Not a good day for my writing mojo. Because I listened to this podcast today -- The Mermaids Singing Each to Each by Cat Rambo (text version). Now I have no idea how this happened. It is surely coincidence, but a bizarre coincidence. But this story has all the elements that Mermaid Story is going to have--ocean setting, ship with talking AI, mermaids, post-apocalyptic future, body modifications, even "new" money. These aren't just little bits either--they're the macguffins that the novel hinges on, the same as this one.
True, it's not the same story. But it has all the setting elements that I use that differentiated it from other books. But the depressing part is Rambo weaves all these elements into a much better story than mine. Short, tight, and pointed, like an assassin's dagger. Like any short story should be. And it's like, if she took all the story parts of my novel and fit them neatly into a short story, a better one, then what chance does my novel have of getting picked up? In fact, all my writing comes up short in this respect.
First, I'm weirded out because of the commonalities. Then I'm depressed because her story is so much better. I'm trying to console myself by the fact that it's just coincidence. Two totally different stories. But it's like, I thought Mermaid Story was at least fairly original. And here it's not going to be. I feel like I just can't think of anything original. I should have stuck to fan fiction.