Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Doncha Hate it

Doncha hate it when you pick up a book you've never read and find something in that book mirrors something you wrote in one of your books?

Last night, after battling a severe case of the blahs, I picked up 1984 - with the intent of doing a bit of research for Blink, and evaluating whether the book would be good for our next section of Literature in homeschool. On the very first page, Orwell used a device - in this case the elevator that's not working - and damned if I didn't do the exact same thing in the first pages of Blink. Then on the second page, he did another thing that I had in the first pages of Blink. ACK!

Lucky for me, both of those things are easily fixed, but Geez. Also, lucky is that I'm about halfway through 1984 and I haven't run into any other glaring similarities.

The really bizarre thing is, I thought I had read 1984 in high school, but before I read it last night, I decided to read the back of the book and realized I'd never read it before. Wading through my foggy memory, I had actually read Brave New World by Huxley and Animal Farm by Orwell - and somehow the two books got jumbled together in my head. Of course, it doesn't help that I've seen portions of the movie, either.

On the upside, I can safely say my writing is at least as interesting as Orwell - after all, we used the same devices in the beginning. Right?


Tia said...

When I finished my last book, a friend told me that my heroine resembled Xena, Warrior Princess. I was aghast. Xena was way harsh, and I don't think my character is harsh. Besides, Xena could probably thrash my character, because while Abriel's a good warrior, she's not great. Her strengths are elsewhere.

But the fact of the matter is, my reader saw a resemblance. I enjoyed Xena and all, but she was hardly my inspiration. I don't believe I ever thought of her while I wrote. At first I thought she would be a female version of Hercules, but I didn't even end up making her particularly strong.

ERiCA said...

Oh, you poor thing. I hate thinking I've come up with the most brilliant thing ever, only to discover someone else has not only thought of it, but been published and paid for said brilliant idea.

I do believe it's all in the execution, though... Just because Orwell did something, doesn't mean you can't also do it in your own way, using your characters, your plot, and your voice. It'll be different because you're different!