Sunday, February 13, 2011

An Eerie Coincedence

When you write, there is always that fear that you won't get your idea down before it either vanishes, becomes muddled in your head,  or is gobbled up and put out by another writer. The first two scenarios are always the most likely, but the 3rd does happen every so often. I am not talking about plagiarizing here, that's an altogether different, way more heinous beast. I am talking ideas, those little fragments that start as nothing and somehow build into a tangible beginning, middle and end.

I don't look at taking another person's idea and altering it as intellectual theft. It is perhaps that all the good ideas have been done and dusted that everything we see and hear nowadays has a ring of familiarity to it. It does not make it any less disconcerting though when a idea you had, and wrote about, appears on the pages of another writer's story, albeit in a different format than that which you had intended.

Case in point. I recently wrote a short story called The Tweener that focused on a young boy that encounters an escaped mental patient, but at the heart of that simple tale there is an illness (brain tumor) and a plane crash that make the heart of the story beat. All the imagery (save for the patient) and ideas came from real moments that I lived as a child. Some were slightly twisted to be made more interesting, but at their heart was my childhood which was why the story felt so real to me.

Fast forward to last night when I sit down and start Under The Dome by Stephen King (I have been waiting patiently for Penny to finish it), only to find that the opening 5 pages have a plane crash and a brain tumor patient describes as only Mr King can do. I must confess to a little stomach knot and lower lip quivering as I read, but in continuing on I quickly realized that they are just small points on a grander scale and that his story has absolutely no connection to mine and vice versa.

I quickly scolded myself for harboring the idea that Stephen King is culling my thoughts for new tales, and instead came up with a little addition that will make the somewhat vague ending to my story a little clearer to the reader. So now it's off to put the finishing touches on the cover of my upcoming book (will reveal it shortly), and to add the changes to make The Tweener the opening story in said literary masterpiece.....LOL.


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