Well of Course Other People Had the Same Idea

When the idea of “Marie Duplessis, Vampire” first came to me, it felt so right that I was convinced someone else must have thought of it first, but I looked on google using those three little words, and got nada. According to what I can find in my existing documents, I first started a working draft on 4/23/2013. It may have been earlier because I sometimes wind up with multiple documents and cull them. In fact, the 4/23 document is no longer in my hard drive, but I had emailed it to myself in case of a massive system eff-up. Yes, I know this is what cloud drives are for.

The number of people I’ve mentioned this project to is exceedingly small and none of them cared enough to repeat it. I do not believe I was overheard by any writers or down-on-their-heels movie producers, but that might make a good premise for a novel, which I’m sure someone has already written.

The day before yesterday, I was checking to see if this blog would come up in a google search. Again I used those three magic words – because someone has got to be looking for this great product I’m selling, right?

One of the first things to come up was a someone else’s blog post from July 2013 about a work-in-progress, which sounded like part of a vampire series, in which Marie gets vampirized. There was an excerpt. While it wasn’t much like my Marie-meets-her-maker scenario, there was a family resemblance. In both cases, we’d pilfered from history and fiction – that novel by Alexandre Dumas, fils – in particular. Both chapters found Marie sick, lonely, on the verge of desperation, all but deserted and sinking into poverty. Both found her with her loyal servant, Clotilde. Would there be other ways to write the scene? Possibly, but we’d both gone with realism.

I thought, if that was my work in progress and Blood Diva came out, I’d be convinced (despite all reason) that I’d been robbed. That wouldn’t mean I had actually been robbed. It would mean that most forms of psychotherapy aren’t very effective.

The reality is that I’m not worried about getting sued because I’m pretty sure I can be saved by science which could prove that I started my (124k) novel, including the “historical” section prior to her post. And I have a feeling the actual storyline would differ consideably. I’ll admit to being very relieved to read a later post where the author wrote of putting that work aside to go hot and heavy on something else. I wish her the best of luck with that.

Then today, I googled again. The same three words: “Marie Duplessis vampire”, and what did I find this time? Fan fiction from Vampire Diaries – a show I’ve never watched. It was posted in June 2013, and was mercifully short.

Interestingly, both of these posts were up shortly after the publication of Julie Kavanagh’s bio of Marie which was published in June. I was already writing my opus when I discovered that it was about to be published and I got it the first day I could. While it never reached bestsellerdom, it must have put something in the air. As there was so much conflicting information about Marie floating around the net, it proved a very useful source. It wouldn’t surprise me if thanks to Kavanagh’s bio and Schillinger’s new translation of The Lady of the Camellias there aren’t more “Marie Duplessis Vampire” books in the works because really who doesn’t love fallen women and vampires? And if not vampires, certainly it’s time for someone to go full Wide Sargasso Sea on Dumas’ novel. (Possibly that someone is me, and I did that with Blood Diva).

Any lawyers out there? Is there anything I should be doing to protect myself? Should I be afraid?

 

2 thoughts on “Well of Course Other People Had the Same Idea

  1. Pete Morin

    Howdy VM,

    First thing – you did register the ms with USCO (copyright office), right? That’s step one.
    Otherwise, it’s hard to give you any feedback without examining the two texts side-by-side.

    As a general matter, remember that “plagiarism” and “copyright violation” are separate issues (not all plagiarms are copyright violations and v.v.).

    At the end of the day, once you’ve registered your ms, then there’s probably no reason to get worried about it until someone else brings it up (as unlikely as that is).

    (The above does not constitute legal advice – it is a practical opinion only.)

    Hope this helps!

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