View Full Version : Slightly Steamed?

05-22-2013, 12:39 AM
Nothing major, but it rankles a bit.

One of the women in the writing group I belong to -- and have been submitting pieces of my WiP to for critique for months now -- just started a new book.

The MC in my WiP is Quinn Thorenson, he's a Viking-esque sort, just dropped out of a liberal arts college in the Pacific Northwest; it's set in the early 70s so yeah, he's got the long Nordic/Celt hair, pulls it back in a ponytail . . . you get the idea.

Now, guess how one of her main protagonists is described? And guess what his first name is?

And she says it's "coincidence," that she likes the name because one of her young relatives is named Quinn . . . There's nothing remotely Nordic in the family background.

Oh, and she'd gotten the entire file, to-date, several months ago.

The part that gets to me is the business about it being "coincidence." She's being disingenuous.

Am I worried that her doing this with her character is somehow going to adversely affect my work? No. It's just the principle of the thing -- or lack thereof.


05-22-2013, 12:42 AM
That's a pretty shitty thing to do, I reckon.

Silver King
05-22-2013, 03:06 AM
I'd bring it up to the group, in front of her, and ask them what they think of the coincidence.

05-22-2013, 04:46 AM
I did. That's when she blew it off as "coincidence" and then tried to rationalize it.

Once upon a time I'd have let it pass and made excuses for her all by myself, but I'm pretty much over that.

It's terribly disappointing, but you'd think that by this point in my life I'd expect it. It always seems to catch me off guard though.

05-22-2013, 04:50 AM
I can round up the AW rebels if you'd like, and we can go and stomp her to oblivion! :D


The rebels shall ride again!!!!! :roll:


05-22-2013, 05:31 AM
It was a crappy thing to do by someone who apparently isn't creative enough to make it as a professional writer.

So try to let it go; she'll never get anywhere with her dreams, and that's punishment enough for her.

05-22-2013, 05:45 AM
Thanks :-)

I kept wondering if I was being too sensitive. Stuff like that . . . I couldn't do it, and even if I did do it inadvertently I'd be horrified and mortified and would change it, not blow it off.

05-22-2013, 07:57 AM
You aren't being too sensitive. But I agree with Jjdebenedictis, it's not likely to effect you, other than being understandably upset by the other writer's thieving ways.

05-22-2013, 08:22 AM
You're right, of course; it's not going to affect me or my story -- there's not much that could affect this one, it's going its own way, almost like it's THE story and I'm its writer, if that makes any sense. ;)

I really dislike having to feel this way about someone though.

Caitlin Black
05-22-2013, 08:39 AM
I do believe she should be sentenced to death by Vikings. You, uh, might need a time machine...

(It's a shitty thing to do.)

05-22-2013, 05:41 PM
I do believe she should be sentenced to death by Vikings. You, uh, might need a time machine...

(It's a shitty thing to do.)

Seriously, the AW rebels are not out of the question. :tongue

05-22-2013, 06:04 PM
At this point I would worry how much of the rest of her story is going to mimic yours. I wouldn't share anything else with her, that's for sure.

05-22-2013, 07:23 PM
It may help me get this baby finished in a more timely manner ;)

I'm 50,000 words in, extensively and obsessively beta-ed and edited, so I shouldn't have an onerously lengthy a post-writing process.

Hers is a mystery/suspense set around an archaeological dig in Egypt, love triangle telegraphed in the first chapter.

Mine's . . . about as far from that as it gets, lol. Other than the character's name and physical attributes. If she starts trying to write him dialogue, internal or external, similar to mine . . . well, I don't think things will be tea and crumpets. I hope she's got more sense than to poke the redhead, and two of the other members of the group are attorneys of the sort not likely to let something like that go unnoted or unremarked if it went any farther.

05-22-2013, 07:30 PM
Okay well there are a couple of routes you could take here:
1) Go with the AW rebels thing and we'll all go scratch her eyes out,
2) Write some hideously bad crap and give it to her to review, if she has to steal material to write then give her bad material and watch her fail,
3) fully believe in karma and know that what you reap you sow and she will have it come back and bite her in the end.

