Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Attack of the Evil Plot Clones

This week I was Googling character names for my work in progress. I wanted to be sure I hadn’t inadvertently picked something I thought was cool and obscure, but in reality riddled half the titles on bestseller list. For me, it's the literary equivalent of checking popular baby names du jour so you can avoid saddling your kid with the next "Jacob" or "Isabella" moniker (with apologies to Jacobs and Isabellas everywhere).

To my slight dismay, I found my main character name used in another series of books. Since it was a completely different genre, and a supporting character at that, I chalked it up to a minor annoyance, but not a show stopper.

But then I sat up and took notice, realizing I'd uncovered bigger potatoes than the shared name.
Evil plot clones may, or may not have facial hair.

As I read more, I realized this book shared some pretty significant plot elements with a manuscript I’d just finished beta reading for a friend. And when I say significant, I mean the core-premise-of-the-story significant. AND the book was in her genre. An evil plot clone!

When told her what I’d found, I got a reply that I won’t repeat here on the prime time Internet. Suffice it to say, it was in all caps.