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Have you ever heard of synchronicity?

How someone is banging away at an idea somewhere, and somewhere else someone else is having the same flash of genius?

Darwin and Wallace had it, right?

Okay, not really; they were aware of each other’s work, and it was more a matter of who finished first and got it published. Still, they started their research and came to their conclusions independently from each other.

To my amazement, I have been witness—if not quite part—to something eerily like that (though obviously not on that scale).

It’s more amazing to me than the Darwin/Wallace thing, though, because it is completely out of the blue—Twilight Zone stuff.

See, back in March I was chatting away with this writer, just shooting the breeze, and then we started with, “wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a story about this?” and “oh and then the heroine could do that!” and “nah, that’s been done… but what about this other thing?” and “man, and then she could… and he could… and they would…”

And a couple of hours later she tells me, “Hey, I have a proposal for a book from that chat!”

A few weeks later she tells me, “Hey, I sold that book from that chat.”

Months passed and I pretty much forgot the original conversation, let alone everything else. Then, just yesterday I was privileged to read a very early copy of the book in question. (In case you are interested, it’s good, in my never humble opinion—really good.)

But here’s the kicker: over four months after the brainstorm, a novel came out. I read that book about three weeks or so after its release. I liked that novel, a lot, even while noticing some issues (but then I’m told I’m the nitpicker from hell), discussed it with a few people—some loved it, some hated it, the usual—and forgot about it. I mean, I’ve read something like thirty books since I finished it, you know?

Then I start reading the manuscript I mentioned, and during the first thirty pages or so I get this nagging feeling of familiarity. Suddenly, it hits me like the proverbial anvil: the beginning of the manuscript has some superficial similarities to that published novel (what the hero does, how and why him and the heroine meet, and a couple of other elements).

But given how things work in publishing, that published novel was probably finished and delivered to the publisher some six to seven months before its release, if not more—which in turn means that while this writer and I were having that chat, the other novel had already been at the publisher for a few months.

How’s that for a coincidence?

(Aside: this brings to mind the old thing about there only being three or seven or however many plots ever.)

But the truly cool part is just how different these two novels are.

Yes, there are some common elements to both, and the set up is superficially similar, but the end result? Each author’s voice and their focus are entirely different. I liked the characters in both books, but for completely different reasons, as they are such different people with very different motivations.

As I said above, the premise at the beginning of both books appears similar at first sight, but the way the relationships between the two sets of protagonists develop, as well as what is behind that initial premise, are entirely different.

I am going to have a difficult time waiting for all y’all to get your hands on the second book, and see what you think.

(Second aside: I know stuff you don’t, nyah nyah, and I’m not telling.)


  • A) Love that cartoon! lol.

    B) (Second aside: I know stuff you don’t, nyah nyah, and I’m not telling.) ::blowing raspberries::

    C) That synchronicity thing happens all the time. That’s why most authors talk in vague terms about current wips, and some don’t read within the subgenre they write (or at least not while they’re writing–they don’t want to be subconsciously influenced.


  • LOL, actually, that once happened to me and Vanessa Jaye a few years ago. We hadn’t had a writing chat in like…six months. So, one day I call her and we start talking about our prospective projects. I’d been working on a story about a man who meets his heroine as she’s doing a spectacular job of murdering him. (I really gotta get back to that!) As we discuss, I think there were like 8 uh-ohs, because some how, we’d been writing a freakishly similar set of books.

    Come to think of it, I don’t think either of us finished those, did we Jaye?

    But you’re right, AL. I can bet you good money that for all those similarities, there would have been two completely different books.



  • Back in the 90’s this happened with two historical titles. Both Laura Kinsale and Katherine Kingsley had historicals set in Turkey and the heroines were eerily the same. The books came out two months apart and the ladies have never met.



  • You know Dee, I remember that talk because we were on the phone so long (I was worried about the cost, and you pooh-pooh’d me cause you’d sold your soul to Verzion or summin and could talk a long assed time on long distance calls. lol) But I don’t remember the ‘uh-ohs’, which means that neither one of us finished those mss.

    Even though we write in the same subgenre, I’m pretty confident we’d end up with different stories…. and now you’ve got the gears in the ol brain box going. Imma gonna contact you in a wee bit…. 😉

    Back on topic, when JR Ward first came out there was a lot of blather about her Brotherhood being very similar to Sherilyn’s Dark Hunters, wasn’t there. I mean peeps went down the list of comparisons item by item. I haven’t read the DH books, and only the first two of the brotherhood, and yet I’m pretty sure the similarities aside, they are definitely very different stories.


  • Eh, it happens to me and my buds all the time.
    “Think I’ll have a beer.”
    “Dam, I was just thinking the same thing!”


  • This theory of collective mind, loosely described as the capacity to tap into the pool of thought across species, has been evidenced in the observance of monkeys (forget the genus). One monkey began using a tool (a branch or rock, this too I can’t recall) and shortly after many miles away, another monkey suddenly imitated the action with the same tool.

    I’ve found this occuring with some of my own work; an original idea for character and plot hits me. Feverishly working with a sense the tale is flowing through me, I just finish the manuscript and several books appear with the same stylized heroine. In consolation, I attribute this to the collective unconscious as simultanous discovery. Thank you Azteclady, for confirming it!


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