Wednesday, January 24, 2007


As I said recently, I've been enjoying Allan Guthrie's Kiss Her Goodbye* and I've gotten to a part where I find that I am also writing this novel. Let me explain...

Last year I spent a couple of months putting together 38,000 words for the opening of a thriller where pharmaceutical companies try to pawn off bad product on poor people and the woman who finds this out sets out to gather evidence to bring them down. Then I saw the DVD of The Constant Gardener. That stopped me pretty cold. The story was well done (LeCarre's, I mean...Mine too, as I think of it now) so I couldn't see a point in doing it again. Seemed like a waste. Maybe I can rework it somehow, but I got a couple of other novels going right now...

One of those other novels is one that I'm finding eerily similar to Kiss Her Goodbye. There are some major differences though, so I'l keep working on a story I'm calling The Concrete Heart. I like it. And of course, I can always ask Mr. Guthrie to retract his story to make room for mine...

Seriously, there are major differences, but some similarities as well. This one, however, I feel will be MY story as opposed to the medicine thriller which would have been LeCarre's story since he got there first and the plot lines were essentially the same throughout. Of course, I also had a story about this maniac ship's captain searching for one particular whale in an ocean full of whales so that he could kill it...

At the same time, I'm working on a thriller that involves terrorism and it's requiring me to go online late at night to look up how to make bombs and the range on sniper rifles. Not sure what to say when the Feds finally come knocking. Hold on, there's someone at the door...

* I'm not the type who can read a book in one sitting, but this one is so good, I'm reading it at breakfast and at dinner to my wife's great annoyance.


Blogger Hard Man said...

I've been there too. When it first happened, I jokingly referred to it as 'morphic resonance'. Now I no longer joke. Thankfully there's no copyright on ideas, though. And as we know, it's all in the execution.

And my apologies to your wife. At least you're not reading it aloud. Are you?


January 24, 2007 3:31 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

I loved KISS HER GOODBYE too, and I know your pain with the similarity thing.

I was once working on a noir tale of a killer who loses his one human connection, a woman he loved who may or may not have loved him. It was cooking along just fine, until I read Andrew Vachss's SHELLA.

At the time, it felt like the same story, done better than I could ever do. So I scrapped the 40-odd thousand words and started over.

This time the killer was a hulking behemoth of a man, and the woman he loved someone who barely even knew him. Thirty thousand or so words flew right out of the typewriter (they still had typewriters then)

Yup, SIN CITY by Frank Miller. Started coming out in serial in Dark Horse Presents.

*(Um, while waiting around for blogger to un-clog and recognize me, I see the Hard Man himself posted a better-written paragraph where this one once stood, saying basically the same thing. It's happened again!)


Of course, I also had the good fortune to finish two years of work on modern-day Knights Templar fighting this obscure religious sect I'd found called Opus Dei. I wrapped the last chapter the same week DaVinci Code came out and *suffered* through the 'so-you-wrote-a-knockoff' comparisons.


January 24, 2007 3:45 PM  
Blogger Steven said...

Well, if I'm not the only one suffering from this problem, then perhaps we writers should do something about it. Two solutions come to mind - either a) read everything BEFORE you start writing or b) read NOTHING at all.

As for reading the book out loud, no, thank goodness. Damaris would be within her rights to use the frying pan on me in that case.

January 24, 2007 5:37 PM  

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