Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Copycat Party

by Christie Kelley

Did you ever feel like a copycat? When I read Anna's post for her release party for the Mammoth Book of Regency Romance, I couldn't believe how similar it was to the one I'd planned and had already started writing for today. It's really not that uncommon a thing, especially in books. Haven't you ever read a book and thought you might have read it before, only to realize you were thinking of another author's book? I have...several times.

So here are the similarities in the posts:

I also have a short story in the Mammoth Book of Regency Romance, along with some fabulous authors like Anna Campbell, Elizabeth Boyle, Lorraine Heath and Barbara Metzger.

I'm currently traveling (cruising the Caribbean) so I might not be able to post much today. (Yes, that is a picture of the ship I'm on right now!)

My short story, The Weatherly's Ball is also a reunion story.

Like Anna, I'm also including an excerpt:

“It truly amazes me that anyone would invite Lady Townson to a ball,” whispered a female voice behind him.

“Poor Mrs. Billings felt she had no choice but to bring her into her home after the old lord died. After all, she is her cousin,” another woman commented.

“She should have stayed in the country.”

Fury washed over him at both the comments and at the idea that Tessa was at the ball. Had she seen him and dropped her glass? He almost laughed at the thought. The cold-hearted woman had probably only been flirting with another man when she let the glass slip. She was likely just trying to attract more attention to herself.

But watching her scamper off to the gardens had sent his anger even higher. It was high time he confronted her about what she’d done to him. With her living in the country, he’d never felt a need. But now that she had returned, he would deal with her. He strode toward the terrace, attempting to ignore the pain in his hip and the looks of pity from the people around him.

The cool April air was like a slap in the face after the stifling conditions inside the ballroom. The fresh scent of the evening air refreshed him. He moved along a row of rose bushes, the gravel crunching under his feet as he listened for any sound. The chilly temperatures had kept most of the amorous couples inside. A few torches lit the path as he ambled toward the brick wall to the back of the garden. He paused for a moment to listen to the rhythmic shuffle of pacing on the gravel path ahead of him.

He found her with her hand over her mouth, muttering, pacing, her eyes frantic.

“How can he be alive?” she whispered. “He was dead.”

He didn’t move for a moment but just stared at her, remembering exactly how she had looked five years ago. So beautiful it took his breath away.

With her red hair and blue eyes, a heart shaped face and curves exactly where a man wanted them, she had been one of the most popular girls out during her seasons. She had favored him with her smiles and her dances. And he had craved her attention. Now she had matured and sorrow marked her face. Could she have loved her older husband so much that she still missed him a year after his death?

“What are you doing here, Tessa?”

She glanced up with a gasp and shook her head. Tears trailed down her cheeks and her blue eyes looked like wet sapphires. “What am I doing here?”

“That was my question.”

She rose from her seat and stared at him. “You are supposed to be dead.”

And, I'm giving away a copy to one lucky person today. All you have to do is post a comment and you'll be in the drawing. The winner most likely won't be posted until I return from my cruise on the 24th.

Let Sven massage your troubles away today. The cabana boys are here to bring you a sweet drink so let the party begin!! Just don't have too much fun while I'm on vacation or I'll get jealous.

Have you ever felt like a copycat? Have you ever arrived at a party in a new outfit only to see someone else wearing the same thing? Or tell us about a book you felt was similar to another!


Donna MacMeans said...

Woohoo! I've got the rooster - a true original!

Donna MacMeans said...

Isn't there a book that says that there's only 20 original plots? They all seem original to me as the characters are so unique. As for outfits...there's someone at National every year who wears my favorite skirt (grin), but that's about the only time I've seen someone with the same outfit.

I love anthologies and this sounds like a great one - especially with so many bandita contributors. Love the cover as well.

Have a great time on your cruise, Christy!

flchen1 said...

LOL! Christy, congrats on your new anthology! I'm all for another party, and the more Bandita contributers, the better! I think the Lair can handle a party a day ;)

Pat Cochran said...

