Imagine working on a novel for two years, only to have your project show up under someone elses name, ruining any chance you may have had at getting published. Enough to make you want to cry isn’t it? But it happens… all the time. I am not saying that there are authors out their literally stealing people’s work and publishing it as their own, but there are lots of people out there trying to get published, writing very similar books with very similar concepts, and sometimes they clash. Of course, it doesn’t always stop you from getting published (look at JK Rowling!!). The problem is, it can be the smallest of ideas that really ties you up.
For me, this is what has happened with my novel ‘Ankhari’. When I started writing this book I had never heard of Pittacus Lore’s (AKA James Frey and Jobie Hughes) ‘I am Number Four’, I mean, how could I? the book was still being written. But I have now. I will set the record straight: the protagonist of my book is not an alien, though she does have supernatural powers; obviously she is also a she, not a he; the members of the Ankhari are not being chased by an alien civilisation intent on destroying Earth, though they are being pursued; primarily my book is a romance with a bit of action and fantasy thrown in for good measure, where ‘I am number four’ is an action book with a bit of romance on the side. So no problem right?
Well there is one very similar concept in both books… the idea that when someone loses control of their emotions they also lose control of their supernatural powers. I’ll quote from both books –
‘An emotional imbalance will cause them to come right back on again, if you get overly nervous, or angry, or sad.’ (PITTACUS LORE)
‘It can happen anytime your emotions are out of your control – any emotion… grief… rage… ecstasy.’ (ME) – and yes i wrote that line at least twelve months before I had even heard of ‘I am number four’!
The problem is that this concept is vitally important for my novel… it’s the way I have managed to write a romance novel with two teenagers that are obsessed with each other while still mantaining my PG rating.
My final note is an apology to all the authors I accused of stealing (possibly even JK Rowling included) perhaps, just perhaps, those authors came up with their ‘stolen’ ideas all on their own.
If any of your ideas have inadvertantly appeared in someone else’s work let me know.
The Exasperated Novelist