Here’s a question-
So, Writer X is tooling along revising the manuscript she’s been working on for a year.
She hopes to begin submitting this summer.
She daydreams about how rocking it will be to work with a great editor, and see her book on the shelves in a couple of years.
She’s had good feedback, and she thinks this manuscript probably has potential.
Writer X takes a break from writing on Saturday to peruse a few publisher’s fall lists, when an upcoming autumn release catches her eye. There is a very similar protagonist, subplot, and secondary character to her own work in progress. It appears to be probably too similar. Not in any kind of plagiarism way, just in a crappy luck kind of way. If the book is a success, Writer X’s manuscript will be seen as a cheap imitation. If the book is a flop, Writer X’s manuscript will be seen as even more of an unmarketable cheap imitation.
Does Writer X-
A) Roast marshmallows over the glowing embers of a wasted year?
B) Submit her manuscript anyway and make a reputation for herself as an unoriginal hack?
C) Revise to the point of starting from scratch, replacing the characters, changing the plot, and ignoring the vision for the piece?
D) Or start fresh with one of those new ideas always swimming around. What’s another year or two? Draft or ten?
Please advise, dear reader, so that I may guide Writer X out from the pile of wet tissues, empty wine bottles, and despair.