This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our encouragement or insecurities on the first Wednesday of the month, to join the group or find out more click here.


OPTIONAL IWSG Day Question: How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

I wouldn’t have made it out of my teen years without being able to vent through writing. And after a while the venting led to figuring out or thinking through my troubles. Sometimes even solving an issue. 😉


Dolorah @ Book Lover  | Christopher D. Votey | Tanya Miranda | Chemist Ken!

I have a few things on my mind this month. One: no rejections since my last post. (On the other hand, no requests either.) Two: Roane Publishing closed its doors as of Sept 30th. (They were my publisher and their closing makes me sad.)

Three: I discovered Overdrive.

For all of you that knew…. Best kept secret ever.

For those who don’t know, OverDrive is a way to borrow ebooks, audio books, videos, and magazines etc from your local library. In Canada we need to use an app. For those of you in the states, OverDrive will work on your Kindle.

Using Overdrive led to four.

Four: Being Scattered, Scared, and So Slow  it Hurts.

OverDrive helped me get off my behind and start checking out all the middle grade stories I’ve been meaning to read. That’s when I discovered Howard Walllace PI. Great read for the young readers of the world.

It’s a middle grade detective story and  I am quite upset.

You see I had this grand plan with my own middle grade detective story. I’m pretty sure I’ll need to abandon it. My main character was a Sam Spade wannabe.

Hers is a Sam Spade, Nick Charles, Mike Hammer, etc wannabe. She covered them all.

The bottom line is she wrote him first and  I’m not sure how people would see mine if I pursued it. Would they think I’m a copy cat? Sure some books have common elements. Cozies have cats, cutzie names, foodies, crafties, or as of lately–marinas. Love stories have, well, have love.

It’s not like I’m trying to sell the idea or even the book. I’ve waited so long. It serves me right. To top it off my book isn’t finished….

And her book is great. I loved it. I really did. (Addition: I’m reading the second one now and it’s awesome too.)

I guess that’s my trouble

Jealously. And feeling so insecure.

Logic tells me to stop feeling bad and I’m sure over time I will. Until then though…

What about you? Anyone come up with something similar you were writing? How did you cope?


  1. I must admit it is disappointing to find out someone has come out with something similar to what you are writing/want to write, but there are two things to remember: there are no new ideas and no one else can tell a story exactly like us. There can be a place for your story and hers. 🙂

  2. I’ve heard about Overdrive but never looked into it. You’ve whet my interest (yeah, I just mixed a metaphor).

  3. I’m so sorry your publisher closed doors.

    It does hurt when someone beats you to the punch. But you need to have faith in YOUR characters and YOUR story.

  4. With so few plots we all have to be like Shakespeare with our own take on those plots. None of us is that alike. I’m sure that your distinctive voice will win through.

  5. Anna (I’m using my strict mommy voice), even if your character is a Sherlock Holmes wannabe, he will be unique because *you* breathed life into him. Now get your butt in your chair and start writing!

    I hope that helps 🙂 And if he’s like Sherlock, I hope he’s addicted to Doritos instead of drugs… the latter might be too edgy for Middle Grade readers 😉

    Ronel visiting on Insecure Writer’s Support Group day: Course Correction

  6. You know what they say. Every idea has already been done at least once. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write your series. Rowling was hardly the first one to write a story about a kid going to wizard school, but she wrote with her own spin, using a humorous style that made it stand out among the other. Come up with your own unique for the series and there’s no reason why you can’t write you’re own PI series.

  7. I’m sure your story will be quite different from the already pubbed one. Because you’re unique–in a good way that is! I LOVE LOVE LOVE Overdrive. I DL audio books to listen to while traveling. AND I can read so many ebooks that would cost a fortune if I bought all of them. I love visiting the library via Overdrive. Enjoy!
    JQ Rose

    • OverDrive has brought me back to the library. So happy.

      And thanks for the support. I’m starting think of her work as an example the Middle Grade Detective genre. And I can work with that. 🙂

  8. Sorry about your publisher. I love Overdrive. Maybe you can keep your idea but make it somehow different. Like switch the main character’s sex or make the secondary characters different so they don’t seem so different. I think this problem is fixable because there are a lot of the same types of mysteries out there.

  9. I’m sorry to hear about your publisher and I sincerely hope you get a new publisher soonest. I’ve got Overdrive on my iPad. it is a great tool for checking out ebooks.
    All the best.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

  10. Well, your take will be different because it’s YOUR take. But also why not maybe think about a new angle, a different twist you can add to your original idea? 🙂

  11. I can see how it can be a downer when someone have written something similar to you’ve written or want to write and your story pales by comparison. Still I try to remember I can only write the story I write. Besides completely original stories are hard to come by. As Ralph Waldo Emerson sad, “All my best thoughts were stolen by the ancients.”

  12. This is definitely a rocky road, so I understand what you must feel as you make your way over it. Keep going. And let’s hope that no rejections means there’s an acceptance in your near future.

