Thursday, April 17, 2014

Claim Jumping

I’m a slow writer. I’ve never denied it. Even when I have plenty of time I can always find something else to do other than commit words onto paper/screen. If you look in the dictionary under “Procrastination,” there’s a picture of me on the couch watching TV. The Encyclopedia Britannica has a picture of me doing housework. You get the idea.

This goofing off has cost me. I don’t deny that either. I could probably have a pretty good career going by now if I didn’t fart around so much. I’ve noticed the most successful ebook writers have a new release every month. One had a new book out roughly every two weeks for awhile. I haven’t seen any recent releases from her. Maybe she burned out. Maybe she’s watching TV. I tell myself she made so much money she can slow down and sit in a beach chair at the shore or whatever her ultimate goal was. It gives me something to shoot for.

One weird result of my pokey pace is having other writers come out with my ideas while I’m still writing the book. For instance, my current WIP—which is almost finished, hooray!—is a futuristic set on an alien planet where shapeshifters are the ruling class. A bored woman of royal lineage visits the local slave market and buys two captive alien men as “pets.” Sex and adventures ensue. I asked around, and I’ve been told slave romances, while popular at one time, are pretty scarce these days. So I dawdled over the writing, figuring I’d be okay.

That is, until I was cruising around the Siren/Bookstrand site and discovered Stormy Glenn’s latest bestseller is a futuristic set on an alien planet where a pirate captain visits the local slave market and buys a captive alien man as a “pet.” Sex and adventures ensue.

Oh shit.

It’s not as bad as it looks. Stormy’s book is M/M. Mine’s a ménage and includes a woman. Technically it should probably be F/M/M because she’s the one in charge (to start with), but it’ll probably end up M/F/M or M/M/F because I don’t think Siren has a F/M/M category. I’m not sure how readers feel about the woman being the dominant partner. Whatever. Hers is guys and mine’s got a girl in it. Hers has a human from Earth as the “pet.” None of my characters are human and they’ve never heard of Earth. My characters are shapeshifters. From the blurb I’ve deduced there’s a bad guy involved in Stormy’s book. Mine has a bad guy too, and he’s intent on marrying the woman so he can get his hands on her fortune. I don’t think that plot point holds true in the other book.

I don’t hold anything against Stormy Glenn. This is in no way a case of plagiarism. I’ve never met, spoken to, or even exchanged emails with Stormy Glenn. We just happened to have the same basic idea at the same time. Great minds thinking alike. It’s an unfortunate coincidence—unfortunate for me. Now, when my book finally makes its debut, I’ll look like I ripped her off.

This is my own damn fault. If I’d spent as much time writing as I do plopped on the couch watching game shows, I’d have finished my book months ago and it would be out by now. Then the readers could have a field day arguing who stole from who, when in truth neither of us stole anything from the other. It was just one of those things.

This isn’t the first time Stormy got the jump on me because I was dragging my feet. My book Belonging was originally titled Blood Lust. Then, right on the brink of the final draft, I discovered Stormy had just released a book called—well, you guessed it. I had to scramble to come up with a new title. Actually, Belonging worked better, so I have Stormy to thank for that. I imagine hers was also M/M with vampires. I’ve pretty much blocked it out of my mind.

The only thing I can do to avoid this in the future is give up the goofing off, write like hell, and get the stories out so fast nobody will be able to catch up with me, let alone use the same ideas floating around in the aether. Then I can first on the block with the title or plot or whatever, and other writers can curse my name in their blogs. That’s what procrastination gets you, folks. Learn from my mistakes.


Savanna Kougar said...

Hey, trends are always in the creative ethers... that's what makes it a trend... Duh...

Stormy Glenn isn't the only one out there writing slave romances at this point. I've seen several promoed over the last several years. And they're on the increase.

Heck, I've got WIPS starting back in the early 90s with that romantic plotline. I've got current WIPs that are slave romance. In fact, I submitted a short story early on to several epubs titled, Purple Warrior Magnificent... but they wouldn't pub it because... well, as one said the woman was captured, and it was so-called forced seduction... yeah, even with the pleasure being extreme... and not to mention the big publishers had at the time, released 'forced seduction' historical romances.


Pat C. said...

My biggest concern is my heroine being the owner rather than the slave. I noticed Siren had one menage labeled NOTE: contains a female domme. So some people get turned on by an independent chick and others avoid it. All tastes, etc. She gets captured by the bad guy and rescued by her boys, so that should make everybody happy.

Savanna Kougar said...

Well, romance, sex, passion is always a matter of personal preference. Siren is smart because readers just want to know so they aren't disappointed.

That ending would make me happy!