So you’ve got this high concept idea of a girl who can swing Excalibur off the back of a purple-flamed dragon named Roo and who drops snakes from her hair onto her enemies, and who is destined to gather an army of fellow snake-droppers to save the lost kingdom of Anacomba.
And you think to yourself: this is going to be a HIT.
And then a follower on Twitter asks after your idea—because you’ve been RAVING about it nonstop.
And you freeze. You side-eye that tweet. You run through countless ways to be ambiguous with this person about what you’re writing because….
They’re obviously going to steal your ideas.
Aaaaand I’m here to bust that myth right now.
Not saying that no one will ever steal your writing. There are people who feel so insecure about themselves, and their own capabilities, that they may very well copy and paste that first chapter you shared on your website onto their own profiles or even in a query addressed to an agent.
But here’s the thing. You’ve got to remember two important things:
1) Most nobody got no time for that
2) There’s only one you
Listen up: it takes a whole hell of a lot to push a book baby into the world.
In case you haven’t yet reached that point, let me be the first to tell you that drafting whatever it is you’re working on is really only the first step.
- There’s still revising
- and beta readers
- and editing
- and possibly more beta readers
- and then more revising and editing to do.
You will not get through all that unscathed and it’s very likely your story will have changed A LOT by the time you’ve done all that (rendering whatever you’ve shared online completely useless to the thief you’re so worried about).
- the process of querying agents
- possibly revising before and/or after receiving said agent (have you been counting how many times I said revision/revising at this point)
- going on submission with that manuscript
- then working with the editor of your potential publishing house to REVISE YET AGAIN.
Do you see now that almost NO ONE has the kind of time or attention to sit through all of that? That’s why not everyone actually publishes a book (and why some use shortcuts). It takes a lot of perseverance, thick skin, an open mind, etc etc etc.
And if you think indie (or self-published) authors have an easier time, you’d be wrong.
And even IF someone was hell-bent enough to do all that (which, who did you piss off in another life? Because I smell vengeance), THERE’S STILL ONLY ONE YOU.
No one, and I do mean absolutely no one, will write the book of your heart the way you will. No one will take all those concepts, themes, ideas, plot twists, characters and put them into a book the way that you can.
No one will have your vision, even if they learn to share in it.
Your creativity is nothing that can be stolen. At best, whoever is cowardly enough to try will only get a knock-off.
You are the real deal.
So the next time someone asks you about your writing and you get to that point in the conversation when you have to talk about your ideas, don’t hide from people because you assume they will just take (arrogant much?).
Instead, oftentimes when you give, people love giving back.