Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Road Trip Wednesday # 116: Jinx--that was MY idea!

This Week's Topic:

What SNI were you psyched to work on, but discovered it was too close to something already done?

So, I'm going to go about this the exact opposite way of what was intended.  I have a strong faith in the New Historicism (as Elodie talked about in her response :D) and honestly, I don't think I have the same view on things as a lot of other YA writers do (Re: romance mainly) (And also not the same political views if the horrible primaries news is representatives of Americans in any way.  Please, please let it not be.).  So if you gave five YA writers a plot, a set of characters, and a setting and said "go," you'd still end up with 5 different books.

In fact, while I was trolling the absolute write forums, looking to share my awesome critiquing skills, I came upon one query letter that sparked something in me.  It was about a girl, who's mother had just been left by her father and was responding to it by going out on the town and pressuring the girl to get a boyfriend.  The girl gives in to the pressure.  The boyfriend turns out to be abusive.  And then there was a subplot about a band or something that I didn't exactly understand.

Basically, it sounded like a book I probably wouldn't want to read.  It didn't even have much to do with the query. It was just not my type of book.

But that first moment, the one where the girl has to deal with a mom who suddenly doesn't want to be a mom but wants to be who she was before she got married, that stuck with me.  I liked it.  Then I thought, hmm, let's give the girl a little more agency.  Say, instead of giving in to the pressure, she tries to get her mom to stop harassing her about boys by convincing the new wild-girl to be her fake girlfriend.

Then, I realized, that I really didn't have a plot (adding spies was not helpful), and also that I hate YA Contemporary, and that my characters were unrepentantly boring, and I gave it up.  But although I dislike the way it started to come out, that premise is still intriguing and sparkly, and if I could just give it a spin so it gets going the way I want it to, it could be awesome.

But even though I blatantly thieved it from someone else's hardearned WIP, if I ever finished it, and they got their hands on it, I really doubt they would even recognize the idea.  Execution is everything.  And, well, putting in more lesbians is always a way of making sure your idea really doesn't look like most of the other ones out there.


  1. If all else fails, add lesbians. LOVE your response :)

  2. "So if you gave five YA writers a plot, a set of characters, and a setting and said "go," you'd still end up with 5 different books." Yes! I totally agree. And I think you should write that book. :)

  3. I agree with Laurie, you should write that book :D
    And yay for New Historicism!!! :D

  4. Hah! This really does sound like a fun book concept. I knew some of those 'wild' girls who would scare the pants off parents, and they're fun to read about.

    I skulk about the Absolute Write forums sometimes myself (though I'm usually in the chatroom). Now I'm tempted to go 'glean' some ideas off Query Letter Hell too. You're very right that give five different writers the same tools and they'd all build different ships. And some would probably build houses.

  5. Haha, I totally theive ideas from books and TV shows all the time, so I totally agree with this. If you spin the idea into something that's unrecognizable, then where is the harm? I think the issues crop up when the overall concepts, characters, and plot points are so similar that the stories are identical.

  6. This is a great response. But I wouldn't call it thieving. It's inspiration. That's part of being a good writer. When I'm working on a WIP that I love, I make sure that I'm reading REALLY good books that draw me in--not to steal but to be inspired.

  7. "adding spies was not helpful" lol! And I'm never as captivated by contemp books as by other genres, either...

    Also, we gave you a blog award over at The Feather and the Rose! Just wanted to let you know. :)