1. Pintoluck

    Pintoluck New Member

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    How can a creator safely share a huge fiction development with freelance writer?

    Discussion in 'Collaboration' started by Pintoluck, Oct 15, 2018.

    I'm a tech writer, no fiction. Still, I sent two pages of a fictional character and world development to a freelance creative writer on the internet. I paid for the first 1000 words, which were great! So great, that I was inspired to develop a novel length work for this writer. It became a huge work that looks more like a trilogy. My development of the protagonist, his friends and organizations extends to a hundred pages with a hundred scene suggestions. But the novel is a thriller; it is not only about the protagonist. So, I did similar development on the novel's plot, subplots, cast of characters, events, and scene suggestions which run for another 150 pages. All of which, I have not shown to anyone.

    Of course, in my humble fantasies of success, the character is endearing and exciting, and the novel will become a book series, a comic book character, and a movie extravaganza. No, really..lol.

    If this were a perfect world, I could dump all of that work onto my freelance writer, pay him his typical rate, and get a fabulous trilogy in return. The all-at-once data dump would allow my freelance writer to see the complete arc of the story so that he can apply his creativity to the best effect.

    However, I have a feeling that this would not be a wise thing to do. What if my work product were leaked, shared, posted on the internet, or developed and sold by other writers? If my work product is as good as I humbly think it might be, then the $million temptation to scam me might be too great for some people to resist.

    My question is: How can a creator safely share a huge fiction development with a freelance writer?

    Even though my freelance writer has a great internet reputation, I am still concerned. I have thought about inviting the writer to become a partner with success sharing. For example, I would pay his regular writing fee, and offer him 25% of net profits minus amounts already paid to the writer. Also, I might ask for a collaborating writer agreement, nondisclosure agreement, and copyright agreement.

    Please share your advice and experience. Thanks from a newbie.
     
  2. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    There is no way to do this beyond trust (or writing it yourself) since there is no copyright on ideas - there is also the question of whether your development is any good. When you hire a ghost writer there is generally a contract in place that governs who does what and for how much
     
  3. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributor Contributor

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    'And then Buzz Supraboy leaps and saves the girl...'

    'Superboy saves the girl, gottit.'

    'Supraboy, Su-PRA-boy!'

    'Okay, sit down...'

    And then but his mom she don't like him being with the Chinese boys, I got their names here...'

    'Yep...'

    'And it all takes place on a spinning mallow off of Mercury, hah hah, nobody thought of that...'

    'Why...why...why don't you write it?'
     
  4. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    What I would do:

    Get a solid contract in place. Don’t skimp on that.

    To the extent you have a well-devmiped story outline/structure, characters, etc. get a copyright registration on that material. Make sure the freelance writer acknowledges your intellectual property ownership in the agreement.
     
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  5. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    If I were to guess how long I spent on my last novel, I’d say 2000 hours.

    What are you paying this guy to write a novel, like 40k?
     
  6. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Yes. That. I can't imagine that the novel would earn even a fraction of what it cost to write. And I'm not saying that the ideas aren't good, but most novels just don't earn all that much.
     
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  7. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    But you can find freelancers on freelance sites who will write a novel for much, much less.
     
  8. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Less than...?

    I have a vague idea that a first novel might earn an advance of, oh, three thousand. I may have just made that up.
     
  9. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Benevolent Ochlocrat Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Can I just add, not to rain on your parade, but...

    Any halfway decent writer should be able to churn out a thousand words based on pretty much anything and make it sound good. That's about four pages of double-spaced Times New Roman 12 point, and the result says more about the writer you hired passing his/her proficiency test than your story.

    This is a problem. I'm not saying you don't have a good idea, I'm not saying you haven't come up with a great story to rival The Illiad in cultural significance and Harry Potter in commercial success, but the only person whose word you have for it is your own, and people can be very poor judges of their own abilities. Please, don't take this as me doubting that you can come up with a story, but as a caution against putting money into something when as yet have no external validation of your idea. Join a writing group, or chat with people here, and get some feedback on the basics of your story. With all the development you've told us about, you could talk about it quite a bit in the forum and not give away a tenth of what you've got down on paper, but I'd hate to see you spend money on a lawyer and a ghostwriter only to get back a perfectly well-written book that there's zero market for. At least if my book flops once it's done I'm merely out a bunch of hours that I'd have wasted playing computer games or watching TV, plus $45 for Scrivener.

    Good luck, and I hope you see your way clear to sharing some of your ideas in time.
     
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  10. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    I’ve seen people bid as little as $500 or $600 for such jobs. How good they are, I have no idea. Probably not very :)
     
  11. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    @ChickenFreak

    That’s got to be an issue right? I don’t know what the freelancing game is like, but for $500 bucks, let’s say this guy can grind out a first draft in 400 hours. If the writer is so sweet that he can write a publishable first draft, is he really going to want to work for a dollar an hour?

    I have met a couple of ghost writers, but they work for movie studios or celebrities for decent money, or grind out novels as a team all under the same pen name for Kindle Unlimited.

    The whole point of writing for other people is getting prestige or cash. Writing a self published novel for a buck an hour does neither.
     
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  12. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    To be fair I can write an 80k first draft in about 120 hours ( I don't ghost write however this is writing my own stuff) - so that'd be more like $5/hour still not work that I would want though
     
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  13. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    Me either. But I can think of people who might. Suppose you're at home most of the time anyway, and $500 one month would make a big impact on your finances?
     
