Writers are definitely territorial about their work, some to the point of being unable to even collaborate with another writer. Whether it's overinflation of the ego or simply protecting the mojo, it's part of our nature to hang on to what's ours. Unfortunately, we can't take our work with us when we go, or most of us probably would.
I'm luckier than J.K., in that I don't have to worry about pissing off most of the civilized world with what I do with my characters. I seriously doubt any of my work will be profitable for long after I'm gone. Still, after observing just how much publishing and readers respect an author's wishes, I did take the precaution of destroying everything I didn't want published posthumously. You guys will just have to live without ever reading my sixth-grade rewrite of Romeo and Juliet.
That doesn't completely solve my problem. I have a hefty inventory of as-yet-unpublished novels, along with outlines and partials on more than thirty books yet to be written. Throw in 25+ years of hard copies and 10+ years of electronic copies of my notes, ideas, mind maps, novel notebooks, series journals and other secret writer junk that
I really don't want to take it with me, and I certainly do want my estate to benefit those who had better not squander it or I'll come back and haunt their asses big time. But there's a lot that I don't want grubbed through, artfully interpreted, or taken in the wrong direction, and I'm not going to apologize for that. I know I shouldn't worry, but then I think of all the lousy knockoffs and clumsy continuances and ghastly homages I've seen done and that place under my right eye starts twitching.
Do I save it all and hope my daughter picks writing over being a vet? Do I start shredding again? I don't know what the hell to do. Maybe I'll bury it all somewhere, along with my hoard of gold and jewels, and leave a cryptic poem or a map. Make whoever might want it work for it, at least.
What are you guys planning to do or are doing with work you don't want published, swiped or artfully interpreted after you buy the farm?