Tuesday, November 10, 2015


When we start out as writers, we're convinced we've stumbled on that one great idea for a story that is going to revolutionize the way people read books.  It's so good, in fact, that there are surely hordes of people out there who would steal our idea and claim it for their own if they get to it before we write it all down, or even after we right it down but it's not yet published, right?


So we guard our stuff more closely than the gold at Fort Knox.  Only a few trusted friends are allowed to see our work, and then only a few chapters at a time.  I was once so paranoid about my stuff getting out there before I was ready that the only way I would let others read any of it was by printing it out and then demanding those pages back afterwards.  You know...so that no one could run a few copies and steal it.

I should've just relaxed - no one was going to steal my stuff.  And no one is going to steal yours.

Let's assume for a moment that someone heard your idea and wanted to write a similar story - do you think they'd tell it the same way?  Would they get all the nuance you did?  Would their characters be the same?  Would it be anything close to your story?  Chances are almost certainly not.

So you've found a unique twist on vampires.  Even those who write for a living aren't going to hear about how you'll describe their dastardly plan for governmental infiltration or their ability to time travel and remake the Catholic Church and say, "Golly, I must write that myself."  What they're going to hear is, "Hey, there's another vampire story out there."

And should someone get a hold of your manuscript, you needn't worry.  It's protected the moment you wrote it down.  Should the thief avoid the numerous legal obstacles in his or her way to steal your manuscript word for word and then publish this SUPER GREAT IDEA(!!!!!) by an unknown author in a saturated market - a surefire recipe for financial success - once it came out that you wrote it, wouldn't the resulting controversy and publicity work to your favor?  Wouldn't that make it easier for you to sell your next work?

The overwhelming, vast majority of folks have better things to do than steal your manuscript, no matter how good it is.  I'm sure they'll enjoy it, but claiming it for themselves is highly unlikely.  Even other writers aren't going to take your stuff and gleefully exclaim, "It's mine...IT'S ALL MINE!  MUAHAHAHAHA!"  The biggest worry you're going to have is that your work will be a success and some other writer is going to say you stole their idea.  That'll throw you for a loop.

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