Saturday, February 26, 2011


What would you do...

If you saw that a book similar to one you're planning has already been published.

In checking out all my fellow crusaders blogs this week, well trying to at least, I decided to organize all the blogs I follow in my google reader.

That took most of last night.

Occasionally I landed on a person I follow and checked out their blog to see if they are from the crusade, from YA Highway, or from various blog fests.

It was on Sunshine and Stardust's blog where I stopped short, and let out a little scream.

She reviews the book The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher.

It sounds similar in premise to the book I'm currently outlining: Blue War. Both this book and my book are about a world where water is extraordinarily scarce. The review is pretty detailed, with acknowledged spoilers, so I was able to get a good sense of the book.

Of course, outside of the basic premise, it's not at all like what I've outlined in detail, chapter by chapter.

I have several books I can move forward with, and I'd hate to put a lot of energy into something that may be irrelevant.

That being said, I planned to work on this book next. I am confused! What should I do?

Should I put my book on the back-burner until this other book has had time to cool?

What would YOU do, if you realized a book like the one you're working on had just sold or just been published?

Would you keep working as if you didn't know this?


  1. I had the same thing happen to me. I wrote my book during NaNoWriMo 2009. Then, I pitched it at a conference last October. The agent said, "Oh, this sounds exactly like another book." I think my heart dropped out of my chest when she said that.

    The said book came out after I had written mine, so I wasn't inspired by the story, but now I have to change mine to make sure it doesn't sound like the other. Of course, in the beginning, the two sound very similar, but we take two very different paths. They're even different genres.

    It's still the one I plan to rewrite, edit, polish up and send to agents. It's similar in theory but very different.

    As long as your book takes a different path, personally, I don't think the similarities will matter. After all, there are very few new ideas, but it's how you flesh them out that make all the difference.

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do. :)

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  4. Old proverb: There is nothing new under the sun.

    That doesn't mean you can't make it fresh and uniquely yours. Keep going. No one can tell your story like you can.

  5. I'd continue working on my story. You acknowledged that yours is somewhat different and you have the advantage of being able to make your story as unique as you can. Write the best novel you can is what I'd offer as my best advice. You never know what impact your book might have if you decide not to write it because something similar is out there already.

  6. I concur with my fellow commenters. Go for it. It will be your unique story.

  7. Keep at it. Even though its said there's no original ideas anymore, I personally enjoy reading new takes or a different perspectives on a given issue.

    Global water shortage is a very real issue, that I feel doesn't get the sort of attention it deserves. Already, I'm intrigued.

  8. I'd definitley keep at it because you've said it is different and like someone else already mentioned, there is nothing new; we all transform ideas and make them ours. Go for it and it'll be incentive to even make it better!

  9. I say finish your book with your vision of how you see it. Water shortage books could be like vampire books. There could be more than one. But there are going to be readers interested in your version of it just like they read all the vampire books. I know that probably isn't the best reference, but it is the only thing I could think of. lol

  10. Oh my gosh, I definitely have this problem. According to Mary Kole over at, dreams are trending next - and I'm writing about dreams! I say finish the book, wait it out and see where the trend goes. I think as long as your book truly is your own, it'll stand.

  11. I agree with everyone else. Don't let seeing a book with a similar premise stop you from writing your own book. As you've said, the plot of your story is *completely* different. The idea of a world where water is either rare (or abundant) is quite general. How you make your story unique to all the others with similar concepts is what's important.

    Also, if this is the one you want to work on next, you should:) Good luck with it and hope to see it in stores one day!

  12. Wow guys- immediate and awesome feedback. Thanks so much. I love the writing community!!!!!
    I have spent the last two hours (since making the post) typing up and rounding out my outline. I am feeling inspired.
    Thank you.

    And Regina- the vampire reference was perfect-- very funny, actually.

  13. This has happened to me several times. I think it just means you have a good idea, Katharine! And I totally agree with everyone else who's already commented here. It's YOUR story, even if the theme or basic premise is the same as someone else's. They're your characters. It's your plot. Just write it and query it and don't worry about inevitable comparisons.

  14. Twilight: girl falls in love with vampire who can't read her mind, despite the dangers.

    True Blood: girl falls in love with vampire whose mind she can't read, despite the dangers.

    These aren't even original 'spins,' and they're both phenomenally successful.

    Not saying you should aim to be like Twilight or True Blood, or you should mirror others' stories, but it can happen. Keep writing. Stay true to your story, your idea.

  15. ahh, sorry that happened! must be so annoying ~ discovering that.

    STILL. I say write your book anyway. Some books can be incredibly similar but still so very different.

    Good to hear you're still feeling very inspired!

    xo Nomes

  16. Ug..what a downer.

    But, I agree with your other commentors. Your story is uniquely your own, write it and see what happens.

  17. Yes, I have to say I agree with all the other commenters - still go for it! - so many stories have a similar premise but the content is so different that it's not usually a problem. And it appears that even if they are VERY similar if they are good books it doesn't seem to damage their sales. Both The Hunger Games and Matched have been accused of being so similar to other stories that some people have outright accused the authors of stealing, and yet that doesn't seem to hold much water and keep people away from reading them and liking them. BTW, I haven't read the books THG and M are supposed to be like, so I can't really comment on that, but I know I loved them :-)

  18. I'm agreeing with the other commenters too! I know we are all aspiring to publication, but I am a true believer that if you write for yourself, and write the book you would want to read, that passion will translate to the page and success will follow. There will always be a market for good stories! Good luck!

  19. You already have so many encouraging comments but I thought I'd add my $0.02. While your premise may be the same, only you can write your unique characters in your particular voice, and their perspectives will pick up on setting details only they would notice and they will take actions logical to their specific blend of history and personality. Instead of focusing on the one thing that is the same, focus on the many ways your book will be different.
    - Sophia.

  20. I think you should keep working on it. If you feel passionate about your characters and plot don't give up just because there is something similar out there.

  21. Keep writing, and write it better than the other book. My husband is one of those people who will buy everything under the sun on one subject, even if the books or products are similar. If the other book does well, people will probably search for further reading along those lines, so you will want your book out there too.

  22. Water shortage is such a global issue, I don't think one book can lay claim to the problem. I'd keep on writing but make sure to revise what you thought came close to what you wrote. Bravo for writing about a topic that affects everyone: there's nothing new under the sun!


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