Why I Won’t Be Writing for the Dark Crystal Anytime Soon

While I’m sure Jim was proud of the original product, I have to doubt he would have wanted this ‘contest’ to be run the way it is. What’s my problem? It’s that it’s set up as a blood, sweat and tears lottery. There is one winner and everyone else who sends a submission… forfeits their ideas. Yup, in perfect Hollywood form, the group running the contest claims every word that every writer sends them on the grounds that the company owns the copyright, so clearly you can’t use this work elsewhere.

I’m sorry, but I’m pretty sure if I put my mind to planning, plotting, writing and editing a serious entry (a 40,000 word novella), I’ll be creating a few creatures, characters, etc, expanding the Dark Crystal world in ways no one else would quite approach it. This means my voice has value. If, as an artist, a writer, a thinker, I didn’t believe this, then I wouldn’t bother trying to sell my work to magazines and anthologies. I wouldn’t be trying to punch up a slew of novels to send to market. I would just post my stories on the Internet and hoped someone would someday look at them.

While the final product would be something inextricably Dark Crystal, that same product could be mined, deconstructed, if you will, for ideas for other works outside that world, and unbound by existing copyright. And it’s my right to scavenge such a piece, to redesign physical forms, to take the heart of the story and make it something that in no way belongs to anyone else. And yet, if you do decide to use (steal) my work and publish it with minor tweaks, giving me nothing at all in the way of recompense, where does that leave all of those wonderful not- DC bits? Used up, burned at the altar of corporate greed. Jim would be ashamed to have his name associated with such tactics.

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