Whether you're attempting your first manuscript or a seasoned novelist, the creative life we chose is definitely not an easy one. We work really hard to get our stories right, writing, then rewriting, continuously cultivating our craft and project. You think you're almost finished and pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Then the unthinkable happens. You read about an existing series, the synopsis sounds exactly like yours - it's even located in the same city! Paralysis takes over and instead of continuing to write, you're rummaging through the liquor cabinet for that 100+ proof bottle of scotch.
That was how I began my week. Wondering if I should throw in the towel and start all over. Luckily, I have an incredible support group that consists of very smart people who know way more about the industry than I do. Indie Editor Lorin Oberweger came to the rescue and offered some great insight into the "other" series, assuring me that the stories were very different (whew!).
Writer/conference organizer extraordinaire Jackie Garlick also provided me with some sage advice and a great quote.
"Write away from what you know the other story to be....make sure you make your book unique and your own...there are a million sci-fi novels...and many brush very close to one another...but they are all uniquely different because of who writes them and the angle the writers take. Short elevator pitches can be misleading. Don't doubt yourself. Just write your book."
While you may not be writing a sci-fi novel, there will come a time when you hear of another project that sounds very similar (if not identical) to yours. Just remember, an idea is a dime a dozen and at the end of the day, it really is all about (your) execution. I for one am back to banging away on the keyboard (with my fingers, not my head).