Great minds think alike, unfortunately

The other night I decided to start reading a book by one of my new fave authors right before bed. I told myself that I would just read a few pages, but once I start reading in bed, I usually don’t stop (unless I;’ve taken a sleep aid and fall asleep with the book on the pillow next to me).

It was a great read, but about 20 pages before the end of the book, and when I was getting well and truly tired, a new subplot (the setup makes it seem like it will be a major plot in the next book in the series) slapped me right awake.

“Oh no!” I actually said this aloud. There was MY idea. My random, who-else-would-think-of-this idea that was the main plot of the short story I’m currently writing to submit to the Nocturne Cravings imprint at Harlequin…and someone else had already come up with it. And not just anyone, a well-known and respected bestselling author.

Sure, the characters weren’t the same and my story was different, but no writer (OK, no writer worth their salt) wants to look like a plagiarist, and the similarities would have been too much for any editor or reader of paranormal romance to miss.

I was devastated for a second, but then the idea center of my brain kicked in.

“Hey!” it shouted. “Remember the first idea you had? The one that immediately came to you but you kicked it to the curb? That was a pretty awesome idea…and pretty original. Time to get to it.”

So now I have a major rewrite ahead of me, but instead of being annoyed I’m actually happy. I had been floundering with my previous plotline, but now I have ideas that are sharp, vivid, and (most importantly) have a clear beginning, middle, and end.

The point of this? Sometimes what seems like a setback can put you on the path you were supposed to be on all along. I haven’t had time to revise yet, but my characters have been bustling away in the background of my mind. I can’t wait to get re-started!

If anyone actually reads this, let me know: has this happened to you? How did you deal with it?


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