Thursday, 17 January 2013

Being an Author: Ethics

I was half way though writing a post on the state of play of my current projects.

Then, in a moment of thought, I changed my mind and wrote this.

Some time ago, the mighty Chuck Wendig wrote a post on Terrible Minds that said he wouldn't read a manuscript for fear of being accused in the future of possible plagiarism. I can't find it to link to it, so may have dreamed it. Either way, check out his blog. It's awesome.

Then some other shit happened.

And then I was left writing about ethics and fear. You see, I sit here writing on my corner of the internet telling you to have your work read, edited, proofed, advertized, shouted about... the list goes on... but sometimes you need to sit back and think about it.

And I'm not just talking about plagiarism.

Being a writer, new and inexperienced or old and seasoned, can leave you wide open to all sorts of different predicaments when your work is left in the hands of others. Whether that is the blurb of a book, the artwork, title, concepts, or, of course, content.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to trust. Or perhaps naivety. Or gullibility.

Most writers, myself included, have access to other people's work. We help each other. We proof, we edit, we work in the long term, exchanging favors for favors, in the hope that one day the art will be better, we will all be better writers and product is the best it can be.

It transpires that not everyone thinks like me.

Does that make me gullible?

Does it make me foolish to think that because I would not plagiarize someone's work, that someone would not mine or anothers?

To some, that answer is yes. I've considered it myself all this week.

That is why I stopped writing about my work that has not been released yet, in favor of this.

I don't think that it would be right for me or my work to hide in a box. My art would suffer. So I will pick my friends carefully and soldier on.

But to those of you who do read others work before or after it has been released, remember that the work is that of someone else. Whatever it is.

And whilst the line of legality may not be crossed, remember the creator of the work. Think about your morals.

Have ethics. 

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