Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hey! Did You Copy Me?

This post over on Sarah LaPolla's blog, Glass Cases, got me thinking. The post title?

We all hope that the WIP is fresh. We want agents to sit up and think, "OMG! I've never seen this before." Except they won't.

Why? Because most plots have been done to a certain extent. Even Shakespeare got inspiration for Romeo & Juliet from The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet by Arthur Brooke in 1562 (who was rumoured to have got that idea from someone else).

See, even the master drew from literature around him.

Before we run crying, delete our WIPs and eat our weight in chocolate, I'm going to say I get it. I do. I'm like every other writer out there. I hope my WIP is something agents haven't read a variation of before.  But to do that I have to put a different spin on it. Make it mine.

But how?

It could be a unique setting. It could be a plot twist. It doesn't matter as long as it's something that sets it apart. 

My music teacher once told me that there are only a certain number of notes you can use. Sooner or later a composer will repeat the melody or phrase of another composition. The thing that makes them different is what they do with it after.

So the next time you get an idea about two teenagers from different sides of the tracks who fall in love, but the odds are against them, don't worry. Don't worry that Romeo & Juliet, Twilight or Wuthering Heights did it before you. Do it, but make it yours.

If it's good enough for Shakespeare, it's good enough for us, right? 


  1. okay, okay. you're right. but i'm still going to eat my weight in chocolate :)

  2. ah so true :D it's those little unique twists that make our stories pop. And yeah....eating my weight in chocolate sounds really really good about now :D

  3. Oooh chocolate!!!!!

    I'm speechless. All I can think about is chocolate. Great post! *runs off to pig out on chocolate*

  4. So does this mean I have a chance?

  5. Great post, Lindsay! ANY excuse for chocolate is fine with me.

    Jack--We ALL have a chance. We just have to work hard to not suck ;)

  6. *wipes melted chocolate from her cheeks* Good points. Every single one of 'em.

  7. I think that all the time. When my three favorite sci-fi shows have the exact same storyline and they at the most 10 years apart, I think we're all good with recycling ideas. Just spice it up. ;) Great post!


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