I usually stay out of this stuff completely, but…

This time I’m not.

I’m not using names or distinguishing details either, although I’m pretty sure everyone knows what I’m referring to.

Plagiarism is bad.

I sometimes think that there are people who don’t understand what is and isn’t plagiarism. I could believe that a hobbyist, or someone who hasn’t had a lot of contact with other writers, might believe that reworking someone else’s story with different genders and a few distinguishing details, leaving a majority of passages intact, was substantively different work. I have trouble believing that a seasoned professional could believe such a thing was legally or morally acceptable.

That what might be an interesting creative writing exercise is not publishable because it is not original work.

It’s not a gray area. It isn’t accidentally creating a nearly identical plot, which happens. It isn’t inadvertently repeating phrases from a research book or a similar novel that you read ten years ago, which also happens. It’s not even taking the germ of someone else’s idea and running with it, such as when you read a story about someone kissing a statue, mentally telling yourself, “No, that’s not what happens!” and writing a completely different tale. Or even taking someone else’s characters/universe and creating an original work from that as a jumping off place (and determining the exact place where it becomes original is apparently a fine legal tangle).

It’s really hard to construe this as anything but outright theft. Much worse in my mind than the writer who took sex scenes from fanfic, cleaned them up, changed the relevant details, and inserted them into her own work. It was a lazy (and deservedly illegal) shortcut, but the resulting story was still essentially hers.

This isn’t. It’s the entire fabric of someone else’s work. I have no idea why someone would do that, either. It’s a ridiculous risk, in addition to being empirically wrong, and I can’t believe that a seasoned professional didn’t know both of these things.

I have read a few of this author’s books in the past, but even as freebies, I didn’t necessarily bother because I found them very uneven. Some decent, others nearly unreadable. Now I wonder if this is because they were a pastiche of other people’s work.

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