Sunday, October 10, 2010

I've been searching

Been reflecting a lot lately, and these three photos kind of illustrate what's going on in an abstract way. Each was taken at the south end of a lake I frequent, but they have differing imagery.

I'm searching for something like that in writing but also in an abstract way. Some of you may know that I was shaken up to discover that another book is out with some similarities to the novel I've been writing all year. I don't want to toss my story, because its core is much different than this other book, but I need to change some things, I need to see beyond the literal to the abstract.

In my last post, I mentioned putting our characters up a tree, making them deal with the unfamiliar, the unexpected. Now, I spend time looking for ways to keep my story from the predictable, the already been there.

I hope I find it.
By the way, I just finished two must-read books that are completely different one from the other. The uni smiled upon me when I won an ARC of Beth Revis' ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. For those of you who've read the first chapter online, all I can say is the rest of the story is just as riveting, just as breathtaking. Anyone who loves sci-fi, dystopian and mystery should pre-order it now. In fact, everyone should. The other book was E. Lockhart's THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS. What a fun, smart book. Check it out.
And if I haven't visited your blog lately, please forgive me. I've been gone on family stuff and fulfilling some obligations. I hope to make the rounds soon. Happy October! I love this month.


Sherrie Petersen said...

I've had this happen more than once! I know it can be discouraging, but there's always more than one way to tell a story and no two people tell the same story the same way. Good luck working it out.

Natasha said...

I just adore all three of your photographs which so eloquently capture what you are attmpting in your story. I am sure you will succeed in putting your point through, despite the story being similar to another.

Donna said...

Reflecting is always a good idea. Your book will fly, I know it.

Wen Baragrey said...

As you know, Tricia, I know exactly how you feel -- and it is tough. I've just finished my rewrite and it's hard knowing that you may not get anywhere with something you've worked so hard on, simply because there's something too similar out there.

But, on the other hand, facing this has driven my story into place it wouldn't have gone otherwise and it is a much better book because of it. Not that it helps, and is downright Pollyanna of me, but it is worth it to hang in there, I am certain of it.

Stephanie Thornton said...

Those trees are lovely- the symmetry reminds me of a photo project I did in high school.

Bish Denham said...

If you were to throw a rock at the reflections, they would be disturbed and different. You might see things in a differnt way.


Liza said...

Bish's comment is a good one. How can you shake things up? You know your story is good...just ripple the waters some?

J.B. Chicoine said...

Anyone who writes such great haiku can come up with a new slant on a project!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

@Sherrie: I'm sorry it's happened to you, too. I guess it's inevitable that with so many writers and just so many ideas that it will happen. Still hurts. I'm not giving up, because my actual story is different. It's the trappings that are too reflective.

@Rayna: Thank you! Maybe if I sit in a tree for a bit, that will shake things up. ;)

@Donna: Thanks. I feel like one of the ducklings expected to jump, not knowing how I'll land.

@Wen: Nah, that's not Pollyanna, it's solid advice. I think this will strengthen my book, as well, because I'm focusing more on what makes mine different. And, so far, I haven't seen any others like that. Thanks, my friend. Someday, I hope we'll both see our books out there.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

@Stephanie: Thank you! Sometimes when I shoot I don't know exactly what I've got until I download them. I was pleased with this bunch.

@Bish: Ha! That's another good way to shake up the image. So now as I read my WIP, I'll be making characters climb trees and toss rocks. Who knows what I'll discover?

@Liza: It is, indeed. In a way, this is almost fun, giving the story a good, cleansing shake.

@Bridget: Aw, thank you! That makes me feel wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Tricia, good luck with your story. I think finding stories out there that are like our is part of writing. I've had the experience you described.

I just think we have to write the stories that speak to us.

Sarah Laurence said...

Nice photos! What a bummer about the similar book, but then again it shows that your ideas are marketable. So maybe that imprint won’t take your book but another one might. Also it will be years before your book is in a store since you are still writing, need an agent, then a publisher…

My Daughter and I also loved that Disreputable History book.