Sorry you have to deal with people like that.

05-22-2013, 07:40 PM
Oh, I believe in Kharma.

How could I not?

She's right here next to me, hogging the sofa :D

05-22-2013, 07:50 PM
...It's terribly disappointing, but you'd think that by this point in my life I'd expect it. It always seems to catch me off guard though.

No, you're not being "too sensitive."

Yes, I understand how you feel and I wouldn't trust her or share anything else with her - evah! :e2poke:

05-22-2013, 10:36 PM
My vote on your colleague is "despicable". Read the story at Snopes on "Blood for Odin!" here - http://msgboard.snopes.com/message/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/get_topic/f/25/t/001186.html **

That there is what we'll do. *pulls out the chainmail for the rabbit and makes sure her scramseax is still sharp*

**As a mostly-proud-former-member of the SCA, I can verify that that story was making the rounds back in the day. No one ever believed it actually happened or, at least, not as described, but we loved it anyway.

05-22-2013, 11:24 PM
That's even funnier, FB, knowing a friend of mine. He's not 6'7", more like 6'4", and his hair's darker, but back in the day it's something I can picture him doing -- exactly. And yes, his name ends in "son." He made me my mjolnir :D

05-23-2013, 12:14 AM
I think I like your friend sight-unseen. :D *looks back at all the Backlunds, Petersdottars and Hokansons in her own family tree* Does he have armor, a cloak and a battle-axe? Would he mind if we kitted him out and pointed him at Ms. Despicable?

05-23-2013, 12:28 AM
He probably has at one time or another, lol.

Some of the antics he's recounted to me have to show up in stories someplace . . . like the night he and one of his cohorts filled a couple of garbage bags with a mixture of flammable lighter than air gases, tied long fuses to them and sailed them off the side of a mountain . . . There was UFO hysteria for weeks.

05-23-2013, 12:47 AM
Gah. That's more than a little annoying. Hopefully her "version" will be far different than yours. If it doesn't, I'd be interested to hear her explanation for that...

05-23-2013, 03:28 AM
That's perfect, Liralen! The rest of us can be the pitchfork-wielding horde. I'll bring the chain-mail-wearing Bunny o' Doom. She'll cave.

On the serious side, what a terrific violation of the trust people have in members of their writing groups. I declare her, "anathema". And wench.

05-23-2013, 06:06 AM
I guess I've been lucky up until now. The other group I belong to is a workshop with mostly fluid membership, people repeat, take time off, new people come in, and no one's ever pulled a stunt even remotely like this, not even the despised self-important doc (plastic surgeon) whose critiques are always "this is how I think you should write it," or "I re-wrote it so you could read it the way I'd write it." And then regales us with an anecdote from his one season sitting on the bench on a Canadian football team.

Oh yeah, he's gonna be a character in a story :D

You know, it hadn't hit me until now, but my friend Jake is likely going to be the main contributor to the character Bo, who's in this book, but has already told me I have to tell his story in the next one. There's a bit of Jake in Quinn too.

07-05-2013, 10:01 PM
And so it continues . . .

One of the attorneys called her out on it, via e-mail, when she sent her submission out for critique.

She told him to "get over it" and reiterated the story that she hadn't read any of my story previous to naming this character and describing him . . . which didn't wash, as she'd critiqued parts of it (including descriptive bits, as well as had the entire file to read for background, twice, once between Thanksgiving and Christmas) months before she started this one, when she was still worrying over a travelogue book (which I helped her figure out how to format) and finishing up her previous mystery.

He's quite pissed at her, professionally and personally. It's going to be interesting to see what happens at the July get-together, at the other attorney's house, for a barbecue as well as meeting . . .

I've not submitted anything, and may not for awhile.

Susan Littlefield
07-06-2013, 07:07 AM

You have every right to be upset. That was a crappy thing for her to do, and it's no coincidence.I'm glad you went to the group with this.

