Opening Up Your Entire Writing Process Isn't Such A Ridiculous Idea

from the not-that-everyone-has-to-do-it... dept

Last week, when we wrote about how author Stephenie Meyer seemed to be overreacting to the leak of her latest manuscript, one of our regular critical commenters (an IP lawyer, who fully supports the IP system) posted a mocking comment pretending to mimic us by saying that maybe she should have opened up her whole writing process and put it up as a wiki. Of course, we never suggested any such thing, we merely pointed out that once the reality of the leak had happened, there were good and bad ways to react to it, and she chose a bad way, that punished her biggest fans.

However, it's worth noting that the more wide open process of creativity isn't necessarily worth mocking either. In fact, Boing Boing points out that Wired Magazine has opened up its storyboarding process for a feature for the next issue, so that people can follow the process of building the story. The mocking commenter-type folks would insist that this would somehow hurt the magazine and the writer by somehow "revealing" the process too soon, but the reality is that it's likely to help build more interest in the story by better connecting with fans who will feel a bigger connection to the story by seeing the whole process, rather than just the finished product.

Of course, this isn't to say that everyone has to embrace such an open process, but that it's not such a ridiculous process, no matter how much it may offend the sensibilities (or billing ability) of an IP attorney.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Skeptical Cynic (profile), Sep 12th, 2008 @ 11:44am

    IP issues are always going to be contenious.

    Those that have want to protect it, and those that want it want to free it. In this case there really is no damage because most people could careless. And those that do it will just make them more interested in the process than stealing it.

     

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  2.  
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    Sukey, Sep 12th, 2008 @ 12:02pm

    I think Stephenie Meyer needs to get over herself. She writes books about vampires - she isn't John Steinbeck.

     

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  3.  
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    mobiGeek, Sep 12th, 2008 @ 12:24pm

    Re: IP issues are always going to be contenious.

    So is this the "it could only work for Wired Magazine" comment?

    I somehow have a feeling of deja-vu coming on.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2008 @ 12:30pm

    Two contrasting situations.

    The first is an author who had her work uploaded to the internet and distributed without her permission.

    The second involves the uploading of a work with the permission of the author(s).

    Perhaps I am being a bit simplistic, but I consider the presence or absence of permission a pretty big deal insofar as an author is concerned...and I am certainly not prepared to criticize an author who apparently places more importance on the preservation of his/her work until it is ready for "prime time" than on the economics of the situation some critics seem to believe is more important.

    As a side note, at no time have I ever tipped my hand on my personal opinion of IP law other than to note on one occasion that copyright law in some measure has provisions that border on "draconian". I have, however, endeavored to provide information regarding what the law "is" to correct many obvious misperceptions and misstatements repeated here with with remarkable frequency.

     

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  5.  
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    hegemon13, Sep 12th, 2008 @ 12:33pm

    Cool idea

    I always enjoy this idea. I loved Project Greenlight (only saw season 3), and having seen the creative process enhanced, rather than degraded, my enjoyment of Feast. There was, a while back, an independent movie called "Radius" that maintained an online video diary as they made their movie. Checking it was quite addictive. I never saw the final product, though, because they angered me. They promised free streaming of the movie throughout the whole process, then retracted and offered it only as an overpriced DVD.

    I don't think the process is for everyone or every process. I think it probably applies more to film than to writing because of the collaborative nature of film-making as opposed to the more solitary process of writing a novel. I know I would not want to open up my process. I am generally quite embarrassed with my early drafts once I take a couple weeks to distance myself from them.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2008 @ 12:35pm

    Re: Cool idea

    Oops, second paragraph correction:

    I don't think opening the process is for everyone...

     

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  7.  
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    Evil Mike, Sep 12th, 2008 @ 12:55pm

    Re:

    You DO realize this post is a thought experiment, don't you?

    There's a huge "FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION" (mildly unstated) right there...

     

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  8.  
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    Dennis Crow, Sep 12th, 2008 @ 1:07pm

    IP and openness

    Maybe the future is people writing all kinds of things and some people aggregating them or organizing them into something that 'pops.'

    I know Ken Kesey met with limited success from his group author collaboration experiment.

    Or, there could be an order for a screen/tele/web/ play with certain elements or organizing ideas (themselves debatable) and people contribute, with the result that you have Intellectual Properties with a matrix of narrative modules. Fans create the most popular pathways or stories. A little like Web 2.0 user generated content.

    Where are you Ted Nelson?!?! This where Xanadu fans raise a cup!

    All we need is an accounting system that rewards the ideas that people like the most.

    Hahahahahahahaha

    The present movie industry is our best shot at it, maybe. Certainly, the bizz model for IP distribution of any kind is open for development.

    Here's what's gonna win!

