Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mary's Rants - Trust

Have you ever trusted someone, I mean totally trusted them and found out that they've been lying to you over and over again? For years! This has happened to me recently. Today!

This is no one in the writing community, so stop looking around at all the other authors you think you know, who may know me...

After I got over feeling like a complete fool and idiot, I started to think. (I know this is a scary concept, me thinking.) In my writing life I'm very trusting. Oh who am I kidding, I'm very trusting period.

How many times have I sent my manuscript to someone I don't really know. And never thought a thing about it. I've heard of some big names claiming someone stole their idea, I'm pretty sure it wasn't their critique partner, etc. But I shrugged and thought to myself, I'm not big, so no one is going to want my ideas.

How do I know that? And how do I protect myself against someone dishonest. And do I really have to worry about that. Are other writers dishonest? Are there those that steel others ideas?

Until today I would have scoffed and said a loud resounding 'NO!' But unfortunately, there are people in this world who smile sweetly while they tell you a bold faced lie. Now I have to figure out how to find those people and steer clear.

From now on my trusted critique partner will be the only one to see any word I write. That is until I send it off to an agent. But then how do I know that the agent is trustworthy?

My world has been rocked and I'm not sure how to fix it. Tell me how do you know who to trust? Or do you think I'm worrying about nothing?

Have any of you ever experienced dishonestly with another writer. Whether it was as a critique partner or contest?


tonya kappes said...

Mary, Mary, Mary...YES! When I first started writing I met a gal on the internet. She was so convincing and then told me that she's not going to join RWA or any local chapter b/c it's all a hoax and all the same with agents/editors. Well I joined everything anyways and we did exchange some pages. Needless to say she hated my concept and my voice. She told me that I'd never make it. I dumped her. Well...she's never made it and I still see her on the ever so social facebook and she's still plugging away with a new book concept on MY FIRST BOOK that she hated!! I about died! Oh well, at least I've got two books coming out next year to her ZERO!

tonya kappes said...

Oh Mary! I'm so sorry you had to go through it. It really does suck!

Kari Lee Townsend said...

You have to be careful who you trust, but I don't think cutting off everyone is the answer either.

I've never had my story stolen, but a lot of ideas or key places or character types similar to mine have appeared in people's work who are close to me.

Sometimes I even think people might think of something and then wonder where did I hear that from, but they aren't sure, so they roll with it. It's hard to be completely original because we are bombarded with all sorts of things we see and hear and read, etc.

But to out right steal an exact premise or actual lines is wrong, no matter how you slice it.

Hang in there. Hope things work out for you.

Donna Cummings said...

Mary, sorry to hear about the abuse of trust you experienced. I feel like I have a pretty good BS detector (all those years working with other attorneys! LOL), but I'm still surprised by people's actions.

One of my friends teased me the other day that I keep info about my plots locked down tighter than the Jonas Brothers' pants. LOL I'm very cautious about who I share my manuscripts with, because you just never know!

Mary Martinez said...

Thanks everyone!

Tonya, that's terrible! One time I had a critique partner, and though she didn't steel one of my ideas she said I had stolen hers. She was new to the group. I had been writing my story for a few months before that. When she read my pages she claimed I stole her idea. Her Hero was a gardener and he lived in a cottage. My villain who is a slightly Forest Gump type kid lived on an estate with his mother in a cottage. And the cottage was in the book, one time. My book was completely different than hers. She actually broke the group up, we'd been together for a few years. I haven't heard or seen her since. My book has been published and to be honest is hers as I can't remember her name to know. But I I will not join a group because of that experience. I didn't feel dishonest because both my gardener kid and the cottage were in my book prior to meeting her. So therefore how did I still those ideas?

Kari, I know what you mean you can't close off. And I did for a while after the incident but I finally let people see my work, but I have to know them.

Donna, I may borrow your BS detector!

I'm just glad I've only had the one writing incident. I still feel bad she thought I'd do that to her. But I know I didn't. Like Kari said there's so many similar concepts.

And there is only a few basic stories it's the delivery that's different.

I wrote a whole other post. LOL

Lindsay said...

For me, trust is something that has to be earned. I've, knock on wood, never had a story idea, shall we say, borrowed or characters taken by someone else. Now, when someone asks about my WIP or a future story I keep everything to the absolute basics, revealing very little.
Trust with family members is another matter. For some reason they think trust is automatic but I think it still has to be earned.
Now days I can count on two hand the number of people I trust, with a story concept or as family.
Me, myself, I and Kebi. With the occassional writer friend.