I think it happens a lot with historical fiction because the history itself often suggests plots and characters. There's more than one book featuring a girl who wants to be an actor in Elizabethan England and disguises herself as a boy, for instance. With your story, if you dug into late nineteenth and twentieth century children's literature you might find the story you want to tell had actually been told already even before Bernard Cornwell got to it.
Don't be put off. It's the execution, not the bare bones of the plot, that will make your story unique.
Think how many books and films there are about Anne Boleyn, for example. They all tell the same story and they are all completely different.
Plus, you're only a chapter into it. It might be a completely different story by the time you've finished - a minor character might turn out to be more interesting than the main ones, or one particular section of the story might prove to be so interesting you end up cutting the first few chapters (I cut the whole first third of my book).
This is absolutely not a reason to give up. Please keep going!
Yes! I wrote (or started writing) a story based on something that my grandmother told me had happened to her. It came up in an episode of Call the Midwife! (She told me about 20 years ago so not copied by her!)
There's nothing really new out there! Go into Waterstones or any other bookseller and try and find a truly unique book. Write for the pleasure of writing, and don't worry about what others have done.
Take a look online at some of the ways unscrupulous publishers have claimed plagiarism either to avoid paying up contracts with authors or going after competitor works. Mainly in the States but then I suppose there's more incentive with punitive damage awards.
Well, there are only seven plots anyway, or so the theory goes...
I had a brilliant idea the other day for a murder mystery set on a Caribbean island involving lots of intrigue, hidden relationships and close knit community being torn apart. Then I realised that was basically what happens in Death in Paradise every week...
Sorry, wasn't clear. Dm wrote a story for us to read about a scientist dad who accidently shrank his children that was remarkably similar to Honey I shrank the kids, especially some of the scenes with the children. Dm used to write stories for us to read with no thoughts of publishing them. She wrote it after a conversation about ants in the garden, and it would have been around 1981-1983 as my dbro was a toddler at the time. As far as I'm aware she'd not read the Shrinking man book.
She commented when we saw the film that if she'd had it published beforehand then everyone would think the film was based on her book, if she sent it for publication then, she'd not have a chance as it would look like a pale imitation. My dbro (not understanding that) promptly piped up with the suggestion that she wrote it in pen not pencil as it would be darker.Being kind big sisters we laughed.
I wrote a children's book in which the bad guy was an unscrupulous and ambitious right wing politician who had it in for immigrants. His big idea was a huge wall to divide the chosen few from the masses. I finished it in 2011.
Imagine my surprise when my dystopian future came true
A lot of what I wrote in my first novel then actually happened (just had an R&R so obviously not too much of an issue)!
It was actually freaking me out how many of the events then played out in real life. Each time I was annoyed because now people will think I copied real life, but also kind of flattered that my plots are realistic! At one point there were so many coincidences that I started to think I was having some kind of mental breakdown and mixing reality and fiction entirely in my mind.