Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Secret Circle as a Gateway

There have been many things about the process of getting published that have intimidated and discouraged me.  One particular aspect kept me from doing an important and responsible thing that every writer should.  I was terrified to read other books from my genre.  I was sure that one would be too similar to my own story that I spent five years developing.  I got a hollow feeling in my stomach each time I researched other Middle Grade Adventure Fiction.  It was like watching a horror film. 
On one particular hot and sunny day in late August, just as I was preparing to send my newly edited and nicely arranged query and first three chapters to a publisher, I ran across a title and description of a new series on the CW.  The title alone sent the familiar feeling into my stomach.  I quickly researched all I could about the new show, which was also a book.  It sounded way too much like my book; the one lying on the counter in front of me waiting to be sent to a publisher for the first time.  I almost didn’t send it.  I figured it was as I feared, and it was just too comparable to everything else on the market.  I am glad I didn’t listen to those pesky feelings of doubt and incompetence. 
No, I haven’t heard back from a publisher or agent, but I have been watching The Secret Circle.  The first episode was scary.  There were a few moments where I felt like I could be watching a scene out of my own book, but then things changed.  Witchcraft became a major theme and so did romance.  I started to embrace the differences of The Secret Circle, and I even started to view its similarities as something that may actually help my book get published.  The Secret Circle could actually be an access point for me and my dream.
I think there are many obstacles and pessimistic feelings that can stop aspiring authors from pursuing their publishing dreams.  I am glad I didn’t let one of my biggest fears get in the way.  Sometimes a book, or show, or movie can remind us instantly of our precious manuscript.  Don’t be scared to read it or watch it.  Don’t run from the things that are similar to your book.  Discover and delight in the differences and the fact that the popularity of something resembling your manuscript may bring you an even bigger audience. 

I am reminded of something Priscilla Shirer once said about how God goes before us and tinkers with the gears to make sure that when we step up to the plate maximum results will be achieved.  He may have brought about a new series on a popular network just for me.  "The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you.  He will not fail you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed." Deuteronomy 31:8

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