What not to do as a writer.

Plagiarize. Especially in the internet age where you can be found out, then things go bad, real quick.

I was logging in to do some transcribing of this story of mine over the weekend when I thought I’d go through some emails – always good to try to get through a few more. Somehow the last part of this story isn’t on my SD drive, or anywhere else for that matter, but it was printed out, so I am writing it back into the digital form. I didn’t want this paper version to be the only thing I had.

Anyway, I came across this email from Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and it was one of her latest blog posts about plagiarism, ghost writers, and also collaborations. You can read the post here – Business Musings: Ghostwriting, Plagiarism, and The Latest Scandal – https://kriswrites.com/2019/02/20/business-musings-ghostwriting-plagiarism-and-the-latest-scandal/

I agree with so much of what she’s written here. I also ended up reading two posts from Nora Roberts here (http://fallintothestory.com/plagiarism-then-and-now/) and here (http://fallintothestory.com/not-a-rant-but-a-promise/) regarding it, which led me to the discovery of this hashtag, #copypastecris on Twitter (https://twitter.com/hashtag/copypastecris).

As a person who has had to go through a process of assuring Amazon a book was in fact mine, I can understand far too much what authors who are involved with this are having to deal with. I had to scour old drives and old documents to find the information tied to my work, as well as outlines for the information, book pages, random posts that were written around the original time of writing and publishing the work, copied excerpts, cover images. At the end of the day I appreciated what I was having to go through strictly because of this exact reason. If my work was ever copied and used in a book without me knowing it, I would hope someone would come to me, and tell me. And it’s nice to see Amazon is attempting to assure work belongs to who it does. Even if they have a huge catalog, even one case is a big deal.

It’s one thing to have an idea from another writer inspire a story you write. The majority of the world doesn’t come up with a 100% unique idea that hasn’t been done somewhere, somehow. But actually copying and pasting work (the writing) from another author into ours, and then selling it as our story? It’s not just plagiarizing. It’s just freaking rude.

I mean what that means we’re doing is taking another person’s time, energy, and headaches, muscle aches, and torment around characters bugging them until they got the story right, and passing it off as our own. While we did nothing to earn that dollar. That goes for covers, that goes for anything. I don’t even try to duplicate titles if I can help it, as I recently mentioned on my Facebook profile. It’s why I had changed my “Awakened: The Beginning,” to “Dark Illusions: The Beginning,” as I pointed out to Amazon when I sent all the verification in. Because it’s hard work to come up with something of that nature and I don’t want to stomp on another’s parade of effort. In the DI case, it was also that around that time, I’d seen many writers using that on their cover (my little younger self of 1998 when I wrote it, I believe, thought I was so unique with that title, lol), and wasn’t about to get lost in the shuffle.

A huge lesson I’d learned around then (when I was changing my book title, and through to when I changed my pen name on my books, which brought on the verification process) was to talk more about my work as I did it on here for that reason. When I had to verify, I’d also come across another of these scandals, and it made me realize: being public about my work process and the books? Doesn’t just protect me in a verification process, but I’ll have people see me talking about it, and I was hoping it would show any would-be thieves that I am open. So good luck if you wanna steal my work. I’ll have others who’ve seen me mention that work as I delved into it, to also help as backup.

Do I run the risk of someone taking a story idea and passing it off as their own? Well, of course. But then again plenty of ideas start as another’s and change. If you’ve ever watched a movie and went . . . but what if this happened instead? That’s essentially where many writers might come up with an idea. Or they read something and then it starts that what if question. They watch a program and it does. We take one idea and we change it into our own. Since I referenced DI, that came about because vampires are always so different from werewolves, and I didn’t tend to find them running in packs like maybe a werewolf would? Since I’m a huge fan of wolves, I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if there were clans of them (like a wolf pack), and a woman was caught in the middle of it all. Things just kept springing forth. Then I found out the “clan” idea had been done in a role playing game (can’t remember the name of it now) or something, and suddenly . . . the idea again . . . wasn’t unique. But I’d hope my spin on it was unique. That’s the thing with ideas. OUR voice and spin on it is what makes it unique.

There is that risk someone will take an idea, but if someone would like to run with an idea of mine and turn it into their own, I would love the mention, and be flattered. I understand that a cost of being so open is someone taking an idea, writing it, and never speaking of me at all. I try to credit anywhere I gain ideas from. But that is also why most of my “I’m going to write this,” ideas aren’t shared. It’s usually more in-depth if I’ve already written them, or am in the process of doing so.

Kristine also addresses the collaboration discussion. She opened my eyes about James Patterson too, which gives me a new light to see his process in. Collaboration is something I’ve experienced a lot the past year or so. It’s been around for a bit, but more so lately I’ve noticed. Or the people who want to give me their ideas to write. As much as we understand that your offering is meant in kindness, realize that we have our own stories to tell, and for most writers, not enough lifetimes to tell all of them since we get more piled on constantly by our own minds. So you’re not being that kind by giving us an idea you have that you want told, and expect us to build and write it. You can write it yourself. Not to be harsh when I say that, it’s said in appreciation of your thoughts.

Far too many people want to collaborate lately and it seems to be a “thing” in the indie world. Or the multi-author packs. I’m not against people who want to do either, and I’m not saying that I will never in a million years do either, especially a multi-author book where one of my stories is featured with another. However, that is a monumental amount of work to do it right, and the amount of time I spend on my own writing goes about like this on some days, some I cut out anything but the bold because it’s taxing, and the house/dogs/family/yard/cooking, may require more time. Sometimes to meet self-imposed deadlines, I work OT and just switch out writing for editing, etc.

M-F
8:30 AM – 9 AM – paper editing
10 AM – 11 AM – writing
1 PM – 4 PM – editing/formatting
8 PM – 9 PM – outlining/
paper editing
Weekends – cover making/outlining/editing

I micro-manage myself, I wouldn’t have time to micro-manage another. And I don’t do that anyway, lol. So collabs are out as I’m too much of a control freak with my work, and put in too much time, so I’d drive someone else insane.

Anyway, I don’t want to make this pages long, but there is a lot of good reading material above at those links. I’ll link them again below for easy switching.

Tell me – have you had a problem with this before? What are your thoughts on what this individual, or others like them, is doing? Let me know below.

Easy link list [in order]:

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