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What do I do if my story is too similar to another? | Writer Questions #9

So I'm working on a book about grim reapers and I just discovered its almost exactly like the plot of "dead like me"....I'm so mad. Ive never even seen this show before. How can I fix it without redoing all my work?


Dear Writer,
Audre Lorde said, "There are no new ideas, there are only new ways of making them felt." She is getting at the heart of your question.
This concerns tropes and how to use them. Fact is, at this point in history, no one is going to write something that has never been seen before in at least some respects. Every writer must at contend with this truth, get over it, and keep writing.
My advice is that you not concern yourself with how much your original work may overlap with existing work in your medium or another medium. This happens to all of us from time to time in varying degrees.
Focus on the unique things you bring to the table. Research and be inspired. Your perspectives, passions, and expertise will forge a work that ca…
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Writer: 1. Do you describe the surroundings only when they drive the plot/story forward? Or [do] you like to describe them to give the reader a sense of the mood/setting/atmosphere? 2. How long are your descriptions? How do you decide the length?
Dear Writer,
Questions of craft are tethered to context. That said:
I often want the reader to be oriented to the immediate setting, even if the immediate setting isn't the most significant setting. In such cases, I choose a handful—usually no more than three—orienting details that engage some of the five senses and establish in broad terms where the characters are and what it's like to be there.
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Dear Writer,
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Dear Writer,
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