You Found Out There’s a Book Similar to the One You’re Writing. Now What? | Writing Advice

You Found Out There’s a Book Similar to the One You’re Writing. Now What? | Writing Advice

Do you know what the most frustrating thing about writing a book? Spending hours putting together characters, an outline, writing several pages, only to find out that there’s a book out there similar to yours.

When i found out, i wanted to chuck my whole story out the window and return back to calculating university loans, which seems a lot more fun than dealing with the reality of sharing the spotlight of your book with another book similar to yours. Major problem: that book is already published while i’ve had my idea in mind for a few years and just recently decided to tackle it.

I forced myself to weigh the pros and cons of continuing with my book and decided whether it truly is something i want to publish. After all, i would just end up looking like a copy cat but let me present to you the following evidence:

The Lion King was stolen.

Romeo and Juliet have been recreated over and over again, in terms of books and movies.

Stephen King’s book ‘Under the Dome’ is similar to ‘The Simpson’s Movie.’ He said he never would have published it if he knew about the movie before hand but it brought him great success.

My point is, despite the similar plots, people will read and re-read it over again and then search for something similar because they love it that much and more. I hate to break it to you, i really do, but the odds that you’ll come up with something completely original and new is…well, the odds are slim.

You didn’t copy it word for word, nor did you have the same names and destination and conflicts. Readers will be more engaged in how you tell the story and your goal is to tell it to the best of your ability.

It will hurt when someone asks if it was a spin off of said book but you’ll just have to suck it up because at the end of the day, you worked on that book and you tried to make it as original as you could.

What you’re not going to do is stop writing. You have a unique way of writing that is different from the author that wrote the book you found similar to yours.

The plot may be similar but its not the same and everything else is unique in it’s own way.

**Also, you’ll get over it eventually. I wrote this post a while ago and forgot about it until now. During the time, that other book had been front and center for a few days, maybe even weeks but now, I hardly think about it. You’ll do okay.

What To Do When You’re Overwhelmed While Editing| Writers Advice

What To Do When You’re Overwhelmed While Editing| Writers Advice

My god, where do I start?

I’m minding my own business, writing my novel, and living my best life. Then it comes time to sending it to my beta.

So, I finish my fourth draft, did a little more editing and hand the whole manuscript to my beta reader. She takes her time reading it, picking out every small detail before she gives a detailed analysis on what i need to fix. It was great feedback but now, I’m dejected.

Here I was, thinking i did my absolute best and there will only be minimal things to go back and fix. Instead, I get a four page feedback telling me what could be improved (as it should be). Now, I’m not saying i’m cocky and know i have the best work out there but after going back endlessly and fixing every mistake i could spot, I really thought I had it on lock. Turns out I didn’t.

As someone who used to open Word and work on my novel for hours on end, filled with excitement and ready to write the next scene and sharpen it up, I was now demotivated and lost.

I refused to open Word for several days straight and when I did open it, I would blankly stare at chapter 1, page 1 before switching to something else. I didn’t know where to start. I had no clue what to do. I’d rather pull my hair out, one by one, before i started editing and revising for the fifth time.

I was so overwhelmed with the feedback my beta reader gave me that I so desperately needed but now that I had it, i didn’t know what to do with it.

I finally started working on draft five. (My god, do the drafts ever stop?)

Where did I start?

Well, I started at the beginning but I didn’t go through picking out the nitty gritty, trying to fix up every conversation and every line. That’s the thing that demotivated me from the start so I decided to start with the big picture.

With each large, important scene, I went in and dumped in paragraphs of information that was missing, knowing I was going to come back and re-edit it but for now, i just needed to get it out. I described feelings using the five sense (but sparingly) rather than letting the page sit cold and hollow. If she was sad, I dimmed the humor that I was used to writing to set the tone. Piece by piece, scene by scene, I’m making progress and fixing the details i overlooked.

For example, in once scene, she and Cupid go her families house for dinner. At the end of the chapter, i mention how he won over her family but realistically, all we really saw was the main character (Sophia) arguing with her sister, being timid with her father, and loving with her grandma. There was hardly much of Cupid winning over her family. When my beta reader mentioned this, I went to that scene and fixed it up in the best way I could. That’s what i loved doing anyways; writing creative scenes. I just hate editing.

Once that’s out of the way, I can go chapter by chapter and start to polish it (hopefully for the second last time. Draft 7 has to be the charm).

When you’re overwhelmed, start with what you know best. I knew that chapter by chapter wasn’t going to cut it so I went through the scenes that needed to be fixed and did just that. Slowly work your way down to what you dreaded because by the time you get there, you’ll have untangled the mess and you won’t be dreading it as much anymore.

Disclaimer: I am speaking from personal experience (as I’m sure you can tell) and sharing the advice that helped me. As we all know, we are unique individuals and what works for me, may not work for you but hopefully this helped!

I’d love to hear what you do when your overwhelmed. This is the strategy i use for when I’m writing my novel but God knows i have no strategy when I’m writing essays.

Thanks for reading!