Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Our next thievy thief is *totally* embarassed...
Next 2k8 member to join the "Plagiarists anonymous" blog-week? Laurel Snyder, author of the new middle-grade fairy tale, Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains OR The Search for a Suitable Princess.
Laurel, what've you got for us? Just how bad is it?
Oh, man-- it's pretty bad.
See, the number one rule of stealing is that you're not supposed to steal from an obvious/famous source, right? You're supposed to steal something nobody will recognize. Or you're supposed to creatively tinker with what you've stolen, for a kind of meta effect.
Well I broke that rule without even realizing it. We were already in the copyediting stage when I started to have this weird feeling, this panicked sensation that one of the lines in my book was NOT MY OWN! It just felt like I'd seen it somewhere before...
Can you imagine?
The passage in my book was:
“Which way do you think you’re going anyway? North? North is nice, but then, South has its advantages too. And West rhymes with best, so it can’t be too bad. What’s your general direction?”
And although I didn't actually take this passage, word for word, I did totally steal it. From Stuart Little no less. Remember this?
"North is nice," said the repairman. I've always enjoyed going north. Of course, south-west is a fine direction too... and there's east. I once had an interesting experience on an easterly course..."
Imagine my horror when I figured it out, after a long night of poking around online, searching for a vague case of plagiarism. Because although I knew I hadn't really written it, I had no clue where I'd gotten it from. It was awful!
So that's it, my big experience as a thief.
Of course, I didn't actually make up the name of the villain from my next book, but I did pay for it, sort of. So that's not stealing, right? Just prostitution...
Yeah, okay, you're right, Laurel. We all agree. You're a total sleazeball, and you *should* be embarrassed.
Just kidding. Sort of.