Something Like A Phenomenon… & Me

If you read a lot of author-agent-writer blogs you’ve probably heard about this. I ran into it today and was kinda stoked to be involved. But not really cause it also meant a rejection, but you know, what can you do. Take the good with the bad and all that. Anyway, the psych major in me just won’t die and I’m so tickled, I’m posting about it.

I call it group think because I’ve always liked to say that. It’s not the exact right term, but it works. “Collective conscience” works too. LOL. Here’s what I’m talking about. Every now and then writers around the world will write a big ole eighty thousand plus word novel, edit it , polish it and submit it….and a bunch of them will be the same thing! I don’t mean like a bunch are about vampires. I mean like agents and editors have days when they find in their slush pile 10 manuscripts about a girl and her pet chinchilla who grow weed in the school greenhouse to pay for college.

Is that as completely fascinating to you as it is to me? I mean, not the chinchilla – the concept. Writers who have never even heard of one another let alone talked about what they were writing, came up with and executed the same idea, then polished and submitted it at virtually the same time.  I get all Dr. Freud over stuff like this and don my white lab coat and chew the stem of my glasses while I think about the amazingness of the human condition. I’m so freaking happy right now that this happens. For real. I am.

So, today I got a rejection on a project of mine. No big deal. Rejection is the name of the game and it’s one little piece of my bigger bulging puzzle (sidenote: the word bulging always makes me *snicker*) Anyhow, the rejection was so kind and supportive. The reason behind it: they just bought a couple of other things too similar to add mine to their line up. Yes. The No was no fun. But ME ME ME!! I was part of the group think, collective conscience phenomenon. I love it!

It’s super duty coolness and I HAD to tell you about it.

Ever been a part of it too? Did you recently write that same chinchilla story? Tell the truth. You did, huh?

10 comments to Something Like A Phenomenon… & Me

  • Mary DeBorde

    Interesting synchronicity regarding submissions! Can’t say I’m really surprised as I’ve heard the exact same thing said about patent registrations – no doubt Jung’s *Collective Conscious* holds true across the board.

    Funny thing here, researchers have noted the same phenonema in the animal kingdom. Where group (1) may suddenly decide to hunt, etc a new and particular way – only to find another group (2) doing the EXACT same thing at the same time, with no contact between the diverse groups.

    Yep, it’s a strange little rock we live on lol ;D

  • I’ve heard of that as well. Personally haven’t had that happen yet (that I know of).

  • Actually, in my version, they were selling coke. :) Kidding, of course! And stop snickering at the word “bulging.” You never know what it does to a guy when you do that! LMAO (After all, I was a psyche major, too).

    I have two completed manuscripts and one working. The working one is about a friend who is fighting brain cancer, so I know that nobody else is writing that.

    One of the completed novels is about a con artist who bilked people for millions of dollars and, even though others could write the story, I collaborated with her former bodyguard (who is also the one who “outed” her), so that one’s safe.

    The other one is a book I co-wrote with a friend on how to make it in Hollywood. Now THAT has to be an original idea, right??? Seriously, though, he has directed and produced dozens of indie films, so that may make it a winner. Who knows? But I always worry that someone else has the same ideas that I do.

    I was once told by a half-ass producer (the other half was dodo-bird) that he wasn’t paying me for a screenplay that he contracted me for because it was “too similar to one that I already bought.” When I got a hold of the screenplay, it was HORRIBLE. It was NOTHING like mine… It didn’t even have fully developed characters.

    But when it comes to fiction and screenplays, there is always that chance.

    On the bright side, if that publisher just bought two similar stories, it means that your also has a market!

  • Maybe Carl Jung was right!

    I find that fascinating, and I wonder how much more it happens with things that never get submitted (some people shamefully hide those things from the light of day!).

  • Stacy

    I swear to god, yesterday I sent a post card to Post Secrets about how my biggest fear is that I finish my manuscript, edit and polish it, and before I can even submit it to an agent, its on the YA shelf at Target. (Now, its not such a secret.)

    I wonder if that theory where were all connected by electromagnet impulses includes book ideas?

  • One of the reasons I’ve been feeling so discouraged about my own work-in-progress, is that after finishing the first draft, it seemed everywhere I turned, there was my story. Maybe not the exact story, but strangely similar and in the details even.

    Ah, well. It’s good to know I’m not the only one!

  • It’s fascinating, yes, but kind of scary too. Surely all these chinchilla-story-writing people must be somehow magically connected in a way no one knows or understands about… (Stacy, please elaborate on the electromagnet impulses, I’ve never heard about that, but it sounds really interesting!)
    I have trouble finishing my manuscripts, so I don’t worry too much about other people publishing “my” story first because my biggest concern right now is to come to an end first… haha…

  • Yeah, that’s happened to me before, for sure. I always freak out a little when I get that rejection – “We have something very similar already on our plate,” and I’m like, well, crap. So while it’s kind of fun and interesting to be tapping into the same consciousness pool, I have to hope that the other guy is on the shallow end where the water is kinda warm.

  • It’s intriguing you would post this, I was thinking the same thing. At first I rejected the idea of a collective unconscious, but then there does seem to be a fabric that connects us. My thinking is some people can tap into this at will, and on a deep level. I believe these individuals are the leaders of our world, leaders of their respective fields of study, and in general are well known for their specialty. When they are performing their specialty they seem to be under the control, or embodied by it, and can appear to be what the ancients called “demigods”. Then I think there are people that can access it and have developed a talent to bring whatever enlightenment into reality. Several people can get the same idea and bring it into the world about the same time; ie. your post. Then as MindyMcGinnis said, I think there are people who stumble upon an idea but can’t bring it into reality. These are the people that say, “Dude I thought of that!”, or “Why didn’t I follow through with that?!”

    Then there are those that never experience it, which is the majority of the population. All this, of course, if we assume a collective unconscious is real. :)

  • Oh my gosh! I was actually on a couple agent sites today and came across them talking about the exact same thing. It’s creepy-weird by cool-weird all at the same time.

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