH of those movies came out!! (And how bizarre when two projects come out and they are exactly the same--like those running movies? I don't remember the guys name.) Okay, I'm rambling. My point is: that sucks.


Disco Mermaids said...

The Prefontaine movies! That's right, Heidi. I'm sorry to hear that, Don. And thank you, LIndabudz. You're right. Nothing is really new. I realize that. Still, I like the sympathy.

And thanks for the pep talk, Robin. I love you, man!


Mac McCool said...

Hang in there, Eve. You had an idea that another good writer had (great minds meet) -- it means you can come up with strong ideas just like other great writers. That's the good side. The bad side is that it hurts. But don't fuel the pain, get right back on that horse and keep writing (a new story, or a revised version of the old one). Write, write, write, and good things will happen!

Anonymous said...

Prefontaine! That's it! Yeesh.


a. fortis said...

Oh, poo--I'm sorry to hear that!! I totally live in fear of this, especially the closer I get to finishing the revision. You'll get through it, I know it!

Laurie said...

Hmmm. Read my LJ post of Aug. 13...

My sympathies.

Stella said...

I'm so sorry. That totally stinks.

As others here have pointed out, however,there's nothing new under the sun, but there are unlimited ways of serving it up. When that book comes out, I'd say read it. I'll bet you'll think differently then or find a way to resurrect your characters (Maybe you could write the sequel to the book you were writing??

Anonymous said...

Is "Social Butterfly" who I think it is? Could it be? If so, I'm so glad you guys re-connected and I'm curious if her DD fixation is still alive as well?!?!? Lamy

Greg said...

If it's not Joe Schmoe, it's Jack Diddly. I hate those guys.


Rita said...

I'm with Becky Levine and Colorado Writer. And Dot. And Stella. And. I have quaked over this so many times, but each time I've come back to the same conclusion: your book is still your book.

On the other hand. I have a second WIP that's much "higher concept," and a project did come out so similar, that one might now be dead. I'm not convinced yet. I'm still hoping.

Also, how much do I love the reference Lamy made!

Also, I thought anonymous was saying (after all these other "Me, too!" comments) that he had started writing David LaRochelle's book; but he turned out to be David LaRochelle.


And finally--Greg. HA! LOL!!