Tag Archives: plagiarism

Write a book: you know you’ve made it when you get sued

Oops… the perils of bestsellerdom. You know you’ve hit the big time when you get sued.

Stephenie Meyer’s publisher denies ‘Breaking Dawn’ plagiarism claim | EW.com reports:

“Author Stephenie Meyer has been accused of plagiarizing small portions of Breaking Dawn, the fourth book in her Twilight series, from a novel called The Nocturne by Jordan Scott. “

Interesting snippet: “she (Jordan Scott) regularly posted passages and chapters on her web site, www.jordanscott.com”.

Does this mean you should forgo blogging to build your platform as you write your book?

NO. Blog your book — it’s the easiest way to build your platform.

Plagiarism allegations against romance author

Romance writer, publisher split up over plagiarism claims – Boston.com reports:

“‘Signet has conducted an extensive review of all its Cassie Edwards novels and due to irreconcilable editorial differences, Ms. Edwards and Signet have mutually agreed to part ways,’ the publisher said in a statement Friday.

‘Cassie Edwards novels will no longer be published with Signet Books. All rights to Ms. Edwards’ previously published Signet books have reverted to the author.'”

There’s more information on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, which first broke the plagiarism story.

If you’re writing a novel (or indeed, any kind of book) please learn how to cite sources, and how to work with source information. It’s vital.

Since we all work on computer these days, it’s easy to confuse your own words with those of others. It’s up to you to work out how you handle this. I keep all my own notes separate from research (different folders, and different programs), and when I’m using a digital recorder to take notes, I emphasize which words are someone else’s and which are my own.

This is a sad story, because Cassie Edwards has been writing for years.

Let this story be a moral to you. Develop professional work habits, right from the start. Take nothing for granted.

Romance novel plagiarism – or not?

There’s a storm in the romance novel world, concerning romantic novelist Cassie Edwards. I haven’t been following the story, but apparently the plagiarism issue was raised by the site Smart Bitches who Love Trashy Books.

From the AP story, a comparison between Ms Edwards’ novel and her source.

Nora Roberts says peer lifted material – Yahoo! News: “From ‘Savage Longings’:

‘The women who belonged to this society created ceremonial decorations by sewing quills on robes, lodge coverings, and other things made of the skins of animals. Snow Deer had told Charles that the Cheyenne women considered this work of high importance, and when properly performed, it was quite as much respected as were bravery and success in war among the men.’

From ‘Cheyenne Indians’:

‘Of the women’s associations referred to the most important one was that devoted to the ceremonial decoration, by sewing on quills, of robes, lodge coverings, and other things made of the skins of animals. This work women considered of high importance, and, when properly performed, quite as creditable as were bravery and success in war among the men.'”

Always attribute your sources, whatever you’re writing

The AP reports Ms Edwards said: “Edwards, interviewed earlier this week by the AP, acknowledged that she sometimes “takes” her material “from reference books,” but added that she didn’t know she was supposed to credit her sources.”

This is undoubtedly so. A romance novel isn’t a feature article in a magazine. If you were writing a magazine article, you’d send your sources with the copy, so the fact checkers could look over it.

However, even if you’re writing a novel, if you’re using reference material, you should always make a clear distinction between the sources you’ve used, and your own words. The above example is pretty close to the original – Ms Edwards should have used a little creativity to make the information her own, so to speak.

If you’re relying heavily on a source, as Ms Edwards obviously was, then it’s only polite to attribute at the end of the novel, with a “Thanks To” or “Sources” page. Many novelists do this, in many different genres. It’s a commonly accepted practice. It’s also polite and courteous to do this.

The fact that her publisher didn’t request this, really doesn’t absolve Ms Edwards; she owns the copyright of her novel (I assume) and if so, she’s responsible for what’s published under her name.

So if you’re using sources for your novel, do remember to include a “Sources” page, whatever you call it. It saves hassle – and most importantly, it’s polite to do so.