Story Excerpts

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pressing On

I'm reading a total of seven books right now. Yep. Seven. And that's not including Jonathan Swift's "The Journal to Stella", which I read on occaision for research on 18th century speak. Why so many?

I keep starting a book, finding myself unable to connect with the story or characters, and so I pick up another. (And most of these books are well-written. "The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn", "Mindspeak", "Behold the Dawn", "Out of the Storm".)

I'm betting that it's me and not the stories, so I read on. I'm probably ruining my enjoyment of perfectly entertaining stories, but what else can you do, other than press on through the mood fog? I am making time for prayer and God's Word, and really, what sustains me through this world-shaking realization (that the story of my heart may be too similar to another published CBA novel) is God's pleasure in the story I've written.

It may never see the light of publishing day, but knowing that it has glorified God and blessed Him, makes all the years and revisions worth it. He has already used it to bless the friends and critiquing buddies who've read it, so how can I complain? Can a writer ask for more?

I'm giving myself some time and space from FTSOOL, and I'm pouring my thoughts and effort into a fun manuscript. And it's helping. This one is definitely more marketable. Who knows? Maybe this will be the one that get's attention. :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Writer's Nightmare: Plot Similarities

It's Wednesday, I know. I had phone internet issues yesterday, and figured better late than never. Plus I'm wanting some feedback on something...

You've worked a story for years, rewriting draft after draft after draft. The main characters are like family members, and you can safely say, that if you could only publish one book--only one--it would be this one. The story of your heart.

Another author publishes a story set within the same, small genre niche as your story. Okay, this is proves there is a market for your story, and so you get excited.

The author's book releases, and you eagerly follow the reviews to see what others have to say about the author's book.


Reviewers reveal the author's plot in more detail, and you start feeling sick. Really sick. Because not one, not two, but three plot points are very similar to the story of your heart.

True, that there are only so many plots, and an author will bring their own unique spin and Voice to a story, but when your writing for a small market like CBA, and in an even smaller genre and setting--Time Travel to the early Roman-ruled centuries...


Death to the story of your heart. Unless, you can bear to see that baby go through some major reconstructive surgery.

I'm not sure I'm there yet. I keep telling myself that the plot points aren't that identical. But I know I'm biased.

So what do you think?

Two stories. CBA market. Time Travel genre. One set in 1st century Aegyptus, the other in 3rd century Cathage. Both heroines become slaves, albeit in different ways. Both heroes are working to give slaves a better life, though one hero helps slaves escape and take on new identities, while the other buys the slaves. A story focus on sacrifice, as opposed to saving lives during a plague outbreak.

Just too similar. Right?

I've invested so much of my heart and time into this story, that I just can't imagine changing the main plot, or giving the characters a new setting, maybe even genre. So I'm doing the only thing I can. I'm shelving it. And it hurts.

Because shelving could be goodbye.