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Whining About Originality

Not a good day for my writing mojo. Because I listened to this podcast today — The Mermaids Singing Each to Each by Cat Rambo (text version). Now I have no idea how this happened. It is surely coincidence, but a bizarre coincidence. But this story has all the elements that Mermaid Story is going to have–ocean setting, ship with talking AI, mermaids, post-apocalyptic future, body modifications, even “new” money. These aren’t just little bits either–they’re the macguffins that the novel hinges on, the same as this one.

True, it’s not the same story. But it has all the setting elements that I use that differentiated it from other books. But the depressing part is Rambo weaves all these elements into a much better story than mine. Short, tight, and pointed, like an assassin’s dagger. Like any short story should be. And it’s like, if she took all the story parts of my novel and fit them neatly into a short story, a better one, then what chance does my novel have of getting picked up? In fact, all my writing comes up short in this respect.

First, I’m weirded out because of the commonalities. Then I’m depressed because her story is so much better. I’m trying to console myself by the fact that it’s just coincidence. Two totally different stories. But it’s like, I thought Mermaid Story was at least fairly original. And here it’s not going to be. I feel like I just can’t think of anything original. I should have stuck to fan fiction.

Eric J. Juneau

Eric Juneau is a software engineer and novelist on his lunch breaks. In 2016, his first novel, Merm-8, was published by eTreasures. He lives in, was born in, and refuses to leave, Minnesota. You can find him talking about movies, video games, and Disney princesses at where he details his journey to become a capital A Author.

Reader Comments

  1. Maybe you should write a story of a quarterback who gets caught sending inappropriate pictures of himself to a sideline reporter. Oh wait I guess that isn't original after all.

  2. I'm glad you liked the story. FWIW, just write your piece and don't worry about commonalities – everyone brings their own spin to the concepts, and (imo) very very few of us are writing anything brand new. 🙂

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