The typical reaction I have when I see a cover that reflects a story idea I’ve had is:
- Damn, they had the same idea and beat me to it!
It’s disappointing when it happens, but I don’t consider it theft because creative types in a certain medium writing in the same genre, will often think along the same lines and more times than not, another writer comes up with a similar theme and makes it work enough to get it published. I begrudge no one their success when they’ve beaten me to the punch on a similar story-type—sometimes I even buy it because I’m into that sort of story anyway, it’s why I came up with something like it on my own.
Recently I saw an upcoming comic series and I got excited but a bit deflated–I had a similar idea and they beat me to it.
Then I clicked through the cover image and read the plot…
Then got to see the first few pages as a preview…
Then read the the details of the story arc in the article that featured the preview…
My disappointment turned to rage. Long story short I’d plotted out a fan-comic thing I wanted to submit to a publisher and posted it in my Creator Diary–and there it all was looking back at me, except they changed the characters and geographical locations. Christ, some of my dialog was right there on the preview pages. >_>
I’m not going to name names and I’m not going to raise hell because part of what comes with creating fan-work (fiction, comics, etc) for western comics, anime, or manga is that in the end the publisher that owns the characters and the world you’re working in, owns what you’re doing. No matter how original my plot was, it was easier to alter the cast, change the location of the action, and work with a writer on the payroll, then it was to just publish me. So to the editor and the writer that decided to appropriate my very detailed outline–I guess you have the right to do that.
I want to warn all you fan-creator types working on non-erotic fan submissions (mine was a pipe dream because this company doesn’t take submissions from writers without agents), if it’s not porn or fan-romance lock it down and never share it with anyone but an agent or the actual editor you’re submitting it to.
My Creator Diary is now on permanent lock down, not that I’ve added much to it recently. I’m closing comments here because this is deeply personal to me and I’m not naming names—I did blog about this though because I was approached by like-minded friends who wanted to know what was going on (after they too saw the preview of the comic and they too had been readers of my Diary and saw the original scenes and outline I’d written.) The truth is, I have no one to blame but myself—I didn’t own the players or the world they live in and even though my plot was original and obviously publishable, I shouldn’t have put it out there without approaching the pub first with an attempt to get it published.
I’m crushed about this, but I’ve learned my lesson.