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  • Jessica Nacovsky

24: When I learned My Book Was Similar To A TV Show


It's an oil painting of a baby doll making a nauseous expression while holding a book in front of frames, while she dances on a very tiny stage.
See that face? That was my face looking at this damn book that took forever to write.

Howdy! My first novel manuscript was about a group of teenagers with low tier super powers, who'd been kidnapped and raised by a woman with a god complex. She used their Gifts to fund her dreams, married for money, and got to keep that money when her SO disappeared. She homeschooled the kiddos with an emphasis in military education, underscored by lofty revolutionary goals. After several years in her care, some of the young adults decided to edge from the nest, look for work, and socialize outside of their family. Difficulties ensued while interacting with the world outside their home after most of a decade of seclusion.

This story was to be called, Costly Gifts. I had just finished my first round of edits while waiting for a movie to start, I saw a preview for, The Gifted. Oof. In less than 30 seconds, I could tell I had a problem. The show was about teenagers with superpowers. While I never saw an episode, and it has since been canceled, I knew I had to change my book if I wanted to see it one day published.

My lazy solution, at the time, was to replace the word Gifted, with Talented, throughout the text. Without watching the show, (which I purposefully avoided, so it wouldn’t taint my original concept), I couldn’t know how similar my story was to theirs. Talented, however, lacked the ring of Gifted, and by the third round of edits, I’d gone back to Gifted.

Thanks to the show, I spent more time pondering my story between edits, debating how far I could get from the word Gifted, whether I should drop any label at all. In the meantime I wrote other books and with experience came taste. My Costly Gifts isn’t just awkwardly written, it’s uninteresting. It reads like a prequel for a more exciting sequel I have no intention of writing. At this point, I’m thankful to that show for forcing me to take a hard look at my work, and to move away from it. Otherwise, I would’ve cleaned up the grammatical and spelling mistakes, called the manuscript finished, and sent it off to agents. Instead, I’m prioritizing other, better, projects. While I might return to Costly Gifts one day, if so, it’ll be to overhaul the entire manuscript. No super powers! All crazy, all the time! Let’s get weird with it. But not yet. I’m gonna let the new spin steep a little longer while I revise Stem & Stone for the umpteenth time.


Thanks for stopping by! I put out a new blog post every Monday. Toodles!

TL:DR; The TV show, The Gifted, made me reconsider my story, Costly Gifts. The show got canceled after I changed the terminology of my story, and I put the terminology back. However, my book sucks so I’m shelving it for now. Might make it real weird later.


#writing #querying #writingmishaps #writingfrustration #growth #amwriting #amquerying


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