A football (or soccer ball) icon.

Soccer/Football International

Soccer/Football International (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fact is stranger than fiction – old cliché, but still true.

My latest novel featuring cop Matt Proctor is nearly there! Hope to launch soon. But as I was revising I came across a newspaper article in The Independent (national English daily) and swallowed hard. Someone had nicked (UK English for stolen) my plot! At least that was my first reaction.

The ‘crime(s)’ in my new novel are  murders but the context is the world of sports ‘ match-fixing’ organized by international syndicates who bribe sports persons to throw a game or, in the case of ‘spot-fixing’, to create a specific occurrence that those in the know will  bet on and make huge winnings.

As I read Andrew Buncombe’s article in The Independent, detailing allegations made against an individual based in Singapore who is understood to have headed an organization fixing both national and international football (soccer) matches, I couldn’t believe how this story mirrored my own plot. I relaxed a little as I got into the detail. My story covers both football and cricket and climaxes in Pakistan. His factual report is based in Singapore and relates specifically to football. But the ‘megabucks’ involved, the scale of the gambling and the co-ordination and organization within gambling syndicates are common threads. Along with the risks and dangers to those involved – and what happens to those who, too late, decide they want out. This is not a merciful world.

Have any other writers stumbled upon ‘your story’ manifesting itself, while you are writing it, through a television news piece, a newspaper article, on the internet? I’d like to hear. It’s kind of scary. But then as someone once said, there are only so many stories to be told.

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Comments
  1. Rose Miller says:

    Margaret Atwood has commented on how some of her ideas have spookily become real. In ‘Oryx and Crake’ and ‘The Year of the Flood’ she refers to ‘Secretburgers’, where the consumer never knows what she/he is eating. Writers just have that uncanny foresight sometimes!!

  2. I once worked in development at MGM. One week we had four screenplays come in with identical premises. We wouldn’t have considered three of them because they were so poorly written, but the fourth had real possibilities. However, we had to pass on it because of the timing. If we’d accepted it and it had been seen on the air, the other three would have sworn we stole their idea. There are only how many – 7 plots in the world? Price fixing in sports is not a new concept. It’s only the execution of the concept that makes any plotline unique.

    • Esther, Thanks for your comment and you are right – it’s about making your story unique. When I started my latest book ‘In it for the Money’,I set up Google alerts and was amazed by how many articles are out there on match fixing, etc.
      Tom

  3. ruthhixson says:

    It seems everything I read and write has what I refer to as the coincidence gremlin. From the first book I wrote (not published) there have been coincidences that are unreal.

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