It happened AGAIN!

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There is a brand-new book out right now that’s apparently poised to be the next YA novel to explode on the market; some reviewers are saying this will be the next Hunger Games.

The book is called Matched, by Allie Condie.

My recent short story, the one I am submitting to magazines right now, is called Paired.

And it is about pretty much the same damn thing!!

My story isn’t presented as a dystopian future, though. I thought that has been overdone, so I didn’t go that way. Mine’s an alternate version of our world, right now, if things had gone differently in WWII. The main idea is that people are paired up with something that they are genetically compatible with. The government does this to eliminate hereditary diseases, mostly. There are darker shades to it, because the science did originally come from Nazis back in the day, but overall our government has morphed all of that science over decades of work to make it serve this supposedly-noble purpose. (Besides, it was interesting to try to figure out a way to somehow make the scientific work done by Germany in the 1940s not as horrible in the long run, which is NOT EASY by any stretch. But it was a fun writing exercise!)

My two main characters find out they are Paired, and the girl is excited to meet her Pairing, but the guy isn’t, because he already is deeply in love with someone else. My story is about what happens to them. Nothing super complicated or depressing, really.

Still, what a freakin’ coincidence! How in the world could I have come up with this concept and named my story Paired, and then this book comes out months later with the similar title of Matched? Obviously, I know that the author of Matched wasn’t able to steal my idea, so I’m not thinking that or anything. But wow, it’s still so weird that a major book release would come out that is so, so close to my own story, right now!

That makes two books this year that are very similar to my stories. (The first being Lucy, which is similar to my book Breedless.)

While I’m kind of bummed out now because whatever publications I submit Paired to from this point on will likely think I ripped off Matched, I’m oddly happy about this news for one very big reason:

I think my ideas are market-worthy!

Clearly, I am coming up with the type of things on my own that are what’s selling to readers today. That is good news. I’m kind of excited that I came up with the idea of Paired on my own, wrote it, finished it and sent it to some magazines, and then a major book comes out with the same basic concept. Matched handles it much differently, overall, because the matches in that book appear to truly have a sinister side and the book is meant to be the first in a 3-book series. But it’s cool that I have these kind of ideas too, the kinds that professional authors are having! And I know for a fact I was not copying anything when I wrote it. I was all jazzed about having a new idea and actually seeing it through.

Now I am feeling kind of energized again. I feel like I really might have a good shot at something. Oh, and Paired did not place in the Glimmer Train Fall 2010 Fiction Open (they awarded the top 25 stories) and I was bummed to find that out on Tuesday. But it doesn’t matter, really. I am just going to work on my current two books, like always, and I’m also going to start my next short story.

Yesterday on the way to work, I was watching these two drivers a lane over from me, and feeling a mixture of amusement and fear because one was tailgating the other, and the car being tailgated wasn’t tapping the brakes or anything like that. However, she was slowing down ever-so-slightly as she drove, just to piss off that driver behind her. It was totally passive aggressive and that made me think about the term passive aggressive itself.

Within minutes I had a new idea. I’m going to write a story about a person who has been wrongly severely and possibly even ends up in, say, a car accident, as a result of someone else’s actions. This person is in a coma, and no one knows if he or she will wake up.

However, the reader knows the person is still alive in there, because we learn from his or her point of view that he/she is able to have out of body experiences and go to the people who have wronged him or her and telepathically deliver payback.

So, my title would be Passive Aggression. (Please tell me you get it.)

You read it here first, everyone. I swear this is my original idea, on the life of my pets. If you do know of a story like this that exists already, or anything like that, it’s truly coincidence. AND, if a book is published in a few months with this same general concept, you and I will know the truth. I had the idea, too, and so… I rule! Hee hee hee.

Overall, 2010 has to be the strangest and most emotional year for my writing, ever. First Writer Ex’s book comes out… then Lucy is released… and now, Matched.

The universe is really screaming at me to FINISH WHAT I START. I have to write. There is no excuse any more. I have good ideas, so it’s time to stop letting them go to waste.

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6 responses »

  1. That’s so weird, I just put that book on my library hold list! That crap happens to me all the time. It’s one of the reasons I stopped writing for (quite) a while. Any chance I could read “Paired”? Now you’ve got my interest all piqued.

  2. Huh. Well… It sounds like a good book idea. It also kind of reminds me of a book I read in grade school. Not sure what it was called, but it still comes to mind now and again. I think I never quite grasped the point of it, other than to feel like there was something about it similar to what you mentioned about genetic pairings, etc… Some kind of oppressed people, whose children could only be named by the government. Everyone’s names had random capital and lower case letters, and the parents had taken to nicknaming their kids according to those capital letters. Like one girl’s name was AMitY and someone said “I suppose your parents call you AMY”… that sort of thing was a MAJOR infraction. Anyway, I wish I could tell you more about it.

    Good luck with your ventures! At least you are enjoying yourself!

  3. Fraulein, isn’t it a weird emotional combination when you find out someone else has written a story like yours? I’m always pissed off, jealous, frustrated with myself, and then kind of excited. I can’t think of many other situations that feel like it. Well, either way, I wouldn;t want either of us to stop writing because it happens — so get back to work, woman! I want to read your stuff, I’m serious. I sent you mine, now… show me yours. 😉

    Jen, I think I know what you might mean. I have a very vague recollection of reading something like that in high school. It sounds familiar because of the names-thing. Hmm. If it comes to me, I will share the name of the book just so we know. I hate when I can’t remember stuff like titles of books I read. And yet I can remember dumb crap, like what I was wearing the day I accidentally blew snot all over my sweatshirt in gym class, and had to run away to clean up and prayed no one saw me. ???

  4. I remember the time my family was camping and attended a magic show being held at the campsite’s amphitheater. The magician was asking for volunteers, so I raised my hand. I never get picked for anything, so when he said “you, in the blue shirt” I looked down at my shirt to see what I was wearing. He said “Yes, you- you’re looking at yourself.”

    Mor-ti-FIED!

    But I still remember what I was wearing. My most favoritest light blue, hand-me-down t-shirt from the San Antonio Zoo with the white tigers on it, and a really dumb pair of white shorts with different flowers on them, the shorts zipped up the side.

    I never wore that outfit again.

  5. I loved Paired. See, it’s not just me who thinks you are really a talented writer. So get off your DUFF and finish Zachary!!!!! NOW!!!!! Before it’s too LATE!!!!!!! (Brought to you by the council that wants to know how Zachary ends…)

  6. I think that is a wonderful idea! I would like to read a story about that. And I too want to know what happens to Zachary!! 🙂

    I think your story ideas are very marketable and that you will find the one that is completely original and fabulous and brilliant because that’s how you are. 🙂

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