On Shared Worlds

I wouldn’t describe this as incoherent as much as disjointed.

If you’ve been wondering where I am some nights these days I’m writing in a notebook. When the day gets ahead of me I have better success not screwing around too much if I use pen and paper. Seeing my own handwriting is kind of cool too.

Today I read about shared worlds for writing and other creative creations. I’m somewhat angry that an idea I had back in 2000 is manifesting itself as a thing in 2011. And not my thing. The examples I stumbled on looked to be about as good as I could have hoped and about as mediocre.

One doesn’t pay creators for their work and robs them of potential earnings by putting that work under a non-commercial CC. I can only assume it’s because of the headache trying to work out how much of any one work a person created on their own and how much they relied on the contributions of others. I don’t find this as peudent as I find it uncourageous. I do the movie test here. Can I use you stuff to make my movie without pissing you off if you don’t get paid. That’s the real hurdle in all these things: making or not making money.

When someone else gets rich off your idea you’d like a piece of that. Even if the money came as conpensation for a huge amount of effort on that other person’s part. You think, “That son of bitch used my idea to make tons of money and I got nothing.” The trouble is you should be thinking, “That son of a bitch did something I didn’t do: execute.” The reality is that that son of a bitch likely would have made money off of any half-decent idea; he just happened to start with yours.

The only way shared worlds will ever truly get out of mom’s basement is when a Hollywood studio fronts a blockbuster movie and gives the license to the stories and characters and ideas away. Wanna make a James Bond RPG, go for it. Think we need a Toys 4, let us know how it works out. You can imagine a When Harry Met Sally board game, do it.

These sites are a writers’ version of a 60s commune. And nothing can come of them unless omeone truly sacrifices. Flash fiction, short stories, novellas, not even novels will have the clout to take an ember to a flame and fire. A personality could pull it off. Steven King. J.K. Rowling. Arrange for them to give the rights to their next novel away and it’ll happen.

But where does the money come from when you do this? It comes from the quality. This is a real test of a creator’s mettle. Put Harry Potter in the public domain then find out how furiously awesome you’ve got to write or create to keep up.

xxx words on day 728

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