A Writer's Nightmare...Literally.

I'm no stranger to nightmares. I've had plenty about zombies and more than a few about demons--which scare the crap out of me. But I've never had one like this before. If you're not a writer or a creative person, than you probably won't understand why this dream qualifies as a nightmare. Trust me when I say, it really did scare me.

In this dream, I'm hosting a contest to help publish and promote my next book. All contestants must write The Beauty for me. The winner will have their version published and be listed in the credits of the book. I know, that's a super shitty contest. Write a whole book and all you get is a special credit in the book? Maybe they got paid too, but I couldn't really say. Still, what kind of crappy contest is that? There's no accounting for what the brain comes up with.

Crappy contest or not, it worked. People turned out in droves with their submissions. I looked them over and selected the best one to represent The Hunter Legends, book 2. There was a lot of fanfare and applause. It was a big deal. Now all I needed was for the winner to send me the completed manuscript. 

But the first sign of trouble came when the winner's agent (Yes, this guy had an agent. This random, plucked-from-obscurity dude had an agent. That was warning alarm #1) told me that the winner already had an interview with Romantic Times Magazine. 

"What?! But I'm the author of the book! He's just a credit, call him a co-author at best. I don't even want his name on my cover," is what I say to my made up dream friends.

Days go by and the signs just keep piling up. The finished manuscript of The Beauty still hasn't shown up, which makes me very uncomfortable. Why hasn't he sent it? Meanwhile, buzz for The Beauty is reaching levels that I never expected. But they all want interviews with the winner and credit the winner with creation of the series!

That's when the anxiety starts. These are my characters! This is my series! I've worked my butt off making it all come together. Belle, Aleksander, Gastone, Edvina, Laramie, and all the rest of them are in my blood--they're apart of me. But this guy wins a contest and suddenly the world hands him all of my beloved hard work. I also recall complaining that the only reason he's getting notoriety is because he's a man. You know how the public is, a man writes a romance and they go crazy for it. Just look at Nicholas Sparks. He's a man, so it must be good. *eyeroll*

But what really gets me is the idea that I've lost my series. I realize during all of this that, while he wrote The Beauty, I don't know if he did it right. Did he tell the story the way I intended? Did he take the story in the right directions? My god, what if he represented the characters wrong and sent them down paths that weren't supposed to exist.

And that's when I woke up. Heart racing, sweat beading on my forehead-- and fearing that the winner was going to be standing at the end of my bed, holding my book and yelling, "It's mine! It's all mine!" 

But wait, it was just a dream! It wasn't real. That's right, I've already written The Beauty. I did it all by myself and no one else can ever steal it from me, and I know the story was done the right way. So calm down, Lindsay. It's okay. All is right in the world.

Thank god.

And that is a writer's nightmare. Fear that someone might steal your work and fear that they might not do the story justice. Never had dreams about people hating my books and only ever getting 1 star reviews. While those things would make me super sad, at least my books would still be mine. I could still write them and love them, and it wouldn't matter what anyone else thought.

But someone stealing my characters from me and not giving them the story they deserve--Well, I just couldn't deal with that.

So thank god it was just a dream. Breathe that beautiful sigh of relief. -Lindsay Mead


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