Congratulations, Christy, this
anthology sounds great!

Congratulations, also, to Donna
on catching that rascally Rooster!
Have a great day with him!

Pat Cochran

Jane said...

Congrats on the GR, Donna.

Hi Christie,
I love cruises. Hope you're having a wonderful time. Luckily I have never shown up at a party dressed in the same outfit as someone else. I would probably not win the Who Wore It Best? survey.

barb said...

Congratulations Donna in getting GR

Gongratulations Christie on the book. I am reading it at the moment and have enjoyed yours and Anna's story, in fact, I have enjoyed all that I have read so far. Enjoy the cruise

Helen said...

Well done Donna Have fun with him

I do hope you are having a great time enjoy that cruise I know how much I loved the one we went on I think I really need to go on another one.

I often read books that are similar but I think all writers have their own voice and although the plot may be the same the stories are different.

As for showing up to a place and seeing someone in the same outfit that has never happened to me and if it did I would think two great minds think alike LOL.
A massage by Sven would be fantastic just now and a nice cocktail yes please.

Congrats on the book Christie I do look forward to reading your story and the many others in the book loved the excerpt.

Have Fun

Anna Sugden said...

Hope you're having a fab time on your cruise, Christie.

Being an outfit twin has happened to me several times - the most recent only last weekend at the RNA Conference. A fellow writer and I were both wearing the same green flowery Joe Brown summer dress. We had a giggle about it and called each other 'twin' for the rest of the day.

I wasn't so pleased when I was 16 and went to my first formal ball, only to find someone else wearing the same dress! The funny thing was we both got lots of compliments about how unusual and striking the dress was.

Laurie said...

Copycats- I dislike it when book titles are the same but by different authors usually seperated by a few years.

The Mammoth Book of Romance sounds fabulous!

MaryC said...

Hi Christie, Just think of it as great minds thinking alike.

Anna, I had a similar experience with my senior prom. Back then I did a lot of my own sewing and I made my own prom gown. I couldn't believe it when someone told me that there was another girl with the same dress, but there was - same pattern, same color fabric. So much for being unique.

Deb said...

Thanks for the excerpt, Christie!

I don't mind copycat plots, but I do not like authors to take another author's words, rearrange or delete or add one or two to call the writing their own.

My folks and I were going to the same reception a long time ago and Mother was wearing the same pink shoes that I was wearing. We didn't even realize it until someone pointed it out to us.

Sven, o-hunk-of-manliness, the heat index is supposed to be nearly 100 today. Come over to my house to serve up some, shall we say, cool treats?

Nancy said...

Donna, congrats on the rooster!

Christie, LOL! Cute post. I hope you're having a great time out on the "bounding main."

I write paranormals, and I draw on conventions in the fantasy genre and on strains of folklore from which those conventions spring. So do other authors. That means there'll always be some similarity between my books and theirs. The trick, I think, is to be aware of the similarities and put a different spin on them.

I've never had the "identical dress" experience, though I did see someone in line to go in at the Maggies ceremony some years back wearing the same top I was. Big crowd, though, not someone I knew, and we never met inside the room.

Nancy said...

Anna Sugden wrote: See, this is like Esperanto to me. I realize you would know the designer brand of your dress and thus of hers. I, however, would be clueless.

But I do relate to the humor you found in the situation. Humor is a saving grace in so many ways.

Joan said...

Found you!!!

Ok, Blogger is messing with my mind. I do not have a comments link at the bottom. I just started clicking on things and clicked on the title of the blog.

Minna said...

I've never had identical dress with someone else. But I did once have an identical coat and with a person I absolutely hated. My next coat definitely wasn't similar...
Sometimes I think I've read some version of the same revenge plot once too often (boy is planning a revenge against girl, boy makes girls life a living hell and yet they somehow manage to fall in love). These days I mostly avoid those kind of books.

Copycat - Copycat (Belgium

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Congrats on the GR Donna! I hope you have lots of menial chores for him today. He needs to be taken down a notch or two (AC whispers esp. before National)!