  13. Your stories may be similar, but only you can write yours in your own voice.

  14. THat’s so disappointing to find out – although on the plus side you’ve got a new author to enjoy!
    I don’t know that this is enough to stop you going forward with your story though – it’s still all you!

  15. The cozy and marina reference made me chuckle – I wonder who you could be referring to?

    There are so many books out there that are similar on the surface, but its each writer’s unique voice that makes them special. Definitely go forward with your own book and share your own take on it with the world.

  16. I discovered Overdrive over the summer and it is amazing!
    My MG fantasy novel stalled when I discovered Dirk Gently. It feels like a grown-up version of my story. The worst is that it is not even new. Argh. My drive to finish editing has dwindled considerably and I’m not sure what to do.

  17. Christine Rains

    I agree with what everyone is saying. There are so many similar books out there (goodness knows how romances blur into one another!), but each of us has our own voice. Go for it!

  18. Some stories do really well when they have the perfect comp. Readers often want to buy books that are like books they just finished and loved. So many authors jumped on that bandwagon when Fifty Shades made it big, and there are countless more examples. I think you should try to think of it as a positive. If agents/publishers know that your book has the potential to sell well because another similar book has already paved the path, it could bode well for you. I’m so sorry to hear about your publisher, Anna.

  19. Crystal Collier

    How did I cope? I laughed it off and revamped my story to a new focus. No two people will present a character or plot the same way, and there is plenty of room for all that variety. But I get being discouraged. Give it some time. You have a unique tale in there that will blow readers away. =)

  20. Agreeing with what many others have said–your story will be different because you’re you. Besides, one of the marketing tricks of trade is to find comp titles, and you already have one (they can be difficult to find). Chances are, she won’t be able to write fast enough to satisfy her voracious readers (no writer can), and so the trick will be helping those readers find you, once you’re ready.

  21. There is nothing new under the sun, except your perspective and the way you see the world, therefore, no one can tell your story no matter how many similar elements of craft you use. I mean if you found someone else who wrote a similar character and did it well, would you read them too? I know I would with the stuff I love to read, but still, no one has your voice, your perception of life around so, I say tell our story. Happy IWSG Day.

  22. It’s inevitable that you’ll find similar plots/stories to your books if you read enough. I was upset when a TV series was announced a couple years ago that was very close to my Miles Stevens CIA books. I guess the creative world is running out of new ideas. We can only hope that the number of new readers keeps pace with the number of new writers.

  23. Yes. One of the stories I got the offer on, as it was with my beta readers I learned of a similar theme with the same publisher I was planning to sub to. Talk about a tailspin. I wasn’t sure if I should sub it, if I didn’t sub it should I even bother trying to pub it on my own? A whole list of questions. At the time, the only thing I knew of it was the blurb and an early review (that’s how I discovered it) done on a site I follow. My CPs all encouraged me to sub it anyway and I’m glad I did. I’ve since read the other story and felt better knowing that though we had some pretty key elements similar, the stories were vastly different.

  24. Suzanne Furness

    So sorry to hear about your publisher closing, that must be upsetting. Others have already said it here, but remember only you can tell your story. There may be similarities but hopefully you can come up with a new angle to explore. Best of luck.

  25. There is always someone out there that’s already written a story similar to yours. After all, we have all the literature all the way back to Homer to check for possible similarities. But I’m sure your story would be different, even if there are artificial similarities in the characters. If it is important to you, don’t abandon your dream. Persevere. You will come up with a unique angle that will make this story ultimately yours.

  26. eek The same thing happened to me. I had just finished this great book set in Polynesia where the young girl defeats the Lava Monster by realizing what it wants and giving it back. And then the next month Moana came out. [facepalm] Hope you can find a twist to make your idea work

  27. I read once the only topics to steer clear from in YA and Middle Grade were vampires and wizards. Everything else is still open to explore. 🙂

    • Oh I read a Bailey School Kids series to my son. It was all about teachers being a vampire, werewolf and other monsters. It was done with a wonderful sense of humor. We loved it. 🙂

  28. First, there are NO NEW IDEAS. Second, kids love reading about kid detectives. If Howard Wallace, PI is the only one out there, what else will they have to read? So, um, get busy and give them a new kid to inspire them!

  29. I see a lot of folks here saying the same thing I am about to. There are no new stories, just different details, or ways to tell them, Don’t give up!

  30. I’ve experienced this. Write something only to discover someone has beaten you to it. Ugh. Gotta keep moving! Try a different angle. I’ve read those books! I love detective stories/mysteries.

  31. Cathrina Constantine

    I feel that way all the time when I read a wonderful book. I think my writing stinks compared to other great writer’s. I wrote a book that an agent said was too close to another series, that’s why she was passing. So yes, I did write a book that was similar to another. But, it was also very different.

    So, my advice is to write your book. It’ll have it’s own uniqueness, your words, your story.

  32. Oh man, I have definitely experienced this! I’m not above shouting that the author stole my idea. However, I just remind myself that there is a finite amount of things to write about and a finite amount of ways to write about them. Even if there are similarities, no one will tell your story quite like you will. Maybe reading these books will give you the jolt you need to do something completely unexpected with yours! Good luck!

