1. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    How to receive input?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by live2write, Feb 25, 2012.

    I am stuck in the middle of a situation where not only do I want to protect myself and my work but I also would like input on my work that would help me in my directions.

    It can be dangerous (exaggerating?) to post any material on the web because it is included as self published and/or somebody can steal the idea and compete against you. However how will I be able to have an unbiased opinion read my work and review it safely. In person sounds ideal but there are not many people I know willing to read. The only person I was able to get was my boyfriend and I do not think it is good enough.

    What should I do?
    Who should I contact?
    Who are the best people in this situation?
     
  2. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    I consider it arrogant to think that people might "steal ideas". Remember: imitation is the sincerest form of flattery (but damn irritating, I know). ;)

    You don't need to post it online to get feedback. You can always send it via email to people you trust. Most of my key feedback comes from a woman I met online a year + a month ago after she contacted me to say she had been following my blog for a few months. I've never met her and she lives in another part of the world. I can't even speak her first language although we have two in common, and I occasionally need to define words in my writing for her (as I write in my first language most of the time), but I still consider her feedback to be the most valuable.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Ideas aren't worth stealing.

    Make yourself a competent critiquer by practicing critique. When you have done that for a while, you will be able to post representative samples of your writing you have no intention of publishing, and be able to apply the lessons learned to all of your writing.
     
  4. Zappy
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    Zappy Member

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    I agree with Cogito.

    Honestly, any works you post on the web you should of either already published or not expect to publish at all.

    Simple as that.
     
  5. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    If you post a small chunk -- like a few paragraphs -- no one's going to steal it because they don't know enough of what your overall story is about. A few paragraphs is still enough to give people insight onto your writing style and quality, though.

    In fact, I'm far more likely to review something short than something extremely long, so you might get more feedback that way.
     
  6. Mark_Archibald
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    Mark_Archibald Active Member

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    Well, are your stories so amazing that people are going to rip them off?

    If they are; for every person who mimics you there will be 100 fans who pay attention to your work.

    You have to look at the positives and negatives. And the positives of participating in an online writing group highly outweigh the negatives.
     
  7. TheWritingWriter
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    TheWritingWriter Senior Member

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    I don't think it would necessarily make someone arrogant for being afraid that someone will rip off your work. When you put so much of yourself into a piece, you don't want someone to rip it off and ruin it. It's difficult to "steal ideas," too. Oh, what the world would be like if you could copyright ideas. Goodness, gracious.

    I think it'd be okay if you posted & pitched an idea. If someone takes that idea & writes their own story with it, it's not the end of the world. The chances of them writing a novel faster than you, getting it to the publisher, and it becoming this huge enormous hit is highly unlikely. As far as posting actual content onto the interwebs, specifically a writing website or a forum, that all has to do with preference & can be executed at your discretion. You don't need to post actual content to better your style, either. As some stated before. Send your work to a trusted individual, or post something of yours that you don't mind the world seeing. My personal advice, do a writing exercise & then post it online for feedback. (A lot of times, people post a chapter and are like, "What can I do?" & expect people to write the chapter for them."

    There are lots of way to protect your privacy & to better yourself as a writer. I really doubt that someone will steal your work as long as you post responsibly.
     
  8. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, a person I learned a lot from, Scot Orson Card, says it was his wife, all these years, that reviewed and beta-read his work, and she learned quickly how to give useful feedback. I don't think family members should be discounted as necessarily biased, lots of people are capable of distancing themselves (with a bit of practice).

    All my beta readers are family - my husband, my sister and brother in law. All of them have different tastes, and all of them I ask the same questions:
    1. Was there a segment or a sentence you had to re-read in order to understand.
    2. Was there anything that confused you? Anything that didn't make sense?
    3. Do you care and feel for the characters?
    4. If you felt a strong emotional response to anything (laughter, disgust, dassness, anger, joy etc) please indicate where and what they were.

    This way, you can "train" anyone to be a very useful beta-reader. Also, give them 2-3 chapters at the time as to not overwhelm them. And give them time to respond.

    Otherwise, you can always write a project just for practice. Something you don't plan on publishing. Then, you can post all of it, in instalments, on forums and blogs, and get a lot of feedback that way. I did that with a series of short stories and a novella and I learned heaps.

    And finally, here you can post a page or a chapter, just to see what general questions and responses people have to your writing style. Also, if there is a sentence or a paragraph you are unsure about, also you can post it. As long as it is overall just a tiny bit of the novel, no publisher will mind. It is only when you post a lot of the final draft that you'll run into problems with first rights and such.

    Ideas are worth protecting, in my opinion, not because someone will "steal" them, but because it is nice to have a twist or a character that doesn't seem terribly familiar to the reader, and if someone just published a book with a very similar something in it, it can feel a bit awkward. But nobody would be able to write the same story as you, even if they had your entire outline. We all write differently from each other, and also from day to day, and even we wouldn't write the same thing twice, that's how unlikely someone is to "steal" the entire story from an idea. But they could copy (plagiarise) the sentences, and that's always a concern.

    In the end, people's feedback can help you only so much. It is up to you to do all this more or less by yourself and hope for the best.
     
  9. Erato
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    Erato Contributing Member

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    That's Orson Scott Card, I'm afraid, and what a coincidence, I was just reading that last night.

    Generally I like to give myself my own input. In editing, I have to reach a frame of mind in which I didn't write what I'm editing, and then I have no problem being harsh. As long as I'm editing what I wrote, I'm too attached to the words I put down.
     
  10. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have no ide why I keep changing his name! I keep doing it, as well, for months now. I think I decided Scott is a better first name than Orson :D
     
  11. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    I read through all of the comments and I want to thank you all for your input.

    I have been talking to some close relatives and I have only one person who is willing to help me as long as I give her 5 page installments.

    jazzabel thank you for the recommendation. I will take it into consideration.

    Also I apologize for misinterpreting my words (it happens :p) I should have reworded my words by saying, "I am afraid of one plagerizing by stealing a story or part of a story." Ideas can be the same however every idea is interpreted into a direction and a story that stands out on it's own.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    mallory's nailed it... doing this entails no risk whatsoever... it's what's done here by many members every day...
     

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