Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Infinite Takes On The Same Theme

***beautiful mermaid pics used to be in this post but due to the recent lawsuits for using photos on blogs I took them down.***

My newest story is about a mermaid.
There, I said it.
For months I've been keeping it hush-hush in fear that everyone else would suddenly start writing about mermaids. What a stupid fear. That's like saying only one writer ever thought of writing about wizards, or fairies, or, yup, wait for it ...vampires.

Fact is, one theme or idea can be interpreted an infinite amount of ways. Just because I'm writing a story about merfolk (yes there are hot mermen involved) doesn't mean anyone else would ever come remotely close to writing the same story I'm writing. I can even post pictures here that inspire me and relate to my story in some way, but I guarantee no one could guess HOW or WHAT those photos mean.

Does my mermaid live in Alaska?
Or are those hunks of quartz rock?
Can she only come out of the water during a full moon?

Does she fall in love with a well-dressed human?
Do they love to dance?
Or do I just love Josephine Wall (the artist) and felt the need to include her amazing work in my post?

This one could summarize my whole story.

I don't know.
What's your interpretation of it?

That's the thing. Story tellers create their own worlds, rules, characters, plots, arcs, etc. We can take one concept and run a gazillion different directions with it.

I know one writer/blog friend who is also writing about mermaids. We discovered that fact because we're NaNo buddies. Are our stories similar? No, not in the slightest. Do I feel threatened that her story might get published before mine? I hope it does! Maybe she'll help create the buzz about aquafolk so there will be a demand from publishers when I try to pitch mine. (We both can only hope.)

No matter what creatures, or themes, or places we write about, we should never be worried about someone else doing it too. The details of your story and the depths of your imagination will never be exactly like someone else. I'd never reveal ALL my secrets and the incredible details of my newest characters, but I'm no longer afraid to share a glimpse into their fantastic world.

What about you? Are you the type that shouts from the mountaintops about what you're writing, or do you keep it hidden away in the secret depths of the ocean?

While I'm at my parents house on Thanksgiving, I will dig out the photos of me from when I was two and had an obsession with SeaWees. Yes, folks, my love of underwater people started at a very early age. Little Karen with mermaids photo to be posted soon!
Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. I usually shouts my writing because I don't want only express myself but I want to share my thoughts. I am kind of facinated by mermaids, this legendary features who can enbody the secret of Oceans and a part of human being passion. Best lack for your story.


  2. Oh goody you're out of the closet. :) We are definitely writing two different stories, and that third picture, the sepia one is so hot I can't wait to read yours! Maybe, if we are lucky, we will be on the first wave of a new trend. I'm trying to stay positive, because it's easy to get dragged down by doubts, but I'm loving the rush of finally writing this story. I've had underwater posters on my walls for two years, waiting to be ready to write it. NaNo pushed me to do it, so I'm grateful for that. Hope you have a wonderful week of writing and family.

  3. You're right. It is our interpretaion, voice, etc that makes the story ours.

    Still, if I have a really fresh concept, I tend to keep it close to the vest. I'm not worried, just mindful.

    happy turkey day :D

  4. Will mermaids be the new vampires??? Best wishes with your new book. Your photos are wonderful!

    Have a lovely Thanksgiving.

  5. I so can't wait to see your little kid pictures :) I tend to keep my ideas to myself, but not because I'm afraid people will steal them, because I'm afraid people will think they're dumb. Hope you have a wonderful holiday with your family :)

  6. Funny, I have been trying to do a mermaid picture book, but i haven't gotten anywhere yet!

  7. I love little kid pictures! And mermaids. I used to pretend I was the little mermaid!

  8. Tricia- I didnt know whether or not to mention your name. Didn't know if you wanted to keep it a secret. :) But I know what you mean, I have a great print of a mermaid riding a sea turtle that I've had for almost ten years, and I still love it.

    Corey- Yay! I'd love to see you do a mermaid picture book. Keep at it!

  9. I can't believe it!!! I'm writing about mermaids too! ... Not... I'm so teasing you! I wouldn't know where to begin. :) I'm so happy someone or two are writing about them because Mermaids are my Cinderella. Hurry up and finish... I can't wait, yeay!!! :)

  10. Although my fantasies were more focused on Cinderella than mermaids as a child, I still find them intriquing...glad to know that there will be some interesting tales to read about mermaids, yay!!!

