I haven't really said much online about what the novel is, exactly, (although I've hinted on Twitter that it's in the vein of a Regency romance). Well, the reason for the secrecy is that it's the kind of idea that's timely enough that I've been afraid someone else would come up with it and beat me to the punch, so I didn't want to go spreading it around.
And then this morning I came across this: "Fetch Me My Smelling Salts, There’s a Downton Abbey-Style Pride and Prejudice Movie in the Works"
(I'd link to the Deadline.com article, which has more info, but apparently LJ won't let me link to Deadline? WTF??)
It's not EXACTLY the same as my book, but it's pretty fucking close. VERY fucking close. Mine differs in two major respects, which I think actually makes mine a more interesting premise, if not quite as movie-worthy. But STILL. *sigh*
And it's not like I didn't know that someone else was going to come up with the same idea eventually. I totally did. Frankly, I'm surprised it's taken this long. I started this book in February of 2011, gave up after a few months, and let it sit untouched on my hard drive for almost two years before jumping back into it. And it's only NOW that something similar is finally showing up on the scene? That's kind of amazing, actually.
I'm trying not to be disheartened by it, though. Sure, it's a bit depressing reading the long list of outlets she's sold the rights to and wondering if that could have been me if I'd gotten off my ass and finished my book first. But it's also encouraging that she's met with such mainstream success. I wasn't really sure there would be much of a mainstream market for the thing, and it turns out that there apparently is. And since the publishing industry is so keen to jump on the latest bandwagon (see also: Twilight, Fifty Shades of Grey, and the infinite knockoffs thereupon), this doesn't necessarily mean my idea is useless. I am quite content to be author of a knockoff, if it comes to it.
So I'm still finishing the damn thing, even if it kills me. I had about 25,000 words when I started back on it just before the new year, and I'm past the 60,000-word mark now (see what 1000 words a day will get you!). I'm well over halfway through my first draft at this point, and while it's a VERY rough first draft, this is the hardest part for me--revising has always been a breeze compared to staring down that white blank page. I figure I can have my first draft done in a month, devote another couple months to rewrites, and then it'll be finished.
Jo Baker's book isn't even coming out until fall, and god knows if the movie will ever get off the ground. If I keep my nose to the grindstone I can still have my query letters out before her book hits the shelves. And even if no one wants it because it's too similar (or because it's not good enough) I'll still have done it. I'll have written a whole fucking novel and sent it out into the world. THEN I'll be able to call myself a writer without feeling like a liar. And then I'll just self-publish the thing, because fuck, it's basically fanfic, and I personally know at least two dozen people who'd pay a few bucks to read it, even if it's not great literature.
Take that, world.