Wednesday, 10 July 2013

DARN-it -dipity by Jane Clarke

Now, I'm used to rejection ( link to den post ) but this time the response from my agent was exactly what I'd hoped for:

"…you've made something really special… This  (picture book text) feels like a perfect idea - it just slots into place."

Yay! Happy tail wagging dance with the dog. We could be on to a winner!



But …

An editor told my agent that my text had exactly the same theme as a picture book the publisher had already commissioned, adding

"This is beautifully written though – what a shame!"

Pause for deep sigh and wry smile...



Someone had beaten me to it - not for the first time and not, I'm sure, for the last time. Sometimes, topics and themes seem to be in the air, a zeitgeist that makes people think along the same lines simultaneously. Perhaps our ideas have been sparked by the same programme on TV, the same news story, cute picture or clip or post on Facebook - who knows?

Serendipity?


Only if you get there first. And, of course, there's always hope that you will…



But if you don't, it's a case of DARN-it-dipity.

 Has it happened to you?

Jane's delighted to announce Nosy Crow's  serendipitous pairing of her latest picture book text Who woke the baby? with one of her favourite illustrators, Charles Fuge.

28 comments:

  1. Yes it has! And more than once, bother it! My sympathies, Jane!

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    1. Thanks. Pippa. I've been having a bit of a conversation about this on Facebook. There's no such thing as a new theme, of course - picture book darnitdipity seems to follow the rule of three - similar theme, character and story line are required for a full darnit.

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  2. Yes! it's so weird, isn't it, as if something is floating in the air. It happened to me only the other day, when I saw something in the supermarket...Hold on, that's the same idea as the one I've been messing about with...darn it! I do live in fear that the novel for grown-ups I've been writing forever (ie: not very much recently), will be pipped to the post. That I may not recover from! Better get on with it.

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    1. The darnit factor's got to increase exponentially with word count! Fingers crossed for your adult novel, Moira.

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  3. I did a pop up book with sounds called 'Don't Wake the Baby!' many moons ago so I'm watching you! ;-))
    The first thing my publisher does when presented with a new book idea is google the title and it's variations to see what is or has been around on the same theme. This is useful for checking titles too.
    Yeah, I've had ideas that were scuppered by there being too many 'great minds thinking alike' and it is aggravating. I guess we should research the potential competition at the earliest stage to avoid the waste of emotional and creative energy.
    Still, it can trigger a rethink which can add a twist, or suggest a different character and produce something even stronger than the first idea. Keep the idea lurking and fermenting in the subconscious because you never know when things might fall into place and suddenly make sense. . .

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    1. Laughed about you having a book called Don't Wake the Baby! I'd no idea - isn't that just the way? My text doesn't feature sounds and is a rhyming who-dunnit so I'm hoping it's very different!
      As you can probably tell -I never google a title before I write in case I get put off writing it.

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    2. *Always* Google a title. And then buy the url if it's not gone- that can scare other people off using the title before you get into print

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    3. Never even thought of buying the url, Stroppy, thanks for the tip - definitely worth considering for a series.

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  4. Good point, Jonathan. Seeing the idea elsewhere should trigger more thinking - a more 'sideways look, perhaps - which may well improve the original concept. Positive thinking - Like it. And I can't wait to read your rhyming who-dunnit, Jane!

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    1. Thanks Moira. yes, great tip from Jonathan.

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  5. Yes, Jane, it happens me too. I'd change it a bit, and try other publishers. You might get yours out before theirs, anyway.

    Well done with Nosy Crow, by the way.

    .

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    1. Thanks Malachy, and yes, changes are underway to the text in question.

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  6. I had a book based on the fortunately-unfortunately game and I googled it loads in the first weeks of having the idea and starting to write it. There was nothing. I sent it to my agent (and yours, of course, Jane!) who liked it and it went out to several publishers, two of whom were interested and I met up and discussed it with one... by which time, we'd BOTH discovered there was another one JUST out (that hadn't been there on google four months before). And very soon after, another one came out, written by Alan Durant. I talked to him about it and he said he'd had no idea a different one was coming out either and just pipped his to the post. Not sure there's room in the market for three, but I still think about reworking it as something else as it's a fun (and very silly) story.

    And hooray for your Nosy Crow news!

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    1. Sounds as if you came really close, Clare, how frustrating.

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  7. Jane, your dog is such a cutie.
    I remember a Darren Brown episode on TV where he asked a group of creatives at an ad agency to come up with an idea for something and then when they presented their idea it was the same visual idea as the one Darren Brown had sealed in an envelope. The way he'd done 'the trick' was to influence their subconscious with images/objects in shops, etc., along their route to work. So whenever I get frustrated I remind myself we're all influenced by the same things. But it's still frustrating and has happened too many times to me! Grrr...
    And congratulations on your new book, Jane :-)

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    1. Wow, thanks for sharing, Paeony - wish I'd seen that episode.

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  8. Oh, Jane, I feel for you. I haven't had a personal rejection go into detail like yours, but I've seen my story idea and plot published by another author and it just breaks my heart. I see from the comments above that this happens to writers all the time. Now, when I think I have a great story, I feel like I have this urgency to get it ready for submission before someone gets there first. That's something I have to overcome.

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    1. It's a tricky balance, Romelle. My ideas have to compost for ages before I get writing (seem my Den post on ideas composting). Then I'm always tempted to send a story off too soon, while I'm too involved in it to see the fault lines. I try to make myself wait 3 weeks. In that time, it helps to get it critiqued, and include at least a week where I don't look at the text or fiddle with it, in the hope of going back to it with fresh eyes.

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  9. It's so frustrating when this happens. But at least you have your story ready, and if necessary you can put it away for a year or so and then whisk it out with a flourish when the time is ripe! Good luck!

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    1. Thanks,Ann. In the meantime, it's on with the next...

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  10. Great post. I think Jonathan Allen's suggestion to your story aside for now and let it ferment is spot on. I'm sure that with time and distance you'll come up with some super duper clever and unexpected twist that will make your story stand out in a fresh new way.

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  11. Experiencing this writing setback with an old dog friend makes it all okay. Missing mine. . . .

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    1. Sorry to hear that, Wendy. Bramble's very ancient, but her tail still finds lots to wag about.

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  12. Yes I've had that experience - wrote a sure-fire winner, a lot of sketches and a couple of finished illustrations for a dummy, and my agent of the time was very positive.

    Then I discovered the "other" book - same theme, same idea, even the same type of characters. The worst thing was that I found it in a discount bookshop. My only consolation was that the artwork was horribly bland - I'd have made it a much better book (I reassured myself).

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    1. Definitely a case of darn-it-dipity, John!

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  13. Oh yes it has and all the while I was writing my most recent book I was too scared to go into the children's section of any book shops just in case I saw something too similar there!

    Love your dog BTW. He looks extremely wise and all-knowing. Does he have his own blog? : )

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  14. Lol, I'll run the idea of a dog blog past Bramble.

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