December 2008, I started writing my second full-length novel. In January I wrote a scene set in a math teacher’s classroom (imagine that) and, being huge on detail, I wrote this...
For the next few minutes, Alexa fiddled with her Blackberry while Brent fascinated himself with the bobblehead Albert Einstein on Mr. Traverso’s desk.
Bobblehead Albert Einstein? I didn’t even know if such a thing existed. It just made sense for this math teacher to have an Einstein bobble head on his desk. And as I finished up my manuscript in April, my naïve brain dreamt not only of Barbie dolls created for each of my characters but also little Einstein bobbles.
In May the fam and I ventured out to see Night at the Museum 2 and saw this
Yep. Einstein bobble heads in the Air and Space Museum. And they come to life. And spout out secret codes based on several digits of pi. Cue mass production of Einstein bobble heads ( I have two on my desk) and Smithsonian exhibits based on the character.
Okay, so OBVIOUSLY the folks from 20th Century Fox did not steal my idea. Obviously the screen writers wrote in Al way before I mentally conceived my manuscript. Obviously I make way too many mountains out of molehills.
But still. It was frustrating. I LIKE to be original. I enjoy the thrill that comes from generating quirky ideas. I didn’t want to come off as the idea stealer, but that’s what I would’ve felt like if my book did get picked up.
This has happened to me one too many times. My brain will produce what I think is a super original, insanely clever idea or I'll come up with some super awesome line or term to describe my characters. And then I’ll find it in a movie, or on a Facebook status. Or in a someone else’s story.
A while back I posted about queries and teased you with the first line of mine. I was afraid it would be a little on the offensive side, but decided to keep it, because while it might turn some people off, it might turn a few other people on.
And I didn’t share said first line because it is a little on the risqué side and to be honest, I’m a little averse to posting any of my work. It’s not that I think any of my faithful super awesome blog followers would “steal” or even that anything I post would be theft-worthy. Bu-ut, since the world, ya know, revolves around me and there SO MANY people that will stop by my blog and ohmygosh what if someone takes my first line of my query and uses it before I have a chance to use it—
I don’t have neurotic tendencies. Nope. Not me.
Anyhoo, many of you voiced hopes that I’d share my query's first line by year’s end. It may not even be that stupendous and worry worthy, but I’ll share now.
Just so you know—this line came out of NOWHERE. I wrote it and deleted it probably twenty times. I struggled with it. I was all like Would guys really give up their left nut for ANYTHING? I mean, that’s a pretty valuable part of the male anatomy. I confirmed this with my husband—yes, there are some things that are nut-sacrifice worthy. So, I kept it. And I love it. And I can’t see the inside jacket of my book without it.
And then, just over a week ago, I read the awesomeness that is The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler. The premise, the story, everything about it is AMAZING. I flew through it.
Yet there was one line that gave me pause.
Just in case you missed the comparison.
The first line of my query:
line from The Future of Us:
Well, so much for being original.
Am I making a gihugic deal out of nothing? Probably. But I will tell you this. While it is a little frustrating to see something I wrote or slaved over or just plain MINE in a movie or on someone’s Facebook status or in a book, this feeling like I’m stealing other people’s ideas can be validating. Apparently bobble head Einsteins are not a super far-fetched notion. And apparently there are things guys would be willing to swap a piece of their manhood with.
So, am I the only peculiar one here? Did YOU ever come up with this super awesome idea only to find someone else said/did it first? Got a story to share? Or the first line of your query?