Thursday, April 23, 2009

No plot is a new plot.

I wanted to touch on something that several of us have faced recently. I've heard this said before and even offered the advice. But there's a sickening gut reaction that can't be explained when you come across a book that has a familiar plot or elements to the manuscript you are pouring your heart into.

I was looking at the new releases in the category romance line I am currently targeting. I saw a western book which immediately caught my eye because most of the books tend to be about CEO's and often have international settings. But after reading the blurb on the face got hot and I thought I was going to be sick. Every single element of her book matched my plot. It's easy to see how a few elements might be similiar because...get plot is new. But I've had this book outlined for TWO years and put it aside when I didn't get a response for an editor pitch contest the line had offered online. I was like my book twisted to fit her characters. My first thought was I'm wasting my time. Now it will look as if I took her idea after reading her book and twisted it with my voice and characters. Why would an editor take my ms seriously when she published one with the EXACT same plot? I've often heard of ed's passing on a ms because they'd recently pubbed one similiar to the submission.


So I started reading. I could barely get through the first chapter. It starts out with three cousins meeting on an airport tarmac...all three have private jets...and they're making a bet as to who can increase their net worth the most within a certain time limit... My book does include a bet in the beginning, but my character has a competitive quirk.

I didn't like it. Not because I was upset at the similiarities...but I genuinely did not like the heroine. She supposedly hates the hero, yet she agrees to having dinner with him just so she can tell him no. She would NEVER even consider selling her ranch to him. But she shows a private dinner on a a designer gown. She's hiding a secret...the man is her baby's daddy and she doesn't want him to find out...yet she gives in to have dinner with the man the first time he asks.


I can do this. If the editor turns it down...I'll try to send it somewhere else. I LOVE my story. It's easy to see the differences but with the plot being almost exactly the same, I'm afraid that even with the different voices it will be too similiar. Maybe if I wait awhile before submitting it'll put enough distance between books. At least I know the ed likes the plot premise;) Voices are different which can make our characters and reactions unique. So I'm off to work on my next chapter.


Jennifer Shirk said...

Good thinking, Chelle. I have faith in you and your story! :)

Chelle Sandell said...

You're a sweetie! It does help to read the book to see the differences.

Sri Pammi said...

Hi Chelle,

This happened to me recently with one of the books released. The book began with the exact same hook as the one I'm getting ready to submit. I just wanted to cry but I've been told that this always happens and the voices will still make it distinct. So,I'm just going ahead and submitting it.
But it does hurt.


Chelle Sandell said...

Hey, Sri!! Good to see you!! I know it's frustrating and kinda scary. Especially when you've put so much thought into the story. Good luck on your submission!!

PatriciaW said...

Chelle, I got "spanked" by a group of authors of this recently. Write the story and submit it. The differences and your voice make it a different book. Even if it seems that the major plot points are the same, the story will play out differently and uniquely yours.

Write that book!

Lynnette Labelle said...

I agree you should continue with your book, but make sure the pitch in your query sounds different from the back cover blurb on this book. The editor won't request to read more if he/she feels it's the same book.

Lynnette Labelle

Chicki said...

If you love your book, don't let anything discourage you. Submit it and see what happens. As Patricia said, your voice makes it a different book!

Chelle Sandell said...

And like someone else told the time I takes time for the editor to read it. Then if they ask for the full...more time. Then if they buy...more than a year will go by before it's released.

Robin of My Two Blessings said...

Hi Chelle,

Dropping in from Kate's WIP wednesday. There are a lot of books out there that could be considered to have the same plot. However, as the rest have said, the voice and story are different. The most important thing is you love your story and it will be distinct because it is coming from you.

Chelle Sandell said...

Thanks for posting Robin! The story is definitely a favorite of mine. I love the wild child heroine who will be tamed by the end.

Terri Tiffany said...

LOL! I love that you love your book and that you read some of that one! I wrote my first book maybe 12 years ago. THen a few years later this movie came out that was really similar! Ugh, I thought and felt lucky when I sold it in Eng (but then withdrew it) cause I hoped no one would see the similarities. Anyways--never sold it yet but not because of the plot I think but because of how little I knew about writing:) Keep at it!

Chelle Sandell said...

:) Thanks, Terri! I almost didn't buy it, but one reason is that I target the line and want to support the other authors...but I had to see how similar it was to mine before I wasted the editors time. (And mine) LOL! I recently looked back through my first draft of the first book I'd written. It was so eye opening to see the changes I've made, at least I hope anyways. ;)