Synchronicity

I finally watched The Time Traveller's Wife last night, and have mixed reviews. I thought the concept was fantastic. I loved how devoted she was to him because that was the thread allowing him to have some sort of normalcy in his frantic and unstable existence. The dialogue is what threw me off. Some of it sounded forced, or just mundane really. I also hate it when movies try too hard to be perfect with beautiful houses, and little kids in Gap clothes, etc. Just a pet peeve of mine.

I haven't read The Time Traveller's Wife, just a few pages from the first chapter (after I'd already written the first draft of my book, mind you). When the movie was coming out last summer, I thought to myself, "OH NOES!" this sounds a lot like my book. And I was right, there are quite a few similarities. My MC, Emma, is an artist, just like Clare. My other MC, William, fades at night, but does not jump time. He can use his stored memories to visit past time, though—something which happens more in my second book. What else was there . . . oh, Emma works at a library, and William is the half-ghost sitting in the back corner all day. As you all might know, Henry in TTW is a reference librarian. Sooooooo . . . kind of frustrating, but what can you do? I believe some writers and artists are on the same type of brain current, call it synchronicity if you will. Look at all the claims that Rowling or Meyers nicked their plots from unknown authors. There are always going to be similarities in the arts, in life. Have you ever had the weird, out of the blue idea to suddenly visit your local corner shop and when you get there, everyone and their mother is trying to find a parking space? Ain't it frustrating?

Over time I've come to believe synchronicity begs to be followed, not fought. Our reflex is to change everything in order to stand apart, but if you look past what's the same, you see how different our ideas really are. The approach is different, the execution is different. Most importantly, our intent is different. So, the healthy way to look at it is this: if someone loved it there, they'll love it here. Let them decide if they love it, not you. And if you get slapped with a lawsuit saying you stole someone else's idea, just tell them Amy Saia said it was okay. I might be in jail at the time, but who cares?

Comments

  1. Interesting stuff. You know, I held onto this fun picture book idea for years. The concept involved a bear who brought a boy to his den and begged his mom to keep the boy as a pet. Recently, I saw on Publishers Marketplace deal page the EXACT same story being sold in a "major deal". *sigh* oh well, my fault for sitting on it for so long.

    but, yes, there is a certain commonality of our ideas. the difference is in our execution of that idea.

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  2. I remember you talking about that on your blog. How frustrating! And yet, I do believe there is room for "duplicate" ideas in the writing world. But, of course, only if it's not done on purpose. Look at all the vampire books. And look at kids movies. There are many are very similar, Madagascar and The Wild to be specific.

    But I know how you feel—and how painful it is to see someone else gain success with your idea. It really hurts. I guess we have to look past notoriety factor, and just love our idea no matter what and hope others will do the same. And curse when they don't. Lots, and lots of cursing.

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  3. I wonder if ideas just float around the universe, letting lots of people take a glimpse at them and some choose to follow and write them down, sometimes more than one person.

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