    Ubiquitous learning game/s that incorporates all intellectual content in some kind of way. Learner/players choose which games they play by a categorical system for the kind of ability required to play that module and the level of the ability.

    Then the module is evaluated for how quickly learners can moe through the levels of the game, or average time to level per minute or hour of game play.

    IP becomes modules rewarded by game play.

    The next step (both of these are starting now) is to structure work that way. Working and learning games would make sure that all human faculties would be as fully developed and employed as possible.

    Thank you for your attention!

     

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  9.  
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    Mike (profile), Sep 12th, 2008 @ 1:11pm

    Re:

    Two contrasting situations.

    Indeed.

    The first is an author who had her work uploaded to the internet and distributed without her permission.

    Yes. And your response was to mock us and pretend we had said that she should give away her whole process, and then joked about how ridiculous a concept that was.

    The second involves the uploading of a work with the permission of the author(s).

    Yes, indeed. Showing that such a scenario could work quite well for the author and not be ridiculous as you had implied.

    Do you not see that?

    Perhaps I am being a bit simplistic, but I consider the presence or absence of permission a pretty big deal insofar as an author is concerned

    Sure, but that's not what we're discussing. We're discussing that once it's out there, how do you react? And you posted a mocking and slightly insulting response. And we're showing that your mocking concept (of something that we hadn't actually said) wasn't wrong.

    and I am certainly not prepared to criticize an author who apparently places more importance on the preservation of his/her work until it is ready for "prime time" than on the economics of the situation some critics seem to believe is more important.

    Oh, but you have no problem insulting us and mocking us because it might impact your salary? Funny double standard.

    But, to be clear, at no time did we insist she had to give away her work (as you falsely implied). We were stating that once it was out there, how should she deal with it.

    Your response seems to be to pretend it's still possible to protect it. I sure hope people don't listen to you for business advice.

    As a side note, at no time have I ever tipped my hand on my personal opinion of IP law other than to note on one occasion that copyright law in some measure has provisions that border on "draconian". I have, however, endeavored to provide information regarding what the law "is" to correct many obvious misperceptions and misstatements repeated here with with remarkable frequency.

    That is an out and out lie, and you know it. Over the last few months, on a regular basis you have not just provided information, you have repeatedly accused folks here of being morally inept for their views, personally insulted well respected economists (before admitting that you'd never actually read their stuff), talked about how we are not qualified to comment on the patent system without your broad experience in patents, and personally insulted me, mocked me and made false statements about my views.

    Your position, over and over again, has been to defend the patent system, and to mock anyone who criticizes it or accuse them of not having the experience necessary to discuss it.

    You are also an admitted IP attorney who makes money from the current system -- though, when called on that fact, you also pretended that you did not make money from the system, which is a lie.

     

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  10.  
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    Peregrine, Sep 12th, 2008 @ 1:43pm

    Re:

    Correction- she writes melodrama about cliche stereotypical myths including Vampires and Werewolves. To read her crap is to have your eye sockets explode from a barrage of eye-rolling.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 12th, 2008 @ 1:49pm

    One open model

    Brandon Sanderson has been conducting an experiment where he has posted an entire in-process novel on his website, and has updated it with each revision. Publication is coming up soon. He discusses his reasoning as well:
    http://www.brandonsanderson.com/book/Warbreaker/

    It will be interesting to see how this experiment plays out.

     

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  12.  
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    oregonnerd, Sep 13th, 2008 @ 4:26am

    evil Mike

    So...you'll let us in on the process when? Or maybe throw an office party, at least, for the faithful.
    --Glenn
    8}

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2008 @ 9:30am

    Re: Re:

    You had ample opportunity to respond to my comment in the original article, which comment pertained to the portion of the article providing that the author was overreacting and should realize that the leak of her draft was hardly something to be upset about. Just because you happened to disagree with her reaction is hardly good reason to criticize her for what was otherwise one of a number of perfectly reasonable responses. For example, it is possible that there was more involved in her decision than just economic considerations.

    At no point in my comment did I state, suggest, or imply that participatory writing was an unworkable means of crafting a work of authorship in all cases. My view is simply that this is a decision that should be left up to the sole discretion of each author. If he/she chooses to follow a path that may diverge from your views, his/her choice should be respected.

     

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  14.  
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    Mike (profile), Sep 13th, 2008 @ 11:22am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You had ample opportunity to respond to my comment in the original article, which comment pertained to the portion of the article providing that the author was overreacting and should realize that the leak of her draft was hardly something to be upset about.

    And, in that post, I DID respond on that.

    And in THIS post, I was responding to YOU mocking the idea of opening up the process.

    Just because you happened to disagree with her reaction is hardly good reason to criticize her for what was otherwise one of a number of perfectly reasonable responses.

