Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Something New? Apparently Not...

Today, whilst reading Irish Gumbo's post--one of my Daily Fix reads--I discovered a new site. Not new to the internet, just new to me: Magpie Tales. The blog author posts a picture, then her followers make up a poem or vignette about it. I find this so weird and bizarre. Why? Because I just did this very exercise the other day after my dream. Is there nothing original left in all the world?


And on that note, let's digress for a moment as I tell another story...

With NaNo coming up in November, I've begun mulling over plots and stories, thinking of what to write about this year.

And yes, I know there are some of you out there who scoff, and act all superior and above it all, as if NaNo is something only a dimwit would waste time doing. It's certainly not something real writers--such as yourselves--would bother with, is it? I'm here to tell you: Don't knock it if you haven't tried it. It's one of the most exhilarating, demanding, brain-stretching exercises I've ever done, and I wouldn't miss it for the world. The sense of accomplishment when that last word of 50,000 is typed? What a rush.

I don't write a whole book, of course. I just write my story until I reach 50K, then continue writing the book over the ensuing months, because in my world, 50K does not a complete novel make. This year, rather than write in my usual pantser style, I thought I would come up with an idea, then work it through my mind in the run up to November.


I'm walking the boys on Friday, my mind rolling along with ideas, though nothing is grabbing me. Then, out of nowhere, I have a vision of an antique pen, discarded, forgotten in an old curiosity shop. Woman finds it, buys it, takes it home. That night she dreams. In the morning she finds a message written on a tablet, the pen laying next to it, her dream is reality. I feel a tiny spark of excitement. The title bursts into my head: Poison Pen. Holy Crap. I think I've got the beginnings of a plot here people. By the time I get home, I've decided the other main character will be a guy who's an expert in forensic graphology. I do some research, I print out some stuff to review. I'm really thinking this is going to be cool.

I take a break for lunch. While drinking my wild blueberries and banana smoothie, I decide to scan Amazon, see if there are any other titles called Poison Pen, and if so, will it matter to my story.

And there it is. There truly is nothing left in the world that is original.

Not only do I find a book called Poison Pen, but it's about a forensic graphologist! WTF? The main character solves crimes, which granted, is a bit different than my angle, but not different enough. There's no way I can use either the title or the story. And what are the flaming odds? Where did my idea come from? In the great, vast well of ideas floating out in the Cosmic Consciousness, how have I managed to pluck this particular plot/story/idea out of the ether?

I scrap everything, shred my notes, delete my links to the research sites. Buggers.


Now, back to this morning and my discovery of the Magpie Tales. When I went to the site, I could see that almost 60 folks had already posted their poems/vignettes since Sunday. I didn't look at a single one. No way. I'm just going to forge ahead, do my own thing, (see post below), and hope that, for once, it hasn't already been done.


  1. I want a tale that goes with that shot of the nebula...

    1. That's my version of Cosmic Consciousness--where all my ideas come from that apparently belong to other people!

  2. They say there is nothing new under the sun. I say, that's probably true, but there's no one with your particular point of view than you...



    1. Thanks for that, but in this case my book idea and someone else's already published novel were just too similar for me to deal with. Drat!