I know the last post in this thread is a month old, but I have a question that I would like some thoughts on...

What do you do when your own story is very similar to the work of the author you are beta-reading for?

How can you avoid having that person accuse you of stealing or copying if you decide to show your own story around the same time or after you beta read for another author? I've had this happen. I don't know what to do about it. I can't change my story just because so-and-so wrote something in a similar genre with a couple of similar plot devices, settings and themes.

I do a lot of beta reading and brainstorming with friends. They know I won't copy, steal, or borrow from them. I very willingly read and critique other people's work when they ask, and I was thinking of trying a bit of beta work here on Absolute Write, but I honestly don't know how to protect my own integrity should the uncanny coincidence happen. The only thing I can think of is to tell the person immediately that I have a story that's very similar, that I can use examples from my own work to illustrate my points, or something like that.

But really, will that work?