Ideas are up for grabs

When it comes to choosing beta readers, an aspiring author recently commented that he doesn’t accept beta readers who are strangers to him. He’s afraid they might steal his ideas.

Probably not. I wouldn’t.

When it comes to choosing recreational reading before bedtime, cozy mysteries and sweet romances have been my choices for a few years. They are clean, non-violent sub-genres, and they don’t keep me awake nights or give me bad dreams. So it’s probably no surprise that I beta read novellas and short novels written by authors of cozy mysteries and sweet romances.

However, I don’t write cozy mysteries and sweet romances. And I don’t steal ideas from authors of those sub-genres or any genres, sub or otherwise. I can come up with enough ideas on my own.

Apparently, a few of my ideas have been considered good enough for someone to steal.

When I was in the undergraduate creative writing program at a major state university, a classmate poached ideas from an article I wrote. Classmate wrote her own article, incorporating my ideas (but not my exact words), and got it published in the university newspaper. I think she was paid for her article. I, of course, was not.

I was a tad bit upset at first. Friends who read both articles noted the similarities and told me I should complain to the professor.

I didn’t do as they suggested because I knew complaining would be a waste of time and effort. Ideas cannot be copyrighted. It’s the words used to express those ideas in an article, book, or other form of media that can be copyrighted.

Ideas are up for grabs.

About WestWordArizona

Writer, editor, originally from Berkshire County, Massachusetts, now living in North San Diego County, California.
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