Writing Can Be Murder

November 13, 2006

I could write that…oh wait, I did!

Filed under: Uncategorized — jenniferelbaum @ 10:30 am

A few years ago a producer optioned one of my screenplays with the hopes of making it into a TV movie.  To make a long, rather boring, story short, the reason I was given that a well-known TV actress passed on it and the piece was never made was because she had just played the part of a photographer in a movie and the character in my script did sketches.

Apparently a heroine with an artistic bent was too similar for the actress to play again. This baffled me.(And yes, it frustrated me too!)

I watched the tv movie that she had made and there was really nothing else similar about the storyline except that it too involved a murder (but then don’t ALL Lifetime movies have a murder??).

I just found out that someone else is writing a story that has similar elements to a novel I’ve been working on for months. I got upset. Then I thought about it. We’re each writing our own stories. They’ll probably end up being very different since we each have our own strengths and weaknesses, our own voices, our own views.  I just hope we don’t end up sending them to the same publisher!!

Have you ever had a similar experience? How did you deal with it?



  1. Maybe the actress was afraid of being type-cast? You’d think there’d have been another one eager for the part, though.

    One of the reasons I don’t read as much as I used to is because it always seems like when I come up with an idea, I discover something similar has been done before. Usually if youi really compare the two stories they’re not that much alike, but I did used to worry that a reader would immediately see the similarities and think copy-cat. I’m trying to get over that feeling, because you’re right, I’ve written my own story and any similarity to someone else’s work – especially a book I hadn’t read when I came up with the idea – is purely coincidental and probably only superficial anyway. I hope.

    Editors will tell you there are only so many plots. We make them unique by…well…making them unique.

    Comment by Jennifer Colgan — November 14, 2006 @ 8:45 am

  2. Isn’t it frustrating when you read something similar to an idea of your own?!?! You’re right, the key is to make each of our stories unique!

    Comment by jenniferelbaum — November 14, 2006 @ 3:29 pm

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