1. Leena
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    Leena New Member

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    Revealing your work... risky??

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Leena, Nov 6, 2010.

    Hello all!!

    People post their first chapters, brainstorm plot ideas, etc... Would doing so eventually end up biting you in the butt? Is it illegal to grab detailed ideas and run with them? Do you risk having your work stolen??

    Forgive me for sounding a bit clueless, but I'm new to the forum world. What I am currently working on has quite literally become my heart & soul... MY WHOLE WORLD!!! I've reached a slump and could really use some input...

    Truckloads of thanks!!
     
  2. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    Not necessarily. This is a forum. Writers share their own ideas and stuff. But I would be cautious at any given rate. I guard my own ideas like a dog guards his bone. If you think your particular idea is gold, don't share it. Ideas come and go like swift breezes in the autumn. Everyone gets them. But then there are some that can just explode into outer space.

    Hopefully, as a writer, you'd refrain from stealing another's own ideas. I just believe it's a code loyal writers true to their own confidence in themselves will adhere by. But then again - the writers who post their ideas post at their own risk. It's a 50 - 50 kind of situation.

    If this story of yours is your whole world, no matter how much of it you've planned, DO NOT share it unless you feel you're sharing in loyal company. You don't want to read a supposed "friend's" work and find he/she inserted some detail that you yourself thought of first. Remember though that ideas come and go. You might find that same detail you had planned for your story can also be found in a successful just-out-of-print novel. It just might be a tad bit different, however.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Ideas are a dime a dozen, and these days, a dime won't even buy you a candy bar. What matters is the writer's skill in presenting the idea.

    However, if you really feel the idea is unique enough to protect, keep it to yourself. Instead, post samples of your writing that you have no plans to submit to publishers. You can learn a great deal by having those writing samples picked apart, and you'll learn even more by dissecting other people's writing samples.
     
  4. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    ^Three dimes will buy you a Charleston Chew :)
     
  5. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    To be honest I don't care - I know it is my work, I know it is good, I know my chances of making huge amounts of money are slim. So part of me feels all that person is doing is cheating themselves and more people get to read my work lol
     
  6. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    ^Ditto, Charlotte. They are the ones who are cheating, and wherever or not they feel guilty, they should be. And who knows. They just might up regretting it.
     
  7. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Let's assume that I went back in a time machine six years, and gave myself the idea to write a romantic young-adult novel about vampires. Would the book become an instant bestseller, generating millions and millions?

    Hardly. The novel I would write would have little similarity to Stephanie Mayer's Twilight, and I doubt it would be remarkable in any way.

    Conversely, if someone took one of my ideas, I feel confident the story they ended up with would be completely different from mine.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    perzackly!

    no two people will develop and write the same idea even remotely alike...
     
  9. InkDream
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    InkDream Senior Member

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    Yes, it is risky. As a rule I don't put any specifics about anything I want to someday publish online and I especially don't outline my plot or characters. Better safe than sorry.
     
  10. Noya Desherbanté
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    Noya Desherbanté Senior Member

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    I post articles on a site, but in the best way possible I don't regard it as my best work. I'm proud of them, but I guard my novels and short stories with my life. I'm terrible - I search for inspiration anywhere I can, because I'm confident my 'vision' (wow, how pretentious is THAT?! :p) would be significantly different to where the inspiration came from, because of my disturb'd mind - but if I recognise any of my themes or vague ideas in anyone else's work, I fly off the handle and deploy the fetus position faster than any living creature.

    I may pluck up the courage to post something on here to be commented on... but generally I am so, so wary about posting something online, simply because copy n' paste is literally two clicks away, and then millions of people could perceive it's someone else's. That is not to say I don't trust this community - I've only been here a short while and I get the distinct impression you're all upstanding, fiercely principled lovely writer people, but unfortunately I will always be paranoid! When I talk about writing on my blog, I use abbreviations for the titles - I never use character's names, and I keep plot points tight to my chest.

    If I ever have a real child some day, I would probably put it in a bubble... 0_o
     
  11. Top Cat
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    Top Cat Senior Member

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    Only amateurs steal ideas - and they are no threat to you. However, handing out your complete works without a name on it - might not be such a good idea :redface:

    Everyone steals ideas, anyway - but only a little bit. On my course, we cowrite TV series/serials in a group. One of which proposed a TV series based around a sex-shop. I liked the idea, but not the way they executed it. I felt tempted to steal their idea...well, the arena - but I wouldn't keep their characters, or their flimsy serial element. - it was crap.

    So yeah, it's all about execution.
     
  12. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    A friend of mine in academia, told me that whenever one of them comes up with an idea in a meeting, they write it up on the whiteboard together with the originator's name. But that's the only context where I've seen stealing of ideas (as opposed to stealing a finished work) needs to be guarded against.
     
  13. daydreams
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    daydreams Member

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    There is not an unlimited amount of basic ideas, and so I'm not sure exactly when something is "stolen". If we decide that ideas can be stolen. Theft is not the actual thing here. It's one thing if someone copies your detailed outline, I guess, and another if you both write about a first contact with aliens, or a murder mystery. It's not like those ideas have been done just once. It's not illegal to get inspired by the work of others, that's how it works anyway. Not yet, anyway.

    Apparently anyone can write about a murder and how the police tries to solve it. Is that one idea, or is it too broad? What about the method the murderer used, is that idea unique enough to become property? (Silly, I know.) Or is it the character? It has to be extremely unique if you think someone can steal it and be traceable to your work and not a million other books written before that.

    What kind of ideas are we talking about? What does it mean to "steal" them?
     
  14. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    Well, if you post only chapter one of it, chances are that the copyright thief would create a chapter 2 or so on. Therefore, 90 percent chances of him adding chapters won't match the original chapters of your story. By this, this would make it easier to sue the person, giving the courts more evidence that your story is more original than the person taking it. Also keep in mind that you can receive damages the defendant made if your work is registered with the Library House of Congress.
     
  15. scriberesort
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    scriberesort New Member

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    Revealing your work in public places is always risky. I'm hesitant about it as well. Copyright law says that an original work is copyrighted once it is created. But, that's not to say that someone can't copy it and use it as their own.

    I would be cautious about what gets posted. Perhaps just post an excerpt of something you've written and not the entire piece. Also, if you value your work and don't want to risk it being stolen, then don't post it. I think that's a good rule of thumb. Also, add the copyright notice to everything you post as a reminder to people.
     
  16. daydreams
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    daydreams Member

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    Well it's not ok with copying someone's work word by word. With ideas it's different, you can't "own" them as far as I know.
     
  17. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Ideas can be patented if they meet specific conditions, but ity is a long and expensive process. Arthur C Clarke's idea of usikng artificial satellites to extend the range of radio/TV communications resulted in an important patent. But ideas are not covered under copyright law, only the expression of an idea in a persistent medium.
     
  18. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    seasoned writers/pros don't do that, if the work hasn't already been published... it dates the work and indicates the writer is an amateur...
     
  19. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Well...if you submit to publishers or agents and have the copyright notice, many will view it as amateurish. I wouldn't do that.

    But if you're actually publishing the work yourself, either online or POD or eBook, etc., then you should include the copyright notice just like an established publisher will do for you if they publish your book. This is because the notice provides you with a possibility of greater damages if you end up suing someone for infringement and prevents the infringer from raises certain defenses.
     

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