It’s no secret that I love Stephen King’s work. On Writing is my new bible, and I waited (and waited and waited and waited) with breathless anticipation for each new installment of the Dark Tower Series to be released.
It’s also no secret that I am writing a thriller/novel/really long story about a woman lost in the woods.
On Thursday I was at the library and decided to look for Under the Dome – a novel of King's I have started to read twice but just couldn’t get in to. The only King on the shelf was The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. I picked it up and started thumbing through the pages. Now, it’s been years since I had a copy of The Girl in my hot little hands. It was printed in 1999, and I suppose that’s about when I read it too – I usually grab them when they are fresh off the press (less 11/22/63 and the aforementioned Dome).
All I really remembered about this story was that a little girl (Trisha) got lost in the woods and that flying, biting insects tormented her throughout the entire story. That angle was so real that I itched for weeks after turning over the last page. I also recalled this to be one of my favorites, so I checked it out and started reading that night. About two chapters in, I said, “Uh oh.” The story was sounding familiar. As I turned the final page, I felt a sense of shock.
My own story is very, very similar…too similar in some parts.
One could argue that being lost in the woods is the same – or at least comparable – regardless of the person, place, or time. Trees are trees and terror is terror, right?
My question is one of plagiarism. That ugly word popped into my head when I read an almost identical sentence only a few pages into the book. Then another, and another, then more.
If...ok, ok...When my story gets published, who’s to say my ideas are really mine. Does the love of a particular author's writing style sink into the subconscious of another or merely influence them? How close it too close? How does one prove that an idea really is original? Or, just as Hollywood remakes nearly every one of my favorite movies (and usually ruins them – Clash of the Titans, anyone?), are there no New Ideas anymore?
I guess I will crack open On Writing and see what the King has to say about it.