In my opinion, if you can't trust your critique group, you can't trust anyone

07-06-2013, 07:23 AM
Thank you for that, Susan :)

07-06-2013, 07:34 AM
It's good, though, that others have caught on to what she's doing and are also willing to call her out on it. If enough people in the group talk to her, she might (finally) have the second thoughts that she should have had first. Grrrr.... Is it bad that I want to be a fly on the wall at the barbecue? You may have 4th of July fireworks a tad late.... ;)

I'm still steamed on your behalf. Say the word and I'll point the bunny in her general direction. His stink-eye is known for causing people's feet to catch fire.

07-06-2013, 07:57 AM
I think I'm going to do something in incredibly poor taste (well, okay, not really, they're delicious).

She's from the midwest -- but spent some time in England and has become "more English than the English," affecting an accent, the whole bit.

I'm making Irish Car Bomb cupcakes and taking 'em to the barbecue :D

It may go right over her head -- a bit subtle, but the guys will get it. And I'll enjoy it.

07-06-2013, 08:32 AM

Ah, she's one of those, eh? I know someone who spent two weeks in Paris once a number of years ago. He likes to use a "French" accent and is now the expert in all things French. He also wears a beret, to...interesting effect.

Hmmm...would she believe black pudding's* a dessert, do you think? That could be fun. :) How about her having it a la mode?

* Official disclaimer: Not denigrated black pudding, mind you. I like it fried for breakfast, but I know not everyone cares for it.

07-07-2013, 06:00 AM
This should be an interesting meeting . . . there will be alcohol . . .

Which I will partake of very sparingly, if at all.

07-07-2013, 07:31 AM
Here's wishing you much luck, as good a time as possible, that you have good back-up from the other members and remember: I have a bunny and I'm not afraid to use it in a good cause.

07-07-2013, 07:49 AM
I'm making Irish Car Bomb cupcakes and taking 'em to the barbecue :D

Photos, please? :)

07-07-2013, 07:53 AM
I'll try to remember to take some :) And make sure I've got a camera battery charged up ahead of time, lol!

I'm going to be so sweet, too. She's got an elderly (early 90s) mother who's terminal -- and a very pleasant, kind and unassuming woman. I'm going to send her some homemade candied grapefruit peel. :)

07-07-2013, 08:20 AM
I'd change my MC's name. You're creative, you'll think of another. Play it up like the new name is so much better than the old name. See how she handles that.

I have this friend who copies my garden statements. (When we were younger she copied my fashion statements and one of my kid's names, but that is another story.) It is maddening. If I plant chartreuse coleus with white impatiens in a mulberry pot, she does the same! So then I rip everything out and recombine it, plant it in a new pot and damned if she doesn't do the same. My husband used to say that I was crazier than she was but so what? If she is going to copy me she is going to work at it! --s6

Caitlin Black
07-07-2013, 08:29 AM
That made me smile, Shakey. :) Not so much that she's copying you, but the whole, "Ah, you copied that? *hard work* Copy this! *more hard work in garden* Bwahahhahhahahahaha! Bitch."

I'm sure you don't get that amused by it yourself, but the picture it paints is pretty amusing I think.

07-07-2013, 09:11 AM
Nah, I think my Quinn gets to keep his name. I didn't arbitrarily pick it because I liked the sound, or because I knew someone with that name. I never really choose my characters' names; they always tell me their names :)

Names are important.

07-07-2013, 02:01 PM
This thread worries me a little because I was at my crit group yesterday, and a main character in one of my WIP's has the same name as a character in the WIP we were critting - it's a fairly unusual name too, but I swear I named him long before I read this story. (It's slightly different to your case as the character in the other WIP seems to be part of the wider cast, as opposed to an MC, but still....)

I guess I just hope nobody thinks the same about me.

But I'm sorry you're in this situation. Go ahead and keep the character name. It's not so "out there" that, even if both books end up published and circulating, people are going to raise eyebrows.

07-07-2013, 07:24 PM
I don't think you need worry, Crunchy. Let's see...how many Mikes do I know... :D It was more the wholesale character grab--name and description--in this case. One or the other, you could likely shake off; the two together is much harder.

07-07-2013, 11:31 PM
This thread worries me a little because I was at my crit group yesterday, and a main character in one of my WIP's has the same name as a character in the WIP we were critting - it's a fairly unusual name too, but I swear I named him long before I read this story.How's this for a situation likely to provoke paranoia and wibblyness?

