"Writing", 22 November 2008
“Writing”, 22 November 2008 (Photo credit: ed_needs_a_bicycle)

Are intellectual property rights a real concern for writers who also blog about their writing, especially during NaNoWriMo?

I’ve been wondering about this quite a bit lately. Among friends, I have no reservations sharing my plots, characters, settings, etc. I will divulge even the silly details that don’t seem all that necessary to know in order for my characters to achieve their goals or for the plot to move from Point A to Point B.

In fact, I would love to share more of the details here, too. But I noticed something interesting last week when I downloaded Scrivener’s free NaNo trial. One of it’s features is the ability to scramble your words on output only. I had to ask my friend and partner-in-laughing-too-loud-in-public-places-crime why anyone would want to do that.

“So other people can’t steal your crap,” she said, quickly clarifying that she did not think my writing was crap.

Every time I think about posting about my NaNo plans, I start wondering if there are shady NaNo writers out there, just waiting to pounce on my words and *gasp* plagiarize my upcoming novel in some way. Or just shady observers who might do it, too. I suppose such sneakery would not be limited to people participating in the writing sprint.

Part of me thinks it would be ridiculous to worry over someone stealing one of my characters or my overall novel idea; yet this stuff happens all the time (remember that person who sued Stephenie Meyer? I mean, who would want to claim that they had written that?) It’s not that I think so highly of my own novel that I am legitimately concerned that someone would snatch up the idea and then potentially do it better (the horror); in reality, I know that the novel I’m planning is probably not going to change anyone’s world or break some sort of ground in the American literary frontier.

I am sure that some people’s decisions to share have more to do with personal comfort levels and less to do with concern that someone is waiting to rip off their ideas. But I have noticed that in general, most people aren’t divulging much information about their novels or characters. Do you think it is possible to overshare when it comes to your writing ideas?

Other writers, particularly others participating in National Novel Writing Month, what are your thoughts on the matter? Why do you (not) share what you share?