  11. OMG. I am SO excited about your story!!! Mermaids? SO COOL. Seriously. yay!!!!

  12. I'm usually a depths of the sea kind of girl when it comes to sharing my writing. What can I say? I'm shy. ;)

    Mermaids rock! And the SeaWees picture? yeah. I had that exact set. I also had the one with the seahorse. I played with them in the bathtub. Bubblebath was usually involved. Alas, no pictures. Ah! Memories!

  13. I think what you just did, coming out with your story idea was a very very very brave thing to do. I have the exact same fear but its refreshing to see a different point of vie won that fear.

    Great job and good luck with your writing!

  14. I think merefolk are the next hot trend. Seriously. I hear things.

    Those pictures are cool. All the best with the writing!

  15. Awesome idea Karen!
    No, I don't shout out my ideas. Sometimes I have to tell them, but mostly I don't talk about what I'm writing. I will, if someone asks, but it feels weird for me.
    Love the pics and I wouldn't be surprised if this is the next craze. :-)

  16. OMG! I had one of those Sea-Wees. It must have been a long time ago, before I could read, because I didn't remember it's brand name but that picture totally transported me back to my childhood. I loved my little mermaid bath toy. I would be so thrilled if mermaids became the next big thing. They really are universal and so rich in mythology. Imagine what we could teach kids about the environment and the ocean and pollution if we captured their attention with merfolks under the sea. Thanks for bringing back a happy mer-mory! - G

  17. Very true. Even if several people are looking at the same object, the exact way each one perceives it would vary greatly. The concept of mermaids is nothing new, but every time a story comes out with them as the main focus, it always turns out differently from the others that came before it. A very good writer can write about a cockroach and introduce his readers to a wonderful and unique world that no other person could have ever conjured. So it's not about the choice of creatures or characters that matter but how the writer develops their character as the story unfolds.

  18. Did you ever go to Weeki Wachi (sp?) as a kid. I used to love it because of the live mermaid show they put on!

  19. Your latest project sounds so exciting, Karen, and what a wonderful reminder to trust in the writing journey. I look forward to hearing more about your latest work and wish you every success. xx

  20. I heard once that someone could steal your idea, but it would be a completely different book because they'll write differently.

  21. I just started telling some close people I write and when they ask what I can have a hard time putting what my novels are about into simple uncomplicated sentences. There's just so much to say about them. I'm getting better, though...I think :) I don't shout about my ideas because they sometimes aren't completely finished and I often change them...this is the exception with my writing buddies/critique group. They tend to hear everything I'm thinking. :) Good luck with the mermaids they sound fascinating.

  22. Oh, I love a good mermaid story. Have you read SEA CHANGES? I've never had the desire to write one, I just love reading them. Sigh :)

    Your pictures are amazing... I think my favorite is the last one. Such adoration. I wish you all the best!

  23. Water is elemental so you are onto a winner.
    The descriptive possibilities are endless, too.

    Good Luck with the aquatic setting of what are, no doubt, universal themes.

  24. I was that way about my middle-grade/tween ghost hunter series...and certainly publishers seem to like the idea, but it's all because of this overall fascination with the paranormal right now. And the mermaid idea could fit right into it. But even if ten people came out with mermaid books this year (which won't happen), yours is unique in that it is written in your voice. I think it sounds fascinating. My boyfriend's daughter loves this australian TV show about mermaids...it's called H20:


  25. yep. there's no way to know what your story is. Romance. tragedy. Every one has their own stories and perspectives.

  26. If your story is half as beautiful as those pictures then it's going to be just lovely! Good luck with it. I know I'd love to read a story about mermaids.

  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

  28. Oh and btw, what a lovely name you have! And I'm from Baltimore too, though I still live here, but I lived in Florida for a year!

    I've nominated your blog for a Honest Scrap Award. Go over to my page and check it out!

  29. There are no original ideas, but there are a lot of brilliant minds out there that can take the most over done concept and turn it into a masterpiece

  30. I love mermaids! I'm writing a mermaid story as well! Love this site; will definitely return.


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