Category: Formaldehyde

Viva la Novella

Just a quick post to nervously gloat that my unpublished novella, Formaldehyde, has been shortlisted for Seizure’s Viva la Novella prize. Six of us are on the list, three of us get our novellas published. Last years’ winners were bloody gorgeous (you can see them here and honestly you might as well buy one or four while you’re there) so I’m pretty excited.

It’s a great initiative – because, seriously, it’s not easy to get a novella published – so if you have a long-short or short-long story hanging around, get to work making it good before entries open for Viva la Novella 4.

Is it plagiarism if you don’t know?

For about 14 years I’ve been working on and off on a novella that became a novel and is now back to being a novella again. I was determined to wrap it up or chuck it out this year, and have been putting in some serious polishing work. Knowing I’d have to write a sales pitch for it if I was going to try get it published, I started reading some popular books in the sub-genre and just this morning came across, in a book by a HUGELY famous author, a scene that was almost exactly the same as a scene in my story. It was so weird. The originals of both mine and his stories were written around the same time, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t even subliminally copy his (and unless he was hanging round my loungeroom secretly I know he didn’t copy mine), but there it was.

What do you do in that situation? I’ve just rewritten the scene so it’s a little less eerily similar. But did I need to?