Monday, November 21, 2011

Accidental Rip-Off. NaNoWriMo Tragedy.

Like I needed any bad news today. 

I went to the library catalog online to see if they had a copy of the children's book about the boy who swam with the seals, which is supposedly based on a Chinook story, which I was hoping would help me with my story. 

So, turns out after searching "boy" AND "seals" that The Secret of Roan Inish is basically a rip-off of my book.  Or actually, my book is a semi-rip-off of that movie, except the problem is that I have never seen this movie. 


I mean, my "novel" (i.e. collection of disjointed scenes and concepts which is working its way toward being a novel) is a little more complicated.  There are two strands written in two different POV's.  The first is a girl who is a double amputee & competitive swimmer, and sort of her coming of age story and story of getting her first prosthetic legs at an older age.  The second strand is a story she is writing or creating in her mind in which her mother turns out to be a selkie (but they are called something else in my book-- they are sea lion people) and it turns out that instead of losing her brother in the ocean as a baby, he transformed into his selkie form and has grown up in their community, and is now a leader of sorts and is figuring out how to transform into his human form.  Then I haven't decided whether in that story she actually figures out that she is a selkie, too.  I think she probably does, because why not?  It's all part of her fantasy world that she is creating.  I think there will be tsunamis in both stories-- one more devastating than the other.

So, now my question is, do I go watch the movie just to make sure I'm not completely ripping it off?  Or do I refuse to see it just so I am not tempted to rip it off or refer to it in any way, shape or form?  Or do I incorporate the movie into my novel purposefully?  The third option could make some sense, because both stories are based in the selkie and chinook mythology anyway already.  But I don't like the idea of popular culture references because they go dead after a while for the reader-- they date the story.

Rgh.  Just when I need to be chugging out amazing word count which is going to wrap up this sucker...


  1. Ron and I both think you shouldn't go see/read it. That way you'll know in your own head that you didn't rip off, not that you can prove it to anyone in a court of law. Still, I do see the benefits of the other two options... *sigh* what a drag! I know it's distracting but don't let it slow down your word count - You can worry about all this LATER.

  2. It's not really a tragedy or all that surprising... have you seen TV Tropes? The website devoted to tropes of all kinds. It's all been done before... the question is whether or not I can do it in a way that is interesting and relevant to somebody, I suppose.


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