Christie, I KNOW you are having a FANTASTIC time cruising the Caribbean so I won't bother wishing it for you. :-P However, we are expecting a FULL REPORT when you get back!

Having the same outfit was reason for much teenage angst back in high school, esp. on Prom night!! VA, your 16 year old psyche must have been deeply scarred. LOL! Nowadays, if I see a woman wearing something I like (like a jacket) I always ask where she bought it, so I can get one too!

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery... Who said that? Some smart and famous person, I'm sure.


Nancy said...

Minna, so sorry about the coat. I really think it would bother me to have the same anything as someone I really disliked.

Nancy said...

Helen and AC, I have always wanted to go on a cruise, but I think my chances of getting the dh to do that are roughly the same as my taking a shuttle flight before the program ends. Just doesn't appeal to him at all. *sigh*

Lois said...

Have fun on the cruise! :)

Me, I can't think of too many times where I've been a copycat, but back in school, sure, have been dressing the same as the other students all the time! Well, okay, so we wore uniforms, but still. . . best that I got. LOL

At some point we've probably ran out of truly original ideas for many things, stories, inventions, etc.; now, they are just improvements or differences of what's already out there. Like we can't invent the wheel again, but we can change it or improve it or something.

When it comes to books, the first to come to mind are the older Regencies of Amanda Quick; she uses the same formula for all, but they are all a bit different. Probably couldn't reread all of them in a row because then I will feel like I'm reading the same book over and over again, but I can do a couple in a row with no problem.

But in the end, think that's what we look for, we have our favorite plots, but we like seeing how different everyone makes them. Because even if there are no real new plots out there, the vast majority of the books written with them are still mighty different.


Caren Crane said...

Christie, I have read blurbs for books coming out that are nearly identical in plot to a book I am currently writing. It just seems like these things get sent out to the great collective unconscious and they are spit out by different people in different places at about the same time.

For writers, the books themselves aren't usually that similar, even if the premises are. Everyone's writing is quite unique. However, making the book sound different from a marketing perspective can be an insurmountable obstacle.

On a totally off-topic note, it's FINALLY RAINING here! We are having terrible thunderstorms today. Yippee and yahoo! Pass me a margarita, boys, we have some celebrating to do!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Christie! Hope you're having a great time on the cruise. About the only time anyone is wearing the same outfit as me is at work where we're all dressed in the same color scrubs. :) But going out or to conference? Nope, not happening.

And congrats on the release in the mammoth anthology book. I'm starting to get a whole collection of those between you, Fo and my critique partner, Sandy Blair. I love these books!!

Caren Crane said...

Oddly, I don't ever recall showing up at an event in the same outfit as anyone else, either. However, I became friends with a girl at work 20 years ago and we realized we owned the exact same pair of pants. They were quite distinctive in pattern and cut and we had bought them at the same store, but in different cities.

As Helen said, we just assumed great minds think alike and that we both had fab taste. *g* We are also still friends 20 years later!

Pissenlit said...

I had a clothing copycat moment once when a bunch of us realised we all showed up somewhere wearing the same colour combination top and pants. That was a really odd coincidence!

As for book similarities, I had an incident in jr. high French class when asked to write and illustrate a children's book, I got called to the teacher's desk and accused of plagerism. When I protested, the teacher was unconvinced, saying that she thought she'd read a story just like it before. *shrug* That's nice. I hadn't, though! I don't think she believed me in the end but she let me off the hook when I refused to admit to something I didn't do. Guess that's the last time I write about a mother bunny going from forest creature to forest creature looking for baby bunny. I just wanted to draw different cutesy animals! :)

Louisa Cornell said...

Way to go Donna! he is definitely one of a kind!

Christie I am SO looking forward to reading your story. LOVED that excerpt! This anthology is going to be such a great read!

I think there are many good plots form romance novels that have been used over and over with no ill effects. A story is never the same old thing in the hands of a master storyteller.

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