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Question
Hey, how are you?

So I am interesting in writing a book and have come up with an idea that I find pretty interesting. I have shared it with a few people and they feel the same way I do. However, I do not want to waste my time writing if the idea has already been done by another author. Is there any way I can find out if my idea has already been done?

Thanks.

Answer
Hi, John!

Writing is never a waste of time. No matter whether another author has "done" an idea, they don't have your brain, your experiences or your ideas. Any book you would write would be different because the characters you create and the way they deal with the plot idea would unique. The nice thing with writing is that every book turns out a little different. I once read a story about an interview with Stephen King, the horror writer. They asked him how he could come up with such creepy plots. He responded (paraphrasing here) that he can't NOT think of creepy things. He gave the example that if you took him, Danielle Steele, Louis L'Amour and Agatha Christie out to the middle of nowhere, with nothing on the landscape except a pond and a tree and told each person to write a story using the exact same characters and only the setting in front of them, the stories would be totally different. Danielle Steele might write about a romantic tryst between two power-hungry executives, Louis L'Amour would write about warring cattle barons fighting over rights to the watering hole, Agatha Christie would write about a dead body discovered floating in the pond and he would write about something horrible and ancient, rising out of the depths of the water to gobble up the cattle, and the barons and the romantic pair and the detectives.

Same "idea" but different implementation. Never fear someone else has written the idea, because they can't. It's YOUR idea and how you put it on the page is what only you can do.

Good luck!

Cathy

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Cathy Clamp

Expertise

I'm happy to answer questions about any aspect of writing novels, from the beginning kernel of an idea through completion. I can help with writing a query letter and synopsis to an agent or editor. I can explain publishing terminology and acronyms. I can also assist with questions about verifying the credentials of agents/publishers and how to proceed once you've been accepted for publication. I can teach the rules of formatting a manuscript, creating viable plots, characterization and flow in the following genres: romance, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, suspense, horror, women's fiction, mainstream and mystery.

Experience

I'm a USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Tor/Forge Books. Along with a co-author, I've published fifteen novels (combination of mass market and trade softcover) since 2003, and have contracts for four more books through 2011.

Organizations
Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Western Outdoor Writers, Horror Writers of America.

Publications
Tor/Forge Books, Western Reflections Publishing, BenBella Books, Running Press, Wild Child Publishing. Many others.

Education/Credentials
My educational background is limited to real life experience of publishing novels commercially for the past five years.

Awards and Honors
USA Today bestseller, Waldenbooks Mass Market Paperback Top 20 bestseller, Nielsen BookScan Top 20 bestseller, RT BOOKreviews Career Achievement Award winner, 2009, Book Buyers Best Award for Paranormal, Romantic Times Best Werewolf Novel, Write Touch Readers Award, EVVY Best Historical Chronicle Award, The Lories Best Paranormal. Many others.

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