They stole my line, and now *I* will be seen as a copycat


Many of you have read my novel LITTLE RITUALS, or at least snippets from it.  I put it on the Kindle early last year, but most of the text had been set in stone for some time by then.

Early in the book, the dwarf/fairy godfather that Daphne has the car fenderbender with tells her, "Check yourself before you wreck yourself."  That’s a phrase my neighbor’s kid used starting about five years ago.  I heard him and his friends use it, and thought it was good.  But not a quotation from any film, as I Googled it.  It’s just like "I know, right?" in origin–began with someone and spread.  As far as I can tell.

Well, now I discover that the film "Due Date" uses this line.

They stole it from ME.  I had it in print first!

Well, they probably heard it the same way I did.  But now they will be credited with originating it, and I will get even more complaints and rejections, saying, "You stole that line from a movie!"

Now I will need to come up with another catchphrase for him to give her.

Lately I’ve felt all "what’s the point?" about writing anyway.  There are so many books out there, and what the market and editors/agents like is not the same thing that I like, and publishing is undergoing a sea change.  There’s got to be some other thing I could be doing.


Author: shalanna

Shalanna: rhymes with "Madonna" and "I wanna," and is not a soundalike with "Hosanna" or "Sha-Na-Na." Aging hippie with long hair, husband, elderly mother, and yappy Pomeranian. I've been writing since I could hold a crayon. I started with fiction, which Mama said was "lying." “Don’t tell stories,” she would admonish, in Southern vernacular. “That's all in your imagination!” When grownups said this, they were not approving. So, shamed, I stopped telling stories for a few years--rather, I stopped letting anyone read them. I'm married to a fellow computer nerd who doesn't really like hearing about writing, but who reads sf/fantasy and understands the creative drive. I'm actually a nonconformist/hippie still wearing bluejeans and drop earrings and the Alice-in-Wonderland hair with headbands and sandals. Favorite flavor is chocolate/orange, favorite color is either Dreamsicle orange (cantaloupe) or bubble-gum pink, favorite musical is either Bye Bye Birdie, Rocky Horror, or The Producers . . . wait, I also love The Music Man. Is this getting way too specific and irrelevant yet? Obvious why I don't sell a ton of flash fiction, isn't it? To define oneself, I always say, it is good to make a list. How about a booklist? Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth, Cheaper by the Dozen C.S.Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (all the Narnia books) J.R.R.Tolkien,The Hobbit/LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy Gail Godwin, The Odd Woman F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (before dismissing it, actually read it) George Orwell, 1984 Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle Donna Tartt, The Secret History Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn James Allen, As A Man Thinketh Mark Winegardner, Elvis Presley Boulevard James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum Winnie-the-Pooh/House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie The KJV and NIV Bible (each translation has its glories)

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