Subconscious Story Stealing

Someone sent me a book back in 2010 and I enjoyed reading it. I’ve thought about it more than several times since then, but never ventured to look at it again.
It’s come to mind quite frequently recently, so on Saturday night I searched through my emails until I found it and then curled up and began reading. It’s a long book coming in at around 700 pages but I breezed my way through it, finishing it late Sunday night. 
I was amazed though at how many details I remembered. Even before I opened the book this second time I could have probably given an hour-long verbal review, despite the fact that I only read the book once and that was over five years ago. The book is kinda-fantsy, and I think since I’ve read so few fantasy novels they lodge in my brain. As I was reading I would not only recall exactly what happened next, but I could also remember the thoughts I had while reading it for the first time. 
And I maybe freaked out slightly the whole time. See, there were way too many similarities between the Echoes books I’ve been writing and that book. Yes, yes, yes. If I remembered the book so clearly I should have obviously paid attention to make sure that didn’t happen, but it was so subconscious that I hadn’t realized it. 
The other book: 
One character masquerades as two characters 
My book:
Two of my characters masquerade as one character 
The other book: 
The main character does not have a good relationship with her father
My book:
The main characters do not have a good relationship with their father 
The other book: 
Has a couple of very close servants who are more like family than the MC’s real family
My book: 
Has a couple of very close servants who are more like family than my MCs’ real family
Both books are set in a palace/castle, the MC travels incognito as a servant, a few of the characters have names that sound alike, and the MC’s mothers believe in the true God, despite the father’s not doing so. 

See why I freaked out? Here I had thought that my lovely little brain came up with all these details on it’s own, but obviously I had a strong influence that I hadn’t realized. Thankfully the plot-line and story-line of the books are totally different and although I might need to make some changes to make sure I don’t mimic the other book at all, I’m relieved to have realized my “mistake” now so I can make sure to steer away from similarities in the future.

Do you know what this helped me realize, though? So much of what we hear/read/see/listen to lodges into our brain and sub-conciously exits at times when we don’t even notice it. The Bible is full of verses about guarding our hearts and being careful about what we fill our minds with.

It’s helpful for me to remember this so I not only refuse to let the bad in, but purposely work at filling my life, my mind, and my heart with the good. Sometimes life flies by and then something happens and I pull to a stop and revisit the last few months and realize that I’ve not been purposely dwelling, reading, listening to and filling myself with things that inspire life. It’s at those times when I remind myself to stop, take deep breaths and become intentional again.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8 

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Proverbs 4:23 

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14 

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Romans 12:2

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