    • Jolt is more on the nose than you know. I’m reading it right now and making notes, observations, on her voice, etc. Digging out why I love her stories. It’s a beginning. 🙂

  33. So frustrating when you find something already out there that’s similar to an idea you haven’t had time to develop yet. But if your story still speaks to you, don’t let that stop you. There are many variations on a theme. Yours will be uniquely yours. @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

  34. Yep, I’ve had a brilliant story idea appear somewhere else and I kicked myself for taking so long to get it out there. But really, there is no new story. We make it new by our unique take on the same thing.

  35. I have never heard of Overdrive. Its very disappointing to abandon a book.

  36. Oh gosh, it’s hard isn’t it! I’m sorry to hear about that, Anna. Keep going, anyway! I believe in you 🙂

  37. The concept/theme may be similar but you are an individual with a different writing style/voice and different life experiences, so in that sense, your story is unique.
    I’ve often read that there is no story that hasn’t already been told. BUT keep going Anna. Don’t give up. You’ve come so far.

  38. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog.
    Glad writing helped you through your youth.
    I love Overdrive and (Libby by Overdrive for when the main app doesn’t work).
    It seems like all the good ideas have been taken but a little twist can sometimes make a big difference. I’ve only ever written one story that I thought was truly unique and that’s because it was based on real events. Whether or not your theme and or concept is entirely original won’t change the fact you are uniquely you and your stories will reflect that; plus there’s this little thing called voice that I’m sure will shout out to readers, “hey look at me”. I sometimes think my voice is the best thing about my writing; it’s definitely not grammar, structure, or plot development… those are constant works in progress. 😉
    Just keep writing and moving forward. You got this.

  39. Like they say, every story has already been done. Just put your own spin on it. Thanks for the Overdrive tip–I’ll check into it 🙂

  40. I agree with those who have said your story will be your own. I’m glad to see you have decided to keep at it and are putting your own spin on the idea. Good luck!!
    And I love Overdrive too! It’s totally addicting. 🙂

  41. Every story is unique in its own way. Write it. And then you can reference this book in your blurb or query. “For those who love Howard Wallace P.I. and other MG detective stories…” I don’t personally associating my writing with others, but I have seen it used with Harry Potter, Dan Brown, Stephanie Meyers, and a few other successful authors.

  42. I love how you mentioned cozies have marinas in them now as well. 🙂 Ellen’s book is great and original.

    I know how you feel about the jealousy/being not the first issue, in a little bit of a different way. Many times in the past, while I was still sailing and writing sailing articles, I had a great idea, only to wait too long writing and submitting it, to then see the “same story” or at least the same topic appear in a sailing magazine. Or, even in book-form. I waited too long.

    And, this is how I deal with it: I was too lazy/unmotivated to make this project happen and now it’s too late, so… I’m moving on and will pursue any of my other many ideas. The way I see it is that writing about that topic must not have stirred my passion enough, since I would have done it otherwise. Instead, I focused in other fascinating things. 🙂

  43. Ouch! I am so sorry to hear about your publishing company and your book idea. I find it traumatic enough when someone already had the idea for my book titles. I wouldn’t give up on your book idea just play with it and take it in a different direction. She instead of he or vice versa. They (twins) instead of he. Someone who solves puzzles that inadvertently leads to solving mysteries. Or figures out the answers through video games. I’m sure you could change it enough to still make it yours.

  44. OverDrive sounds awesome. When I finally hit PUBLISH it will be through Draft2Digital who distributes books to OverDrive. Lovely when you discover something new.

  45. I use OverDrive with my library. It’s great. I get a lot of my audiobooks through it.

    Sorry to hear about finding a story that matches your idea. Maybe you can do a different spin?

  46. I love Overdrive. Great way to get the books I need to read for my book group. As far as the middle grade PI story–write it. It will be different from the other series because you’ll give your own slant/perspective on the writing. Good luck!

  47. Victoria Marie Lees

    The key is “over time,” Anna. All peace requires time. I just happen to be impatient. I agree with everyone here. Write your PI story and place your own personal spin on the character. More power to you!

  48. I regret having given up a story almost two decades ago. I was new, and I spent all this time researching the idea. Then when I started writing it, Tony Hillerman came out with a book that sounded suspiciously similar to what I was writing, and I thought, “I can’t compete with Tony Hillerman.” It also put me off reading him, so I never read that book, and I stopped buying his new ones (in my defense, I was 19 or 20 at the time.) When I finally returned to his books, I discovered the book wasn’t anything like what I was working on. One common element does not make it the same book. Whatever you write will be so different no one will notice the similarity, and you can use it as a comparable in queries. Whatever you decide to do, good luck!

    • Yeah, it felt pretty bad in the beginning and I’ve been reworking the story ever since. It has got me motivated. So dropping the one story I was working on, to pick up the one I’m jazzed about–my middle grade.

If you're new to writing, ask me anything and if you're experienced, feel free to share what you know. Learning something new in the craft is always welcome.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.