Tuesday, 31 October 2006

F*&%! S£$%!

Life had to come back and bite me a big one in the butt, didn't it?

Was riding high in my dream, on Anais's comment and the achievements of yesterday, and naturally that means that everything has to go wrong today. It's 10.30am, I'm not dressed and I'm in such a state of high anxiety that I could burst into tears at any second and have already had such a major yelling fit with myself that the cats are cowering. Basically...
  • I foolishly misunderstood some instructions given to me, and a minor disaster nearly happened. Fortunately, I think I've been able to catch the error and someone is dealing with it...
  • Worse, it seems that I am subconsciously rewriting scenes from my earlier books. My agent has just read an older book of mine, and wonders if I lifted a scene straight out of it to put in a more recent one... Now I swear on my cats' lives that I haven't done such a thing. I wouldn't dream of it... but it's very possible that I have written quite a similar scene without even realising it. Which is very, very depressing, as it just goes to show how very limited I am in the ideas department. I feel quite cast down about this now...
Writers out there... has anything like the above happened to you? Have you inadvertently written a similar scene in two different books?

Or is it just me who's a useless ageing hack who's run out of ideas and who should just pack it in? :(


Madelynne said...

Eek! I'm not sure I dare look. I know I'm guilty of reusing phrases, so it wouldn't surprise me if I've rewritten scenes.

Oh, dear. I hope the day picks up.

Margaret McDonagh said...

You are NOT a useless ageing hack and NO you should NOT pack it in.

I am sure many of us have been there, Wendy. I know I have read books by several authors that have a 'familiar' feel and similiar kinds of scenes or language, and I am sure I have done it myself. I know it isn't done deliberately and scenes are not 'lifted' but we all have a unique voice, ways of speaking and thinking that come out in our writing, and it is only natural that we are going to use phrases and even ideas more than once.

I know it must be upsetting if your agent has commented on a particular instance of it but there is no way you would do it on purpose and I really wouldn't worry.

Good luck with Ill Met - and everything else.


Ruby in Bury said...

The first thing that struck me when I read your post is that if you've inadvertantly written a similar scene without remembering you'd done something similar before, it shows how successful you are and how much you've published. I bet lots of people would love to be in the same position, LOL!

I'm always telling people things I've already told them. But that's because I talk too much :-D

Hope your day's got better as it's gone on.

Shanna said...

Do not worry -- you're not the only one, I promise!

Not only have I accidentally used the same physical characteristics and the same dialogue, I've sometimes used the same phrases...Thank god for the members of my crit group, who have long memories and crack down on me!

Also, published authors do it all the time. I've been reading a ton of Emma Holly, who I totally adore. Recently, I read two of her books back-to-back and noticed that her characters have the same conversation (word for word, with only the characters' names changed) in both books). I don't know what happened, but I'm guessing she didn't realize, and she didn't have an agent who was paying close attention.

So, go forth and have a better day!

Best, s.

Val said...

If Monet can paint the same scene at Giverny over and over in slightly differing shades, why shouldn't writers be able to recycle good ideas? At least the ideas are your own and not plagiarised.

Nikki said...

Nice point, Val. Some things are worth repeating. I could write the same story over and over just for the pleasure of playing around with an idea.

I think it shows consistency, Wendy. Now have a cup of tea and chill out!

N x

PS - Anais' comment - print it out and stick it on the fridge. It's great.

Kate Pearce said...

I do it all the time...I have a photographic memory which does help me realize what I've done sometimes!
You are a wonderful writer so just keep it up!

Sasha White said...

I'm late chiming in, as usual.

I'm guilty of re-using phrases. Not scenes so much I think, but characters. I find myself very stuck on certain chractcteristics, which is starting to piss me off.

However, I've read many many of your books, and not felt any were copied from the other. *grin* Don't stress, we all have our quirks, and really there are only so many ways peopel can *&^%. *grin*

*big hug*

Wendy Wootton said...

I just wanted to thank you all for your kindness and supportive comments. I feel a lot, lot better now, and the encouragement I've received here has been a lot to do with that.

I think there's something in what my agent says... Maybe we all recycle favourite elements in our books, whether it be words, phrases, scenarios, characters... but I still don't think I unknowingly recycled a whole scene 'word for word'... There were probably a lot of similarities in the scene's dynamic, and some of my word and phrase choices, and that accounted for the scene creating an 'echo' in the reading.

Anyway, this has been a v. good thing, in a way, not only for the wonderful support and kindness I've received here, but also it's alerted me to this echoing, and prompted me to scrutinise what I write v. closely for 'repeating' and to look for new writing twists and new ways of expressing myself... so basically, a big thank you to you all... *and* to my agent!