Princess Superstar

Who says the royals don’t have a sense of humour? Princess Beatrice is auctioning the much-maligned Philip Treacy antler…er, hat she wore to Will and Kate’s wedding. The current bid on eBay stands at £8,600.00 and the proceeds to UNICEF and Children in Crisis. I love that Princess Bea has included in her advert some of the Photoshopped pics of the hat that have surfaced, including my favourite, the cat in the hat:

Good onya, Bea, I say. This is one way of turning fashion tragedy into triumph. I actually didn’t mind the rest of her wedding outfit.

In keeping with today’s royal theme, my sister sent me these images of life imitating art:

Did you watch the royal wedding? Which outfits caught your eye? What are your fashion regrets? (Mine — a long brown cardigan that made me look like an Ewok.)


Golden Heartbreak

So the Golden Heart entry deadline was December 2. All manuscripts had to be received by RWA on this date or else! Or else what? Disqualification. Well, guess what–my two entries didn’t arrive in time, even though I’d sent them by airmail in early November. So this means I wasted over 200 bucks in postage, entry and stationery costs. I’m unlikely to be reimbursed by the postal service and the entry fees are non-refundable.

I did want to cry my heart out yesterday when I got the dreaded disqualification email, but it’s time to look on the bright side:

  • I have a licence to eat a kilo of chocolate until I am completely over this.
  • I’m already a two-time Golden Heart finalist and I have an agent.
  • It’s really time to hang up the contest hat and focus on writing for publication.
  • I have a new book to complete and polish up.
  • My Ruby-Slippered Sisters are brilliant in a crisis.

NaNoWriMo was a huge success for me personally. I completed the challenge, writing over 50,000 words in just 28 days (see sidebar). A bunch of my writing buddies also made it–Kim MacCarron, Tera Lynn Childs, Elisa Beatty, Elizabeth, Mary Strand, and Sarra Cannon. Yay for all of us!

Now it’s time to make sense of what I wrote during the NaNo whirlwind!

Happy weekend!

We’re All Gonna Die

Sad but true. I am actually referring to a song title by my hubby’s band, the Model School, though. The song has been selected as the opening credits track for an upcoming indie Aussie movie called ‘LBF‘ (which is an abbreviation for something more profane). The film is based on Cry Bloxsome‘s 2006 novel of the same name.

I wish I could embed the trailer here, but there seems to be a communication breakdown between WordPress and Vimeo. (Or, more likely, maybe I’m a bigger gumby at techno things than first thought!) Go to this link to see and hear the teaser.

Excuse Me, Haven’t I Seen This Plot Before?

Picture this: A proud moment. You’ve just spent months (maybe years, maybe weeks if you’re disciplined) writing a whole entire novel. Your characters are so real they could be made of flesh and bone. The story zings in all the right places. There’s an action-packed beginning, the middle is sinewy and not one bit saggy, and the ending – well, you’ve outdone Stephen King, haven’t you?

Then you go to a bookstore and treat yourself. The first tome you pick up is in the same genre as yours and has an enticing title. Its cover is to die for. But when you read the blurb, you want to die for a whole ‘nother reason. Why? Because this published book, with its snappy name and shiny cover, is exactly like the one you’ve just finished writing. Same setting, same plot, same everything.

How does this happen? Is it a product of collective unconsciousness? (Great time-waster here.) Where the heck are you going to find an original idea?

I’ll leave the how’s and the why’s to scientists and philosophers. What you, the writer, need to focus on is your own book. It may seem like the end of the world, but don’t panic. Unless you plagiarised whole sections word-for-word (and you wouldn’t have done that), you really shouldn’t throw your hands up and abandon the project.

What will set your story apart from that Doppelganger? I’m sure you’ll find lots of things, starting with:
a. Your voice. It comes from within. Sure, you can mimic someone else’s voice, but it won’t ring true.

b. Main characters and bit players. Maybe they’re motivated by different things; maybe they’re more tortured or more emotionally stable; maybe your heroine’s tall and the other book’s heroine is short. You get the idea.

c. The basic plot maybe similar to yours, but it’s likely you’ll see twists in other directions.

So your book has a fraternal twin. Where to from here? Choose your own adventure:
a. Scrap your book. (Not recommended – I’m just throwing options around here.)

b. Tweak, revise, polish. Remember, you have the advantage of creating a stronger hook.

c. Do nothing (that includes wallowing in depression) because you’re convinced your book is similar…but different.

d. Put your manuscript away to marinate and start on something new.

e. Vow never to read again, that way you won’t be influenced by others. (Er…also not recommended.)

f. Google that elusive factory where new ideas for books are invented daily by a crack team. Or is it a team on crack? I think they have a MySpace page…

g. Read widely, keep developing your skills and style, quit comparing yourself to other writers.

h. A combination of the above.

So, fellow writers, has this happened to you? How did you deal with it?