Stories aren’t written in a void. Just because I’m working on one novel doesn’t mean I’m not noodling about others. I’ve got some real great ideas for the Next Novel so once I finish the Current Sci Fi Novel, I think I’ll be able to dive in at full speed. But today I came across a frustrating discovery in regards to the Next Novel.
And it’s not the first time this has happened.
The first time was much more dramatic so I’ll relate that story.
It was a few years ago and I was maybe ten to fifteen K into my first attempt at a novel. It was a godpunk kind of thing involving hackers. And then I started reading American Gods. It’s a wonderful book, one of my all time favorites. But about halfway through I swore and threw the book across the room. I was trying to write the same thing and here I was reading a book published a year before.
Eff me! That was very frustrating.
I couldn’t come up with any way to reconcile my ideas without feeling like I was ripping off American Gods, both in terms of what I already had down and what new content I was coming up with under the influence of such a great book. I ended up shelving that idea and honestly I don’t think those first ten K words exist anymore.
I’m not going to dance around what I was reading this time, especially since my next blog post is probably going to be pontifications about it. Because I’m not a short story break with my writing, I’ve been reading more of them and finally stopped putting off Wild Cards. So I’m reading on my lunch break at work today and I’m all like “Balls! That’s the power my next main character is going to have!” Context: I haven’t named the next protag yet and I often use Balls! as a swear.
So here I am finding out things very similar to my own ideas were really written in a book back in 1987. I was four. Four!
This time I’m not going to let it be a roadblock though. I don’t want to expound on the details of the Next Novel so, again, I won’t go into specifics but Next Novel is going to be godpunk, not superheroes. So there’s a different subgenre going on here to start with. I think the things going on in Wild Cards are a unique take on stuff that was done before it anyways. It’s a virus and not genetic, but when my friends at work ask me about it, the easiest way to call it is “Martin and pals doing X-Men.”
So I think this is a broad enough thing to have at it anyways, but damn it’s still frustrating.
Has anyone else come across things like this when they’re writing? I’m curious to know if it’s just something weird that happens to me.