Great Minds Think Alike
Obviously, old titles get re-used (particularly if they have words like ‘die’ or ‘kill’ in them) but it seems over the years people have used titles I’ve created with alarming regularity. Here are some of them:
Young couple trapped in commuter town take revenge on neighbours.
Awful teen US remake of ‘Rear Window’.
Rich and poor protagonists clash over one long London night of challenges.
Psychotic warden antagonises mental patients
Growing up a reader in a house of no books
Reporter investigates death row inmate.
This doesn’t bug me. I’m more upset for other writers when their ideas are ripped off by Hollywood – something that happens with greater frequency than you’d imagine. Stephen Gallagher’s excellent thriller ‘Valley Of Lights’, about a shapeshifting killer, became ‘The Hidden’, about a shapeshifting killer a year or too later, but he doesn’t know if it was coincidence.
In ‘The Strange Vengeance of Rosalie’ an obsessive woman nurses a man who crashes his car and breaks his leg to keep him in her bed. But ‘Misery’, which arrived later, was probably just coincidental. And ‘The Resident’, in which Hilary Swank is menaced by her landlord isn’t connected with ‘The Master Builder’, my story in which – you know the rest.
All ideas are built on what has gone before in some way, but sometimes I wonder how that really works, because ‘Hell Train’ turned up on a Hollywood desk even before it was proofed, leaked by someone. Can’t wait to see the Hollywood version I didn’t write.
I did wonder about ‘Psychoville’, because I’d had connections with Reece Shearsmith and Jeremy Dyson. I don’t care, though – why would I? The book is out of print, and the (entirely original) TV series was brilliant. So brilliant, in fact, that we should have a suitably funny/horrifying excerpt right this minute!