Normally I don’t blog much during the week of release, because I’m just too tired from all the promotion. But this week, I am.
I’ve been aware of a breaking matter for a few days, through a friend. Now it’s out in the open.
So it seems, a rather popular author has been accused of plagiarizing fellow authors. The case has just broken wide, and now, you can bet every single book of hers will be scrutinized and gone over with a fine tooth comb. She has apparently taken word for word from other authors, changing only names, and genders of some characters. This is a crime—theft in one of the most personal ways you can steal from an author.
Plagiarism is the act of stealing.
Now, I’ve had people ask me if the show Charmed stole from my OW series. No, they didn’t. I’ve been accused of ripping them off by other readers. No, I didn’t. I’ve never even seen a full episode of it. And the concept of three sisters? Old as time, old as the Triple Goddess. Ideas are a dime a dozen, but how you create a story from those ideas, and the words you use? Better be unique.
What plagiarism is, is ripping off somebody’s work and posting it as your own—whether for free or for sale. It’s changing a words here and there, but leaving enough original content that it’s pretty obvious to someone who reads both books that gee…one came first and the other was based on it.
You can’t do this. You can’t use the excuse of “I didn’t realize this was wrong” or “My life was so messed up” or “I was worried about my finances”…because again—Just. Wrong. And illegal.
Guess what? The author you ripped off? Isn’t going to be worried about your lack of intelligence (because if you think it’s okay to do this, I’m sorry—either you’re insanely stupid or you have NO morals). The author you ripped off? Has his/her OWN finances to worry about.
Not only did Harner wrong the authors she is accused of stealing from, she also is—by default—dragging co-authors under the bus. An interesting blog post from someone who could be implicated by association (but most likely had nothing to do with any of this—which makes me feel bad for her).
Writing is a grueling business, and the industry isn’t easy. In fact, it can be downright brutal on authors. The work of creating worlds that resonate to readers is the only work I’ve ever wanted to do, but it’s both the most joyous (at its best) and the most heartbreaking (at its worst) work that I’ve ever done. Now, I’m know for not liking fan fiction—and I am open about it. I don’t want people using MY characters and MY worlds that I work so hard to create and taking them down roads I never, ever intended or don’t like. Makes me shudder. You want to write? Write something original—something I didn’t create.
But plagiarism? Absolutely soul-sucking. And. Just. Wrong.
It’s bad enough when people pirate our work and stick it up for free online (or worse yet—as I discovered this morning—sell ebooks of mine online that they don’t have the right to sell, money I’ll never, ever see). Piracy has contributed to my having to finish the Otherworld Series on my own. I’ve had thousands of torrent links taken down and they keep cropping up.
But if I found out someone was plagiarizing my books, I’d be heartbroken…and then I’d go after them for everything they owned. As I hope the authors who have been victimized in this case do. She’s stolen from their livelihoods and claimed their creativity as her own. Just. Wrong.