Wednesday, 15 April 2015

An Un-cool Crime

One thing we all despise is PLAGIARISM.  For any of you who don’t already know, plagiarism is the duplication of someone else’s work. That means taking another writers work and passing it off as your own. Plagiarism comes in different forms it can be as obvious as actually having the stupidity of taking someone’s writing and copying it word for word into your work, without their permission, or crediting them. Or, there’s another more subtle form that involves taking writing, breaking it down, then rebuilding it by changing the odd word here or there. Maybe restructuring the sentence, but in essence it’s still the fucking same.

As we work together closely, reading each other raw work, we have an intense fear of duplicating each other’s words in some form. Occasionally messages fly between us saying stuff like, “Hey, I just wrote this. I’m not sure if it's similar to something you wrote. Is it?” Invariably the answer is. “No.” We all breathe a sigh of relief and carry on with our writing. The truth is we all have different writing styles so it would be difficult to do. However, it’s usual to worry, especially when you have just written something so beautiful and unique you wonder if you could have written it. You second-guess yourself because someone else must have written it first, right? The first thing that pops into your head is, "One of the girls wrote that."

That is the behavior of honest writers. If we have doubts, we check and double check our work. We all know there’s only so many ways to say, “He walked across the room,” or, “He pulled me in for a kiss.” Shitty examples, but you get the picture. Some stuff will inevitably turn up time and time again in most people's writing, it’s the nature of the beast. We know that too.

But what happens when you come across something so obviously plagiarised it screams at you, “Hey look at me! You’ve seen me before, and you know where?” Or all of a sudden you are reading something and the writing changes for a paragraph, totally out of the author's usual voice. So much so it stares you in the face saying, “Where the hell did I come from?”

That’s not cool. That’s not clever. It’s theft.

People do this sort of thing. Really! We have seen instances of big named authors having whole books plagiarised. I mean OMG, how is that even possible?

I don’t understand it. I can’t get my head around how someone could live with himself or herself for it.

We are writers! We make shit up! We spend hours talking to fictional characters making their world real. We know how to do this. We don’t need to steal other people’s work to make ours better, or just because we are too lazy to imagine the words for ourselves. So if you are that sort of author (term used loosely) then grow a pair and write your own shit.

For the readers out there, the only thing we find as bad as stealing our words, is stealing our work. If it’s for sale, buy it, don’t go and get it free when it’s obviously not a free book. If it were free, it would be listed as such on Amazon, iTunes, etc.

LOL! Sorry. This wasn’t meant to be a rant. I’m still in the middle of writing, so I've not even got anything out in the world, but this subject pisses me off. Can you tell?

I ran this blog post through Grammarly's plagiarism checker. The words highlighted in bold came up as unoriginal text. Guess I need to try harder too! But it gives you an example of day to day sentence structures that will come up over and over and which are hard to avoid.


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