I once made up a name--literally pulled a pleasing collection of sounds together from scratch--for a fantasy novel.

Later that year, I was watching a movie with friends, and during the credits, I saw one of the actors listed as having that name.

And about a year after that, I had a student with that name.

I made that name up, I swear!

As others have said, if it had just been "Quinn", or just Quinn's description but a different name, or if it was Quinn+description but the critter hadn't ever read Liralen's story before, then it wouldn't be suspicious. All three together makes it seem deeply sketchy rather than just a wild coincidence.

07-08-2013, 12:51 AM
I forget what it's called, JJ, but there's a term for that -- when a seemingly random idea or concept simultaneously occurs to people who have no connection to each other. It happens!

I think the part that gets me the most about this is the bald-face lying, which can only lead me to believe that she thinks I'm stupid. If you want to piss me off, lie to me and be condescending about it.

Caitlin Black
07-08-2013, 02:09 AM
I forget what it's called, JJ, but there's a term for that -- when a seemingly random idea or concept simultaneously occurs to people who have no connection to each other. It happens!

Yes, I've heard of that too. There have been scientific studies done on it, but I forget what it's called.

I think when I read about it, there had been 2 nearly-identical patents lodged in patent offices in different parts of the world in the same day or two.

There's also the related phenomenon, whereby as soon as you've taught yourself a new word, you see that word everywhere for a few days. Not sure if this one's been studied, but it was taught to me as a kid - and it does seem to be true.

It's not that suddenly everyone is using that word - it's that that word is one that was forgettable because you didn't understand it, and then when you do learn it, it makes a bigger impact in your mind when you do hear/read it next.

Or else it's a worldwide conspiracy. ;)


07-08-2013, 05:51 AM
It's going to bug me until I remember what that term is *headdesk*

07-08-2013, 06:29 AM

Liralen, I'm so sorry this is going on for you, how disheartening. Honestly, if it were me, this would be the end of my involvement in that critique group until and unless she's booted out.

True, it's all in the execution, but this is too much. :( You have to be able to trust the members of your critique group.

07-08-2013, 06:29 AM
ETA: Cross-posted, or great minds thinking alike.

Nah. No great minds on my end, so it must be just coincidence.

Caitlin Black
07-08-2013, 08:01 AM
LOL, those 2 posts are an example of what we're trying to remember the name for. How ironic.

07-08-2013, 08:59 AM
I noticed that. :D

And I still can't remember the term http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m110/Renee750il/gifs/headdesk_zpsa7422dc7.gif (http://s102.photobucket.com/user/Renee750il/media/gifs/headdesk_zpsa7422dc7.gif.html)

07-08-2013, 06:25 PM
"bunching phenomenon" is the closest I can find -- not it, but close.

07-08-2013, 07:49 PM
spontaneous combustion--no, wait, that's alfalfa bales--s6

07-08-2013, 07:53 PM
I read a book this winter about stone age people all getting the same idea at once although isolated by great distances. That word is in there. Can't remember the name of the book. The author might be Oppenheimer or Welles. Or Renfrow? --Damn! --s6

07-08-2013, 07:55 PM
I forget what it's called, JJ, but there's a term for that -- when a seemingly random idea or concept simultaneously occurs to people who have no connection to each other. It happens!


I'm sorry Liralen that this woman decided to steal your name, in a crit group no less. But poo happens. I will say this much, I know a bit about Liralen's writing. She's a highly skilled writer who writes with deep conviction and passion. I believe her "Quinn", like cream, will rise to the top....so high, that the cheater's Quinn won't even be visible!

Straight ahead, Liralen, she doesn't stand a chance. My 2 cents.

07-12-2013, 06:06 AM
It was an interesting session . . . Didn't get done until 11:30 and by the time all the leave takings were done, a chat with the two lawyers, the drive home with a stop at the truck stop for a cup of coffee I didn't get in until 1 a.m. and today has been frenetic and exhausting . . .

But the cupcakes are awesomeness defined. :D

I wish I had enough energy to bake a quick batch of oat scones for breakfast in the morning.