Thursday, May 2, 2013

Beta readers and writing thieves

I think a lot about Henry Miller’s writing commandments about how you should finish what you’re working on and not think about the other things you can write later. I know it’s common to just get bored, or stuck, or burned out on what you’re doing. I have great ideas, then stop and second guess myself (this goes for a lot of other things I do as well as for writing.) But I’m trying to read more and get myself through the project even though I admit to dabbling in something else yesterday.

Of course, I wrote a bit, felt guilty, and will go back to the current work in progress.

So, I was reading an article on beta readers at The Creative Penn. I don’t really talk about what I’m writing, except here and there to my husband or immediate family. I’m a fairly private person to begin with, so spouting off ideas to the wide world of Twitter makes the magic seem to disintegrate. (Stephen King had a quote about that in On Writing, but I can’t find it anywhere.) But I asked Twitter about it, and people said they’ve found their beta readers in old friends in real life as well as on Twitter.

I distinctly remember a girl on Twitter a while back saying that she had a “good friend” steal her book idea. It was something about how she would talk to this friend about writing, told the girl her ideas for her next book. Later on the friend has a new book with the same exact plot line as the first author. Of course the first author was appalled and hurt by the whole betrayal, but what could she do? Especially in the realm of self-publishing if you had someone read a draft of a novel, couldn’t they feasibly life the whole thing and make it their own? Would there even be any kind of way to copyright that (not like you’d get any money from it, but the whole idea is pretty wrong so you’d want to get the thing off virtual shelves.)

My questions today are:

  • If you have beta readers, how did you find them?
  • Have any beta readers or even supposed friends taken your ideas and used them as their own?

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