Today, I'm curious about everyone else's thoughts on the community use of story ideas.
I read this post a few months ago about about a woman who had shared her unique, one-of-a-kind idea for a story with a twitter/blogger/facebook/okay-I-can't-remember-which friend. And when that "friend" turned around, totally back-stabbed her, and stole her story idea, using it to write her own book, word-for-word with the same idea, she was completely devastated.
I kind of freaked out when I read this blog, listening to the poor woman go on and on about how heartbroken she was and how she'd never be able to write her dream story now because someone had stolen the idea.
And I wasn't freaked because I feared someone else would steal my ideas, I was freaked because I worried I might've stolen someone else's idea!
I know the idea for my story, Delinquent Daddy, came after reading the first chapter of Sandra Brown's book, Long Time Coming. It's about a dad showing up to cuss out a woman for a letter he received saying he's the father to a kid he doesn't know about...only to realize he really is the father to that kid. Other than that, the two stories have really no similiaries, but I TOTALLY took the idea from that book because I really, really, really liked it.
Then, I also stole the story idea of my ebook How to Resist Prince Charming from the movie In Good Company. That's the one where the new, young boss falls in love with his employee's daughter. I just LOVED that idea too, so yeah, I wrote a book about it...because, you know, it was calling to me. But my book has a happy ending, UNLIKE the movie's ending.
Granted, I didn't copy those stories word-for-word, but I did use their basic plot ideas. If I asked you guys, I have a feeling you'd reassure that I didn't steal anything. At least I hope you would (please).
It all got me to thinking though. Isn't the idea for EVERY story we write somehow taken from another story? And what about all those re-writes of Pride and Prejudice and Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast? And don't they say there are only so-many plots out there? How can you actually STEAL an idea? Or are we all just dirty-rotten theives?
I was getting really confused and worried with all my philosophical pondering when last week I saw some kind of blog party (or something or other) where writers were actually SHARING their story ideas with other people.Come share an idea, it invited.
So, now I have to know what you good people think? Is it possible to steal an idea? Even if you use the basic outline from one person's story, the two stories could never truly be the same. I mean, wouldn't they still have to have different writing styles, different characteristics, different author points of view, different scene chronology?
I totally don't think taking the blurb or idea or whatever someone has for a fresh, new story word-for-word and making it your own is okay, but I do think it's okay to use what you've seen out there on some level. What I don't know is where that line is drawn. When does it become okay?
Where would YOU draw the line of stealing and sharing??
I read a blurb for a book recently, and it was so compelling, I loved it so much, I began to write my own version of that story from that blurb in my head. I've completed the prologue and first chapter for it already because it's so loud up there in my noggin. When I broke down and bought the book that inspired me, I was actually disappointed it really wasn't anything like the story I had rolling around inside me. So...would you consider it stealing it I continued with my story and finished it? Or should I set it aside because I'll be a big-fat thief it I stick with it?