So now that we're all good and warmed up, I'm going to blog about writing. I don't usually blog about writing, or the biz, mostly because there are so many blogs out there that already cover all that needs to be:
Dead Things on Sticks
Ruts and Grooves
Uninflected Images Juxtaposed
...to name a few.
I don't like to be redundant, so I don't get particularly talky on the hows, whos, whats and whys of writing. Once in awhile, though, a thought, question, or idea will strike me, and I'm unable to find any reference in the archives of my favorite writing blogs. So here's today's thought:
Ideas. Who owns 'em?
One of the reasons that I tend to shy away from discussing my writing, is because most people (other writers in particular) seem to have the obnoxious habit of saying, "Oh! And what if you did THIS with it... and then what if THAT happened..."
Sometimes, their ideas are good... and that's what irks me. Hearing someone else's clever augmentation of my own work, before I've thought of it myself. It's not an ego issue at all - rather, it's an issue of ensuring that credit is paid where credit is due. See, I'm new to the business end of this business, and therefore understandably cautious. The last thing I want to do is get marked as someone who unfairly borrows from others. So, exactly what constitutes unfairly borrowing? That's what I'd like to clarify.
Generally speaking, if I'm discussing someone else's idea with them, and I blurt out an extension of that idea, I do so with the understanding that they may take that extension and run with it. That's cool - I'm fine with that. However, I'm not totally clear on whether that's the norm. Is it acceptable? Should you clarify, and ask for verbal permission to use an idea when it's presented to you?
Obviously, if someone said to me, "Hey, Erin - I'm going to write a sitcom about boxes..." I wouldn't run home and start working on my OWN sitcom about boxes. Because really, that's a pretty shitty sitcom concept... more importantly, it wasn't my creation. But! If someone said to me, "Hey, Erin - your show really needs a box in it! A big purple box, that spits out chocolate bars and sings Happy Birthday..." well, then. I'd probably say, "That's a shitty idea. What's wrong with you?"
But there's a chance I might say, or think: that's exactly what my show needs.
So is the big purple box, that spits out chocolate bars and sings Happy Birthday mine for the taking? Mind you, we'd need to ADR the box with He's a Jolly Good Fellow instead, but that's beside the point.