Don’t do this to writers.
So, I have a confession. I love Twilight. Parts of it piss me off (I hate whiny female characters with no backbone), and it has a tendency to be really trite, but I have to admit that sometimes, I like a little trite. Sometimes happy stories are my drug of choice, and I use them in an entirely escapist fashion. I can’t help it. My life has a tendency to suck on occasion, and sometimes I need to run away from it. Childish, yes. Necessary for sanity–also yes.
Anyway. Stephenie Meyer has been writing another version of Twilight, called Midnight Sun, done from Edwards perspective. She has a few partial drafts she’s working on. She gave a few out to friends, and BAM. Someone leaked it out and it spread like a wildfire over the net.
Basically, it was against her wishes, against her publisher’s wishes (she wanted to publish it), and now it’ll never get published. She ended up posting the draft on her own site, simply to discourage those who would be so desperate to read it that they would hunt it down illegally.
So, why is it so wrong that it got distributed? Well. Money aside, it’s theft. Speaking from a writer’s standpoint, our stories are a part of us. They allow us to bring out parts of our selves that we may not have another outlet for. When we trust someone with that, we trust them. It’s a violation to abuse that.
I still buy music. If I have a lesser known band that I like–and I like a lot of those–that I want to share with a friend, I encourage them to buy the records instead of just ripping a copy onto their computer. I do think it’s a wee bit different, to an extent. That music is already finished, already out there. It’s in circulation. If someone were to get ahold of a sample album of say…Muse…and let it fly round the web, there would be hell to pay.
I have a blog where I have my story posted. It is a private blog. Even so, I have posted a very straightforward disclaimer that anyone who abuses my right to my own work will be prosecuted. Even if it is a friend. I won’t send out full manuscripts in digital form. If people want to read it, they have to jump through my hoops and abide by my rules, because, as the deal with Stephenie Meyer illustrates, it only takes one person to ruin someone’s hard work and effort for everyone. It also proves that I’m not being overly paranoid–I’m protecting myself.
I’m no JK Rowling or Stephenie Meyer, no Kim Harrison or Laurell K. Hamilton. Not yet. I haven’t sold millions of copies. I haven’t had the chance to even be published. If someone were to steal my hard work now, I would be devestated. My story is my baby. It’s been years of effort and carpal tunnel. 🙂
So come on, people. Intellectual property is just that–property. Leave it be. Support the people who slave over it to make it public. Don’t negate their efforts. Show some respect.