    Yeah, how dare I have an opinion?

    You know, the same could be said to you. Just because YOU happen to disagree with MY reaction is hardly a good reason for you to mock folks here for what was otherwise one of a number of perfectly reasonable responses.

    You have this amazing double standard, MLS.

    At no point in my comment did I state, suggest, or imply that participatory writing was an unworkable means of crafting a work of authorship in all cases. My view is simply that this is a decision that should be left up to the sole discretion of each author. If he/she chooses to follow a path that may diverge from your views, his/her choice should be respected.

    And at no point did we suggest otherwise. But OUR point (which you still seem unable to grasp), was that once that info is out there, there are different ways to react, and she chose a poor one. How dare we have an opinion, I know, but it's an informed opinion. And your response was to mock the idea of openness.

    This post was to show you that openness isn't such a mockable concept.

     

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  15.  
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    geeb, Sep 13th, 2008 @ 11:33am

    It works

    A guy at work lent me a "graphic novel" a while back. One of the Dark Knight series, Batman and all that. Obviously "graphic novel" requires quotes, because (thinks patronising geeb) it's clearly just a comic book really.

    I flicked through it, quite enjoyed it -- took me back to my childhood a bit, but it's not exactly Umberto Eco.

    However, as an appendix, the author had included an earlier draft of one section of the story -- fully drawn, essentially the same plot, just a few different scenes and some different emphasis in the dialogue. He had also included some commentary on why he had made the changes, what he was trying to do with the characters etc, and that suddenly opened up the whole thing for me. There's a lot that goes into it, and it made me realise that it's actually a serious art form with real value.

    I'm still not a huge comic freak, but that insight into the process has definitely turned me from "graphic novel sceptic" to "would consider buying one".

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2008 @ 1:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "And, in that post, I DID respond on that."

    Perhaps you did respond to my comment, but if so your response in not in the thread. Your only comment is on a point of law you directed to an individual who was posting under the name "LostSailor". That person most certainly was not me.

    "Yeah, how dare I have an opinion?"

    The title of your article was pejorative by suggesting the author does not "get it", and your saying "...this is hardly something to be upset about" suggests to me did not attach much significance to her personal views. You say in this thread that the reaction she chose a "poor one". Maybe she did if all that was in play in her mind was the economics of the situation. It is not in my view, however, unreasonable to point out that many other things may have contributed to her reaction.

    "Just because YOU happen to disagree with MY reaction is hardly a good reason for you to mock folks here for what was otherwise one of a number of perfectly reasonable responses."

    It is a bit difficult, if not impossible, to understand how my only comment to your article (comment #2) can in any reasonable way be construed as denigrating in the slightest any of the subsequent 82 comments.

     

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  17.  
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    Mike (profile), Sep 13th, 2008 @ 1:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    MLS, I like how you ignored the point.

    You wrote a mocking post, and then you continue to mock us for having an opinion, telling us we cannot.

    Yes, the title of our post gave an opinion. And your response has been to tell us we have no right to have an opinion and then to mock the concept of openness.

    Tellingly (again, this is your usual MO), you did not respond to why it's such an awful thing for us to criticize her response, but YOU are perfectly fine in mocking us?

    Why is that? Your inability to admit you have a massive double standard is staggering.

    Maybe she did if all that was in play in her mind was the economics of the situation. It is not in my view, however, unreasonable to point out that many other things may have contributed to her reaction.

    That's not what you responded to, however. You mocked the concept of openness. If your concern was that we did not take into account those other issues, you could have said that. You did not. Instead, you mocked the concept of openness.

    And, in the meantime, you continue to blatantly ignore the point:

    We were talking about the best reaction GIVEN that the content was already out there. Your response? To sit and cry. Yeah, that's effective. Is that what you tell your clients? Or do you tell them to sue and you'll bill them?

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2008 @ 7:26pm

    The words "us" and "we" appear with great frequency in your comments. Given the context in which they are used, clearly you are not referring to you and me collectively. I must assume you are using them in reference to another collective group, and likewise must assume you speak with authority on that group's behalf.

    Perhaps commentary by other persons in the group would help dispel some of the confusion my comments present you.

     

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  19.  
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    Bob Jonkman (profile), Sep 14th, 2008 @ 9:07am

    It's been done.

    Wired Magazine is not the first "content provider" to open their creative process to their consumers. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has done it with their shows Spark and Search Engine (sadly muzzled for mocking the government). And then there's Snakes on a Plane... --Bob.

     

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  20.  
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    Mike (profile), Sep 14th, 2008 @ 7:19pm

    Re:

    And, once again, MLS refuses to address the issue. Hilarious.

    Funny how every time we actually call you out on something you run and hide by changing the subject.

     

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