Have you ever gone to a critiquing session and someone in the group says the following about your work: “This piece really reminds me of…”? Sometimes it can be flattering, sometimes downright insulting (if you don’t like the author/story being referred to, for example) and I even know some writers who find it irritating. (“What do I care what it reminds you of? Don’t talk about that piece but just focus on my work!” I heard one irritated writer comment after his work was compared to a published story.)
I usually find it intriguing, especially since the few times that I’ve had such a comment, it’s been a book that I’ve never read (or even heard of). The YA novel I’m writing at the moment was compared by someone in the group to “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle. I have to admit that the name only vaguely rang a bell. I’d definitely never read it and didn’t know in the slightest what it was about.
I looked up the book online and couldn’t help myself but to buy the 50th anniversary edition, which included the first three books in the series. I’m only a few chapters in and I can already see where the comment came from, as there are some similarities in the plot. Luckily though, there are more than enough differences between the two that I need not throw my chapters away in the trash.
But how do I explain the similarities? Have I somehow or other come into contact with it when I was young but can’t remember, or an animated film perhaps, or was it read to me in elementary school? …Or is it really just coincidence?