This is an observation. I hope it doesn’t annoy anyone, because I just find it immensely funny.

There are certain things about the ‘business’ of writing, that matter infinitely more to the amateur writer. And I choose that word rather than the more ambiguous ‘novice’ or ‘beginner’, because those both depend on time and arguably lower amounts of experience as a factor setting the writer apart from those who aren’t novices/beginners. A writer can still be an amateur after ten years and 130 novels and short stories.

Anywho, those business-y things include stuff I’ve talked about before. Long acknowledgements before the first chapter, an inclination towards prologues that do nothing but set up the world (instead of letting the actual story do that). I found a new one, although it’s harder to see in self-publishing. Possibly it’s also rarer there, but I sincerely doubt it.

And it is: copyright. Actually, that’s entirely the wrong word. Copyright refers to intellectual property, rights management, protecting oneself against plagiarism. But amateurs take it to another level. To them, it’s all about stopping people from “stealing their ideas.” It’s not intellectual property, it’s their baby. Never mind plagiarism, they’re terrified of unethical copying.

Never mind that they’re commonly guilty of some form or degree of unethical copying themselves.

It can go so far, too. To the lengths and breadths of ridiculously stupid. Collaborating writers will delineate exactly what was whose idea, all but highlighting passage by passage in two different colours. No one must think that Kami wrote that part of which Samantha is so proud of writing. That character was Andy’s idea, not Maria’s, the character is copyright to him, omg.

Even when it’s just one person, they’ll carve their idea into stone and then run around abusing anyone who had a similar idea, whether it was after or before they did.

This stuff doesn’t seem to bother the seasoned or the reasonable. It seems confined to the same stuffed shirts who write two pages of acknowledgements for their first self-publishing attempt.

It’s probably super-tedious and pathetic, but I think it’s funny to see all of the expended effort. :)


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