Monday, February 28, 2011

Stabbing Myself in the Eye with a Pen

This morning, I'd like to stab myself in the eye with a pen.

Here's the deal.  After having woken at half-past ungodly, I was going through my usual blogroll and stopped on an interview with author Sonya Bateman.  She writes urban fantasy, which is totally cool.  I love me some new-to-me urban fantasy.  Except Sonya's writing about - you guessed it - DJINN.


I know, I know.  There are no new ideas under the sun.  Everything that ever will be done, someone else is doing.  But seriously?  I mean, SERIOUSLY???  Now?

My kingdom for a Sharpie.  Well, not a Sharpie, because those aren't really sharp and they stink.  My kingdom for a PaperMate!

Sure, her plot is different from mine, but the thing is that it's just similar enough to make me want to stab myself in the eye with a pen.  Nope, not that one - that's my favorite.  And not that one, it's for addressing padded mailers.  And that?  Well, that's a mechanical pencil, silly.  I can't use that.  There's got to be a stabbing pen around here somewhere.

From the sounds of it, her novel starts with a thief stealing something that happens to have a genie in it.  My novel starts with the daughter of a thief stealing something she knows has a genie inside so she can keep him out of mortal hands.  GAH!  Where's that damned pen.  How about the purple one I got from the dentist?  Nah, that's too pretty.  And I can't use the one from the library.  That would be tacky.

Could I possibly be any LESS lucky?  I mean, Ms. Bateman's first installment came out this time last year, so I'm not exactly running just behind the curve.  More like a couple years behind.  But I swear to all I hold dear, I researched this damn idea to make sure I wasn't overlapping with anyone else.  Problem is, I've been working on Djinnocide so long that I researched this before her first book came out.  And all I found in the realm of genie or Djinn was a paranormal romance series.

I'm a writer.  Why can't I find a damn pen!

So here I sit with a bright shiny manuscript currently out on query that sounds so similar to a newly published series that I might as well have been stalking this woman I've never even met. 

How ironic would it be to stab myself in the eye with an editing pen?  It's red, so the blood won't be as noticeable.  Right?

No offense meant to Ms. Bateman.  I really do wish her all the success in the world.  She wrote it, she got an agent for it (or went straight to published), and she got it to market.  It's not her fault I took too long, thought this up too late and can't get an agent to save my ass.  Plus, her book's on my new to-buy list, so she's got one more thing that I don't have - sales.  Good for her.

Doesn't mean I don't totally hate her right now...  Ahhh, the pen I stole from the Radisson the last time I had a vacation - back in 2008... that'll do.  Next time you see me I'll only be seeing half of you.  Just call me Pirate Writer.  Arrr.

(No eyes actually got stabbed in the making of this post.  I still have two.  Hey does that throbbing pain behind the right one mean I'm having that aneurysm I always dreamed of?  Who needs a pen when you have exploding blood vessels??)


  1. Oh, I feel for you, B.E.
    This past summer, I wrote an elaborately outlined dystopian where infertility was a major plot issue. It was only after that I found the book Birthmarked, and there were so many similarities. I was totally crushed. I had so many hopes for that novel.

    I know how you feel. What I ended up doing was taking that character out and her characteristics and writing a new novel with her.

    Take a deep breath, and let the dust settle. And then see if your novel really is different enough, or if you can tweak it or recycle it somehow.

    Big hugs!

  2. I so understand this!!! Collective unconscious, man....collective unconscious!

  3. Oh poor you. I'm glad you didn't end up stabbing yourself in the eye as you'll need both of them for your writing.

    Sending cyber hugs your way. Life can be really crap sometimes.

  4. I'd be upset too. BUT don't panic! A good story is a good story, and just because there's something similar out there, it doesn't means yours isn't unique and wonderful and won't get published. (I write about serial killers. You know how many serial killer books there are? And TV shows? And movies?) You might just have something special to offer... so keep the faith, my friend. :)

  5. You know, I was talking with a friend about sort of this not long ago. She was afraid her topic of choice was getting to be more done, but what I told her is what I tell you: There is always a trend. DON'T GET DISCOURAGED! You never know, you guys could be leading the pack of this trend. Just make it more reason to bust a** making it awesome and getting it done so you can be the trend leader! And one day, all these people will be writing about Djinns years after yours comes out and everyone will say "Yea, but I doubt it will be as good as Sanderson's" ;)

  6. Oh, you poor thing. I totally feel your pain. I'm taking a break from my WIP right now. Just remember to breathe. You'll work it out!! :)

  7. I wouldn't get too bummed. Like you said, everything's already been done before. It's different twists that make a book special. Mine is about witches, shifters and past lives. I've even come across blogging buddies with similiar themes. But mine is mine, and theirs is theirs, and yours is yours. They're all different enough. No need for eyelessness :)