It’s Been Done

Have you ever gone to download a book and gotten the wrong one?

Have you ever READ the wrong book?

Somehow or another, as it happens, there two books that are very much alike on my Kindle account. I started to read one in hopes to have the author, a mutual friend on FB, in as a guest. Somehow, another book that was much the same is next to it and popped-up when I put up the Kindle app on my phone, so that is how I started reading the wrong book.

I liked it, though. In fact, when I realized my mistake, (“Gee”, I said to myself, “I didn’t think she was English!”), I changed to read the other book, but I switched back to finish the first.

What went through my head was how often two, (and sometimes many more), stories of any type with the same theme come out about the same time. Oh, what is popular starts out and then everyone’s uncles and aunts start writing in the same genre. Have you seen how YA books became almost all vampires and werewolves, even to now? Look at how so many MG authors jumped on the bandwagon to feature wizards and supernatural folk in their books, (and still do).

Off the top of my head I can think of two comet/meteor catastrophe movies at the same time, as well as two with volcanoes. There were two big-name art-theft movies at the same time and even two Scotsmen-in-kilts historical movies, (although set 500 years apart), out the same year and often one of the movies  is actually better gets next to no attention because the other burned people out,(even without a volcano). Sometimes there are two movies about the same person or people out at the same time. The list goes on and on, especially when it comes to TV, where we have all seen periods of cycles in runs of Westerns, Medical dramas, Private Investigators, Police dramas, shows about Space Travel, etc.

Granted, there is nothing new under the Sun, (we really need to start capitalizing “Earth”, “Moon” and “Sun” unless we want  to have the people from other planets laughing at us.  “earth” is soil, “Earth” is our planet. Someone should really have given our sun and our moon actually names, although it isn’t too late. It’s kind of like calling your children “Son” and “Daughter”, but as usual, I digress.)

However, when it comes to writing, have you seen an abundance of books written in a theme you may have had an idea about and  so be put off? 

I realize that if you write Regency Romances you are certainly going to give a resounding, “Nay, Madam”, to the question, but what about other genres?

A couple of years ago some publishers stopped accepting cozy mysteries and said that they were on the way out. Well, they aren’t. Each author puts his or her words together in different order and the differences in stories and style are always there, granted. However, I have been asked why I haven’t tried to write stories around a bakery, or some involving cats. Do you have any idea how many cat mystery books are out there? Also, bake-shop ones?  “Woman moves to/back to a small town, (or downtown), sets up a bakery/tea shop and finds herself embroiled in murders”…I just wrote a blurb for thousands of books written in the last 15 years.  Add “and has a cat who seems to know more than he should…” and you have added another couple of thousand to that list. (The cats are also at bookstores, farms, lawyer’s offices, detective agencies, hotels and anywhere else you can think of.)

Every time I think that I might have an idea that wants to come through in those veins, I shut it down; I have enough stories that want to be put down, so many so that they come to fisticuffs in my head and no one gets declared the winner; I am not going to bash my head against the wall of cats and bakeshops ahead of me.

So, have you ever thought to yourself, when you go to formulate a new-to-you idea for a story,
“I’m not going there, it’s been overdone”?

I’d like to know your thoughts.


About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
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6 Responses to It’s Been Done

  1. Jeff Salter says:

    speaking of dual movies, there were also a pair of films — released very close to each other — featuring attacks on the White House, wherein a lone agent good guy is basically responsible for fighting off all the bad guys. Don’t remember the names and couldn’t tell you which one is which without watching. [Though I’ve seen more pieces of one than the other.]
    As for a proliferation of material on the same general subject, hold your hat.
    I’ve done a lot of research on the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew — the earliest ghost writers of each, back in the late 20s & early 30s. Though I was already also aware of several similar — but not as widely popular — series around the same time, I was stunned to learn that there were SCORES and scores of series (some geared to boys and others to girls) which featured the “young kids without much parental contact on wild adventures (some of which were pure detective)” trope. The number of titles must be in the tens of thousands.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As I said, one book becomes popular and everyone’s aunt and uncle writes in the same vein. I hadn’t realized until I learned about the Nancy Drews and Hardy Boys’ ‘franchises’ until you mentioned it sometime before. The Bobbsey Twins and Boxcar Children were two that I read a number of, although my sister had a couple of volumes of others popular in the 1940s and 50s in our house that I looked into.
      Yes, the attacks on the president were exactly the idea I was going for.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Patricia Kiyono says:

    All of this explains why authors have to do so much marketing in addition to our writing. Since there are so many books with similar themes, it’s up to us to show why ours are worth reading. We have to connect with people and get them to know us and trust us when we say “Please read my book.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Elaine Cantrell says:

    Everyone imitates success I guess, but it’s hard for lightening to strike twice.

    Liked by 1 person

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