do new writers need to worry about people "stealing" their book

Re: Stolen Ideas

Posted by: “Clint Johnson” clintrj@q.com

Thu Jan 21, 2010 10:40 am (PST)

There’s an element of assumed brilliance in these fears that wears off when you realize how many talented people there are out there. (My assumptions of brilliance died with comical rapidity.) I think you’re right that novices believe success is a matter of finding the right premise. Very, very few books break out because of premise. There’s just so little that’s actually new. And whenever something “new” does show it up it is stolen, over and over again, which creates a new sub-genre. Didn’t Mark Twain say that good writers borrow while great writers steal? What beginners don’t realize is that it’s the crafted expression of a concept that earns success or not. The process of writing a quality story is so idiosyncratic that even if someone did steal part of their premise, the final product would be vastly different from what they would write. I suspect that as awareness of one’s own writing process and style improve, these fears disappear.

Clint


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