I feel disorientated. I know it’s silly, and I know I am overreacting. Still, it hit me, and now I’m out of my element.
So, what happened? Not much. I just learned that the novel I’m planning to write, and the novel I’m outlining and living for so long (around 7 years, to be exact) is not as original as I thought it was. In other words, someone else wrote a novel using similar motives (and ideas, more or less).
Naturally, I feel like crap now.
This thing should not surprise me. After all, things like this happen all the time, and I am the first to admit there is no such things as a “new story” anymore. All stories have been told long ago; all you can do is to tell them in a different way, your way.
Still… It hurts. It hurts not because I thought my story was, oh, so original an unique; it hurts because it sucks to have many/more particular stories that use similar, yet peculiar motives. I mean, it’s hard to make an unusual mix of elements like that, but to do it twice? What does my novel means if some key elements (or what it looks like key elements in my head) are the same?
My husband says I’m just being paranoid and that there are no new stories after all (the thing I always say to people when they encounter the same problem with their writing- and I know plenty of times when it happens).
Then again, I always knew my chances of getting published were slim. But that didn’t change the fact I had (and I still have) a clear vision of what I want with this book, and how I want to make the strange mix of high and urban fantasy and anthropology work. Like I told my husband, this novel was supposed to be some sort of a literary version of my graduate thesis, in which I’ll explore, in fiction form, all the main themes I learned studying archaeology (and anthropology). (My official paper would be about Iron Age Greece, btw).
So yes, I really want to write this novel. It’s not because I spent years shaping its story. It’s because I need to write; I knew this ever since I was 11 years old. Don’t get me wrong: I can live without it. But it makes my days better and it let me cope with reality and its problems (poverty, political mess, etc) better. I am good at it. I might not be a great writer per se, but I have a passion and patience and this need that makes me want to write even if there’s no one to read it.