Yat-Yee said...

Wait a few months. Even though the book has similarities, after a while, the reading public may not remember it. Also, this gives you a chance to articulate the differences between your book and that one. One of the agencies I queried required me to list some competing books and describe similarities and differences.

I hope you won't change your book just because of this other one

I am glad you have set aside time to reflect. Whatever the outcome, the act of reflecting does a soul good.

Donna said...

Bish, your suggestion is good for all of us.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

@Paul: I'm hearing from more and more folks who've been in that situation. For me, I think it's helping me write something stronger, looking deeper. I'll count it as a win.

@Sarah: Thank you! Since I love your photos so much that's especially nice to hear. And it was actually finding out it is marketable that also revealed the other book--an agent liked my pitch but then told me it was too like this other.

@Yat-Yee: I am trying to take the philosophical approach to this experience. We shall see...
That's really interesting that you were asked to list similarities and differences to other books. Might be a good exercise for all of us.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Wow. Those photos are breathtaking. I would love to have that kind of clarity and beauty in my writing!! :-)

Phoenix said...

I love those photos - all beautiful!

I would say that maybe this book being similar to yours is an opportunity and gift in disguise, for you to break through any limitations you felt before and help free up the characters and story even more.

But then, I think every challenge is a gift in disguise. :)

Hannah said...

Good luck on rewriting and reflecting. Every time I plot something I find one piece of it that reminds me of something else. It happens. As long as your voice is distinctive, you will produce something magical.

Yvonne Osborne said...

I didn't know that happened to you. It must have been gut wrenching. It's bad enough to have a novel come out with a title you thought was yours. Even though titles aren't copyrighted who wouldn't throw it away? Don't give up on your story. There's a million ways to tell a story, or as someone said, there are no new stories, just new voices. I'm waiting to read YOUR story.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

@Shannon: Thank you. And I'd love that clarity, too.

@Phoenix: You're right, it is definitely a gift. I hope I rise to its challenge. :)

@Hannah: I'm hoping the voice is distinct. That's one of the hardest things to nail.

@Yvonne: Maybe if I write believing someone wants to read it, I can fight off despair. I am working on it still. I haven't given up.

Jackee said...

Happy October to you too! I hope things slow down for you and that you find the perfect new twist on your book. So discouraging!

I loved Frankie Landau-Banks! And I really do need to go and read Beth's first chapter. Looks so good!


VR Barkowski said...

Yet another challenge. The writing life is brimming with them. I agree with Hannah. Regardless of any similarities, your voice is unique. Change what you have to change, but don't let go. Tell the story you want to tell, because you're the only one who can.

Just Another Sarah said...

That stinks! But I'm sure it will sharpen your writing. I know you will find the positive side of things. Good luck.

I love October, too--even with my allergies acting up!

Suzanne Casamento said...

Sherrie's right. It's definitely discouraging, but remember that it's all about voice. Even if the stories have similar plotlines, no one will have the same voice. Try to keep your head up and just write the best novel you can.

Anonymous said...

I feel so peaceful just looking at these photos. They are beautiful. Good luck with your novel, I'm sure it will be brilliant!!
I read endless children's books and I'm always amazed how the authors turn simple ideas into wonderful stories. My writing course finishes in December and then I will start writing stories to submit. I'm so worried I won't be able to come up with ideas that haven't been done before.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

@Jackee: Oh, rush right over to read Beth's chapter. It will take your breath away.

@Viva: Thanks. I'm still working on it. It's so helpful to have all this support.

@Sarah: It is sharpening my skills, because I'm seeing every place I can give it an edge.

@Suzanne: Hope I don't go hoarse working on that voice. ;)

@Niki: I find peace in Nature--keeps me grounded, even during stuff like this. Like everyone says, we need to tell our stories with our unique voice. The rest may be out of our hands.