  14. DeeDee

    DeeDee Contributor Contributor

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    There is no way you can stop somebody from sharing whatever you send them, if they want to share it. Even if you have a contract in place (highly recommended anyway) they can still share whatever they like. The only way for you to stop them is to sue and that costs lots of money. Even famous people backed by top lawyers and long contracts sometimes have problems over breach of contract and have to sue. Contract doesn't prevent the other side from doing whatever they want, at all.

    I think that's throwing money in the wind. If those creative writers were good, they'd be writing their own stuff and selling it for money. But they don't. Instead they make money off guys like you.
     
  15. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Why does everyone think they have a million dollar idea? Bad news. They don't and very few people do. An idea is the easiest part of writing. No one is short on ideas. No one needs to buy ideas. And you can't copyright ideas. If you can't write it yourself, I would really think about if it's worth the investment you seem to think it is. If your writer comes cheap, there is probably a good reason for it. If they don't come cheap, there is probably a good reason for that as well. But selling a story, even a good story is quite hard no matter if you write it yourself or pay someone else to.
     
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  16. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Contributor Contributor

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    This guy you're dealing with, maybe he's got the chops to write fiction and maybe he doesn't, but you like it. That doesn't mean that a publisher will like it . The only reason he would be doing this is for the money, and the only reason he's doing it for the money is that it's about a go-zillion to one shot that any fiction will make any money. Harry Potter for example, not a brilliant piece of writing but the right piece of writing at the right place at the right time, and it sold. So, is it safe? Yes, the guy would rather have your money than your idea. Give him a brief outline of the story, have him sign and date a receipt ON THE OUTLINE and mail the paper back to you.
     
  17. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Stubborn Finnsperger Contributor

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    It is true that there is no copyright on ideas. But this question is not about idea or ideas.

    Idea is single thought or solution to single question or situation. And this is not about that.

    This is about large coadapted complex of ideas. This complex has both serial and shunt structure. It has all the copyright any piece of art or product can have.

    You can use memetics to make it clear if something is an idea or an product or piece of art. (And now: whan I talk about memes, I use this word in it's real, original meaning. I don't mean just some virals but any memes.)

    If it is a meme, it is an idea. It does not have a copyright. If it is a memeplex it is a product or piece of art. It does have full copyrights and anyone who violates these rights should pay full price in form of money or prison time.
     
  18. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Stubborn Finnsperger Contributor

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    You are too polite.

    If someone had skills to create artistic entirety that is worth millions, that person would have skills to write it down because you need exactly same skills in doing structural and developmental in high artistic level and doing artisticly high level work while executing that developmental and structural work.

    Most writers don't have full both sides of that coin. Many of these steal ideas and structures and cover them with their own execution or do the background work, wait that someone else does the execution and they can pick the fruits after that.

    Pintoluck... I suggest that you do your own execution first. Then you find out what it demands and what is the worth of the work you can do.

    After that you can think it again.

    I show my work in progress to many, many people.

    I show someone part of my structural and developmental work. I don't show my draft to these people. We can talk about this background work. This way I get feedback I can use. As a byproduct my work gets witnesses who know it is my work.

    I show my draft to many people I know. I ask them to tell me their physical and emotional reactions. It tells me in very early stage if my work resonates among potential readers. As a byproduct my work gets withesses who know it is my work.

    I print everything. I make backups. That means I have a whole history of the progress of work.

    I keep two logs. One in WritingForum. One private. That is the important one. In public log I just write if I have studied something. In private log I write what I have studies for my writing. And I study every day something for it. I keep those logs for other reasons, but they also show my working among what ever I work.

    My personal library... I have it for work and fun. But it also shows that I have invested time and money to some topics. And specially that part of library that is printed from internet.

    History of twists in the stories... I can point out real world people, happenings, inspirations that none else can - not in the same extent.

    When I will finish rewriting, I will let beta readers read my text. They will know I have written it. But beta readers will not read early versions or structural and developmental material.

    Sharing can be your best way to prove it is your work. You share this part with these, that part with those and some other part with some other people. And you do everything yourself. And you print and back up everything.

    And there are shields I will not tell.

    And as a bad joke: Pay attention to what Kimi told his manager in the beginning of his career. (He is a Finn. I think he was 100% serious.) You have always that kind of ways to deal with treacherous behaving.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2018
  19. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Yes - except that its copyright stops it from being reproduced... it doesn't stop a book being written that is based on it, because that work is materially different, and there is no copyright on the general themes and ideas
     
  20. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    It's rarely that difficult to prove you wrote something... the difficult part is doing something with that proof.

    It costs thousands of dollars for even a simple court case, and even if you win the case it can be very, very difficult to collect a judgement.
     
  21. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    It can stop it if you follow the plot structure closely enough. But the raw ideas themselves aren’t protectable.
     
  22. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    Yes. A copyright infringement case that is fought by the other side and goes all the way to trial will costs you in the hundreds of thousands. We ask for a $30,000 retainer to even start intellectual property litigation.
     
  23. EBohio

    EBohio Banned

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    Yeah, you are basically hiring a ghost writer. Put all the terms in a contract. Keep a paper trail.
     
  24. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    That’s why I always follow the hero’s template. That way no one can tell who I am copying.
     
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  25. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Benevolent Ochlocrat Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Or you could just use TV Tropes. This quote from the Wikipedia page alternately cracks me up and inspires me:

     
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