My apologies for potential errors, I'm not a native English speaker
Hello. I don't really know, who else I could ask, so I'm putting it here.
First of all, I know, that my writing isn't something groundbreaking and 100% original. I just have to get this off my chest.
I always wanted to write a nice story, which could be enjoyed. To cut it short, one day I got an idea. The idea grew and grew. I began writing the story and even got help from few beta readers (who are helping me till this day, but for a reason I can't confess with this matter to them). Hours were, and still are, put into the characters, story details and research. I fell deep in love with everything in the book. And it helped me during difficult times, just to write and be with the characters. Basically the book became my second life, the characters my another family.
The thing is time. I'm kind of slow writer, school and work take time too plus sometimes, the block strikes. That results in the story being written for couple of years. And I know I won't be finishing soon. I'm okay with taking it another period of time, writing is a long(er) track matter.
Recently, I've met someone, who also writes. They are really nice person and we understand each other very well.
And not too long ago, they got a new idea for a story. Their story is in the same field as mine, same time period. That's fine, our story concepts are very different. But then there is one stage in our plots, where the surroundings are the same.
Here I'm beginning to panic. I've noticed, when we talk about our stories, how similar their events are. And not only events. Their characters do so similar things and have nearly identical behaviours and manners as mine, sometimes same motives too. A lot of times persons idea comes some days later, after we've talked about something similar taking place in my book. I blame a lot of it on coincidence, since the surroundings are the same. Unfortunately, it's the part of the story, which I care about the most for, most effort went here and also, the character I've put the most effort in has their shining moments there.
The person is a very fast writer. I'm pretty sure, that they are going to finish earlier than me and publish it sooner.
I'm scared, that when I eventually publish my story, I'm going to be accused of copying that persons work. Even when I began writing so much earlier and had everything in place before they got their idea. The thought of being accused of copying their work terrifies me. Is there something, that could help me getting rid of this fear?